Nov 30, 2011
Watching: Toddlers and Tiaras (I can’t look away!)
Listening to: More Elmo songs
Making me smile: My little boy clapping
I’ve just returned from three weeks of holidays. We had a fabulous time but travelling overseas with a seven month old doesn’t make for the most relaxing time off! I’m usually a very organised traveller but travelling with a little person means you have to be ultra-organised. They need so much stuff! And everything revolves around their feeding and sleeping.
My little man was so good on planes, trains and automobiles and coped with his jetlag remarkably well. He charmed all his UK family (as well as several flight attendants, waitresses, shop attendants and passers-by).
Since I’m still a bit jetlagged (as is bub) and recovering from a nasty cold, I thought today I’d just share some holiday snaps of some of our favourite places to visit in the UK. Anyone else have a fav spot in the UK they love to visit or would love to visit in the future?
Nov 28, 2011
Over the weekend I got a solid reminder about the importance of telling people how you feel while you're feeling it….
Nov 27, 2011
Today we have a smooch from Christmas at Blackhaven Castle by Sophia James, but first ...
the winner of last week's Sunday Smooch Giveaway is -- Joanne!
Congratulations, Joanne! Please contact natalie.anderson @ actrix (dot) co (dot) nz (minus the spaces) and she'll send you a copy of The Millionaire's Mistletoe Mistress.
And now for today's Sunday Smooch from Christmas at Blackhaven Castle by Sophia James ...
Christmas At Blackhaven Castle is part of a Christmas 2011 anthology called ‘Gift Wrapped Governess’ with Marguerite Kaye and Annie Burrows.
[Set up: In disguise, penniless Lady Seraphina Moreton seeks sanctuary at the Duke of Blackhaven’s castle just days before Christmas. Trey swore never again to be beguiled by a beautiful face, but as governess Seraphina gets close to his unruly, motherless children, he wants the festive joy she brings to stay well beyond Christmas Day... ]
Three hours later the smell of pine filled the room as his housekeeper brought in a plate of Christmas pies.
‘Baked in the dozens to strengthen their charm,’ she said, ‘and good luck for the twelve months of the New Year, Sir.’
Surrounded by red and green ribbon, a pile of gold and silver paper and balls made from the dry branches of last year’s climbing wisteria, Trey’s feet were knee-deep in spangle as he looked at the tree.
Ginger-and-butter shortbread had been strung with twine, the delicacies embellishing an already over-embellished greenery.
Lady Seraphina Moreton had no pattern of demanding the fir dressed as his late wife had been want to on the few times she had bothered. Everything went, according to his new governess’ philosophy, so that even the broken offerings the boys had put their hearts into creating, took their place alongside the expensive and irreplaceable heirlooms collected by the Blackhaven ancestors for generations.
There was hardly a pine needle still on show and the angel on the top that he had had the task of securing looked down on a hotchpotch of colour.
His children loved it.
‘Have you ever seen such a tree, papa?’ David asked him and he shook his head in honesty.
Seraphina Moreton laughed as he looked over to find her watching him, her dog jumping at the foil on a lower branch and nestled in a pile of paper.
‘I like the red apples best.’ Terry pointed out his efforts, three matching misshapen ball with sprigs of gold drunkenly hanging from the top.
As leaves he supposed. He made much of nodding.
‘The stars are mine, papa.’ Gareth brought a folded silver shape away from the riot of others behind it. ‘Miss Moore helped me draw them. I could make some for your library tomorrow.’
‘We have mistletoe as well.’ David took a sprig from a box at his feet and placed it carefully on his hand. ‘Where should we hang it?’
‘Above Miss Moore,’ Gareth screeched. ‘Then we can all give her a kiss.’
‘Above papa,’ Terrence amended. ‘Then she could give him one.’ His oldest son was already counting as he walked over with the mistletoe. ‘Twelve berries. Twelve kisses. You can have the first one, papa.’
A vibrant red blush crept up Lady Moreton’s cheeks but with three boys baying for a kiss, Trey felt it easier to do so. He had meant to place a light peck on her cheek, just a small token to fulfil an expected duty but he found the soft fullness of her mouth instead and his world exploded.
She felt his finger against her cheek, light as air, question in the last second before his lips slanted inwards, the full force of an unexpected magic making her press in. Trey Stanford was hers for this moment under a tree of Christmas and in a world of colour, the taste of him strong and real, his fingers at her nape, the shape of his body full down the front of hers as a deep pain of need entwined itself into all the corners of her heart. He was neither careful nor gentle nor calm. He was masculine fervour tempered with steel, a man who knew his way around a woman and was taking the chance of appetite even with his three children watching on.
