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For a moment, they lay still. She wondered if it was getting close to dawn.

She could look outside, she supposed, to see if there was any glimmer of light in the east. Yet, she was reluctant to move. It was warm under the jacket, pressed close to the fire. She was conscious of his warm body. She had never been so close to a man before. There was an intimacy that was both disconcerting but also not disconcerting. She couldn’t find the right word—exciting and yet with an underlying contentment. She looked to him. His lips lifted in a smile.

“What is it?” she asked.

“I was only thinking that this felt oddly comfortable.”

“Yes,” she said.

They lay side by side, staring at the ceiling, and she felt his hand reach out to touch her own. Awareness darted through her, a tingling excitement and a feeling of being more alive, as though every particle of her body, every inch of her skin, was sensitive.

“Everything feels more real with you,” he said softly. “Like I have been sleepwalking or living in a gray world turned multicolored overnight.”

Author Note

Historical research is always fascinating, and this book encouraged me to explore Cornwall’s colorful smuggling past. Caught in a Cornish Scandal is set just after the Napoleonic Wars as the smuggling trade began to decline. Two factors contributed to this: growth in coast guard services and the reduction of excise duties on imported goods.

Many smugglers avoided capture, but consequences were dire for the less fortunate. Smuggling was a capital offense. However, the poaching of deer, stealing of rabbits, pickpocketing and numerous other petty offenses could also result in the death penalty.

On a more uplifting note, Sam and Millie decide to open a school at the end of Caught in a Cornish Scandal. This is a reflection of my own belief in the importance of education for all, regardless of socioeconomic status, ethnicity or gender.

In writing this, I learned about the inspirational individual John Pounds, a cobbler who began in 1818 teaching poor children reading, writing and arithmetic without charging fees. This resulted in the development of the ragged schools movement. Individuals like Thomas Guthrie and Anthony Ashley Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury, furthered this concept, resulting in many free schools for poor children.

This is a time when one needs uplifting stories. The idea that one individual, John Pounds, could make such a difference emphasizes the power one person can have to promote positive change. It reminds us that our choices matter and that we can support and encourage each other to ensure equity and opportunity.


Caught in a Cornish Scandal

Eleanor Webster loves high heels and sun, which is ironic as she lives in northern Canada, the land of snow hills and unflattering footwear. Various crafting experiences, including a nasty glue-gun episode, have proven that her creative soul is best expressed through the written word. Eleanor is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in psychology and holds an undergraduate degree in history and creative writing. She loves to use her writing to explore her fascination with the past.

Books by Eleanor Webster

Harlequin Historical

No Conventional Miss

Married for His Convenience

Her Convenient Husband’s Return

A Debutante in Disguise

Caught in a Cornish Scandal

Visit the Author Profile page

at Harlequin.com.

Reading was not initially easy for me, and I dedicate this to my first teachers, my parents. They taught me both a love of reading and perseverance. I dedicate this to all educators. Without their diligence, few of us would be able to enjoy the many splendors of the written word. As always, I recognize the support and constant encouragement demonstrated by my husband and daughters.


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


Excerpt from The Warrior’s Innocent Captive by Ella Matthews

Chapter One

Cornwall—January 1818

Rain stung Millicent Lansdowne’s cheeks. Wind sliced through the coarse seaman’s cloth of her borrowed shirt. Tangles of wet hair fell into her eyes, blinding her as she pulled on the oars. The darkness suited the enterprise and yet she longed for the merest sliver of a moon. The only relief from the gloom came from the intermittent flash of the lighthouse lamp shimmering across huge troughs of water and towering, omnipresent rocks.

Millie had lived on the Cornish coast most of her life, but had never smuggled. She’d never even considered it...until now.

The buffeting wind stole her breath so that she gulped at the air, panting with effort. The muscles in her arms cramped. Her hands ached as she clutched the oars, but she dared not pause even to flex her fingers for fear that her small vessel would be dashed against the jagged cliffs. She glanced apprehensively seawards. Somewhere, hidden behind the rough seas and salt spray, The Rising Dawn waited with its bounty of brandy.

Yesterday, the decision had felt less foolhardy. Yesterday, the weather had been better and the danger so much less immediate.

But this was necessary. Smuggling had served Cornwall and its people well in times of crisis. And this was a crisis.

Millie had accepted her own duty to marry a dull man twice her age, but she would not let her sister marry a man without morals or conscience. She would not. She had failed to keep her brother safe, but she would not, could not, fail Lil.

Clenching her teeth, she pulled back on the oars with renewed energy, shifting away from the rocks and towards the open sea. It was the flicker of movement that caught her attention. She paused briefly, peering at what seemed like an improbable hand waving from the sea’s belly. She hunkered forward, as though this slight shift would make her better able to see. She shouted, but her voice disappeared, drowned by the wind.

The lighthouse beam swung around. Again, she saw flailing arms, the frantic limbs silhouetted against the light.

She acted instinctively, sprawling across the gunnel as she pushed the oar out over the water. ‘Here! Grab on!’


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