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The Gardener - Historical Heroes box set

My book, The Gardener, has now been included in a six book box set (published under my other writing name of Juliette Banks), along with five other seductive historical romances. Here is the beginning of the book to whet your appetite!

Surrey, England, 1804

Kate squeezed under the overhanging branches of the laurel bush until she was hidden from the sight of anyone passing by. She wanted to see, but not to be seen. She fervently hoped that Barnes, the gardener, would walk past today, and if she was fortunate, he might even stop nearby. The fact that she had waited for three consecutive days and had not seen anyone pass, let alone the attractive man who had worked in her father's garden for the past year, did not deter her. Surely, he would have to pass this way at some time during the afternoon? All she had to do was wait and her patience would be rewarded.

Today she was in luck. After just twenty minutes of a rather boring wait on a hot, summer's afternoon, she heard the distinctive noise of the squeaky wheelbarrow that Barnes used all the time to carry his tools and plants coming her way. She gently pushed aside a couple of leaves and peered through the small gap, her heart beating furiously in her chest for fear of being caught. All she wanted to do was to look at him. She would be mortified if he, or anyone else, caught her doing that.

The squeaking barrow suddenly stopped just feet from the laurel bush and Kate held her breath, lest she be heard. She saw Barnes take a swig from a bottle of water he was carrying and then wipe his mouth on the sleeve of his shirt. He had his back to her and even though he wore a shirt, Kate could see the ripple of his muscles as he raised and lowered the glass bottle, and it caused a shiver to run down her spine. That man was too darned good looking for his own good.

Kate knew that she would be missed by now and if she didn't get back to the house soon she would be in trouble. But as long as Barnes remained stationery just feet away from her there was no way that she could move, without the humiliation of being caught in her undercover observations.

Barnes turned towards the laurel bush and for a moment, Kate thought that he had seen her. His eyes seemed to bore straight into hers for a second or two, before they moved away and towards someone shouting from the big lawn in front of the house.

"Catherine, Catherine, where are you? Come here, you tiresome girl."

Kate recognized the voice of her aunt as it came closer to the shrubbery where Kate was hiding.

"Ah, Barnes, have you seen Miss Winters," her aunt asked. "I've been searching for her everywhere."

"No Madam, I've not seen her today at all. Perhaps she is in the field at the back of the house. There is a new foal and I saw her looking at it yesterday. A pretty little thing it is, and Miss Winters seemed quite taken with it."

"Very well, I will look there. If you see her, Barnes, please tell her to come back to the house at once. Her uncle is most displeased with her."

"Certainly Madam."

All went quiet as Kate's aunt left the shrubbery and headed towards the back of the house. There was silence for a moment—broken when the gardener spoke aloud. "You can come out now, Miss. Your aunt has left."

Kate froze. Barnes had seen her there after all. Now she had to face the humiliation of walking out in front of him. She pushed aside the branches of the laurel and stepped out into the open in front of the gardener, trying, but failing, to look nonchalant, as though she had a very good reason to be lurking in the bushes. He had an amused expression on his face.

"Did you like what you saw?"

Note: the books in this box set come under the heading of erotic romance, and contain sexual acts and spanking. If this offends you, please do not buy this box set.

The other authors included in the box set (for the great price of US $5.99 or UK £4.80) are Vanessa Brooks, Louise Taylor, Adrienne Blake, Maryse Dawson and Alyssa Bailey.

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