Counterfeit Hearts


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The Bank spent thousands of pounds to secure these executions, and in some years, such as , this amounted to more than was lost through forgery. Almost one third of all executions at this time were for forgery, but the vast majority of these were concentrated in the post-Napoleonic war period, when economic depression and the demobilization of thousands of troops and sailors produced ever greater incentives for the forger.

In , when almost 30, fake banknotes were in circulation, public sympathy for the hapless plebeian forger led to numerous acquittals. Doubts were regularly expressed about the competence of the Bank of England in recognizing a fake from the real banknote, and the topic features in many of the satirical cartoons of the time. Richard and Sabine, the hero and heroine in A Counterfeit Heart , make use of the printing press and premises of such an engraver in the story. The print below shows a poor forger pleading with Bank of England directors who are examining a bank note.

As the speech bubbles make clear, behind their callous bluster is dire ineptitude:. And this cartoon, by the well-known satirical illustrator George Cruickshank, also shows forged notes, and hints at the fact that paper currency was often considered untrustworthy in comparison to solid gold coins. Johnny Bull and his Forged Notes!! Sidebotham, January British Museum Satires Courtesy Trustees of the British Museum.

Secrets and Spies

In France, too, forgery was a very serious offence. La loi punit de mort le contrefacteur. Here are some examples of both real and forged early 19th century banknotes:. A real Bank of England bank note, one pound. A real British Banknote from one pound note with printed serials and date, signed in ink by the cashier.

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The initial plan was to drop the notes by plane over Britain to bring about a collapse of the British economy. What if one of his forgers was a feisty young woman named Sabine de la Tour? What would she do with a fortune in fake money? A Counterfeit Heart is my answer. A feisty counterfeiter and a cocky British agent clash in this sultry Secrets and Spies novel by K.

Bateman, whose witty, intelligent, and sexy historical romances have become her signature. As Sabine de la Tour tosses piles of forged banknotes onto a bonfire in a Paris park, she bids a reluctant farewell to her double life as a notorious criminal. Richard Hampden, Viscount Lovell, is prepared to take any risk to safeguard England from the horrors of the French Revolution. But when a cheeky, gamine-faced beauty proves herself to be Lacorte, Richard is shocked—and more than a little aroused. Unlike the debutantes who so often hurl themselves at him, this cunning minx offers a unique and irresistible challenge.

Richard will help her. But in return, he wants something that even Sabine cannot fake. Fan the paper out. You need to let the air get to it. Sabine de la Tour sent her best friend Anton Carnaud an exasperated glance and tossed another bundle of banknotes onto the fire. It smoldered then caught with a bright flare, curling and charring to nothing in an instant. Pass me some rubles. Another fat wad joined the conflagration. Little spurts of green and blue jumped up as the flames consumed the ink.

The intensity of the fire heated her cheeks so she stepped back and tilted her head to watch the glowing embers float up into the night sky. It was a fitting end, really. Almost like a funeral pyre, the most damning evidence of Philippe Lacorte, notorious French counterfeiter, going up in smoke. Sabine quelled the faintest twinge of regret and glanced over at Anton. Doing the right thing for once. He shook his head. Sabine nudged his shoulder, well used to his grumbling. This is our chance to turn over a new leaf.

Anton added another sheaf of banknotes to the blaze with a pained expression. Seems only fair we should get to spend it. No one would know. Your fakes are so good nobody can tell the difference. Anton rolled his eyes. Anton sniffed, unimpressed by anything that came from the opposite—and therefore wrong—side of the channel. He sprinkled a handful of assignats onto the flames. Anton shot her a teasing, pitying glance. Everyone knows the English are mad. The French half of you knows what fun we could have. You listen to the English half.

The half that wants to keep my neck firmly attached to my shoulders instead of in a basket in front of the guillotine? She bit her lip as a wave of guilt assailed her. Anton was only in danger of losing his head because of her. Now, with Napoleon exiled on St Helena and Savary, head of the Secret Police, also banished, General Malet was the only one who knew about the existence of the fake fortune the Emperor had amassed to fill his coffers. Anton frowned into the flames.

The pink glow highlighted his chiseled features and Sabine studied him dispassionately. She knew him too well to harbor any romantic feelings about him, but there was no doubt he had a very handsome profile. Unfortunately, it was a profile that General Malet could recognize all too easily. We have enough money to get us as far as London. Anton gave a frustrated huff and pointed at the fire. She shot him a warning scowl. We are not using the fakes. Its high time we started doing things legally. Sabine let out a faint, frustrated sigh. Her heart beat in her throat at the thought of him.

