Amaryllis (paperback) by Joyce Proell

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  • Lily Fitzhugh is desperate to get to America, where her father is imprisoned as a traitor against the Crown. To gain passage, she accepts a dangerous job: to sneak aboard a ship headed to New York and spy on suspected colonial patriot Griffin Faraday.
     
    Griffin Faraday doesn't trust the beautiful, tempting stowaway. He has a secret shipment of guns to deliver to General George Washington. Nothing can get in the way. But when Lily is ordered away with pirates, a sure death sentence, Griffin proposes marriage, the absolute last thing he wants.
     
    Now Lily and Griffin are spies hiding the truth while they try not to fall in love.
    Thrust into a world where deception and silence are the rule and political loyalties can mean prison or death, Lily and Griffin must face their greatest challenge—learning to trust each other.


    Rating: Spicy
    Page Count: 388
    Word Count: 93139  
    978-1-5092-2425-8 Paperback
    978-1-5092-2426-5 Digital

    Excerpt

    England, 1777

     

    After a weary night of travel, Griffin Faraday stopped and let his horse drink from the stream beside the road. He dragged a hand across the grit and stubble on his cheek and squinted against the early morning sun, relieved his business in England was at an end. All he needed was one more day without mishap. Then it was on to New York with the English no wiser as to his deception. Surely, he could manage such a tricky feat.

    Beneath him, his horse shifted. The head jerked up and its ears cocked at the growing rumble in the distance. The urgent drum of horse hooves signaled trouble. Had the English discovered his covert activities? Had they learned about the guns for General Washington? If so, countless lives would be lost, and his most certainly, if he were captured.

    His breathing quickened. A powerful charge shot into his limbs. He had to flee, but his tired horse would never outrun a cavalry. Nor would the thin copse of trees alongside the brook offer concealment. “Damn.”

    The pulsation rumbled louder and echoed the anxious beat in his ears. His muscles coiled and he patted the ready knife handle sheathed to his hip.

    A rider exploded from a far-off wood, almost flying over the crest, and plunged down the grassy slope. “A woman,” he said, shocked at her perilous speed. She cast a frightened look over her shoulder just as another rider breached the mound and gave chase.

    A relieved breath whooshed from his lungs. He wasn’t the target.

    The two riders tore across the open field, kicking up clods of dirt and raced past a lone crofter’s cottage trellised with ivy. The woman hurtled recklessly forward. Her loose ebony hair fluttered as if flags whipped in a gale. She’d kill herself in a tumble if her pursuer didn’t murder her first.

    Griffin’s fingers tensed around the reins. A voice in his head urged him to remain uninvolved, to ride off and forget what he’d seen. But he couldn’t. What sort of man turned his back on a woman who needed help? He swung his horse toward her and galloped full-on. His thighs clasped around the animal’s girth tight as a manacle. The rising thunder of horses clamored in his head. The woman sped across his path, her face clenched with alarm.

    “Whoa! You there,” he shouted at her pursuer. “Stop!”

    Head bent low over the stallion’s neck, the attacker advanced at a dangerous pace. Griffin swore and angled into his path. His heart banged against his ribs. The oncoming horse wheeled in fright. The whites of its eyes appeared to stretch and enlarge. The animal snorted and flung back its head. Its hooves dug into the earth and it jolted to a stop. The force pitched the rider into the air. Arms cartwheeled and his legs spun in space before he slammed into the ground with a sickening grunt.

    Griffin winced as he imagined the man’s pain judder along his thighs and into his spine. He jerked the reins and swept from his mount. The smell of dust and sweet grass flooded his nose as he strode to toward the poor fellow.

    The assailant, on hands and knees, swayed erratically. Auburn hair curled in a mess over his forehead. Anger radiated from his flushed face. “What in blazes do you think you’re doing?”

    Any hope Griffin might remain levelheaded evaporated at the man’s surly tone. “I might ask the same of you.” He offered a hand only to have it slapped away. “Conceited ass,” he muttered under his breath. “I meant to aid to the lady. From what I observed, your objective was far from noble.”

    The woman had doubled back. She watched with a distressed frown as the fallen man pushed to his feet and whisked dirt from his coat sleeves. Though why she cared when he so clearly intended her harm made no sense to Griffin.

    “Are you hurt?” she asked.

    “Not enough to need a nursemaid,” the surly rogue snapped.

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Amaryllis (paperback)

Amaryllis (paperback)

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