on November 27th 2017
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo
Born in the rookeries, the hard life is something Jones is all too familiar with. Saved as a young boy, he was trained to be a spy, one of the best--elite, in fact. He now spends his days serving His Majesty in espionage, hunting rogue spies. His latest assignment, though, has him tracking a fellow spy…
Cat Ashdown is a baroness. Nothing is more important than protecting five hundred years of heritage. She knows every detail of every estate that commands the largest income in Britain— yet her father placed her inheritance in trust to her uncle who is forcing her to marry a man she has no desire for. The baroness’s battle against law and convention leads her to Jones and results that are surprising … and possibly unwanted.
Jones looked up at Cat’s window, because that was where he’d walked to. His hand fisted, heart and mind full of more emotions than he could name. He should not be standing here in front of her house. It would do him little good to stare straight into the face of a life he wanted and couldn’t have.
He started as the terrace door opened, a figure slipping into the deepening shadows of the garden.
Cat was not at the window, but picking her way through the garden toward him. A light shawl was wrapped around her shoulders, its pale pink-and-white design twisting over the surface. Her hair was unbound and tumbled down her back, its waves shifting in the evening breeze.
It was not quite daylight, not quite dusk. Anyone who looked out the window would see them.
“Why are you here?” she asked quietly when she drew close to him. He could just make out her scent over the heavy, sweet blooms surrounding them.
He didn’t have an answer, so he said nothing. He watched and waited, hardly able to breathe for fear she would leave again.
“Jones.” His name was a sigh on her lips. “I cannot stay here long. Wycomb is at home.”
“I have no reason for being here. None.” It was an honest answer, yet he could not continue with such honesty. He couldn’t tell her he was in love with her. “My apologies, Cat.”
Her eyes were very blue as she studied his face. Twilight had fallen and any of the pale gold light left of the day had given way to blue-gray.
“You are the most exasperating man.” She reached out her hand and set it against his chest. Even through the coat and shirt he wore, he could feel the warmth of her hand.
“I don’t understand.” But his heart was thumping hard beneath her palm.
“You’re here, at dusk, when we could be seen, for ‘no reason.’”
“I only wanted to see you.” The words burst from him though he had not intended to say them.
“Why?” Her hand stayed there, pressed against his chest. He wanted to lay his own over it and tangle his fingers with hers. He wanted to bring her hand to his lips and kiss each fingertip.
When she stepped closer, it took all he had not to touch her. Her face tipped up, the sweet, red mouth too close to his.
“I don’t know.” He could barely speak beyond the need growing inside him. Her mouth was there, full and ripe. But he did not taste. He could not.
He dared not.
Still, the need to kiss her clawed and tore at him. Desire raged beneath his skin, consumed him. Her eyes were partly lowered as she watched him, as though she were nearly asleep. Nearly dreaming.
“Why will you not kiss me?” She breathed the words.
Her gaze dropped to his lips and sent lust streaking through him.
“I cannot.” A fist seemed to clutch his heart and lungs, squeezing so that he couldn’t draw breath.
“Cannot? Or will not?”
He only shook his head. They were one and the same. Kissing her would only lead to the impossible.
No matter how much he wanted to.
He shouldn’t even touch her. Yet her hand still lay over his heart, and he wanted that small contact between them. He wasn’t certain he could touch her bare skin without aching inside in a way that would cause him to do something idiotic.
He carefully laid his hand over hers.
The contact nearly brought him to his knees. Yearning for her roared through him, brightening the dark places of his soul.
He drew her in, pressed her body to his, because he could do nothing else. His mouth met hers, and he wondered if she could taste the desperation for redemption there.
Whether she could or not, her arms came around him. Lean but strong, she held him to her. “You are important to me, Jones. Not because you are a spy, or because of the mission. Because you are you.”
“I am nothing.” Even as he said the words, he thought perhaps he wasn’t. He’d never believed he would be more than nothing. But—now there was Cat.
“Oh, Jones.” Her lips met his, quickly, then she drew back to look at him. “Honor is stamped into your soul. How do you not see it?”
The words flowed through him, warming something he had not known was cold.
“Cat, my love.” It was painful to say, and it would be more painful later when she was married to another. But he could not deny it. “I will bow out, Cat. I will not get in the way of your marriage or your inheritance, but I must say it once. Just once.”
Alyssa is giving away a signed print copy of IN BED WITH A SPY
(when Jones first appears in the Spy In The Ton series.)
For a chance to win, just comment with your answer to Alyssa’s question:
Jones is one of her favourite types of heroes: strong but silent, honourable and brave. Even though he is a spy, Jones has a very defined sense integrity that draws Cat to him.
Allysa’s question is: What qualities do you enjoy best in your book heroes? Humor? Skill? Bravery? Spill!