Pale Moon Rider

Pale Moon Rider by Marsha Canham

Book: Pale Moon Rider by Marsha Canham Read Free Book Online
Authors: Marsha Canham
then it was a simple matter to claim the treasures as his own.”
    “How enterprising of him,” Tyrone mused.
    “Enterprising,” she agreed, “if it does not trouble your conscience that your profits are stained with blood.”
    Wary of her growing agitation, Tyrone raised his hands in a gesture meant to placate. “I am hardly in the position to offer any defense on your fiancé’s behalf, but—”
    “There is no defense,” she snapped. “These men and women trusted him to secure their future, to protect their family’s heritage. They paid him enormous sums to smuggle their wealth out of France before Robespierre and his greedy minions confiscated it in the name of liberté, égalité , and fraternité , and then he turned around and stole it out of their graves.”
    “And now you plan to steal it from him?”
    “If I can, yes.”
    “And the, ah, moral ambiguity does not trouble you at all?”
    " Q ue signifie-t-il ?”
    “Ambiguity? In this instance it means condemning someone for doing something you are about to do yourself. But never mind, you don’t have to answer that. I am more curious about something you said earlier tonight, that you can sell the rubies without suffering any loss of value?”
    “There are people in London loyal to France , to the monarchy, who would willingly pay to see the rubies safely back where they belong and to insure they do not fall into the hands of someone like Edgar Vincent again.”
    “Edgar Vincent? What the devil does he have to do with this?”
    She gave a brusque, disparaging sigh. “He is my fiancé. He is the man I am to marry on the fourteenth.”
    Safe in his shadows, Tyrone could not resist a wide grin. “The hell you say!”
    “Does this make a difference, m’sieur? Do you know him?”
    “We have crossed paths before—and swords. And no, it did not matter when I robbed him five months ago; it should not matter now.”
    “You have robbed him before?”
    Another low, throaty laugh came out of the darkness. “Indeed I have. And if memory serves, among the generous contributions donated by him and his female companion, there was a particularly fine trinket. A brooch”— his words slowed thoughtfully as he made the mental connection—“made of rubies and diamonds … and a pearl the size of a small fist.”
    “Please tell me,” she said on an indrawn breath. “Were the rubies coiled around the pearl like a serpent? A serpent with a golden body and diamonds for eyes?”
    “It was an unusually exquisite piece,” he agreed. “So much so the, ah, gentleman with whom I have a longstanding association refused point blank to deal with it. As I recall, he muttered something about my bringing constabulary hellfire down around his shoulders should he even attempt to sell it through his normal contacts.”
    Renée was almost afraid to ask. “Does that mean you still have it?”
    “If I do?”
    “If you do … it would increase the value of the suite immeasurably.”
    “This would not be another blatant appeal to my crude instinct for profit, would it?”
    “I doubt the instinct is a crude one, m’sieur. Practical, perhaps, yes? And to that I would gladly pay whatever price you ask for the brooch.”
    “Any price? A dangerous offer, mam’selle. An unscrupulous rogue might be tempted to take advantage.”
    She stared into the vicinity of his eyes and said softly, “I do not think you are as unscrupulous as you would wish me to believe.”
    “Why? Because you still have your clothes on? Or because I have not tried to kiss you yet?”
    The bluntness of the question startled her, but he did not allow her time to recover. In two swift strides he loomed before her again, his one hand raking deep into the silvery cloud of her hair to tilt her mouth up to his, his other slipping around her waist and drawing her hard against his body. The embrace was like the man himself, forthright and audacious, with no time wasted on flattery or finesse. He ignored the

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