Seraphina was breathless when he broke away. Kissing was nothing like she had heard it to be; tepid, shallow and lukewarm. It was hot and ardent and fierce, the meeting of souls through a joining of spirit, a giving and a taking.
As amazement bloomed she heard the shouts of the boys and David plucked one berry and threw it in the fire. It sizzled against the embers, a slight puff of smoke and then gone.
Romantic Times Reviews gave these light Christmas reads 4 stars: "These lovely holiday stories are perfect to whisk you away when the Season gets frantic."
If you'd like to enjoy a little light relief from the daunting business of Christmas, Sophia has 5 autographed copies to give away to visitors to her post today!
Gift Wrapped Governess is out in the UK and North America now!
Come back next Sunday, when the winners of today's giveaway will be announced -- and a smooch from Rodeo Daddy by Soraya Lane will be posted!
Nov 25, 2011
While I don't watch TV, I do watch movies when I can. I love getting the whole story in a couple of hours - but even better the trailer gives me much of it in just a couple of minutes... and then I get to do the guessing game! The format of the trailer is brilliant - you get the tease, the set-up, and then a few clues - and then I waste too much time trying to figure out what happens in the rest of the movie - sad, but there you go. I think it's the possibilities that I enjoy so much.
Here are a couple I'm looking forward to and definitely will get to see - The Muppets (who doesn't love the Muppets!!!) - just because their humour is always that bit off-the-wall yet very astute.
And I'm also really looking forward to doing a compare and contrast on the two new versions of Snow White that are coming up soon:
Mirror Mirror - I think Julia Roberts might steal every scene in this one!
or Snow White and the Huntsman - with a very scary Charlize Theron
Okay, so with the Snow Whites I'm pretty sure I can work out the ending (*giggles*) - but it's still fun and I'm looking forward to seeing in what ways they twist those tales around.
Then there's the books-into-movies thing - I'm looking forward to Tintin (I'm a bit nervous because Tintin is revered in our household)... and when it hits the DVD store no doubt I'll watch Breaking Dawn when the hubby is away one week. We're both looking forward to the Jack Reacher adaptation (still unconvinced about Tom Cruise), The Hunger Games of course and I think the Stephanie Plum movie is looking good...
And I am always, ALWAYS on the prowl for a good rom-com - they're really hard to find!
And then there's the non-fiction films - I'm not sure I'm ready to see all of this one yet...
Nope - I think I'm more in the mood for the romcoms!!!
So what about you, are you a movie person? Do you always watch the trailers?! Do you play the 'guess what happens' game?!
Nov 23, 2011
Thank you, Rae.
Please feel free to ask a question or leave a comment and be in to win a copy of this heart-warming book.
Rae can also be visited at her website: www.raeroadley.co.nz
Nov 21, 2011
Nov 20, 2011
Today we have a smooch from The Millionaire’s Mistletoe Mistress – from Tis the Season anthology (Christmas with the Boss in the UK) by Natalie Anderson, but first ...
the winner of last week's Sunday Smooch Giveaway is --
Congratulations, Marybelle! Can you please contact michelle @ michelle - douglas (dot) com (minus the spaces) and she'll send you a copy of The Secretary's Secret.
And now for today's Sunday Smooch from The Millionaire's Mistletoe Mistress by Natalie Anderson ...
Imogen's new boss, Ryan Taylor, is demanding, infuriating and utterly gorgeous. But she's been burnt by a colleague before, and she's not about to commit the same mistake twice…no matter how tempted she might be.
However, making Imogen his mistletoe mistress by Christmas is at the top of Ryan's wish list!
[Set up: Imogen has been trying to avoid her sexy new boss at the Edinburgh department store where she works in the office... But as she’s trying to walk to work one morning (it’s slippery on the icy paths!), she runs into him... ]
For the first time in days she stared properly into his eyes – even in the half-light of the late dawn they were that vivid blue. She was vaguely aware of her own mouth moving into a mirroring smile. Oh he had it all. One of those American great-all-round types with his blue eyes and brown hair, bronzed skin, broad shoulders and… had she dwelt on the blue eyes already?
“Do you wear contacts?”
“No. Why?” He seemed to be smiling with his whole body.
She couldn’t believe she’d asked that question out loud. “Your eyes are very blue.” Oh no she was whispering. Oh brain, where art thou? She jerked back. “I’m sorry.”
