The Secrets of a Scoundrel

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Book: The Secrets of a Scoundrel Read Online Free PDF
Author: Gaelen Foley
Tags: Fiction, Regency, Historical Romance
lighten the mood. “You have interesting taste if you find this day is beautiful. Wait till the sun comes out at least. Today is all gloom! The fields are so brown, the sky is gray—”
    “The sky. Exactly,” he echoed. Then he glanced over at her with a rueful half smile that nearly stole her breath.
    Gin gazed at him with a pang of understanding but was reluctant to admit even to herself how his words, indeed, his vulnerability in this moment thawed some of the frost she was so careful to keep around her heart.
    A protective layer of indifference.
    “Well,” she managed at last in a wry tone, “they do say beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
    He smiled at her, then gazed out the window again, his starved stare greedily consuming all there was to see.
    The carriage rolled on.
    A fter a time, her prisoner must have looked his fill for the time being.
    He stretched out his long legs as best he could in the cramped carriage; with his manacled hands resting on his lap, he put his head back and finally closed his eyes.
    Till now, he had been acutely vigilant, but the rhythmic rocking of the carriage must have finally lulled him into a state of relaxation. Or perhaps he was just saving his strength to give her a fight later.
    She knew better than to trust him, of course. But on the other hand, she couldn’t stop staring at him with an odd and gratifying sense of ownership, possession . . .
    You’re all mine, for now, she thought in amusement.
    She couldn’t help but furtively study him, this novelty. Her father’s problem agent. The unpredictable one.
    He wore no cravat, of course, and she soon became fascinated by the elegant line of his neck and his Adam’s apple. Her gaze roamed casually over the sleek waves of his dirty black hair, in need of washing.
    The inky fringe of his lashes.
    His sculpted lips.
    The scar not quite hidden by the dark stubble on his jaw. Why, he even looked like a proper cutthroat, and so he was, she thought, but she could not deny that he was a beautiful man.
    Older, wiser, no doubt scarred by the world, but just as appealing now as he had been the first time she had seen him, only in a different way. She had been seventeen . . .
    As she watched him doze, her thoughts drifted back to the day many years ago when she had tailed her father to a fencing studio in London to get her first look at “Virgil’s boys.”
    After hearing her father, her dearest friend and confidante, heap praises on the new crop of agents he was training (though he would never say it to them); hearing the warmth and pride in his voice when he spoke of them; the respect he had for each of these brave young warriors who became like sons to him while she was merely a daughter, she had grown jealous, resentful.
    Who were these strangers who took so much of her father’s time away from her? She even feared that he might love them more than he loved her, his illegitimate daughter.
    Virgil had obviously not known how much she had needed his attention at that point in her life. Hoping that at least she might be included in that aspect of her father’s secretive existence, she had asked to be introduced to these supposed flowers of chivalry.
    He had forbidden it. He wanted her nowhere around them, for a long list of reasons. Well, as disappointed as she had been, a spymaster was not the sort of father that even so rebellious a daughter as she disobeyed lightly.
    Nevertheless, she had inherited from him a certain talent at sneaking; in her jealousy, she had decided to go and see “Virgil’s boys” for herself. Spy on the spies, as it were, just once—so she could see them and prove to herself that they weren’t so great as all that.
    That she, too, could’ve become just as skilled as they if only her father would give her a chance.
    But Virgil refused that, too, beyond some basic training in self-defense and reading people.
    Females were not allowed to join the Order. She had hoped to be the first, but he
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