Passion Behind her Mask (Preview)


Rowley’s School of Arms, London, Summer, 1812

“He’s twice as big as you, Violet. Are you sure about this?” Benjamin whispered, and Violet turned to him and nodded. She was not afraid – of a man twice the size of her, or of any man. Behind her fencing mask, she was no longer Lady Violet Sinclaire, the prim and proper daughter of the Earl of Westmarch. She was The Shadow – at least, that was what others called her.

“Size doesn’t matter when you’re fencing, Benjamin – it’s skill that counts. You know that,” she whispered.

Around them, the scene was set for the en garde. Several dozen members of the club had gathered in the ornate surroundings of Rowley’s School of Arms, and money was being exchanged on The Shadow’s chances against Lord Roxburghe, who had already boasted of his skill at arms, declaring he would have no trouble defeating his opponent, whose insistence on always wearing a mask was, he claimed, nothing more than a show without substance.

“I just don’t want you to get hurt,” Benjamin said, his face etched with worry, just as it always was when Violet stepped forward to spar.

“It’s for Vincent, Ben, you know that,” Violet said, taking a deep breath as she took her sabre – the same as had belonged to her brother.

Vincent had been killed two years previously – in an alleyway outside Rowley’s School of Arms. It had been entirely unexpected – if murder can ever be expected. He had no enemies, or so Violet had believed, and his death had seemed meaningless, or so it had seemed. The culprit had never been caught, and the circumstances of what had happened had never been revealed. But Violet had vowed to discover the truth about what had happened to her brother and disguising herself – with the help of her friends Benjamin and Charlotte – she now spent her days fencing and always looking for clues about what had happened to her darling brother.

“I know … I worry … that’s all,” Benjamin replied, just as Lord Roxburghe called for Violet to step forward.

“Come now, Shadow, don’t dally. There’s a lot of money riding on my victory,” he called out, and a murmur of laughter went up around the room.

Rowley’s School of Arms was a club for gentlemen – for gentlemen only. It existed to provide a place for the upper classes to spar – boxing, fencing, and even wrestling was permitted there, and always with a view to the exchange of money. Fortunes were won and lost, and when the gentlemen had had their fix of blood sports, they would retire to the card tables, drinking and gambling long into the night. It was not the sort of place any respectable woman would find herself, but Violet was determined to discover what had happened to her brother, and with a fencing mask covering her face, she had passed for a man these two years gone by. 

“He’s coming, Lord Roxburghe, don’t you worry,” Benjamin called out.

Violet could not have entered the club without Benjamin. He had sponsored her, telling Rowley Leigh, the club’s proprietor, of the sporting promise his silent friend possessed and promising him considerable profits as bets were placed on The Shadow’s chances.

“Then send him on, Lord Harlow. Don’t dally,” Lord Roxburghe replied, goading Violet with his sabre.

“He’s coming,” Benjamin replied, placing his hand on Violet’s shoulder.

“I’ll be all right,” Violet whispered as she took a deep breath, remembering why she was doing what she was doing.

But Violet knew she could win. Her brother had taught her to fence when she was a child – the poise and dexterity, the observation of the opponent, the skill required to anticipate their moves. To fence was not to use mere brute strength but to use all the cunning of a master strategist, and then strike when the moment was right. Violet stepped forward. The other members had formed an oval, and now Violet and Lord Roxburghe faced one another, their sabres raised. Light poured in from the tall windows in the hall where the fights took place. It had once been a fashionable salon, its walls gilded and mirrored, but now, conversation was replaced by competition, and Lord Roxburghe thrust his sabre forward.

“En garde!” he cried.

Violet did the same, the tips of their weapons touching one another, their bodies leaning forward, legs back, crouched slightly, each waiting for the other to strike.

He’s not guarding his right, Violet told herself, for she never struck first, always watching for her opponent’s weakness.

