A Most Dangerous Profession (The Hurst Amulet)

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9781439175941: A Most Dangerous Profession (The Hurst Amulet)
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Mysterious, elusive, unforgettable. The Hurst Amulet continues to lure lovers into peril as New York Times bestselling author Karen Hawkins spins her newest scintillating tale of danger and desire.

AN ENTRANCING THIEF

For beautiful, seductive Moira MacAllister, the stakes have become terrifyingly high. Her daughter has been abducted and a priceless ancient relic is the ransom. Moira must acquire it at any cost, even if it means confronting the man she once duped and left, a man who still doesn’t know she has a child . . . and that he is the father.

A DASHING RAKEHELL

Robert Hurst, an operative in the king’s service, has never forgiven the mysterious spy who seduced him into marriage and then disappeared without a trace. Now, as he pursues the onyx box that will save his brother’s life, their paths cross again. But Robert isn’t sure which he longs for more—to satisfy his lust for revenge or to quench his relentless hunger for this bewitching woman.

A PERILOUS MISSION

When Moira reveals to Robert her long-kept secret, however, he realizes his burning desires must wait as a treacherous foe closes in, threatening all they hold dear . . . and their second chance at love.

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About the Author:

Karen Hawkins is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of many wickedly funny historical romane novels set in Regency Scotland, including the wildly popular MacLean Curse series, the enchanting Hurst Amulet series, the funny and charming Duchess Diaries series, and now the romantic Oxenburg Princes series. Karen is also the author of two sassy contemporary romances set in the little town of Glory, North Carolina. Find out more at Facebook.com/AuthorKarenHawkins and KarenHawkins.com.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Moira managed a smile, though her heart pounded in her throat. “I don’t know what you're talking about.“

Robert moved so quickly that she didn’t have time to whisk herself out of the way, his warm hand closing over her wrist and holding her in place as he towered over her, his dark blue eyes blazing. “Don’t play your games with me. You knew my family needed that onyx box to win my brother’s release and yet you still stole it. And you did so at the behest of George Aniston.”

She curled her fingers into the palms of her hands to hide their dampness. “The box is now in your possession and Michael is finally safe, so my association with George Aniston is none of your concern.”

“Oh, but it is, for he and I pursue the same objects. I already have two of the onyx boxes. Now, I want the same thing Aniston does; the same thing you’ve chased here – the third box.”

She froze in place. There are three boxes? Her heart pounded quickly now, but from something other than desire. Did Aniston know there were three boxes? She’d give everything she possessed – except one thing – to defeat George Aniston. No one hated him more.

And certainly no one had more reason to. Even now, her shoulders ached with the tightness that spread at the thought of beating the vile Aniston at his own game.

But before she could do that, she had to extricate herself from her current situation and get away from the very dangerous man who stood before her. She eyed her wrist, which was still held in Robert’s steely grip before she shot him a look through her lashes. “You are hurting me.”

“I doubt that.” Yet he loosened his hold.

“Have I tried to strike out, attempted to flee, offered resistance of any kind?”

His gaze narrowed. “Not yet.”

“I’m not going to. I have remarkably little information for you, though I can see why you wish to know more about George Aniston.”

“You’ll tell me what you do know.”

Robert wasn’t budging; she could see it in his eyes. Fine. She'd share some of her knowledge. Just not all. “I know Aniston a little. For a short while, I was his messenger where Miss Beauchamp, your present sister-in-law, was concerned.”

“He was blackmailing her.”

“I didn’t know what he was doing; I was told to deliver and receive various envelopes, which I did. That was all.”

“Marcail believed you were afraid of him.”

It showed? That knowledge shook Moira so much she couldn’t speak for a moment. She made her living off of keeping her thoughts invisible to those around her. To know that someone had been able to see her biggest secret sent Moira's heart thundering. She managed a faint smile. “He’s not a nice man.”

“No, he’s not. He’s also not known to be generous. Why were you working for him?”

“He paid me.”

“No, that’s not it.” Robert loosened his hold a bit more, through his strong fingers remained about her wrist, his thumb now sliding across the delicate skin almost in a caress.

Shivers raced over her, and she had to fight the urge to step closer to him.

“You are talented and resourceful and could find work anywhere, be anyone you chose." Robert leaned closer, his voice deeper, more intimate. "Tell me, Moira. Was Aniston blackmailing you, too?”

There it was. Out in the light. Just as ugly in sound as it was in reality. She was achingly aware of the warmth of Robert's hand where it loosely gripped her, of the lingering warmth of his thumb where rubbed the delicate skin of her wrist.

She swallowed hard, trying to keep her focus. “It’s a pity you and your brothers didn’t put Aniston behind bars when you had the chance.”

“If we had found him, he would have been prosecuted for his impertinence. But what about you, Moira?” Robert's broad shoulders blocked the light, his blue gaze locked upon her face. “You haven’t answered; was he blackmailing you, too?”

The words were gently spoken and they filled Moira’s heart with such longing that tears filled her eyes. For one precious moment, she imagined how lovely it would be if she could do just that. Lately, there’d been many moments when she’d had to fight the despair of her situation.

If only she could tell him, explain things, lean on him, trust him. But she already knew the cost of trust and now, more than ever, she couldn’t take the risk.

“Don’t be foolish. What could Aniston possibly hold over my head?” She pulled her wrist from Robert's grasp, turning away so he wouldn't see her tears. "Thank you for your interest, but you must go now. I've work to do and none of it concerns you."

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