His Marriage Gamble
by Nancy Fraser
GENRE: Historical Romance
Felicity Beaumont, the rebellious daughter of Louisiana elite devises a plan to move her father’s illegally owned slaves north to safety using the gambling river boat known as the Lucky Lady. Dressed as a young farm boy, she attempts to sell family heirlooms to raise the funds she needs. Short the full amount, she continues her ruse and bargains her way aboard the boat as their chaperone.
Charismatic owner of the Lucky Lady, Jake McAlister doesn’t trust women, and when he discovers Felicity’s subterfuge, he remembers exactly why.
While they find themselves in agreement about helping the free men and women, they are at odds over everything else, including their quickly escalating feelings for one another. When caught between Felicity’s powerful father and the ire of a local judge, they’re forced into a marriage neither wanted.
Can they make the best of a bad situation? And, will gambling on love be a bust or reap them both a happily ever after?
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Will doing the right thing be his first mistake? Or, his last?
He’s the owner of a gambling riverboat. She’s the willful daughter of a rich man, hoping to free his wrongfully indentured slaves.
Can he help her with her quest without consequence? Or, will he end up with a bride he didn’t want?
Jake McAlister lifted his foot to the railing above the Lucky Lady’s stern and lit a thin cheroot, its tip glowing bright red in the dark night sky. His cargo hadn’t yet arrived, and he felt the first stirring of concern. He’d asked permission to dock at this unfamiliar port under the guise of making some repairs. To overstay his welcome would draw attention he didn’t want or need. He’d give them twenty minutes and then…
“Excuse me, are you Jake McAlister?”
Jake raised his head. A young boy of no more than fifteen or sixteen stood before him. “Can I help you, kid?”
“I’m here to arrange passage for some of my friends.”
The boy coughed out his words, and Jake had to stifle a chuckle at the lad’s attempt to hide the obvious changes in his voice. “You’re the one who contacted me?” Jake asked.
“Yes.” The boy shuffled nervously from one foot to the other and kept his gaze narrowed on the ship’s deck.
“And, just where are these friends of yours?”
The boy let out a shrill whistle and a long line of blacks came out from behind a nearby building, first the men, then the women and, finally, the children. They arrived carrying their worldly belongings in a few large satchels, a handful of worn burlap sacks and, surprisingly, one rather expensive-looking steamer trunk. Jake counted heads as they came on board.
“I count four men, six women, and sixteen children. At fifty bucks a head for the adults and twenty for the children, that comes to eight hundred and twenty.”
“That’s right,” the boy confirmed, “how much extra for me?”
“I don’t take spectators on these runs, boy. The agreement is to take the blacks north to freedom. From the looks of them, they don’t need a caretaker, unless it’s to help them read.”
“My friends all know how to read, Mr. McAlister. And write.”
“Then they don’t need you, do they?”
“I’ve got the money.”
“Which you are going to give to me.”
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AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Jumping Across Romance Genres with Gleeful Abandon—is an Amazon Top 100 and Award-Winning author who can’t seem to decide which romance genre suits her best. So, she writes them all.
Like most authors, Nancy began writing at an early age, usually on the walls and with crayons or, heaven forbid, permanent markers. Her love of writing often made her the English teacher’s pet which, of course, resulted in a whole lot of teasing. Still, it was worth it.
Nancy has published over thirty-five books in full-length, novella, and short format.
When not writing (which is almost never), Nancy dotes on her five wonderful grandchildren and looks forward to traveling and reading when time permits. Nancy lives in Atlantic Canada where she enjoys the relaxed pace and colorful people.
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