She had not sparred with Lord Roxburghe before, but she had sparred with men like him – arrogant men who used their size to intimidate, assuming they could win. So often, it was a case of David versus Goliath, for Violet was slim and petite, with a ball gown figure. But this gave her poise and dexterity. Fencing was, she often thought, like dancing, where lightness of foot and the ability to twirl and whirl were advantageous. Now, she waited for Lord Roxburghe to make the first move.

“En garde!” he repeated, and now he lunged forward, making precisely the attack she had anticipated.

Violet had been watching Lord Roxburghe fight with others that afternoon at the club. He had a habit of making a lunge for the chest, and he did so now, his sabre thrusting forward as Violet moved to one side, avoiding his sabre and spinning around to catch it with her own. Lord Roxburghe jumped back, regaining his earlier position as a murmur of appreciation went up from the spectators.

“The Shadow always knows how to move,” one of them said, nodding with approval.

Violet smiled to herself. There was much satisfaction to be had in seeing an arrogant opponent realize he could not simply use his strength to win. Lord Roxburghe now held up his left hand, his sabre raised in his right. He would strike to her left, Violet reasoned, and this time, she herself made a lunge. Lord Roxburghe also moved at the same time, and, as she had predicted, he tried to strike to her left. Violet did so at his left, too, and ducking to one side, the tip of her sabre came into contact with Lord Roxburghe’s shoulder. A bell immediately rang.

“To The Shadow,” the steward called, and Lord Roxburghe cried angrily, “It didn’t touch me!” But the spectators knew better, and a jeer went up as Violet resumed her position. It would be first to five, and now she had the advantage.

Violet had entered this strange world out of necessity, but that was not to say she did not derive some pleasure from these pursuits. She liked to see powerful men brought low, their arrogant swagger replaced by the humiliation of defeat. It made Violet feel powerful, and in the world she inhabited outside Rowley’s, she often felt the very opposite of powerful.

He’ll strike to the left again – he’ll assume I’ll go for the right, Violet told herself as Lord Roxburghe raised his sabre.

“En garde!” he cried, and without even waiting for her to assume position, he struck out.

Violet had not been ready for his attack, and the tip of his sabre now struck her shoulder, the blade bending as Lord Roxburghe let out a triumphant cry.

“He wasn’t ready,” Benjamin called out, but the steward allowed it, much to Violet’s annoyance.

But taking a deep breath, she reminded herself of the necessity of remaining calm. Anger would only lead to mistakes, and now she was even more determined to win against her opponent, whose arrogance had now returned. As he raised his sabre, she struck low, taking him by surprise, and scoring a hit to his right leg and left. It was now three to one, and Lord Roxburghe insisted on a moment’s break, retreating to one of the side tables where he summoned a glass of claret. Violet returned to Benjamin’s side.

“Are you all right?” he asked, and Violet nodded.

“I’ve got him. He doesn’t have the skill to win,” she whispered.

Violet never spoke to anyone else at the club except for Benjamin. If it were discovered she was a woman, a scandal would erupt. Beyond the walls of Rowley’s School of Arms, Violet was a respectable young lady who spent her days between salons and her evenings at balls and soirees. Her father, the Earl of Westmarch, had been a soldier and had not expected to inherit the title, which had passed unexpectedly to him on the death of a distant cousin. Violet had spent her childhood in Scotland, where her father retired after spending much of his life in the military, fighting on the continent. But the inheritance of his title had returned them to London and elevated Violet to the ranks of the upper classes. But her brother’s death had soured such happiness, and while Violet pretended to behave like a lady, her only desire was to discover the truth.

“Time, gentlemen,” the steward called out, and Benjamin nodded.

“You can do it,” he whispered, and Violet stepped forward, as did Lord Roxburghe.

The crowd had swelled now – gentlemen having finished their games of cards, excited at the prospect of gambling further, and money was still being exchanged as Violet raised her sabre.

“En garde!” Lord Roxburghe cried, and without waiting for Violet to adopt a defensive position, he lunged forward.

But Violet was ready for him – she had anticipated his move – and now she struck out, catching his sabre and twirling her wrist, catching Lord Roxburghe’s forearm as the steward rang the bell.

