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Legacy of the Diamond

O n the dark waters of the English Channel, Courtney Johnston is hurled into the Huntley family's terrifying legacy, where she endures kidnapping, unbearable loss, and very nearly death... And meets Slayde Huntley, the Earl of Pembourne, who saves her life-only to alter it forever.

LEGACY OF THE DIAMOND, from Pocket, is the story of how an ancient curse and two families' unyielding hatred threaten to demolish one man and one woman's unwavering love.

Courtney felt as if she'd been struck by a boulder. Excruciating blows hammered at her head, throbbed in her skull.

"Papa..." The very utterance of her hushed word triggered a violent bout of coughing-and a vague awareness that something terrible had happened.

"Don't try to talk."

Whose voice was that? she wondered between coughs. She was acquainted with everyone in her father's crew, and the deep baritone belonged to none of them.

"Papa?" she rasped again.

"Just rest. We'll be on shore in a matter of hours."

Valiantly, she fought the pain that separated her from reality. "My head...and chest...ache so..."

"You swallowed a great deal of water. As for your head and chest, you struck them both-violently. That's why I want you to lie still; I believe you have a concussion and several broken ribs. Not to mention some impressive bruises, any of which could be harboring broken bones. Unfortunately, I haven't the necessary supplies to tend to such extensive injuries. But we'll rectify that as soon as we reach land." A pause. "Can you tell me your name?"

"Name..." She wished she knew who this man was. Cracking open her eyes, she could make out only his powerful frame, which seemed to fill the entire length of the vessel on which she lay. "Who are you?" she managed.

"A victim. Just as you are."

Victim. That one word opened the portals of Courtney's memory, spawned a deluge of unbearable images. Her father...being attacked by that filthy pirate, torn from the quarter deck, bound and gagged. pistol-point, tying a huge sack of grain to her father's leg, looking anguished as he ordered Greene and Waverly to take Courtney below. Oh, how she'd kicked and fought as they dragged her off. Then-her father's scream, followed by that sickening splash.

He was gone.

"No!" With an agonized shout, Courtney sat upright, then fell back with a strangled cry. "Papa." She fought the dizziness, the memories, the unalterable reality. "He's dead," she choked out as the roaring in her head intensified. "That monster-he killed him."

With that, the world tilted askew and everything went black.

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