The Rogue's Fortune

Miniseries: The Highest Bidder
Harlequin Desire, November 2012

eISBN: 9781459244733

Elizabeth Minerva tries to steer clear of legendary adventurer Roark Black and focus on her career and her attempts at motherhood. But the rakish treasure hunter can help her in her quest to be a single mom, if she'll do him one tiny favor....

To save his beloved auction house and his own reputation from ruin, Roark needs to settle down fast--with a sensible woman. After a six-month "engagement," he and Elizabeth can go their separate ways.

But Roark knows priceless objects, and Elizabeth is the real deal. Now he intends to keep any means necessary


“Well, hello.”

She’d almost managed to forget about Roark Black in the ten minutes she’d been dealing with Brenda, but here he was, less than five feet away, leaning his broad shoulder against one of the two-foot-wide columns that supported the ceiling.

Damn. Up close the energy of the man was astonishing. He practically oozed lusty masculinity and danger. He’d forgone the traditional bow tie with his tux and left the top buttons undone on his white shirt. Rakish and sexy, he set her pulse to purring.

You swore off bad boys forever, remember?

And Roark Black was as bad a bad boy as they got. Even his name gave her the shivers.

Yet earlier, there’d she’d stood, daydreaming about what it would be like to slide her fingers through his thick wavy hair. Brown in color, the shade reminded her of her great aunt’s sheared beaver coat. She’d loved the sensual drag of the soft fur against her bare skin.

“Can I get you something?” she asked.

One side of his mouth lifted. “I thought you’d never ask.”

His tone invited her to smile at his flirting. His eyes dared her to strip off her black dress and give him a glimpse of what lay beneath.

She swallowed hard. “Is there something you need?” The second the question passed her lips, she wished it back. Was she trying to play into his hands?


“Elizabeth.” She shoved out her hand all professional like. “Elizabeth Minerva. I’m your event planner.”

She expected him to take her hand in a bone-crushing grip. Instead, he cupped it, turned her palm upward and dragged his left forefinger down the middle of it. Her body went on full alert like a state penitentiary with a missing prisoner.

“Roark.” He peered at her palm, the skin glazed blue by the indirect lighting that illuminated the space. “Roark Black. You have a very curvy…” His attention shifted and the next thing Elizabeth knew, she was drowning in his penetrating gaze. “Head line.”
 “A what?” Her dry mouth prevented anything more from emerging.

“Head line.” His fingertip retraced its invigorating journey across her palm. “See here. A curvy head line means you like to play with new ideas. Do you, Elizabeth?”

“Do I what?” The air in the loft had grown thin in the last sixty seconds. Lightheaded, she was having trouble getting enough oxygen.

“Do you like playing with new ideas?”

Bad boy. Bad boy.

Elizabeth cleared her throat and retrieved her hand in a short jerk that made Roark’s crooked smile widen and heat rush to her face.

“I like creating unique party spaces, if that’s what you mean.”

It wasn’t. His smirk told her so.

“I like what you’ve done with the place.”

More comfortable talking about her job than herself, Elizabeth crossed her arms over her chest and surveyed all she’d accomplished in the last twenty-four hours.

“There wasn’t much to it when I got started. Just a concrete floor and white walls. And those incredible arched windows with that spectacular view.” She pointed out the latter, hoping to steer his unnerving stare away from her.

“I heard you came up with the idea of a slideshow to honor Tyler.”

Tyler Banks had died the year before. A thoroughly disliked human being, no one had any idea that he’d been behind twenty percent of all major New York City charitable donations in the last decade.

“While he was alive, he might not have wanted anyone to know all the wonderful things he’d done, but so many people were helped by his generosity. I thought he deserved a proper tribute.”

“Beautiful and smart.” His eyes devoured her. “Okay, I’m hooked.”

And so was she. Naturally. Bad boys were the bane of her romantic existence. The worse they were, the more she wanted them.

From everything she’d heard and read about Roark Black, she’d expected him to be an arrogant, unprincipled jerk. Gorgeous and sexy, to be sure, but with questionable ethics. The sort of guy she’d have tumbled head over high heels for a year ago.

But after what had happened with Colton last October, she’d sworn on her sister’s grave that she was done with all bad boys.