Heart of Darkness

Lady of the Nile
Harlequin (January 2010)
ISBN-13: 9780373774319 ♦ ISBN-10: 0373774311

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From the masters of paranormal romance, three brand-new tales of seduction…

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Twenty-two years ago four teenage boys were convicted of a young girl’s murder. Now, in the form of a beautiful woman, the “victim” is seeking vengeance. And only one man dares to dig into the past to uncover its secrets…and set her free.

Lady of the Nile by Susan Krinard

Lady Tameri believes herself to be the reincarnation of an ancient Egyptian princess, and Leo Erskine has set out to prove her wrong…never dreaming that the two of them are about to discover a prophecy that will bind them together forever.

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Lady of the Nile

London, 1890

“You are quite incorrect.”

Leo Erskine heard the voice, ringing as clear as the bells at Winchester Cathedral, but he didn’t register the flustered response of the learned gentleman at the podium. He was too thoroughly occupied with examining the lady who had spoken out so boldly.

She was lovely, of course. One could hardly fail to be a duchess and not be lovely, could one? The fact that she was only the dowager duchess at a very young age could scarcely be held against her.

He noted the other faces turned toward her, some quizzical, others admonishing, and a few—belonging to those gentlemen with minds liberal enough to appreciate intelligence in a woman, or simply engaged by her beauty—openly admiring.

The lady finished her brief argument with the distinguished Egyptian scholar, looked down her nose at him—an impressive feat, given her position below the dais—and swept from the lecture hall. Her skirts, draped with pleated linen and cinched with a gold sash in the ancient style, rustled furiously, and her long earrings tinkled with every long stride. If she had been a royal princess, she could not have been more regal.

Of course that was exactly what she claimed to be.

Leo excused himself to his astonished companions and followed the dowager from the room. He knew very well that his fascination with her was not due to her beauty, remarkable as it was. Nor was it because of her influence in Society, whose members were not prepared to forgo her elaborate parties and elegant balls because of a little old-fashioned British eccentricity.

No, it was not such shallow motives that brought him to observe her so closely whenever they met. Since the marriage of his friend the Earl of Donnington to one of the dowager’s select friends–Nuala, the former Lady Charles Parkhill–he had been thrown more often into the dowager’s company. And he had begun to think that she actually did believe that she was an Egyptian princess come back to life.

That was the problem. She believed it. Just as his own father had believed. And died for it.

“Good afternoon, Mr. Erskine.”

He came to a sudden halt, moments from colliding with the woman in question. She stood before him, chin lifted, cool green eyes appraising. “You wished to speak to me?” she asked.

Unaccountably flustered, Leo bowed. “I fear I have disturbed you, Your Grace.”

“You fear no such thing. You have been following me. Have you something to say?”

Her frankness must have discomposed most English gentlemen. Leo had seen far too much of the world to take it amiss. “You have made no friends in the Museum today,” he said with equal candor.

She laughed, a warm, rich sound that Leo felt down to his toes. “I have never desired the friendship of men who are prone to such egregious errors,” she said.

“Are you so certain of your facts, Your Grace?”

The humor vanished from her face, and those remarkable eyes, made even more striking by the careful application of kohl, regarded him steadily. “I was there when the events in question occurred,” she said.

Events that had taken place three thousand years ago.

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