How far would you go to pursue your heart’s desire?
When Devon Phoenix, a nineteenth-century Englishman, becomes linked to his soul mate through the discovery of a buried family secret, he must do the impossible. His longing to pursue her demands he cross the centuries to present day. But his world is shaken to its core when he learns he must protect her from men he thought to be only myths. Drawn by her lineage, these men will go to great lengths to have her.
Out at a nightclub, Boston artist and history buff Elz Valli has no idea her grounded life is about to be uprooted. She encounters Devon and realizes this striking and intellectual warrior not only looks like the 12th Duke of Seton–he is. Consumed by the flames that engulf them, there is no turning back as Devon’s presence in today’s world ignites raging fires–both good and evil.
Though Devon’s love is one that reaches through time, it is not without cost. Now he must decide if Elz is worth the price.
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Wedlove Castle, Northern England
18 April 1829
I tugged at Kyle’s arm, and he and my baby sister ceased their flirtations. She closed her door, and Kyle and I turned, continuing down the corridor toward our rooms.
I glanced at him sharply. “Flirt.”
“I’ll own that without any shame whatsoever,” Kyle said, laughing. “I’m sure I won’t be the only flirt. You, no doubt, will be a regular Adonis come these next few weeks when you get your Miss Valli in those mighty arms of yours.”
A thrill shot through me, and I couldn’t help but grin. I would soon be meeting Elz and bringing her home to be my wife.
The thrill was smothered by another thought—the thought of what Faramond warned would happen to her when we met.
I felt my cheerful expression sink into a grim smile. “Yes, well, with everything Faramond told us tonight about others wanting my Miss Valli for themselves, let us hope I don’t do as Adonis did and get myself killed by some angry god who’s turned himself into a wild boar.”
“No,” Kyle said, trying to bring back my joy. “You won’t do that—you’ll have me watching your back. And you know I’m cleverer than any ole boar, or any Greek god for that matter.”
He laughed, but my good mood was gone.
I felt sick to think of all that Faramond had told me. I wanted to give Elz a normal, happy life, but that wouldn’t be the tradeoff. Maybe she would be better off without me. If we never met, the flame would never burn bright enough for others to see it, and she wouldn’t need protection; therefore, she wouldn’t need me.
My heart sank, and I was bombarded with sadness at such a notion.
But maybe it would be for the best.
The thought made me miss her even more than I already did.
“Look, Kyle, I don’t mean to be rude with an abrupt departure, but I miss my girl. We’ll have to part ways here, old friend. I’ll see you at breakfast.”
Kyle offered a sympathetic smile, nodding his understanding, and we split up as I set into a fast jog toward my rooms.
I shrugged out of my topcoat and tossed it over a chair, doing the same with my cravat and waistcoat, then unfastened my trousers and sat to strip my feet bare. Unable to wait another moment, I rose, pulling my shirttail free as I headed barefoot across the carpet, striding toward the only thing that connected me to Elz—the mirror.
Stepping onto the platform of carved mountains at the base of the frame, I leaned in and breathed a fog over the glass, placing the fingertips of one hand there, and called Elz to me.
Her image became clear, and desire weaved its way around my gut like a choking vine. I exhaled slowly.
“Have mercy on me, my love—I can see you’ll be tormenting me tonight.”
And now the saga continues…
Devon’s presence in modern-day Boston has roused the enemy who now stalks Elz.
Devon and Elz become entwined, body and soul, but secrets still loom. Elz needs answers. Devon, imprisoned by his vow to keep quiet, must fight his desire to give them. All he can offer is his protection and his love. Unfortunately, the shackles of silence could leave Elz vulnerable to the enemy.
Devon has recruited Jarrett Phoenix, the current Marquess of Phoxdale, to help on his mission. Though Jarrett is a good ally, he incorporates his own agenda, and the car-racing playboy attempts to seduce Elz’s best friend, the ever-cautious Jaymi. But Jaymi longs for more than Jarrett offers. The four spend the summer together, and tensions climb, as Jaymi is an unwilling candidate in Jarrett’s games.