“The Shadow,” he called out, and Lord Roxburghe cursed.

“Damn it,” he cried, and to Violet’s surprise, he pulled off his mask.

“Your mask, Lord Roxburghe,” the steward said, but Lord Roxburghe threw it to one side.

“Why doesn’t The Shadow reveal himself – show us who you are,” he exclaimed, but Violet shook her head.

She had no intention of revealing who she was, and now she raised her sabre, challenging him to fight. 

“Final point,” the steward said.

“Not to me,” Lord Roxburghe cried, and he lunged forward, striking out in anger.

But Violet was ready for him. She had not allowed anger to take over, and stepping to one side, she dodged his advance, anticipating his move and lunging the rounded tip of her sabre squarely into his chest. The steward rang the bell, and Lord Roxburghe threw down his sabre, raising his hands in anger.

“Damn it!” he cried, storming off through the crowd as men on both sides of the gamble celebrated or commiserated over their wins and losses.

“Well done. You showed him,” Benjamin said, putting his hand on Violet’s shoulder as she returned to his side.

She nodded, smiling beneath her mask at the thought of the victory she had won. Lord Roxburghe was another arrogant man who thought he could beat her. But in choosing to spar with him, Violet had an ulterior motive.

“We need to talk to his sponsor,” Violet whispered, and Benjamin nodded.

A great deal of money had been placed on the hope of Lord Roxburghe’s victory against The Shadow, and one man, in particular was of interest to Violet – a man who had been present at Rowley’s on the night her brother had been killed and had bet a considerable sum on Lord Roxburghe’s victory. He was sitting in the far corner of the room, nursing a large brandy, and now they approached, causing him to look up in surprise. Violet knew she cut an imposing figure in her black fencing costume – despite her stature – and the man’s expression turned to one of fear.

“I … I don’t have the money to pay you, Shadow. I thought …” he stammered as Benjamin leaned forward.

“You thought he’d win, didn’t you?” he said, and the man – whose name was Rigby Martin – nodded.

“Yes, but … I …” he stammered, and Violet seized him by the scruff of the neck.

She knew how intimidating she must have looked in her black, faceless mask, and her training had given her a strength uncommon in most women.

“Can you pay?” Benjamin asked, for he and Violet had made various bets in Violet’s favour in the hope, not only of making money, but of securing information, too.

“Not yet … I need time,” he said.

Benjamin glanced at Violet, who gripped the scruff of Rigby’s neck more tightly. Men like him – men like Lord Roxburghe, and the rest of the pitiful excuses who inhabited the club – were all the same. They walked with a swagger, but when it came to realizing their debts …

“Time isn’t something we have. But a name would do,” Benjamin said, and Violet nodded.

“A … a name?” Rigby asked.

“Information on Vincent Sinclaire’s death,” Benjamin said.

Rigby’s eyes grew wide with fear, and Violet’s grip on him grew tighter. She stared into his eyes through her mask, convinced he knew something about her brother’s fate. But the club and its members were so full of secrets it was impossible to know who was telling the truth and who was lying. There had been so many leads, so many possibilities. But Lord Roxburghe and his associates had appeared more promising. Violet and Benjamin had been watching them for several months and had realized Rigby was the one who might be persuaded to say something. Benjamin had placed an ambitious bet with him, and Rigby had laughed, telling him he would look forward to taking his money after Lord Roxburghe’s victory. But now …

“I … I don’t know anything about that,” Rigby stammered.

“Then perhaps you and The Shadow might like to step outside for a moment – to the place where it happened. The sight of the alleyway where that poor man met his death might bring back memories for you,” Benjamin said, and Rigby’s eyes grew wide with fear.

Violet’s reputation – or that of The Shadow, at least – preceded her. Lord Roxburghe’s arrogance had been his downfall, as it had for so many others, too – those who had believed Violet could be easily defeated.

“No … I remember it well enough. A terrible thing …” Rigby stammered.