Because that was inappropriate. But she couldn’t answer. Looked away to try to clear her head from his almost hypnotic power. “It’s freezing, isn’t it?” Hell. Reduced to talking about the weather to distract from the fact she’d just made a colossal fool of herself. To try to ignore the way she burnt up in his presence.
“I like the cold. I like the fun of warming up.”
She looked back at him then. Had he moved closer? He had, and he was taking another step closer.
“It’s easier to warm up than cool down.”
“I don’t think so,” she said, just to disagree. “It can be impossible to warm up.
The brakes on her sensibility were slipping – standing near him, with him smiling like that. He still had his hand on her arm and he was edging closer and closer.
“You can always warm up.”
Awareness zinged between them.
“No.” She shook her head in the tiniest movement and her last hint of caution melted. “My lips are so cold they’re numb.” The scare from the almost-fall must have addled her everything.
“Numb?” He was looking deep into her eyes in a way that obliterated rational brain power.
She nodded, felt that squeezing inside as his gaze dropped to her lips.
“I don’t believe you.” His mouth had that cheeky quirk to it.
“They are,” she insisted. “I’ll have to be careful with my coffee or I might burn them.”
His lashes swooped up and she was pinned in place – just where she wanted to be. “Well we can’t let that happen.”
Bluer than the brightest summer sky, his eyes gleamed. Spellbound she watched as he came nearer and nearer.
The kiss was butterfly light. The faintest brush of his mouth on hers. Not remotely long enough or hard enough or deep enough to satisfy Imogen’s burgeoning desire.
“Still numb,” she spoke as his mouth lifted and hovered mere millimetres from hers.
Her challenge was unmistakable.
His smile widened and then she got to taste it as his head lowered. Her eyes closed and in her mind she was floating in those skies of blue. His lips were warm, gentle, teasing before they lifted again, still too soon.
She sighed, resigned. “I can’t seem to feel a thing.”
His brows shot up but there was a knowing look in his eyes. “I’ll have to try harder.”
This time she met his mouth with her own wide and hungry. This time he put his hands on her. This time it was longer, and harder and deeper.
Imogen moaned. He slid one hand down her back, pulling her against him while at the same time taking that last step closer. She was sandwiched firm between the bridge railing and him. Yet still she wanted closer. She hadn’t lied. It was true – she couldn’t feel a thing – other than pleasure radiating out within her. Emboldened by that madness, she kissed him as deeply, searching him out with her tongue, desperate to taste more of him – all of him. Her arms lifted, locking around his neck. Their bodies strained together, arousing, intoxicating, suddenly in an embrace so tight it almost hurt. Until finally he lifted his head and let them both breathe.
But it wasn’t sobering oxygen that she inhaled. It was all Ryan. “Are you sure you don’t wear contacts?”
Natalie is giving away a copy of The Millionaire's Mistletoe Mistress. To be in the draw, tell us whether you think it's easier to get warm, or warm down!
Come back next Sunday, when the winner of today's giveaway will be announced -- and a smooch from Unmanagable Isobel by Sophia James will be posted!
Nov 19, 2011
Lee, you are the winner of a copy of my debut release Made For Marriage.
Nov 18, 2011
I love First Time stories. You know, when someone tells you how they did something, saw something, or got something for the very first time. It happened to me the other day, and it was one of those big First Time moments. My book arrived. My first ever published book. In a box that had my name and address on it. As always in the afternoon I was outside feeding my horses and a van pulled up in my driveway. A horn honked so I knew it was the postal service. As soon as I saw the box I knew what it was (since I'd been waiting for that moment for a long time) I recognised the familiar Harlequin logo and squeeeeed rather unglamorously in front of the postal lady. She was naturally surprised and once I explained my reaction and told her what was in the box, she hugged me. Yep, hugged me... a stranger who quickly got wrapped up in my excitement and admitted to being a long time Harlequin reader.
Once the box was opened, a bottle of bubbles was popped that I shared with my hubby, my sister and also fellow author and friend Louise Cusack. We clinked glasses and made a toast to celebrate the arrival of my first book. Which got me thinking . . . why is the first time often the most special? For me it was the culmination of many years of work and writing a book that was a story I simply had to tell.
But there have been other things too. Like the first boy I loved . . . we’ve all been there, through the pain of an unrequited longing. The day my first horse was unloaded off a trailer. The first time I went to a movie with friends and kept checking my watch to make sure I didn’t miss the train home so I’d be back home before eleven, convinced my parents would never let me out of the house again if I rocked up late. And other first times – the first kiss, the first real date . . . and much later, the first time I met my husband. For parents it can be the first time a baby is held, or the first day at school, or the last day at school. A school prom, a wedding, the first day at a new job.