Will Jarrett’s fear of love keep his heart from running the course and winning the prize? And will Devon comprehend too late the real threat he faces when fighting the rival who will stop at nothing to take Elz from him?
The future holds the answers…or…does the past?
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Lovers entwine and old friends collide as Devon and Elz begin life anew in nineteenth-century England. Gone is the jaded man his family feared would never love, never marry. In his place stands a man completely enamored with and vastly protective of the captivating beauty he keeps on his arm. Elz adapts well to life at Wedlove, relieved that their enemy is left behind in modern-day Boston.
Danger, however, lurks in every corner, and Devon may find his most challenging adversary yet in the guise of a childhood friend, one who is incredibly strong and cunning . . . one with a dark secret of his own.
Meanwhile, Devon’s warning to Jarrett manifests when Devon’s younger brother challenges Jarrett for Jaymi’s affection. Jaymi is torn between the gallant, handsome man who would offer her the world, and the reckless one who lingers in every waking thought. Will she seek a new life with a new love, or will Jarrett refuse to let her go?
The Phoenix Decree continues . . .
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During a trip to London, Devon’s hopes are dashed as he thwarts an attempt to kidnap Elz. While investigating who is behind the attack, he finds himself at a crossroads and is forced to enlist the aid of his friend turned rival, Symond Grayson, the Duke of Graburn. In an act of compassion gone horribly wrong, Devon’s marriage to Elz is threatened and his world is turned upside down. The door is opened for Symond, and the duke has every intention of walking through it.
With their love in as much danger as their lives, Devon has no choice but to send Elz far from Symond’s reach while he contends with their foes–old and new. Battered from all sides, Devon is under siege, and the stakes are raised as Elz and the Phoenix bloodline are placed in jeopardy. Devon could lose Elz forever if another can win her heart.
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It’s Christmas at Wedlove Castle.
Elz, mostly recovered from her recent ordeal, has flourished under Devon’s training and 1829 comes to a close with a double wedding on Christmas Day.
Pris and Kyle’s excitement is unmatched, except by the anticipation shared by Jarrett and Jaymi, while Devon and Elz eagerly await the birth of their son, Eros.
But three miles west, at Castle Gray, Symond Grayson has made a drastic decision that changes his relationship with Devon and Elz forever.
And while the wedding celebrations continue, Reed Valli, Elz’s brother, finds himself ensnared by a lovely young lady who thrusts them both into a compromising situation.
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Modern day history buff Elz Phoenix used to daydream of being a Southern belle in 1850s America. Now married to a man who can give her the world in any time, she’s doing exactly that. As their two families travel down the east coast, a new contender is drawn to the fire in Elz’s eyes. But no challenger could dissuade Devon from defending his heart’s desire, not even the daunting McGrail brothers, fresh from the Scottish Highlands.
Meanwhile, Griffin Valli is tired of time-hopping. He may be Elz’s brother, but history wasn’t on his list of favorites in college. After a few failed attempts at nineteenth-century romance, he’s headed home to the women of the twenty-first century as soon as the family vacation is over. He’s never liked charades, and he likes the games of high society even less. But then he crosses paths with a daring young lady and realizes his heart is in danger. Though he’s eager for a lover, Griffin has no intention of falling for the beautiful Mars LaFrance. Even so, fate is going to give him a run for his money.
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Married to her high school sweetheart, Anna Albergucci lives in Texas, surrounded by her ever-growing family and her fur babies.
As a child, Anna had a bright imagination and entertained others with the telling of her colorful dreams. She now weaves her stories into fiery characters that live lives the rest of us only dream of.
Anna is a member of several writing groups, including the Cisco Writers Club. She is also the founder and host of a yearly writers’ retreat held at her estate.
She loves mornings, coffee, and cuddling with her grandkids. She’s a sucker for organizing parties, especially historical costume parties. And in her spare time you can find her touring old mansions, shopping for antiques, or sitting on the porch with a good book.
Anna loves to hear from her readers.