on March 6th 2018
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HIS ACTIONS COULD BE TREASON... Alistair Johnstone’s days of running whisky come to an abrupt halt when he inherits an earldom. After years of living in Scotland and denying his English heritage, he now must return despite his mother’s bitter contempt and his own lack of desire. When his mother’s attempt to run whisky goes awry, Alistair is forced to step in and save her by doing one last whisky run – however, if he’s caught, he will face a traitor’s death.
SHE IS RUNNING FOR HER LIFE... Emma Thorne’s uncle is trying to kill her and so far has failed, thank goodness. But with only one month until she reaches her majority, inherits her fortune and is released from his guardianship, she knows she is not safe. Emma escapes to a nearby estate where she stumbles upon a house party being held by the Wicked Earls’ Club and finds herself at the mercy of the most extraordinary earl. One who could save her or see her condemned.
PERHAPS THEY CAN SAVE EACH OTHER. When innocent lies become reality and danger follows them every step of the way, could love be the answer to both their problems, or will their passions be their undoing?
“I rather thought you’d laugh,” she said abruptly.
“Laugh?” His throat had gone dry and required a gentle clearing. If only his mind could be as easily wiped of its thoughts.
She chuckled. “Do you not see? I’ve made a mess of it. I couldn’t get the stuff on properly and it’s all smeared about.” She surveyed her reflection in the mirror once more, oblivious to his reaction. “The more I attempt to fix it, the worse it gets.”
He approached her and she lifted her smoky blue eyes to his. Her brows furrowed beneath the black mask in frustrated concentration. “It’s a disaster.”
He eyed her lips, having been given leave to do so. Aye, she did have smears of crimson around the outline of her plush lips, but dear God, that mouth. Full and pouty with a slight cleft in the center of her lower lip. He wanted to taste her, to tease his tongue over that cleft and experience the sweet whisper of her exhale against his hot skin.
“It appears as though you’ve been thoroughly kissed.” With the smear of the carmine against her skin, she did. And he wished it was he who had been doing the kissing.
“Your mouth doesn’t match mine though,” she said in a plaintive tone. “Would I have been kissing someone else?”
“Perhaps you should kiss me.” The suggestion tumbled out without thought, but he didn’t regret it one damn bit.
Emma’s cheeks colored a pretty shade of pink below the edge of the black mask. Her gaze darted to his mouth and hovered there before dashing away.
She was tempted.
He almost groaned at the revelation.
“A kiss upon the neck then,” he offered. Why was he torturing himself thus? “To give purpose to the smears of the carmine.”
Emma pursed her lips in consideration, her expression shrewd. “Very well. It is, after all, only your neck.”
“Get a bit on the edge of my cravat as well. To ensure it appears authentic.”
She gave a tense nod and he bent forward obligingly. His pulse charged through his veins with the force of a stallion, hot and eager for the brush of her mouth on his neck.
Her breath drew in and came out in a soft tremble, caressing over his skin like a lover’s touch. He swallowed and forced his thoughts to those of his plan for the upcoming whisky smuggling to avoid—
The warmth of her mouth pressed to the side of his neck, just below his ear, deliberate and careful. Ripples of thrilling pleasure danced over his skin and made his groin tighten.
“Oh,” Emma said quietly in his ear. “I missed your cravat.” Her hair tickled against the side of his jaw and the pressure of her lips eased lower on his throat.
She remained there a second and drew her mouth over his skin. His body blazed in response. He didn’t know what the hell she was doing, but he enjoyed it considerably. And yet he should not have enjoyed it so.
Would you let a mysterious Earl with a kilt help you flee if you were being chased by someone who wanted to kill you?
~~Reviewed by Lisa~~
WOW! Talk of whiskey smuggling, murder, and a harried escape all in the first handful of pages! Ms. Martin never disappoints.
Meet Alistair Johnstone, son of an English Viscount and a Scottish whiskey smuggler. Because of his grandfather’s snobbery he has grown up hating the English and has NO desire to inherit and earldom but inherit he does. His parents have given him a distrust of the institute of marriage and he has vowed to NEVER marry- be careful what you say.
Meet Miss Emma Thorne, daughter of a deceased mining tycoon, niece to a despicable man that intends to her money, be it through marriage to his son or death. She is a month shy of her 25th birthday when she gains control of her money and her independence from her uncle and disgusting cousin. The ton tolerates her because of her money. She has no close friends and prefers country life.
Their journey is wonderful. Each mistrustful. Each refusing to marry. Each looking for love and acceptance. Finding common ground, Ms. Martin’s ability to create deep, complex characters makes it a joy to get to know them. Their conversations are charming and watching them come to realize their love was heartwarming. I couldn’t put the book down.
The secondary characters are also given such attention and depth. From the loyalty of Emma’s servants to Alistair’s friends and mother, Madge. Madge is a delightful woman, from her gruff outer crust to her loving and giving heart, which she keeps well hidden. Ms. Martin’s stories, they each have purpose and bring an interesting dimension to the story.
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.