They are often simple things and it’s amazing how they continue to happen all through our life and not only when we are young – like the first time I saw whales breaching out of the water, quite by accident as I walked along the esplanade where I live. Or the first time I saw sugar cane burning and then heard the crackle and inhaled the unique, smoky sweet scent as it drifted on the wind.
Why does the first time feel so special? I think it’s because although we can anticipate, often we aren’t sure what to expect. There’s the thrill of the unknown, the realization that perhaps a dream has come true. And I love knowing that First Time moments will always happen throughout my life.
So what have been your special First Time moments? Share your thoughts and one commenter will win a copy of my debut release, Made for Marriage.
Nov 16, 2011
with Sharon Archer
Sophie, though when I was at the shelter it was Callista. I was adopted from the Michigan Animal Rescue League.
A nice warm bed and a three acre fenced in backyard to roam (not unattended, but there will come a day when I can check out that bichon next door.
My mom Patti. She calls me her Sophie Bug and kisses me lots and lets me take naps on her lap during the day. I just love that!
I love my bed and all the new toys. I have a stuffed frog that squeaks and a big pink squeaky bone to play with as well.
I am not impressed when we go out at 3:30 a.m. and the grass is frozen. My toes get cold and because I'm so low to the ground that frozen grass really tickles the private parts!
I want to grow up big and strong like the Bouvier across the street. She's allowed to cross the road all by herself (Sophie's Mom here - we do live on a gravel dead end road at the way back of a neighborhood. Regardless, Sophie is too little to cross the street!)
Sociable or Aloof
Very sociable. Except the cat was not impressed when I grabbed his tail and held on so he could drag me around the kitchen.
Night Owl or Early Bird
I'm an early bird. I go to bed about 9:30, have to get up only once so far to go out, and sleep till about 6. Then the day begins and I get to play with all my toys and annoy the cat.
Taking naps on Mom's lap cause she whispers in my ear and it tickles.
Ace, the 6 yr old cat. Dad says he really belongs to him though and I'm Mom's. Though Ace seems to think he can smack me on the head with his front declawed paws and I'll go away. Little does he know!
Hmm, not sure. So far it's Mom.
What do you like to sharpen your claws on?
It's not my claws they have to worry about. It's my needle teeth. Mom made a really weird sound the other day when I accidentally (I swear it wasn't on purpose) bit her thigh.
Most embarrassing moment
That's easy. I learned how to climb the steps to the deck the second day but had a slight problem with the dismount. So I did a sort of kamakazi, throw myself off the deck move and ended up getting grass up my nose. Not real fun.
Patti, thank you for letting adorable Sophie out to play on the Catwalk!
Nov 14, 2011
You might have guessed - I'm a bit of a book addict. (And I don't think I'm alone with this affliction!) So my family are asking for titles of books to buy me for Christmas.
What I usually do is give them a very long list to choose from so that the exact titles will still be a surprise. But, being such a book addict, I usually buy most of the books I want, so my list to offer my family isn't long this year. I need help!
Tell me a book you've loved this year. I don't want books you only half liked, just the ones you loved. I'll read most genres of romance, but I'm a 'fraidy cat and I can't read anything scary, so no suspense, no thrillers or horror.
So, what recommendations do you have for me? I'll be grateful forever!
Also, the winner of a copy of Return of the Secret Heir from my Is It Christmas Already post is Virginia! Virginia, drop me an email: rachel (at) rachelbailey (dot) com with your snail mail address and I'll pop a copy in the mail.
Nov 13, 2011
Today we have a smooch from The Secretary's Secret by Michelle Douglas, but first ...
the winner of last week's Sunday Smooch Giveaway is --
Congratulations, Linda! Can you please contact Susan at susan-gee-heino (at) yahoo (dot) com, and she'll send you copies of Mistress by Mistake, Damsel in Disguise, and Temptress in Training.
And now for today's Sunday Smooch from The Secretary's Secret by Michelle Douglas ...
Expecting a secret bundle of joy!
With one last look in the mirror, Kit Mercer prepares to face her boss—surely he can't wait to sweep her into his arms again and declare his love?
Actually, what Alex Hallam does is tell her their fling can't continue. He knows it's the right thing to do—after his ex-wife's lies, is he really ready for a relationship with sweet, lovely Kit?
