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Just Once

Have you ever told a little white lie to get yourself out of a jam? How about a real whopper?

Jemma O'Hurley, the heroine of JUST ONCE, was educated by nuns in one of Boston's best convent schools, and she knows better than to lie. But faced with the choice of going through with an arranged marriage or telling a couple of wild stories in order to escape her fate, she opts for a couple of real whoppers.

On the dangerous streets of 1816 New Orleans, Jemma latches on to the first honorable, decent-looking man she spies-a backwoods "Kaintuck." She sees him as a way out of the city and the beginning of the great adventure she's always wanted. The catch is that Jemma must persuade him to take her along on his trip up the Mississippi, so she pulls out all the stops.

Hunter Boone, a bold and dashing frontiersman, is tall, blond, coated in buckskin and certain that Jemma has escaped from a lunatic asylum. Still, he agrees to take her up the Mississippi after telling himself that, left to her own devices, she could come to real harm on the streets of New Orleans.

But life with the stunning Hunter Boone offers far more excitement and adventure than Jemma ever bargained for. And this self-proclaimed loner soon realizes that Jemma has talked her way not only into his life but into his heart.

EXCERPT FROM Just Once:

"You've got to save me!"

Doubting his own sanity, Hunter Boone stared down at the disheveled blonde with bewitching china-blue eyes and twin dimples. He knew that plenty of "Kaintuck" roaming the streets of New Orleans would drag her off to a crib in the Swamp district first and ask questions later.

"Save you from what?"

"They're still after me, trying to track me down and capture me." A tremor shot through her as her eyes widened in fear.

He looked down the street again and saw no one. Certain she was mad, he spoke slowly and distinctly. "Who?"

"The emir's men, the palace guards. They've chased me half way round the world...from Algiers."

"What were you doing there?"

"I'd just left the convent."

"The convent?"

"You certainly ask a lot of questions." She took a deep breath. "My father had been forced to send me there after he lost the family fortune. The nuns wouldn't let me go." She paused long enough to smile and cast her gaze heavenward. "They believed I was destined for sainthood. Like St Theresa."

"Christ," he mumbled.

"No, St. Theresa."

Hunter took a step back, intent on going his own way. He wasn't about to let any woman talk her way into his life again, especially this addlepated, blue-eyed blonde. "I'm afraid I'm getting out of the savior business. You'll have to find somebody else."


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