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Josephine Bates only ever wanted to marry and have a home of her own. At age eighteen, when a handsome suitor swept her off her feet, she believed all her dreams were about to come true. But he was actually a cad who stole her dowry and jilted her at the altar. Since then, she's been wary of men and their motives. She's accepted the notion that she'll never escape her dreary, quiet existence, and she'll most likely live out her days as a spinster… Peyton Prescott is a ship's captain in the Royal Navy. He's a man of action and adventure, and his years have been filled with danger and excitement. But his brother has died, so he's inherited a title and earldom he never sought or wanted. He's afraid his new position will force him to abandon the thrilling life he loves, and he's loafing in England, feeling landlocked and desperate to return to the sea. He'd give anything for a diversion, and when pretty, lonely Josephine crosses his path, he's fascinated and can't resist… But Peyton isn't looking for a bride, and Josephine could never be interested in a handsome, dashing scoundrel. Yet as friendship blossoms and passion flares, can love be far behind?