“And you can write off your debts with a name,” Benjamin said.

Rigby thought for a moment, gazing up with a fearful expression into Violet’s masked face.

“Lieutenant Adams, Giles Adams,” he said, and Violet let go of his collar, breathing a sigh of relief as she did so.

It was always the same when a new name or piece of information was presented to them. It was a glimmer of hope, a spark of possibility, and glancing at Benjamin, she nodded.

“Very good. We’ll consider the matter of your gambling debt forgotten,” Benjamin said, and Rigby nodded.

“Thank you …” he stammered, and Benjamin beckoned for Violet to follow him.

Their work was done. Another name, another possibility, another chance to solve the mystery. It had been worth it for that and that alone. Having collected their other debts – with many of the men grumbling about how much they had lost – they left the club, stepping out onto the busy London thoroughfare into the afternoon sunshine. Rowley’s School of Arms was set back from the road discreetly, with only a small brass plaque indicating what lay beyond the door. Next to it was an alleyway – the alley where Violet’s brother had been found dead two years previously.

“There was the place it happened,” Violet said, glancing along the alleyway and shuddering at the thought of her brother lying there, dead …

“And that’s why we’re doing what we’re doing, Violet,” Benjamin said, just as a voice behind them let out a cry of exclamation.

“It’s The Shadow,” someone said, and turning, Violet found herself face to face with two tall, attractive gentlemen, both of them looking at her with fascination.

Chapter One

Sebastian McNaird was still getting used to the hustle and bustle of London. He had been raised in the wilds of Scotland and was more used to the moor’s silence than the thoroughfare’s busyness. But he was beginning to relish the excitement of the capital and had already made several acquaintances, not least that of Marcus Neville, the Marquess of Pembroke, with whom he had struck up a lively friendship over dinner at a club in Piccadilly. The two of them had soon become inseparable, and Marcus had made it his business to introduce Sebastian to the many and varied delights of London life, with all its grandiose opportunities.

“And you’re saying there’s a club where gentlemen gather to spar with one another – to fence and box?” Sebastian said, for he had never heard of such an establishment and could only feel intrigued as to the possibility of entering one. 

Marcus nodded.

“That’s right, yes. Some of them even wrestle, though I think that’s a little below one’s dignity, don’t you?” he asked, and Sebastian laughed.

They were walking together across one of the London parks, and Marcus had made a casual reference to Rowley’s School of Arms – a gentlemen’s club where gambling, drinking, and sparring were de rigeur. The thought of such a place fascinated him, for Sebastian was a skilled fencer – and fighter – and had spent much of his youth in competition with other young men in his native Scotland. His had been a tragic upbringing – the loss of his father at a young age leaving him an orphan living on the streets of Edinburgh. But a chance encounter led to his rescue at the hands of a wealthy soldier, and Sebastian had found himself the beneficiary of an unexpected kindness, culminating in his entry to the army at a young age. He had always been fascinated by the sword, and though it was no longer the weapon of choice, he had made it his business to learn its arts for himself.

“I don’t know … we used to wrestle in the army. It was good training,” Sebastian replied, and Marcus laughed.

“Well … we can go there if you like. They gamble and play cards. They drink, too, of course,” Marcus said, and Sebastian smiled.

“It sounds perfect,” he said, for he had found his entry into London society something of a shock.

In Scotland, life had not been governed by rules and expectations. But here, amongst polite society, Sebastian had found himself at odds with what was expected of him. His elevation through the ranks of the army had led him to a title, and from his lowly beginnings, he was now styled as Lord Bennington of Shrewsbury, though he had never visited the place nor had any intention of doing so. But the title came with a handsome pension – a reward for Sebastian’s loyalty and his skill in fighting the French in various obscure continental conflicts. But there were days when he missed the excitement of the battlefield, its danger and risk. The thought of a place where risks could be taken and honour won intrigued him, and now he insisted on going there at once.

