Dangerous Masquerade

The gulf water shimmered a blue green, almost turquoise color near the shore of white sand. "What's that out in the water?" Laurie pointed, seeking to draw his attention away from her.

"That's the lighthouse on Sand Island marking the mouth of Mobile Bay," Rian replied, a tinge of cynical amusement in his voice. "There's been a lighthouse there since 1838 to guide the ships to a safe anchorage. This side of the lighthouse and beyond is where the famous Battle of Mobile Bay took place during the war between the States. Admiral Farragut commanded the fleet of four Union ironclad monitors while eighteen wooden Confederate warships formed a battle line protecting the entrance. It was here that Farragut made his famous remark ‘Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!' The ironclads won and Mobile fell to the North." His hands settled on her shoulders, pulling her back against the hardness of his chest. "Haven't you ever wanted to say that? ‘Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!'"

For a moment, Laurie relaxed against him, glorying in the masculine nearness that swept her breath away, inhaling the scent of his maleness, totally intoxicated by his overpowering virility. In that one split second, she wanted to say, "Damn love," and give herself up to his capable hands. But the weakness didn't last as she swallowed back her desire for his touch.

"Perhaps if I were guaranteed the victory, I might," she answered calmly, relieved when Rian's hands dropped to his side. Her ships were wooden and it was Rian who commanded the ironclads. If there was ever a battle, the victory would be his.
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