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Christian Seaton: Duke Of Danger

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«Christian Seaton: Duke Of Danger» - Кэрол Мортимер

The declaration: ‘You don’t have a choice. You will return with me to England. ’The deed: In the dark of night, British spy Christian Seaton, Duke of Sutherland, abducts Lisette Duprée and flees French mercenaries in a race against time. Christian must protect her at all costs – Lisette is the answer to everything in the Dangerous Dukes’s work for the crown. The difficulty: Innocent Lisette is an enticing temptation who’s increasingly hard to resist!Dangerous Dukes: Rakes About Town!
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Rakes about town

Carole Mortimer introduces London’s most delectable dukes in her latest Mills & Boon® Historical mini-series. But don’t be fooled by their charm, because beneath their lazy smiles they’re deliciously sexy—and highly dangerous!

Read about all the daring exploits of these dangerous dukes in:

Marcus Wilding: Duke of Pleasure Available as a Mills & Boon Historical Undone! eBook

Zachary Black: Duke of Debauchery

Darian Hunter: Duke of Desire

Rufus Drake: Duke of Wickedness Available as a Mills & Boon Historical Undone! eBook

Griffin Stone: Duke of Decadence

And now …

Christian Seaton: Duke of Danger

It’s so sad to think that I’ve written the final book in the Dangerous Dukes mini-series. I hope you’ve all enjoyed reading them as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them.

Christian Seaton: Duke of Danger is obviously Christian’s unique love story, as he meets and falls in love with an outspoken Frenchwoman, Lisette Duprée, but there will be lots of secrets and intrigue along the way!

I also couldn’t write this final book in the series without bringing back all the other Dangerous Dukes and telling you of their lives now with their own wonderful heroines.


Christian Seaton: Duke of Danger

Carole Mortimer

CAROLE MORTIMER was born and lives in the UK. She is married to Peter and they have six sons. She has been writing for Mills & Boon since 1978, and is the author of almost 200 books. She writes for both the Mills & Boon® Historical and Modern™ lines. Carole is a USA TODAY bestselling author, and in 2012 was recognised by Queen Elizabeth II for her ‘outstanding contribution to literature’.

Visit Carole at or on Facebook.

To Peter, as always.




Title Page

About the Author


Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen




Chapter One

August 1815, Paris, France

‘Touch one hair upon her head, monsieur, and you are destined to meet your maker sooner than you might wish!’

It took every ounce of his indomitable will for Christian Seaton, Fifteenth Duke of Sutherland, not to react or turn to face the person who had just spoken softly behind him.

Not because he was disturbed by the threat itself; his reputation as one of the finest shots in England was not exaggerated, and few gentlemen could best him with the sword either.

Nor was he concerned by the barrel of the small pistol he currently felt pressed against the top of his spine through his clothing.

Or that the person making the threat was a woman who, judging by her voice, was a woman of mature years.

It was the fact that the threat had been spoken in accented English which caused him such inner unease...

As an agent for the English Crown, Christian had arrived secretly in Paris from England by boat just two nights ago and, as had been planned, he had immediately taken up residence as the Comte de Saint-Cloud—an old and extinct title of his mother’s French family—in one of the grander houses situated alongside the Seine.

Since his arrival Christian had been careful not to speak any other language but French, which he could claim to speak like a native, once again courtesy of his maternal grandmère.

He had been especially careful to maintain that facade in the Fleur de Lis, a noisy and crowded tavern situated in one of the less salubrious areas of Paris.

That he was now being addressed in English brought into question whether this pretence in his identity had somehow been compromised.

He continued to maintain his comfortable slouch at a corner table of the noisy tavern as he answered the woman in French. ‘Would you care to repeat your comment, madame?’ he replied fluently in that language. ‘I understand English a little, but I am afraid I do not speak it at all.’


‘Non.’ Christian calmly answered the scornful taunt, although that feeling of unease continued to prickle inside him. ‘I am the Comte de Saint-Cloud—at your service, madame.’

There was the briefest of pauses, as if the woman were considering challenging him on that claim. ‘My mistake, Comte,’ she finally murmured, before repeating her earlier warning in French.

‘Ah.’ He nodded. ‘In that case, I confess I have no idea which “she” you are referring to.’

A loud hmph sounded behind him. ‘Do not play games with me, Comte,’ the woman growled. ‘You have had eyes for no one but Lisette since the moment you arrived.’


So that was the name of the beautiful young woman serving the tables situated on the other side of this crowded and noisy room.

