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Verity’s Lie (The Huntley Trilogy #3)
by Grace Elliot
Historical (Regency) Romance
About Verity’s Lie
Charles Huntley, Lord Ryevale, infamous rogue…and government agent.
In unsettled times, with England at war with France, Ryevale is assigned to covertly protect a politician’s daughter, Miss Verity Verrinder. To keep Verity under his watchful eye, Ryevale plots a campaign of seduction that no woman can resist– except it seems, Miss Verrinder. In order to gain her trust Ryevale enters Verity’s world of charity meetings and bookshops…where the unexpected happens and he falls in love with his charge.
When Lord Ryevale turns his bone-melting charms on her, Verity questions his lordship’s motivation. But with her controlling father abroad, Verity wishes to explore London and reluctantly accepts Ryevale’s companionship. As the compelling attraction between them strengthens, Verity is shattered to learn her instincts are correct after all – and Ryevale is not what he seems. If Lord Ryevale can lie, then so can she…but with disastrous consequences.
Warning: This title is intended for readers over the age of 18 as it contains adult sexual situations and/or adult language, and may be considered offensive to some readers.
Ryevale alighted first, then offered up his hand to assist Verity down. She placed her fingers lightly in his engulfing palm. A chemical reaction fizzed between them, like acid to alkali, as warmth tracked up her arm and expanded in her chest. Defying the urge to melt into his arms, she tipped her chin up defiantly for if he had any idea of how his touch affected her, she would be at his mercy.
As soon as her slippers touched the pavement, she shook her hand free. “I can manage, thank you.”
“Very well. The entrance is this way.”
Their little party waited beside a double door, outside which stood a rotund gentleman sporting a red waistcoat the same color as his nose. He and Ryevale shook hands.
“Just the two ladies tonight, my lord?”
Verity suppressed a shocked gasp—and had that man just winked at Ryevale? The sting of jealousy caught her by surprise as she wondered how many other women he had brought here. She glance from one the other, but Ryevale seemed oblivious to her ire as he withdrew a metal token from his breast pocket.
“…and a shilling each for the ladies.”
Ryevale handed over the cash, plus a tip for the doorman. “And this is for you, Annie,” he pressed a silver coin into her palm. “Meet us back here at midnight. Understand?”
The maid clutched the coin to her chest and nodded.
“Yes, my lord. You want me to leave you and Miss Verity alone and meet yer here.”
“That’s the measure of it.”
“Then see you later, my lord, Miss Verrinder.”
With a provocative wiggle of the hips, Annie flounced through the doors.
The jolly man beamed and stood back. “Have a good evening, my lord.”
Ryevale addressed Verity. “Shall we?”
Dry-mouthed, she nodded and slid her hand through the proffered arm, touching hard muscle that made her eyes widen.
Together they entered an unlit tunnel, running through the width of the house. There were no lanterns and, as they left the road behind, a black velvet blackness blanketed their senses. Uncertain of her footing, Verity clung to Ryevale to guide her forward.
“Nearly there,” he said, his voice soft and intimate in the darkness.
From up ahead came the sound of a trilling bird: a lazy, sweet song as beautiful as life.
“Is that a nightingale?” she marveled.
“It is indeed.”
They edged forward, drawn on by a distant glow. Then the drifting lilt of a waltz lifted on the breeze, and Verity couldn’t help but smile at the music. As they approached the light even the air changed; scented with roses and ladies perfume…and another odor that puzzled her. But at the end of the tunnel, as Ryevale pushed the gate open, she realized she smelled burning oil from hundreds, no thousands, of lamps hanging in tree lined avenues so long they disappeared in the distance.
Verity gasped as she struggled to take in the vista.
“Vauxhall Gardens.” Ryevale stood back and grinned.
Verity clung to his arm like an anchor and drank in the sights. Lanterns hung from tree branches, an amber glow falling on strolling couples. She swallowed hard; her father would definitely disapprove of such shocking familiarity, but then that’s why she was here—to form her own opinion.
Grace Elliot leads a double life as a veterinarian by day and author of historical romance by night. Grace lives near London and is passionate about history, romance and cats! She is housekeeping staff to five cats, two sons, one husband and a bearded dragon (not necessarily listed in order of importance). Verity’s Lie is Grace’s fourth novel.
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