“It’s become quite the place to go, though officially it doesn’t exist. One can only imagine what the periodicals would have to say if they discovered half the English aristocracy engaged in their acts of debauchery – gambling, drinking, fighting …” Marcus said, shaking his head.

“It sounds perfect,” Sebastian replied, eager to do all those things.

 He was bored of balls, soirees, dull dinners, and even duller speeches. He wanted a little excitement, and Rowley’s seemed the perfect place for it.

“There’s another attraction there, too,” Marcus said, and Sebastian looked at his friend with interest.

“Oh, yes? What might that be?” he asked, and Marcus smiled.

“The Shadow,” he said, his voice taking on a mysterious air.

Sebastian laughed.

“The what?” he asked.

It sounded a ridiculous name, even as Marcus shook his head.

“The Shadow – he dresses all in black and never uncovers his face. No one can beat him when it comes to fencing. Many have tried – they wager huge sums against him. But he never fails to win. No one knows who he is,” Marcus said, tapping his nose.

Sebastian thought the idea to be quite ridiculous – a man hidden behind a mask? It sounded cowardly, and Sebastian certainly had no intention of fighting with such a man. He liked to see his opponent’s face and the anger in his eyes. Behind a mask, there was simply … nothing.

“What nonsense,” he said, but Marcus shook his head.

“It’s not nonsense, Sebastian. It’s very real,” he said.

“But why keep his face covered? Doesn’t anyone know who he is?” Sebastian asked.

“Only Lord Harlow – Benjamin Harlow. He always accompanies The Shadow when he comes to the club. Some people think The Shadow might even be his sister, Charlotte, but have you ever heard of anything so ridiculous? A woman, fencing … no, impossible. It’s a man, it can’t be anyone else. I have my theory, of course,” Marcus said as they left the park, crossing the road onto the busy thoroughfare of Piccadilly.

“And what’s your theory?” Sebastian asked, still thinking the whole thing was quite ridiculous.

“I believe it’s Prince Adolphus,” Marcus said, and Sebastian laughed.

“The Regent’s brother? Behind a mask, fencing?” he said, and Marcus nodded.

“Think about it. He’d hardly want anyone to know it was him, would he? Nor would the king. It might be him, of course,” he said, and Sebastian rolled his eyes.

It all sounded too far-fetched for words, and Sebastian could only imagine there was a far simpler explanation than what his friend had concocted. But still, the idea of a mysterious masked fencer was intriguing, and it only added to Sebastian’s desire to see Rowley’s School of Arms for himself. 

“Are we nearly there?” Sebastian asked as Marcus led him along Piccadilly.

“Yes, we’re nearly there. It’s just here, where the alley … oh, but look, there’s The Shadow,” he exclaimed, stopping in his tracks and raising his hand.

Sebastian looked up ahead, and there, just as Marcus had described, was a figure, all in black, wearing a fencing mask. But if Sebastian had imagined a great hulk of a man – a Goliath – he was surprised to find a David instead. The man was short – a head shorter than himself – and the thought of his beating anyone in a duel was laughable.

That’s the shadow?” Sebastian said, and Marcus nodded.

The Shadow was accompanied by another man whom Sebastian assumed to be Lord Harlow, and at the sound of Marcus’ exclamation, they had both turned. 

“What an honour it is …” Marcus said, stepping forward.

The Shadow said nothing, and Lord Harlow merely nodded in a vague acknowledgement.

“Marcus,” Lord Harlow said, and it seemed the two had a vague connection through a dining club at Oxford, the merits of which Marcus now extolled.

“I’d like to introduce you to my good friend, Lord Bennington,” Marcus said.

Sebastian stepped forward. He was still not used to being introduced by his title, and he held out his hand to Benjamin, who took it and nodded.

“A pleasure, I’m sure,” he said.

“Please – Sebastian, if you will. I don’t stand on ceremony, Lord Harlow,” Sebastian said, and a slight smile came over Benjamin’s lips.

“Many do – a lot of them in there do,” he said, gesturing back towards the Rowley School of Arms.

