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The Stranger's Embrace

380 pages5 hours


Wilhelmina Sinclair lives under crushing grief in the year since her husband’s ship sank off the French coast. Desperate for something to occupy her mind, she seeks solace in her friend Emma, and together they travel to Paris in an effort to free Emma’s relatives being held as political prisoners. Though Willa is fearless, often reckless, she is unprepared for the hell storm that is Paris in 1792, a city in thrall of the Revolution’s new toy: Madame Guillotine. Adding to the horror of the daily executions and the dread of arrest at any time, Willa attracts the attention of a mysterious masked man who stalks her relentlessly. Cloaked in black, he is known only as L’Etranger, The Stranger, Robespierre’s bloodhound and bodyguard, and the most dangerous man in France. What does he want of her? And why does his presence make her heartbeat quicken with anticipation, rather than fear, whenever he draws near?

L’Etranger remembers shouts of “Sabotage,” the fiery explosion of a ship, and the inrushing sea. All else, even the memory of his name, are claimed by the fire and the water, although he has a lingering pain of lost friends who surely died on that ship. He knows he must avenge their deaths. Using a mask to hide his gruesome scars, he makes his way to Paris and places himself close to Robespierre, the one man who can help him flesh out the truth and uncover the saboteur assassin: a traitor he assumes lies within the cabal of counterrevolutionaries. Then his secret life is threatened by the appearance of a woman, one who triggers his memories. He watches as she joins the ranks of the men he believes to harbor the saboteur, but revealing himself to her would not only compromise his position, it could expose his monstrous appearance. From the shadows, he soon realizes that she, his one true love, is in imminent danger. Every day brings her one step closer to the guillotine. He must somehow convince her to leave Paris, and if he cannot, he must help her in her quest, even if it means his own death.

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