Fleeing from a vindictive murderer, a pampered, young ingénue cushioned from English society by her protective brother seeks love and romance amid the intricacies and chicaneries of the Spanish court. Lovely Julianna Kent throws herself from the frying pan into the fire when she convinces her brother’s best friend and childhood infatuation, Diego de Córdoba, to hide her in Spain as his new wife. Unfortunately when the reluctant Marques finally agrees to her plan, Julianna soon finds herself in even more danger as she discovers terrifying secrets so loathsome her own pale in comparison.
Amusement flickered in the probing green eyes that met hers.
“You are not my brother,” she said, her heart pounding against her chest.
“Lucky for you. I am not. I’m Diego de Córdoba.
Julianna tried to act nonchalant. “Of course! Edmund’s friend from Spain. My brother has mentioned you many times.”
“He has mentioned you, too,” Diego acknowledged in perfect boarding school English, his attractive, crooked smile letting her know he had heard everything that had been said earlier. “Somehow,
I had a different impression of you.”
“Please don’t tell Edmund,” Julianna begged.
“Give me one reason why I shouldn’t. What exactly is it that you want kept secret? That you spy on the help and later blackmail them? That you trick your governess and go out into the night?
That you sneak to the lily pond and…”
“I want you to keep all of it secret!” Julianna felt herself blush. “I’ll behave properly from this day
forward. I give you my word.”
Diego chuckled. His smile was wide, his teeth striking white in his tan face. “Your word means nothing. Just ask poor Ruthless and Godswrath, you little hellion. You never did reveal the meaning of
“It is a curse word. It means whatever I want it to mean. I can curse and no one knows what I’m saying.”
“You really are something, Julianna. I pity Edmund. What a handful you must be.”
“He thinks I can do no wrong. Don’t tell him what you heard tonight. I couldn’t bear it.”
The amused look suddenly left his eyes. “I’ll keep my mouth shut, imp, but you will promise never to ride at night to spy on your neighbors. You could have been hurt.”
Staring at the handsome Spaniard and listening to his deep, manly voice, Julianna suddenly regretted the picture she must present to him, dressed in her brother’s baggy, brown riding habit with her half-braided, tangled and disheveled hair down to her waist. She must resemble a flat, filthy broom, just like those used to sweep chimneys.
“Promise me, Julianna.”
Julianna gulped. “I promise.”
It was an easy promise to make and one that Julianna would do her best to keep. At the moment, she felt she could deny him nothing. Tall and rugged, Diego de Córdoba with his green, penetrating eyes, his laughing smile and his jet black hair had to be the most attractive man on earth. He certainly was the most magnificent man she had ever seen. Julianna knew that she was staring at the man she would one day marry.