“Tell me, Ben, has The Shadow won another glorious victory?” Marcus asked.

Sebastian glanced at the masked figure, who remained silent. He was intrigued, curious to know why he did not speak. Could it really be the prince hiding beneath the mask? It seemed unlikely, but the mystery remained.

“Indeed – against Lord Roxburghe. He rather thought he had a chance. The Shadow dissuaded him as to such a belief,” Benjamin said, laughing, as he placed a hand on The Shadow’s shoulder.

“My friend Sebastian could be the one,” Marcus said, turning to Sebastian, whose eyes grew wide with astonishment.

Marcus had never seen him fight a duel, and as for making promises …

“Well … steady on, Marcus,” Sebastian began as Benjamin looked at him questioningly.

“Do you duel?” he asked, and Sebastian nodded.

“I was taught in my youth – I had a brother, an adopted brother, who taught me. And my father, too – my adopted father,” he said, stammering his words.

Sebastian always felt somewhat embarrassed at explaining his roots to others. In London, every aristocrat was the product of a grand family with wealth and title. But Sebastian had come from humble beginnings, and he owed everything to the kindness of the man who had adopted him at the behest of his own son, whom Sebastian had befriended on the streets of Edinburgh. That had all been a long time ago, and on entering the army, Sebastian had lost touch with the family he had once called his own.

“Then you might have a chance, I suppose,” Benjamin said, glancing at The Shadow, who had still not uttered a word …

“There you go, Sebastian – why not be the one to challenge our mysterious friend?” Marcus said, grinning at Sebastian, who had no intention of making any enemies.

Those days were behind him. He wanted a quiet life, even as the allure of Rowley’s held sway over him. He liked the thought of duelling, but duelling with a man who would not reveal his face, and who had never lost a single match …

“I’d be … well, perhaps,” Sebastian said, and Benjamin laughed.

“Are you worried you’d lose? I must say, most men we encounter think they’d have no trouble winning – much to their own loss,” he said.

But Sebastian was curious. He wanted to know why The Shadow did not reveal himself. Why did he keep himself shrouded in mystery? What purpose did it serve?

“Why do you cover your face?” he asked, addressing The Shadow directly.

Something was unnerving about the figure, dressed all in black. Not to see a face was unsettling. It conjured up images of deformity, or perhaps even something of a ghostly nature beneath the mask …

“The Shadow has his reasons,” Benjamin said.

“But not even to talk …” Sebastian said, still with his eyes fixed on The Shadow, willing him to speak.

But there was no reply. Only the blankness of the mask, behind which there was no telling what was hidden.

“Why does it matter? It’s the sabre you’re interested in, surely? Do you think you can beat The Shadow? You’re welcome to try. And perhaps you’ll place a wager, too,” Benjamin said, and Sebastian smiled.

“Perhaps …” he said, glancing at Marcus, whom it seemed had already decided about the potential profit to be derived from a victory.

“Excellent. Well, we’d best go and practice, hadn’t we, Sebastian? You could challenge someone now – get a little practice in, and then The Shadow can return,” he said.

It seemed Sebastian had little choice than to agree, and now they bid Benjamin and his masked companion good day, the latter two hurrying off down the alleyway, leaving Sebastian and Marcus outside Rowley’s.

“Quite remarkable,” Marcus said, shaking his head. 

But as he watched The Shadow disappear, Sebastian could not help wondering if he might be the one to beat him – and to unmask the truth.


Violet’s heart was beating fast. She could not believe what she had just seen – who she had just seen – and as they turned a corner at the end of the alleyway, she paused, clutching Benjamin by the arm as he turned to her in surprise.

“What’s wrong, Violet?” he asked, and Violet pulled off her mask, shaking out her long auburn hair, her bright blue eyes filled with tears as her mind crowded with a thousand memories.

“That’s Sebastian,” she said, and Benjamin looked at her puzzled.

“Yes, that’s what he said,” he replied, but Violet shook her head.

