A Wicked Liaison

A Wicked Liaison
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Constance Townley, Duchess of Wellford, has always been impeccably behaved. So why does she suddenly feel a wild urge to kick over the traces? Anthony de Portnay Smythe is a mysterious figure. A gentleman by day, he steals secrets for the government by night.When Constance finds a man in her bedroom late at night, her first instinct is to call for help. But something stops her. The thief apologizes and gracefully takes his leave. . . with a kiss for good measure! And Constance knows that won't be the last she sees of this intriguing rogue. . . .

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“Anything I might think to ask in payment, any request I might make, you would be willing to comply?”

She ignored the heat rising in her. “Yes.”

His voice dropped to a sensuous murmur, and she could feel the words dancing along her nerves. “Be warned, I have an extremely vivid imagination.”

Suddenly so did she. She closed her eyes tight and the fantasies that rose at the sound of his voice became more intense. Her blood sizzled as she imagined what it might be like to submit to the whims of a man who was little more than a stranger: a hardened criminal, accustomed to taking what he wanted.

“Anything you wish.”

A Wicked Liaison


Author Note

When I started writing nine years ago, I never imagined that my stories would find their way to Harlequin Books. It is a source of great pride to know that my “imaginary friends” are in the care of a company whose history stretches back sixty years.

I hope you enjoy my story of Constance Townley, a lonely widow who is about to meet the man who will spoil her plans for a respectable remarriage. But how can she settle for a life without passion after Tony Smythe steals her heart?

I’ve grown quite fond of both Tony and Constance, who have been my close companions for several months. They are quite an exciting pair. When I sat down to write their story, I was never sure if I would be waltzing at Vauxhall or climbing into windows and picking imaginary locks. And together they do indeed have some wicked liaisons, and manage to live happily ever after.



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To Maddie Rowe, editor extraordinaire.

You make this so much fun that I forget I’m working.


Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter One

Anthony de Portnay Smythe sat at his regular table in the darkest corner of the Blade and Scabbard pub. The grey wool of his coat blended with the shadows around him, rendering him almost invisible to the rest of the room. Without appearing to—for to stare at his fellows might prove suicidally rude—he could observe the other patrons. Cutpurses, thieves, petty criminals and transporters of stolen goods. Rogues to a man. And, for all he knew, killers.

Of course, he took great care not to know.

The usual feelings of being comfortable and in his element were unusually disconcerting. He dropped a good week’s work on to the table and pushed them towards his old friend, Edgar.

Business associate, he reminded himself. Although they had known each other for many years, it would be a mistake to call his relationship with Edgar a friendship.

‘Rubies.’ Tony sorted through the gems with his finger, making them sparkle in the light of the candle guttering on the table. ‘Loose stones. Easy to fence. You need not even pry them from the settings. The work has been done for you.’

‘Dross,’ Edgar countered. ‘I can see from here the stones are flawed. Fifty for the lot.’

This was where Tony was supposed to point out that they were investment-grade stones, stolen from the study of a marquis. The man had been a poor judge of character, but an excellent judge of jewellery. Then Tony would counter with a hundred and Edgar would try to talk him down.

But suddenly, he was tired of the whole thing. He pushed the stones further across the table. ‘Fifty it is.’

Edgar looked at him in suspicion. ‘Fifty? What do you know that I do not?’

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