Anthony Blake is in love with his best friend's sister, Sophia Elliot. But his plans to court her are put on hold when he is forced to resume his role as an undercover spy for the Crown. A secret document listing the names of the entire network of British spies-including his own-has been stolen. To protect Sophia, Anthony cuts off all ties to her and exchanges his life as an honorable earl for the façade of a flirtatious playboy. Heartbroken and confused, Sophia travels to India, hoping to find healing in one of the most exotic regions of the British Empire. But the exotic land isn't as restful as she had hoped. Instead, she finds herself embroiled in a mystery of a missing sea captain, a possible murder, and a plot that could involve the prince of India. And when Anthony appears at the British Residency, asking questions and keeping his distance from her, she is stunned. She still loves him, and, in her heart, she knows he loves her too. But how can she rebuild her relationship with him if he won't confide in her? Does she dare offer her heart to him a second time, or will their love be lost under the India sun?
About the Author
Nancy Campbell Allen is the author of twelve novels, which span genres from contemporary romantic suspense to historical fiction. She has been a speaker at numerous writing conferences and events. She has a degree in Elementary Education and is the mother of three children.
Read an Excerpt
Anthony's heart pounded in his ears. Sophia. More beautiful, more radiant, more everything. His memories, hoarded and jealously reviewed in the quiet of his private hours over the last many months, hadn't done her justice. Before he did something foolish, like weep, he extended his hand and wondered what she was thinking as she stared at him, unblinking. He cleared his throat. "Miss Elliot, such a surprise and delight to see you here." His restraint was tested to its fullest as he fought the urge to grab her from the carriage and clasp her close. There had been a time and place in their relationship when such overt affection would not have shocked those who knew the two of them well. That time had passed, though, and now all he could do was wait to see if she'd ever take his fingers and step out of the conveyance. He tried to smile but fell well short of the mark. His heart thumped and a sheen of sweat broke out on his forehead. She regarded him with one raised brow. "I never took you for a coward." She spoke in an undertone he barely heard. She clasped his fingers and stepped out of the carriage. An ache in his chest bloomed and climbed into his throat and he felt his eyes burn. He kept hold of her hand when he should have released it, tugging her closer by small degrees, trying in vain to truly read her. "I am a coward," he murmured. After one…two…three long heartbeats, she withdrew her fingers from his and he was gratified to hear the slightest hitch in her breathing. She wasn't as unaffected as she probably wished him to believe. Who could blame her for maintaining distance? He'd left her with the impression that they were very good friends and nothing more. He'd never confessed the depth of his feelings, his intentions to court her-she'd never learned the true reason he'd left. The devil of it was, he still wasn't at liberty to enlighten her. Until the business was finished, nobody could safely know the full extent of it. "Sophia, I…that is…" He placed a finger under his collar, cursing the humidity, the starched shirtfront, the cravat, all of it. Her expression brightened and she smiled. "It's been such a long while. I do hope you've enjoyed your adventures-I suspect we shall have time later at dinner, perhaps, and you can entertain me with your tales." So that was how it was to be. He'd been relegated to the status of Admirer; he'd seen her use that voice and expression more times than he could count, on gentlemen whose feelings she didn't necessarily want to bruise, but whose attentions she didn't necessarily want to encourage. He supposed he was fortunate she hadn't smacked him upside the head with her fan-it was no less than he deserved.