Richard Hampden, Viscount Lovell. Anton rolled his eyes. Anton sniffed, unimpressed by anything that came from the opposite—and therefore wrong—side of the channel. He sprinkled a handful of assignats onto the flames.

Anton shot her a teasing, pitying glance. Everyone knows the English are mad. The French half of you knows what fun we could have. You listen to the English half. The half that wants to keep my neck firmly attached to my shoulders instead of in a basket in front of the guillotine? She bit her lip as a wave of guilt assailed her. Anton was only in danger of losing his head because of her. Now, with Napoleon exiled on St Helena and Savary, head of the Secret Police, also banished, General Malet was the only one who knew about the existence of the fake fortune the Emperor had amassed to fill his coffers.

Anton frowned into the flames.

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Twin Hearts w/ Counterfeit Youth

The pink glow highlighted his chiseled features and Sabine studied him dispassionately. She knew him too well to harbor any romantic feelings about him, but there was no doubt he had a very handsome profile. Unfortunately, it was a profile that General Malet could recognize all too easily. We have enough money to get us as far as London. Anton gave a frustrated huff and pointed at the fire. She shot him a warning scowl. We are not using the fakes.

Its high time we started doing things legally. Sabine let out a faint, frustrated sigh. Her heart beat in her throat at the thought of him. Richard Hampden, Viscount Lovell. He, of anyone, had come closest to unmasking her. Sabine had squinted, trying to make out his features, but all she could see was that he was tall; he ducked to enter the low doorway. She raised her eyebrows. So this was the relentless Lord Lovell.

Counterfeit

Not for the first time she cursed her short-sightedness. Too many hours of close-work meant that anything over ten feet was frustratingly blurry. He moved closer, further into the shop—and into knee-weakening, stomach-flipping focus. Sabine caught her breath. Technically, Anton had been correct. Richard Hampden was over six feet tall with mid-brown hair. But those basic facts failed to convey the sheer magnetic presence of his lean, broad-shouldered frame. There was no spare fat around his lean hips, no unhealthy pallor to his skin.

He moved like water, with a liquid grace that suggested quietly restrained power, an animal at the very peak of fitness.


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Anton had guessed his age as between twenty-eight and thirty-five. Certainly, Hampden was no young puppy; his face held the hard lines and sharp angles of experience rather than the rounded look of boyhood.

Sabine studied the elegant severity of his dark blue coat, the pale knee breeches outlining long, muscular legs. There was nothing remarkable in the clothes themselves to make him stand out in a crowd, and yet there was something about him that commanded attention. That drew the eye, and held it. Her life often hinged on the ability to correctly identify dangerous men. Every sense she possessed told her that the man talking with Anton was very dangerous indeed.


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  • Sabine pressed her forehead to the rough planks and swore softly. The Englishman turned, almost as if he sensed her lurking behind the door, and everything inside her stilled. Something—an instant of awareness, almost of recognition—shot through her as she saw his face in full.

    Disturbing, jumbled dreams in which she was always running, he pursuing. Sabine shook her head at her own foolishness. It was just her luck to conceive an instant attraction to the least suitable man in Europe. The thought of facing him again made her shiver with equal parts anticipation and dread, but he was the obvious answer to her current dilemma.

    He had money; she needed funds. At least now she was prepared. Sabine drew her cloak more securely around her shoulders and watched Anton feed the rest of the money to the flames.

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    The embers fluttered upwards like a cloud of glowing butterflies. When this was all over she would be like a phoenix. She would live a normal life. But not yet. There was still too much to do. There was something rather pathetic in the fact that her whole life fit into one single valise, but she squared her shoulders and glanced over at Anton. Before someone sees the smoke and decides to investigate.

    Books pulled from the shelves, paintings ripped from the walls, canvases torn. Old maps shredded, drawers pulled out and upended. Their home, her sanctuary for the past eight years, had been utterly ransacked. But there had been triumph amid the loss. Malet had found neither Anton nor the money. And if Sabine had anything to do with it, he never would.

    Anton hefted the two bags of English banknotes that had been spared the flames as Sabine turned her back on Paris. For the first time in eight long years she was free. It was time to track down Lord Lovell. Kate Bateman writing as K. He still owes her that dollar.

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