Dangerous Moonlight

Dangerous Moonlight

Mel Keegan

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In the spirit of FORTUNES OF WAR comes a rollicking romantic adventure in the world of highwaymen and smugglers. Harry Trevellion would have been gentry if his father's estate had not crumbled; Nick Gray is the favorite but illegitimate son of a rich man, fated to work. His brother, Paul, is a scoundrel waiting only to inherit, and Paul scorns Nick, while Nick performs dangerous work. He's a jewelry courier; it's inevitable that he meet the irresistible rogue, Trevellion. A midnight world opens to Nick: he's drawn into a realm of chanceries, bawdy houses, glittering mansions, and a stormy affair with powerful consequences. The day Paul has awaited arrives: the old master of Rosewarne Park is gone, and his will plunges Nick into jeopardy. It's an age of swords, duels, deceit and sizzling sensuality. Readers who loved FORTUNES and DECEIVERS will relish this novel.
 
PUBLISHED BY: GLBT Bookshelf
ISBN: 978-0975808054
PUBLICATION DATE: 2006
WORD COUNT: 232510
SEXUAL CONTENT RATING: 2 2
EBOOK READER RATING:
CATEGORIES: Historical, Action/Adventure, Romantic Suspense
KEYWORDS: gay, gay adventure, gay historical, gay romance, glbt, mel keegan
 

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EXCERPT
COPYRIGHT Mel Keegan/2006
The accomplice backed out of the carriage and whistled for his horse. With the rasp of boot leather into stirrup iron he was up, and poised to leave. “Don’t waste time,” he warned as the other, the one with the voice of a gentleman, stepped closer and swung open Nicholas’s door. “The turnpike’s too damn’ close for comfort.”

“Then get moving,” the highwayman advised. “Leave this little one to me. He knows better than to challenge a brace of pistols. Don’t you, lad?”

With an effort, Nicholas swallowed his resentment. “By God, sir, one day I hope you and I shall meet when these pistols are not between us.”

“Do you, now?” The voice purred from behind the silk mask. “Well, that may well be. But for tonight I’ll have you out of the carriage like a good lad.” He thrust one of the pistols into his capacious pocket and stood waiting.

Anger seethed in Nicholas’s belly as he stepped into the rutted, muddy road. “Rob me if you will, but don’t you dare treat me like a halfwit. What do you want, my purse, my rings? Take them, damn you!” He snatched off the rings and flung them at the highwayman. They were plucked out of the air before they could fall, and pocketed.

“And your purse,” the thief said genially, but as Nicholas thrust his hand into his coat for it, the muff-pistol lifted to head height and leveled on his nose. “If you’ve a gun in there, think again. I don’t want to hurt you. Don’t make me.”

He froze, almost hypnotized by the dark muzzle of the weapon, so close to his face.

“Don’t waste your time!” The Devon man shouted from the rear of the carriage. “Take ’is purse and get your bloody arse back on the ’orse!”

“Go,” the highwayman growled. “I can handle this one. I’ll catch you up.”

Exasperation shortened the man’s temper. “This is no time for any of your damned fool games, lad. One day they’ll be the death of thee!” And then hooves scattered the gravel at the roadside, and the horse wheeled about, leaving the way it had come.

Eyes still on the muzzle of the pistol, Nicholas had not yet moved. Pulses quickened in his temples and throat as the night grew silent once more. Pullin and his driver were out cold, and to all practical purposes he was alone. He saw dark hair on the thief’s collar, tied back with a black velvet riband. He saw the silver braid on the man’s expensive coat, the lace at his neck and wrists. The hand holding the pistol without a tremor was strong but fine, white, with a sickle-shaped scar across the back, a prize won in some duel.

The highwayman stepped closer and Nicholas held his breath as fingers touched his face. His pulse quickened again. “If you want my purse, it’s in my coat. I’ve no gun. If I had one, I’d have used it by now.”

The fingers traced about his cheek and jaw, charting their shape. “I’ve no doubt you’d have tried to. So much the better that you’re unarmed, for I’ve no wish to hurt you. You’re a lovesome creature, aren’t you?”

The flattery only confused Nicholas. He floundered while his face was caressed once more, and the highwayman chuckled richly.

“Your purse, then,” he said at last, “since I’ve no time to rob you of more. Not a mile to the turnpike, you know.” And he thrust his left hand into Nicholas’s coat.

Surely he could feel the bulk of the purse at once. Nicholas took a breath as the cold hand deliberately explored the warmth of his breast. Unseen eyes shafted into him, dirk-sharp, like slivers of ice under his skin, and he leaned against the side of the carriage, trapped between primal, animal instinct and stubborn pride.

The pride spurred him to strike out, knock the thief on his back, take the pistol from him and deliver him to Captain Frobisher at the garrison. Instinct was to press into the caressing palm which worked into his shirt, cradled his breast and deliberately teased his nipple. What the man wanted was all too obvious. It was his own body’s eagerness to comply that shocked Nicholas Gray until he stood frozen against the carriage, unable to move or speak.

With reluctance, the hand in his shirt twisted, withdrew and took the purse with it. As Nicholas began to breathe again, the thief stepped back. “Lovesome indeed,” he observed, only half mockingly. Was he breathless? He thrust the stolen purse deep into the same pocket as the rings, and the pistol leveled once more.

Still, Nicholas said nothing. He stood with his hands slightly raised as the thief called out softly to his horse. The big, rawboned stud trotted closer and stood like a statue. Mounted, the highwayman took the reins in his left hand.

The sound of hooves on the road behind made Nicholas’s heart quicken, but the thief only laughed as he spun the horse about. “Fare you well, lad,” he called over his shoulder as the horse turned. “And play no games on the road at night with the likes of me!”

 
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