Until Kit reveals she's pregnant! Swapping the boardroom and working lunches for the baby clinic and wake-up feeds, they'll get more than they bargained for…. Maybe even swapping their business contract for a marriage certificate!
[Set up: Kit is pregnant with Alex’s child, but Alex is far from ready for fatherhood. They are sitting on a break water overlooking the ocean when, for the first time, Kit feels the baby kick. She grabs Alex’s hand and presses it to her stomach, hoping it will forge a connection between him and the baby.]
His eyes widened. 'This is the first time?'
She couldn't get the grin off her face. 'The very first time.'
Alex's wonder made him look younger. The grooves either side of his mouth eased, the creases around his eyes relaxed and the darkness in his irises abated, his lips tilted up at the corners, and it all made Kit catch her breath.
Beneath her hand, his hand tensed. She dropped her gaze to stare at their two hands. Neither one of them moved, and in less than a heartbeat desire licked along her veins. She wanted to lift her gaze and memorize every line and feature of his face, the texture of his skin, while she could. So she could have this memory for ever.
She didn't need to look up to do that, though. His every feature was already branded on her brain. She knew that dark stubble peppered his jaw. Alex needed to shave every day, but he'd skipped that chore this morning, eager to get started on the painting instead. Her palm itched to sample that roughness, her tongue burned to trace it, to taste it...to tease him.
Today he looked more like a disreputable pirate than a civilized businessman and a thrill coursed through her at the danger she sensed simmering just beneath the surface.
Finally obeying the silent command she sensed in him, she lifted her gaze to his. At the edge of his right eyebrow was a tiny nick, as if he'd once had a stitch there. She'd always meant to ask him about it, but her breath came in shallow gulps and her pulse had gone so erratic she didn't trust her voice not to give her away.
His eyes burned dark and hot as they travelled over her, and her soul sang at the possessiveness that transformed his features. No longer afraid of revealing her desire for him, she lowered her gaze to his lips. Need, hunger, thirst all speared into her. Her lips parted. Her eyes searched out his again, pleading with him to sate her need. If she couldn't taste him just one more time she thought she might die.
Something midway between a groan and a growl emerged from his throat. His hand tightened on her stomach. Her hand tightened over his. Yes! Oh, please, yes!
Still Alex held back, his eyes devouring her face as if he was picturing in vivid detail every caress he meant to place there. He didn't lift his hand from her abdomen and it felt like a promise. His fingers splayed, sending darts of need right into the core of her, making her tremble with the intensity of her desire.
His other hand came up to cup her face, his thumb traced the outline of her bottom lip, dipped into the moistness of her mouth, traced her lips again, moved back and forth over them as if to sensitize them to the utmost limit of their endurance before taking her to the next level with his lips and mouth and tongue.
She started to pant, wanted to beg him for his lips, his mouth, his tongue, but still his mouth didn't descend. With a low growl she flicked her tongue across his thumb. He stiffened as if electrified. She drew his thumb into her mouth, circled it with her tongue, suckled it until his eyes darkened to obsidian.
And then finally, slowly, inexorably, his head lowered and her blood started to sing. His body blocked out the sun and, as he moved closer, all she could see was the light reflected in his eyes. His lips touched hers, moved over hers—surely, reverently, thoroughly—her eyes fluttered closed and, as the kiss deepened, light burst behind her eyelids. Every wonderful Christmas, every sun-drenched summer and visiting dolphin, every bright and beautiful thing that had ever existed in her life gained a new vitality in that kiss.
The need and the energy, it took her and Alex and merged them into a sparkling, flaming oneness until, body and soul, she didn't know where she ended and Alex began. It was the kind of kiss to shape worlds and change lives. It shifted the foundations of her world and all she believed about herself.
Alex eased away from Kit. He didn't know for how long they'd kissed. He barely knew which way was up. Very slowly he drew his hands away—one from her face, one from her stomach. He tried to stop his legs from jerking in reaction.
'Are you okay?'
Her voice came out soft and husky, as if he'd kissed all her breath away. Served her right for kissing his breath clean away too.
He nodded and cleared his throat. 'And you?'
She had stars in her eyes! No woman should look at him like that.
An imaginary noose pulled tight around his neck, and yet for a moment all he could see was the shine on her lips and he ached to sample them again.
'I'm...' He cleared his throat again. 'I'm sorry.' 'I'm not.'
'It can't happen again.'
'I'll be holding my breath till it does.'
He closed his eyes. He was in way over his head.
