Passion and the Past

By: Miranda Lee

Book 3 - Hearts of Fire





Dark secrets, forbidden desires, scandalous discoveries...

Welcome to a glittering new six-part saga set in Australia. This, and every novel in the set, features a gripping romance that stands by itself, as the passions, scandals and hopes that exist between two fabulously rich families are revealed. But you'll also find yourself hooked throughout the series, as Gemma Smith searches for the secret of her true identity and fights for ruthless seducer Nathan Whitmore's love....

Melanie was intensely attracted to Royce Grantham the moment he set his blue eyes upon her--which shocked her! She'd been so sure after the tragic end to her marriage that she could never feel anything for a man again. Would her determination not to repeat past mistakes prove stronger than the emotions that were aroused in her whenever she was with Royce?

Elsewhere in the Whitmore household, Gemma, Nathan's trusting young bride, had already been seduced--by passion. Now she was discovering the difference between Nathan's lust, and her love....





PRINCIPAL CHARACTERS IN THIS BOOK

GEMMA SMITH: On her father's death. Gemma discovered a magnificent black opal worth a small fortune, and an old photograph which casts doubt on her real identity. In quest of the truth and a new life, she goes to Sydney where she is seduced by and then married to Nathan Whitmore.

NATHAN WHITMORE: Adopted son of Byron Whitmore, Nathan is a talented playwright. After a troubled childhood and a divorce, Nathan is ruthless and utterly controlled. Will he ever be the loving caring husband of whom Gemma has dreamed?

MELANIE LLOYD: Housekeeper at Belleview, Melanie is emotionally dead after the tragic deaths of her husband and only child. She runs the house with cold efficiency, downplaying her striking looks so that no man will take an interest in her. . .until Royce Grantham strides into her life!

ROYCE GRANTHAM: A recently-retired world Formula One racing champion from Britain, he is travelling the world collecting rare objects of beauty and value. When he sets eyes on Melanie Lloyd, he has to have her, too —not realising her traumatic past, and the battle he has to win her love and trust. . .

AVA WHITMORE: Byron Whitmore's much younger sister, she struggles with her weight, spinsterhood and fear of failure.

BYRON WHITMORE: Recently widowed, he is the patriarch of the Whitmore household, and a stranger to love.

JADE WHITMORE: Jade, the only daughter of Byron and Irene (nee Campbell) Whitmore, used to be a wild child, until she joined Whitmore Opals and became assistant to Kyle Armstrong, the company's marketing head. Now she and Kyle are engaged to be married, and she is expecting his baby.

KYLE ARMSTRONG (Gainsford): The head of marketing at Whitmore Opals, Kyle has revealed himself to be the Tasmanian heir to Australia's largest fortune.

CELESTE CAMPBELL: The head of the Campbell Jewels empire. Celeste is not to be toyed with. Beautiful and predatory, with a heart that hides an old love that has twisted her vision. . .

DAMIAN CAMPBELL: Younger brother of Celeste, he is the sales and marketing manager for the Campbell Jewels empire. Interested only in self-gratification and sexual pleasure, he doesn't care whom he hurts in pursuit of love.





Miranda Lee is Australian, living near Sydney. Born and raised in the bush, she was boarding-school educated and briefly pursued a classical music career before moving to Sydney and embracing the world of computers. Happily married, with three daughters, she began writing when family commitments kept her at home. She likes to create stories that are believable, modern, fast-paced and sexy. Her interests include reading meaty sagas, doing word puzzles, gambling and going to the movies.

A Note to the Reader:

This novel is one of a series of six novels set in the glamorous, cut-throat world of Australian opal dealing. Each novel is independent and can be read on its own. It is the author's suggestion, however, that they be read in the order written.





THE STORY SO FAR. . .

After her father's death. Gemma Smith found a flawless black opal —which she sensed could be worth a fortune —and an old pho tograph which made her realise that she could be almost two years older than her father had led her to believe.

Gemma left the opal fields of the Outback for Sydney to find out more about her mother, who had died when Gemma was born, and fate introduced her to Nathan Whitmore, a successful playwright and the acting head of Whitmore Opals. Highly attracted to Gemma and struck by her vulnerability, Nathan offered her a reward for the black opal, which he had an inkling was stolen from Byron Whitmore, his adoptive father, twenty years ago, and a home and a job, first as 'minder' to his wayward teenage daughter, Kirsty, and then —when Gemma had mastered Japanese —on the sales for ce of Whitmore Opals. Gemma found herself falling for her new protector, though various members of the Whitmore household warned her that Nathan was a heartless seducer. Then, to her delight, Nathan proposed, though he insisted that their engagement be kept a secret. Gemma had doubts —how well did she know her husband-to-be, and would their marriage lead to the same kind of love and happiness that Nathan's adoptive sister, Jade, had found with Kyle Gainsford, who had hidden his real- life wealth while he worked as Whitmore's marketing manager? And still Gemma was no nearer to unravelling the secrets of her real origins, or that priceless black opal. . .

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