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To Steal a Marquess

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To Steal an Earl

The Sisterhood of Independent Ladies – Book Three

She swore if she ever saw him again, she would shoot him. But that was before the queen commanded her to marry the rogue rather than kill him.

Lady Sophie Redwell’s formative years were spent training in espionage rather than the arts of the gentler sex. After all, her illustrious parents, Lord and Lady Rydleshire, were two of the best agents ever to serve the Crown. When Sophie was born a month after her father’s assassination, her brilliant mother devised a scheme to secure a future for herself and her daughter. She fabricated Sophie’s fake twin brother, the 4th Earl of Rydleshire, to safeguard the family's wealth and status. But the dangerous scheme has developed a flaw: a blackmailer more interested in blood than money.

Sir Nash Bromley, a knight with a penchant for military service and a dislike for being tethered, is unfortunately a favorite of the queen's. Unfortunately a favorite because Her Majesty has an agenda for him. In the face of a blackmailing assassin threatening not only her closest friends but herself as well, the queen orchestrates a marriage between him and Sophie as one step in the plan to dismantle the Rydleshire scheme and capture the blackguard bent on destroying them all.

As Nash grapples with the unexpected turn of events, he discovers Sophie would rather kiss a toad with the pox than be in the same room with him. When he sees the awkward duckling he knew ten years ago has become an incomparable swan, he regrets how he used to tease her when he wasn’t ignoring her completely. Perhaps marriage is not so unfortunate after all.

On the surface, the queen's plan seems flawless. Declare the fake earl dead, bestow the title upon Nash, and eliminate the false peer scheme to disarm the blackmailer and set a trap to capture him—or her. But there's a hitch: Sophie's unforgiving heart that Nash broke all those years ago. Determined to protect the empire she’s fought for all her life, she refuses to forget his callous treatment, even if it means defying her mother and the queen and jeopardizing the plot that could save them all.

In this tale of love, espionage, and redemption, if Nash and Sophie can’t find a way to reconcile their tumultuous history, someone will die.




Coming soon please check back.



Chapter One

A timid pecking on the door interrupted them, followed by a hesitant “Your Majesty?”

“Did I not dismiss you from this room, Edwards?”

The secretary kept his head bowed as he opened the door wider. “Yes, Your Majesty, you did. However, you also wished to be informed of his arrival.” He offered another apologetic dip of his chin. “Sir Nash Bromley is here.”

Indignance and age-old fury roared in Sophie’s ears, preventing her from hearing another word, even though it was the queen greeting their new guest. Nash Bromley. That arrogant, priggish, self-serving, poor excuse of a churl she should have impaled when they were both at Rydleshire Academy. If her practice sword had been steel rather than wood, she would have relieved this earth of a most insufferable individual and then danced on his grave.

“Sophie!” her mother said in a snappish whisper.

A barely audible chuckle behind her brought Sophie to her feet and made her turn. She clenched her teeth and curtsied, so intent on reining in her grudge over ancient insults and slights that she failed to look up at the man standing before her. Instead, she stared at the floor, concentrating on cooling the angry blush burning her cheeks.

“Sir Nash,” she forced out in a barely civil tone while keeping her gaze downcast.

“Lady Sophie.”

His voice was much deeper than she remembered.

“It is indeed wonderful to see you again after such a long while,” he said. “What has it been, my lady? Ten years?”

Ten years too little, she wanted to snap, but Maman stood close enough to pinch her if she didn’t behave, and she had already made a less-than-desirable impression on Her Majesty.

“It has been some time,” she forced out, then decided to look into the eyes of her arch-nemesis. A gasp almost escaped her.

The arrogant Nash Bromley she had last seen when she was naught but ten and five and he was twenty had been handsome enough to make her young heart yearn for him to be kinder and treat her with the same admiration he offered the older girls. But the man before her was so…changed. She realized her mouth was hanging open and snapped it shut.

Somehow, he had transformed into an even more striking figure whose dark blue jacket made his broad shoulders appear so wide it was a wonder he didn't pass through doorways by turning sideways. His legs were no longer tall, gangly sticks but impressively muscular, stretching his snug pantaloons in the best sort of way. All that seemed familiar about him was the shade of his hair—a ripened wheat color that wasn’t really blond, but neither was it auburn. And those eyes. Those were the same too. The iciest blue that had always mocked her and flashed with lightning whenever she had bested him in archery or swordplay. But currently, those piercing eyes gleamed with amusement.

She tipped her chin higher and glared at him. So the abrasive yet handsome cub of twenty had matured into a breathtaking man who could be a god descended from Mount Olympus. What of it? It mattered not to her. He surely had remained the same obnoxious cove.



The scrawny, fiery-haired duckling who had annoyed him to no end ten years ago had become an intoxicatingly beautiful swan. Nash stared at the back of the carriage while rubbing his ear that still stung from the vicious twisting she had given it.

Gads, but Sophie was incomparable. If he had known she would bloom into such a desirable woman, he would not have shooed her away like the annoying little buzzing bee she had been. The thought gave him pause. Apparently, by teasing, nettling, and, more often than not, completely ignoring her, he had created quite the fierce enemy that the past ten years had done nothing to mellow. And now she was to be his wife. A wife who not only despised him but swore they would never be in each other’s company if she had her way about it.

Never in all his days had he ever feared becoming leg-shackled in such a manner—ordered by Her Majesty, no less. While it was true his family was landed gentry, he was naught but a mere knight who currently owned nothing but his horse. At least, not until his father passed and grudgingly left everything to him because there was no other son, daughter, or cousin to leave things to. Still, being hunted by marriage-minded mamas had never been a problem. What mother wished her daughter saddled with the likes of him?

He snorted as the fault in his reasoning became clear. The mother hadn’t wanted him for her daughter. The queen had. But the queen had also said he would soon be the next Earl of Rydleshire. To resolve whatever mysterious problem endangered Lady Rydleshire and Lady Sophie. He shook his head. The more he thought about it, the more muddled everything became.

Another disgruntled snort escaped him as he recalled the rest of what the queen had said. Have the fourth Earl of Rydleshire pronounced expired without an heir. Was the man already dead, or was that Her Majesty’s subtle way of ordering the earl’s demise? And was he supposed to do it? What had the man done to displease the monarch so? The third Earl of Rydleshire had been assassinated by an enemy spy, but before his death, the man had been lauded as one of the best agents of the Crown.

Nash resettled the reins and scrubbed his face with one hand. Queen Charlotte had never been subtle before. Why would she be so secretive now? The monarch had said he and the lovely ladies would have plenty of time to reacquaint themselves, but with a special license being obtained, plenty of time took on quite the abbreviated meaning. Perhaps Lady Rydleshire would be good enough to enlighten him, since it was obvious that his future wife would rather spit in his eye than speak to him.

A hearty chuckle rumbled free of him. He had always loved a challenge.