Griffin Stone:Duke Of Decadence

By: Carole Mortimer

(Dangerous Dukes Book 3)


Who: Griffin Stone, tenth Duke of Rotherham.

What: A disheveled woman who is nearly trampled by his carriage horses.

When: Late one summer night while the Duke is in pursuit of would-be assassins.

Why: When the mysterious beauty’s identity is revealed as Lady Beatrix Stanton, Griffin realizes it’s she who holds the key to everything. Bea’s memory must be unlocked, but with every second in her presence inflaming Griffin’s desire, keeping his mind on the task ahead proves nigh on impossible!





Dangerous Dukes

Rakes about town

Carole Mortimer introduces London’s most delectable dukes in her latest Harlequin® Historical miniseries. But don’t be fooled by their charm, because beneath their lazy smiles they’re deliciously sexy—and highly dangerous!

Read all of the daring exploits

of these dangerous dukes in

MARCUS WILDING: DUKE OF PLEASURE

Available as a Harlequin Historical Undone! ebook

ZACHARY BLACK: DUKE OF DEBAUCHERY

DARIAN HUNTER: DUKE OF DESIRE

RUFUS DRAKE: DUKE OF WICKEDNESS

Available as a Harlequin Historical Undone! ebook

GRIFFIN STONE: DUKE OF DECADENCE

And don’t miss

CHRISTIAN SEATON: DUKE OF DANGER

Coming soon





Griffin stared down at Bea uncertainly. Either she was the best actress he had ever seen and she was now attempting to hoodwink him with innocence, or she truly did believe his assurances that he would see she came to no harm while under his protection.

His response to that trust was a totally inappropriate stirring of desire.

Was that so surprising, when she was such a beautiful and appealing young woman? Her eyes that dark and entrancing blue, her lips full and enticing—

What was he thinking?

He had just promised his protection, only to now realize that he, and the unexpected stirring of his long-denied physical desires, might have become her more immediate danger.





Chapter One

July 1815, Lancashire, England.

‘What the—?’ Griffin Stone, the tenth Duke of Rotherham, pulled sharply on the reins of his perfectly matched greys as a ghostly white figure ran out of the darkness directly in front of his swiftly travelling phaeton.

Despite his concerted efforts to avoid a collision, the ethereal figure barely missed being stomped on by the high-stepping and deadly hooves, but was not so fortunate when it came to the back offside wheel of the carriage.

Griffin winced as he heard rather than saw that collision, all of his attention centred on bringing the greys to a stop before he was able to jump down from the carriage and run quickly round to the back of the vehicle.

There was only the almost full moon overhead for illumination, but nevertheless Griffin was able to locate where the white figure lay a short distance away.

An unmoving and ghostly shape was lying face down in the dirt.

Two strides of his long legs brought him to the utterly still figure, where he crouched down on his haunches. Griffin could see that the person was female; long dark hair fell across her face and cascaded loosely down the length of her spine, and she was wearing what, to him, looked suspiciously like a voluminous white nightgown, her feet bare.

He glanced about them in confusion; this private way through Shrawley Woods was barely more than a rutted track, and as far as he was aware there were no houses in the immediate vicinity. In fact, Griffin was very aware as the surrounding woods and the land for several miles about them formed part of his principal ducal estate.

It made no sense that this woman was roaming about his woods wearing only her nightgown.

He placed his fingers about her wrist, with the intention of checking for a pulse, only to jerk back as she unexpectedly gave a pained groan the moment his fingers touched her bared flesh. It let him know she was at least still alive, even if the sticky substance he could feel on his fingertips showed she had sustained an injury of some kind.

Griffin took a handkerchief from his pocket and wiped the blood from his hand before reaching out to gently stroke the long dark hair from over her face, revealing it as a deathly pale oval in the moonlight.

‘Can you hear me?’ His voice was gruff, no doubt from the scare he had received when she’d run out in front of his carriage.

Shrawley Woods was dense, and this rarely used track was barely navigable in full daylight; Griffin had only decided to press on in the darkness towards Stonehurst Park, just a mile away, because he had played in these woods constantly as a child and knew his way blindfolded.

There had been no reason, at eleven o’clock at night, for Griffin to take into account that there would be someone else in these woods. A poacher would certainly have known his way about in a way this barely clothed female obviously did not.

‘Can you tell me where you are injured so that I can be sure not to hurt you again?’ Griffin prompted, his frown darkening when he received no answer, and was forced to accept that she had once again slipped into unconsciousness.

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