What the Hart Wants - Fiona Davenport


Perthshire, Scotland


“I’m not jesting, sir. You’re now the thirteenth Duke Molineux.”

Fraser drained his glass. The amber liquid burned his throat, and he choked and slammed the glass on the desk.

“Is the brandy not to your taste, Your Grace?”

The lawyer gave Fraser a look of smug disdain, no doubt considering whether a Highlander was fit to be called a duke rather than a savage.

“I prefer moonshine myself, Mr. Simpkins,” he said.


Ma leaned forward; her brow furrowed with disapproval. Despite her age, she was still a good-looking woman, but the presence of the black-clad cockroach of a lawyer, come to seek profit from the death of a distant relation, had tempered her good humor. Or was it the fact that Fraser had alluded to the illicit activities upon which their livelihood depended?

The woman sitting beside Ma bore a different look altogether. Though a beauty, with hair as golden as hay in the sunshine, and eyes the color of heather, her expression reeked of ambition. Jennifer—beautiful, lush Jennifer—who’d parted her thighs more times than he’d corked bottles of moonshine.

Ma’s face had twisted with horror as the lawyer related the fate of the twelfth duke. But Jennifer’s expression betrayed her greed. Jennifer used sex for her own ends. She’d taken many lovers, pitting one rival against another to heighten their desire. But, on hearing that her current lover had inherited a title, her expression had changed from the indifference of a woman who toyed with a man’s heart, to the hunger of a woman seeking a prize.

And that prize was him. There was nothing like the prospect of being a duchess to renew a weary woman’s vigor. Doubtless, she’d offer him the usual delights, which he’d sampled in her bedchamber, on this very desk and, if he recalled rightly, three times against the oak-paneled wall of the minstrels’ gallery.

But never against the rock of his homeland, the hard granite which pulsed with the lifeblood of the highlands. He’d save that for the woman who won his heart if such a woman existed.

But now was not the time to think of rutting. Before him lay the unpleasant duty of seeing to an English estate crippled by debt, if the newspapers were to be believed, and clouded by scandal. According to Simpkins, the twelfth duke had possessed tastes rivaling the Marquis de Sade, had drunk and whored himself into near-bankruptcy, and finally met his maker after falling out of the top floor window of a brothel.

With a sigh, Fraser signed the document.

“Excellent,” the lawyer said. “Perhaps we might schedule our next appointment at my offices in London once you’re settled at Clayton House.”

“Why would I want to go there?”

“To assume your responsibilities, of course,” the lawyer said. “It’s the Molineux London residence. You must be anxious to begin overseeing the estate, and my fees are very reasonable.”

The lawyer licked his lips in a gesture, almost mirroring Jennifer’s.

Another individual who viewed him as a prize.

“You imagine incorrectly, Simpkins,” he said.

“But, sir,” the lawyer said, his features now showing desperation, “these matters need to be settled.”

“And they shall,” Fraser said, “in a manner, and at a time, of my choosing. Not yours.”


“Be so good as to leave the papers with me, Simpkins,” he said. “My mother will show you to the door.”

Ma rose to her feet and ushered the cockroach out.

Jennifer’s smile broadened, and she leaned forward and ran a fingertip along the edge of her gown, dipping it into the valley between her breasts.

“I think, my love, it’s time for a celebration.”

Did she think he’d offer for her now he was a duke? If she thought to use him, she’d discover he was a much better player at that particular game.

But for the present, her willing body would prove a pleasant diversion.

With a smile, he rose to his feet, not bothering to disguise the bulge in his breeches, and swept aside the contents of the desk.

Chapter One

Clayton House, London


“Have you missed me?”

Lilah held out her hand, and the bird flew toward her and settled on her finger, dipping its head as if in welcome.

One of the few remaining souls in a crumbling ruin which had been abandoned for four years.

But that crumbling ruin provided Lilah with a haven from the incessant noise generated by her family who, now she’d embarked on her first season, insisted on trying to teach her propriety.

Especially Dexter. Though Lilah loved her brother dearly, the increase in his fortunes had come hand-in-hand with a disproportionate increase in his desire to elevate their status in