Scandals and Secrets

By: Miranda Lee

Book 5 - Hearts of Fire





Celeste Campbell had lived on her hatred of Byron Whitmore for twenty years. Revenge was sweet--until news reached her that Byron was considering remarriage. Suddenly she found she could no longer deny all those long-buried feelings for him. Worse, she knew she wouldn't stop at desire!

Nathan, however, had convinced himself that was exactly where Gemma's feelings for him ended. Though when Gemma overheard him talking with his ex-wife, Lenore, as if they were lovers, she knew for certain just how much she had always really cared about Nathan ....





PRINCIPAL CHARACTERS IN THIS BOOK

GEMMA SMITH WHITMORE: when her father dies, Gemma discovers a magnificent black opal worth a small fortune, and an old photograph, which casts doubt on her real identity. In search of the truth, she goes to Sydney. Fate introduces her to Nathan Whitmore, who seduces then marries her.

NATHAN WHITMORE: adopted son of Byron Whitmore, Nathan suffered a troubled childhood and is now ruthless and emotionally controlled. Will he ever be the loving, caring husband Gemma craves?

CELESTE CAMPBELL: head of Campbell Jewels, her beauty and business acumen make her a woman not to be toyed with. But she carries a torch for an old love, and an inner pain borne of a terrible event twenty years ago ..

BYRON WHITMORE: patriarch of the Whitmore family, his unhappy, loveless marriage came to a tragic end. His ambition has always been greater than his sexual desire ...

DAMIAN CAMPBELL: younger brother of Celeste, Damian abuses his position in the Campbell Jewels empire. He is only interested in self- gratification and sexual pleasure ...

LENORE LANGTRY: ex-wife of Nathan Whitmore and mother to Kirsty, Lenore is a talented stage actress, who has found love with top Sydney lawyer, Zachary Marsden. Though she still also maintains a close relationship with Nathan.

AVA WHITMORE: Byron's much younger sister, Ava has blossomed and is now engaged to handsome Australian-Italian businessman, Vince Morelli.





THE STORY SO FAR ...

After her father's death, Gemma leaves the outback for Sydney, to reveal the truth about her mother, and to sell her priceless discovery - a flawless black opal. Fate introduces her to Nathan Whitmore, who offers her a reward for the gem, which was stolen from his adoptive father, Byron Whitmore, twenty years ago. Highly attracted to Gemma's vulnerability, Nathan sets about seducing Gemma, then marries her. Gemma's life is turned upside-down.

As a new bride, Gemma witnesses startling changes in the Whitmore household: Nathan's adoptive sister, Jade, has discovered happiness with billionaire Kyle Gainsford, whilst Melanie, the family housekeeper, has let go of her traumatic memories to marry Royce Grantham. Ava, Byron's previously overweight and lonely younger sister, has found the love of her life in handsome, caring Australian-Italian businessman, Vince Morelli. But where does that leave Gemma and Nathan? There are so many rumors and doubts which Gemma cannot ignore, including the disturbing things Damian Campbell has let slip to her about Nathan's troubled past ...





CHAPTER ONE

CELESTE was turning for her twentieth lap when a glimpse of male legs standing at the end of the pool brought her to a gasping halt, water-filled eyes snapping upwards.

'Good God, Damian,' she said irritably once she'd caught her breath and found her feet. 'You frightened the life out of me.'

Her brother laughed. 'Nothing and no one can frighten the life out of you, Celeste. What on earth did you think I was? A rapist?' He laughed again. 'I would pity any poor rapist who set his sights on you, sister, dear. I know who it'd be ending up on his back.'

Celeste flashed her brother a coolly reproachful glance as she stroked over to the wall, intuition telling her he was referring to her reputation as a man- eater, not complimenting her on her martial arts skills. Damian delighted in delivering sarcastic little barbs her way. In that respect he was very much like Irene.

Dismay and irritation mingled to rattle Celeste momentarily. If there was one person she didn't like thinking about it was her half-sister. Irene's death last year might have lessened the feelings of hostility and hatred Celeste had harbored against Irene all these years, but thinking about her inevitably led to thinking about another person, who was unfortunately very much alive.

'What do you want, Damian?' she snapped, her nerves suddenly on edge. 'It's not like you to surface on a Saturday till at least mid-afternoon. When you come home on a Friday night at all, that is.'

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