About the Book:
A ruthless mercenary skilled in the art of conquest.
An heiress who refuses to be tamed.
The Devil’s own bargain . . .
Cara di Montessori has a price upon her head. Her traitorous uncle has murdered her father and seized her home. Her only hope of survival, and of regaining her birthright, is an alliance with her childhood nemesis, the infamous mercenary Il Diavolo. The most irritating—and seductive—man Cara’s ever met.
Battle hardened and world-weary, Alessandro del Sarto has earned the sobriquet Il Diavolo. He needs a politically expedient marriage to secure the lasting peace he craves,
but the simpering ladies of court hold little interest. More than anything, he longs for a challenge.
Headstrong beauty Cara has always been Il Diavolo’s only weakness, the one woman he’s never been able to forget. When she appears at his door begging for help, the two strike a devil’s bargain. In return for his assistance, for two weeks Cara must entertain his guests, relieve his boredom—and warm his bed.
Cara has no intention of succumbing to del Sarto’s studied seduction, but the passion that simmers between them is more potent than her paper twists of gunpowder. Surrounded by danger and intrigue, she must choose between what she’s always thought of as her destiny, and what could be the greatest prize of all—her heart’s desire.
Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link: The Devil To Pay
Kate Bateman, writing as K. C. Bateman, is the #1 bestselling author of Regency and Renaissance historical romances, including the Secrets & Spies series:To Steal a Heart, A Raven’s Heart and A Counterfeit Heart. Her books feature feisty, intelligent heroines, (badasses in bodices!) wickedly inappropriate banter, and heroes you want to both strangle and kiss. When not writing, Kate leads a double life as a fine art appraiser and on-screen antiques expert for several TV shows in the UK. She currently lives in Illinois with a number-loving husband and three inexhaustible children, and regularly returns to her native England ‘for research.’
Author email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Author website: www.kcbateman.com
Amazon Author Page: https://amazon.com/author/kcbateman
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/kcbatemanauthor/
Read an Excerpt:
Central Italy, June 1492.
Cara di Montessori was sick of people trying to kill her.
As a child she’d trailed her father through some of the most godforsaken places in Christendom, so it had been a rare week that hadn’t included a scimitar-wielding Saracen or bloodthirsty Moor trying to send her to the afterlife. But familiarity with the experience did not make it any more enjoyable. And besides, those instances had been impersonal, only to be expected of campaigning, whereas this attempt was personal in the extreme. ‘Uncle’ Lorenzo did not want her alive to dispute his seizure of Castelleon.
His men were proving annoyingly persistent. He must have offered a ransom to keep them on her tail, and though Cara doubted her life was worth a great deal, everyone had their price. In truth, she was staking her life on that very premise, about to make a pact with the Devil himself.
If she could reach him.
Alessandro del Sarto, ‘Il Diavolo,’ was the last person in Italy she would have chosen to ask for help, but engaging his dubious talents was her only hope of staying alive and regaining her home. He was condottiero. A killer for hire.
Cara wrinkled her nose in distaste. Mercenary described both del Sarto’s profession and his nature. Il Diavolo sold himself to the highest bidder. He didn’t care which side won or lost, or whether the cause was worth fighting for, only whether the victor could pay his exorbitant fees. Every monarch in Europe wanted him. And now she needed him, too.
‘Better to dance with the devil you know,’ Father used to say. Well, she hadn’t seen this particular devil in six long years, not since she was sixteen. He’d knocked her on her backside, then kissed her until she’d seen stars. She’d threatened to kill him in return. He’d haunted her dreams ever since.
Cara shivered. She hated being cold. At least if she ended up in hell for bartering her soul she’d be warm. She nudged her exhausted horse forward and wished—for perhaps the hundredth time—that she’d stolen a mount with a better saddle. The urge to slump over the animal’s scrawny neck was so strong. She hadn’t eaten for two days, hadn’t dared stop for more than an hour at most. Every jolt of the animal’s hooves reopened the wound at her ribs and brought a fresh wave of dizziness and pain. Perchance the quick slash of an assassin’s blade would be preferable to dying slowly of blood loss?
No. She would reach Il Diavolo. She had hundreds of things she wanted to do before leaving this world, and she’d hardly managed to achieve any of them. Quite apart from avenging her father’s death and regaining her home, she planned on dying a wrinkled old crone in a nice warm bed, surrounded by a huge and loving family. A young, heroic death was all very well in principle, but it looked extremely unappealing now it was a distinct possibility.
Whirling lights crowded her vision like fireflies and Cara shook her head. The stumbling horse crested a rise, and she let out a breathless prayer of thanks. There it was, outlined against the deepening twilight; Torre di San Rocco, the fortified city strongold of Italy’s most infamous son.
Cara kicked the horse into an exhausted trot. She would reach Il Diavolo, or die trying.
Worldwide Giveaway (print or ebook):
Kate Bateman has generously offered a signed copy of The Devil to Pay to one commentor, or, for those who prefer, an ebook of any K C Bateman book. Simply comment below, answering this question: What is Il Diavolo’s given name?