on January 11th 2017
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When duty and honor call, the heart must decide if love is stronger.
Three months have passed since Lady Emmaline Darling left her lover and fellow adventurer, Miles. Not certain she’s in love with him, they’re bonded in a miraculous way—she’s enceinte. Yet, despite his promises to write and make plans, there’s been nothing but silence. When she discovers he’s lied and has been out of pocket on a secret mission for the Crown, she’s convinced she can go it alone despite the scandal—and he can’t be trusted enough to know her secret hope.
Watching Emmaline slip from his life with his daughter broke his heart, but as fifth Earl of Archewyne, Miles Lawrence Hawkins’ responsibility to England called louder than his heartstrings, as does the lingering hope to bring Lord Leventhorpe’s killer to light. While chasing a faction of Bonaparte sympathizers intent on starting war anew using an obscure relic of great power, his fate crosses Emmaline’s—and she’s as volatile as the earthquake that puts them both in peril.
They strike a tentative peace, for the opportunity to adventure—and to survive—together is stronger than their hurt feelings. Mutual need collides in the course of duty, but before the state of their hearts can be realized, fate, with danger as a companion, intervenes. With betrayal, insidious peril and a killer lurking, finding their happy ending will be a harrowing prospect indeed, but adventure—and love—doesn’t come without risk.
Emmaline’s breath warmed his jaw as she tilted her head up to maintain eye contact. “Is that what you assume, that now we’re back in each other’s company I’ll fall into your arms and grant you access?” She rested a palm on his chest, holding him off, her cold words hovering in the empty room.
He frowned. Had her mutual regard truly waned? “I don’t mean to ravish you right at this moment, but I had thought to celebrate this moment with a kiss.” What the devil was wrong with her? “After all,” he rested a forearm on the books near her head and leaned into her softness, “I haven’t seen you in eighty-four days and a handful of hours. We parted in high emotion.Is it so hard to believe I’ve missed you, that you are always in the back of my mind and the memory of you haunts my dreams?” How did he tell her that he was never lonelier than sitting in the middle of a library or university while poring through ancient, dusty tomes because the very scent of the pages and dust reminded him of her and their history?
“Goddamn your bloody eyes, Miles,” she murmured seconds before she grasped the lapels of his military-style dress jacket in her hands and pulled him close. “I ought to box your ears.” She slipped a hand to his nape and tugged his head down until a mere hairsbreadth separated them.
“But you won’t?” His heartbeat thundered in his ears and he feared he wouldn’t hear what she would say.
“Not at the moment, you great sot, for I’ve missed you too, and right now, that’s the only thing that matters.” She lifted on tiptoe and crushed her lips to his.
With a muffled cry of victory, he caught her in his arms and took control of the embrace. For so long, he’d dreamed of having her soft, plush lips beneath his once more. Now that it was finally a reality, he desired to savor her goodness.
Instead of the frantic, intense kiss he’d wished for, he slowed everything down, and with gentle caresses, he set out to show her all over again why they were good for each other. Little licks to her full lower lip had her opening for him, but he didn’t take advantage of her invitation. Not yet. He made love to her mouth as if they had all the time in the world and weren’t trysting in yet another stranger’s library.
He slipped his hands to her head, framing it while his fingers fanned into her hair and cradled her skull. He applied himself to becoming reacquainted with every centimeter of her sweet mouth. Once he’d satisfied the first craving, then did he dip his tongue into that warm cavern seeking hers, to tease and to ramp her need. The velvety slide set fire to his blood and he withdrew only to lick his way along her bottom lip again then suck gently at her top one.
When a tiny moan escaped her and she pressed closer to him, Miles smiled against her mouth. This is what he’d hoped for, her surrender and craving him more.
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Sandra is curious…
What time period do you like best to read in: Regency or Victorian?
And do you prefer American set stories or those in England?
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