Oh, yes, Christian knew exactly which ‘she’ this woman was referring to. Which of the serving wenches he had been unable to take his eyes off of for more than a minute or two since he had entered the tavern an hour ago.

And he was not alone in that interest, having noticed that several other well-dressed gentlemen in the room were also watching the young woman, if less openly than he.

The reason for those gentlemen’s slyness now become apparent to Christian—obviously they knew better than to openly show their admiration for the red-haired beauty, for fear of having a pistol pressed against their own spine.

He gave another glance across the tavern to where the young woman had been kept busy all evening serving drinks to the raucous patrons. She was unlike any other tavern wench Christian had ever seen—tiny and slender, with pretty red curls, hidden for the main part beneath a black lace cap, she was also dressed more conservatively than the other serving wenches, in a long-sleeved and high-necked black gown.

A mourning gown...?

Whatever her reason for wearing black, it did not detract in the slightest from the girl’s ethereal beauty. Rather it seemed to emphasise it; her hands and neck were slender, her heart-shaped face as pale and smooth as alabaster and dominated by huge long-lashed blue eyes.

She had also, Christian had observed with satisfaction, managed to neatly and cheerfully avoid any of the slyly groping male hands that had tried to take advantage of her as she placed jugs of ale down on the tables.

Unfortunately, Christian had not seen her until after he was already seated, his own table being served by a buxom and flirtatious brunette, and so preventing him from as yet finding opportunity to speak to the lovely Lisette.

A situation which Christian had intended changing before the night was over; a dalliance with one of the Fleur de Lis’ serving wenches would be the perfect means by which he might visit this tavern often, without the regularity of those visits being remarked upon.

He gave a lazy shrug now, again without turning to look at the woman behind him. ‘All of the ladies working here are very pretty, madame.’ Once again he continued the conversation in French.

‘But you have eyes for only one,’ the woman rasped in the same language.

‘Surely a gentleman is allowed to look, madame?’

‘One such as you does not just look for long,’ she said scornfully.

Christian was every inch the gentleman, known amongst English society for his charm and evenness of temper; indeed, he had long and deliberately nurtured that belief. But that was not to say that he did not have a temper, because he most certainly did; he simply chose to reveal it only to those who were deserving of it and on the occasions when it was most warranted.

But whether the French Comte de Saint-Cloud or the English Duke of Sutherland, he was obviously a gentleman, and this woman’s insults and overfamiliarity were deserving of such a set-down. ‘I take exception to your remark, madame.’ Christian’s tone was icy-cold, something that those who knew him well would have known to beware of.

Whatever the woman standing behind him knew of him, she obviously did not know the nature of him at all.

At least it was to be hoped that she did not...

‘One has only to look at the way you are dressed, at you, to know you are nothing but a rake and a libertine. Coureur!’ she added disgustedly.

While it might be safer for this woman to believe Christian was a rake, and the ‘womaniser’ she had just spat at him, than for her to have any doubts as to his identity as the Comte de Saint-Cloud, he still took exception to the insult. ‘On what grounds do you base such an accusation, madame?’ His tone had grown even chillier.

‘On the grounds that you have been undressing my...niece with your eyes for this past hour, monsieur!’ she came back disgustedly.

Her niece?

The beautiful girl, Lisette, was the niece of the woman standing behind him with a pistol pressed against his spine? Surely that claim did not make sense unless—


Very aware of that pistol at his back, Christian carefully sat forward, his movements measured as he turned just as slowly to face his accuser. His brows rose slightly as he instantly recognised her as being none other than Helene Rousseau, the owner of this Parisian tavern.

The very same woman who was both the reason for his clandestine visit to Paris and for his presence in the Fleur de Lis tavern this evening.

Helene Rousseau was the older sister of André Rousseau, the man known to have been a French spy during the year he had spent in England as tutor to a young English gentleman.

A year during which André Rousseau had also gathered together a ring of treasonous co-conspirators amongst the servants of the English aristocracy, as well as some high-ranking members of that society itself. Their aim had been to assassinate England’s Prince Regent, as well as the other heads of the Alliance, and so throw those countries into a state of chaos and confusion, allowing Napoleon, newly escaped from his incarceration on Elba, to march triumphantly back into Paris unopposed.

Christian had been one of the agents for the Crown who had managed to foil that assassination plot on Prinny. But not before André Rousseau lay dead in the street outside this very tavern, killed by the hand of one of Christian’s closest friends.