“No – the Sebastian. My father’s ward,” she exclaimed, and Benjamin stared at her in astonishment.

“But … I thought he was in Scotland. Didn’t he go back there from the continent?” he said, and Violet nodded.

“So did I. Well … we didn’t know where he was. We lost touch when he entered the army – France was the last place we heard he was. It broke my father’s heart, but he was young and headstrong … he just … left. Vincent, too … they were the best of friends. I don’t know what happened – I don’t know if Sebastian even knows he’s dead. And as for Marcus …” she said, shuddering at the thought of the marquess, with whom she had endured several encounters at balls and soirees.

He was a lascivious man, though he hid it well in public – just as he had then. Twice, he had tried to kiss her and had threatened to ruin her reputation if she did not give in to his demands. But Violet had resisted him and had not allowed him to lead her into scandal as much as he had tried to do so. He had grown angry with her, threatening her further and even spreading false rumours about her around the ton. But the sight of Sebastian had most unsettled her, for in her youth, she had thought of nothing but marrying him …

“Yes, he’s an odious man – he hides it well, but I’ve seen his real side, pursuing Charlotte as he did. He thinks I know nothing about it. And now you. But what of Sebastian? Lord Bennington,” Benjamin said, and Violet smiled.

When she had first known Sebastian, he was a street urchin, dressed in rags, and brought to her father’s house by Vincent, who had met him on the streets of Edinburgh …


“What are you doing? How dare you come in here? You’ve broken in, haven’t you? I’ll call the servants. I’ll scream,” Violet exclaimed, staring at the youth, who she had discovered helping himself to sweetmeats from a table by the fire.

He looked at her and grinned. Despite her fear – and outrage – Violet could not help blushing under his gaze. He was handsome, with tousled brown hair and large hazel eyes. He cocked his head to one side, the grin still across his face, and now he reached out, deliberately taking another of the morsels from the plate on the table.

“Why don’t you have one, too?” he said, holding one out to her.

Violet screamed. But at that moment, the drawing room door opened, and her father and brother came hurrying in.

“What’s all this noise about?” her father exclaimed, and Violet pointed to the boy, who was now stuffing his mouth full of the sweetmeats, oblivious to what he was doing, or so it seemed.

“Him, father – thief!” she cried, and her father laughed.

“No, Violet … he’s not a thief. He’s your new brother – Sebastian,” her father replied.

“Passion Behind her Mask” is an Amazon Best-Selling novel, check it out here!

By day, Lady Violet Sinclaire embodies the epitome of grace and propriety, but in the moonlit hours, she transforms into the enigmatic Fencing Shadow. As a master swordswoman, with a blade as swift as her resolve, she seeks justice for her brother’s untimely demise, navigating the dangerous world of clandestine duels and hidden identities. However, the return of an unexpected face from the past brings with it the return of old feelings, long forgotten, leading to unforeseen passion…

What if her fiery heart proves to be more vulnerable than her carefully guarded façade?

Sebastian McNaird, a decorated soldier raised to the nobility, returns from the continent with a moral duty to uncover the tragic mystery surrounding his adopted family. Little does he know that his journey will intertwine with Lady Violet’s, the tempting woman he once left behind. Irresistibly drawn to her strength and allure, he will witness a passionate duel of hearts, one fueled by the sparks of old affections and unspoken desires. Soon, he becomes both her protector and confidant, igniting a flame that can burn them both.

Can he teach her that love is a force more powerful than revenge?

United in a common struggle against the shadows of the past, Lady Violet and Sebastian find themselves dancing on the edge of lust and danger. In a society where hidden identities and blackmail threaten their every move, they must find a way to unveil the truth behind Violet’s brother’s demise. Will burning love triumph over the shadows of vengeance, or will the flames of their desires be extinguished by the secrets that bind them?

“Passion Behind her Mask” is a historical romance novel of approximately 60,000 words. No cheating, no cliffhangers, and a guaranteed happily ever after.

Get your copy from Amazon!

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