Blurb: He's the man behind the mission to track down the illegitimate children of England's Royal Princes and help them get their due. But his deepest desire is far more personal...Magnificent and stubborn.
Fourteen years apart has not changed Chloe Steele, or Dominic Hunter's love for her. He'd been a street urchin, a boy raised at court, and finally a magistrate, yet he'd never belonged anywhere--except by her side. Now Chloe devoted herself to girls threatened by scandal--like she had been. But she was in danger, and Dominic was determined to help--and hopefully make up for lost time...
Even in childhood, Dominic had made Chloe feel safe. Now she also felt thrillingly flustered by the powerful man he'd become, and by the longing he inspired. Because Dominic meant not only to protect her, but to untangle the lies that had separated them. Yet for Chloe, surrendering to temptation may be easier than risking a future that could ruin them both...
Excerpt: Dominic has been called to Chloe's house after she's been attacked by the former fiance of a young woman she is sheltering. Chloe and Dominic discuss the situation with Chloe's son and his wife, Griffin and Justine.
"What did the doctor say?" he asked quietly, taking her long, slim fingers in his. Chloe was a lady to the tips of her toes, but her hands bore one of two faint scars and the marks of kitchen burns. As he'd come to learn, she'd worked hard over the years, first as a nurse and companion to an elderly woman, and then in running her large household. She'd been born into a genteel existence, but fate had decreed another type of life for her, and she was not a weak woman to shirk either work or responsibility.
Chloe gave his fingers a comforting squeeze but then carefully withdrew her hand. Dominic's heart twinged at the subtle distance she insisted on placing between them.
"You're not to worry." Her voice held a soft, comforting quality that reminded him of simpler times. Dominic's life had never been simple, but Chloe had always made it seem easy and uncomplicated. "It's a nasty little bump, but I felt only a momentary dizziness, more from shock than anything else. The doctor simply wants me to keep a cold compress on my head to take down the swelling."
Dominic gently pressed two fingers along her finely carved jaw, turning her head slightly to examine the compress. Her skin was soft as the inside of a rose petal, and he had to smother the urge to stroke her slim throat and white shoulder. Chloe was a year or so past her fortieth year, but her skin was still silky and unblemished by time.
One of her hands fluttered up to touch his shoulder before retreating. "Dominic, truly there is no cause for concern, at least not about my silly head."
"I'm relieved to hear it, but clearly something is cause for concern, yes?"
Her lips pressed into a taut line, evidence of her unwillingness to answer him.
"Yes," Griffin interjected in a loud voice. "There is a great deal to be concerned about, and if Chloe insists on being so damned stubborn, then I'll get on with it."
"Really, my son, such language," Chloe huffed. "Whatever will Dominic think?"
"I know what Dominic thinks of me," Griffin said dryly, "since he's made his views amply clear over the years. Although since I've married Justine his carping has diminished."
"I never carp," Dominic said, "I merely suggest. Now, I suggest you all stop trying to divert my attention and tell me what's going on."
Author Bio: Vanessa Kelly is an award-winning author who was named by Booklist, the review journal of the American Library Association, as one of the "New Stars of Historical Romance." Her Regency-set historical romances have been nominated for awards in a number of contests, and her second book, Sex and the Single Earl, won the prestigious Maggie Medallion for Best Historical Romance. Her current series, The Renegade Royals is a national bestseller. Vanessa also writes USA Today bestselling contemporary romance with her husband, under the pen name of VK Sykes.