The Runner’s Enticement
Men of Circumstance #2
By: Addie Jo Ryleigh
Releasing May 18, 2016
Soul Mate Publishing
A Duke. A Runner. An Earl.
Three men, each born into different circumstances.
Each fighting to overcome their own adversity.
All striving to change their past.
As much as Nathaniel Frederickson, bastard brother to the Duke of Wesbrook, loathes the status and consequence of his lowly birth, he has reinvented himself by becoming London’s leading Bow Street Runner. But no matter his success or his charm, he never seems to be good enough.
Lady Annabel Baines, self-professed bluestocking, has one goal in life. To create a legacy for her deceased mother by ensuring the success of her school for young ladies. Even if it means being beholden to a man intent on ruining her life, forcing her to make impossible, heartrending choices.
Assigned to recovering stolen artifacts, Nate is thrust into Anna’s privileged world. To make matters worse, he is forced to protect her from a mysterious threat she refuses to acknowledge. While fighting Anna’s stubbornness—and his unwanted fascination with the spoiled chit—Nate becomes the renewed target of a blackmailer thought to be destroyed . . . while a killer sets his sights on Anna.
Will the well-born bluestocking ultimately save the bastard Runner?
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His longer stride allowed him to reach her before she vanished into the shadows of the entry. Securing her elbow, he directed her to an empty room off to the left of the foyer. Time to remind Lady Annabel exactly who is in charge.
His quick maneuver only allowed for her to sputter in resistance. As soon as the door clicked shut, she yanked free and rounded on him. “How dare you mistreat me in such a way!”
The flash of fire in her eyes held him spellbound. Gone was the perfectly put together gentlewoman. In her place stood a wild and captivating woman. The kind of woman he would easily welcome into his bed.
At his silence she continued, “I should have you dismissed for your impertinence.”
With the return of the haughty noble, the spell was broken. The heat simmering in her glare would never melt the coldness born of the nobility.
His touch hadn’t been anywhere near brutish, but he recognized the meaning beneath her objection. “Forgive me, princess, for soiling your precious sleeve with my dirty hand.”
Given the narrowing of her eyes, she knew, as well as he, his hands were as clean as hers.
“I would never—”
He didn’t give her the chance to launch into a lecture. He’d brought her here for a purpose. “We need to set a few things straight.” He ignored her sharply indrawn breath. “Firstly, I’m not your lackey. You may have the rest of England on a tether but you’ll never have me. I’m here to do a job and I’m not about to let an overindulged, spoiled brat stand in my way.”
So much for being reasonable. There was just something about the petite Lady Annabel that provoked him beyond anything he’d experienced before. More than just her title stirred his blood. Even when faced with the most condescending members of the ton, Nate still managed to hold onto his dignity and poise.
The entire mission might be manageable if she understood he would be the one setting the course. Moreover, if there was a threat to her safety, her rushing headlong into a situation could get her hurt—or even killed.
“Secondly, I am not your lap dog. I won’t sit and stay on command. Or obediently follow where you lead. If you have somewhere you absolutely must be, you will inform me before we go gallivanting all over England. Your father hired me to do a job and dammit, I will do it the best way I know how. Which doesn’t include you dictating our every move. I am the professional, after all,” he tacked on for good measure.
Given her glowering expression, she’d comprehended every word. And had found issue with each one.
Oh, hell. She was about to become indignant. The last thing he needed was an overwrought silk-stocking who felt the world had wronged her. Why couldn’t Lawson have sent him to some corner of the country lacking the delicate sensibilities of the nobility? He’d have gone to Scotland if need be.
Just when Nate thought he had her pegged and was prepared for her vicious onslaught, she took a steady breath and her eyes cleared like a passing storm.
Her voice held complete calm when she answered, “Mr. Frederickson, since you found it within yourself to speak so . . . honestly . . . with me, I feel I should return the courtesy. First, I will concede you are the expert. My father wouldn’t have entrusted myself—or his collection—to anyone less than capable. However, I’m not about to set aside my freedoms on what we both know to be an overreaction on my father’s part.”
She paused while he remained silent. In all honesty, he wasn’t sure how to respond. In the last minute, she’d destroyed every expectation he had.
He didn’t get an opportunity to think on it as her eyes suddenly narrowed and pinned his boots to the floor. He felt like a wayward student who’d spoken out of turn. “I have never in my life treated someone as a lap dog. No matter if their arrogance demanded it. If you are looking for someone who has acted childish, Mr. Frederickson, I suggest you place yourself in an empty room and look in a mirror. Overindulged, spoiled brat indeed!” Her chest expanded with visible outrage as she finished chastising him.
Addie Jo Ryleigh writes historical regency romances that feature rakish heroes and strong feisty heroines. Addie Jo lives in the same cold winter and hot summer area of Minnesota where she was born and raised. And frankly, wouldn’t live anywhere else. Sharing in the raising of her three extremely rambunctious boys is her very understanding husband that so graciously enabled her to fulfill her dream of writing. Keeping Addie Jo company while she writes (besides her wonderfully loud children) is her yorkipoo, Bella, who is never far from Addie Jo’s side.
Addie Jo has always had a love and passion for romance books and became engrossed in historical romance (particularly Regency) soon after graduating from Lurlene McDaniel’s young adult books. Currently, Addie Jo reads any genre that has a great emotional story that keeps her reading into the early hours of the morning.
Addie Jo has a bachelor degree in accounting and is a financial coordinator when not driving her children around central Minnesota, cuddled up with a good book, or writing her next story.