An Improper Proposal by Patricia Cabot

By Patricia Cabot

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It was a collection he carried everywhere with him, and would show to anyone who had the bad luck to express the slightest interest in it. Payton could not help but feel a fierce satisfaction that the odious Miss Whitby should have fallen into her father's trap. Now she'd be spending the better part of an hour listening to Sir Henry drone on about calibers and the chemical composition of lead, something Payton would only wish upon her worst enemy. Miss Whitby being that enemy, she felt quite happy suddenly.

She certainly would never hesitate to hire him on as a mate when she finally got her own command. But dance with him? That was different. Still, it was only an invitation to dance, after all. He wasn't asking her to marry him, for pity's sake. So what was she waiting for? For him, a voice whispered in her head. For him. Right, she said to herself. Well, he is marrying Miss Whitby in the morrow, so you'd better bloody well set your sights elsewhere, missy. “Yes, thank you, Mr. Hayford,” she said politely.

Over my dead body,” he declared, ”are you ever going to command a Dixon ship. “ “And why not? “ She narrowed her eyes as she glanced in Raleigh's direction. “For all he spent most of those years hopelessly lost. “ Looking up once again from the window, Raleigh informed her kindly, ”I wasn't lost, my dear. I was exploring previously uncharted territory. There's a difference. “ “You were lost, Raleigh. Your cargo rotted while you were floundering about, trying to find your way around the Cape of Good Hope.

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