Title The Spymaster's Secret: A Heart of a Hero Story
Author Alanna Lucas
Genre Historical Romance, Regency
The Spy Who Loved Him…
When Athena, Lady Tremayne, finds a mysterious man lying unconscious in her Devon estate, her first assumption is he’s a henchman of Typhon, the evil insurgency intent on bringing down the British monarchy. But further investigation reveals the intruder is Sir Simon Standen, the Legion’s master spy, and the rakish scoundrel responsible for the deaths of her mother and fiancé.
As another loyal member of the Legion, Athena is bound to offer Sir Simon her protection. But it’s an obligation that sears her soul. Not only is he a murderer but once she fancied herself half in love with him—and he apparently remembers nothing as he’s suffering from amnesia.
As Simon convalesces, Athena finds herself falling for him all over again. But unless his memory fully returns and she can discover why he did what he did that traumatic night six years ago, she cannot risk her heart…
“Lord Fynes is here. He’s in the day parlor.” Gryphon’s announcement was like a punch in the stomach, followed by a slap across the face.
“Did he say why?” Athena wasn’t ready to release Sir Simon yet. She wanted answers from him without the interference of Lord Fynes.
“No. He only said it was urgent.”
Damn. She rubbed the back of her neck. “I’ll be there in a moment.”
After quickly adjusting her hair and attire, she attempted a casual stroll toward the parlor. As she neared, she steadied her nerves and took in a calming breath.
“Good afternoon, Lord Fynes. To what do I owe the pleasure of this visit?” She fought to keep the disdain from her voice. He might be her father, but she could not bring herself to call him such.
“Lord Fynes?” He questioned in a hurtful tone. “That’s how it is?”
She met and held his gaze. “Yes.”
“Very well.” He let out a long sigh before continuing. “I will not trouble you with all the details, Lady Tremayne, but one of our agents is missing. He is believed to be alive.”
“What happened?” She would not divulge what she knew until she’d acquired the information she desired. It was a strategy she learned from her father years ago.
“There was a fight near the old ruins and during the battle, he fell from a precipice.”
“And you believe I had a hand in this?”
“Of course not.” The words rushed from his mouth. She also knew from past experiences that Lord Fynes was telling the truth. “I had hoped to gain your assistance. It’s been almost two weeks.”
“Two weeks?” She could barely control the shock ricocheting through her body. Simon had been wandering the countryside for two weeks? Why hadn’t he sought Captain Alexander or Fisker or—
“Is something the matter?”
“No…I’m simply startled by the news.” Something did not sit well with the situation, but she shook those thoughts from her mind for the moment and brought her attention back to what Lord Fynes was revealing. There would be time for reflection later.
“As I was saying, we cannot find him. We don’t believe his body could have been washed out to sea.”
“And why not?” It was entirely plausible.
“There was a fresh set of footsteps leading away from the spot where he would have most likely landed.” There was a long pause. “And we’ve had reports that a man fitting his description has been seen not too far from here. You know I wouldn’t come here if I wasn’t desperate.”
Athena did know that, but at the same time, she would not reveal what—or rather, who—she’d discovered that morning. Sir Simon’s arrival was most opportune. “There seems to be quite a lot of speculation.” Was it possible they really believed he’d died? “Who was it?”
Lord Fynes inhaled deeply and said with quiet emphasis, “Sir Simon.”
She pasted on her best shocked face, adding the rage that had been simmering for the past couple of hours to her voice. “Why would I help find that man? He’s brought nothing but heartache and sorrow to me. If you ask me, he deserves what he got.”
Lord Fynes took a hesitant step closer. “I know how you feel—”
“You know nothing of what I feel,” her voice crescendoed, filling the vast space.
He shook his head clearly wanting to delve into the past, but thankfully kept to the subject at hand. “Please, just keep your eyes open. If you see or hear anything—”
“Is there anything else?”
“Typhon and his inner circle are dead.”
The words hung in the air with hope. After all these years, could it be that she was possibly free? That the mistakes of her youth were finally forgiven?
“I will take my leave, but there is…” Lord Fynes’s words trailed off, clearly rethinking his next utterance. He sucked in a harsh breath. “I will send word if anything changes.”
She watched him leave the room with a heavy heart. Too many times he’d tried to make a half-hearted amends for what had happened. Too many times she’d been disappointed with empty promises.
Pain coursed through every inch of his body as he struggled to open his eyes. Through narrow slits he could see yellow and orange flames swaying in the fireplace—mesmerizing, soothing. But he couldn’t see beyond that. Panic settled into his chest.
Where was he?
He bolted upright, instantly regretting the motion. He closed his eyes to stop the room from spinning. Loud shouts echoed and rumbled through his head, drowned out by the roaring of angry ocean waves.
“Where am I?” the words, barely a raspy whisper, burned in his throat.
The pounding in his head grew, intensified. Beads of sweat dripped along his closed eyelids, trailing down his cheeks. He fought through the haze to remember…
“Oh…oh no…what…where…” he struggled for a moment before a gentle hand coaxed him back on to the soft bed.
“Shh,” the sound drifted across him as a cool compress was pressed against his fevered temple.
He managed to open his eyes just a little, trying to focus beyond the compress on the face hovering above him. Pain pierced through his eyes, settling deep in his head. He clenched his lids closed tightly, hoping the pain would ease.
“Please,” he forced out with desperation. “Who am I?”
Award winning historical romance author Alanna Lucas grew up in Southern California, but always dreamed of distant lands and bygone eras. From an early age, she took an interest in history and travel, and is thrilled to incorporate those diversions into her writing. Alanna writes Regency-set historical romance.
When she is not daydreaming of her next travel destination Alanna can be found researching, spending time with family, or going for long walks. She makes her home in California with her husband, children, one sweet dog, and hundreds of books.
Just for the record, you can never have too many shoes, handbags, or books. And travel is a must.
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