Christian was in Paris now because it was suspected that Rousseau’s sister had taken over as head of that resistance movement following the death of her brother. That she and her cohorts were still determined to undermine the English government, whilst working with those co-conspirators in England, by fair means or foul—and their methods had been very foul indeed—to find a way of releasing the Corsican upstart for a second time.

Indeed Christian, and several of his friends, had only days ago prevented news of the date and destination of Napoleon’s second incarceration from being revealed, when it was believed that a second attempt would have been made to effect the Corsican’s escape.

Nowhere in Christian’s information on Helene Rousseau had there ever been mention of her having a niece.

The same young and beautiful woman whom Christian had been admiring for this past hour or more...

A young and beautiful woman who wore black because she was in mourning for her dead father, the French spy André Rousseau? As far as Christian was aware, Helene Rousseau had no other siblings.

His eyes narrowed on the Frenchwoman. Also dressed in black out of respect for her dead brother? ‘I apologise if I have caused you any offence, madame.’ He gave a courtly bow as he stood up. ‘I assure you I meant none.’

Helene Rousseau was a woman of about forty, tall and voluptuous where her niece was tiny and slender, and the older woman had only a touch of red in her blonde hair; surely Christian could be forgiven for not having previously made the connection between an aunt and niece who were so different in appearance?

Especially as there had never been any information of André Rousseau having a daughter.

Hard blue eyes looked up at him scornfully as the female owner of the tavern continued to hold the small pistol at a level with his broad chest. ‘A man such as you would not be in such a lowly tavern as this one, monsieur, if you were not looking to corrupt one of my girls.’

Christian raised a blond brow. ‘Surely it is for those “girls” to decide for themselves as to whether or not they would see my attentions as corruption...or pleasure?’

‘Not if your choice is to be Lisette.’ Helene Rousseau looked at him with all the challenging hauteur of a duchess.

Christian bit back his impatience with this woman’s temerity, knowing it would not serve his purpose to antagonise her further; his intention this evening, to be taken for just another gentleman bent on pleasure, had instead incurred this woman’s notice as well as her wrath. Both of them he would rather have avoided at this stage of his mission. ‘I have given my apology if I have caused you any offence—’

‘I believe Claude wishes your presence in the kitchen, Helene,’ a huskily soft voice interrupted them.

A huskily soft voice that, Christian discovered when his gaze moved to Helene Rousseau’s side, belonged to none other than the beautiful Lisette herself...

* * *

Lisette had noticed the handsome gentleman with the lavender-coloured eyes the moment he entered the tavern earlier this evening; indeed, he was the sort of gentleman of whom any woman would take note.

He was exceedingly tall, with tousled overlong blond hair. The perfect fit of his black superfine coat over broad and muscled shoulders must surely be the work of the best tailors in Paris. As were the pantaloons tailored to his long and muscled legs. His black Hessians were so highly polished Lisette was sure she would be able to see her face in them if she cared to look.

But it was the hard masculine beauty of the man’s face which drew the eye; a smooth, high brow, sharply etched cheekbones, his nose long and aristocratic, and a sensual and decadent mouth that was not too thin and yet not too full either, above a surprisingly hard and uncompromising jaw.

The man’s most arresting feature by far was his eyes—Lisette did not believe she had ever seen eyes of such an unusual shade of lavender before—fringed by thick and curling lashes.

Eyes which she had sensed watching her this past hour, even as she went about the business of serving the many and increasingly inebriated customers...

The tavern was unusually crowded this evening, which was the only reason Helene had asked for Lisette’s help; usually the older woman did not allow her anywhere near the men who patronised this bawdy tavern.

Lisette had not initially noticed Helene approaching or speaking with the lavender-eyed gentleman; it was only when she could no longer feel the intensity of his gaze upon her that she had glanced across the room and seen the two in conversation. Even across the width of the tavern Lisette had been able to sense the tension of that conversation, her eyes widening in alarm as the gentleman moved and she saw that Helene held a pistol in her hand, and that pistol was pointed at the gentleman’s chest.

Quite what that gentleman had done to warrant such attention Lisette had no idea. As far as she was aware, he had not behaved in a rowdy or licentious manner, but remained quietly seated at his table without engaging with any of the tavern’s other customers. Nor had he been overfamiliar with Brigitte on the occasions she had served him with one of the tavern’s better wines.

‘I am Christian Beaumont, the Comte de Saint-Cloud, at your service, mademoiselle.’ That gentleman now gave her a polite bow.

Just as if Helene were not still pointing a gun at the broad elegance of his chest!

