Here’s a bit about the story. You can also scroll down for an exclusive extract from the book.
Sir Robert Mallory thinks the young woman he encounters, who is dressed as a boy, is a pickpocket and a prostitute. He soon discovers that the delectable Chloe is, in fact, the illegitimate daughter of a man to whom he owes a great deal of money. Things go from bad to worse when she’s kidnapped by traitors to the crown.
Robert is faced with an impossible choice. He’s desperate to save Chloe, but if he follows his heart, the security of the entire realm is at risk.
Here is a exclusive extract from the book.
“How shall we occupy the next hour?”
There was a glint in his eyes that belied his claim of exhaustion. A predatory glint.
She backed toward the door. “I hope you’re not having any lascivious thoughts, sir. I’ve told you time and time again that I’m not what you think.”
He followed her and as she reached for the latch, his hand came over hers. “Pray, don’t decamp just yet, Mistress. You have not yet explained your presence at Mistress Riviere’s, nor why you were dressed as a boy one moment and a charming woman the next. I beg you, indulge me. Fill my empty moments by telling me your story.”
Curse it! He was far too close, his blue eyes alight with mischief. And with promise. She gulped.
“Step back, sir. You’re trying to take advantage of me. If I saved your life tonight, you should be showing me your gratitude, not… not looming over me.” And not looking like he wanted to kiss her, threatening to reawaken all those wicked imaginings she’d had earlier.
“Was I looming? My apologies. So, are you going to tell me what you were doing in that house of ill repute?”
“Certainly not, as it’s none of your business.”
He tipped his head on one side. “If you are a whore, you’re the most reticent I’ve ever encountered.”
Why did his gaze keep sliding toward her mouth? It was most unsettling.
She pushed her shoulders back. “I’ve told you so many times that I am not. You should accept the word of a lady.”
“If you are a lady, then who are your people? Who are your family, and whither are you bound?”
He was looming even more. So close, she could feel his breath on her face. And there was no space for retreat. Placing a hand firmly on his chest, she gave him a push, but he was immovable. Instead, the rogue placed his palm over hers and came even closer.
Time for the knee again? She rather thought it was. But before she could move, he’d wrapped his arms tightly around her, pulling her against him.
“Nothing to say, Madam Mystery?” His lips teased her ear.
She tried to speak, but her voice lodged in her throat. A giddy sensation of excitement washed over her as she stood quivering in his arms, fascinated to discover what he’d do next. The strength and power that emanated from him both comforted and alarmed her. Protection, safety, danger. She wriggled, only to find his arms tightening around her.
He pulled his head back a little, and she was able to focus on his face. His gaze had darkened and a smile played about his lips.
“I find staring death in the face has a way of making one feel gloriously alive—as if one’s continued existence was a gift not to be squandered. As if there isn’t a single moment to lose. Tell me, didn’t besting that blackguard stir your blood, just a little?”
She shook her head. It had been terrifying. Particularly when he’d pointed his weapon back at her.
“But you were magnificent.” Even though Sir Robert was holding her less tightly now, her limbs had turned to water, and she couldn’t have escaped had she wanted to. Did she still want to escape?
He twined a curl of hair behind her ear and stroked her cheek. Suddenly, she remembered she was wearing only her thin summer nightgown. Far too little to shield her body from his. He must be able to feel her breasts pushing up against him—it would incite him, would it not?
What else had her mother taught her about evading the attentions of a lustful man? Frantically, she searched her memory, struggling to pull together her scattered thoughts. Sir Robert, meanwhile, was gazing at her mouth again, a hungry smile on his lips.
Go limp. That was it. Go limp and slide down, out of the grasp of your over-amorous suitor.
Well, it might work with the clientele at Mistress Riviere’s when they overstepped the mark, but they didn’t have the reflexes of Sir Robert Mallory. The instant she relaxed, he scooped her up and held her across his body.
“You’re not about to swoon on me, are you? Mayhap you’d better lie down.” He carried her to the bed and laid her atop the cover.
Nay! If she lay down, she’d be completely at his mercy. But when she struggled to sit up, he pressed her shoulders back against the mattress, then lowered his head and touched his lips to hers.
It was the briefest of touches, but it calmed her fears and, at the same time, ignited a curiosity within her. Her treacherous body demanded more.
“Sweet as sugared rose petals. I would taste you again.” His voice was as soft as the caress of his lips.
She should turn her head aside, or fight—or even scream. But she did none of these things. She merely gazed into his admiring eyes and wondered what was to follow.
“No complaint, Mistress?” He brushed her lips with the tip of his tongue, and they tingled in response.
Nothing to complain of as yet.
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