One Duke Down by Anna Bennett EPUB & PDF – eBook Details Online
- Author: Anna Bennett
- Language: English
- Formats: PDF / EPUB
- Status: Available For Free Download
- Series: None
- Price: Free
- File Size: 2 MB
Miss Poppy Summers was accustomed to finding odd, unwanted objects
tangled in her fishing nets: clumps of seaweed, discarded rum bottles, even
the occasional clay pipe. But until that sun-soaked June morning, she had
never, in the course of all her twenty-three years, had the misfortune of
catching a man.
A strapping, half-dressed, unconscious man, at that.
Perched on the seat of her small rowboat several yards offshore, she raised
a hand to her forehead and shielded her eyes from the glare in order to have a
proper look at him.
He was sprawled facedown on the beach, his head turned to one side, long
legs akimbo in the frothy, lapping waves. Raven hair covered his eyes, and
sand salted the dark stubble along his jaw. Beneath the remains of his shirt—
little more than a few scraps of lawn—he had the broad shoulders of a
swimmer and the trim waist of a boxer. His trousers were plastered to thick
thighs, and his bare feet were nearly the size of oar blades.
He must have stumbled out of the surf and collapsed on the beach. Her
beach. To make matters worse, one corner of the net that she’d strategically
placed in the deepest part of the cove was now wrapped around his left ankle,
all but dashing her hopes for a good day’s catch.
Disappointment sank onto her chest like a rusty anchor. The only time
Papa smiled lately was when Poppy came home with news of a bountiful
haul, but there’d been precious little cause for celebration lately. A
devastating uptick in cod worm meant a third of the fish she caught weren’t
fit to eat, and the healthy ones tended to be younger, smaller fish that didn’t
bring nearly as good a price.
She’d weathered tough seasons before, but this summer was different. Her
poor father rarely left his bed since taking ill over the winter, and her brother,
Dane, had been spending more time in London of late. Perhaps that was for
the best, though, since he had an infuriating habit of gambling away the
meager earnings from the family’s business—a business that she was now
single-handedly trying to keep afloat.
Still, she supposed an empty net was the least of her problems. The
stranger passed out on the sand could be a smuggler, a pirate, or worse. Good
heavens, for all she knew, he could be … dead.
“Hullo!” She cupped her hands around her mouth and shouted over the
whoosh of the waves. “Can you hear me?”
He didn’t flinch.
She hesitated, then started rowing ashore. Approaching the man was risky
to be sure, but he was clearly in need of help. Besides, no one could accuse
her of being naïve or sheltered. She had a fillet knife strapped to her calf, and
if necessary, would resort to using an oar as a bludgeon.
But she rather hoped it didn’t come to that.
With a few easy strokes, she turned the bow into the waves and
maneuvered her boat onto the shore. “Hullo!” she called again. She hopped
lightly onto the sand, resting the oar on one shoulder like a cricket bat. “Are
The man remained ominously still and silent.
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