‘Lisette Duprée.’ She gave an abrupt curtsy, unable, now that she was standing so close to the gentleman, to look away from the intensity of that beautiful lavender gaze.

Christian repressed his smile of satisfaction at Helene Rousseau herself having effectively made the formal introductions possible. A formality that would allow him to more easily approach and speak to the lovely Lisette in future.

His gaze narrowed as he turned to look at the older woman. ‘Please do not let us delay you any further when you are so obviously needed in the kitchen, madame.’

Helene Rousseau’s mouth tightened even as she deftly stowed the pistol away in the folds of her gown. ‘You will remember all that I have said to you tonight, my lord.’ It was a warning, not a question.

Christian had every intention of remembering each and every word this woman spoke to him. Of dissecting it. Analysing it. In readiness for the report he would eventually take back with him to England.

And if it should transpire that Helene Rousseau was indeed behind the recent kidnapping of an innocent child, and the abduction and ill treatment of an equally innocent young lady, in order to try to blackmail information from the English government in the former, and repress information in the latter, then he feared there could be only one outcome to Helene Rousseau’s future.

An outcome that would result in the lovely Lisette being in mourning for both her aunt and her father.

‘I assure you, madame, my memory is impeccable,’ Christian answered Helene Rousseau softly.

The older woman gave him a long and warning stare before turning to Lisette, the hardness of her features softening slightly as she looked at the younger woman. ‘You must not linger here, Lisette, when there are customers needing to be served.’

‘As you say, Helene.’ Lisette’s dark auburn lashes were lowered demurely as her aunt gave Christian one last warning glance before departing with a swish of her skirts. In the direction of the kitchen, it was to be hoped.

Christian found it curious that the younger woman addressed the older one by her first name rather than as her tante. Adding to the mystery of this relationship, that no amount of watching and spying on both André Rousseau before the man’s death, and Helene Rousseau in the months since, had managed to discover, let alone explain.

‘Would you care to sit down and join me, mademoiselle?’ Christian held back one of the chairs at his table.

Lisette eyed him curiously. ‘I am at work, Comte, not leisure.’ And she would not have frequented a tavern such as this one even if she were.

Until just a few months ago, Lisette had lived all of her nineteen years in the French countryside, far away from any city, let alone Paris. It had been a shock for her to suddenly find herself living in such a place as this tavern, after the death of the couple she had believed to be her parents.

Believed to be her parents...

The truth of the matter had only emerged on the day of their funeral, when a carriage had arrived at their farm late that afternoon and a tall and haughty blonde woman had stepped down, a look of complete disdain on her face as she stepped carefully across the farmyard to the house.

Learning that this woman was actually her mother had been even more of a shock to Lisette than losing the couple she had believed to be her parents.

Helene Rousseau claimed Lisette had been fostered with the Duprées since she was a very young baby, and that they had been sent money every month for her upkeep.

Having never so much as set eyes on this woman before that day, Lisette had been disinclined to believe her at first. Although she could think of no reason why anyone would want to make such a false claim; Lisette was not rich, and even the Duprées’ farm had been left to their nephew rather than Lisette.

The reason for which had become obvious with the arrival of Helene Rousseau.

The older woman had clearly been prepared for Lisette’s disbelief and had brought letters with her that she had received every month from the Duprées, in relation to Lisette’s health and well-being.

It was the non-appearance of this month’s letter that had alerted Helene Rousseau to the fact that something was amiss on the Duprée farm; enquiries had informed her that both of the Duprées had died when a tree had fallen during a storm and landed on that part of the farmhouse where the Duprées’ bedchamber was situated.

Lisette had only needed to read three of those letters sent by the Duprées to Helene Rousseau to know that the older woman was telling the truth; Lisette was indeed the other woman’s illegitimate daughter.

What had followed still seemed like something of a dream to Lisette—or perhaps it might better be described as a nightmare?

Her belongings had all been quickly packed into a trunk—Helene Rousseau had disdained the idea of spending so much as a single night at the farm—after which Lisette had been bundled into the coach with the other woman before then travelling through the night to Paris.

If Helene Rousseau had found the sight and sounds of the farmyard unacceptable, then Lisette had been rendered numb by the noise and dirt of Paris as the carriage drove through the early morning streets.

Tradesmen were already about, hawking their wares amongst the people lying drunk in shop doors and alleyways, several overpainted and scantily dressed ladies slinking off into those same alleyways as the carriage passed by them.

The tavern Helene Rousseau owned and ran had been even more of a shock, situated as it was in one of the poorer areas of the city, with patrons to match.

It had been no hardship at all for Lisette to remain apart from such surroundings. To keep mainly in the bedchamber assigned to her by Helene—even all these weeks later Lisette could not think of the older woman as anything more than the woman who had given birth to her before then abandoning her for the next nineteen years. As far as Lisette was concerned, sending money for her daughter’s upkeep did not equate to love on Helene Rousseau’s part, only a sense of responsibility; the other woman had made no attempt in all of those years to actually see or speak with her daughter.

Given a choice, Lisette would not have travelled to Paris with Helene Rousseau at all. But she did not have a choice. How could she, when she had no money of her own, her foster parents were both dead and their nephew had made it clear that she could not continue to live on the farm once he had moved there with his wife and large family?

But within days of arriving in Paris, Lisette had come to hate it with a vengeance. It was smelly and dirty, and the people she occasionally met out in the streets or the tavern were not much better. And Helene Rousseau proved to be a cold and distant woman with whom Lisette had nothing in common but her birth.

There was also deep unrest still amongst the Parisian people, who had first had a king, then an emperor, then a king again, and then again an emperor, only for that emperor to then once again be deposed and their king returned to them.

Such things had not affected Lisette when she’d lived on the farm with the Duprées. There they had only been concerned with caring for the animals, and the setting of and then bringing in of the harvest each year.

But political intrigues seemed to abound in Paris, with neighbour speaking out against neighbour, often with dire consequences.

Lisette also strongly suspected there were meetings held in one of the private rooms above the tavern, in which that political unrest was avidly and passionately discussed. Meetings over which Helene Rousseau presided...

‘Then perhaps you might meet with me outside and join me for a late supper at my home when you have finished your work for the night...?’

Lisette’s eyes widened in shock as she looked up at the handsome gentleman who did not seem as if he should be in such a place as this lowly tavern at all, let alone asking one of the serving women if she would meet him for supper.

No doubt he was one of those gentlemen the Duprées had warned her of when she’d reached her sixteenth birthday and had shown signs of developing a womanly figure. Gentlemen who gave not a care if they disgraced an innocent, before continuing merrily on their way.

‘I am afraid that will not be possible, Monsieur la Comte—’ She broke off as the lavender-eyed Comte stepped forward to prevent her from leaving. ‘I must return to my work, monsieur,’ she insisted firmly.

Christian found that he had no wish for Lisette to return to her work. Indeed, he discovered he was not favourably inclined to this young and beautiful woman working in this tavern at all.

It was a lowly, bawdy place, where he had just observed a man thrusting his hand down the low-cut bodice of a barmaid’s gown, before popping that breast out completely so that he might fondle and suckle a rosy nipple. Where in another shadowy corner of the tavern he could see another couple, the woman’s skirts pushed up to her waist, the man’s breeches unfastened, as the two of them actually fornicated in front of all who cared to watch.

Christian, for all his previous sins, most certainly did not care to view so unpleasant a sight.

Indeed, he had begun to find the whole atmosphere of this tavern to be overly lewd and oppressive.

And this delicate woman certainly did not belong in such a place, no matter what her biological connection to the patroness might be.

He curled his fingers lightly about the slenderness of Lisette’s arm. ‘I will be waiting outside in my carriage for you to join me from midnight onwards—’

‘I cannot, monsieur.’ Her eyes had filled with alarm. ‘Tonight or any other night.’

‘I mean you no harm, Lisette.’ Christian sighed his frustration with her obvious distrust. ‘You must know that you do not belong here?’

Tears now swam in those exquisite blue eyes. ‘I have nowhere else to go, monsieur.’

Rescuing an obvious damsel in distress was not part of Christian’s mission. Indeed, his superiors in government would say it was the opposite of his purpose here. Most especially when that damsel was the niece of the woman—and quite possibly the daughter of the rabble-rouser André Rousseau?—he had come here to observe.

He released her arm reluctantly. ‘I will be waiting outside for you in my carriage from midnight anyway, just in case you should change your mind...’

‘I cannot, monsieur.’ She cast a furtive glance towards the kitchen as the door swung open and Helene Rousseau strode back into the noisy tavern, her shrewd eyes narrowing as she saw Christian and Lisette were still standing together in conversation. ‘I must go.’ Lisette stepped hastily away from him. ‘For your own sake, monsieur, I advise you do not come here again,’ she added in a whisper.

Christian considered that warning some minutes later as he sat in his carriage on the way back to his house beside the Seine, and he could come to only one conclusion.

That the lovely Lisette was frightened of her aunt...


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