Michelle is giving away a signed copy of The Secretary's Secret. To be in the draw, tell us what you think Kit and Alex should call their soon-to-be new arrival.
The Secetary's Secret is out now in the UK and
will be on North American shelves in December
and in Australia/NZ in January 2012!
Come back next Sunday, when the winner of today's giveaway will be announced -- and a smooch from Natalie Anderson will be posted!
Nov 11, 2011
We’ve collected her amazing full-length champagne-coloured satin gown. She’s booked hair, nails and make-up appointments. Her prom date asked that she hang off his arm months ago. Don't worry about her. *I’m* so excited. Relieved.
On the night, I’m bound to cry.
The wonderful school Holly attends asked for past photos of all the graduates. My husband and I dug out these three.
We all know time flies by. Just the other week I became a Grandmother – to my eldest daughter’s new baby kitten.
Right now my head is filled with memories of my girls growing up, of the years rolling on and everyone achieving milestones as well as facing those roadblocks that strengthen our character and shape us into the responsible adults we ultimately become.
My graduating daughter says that she's never leaving home - she'll never leave us. I know she will. She’ll get married, have her own babies, and one day she’ll be reminiscing like I am today.
Life is full of arrivals and departures. Of sweet hellos and often poignant, even sweeter goodbyes.
Do you have any "graduation" stories you’d like to share?
Nov 9, 2011
Nov 7, 2011
Heathcliff has to be one of them – I fell hard for him when my schoolteacher told us the opening of Wuthering Heights one day when a storm had fused all the lights in the school. As I’ve grown up I find Heathcliff far less sympathetic and appealing – but there’s no doubt that his fierce passion and the power of his feelings make so many people think that they would wish to be loved like that. But probably only in a book!
And when it comes to writing – I always, always have a notebook and pen – in my bag, beside the bed, on the kitchen worktop – so that I can make sure I jot down any notes or inspiration that come to me and I don’t lose them. If you don’t make a note of something then you might think you’ll never forget it – but you do!
Nov 6, 2011
Today we have a smooch from Temptress in Training by Susan Gee Heino, but first ...
the winners of last week's Sunday Smooch Giveaway are --
Sonali and Kaelee!
Congratulations, ladies! Can you please contact Christina Hollis at christinahollis (at) hotmail (dot) co.uk , and she'll send you each a copy of Weight of the Crown.
And now for today's Sunday Smooch from Temptress in Training by Susan Gee Heino ...
A handsome earl and a beautiful seamstress are looking for answers. Both are willing to do what it takes to get them--even if it requires a little seduction.
Whether mending a ripped corset or constructing velvet pantalets, Sophie Darshaw is skilled with a sewing needle and in high demand at Madame Eudora's brothel. But dreams of a better life lead Sophie away from the brothel, and into the arms of a dangerous man...
After the Earl of Lindley's search for the double agent who killed his family keeps leading him to Miss Darshaw, he begins to suspect she's somehow connected to the plot. Bedding her seems like the best way to get some answers. But Sophie learned a few things from the girls at Madame Eudora's, and she's ready to put them to use...
She must have recognized the icy reality of revenge on his face. She took a step backward, away from him. The glow from the lamp hanging near the doorway spilled out into the yard where they stood. The warm light played against the heavy shadows, making her eyes seem endlessly deep and her skin endlessly tempting. Emotion only allowed her to draw short, halting breaths. Her worn gown pulled against those unignorable curves. Damn it, why couldn’t he forget just for these moments how beautiful the girl was?
“Maybe you can’t feel compassion, but surely you can feel something,” she said, swallowed, and gave the tiniest hint of a smile. “You are, after all, a man.”
Oh, he felt something, indeed. He just did not wish to discuss it at present. “My feelings are hardly your concern, Miss Darshaw. Go back to your father and say farewell.”
Now she regained that hesitant step she’d taken away. “Please, I’ll do anything.”
She let that phrase hang in the air. He knew exactly what it meant. Holy hell, could he actually be tempted?
“Anything, my lord,” she repeated with another halting step closer.
By God, he had to admit anything sounded remarkably enticing. She was barely a hand’s span away. Every soft curve of her body and every slight tremor in her lip lured him. She offered herself for the sake of her treacherous father and Lindley wished to heaven he had the resolve to refuse.
He did not. Reacting before his better judgment could intervene, he pulled her into his arms. She was either eagerly willing or too shocked to protest; he really did not care one way or the other. All that mattered was that her face tipped up toward his and he was finally able to capture those tremulous lips with his own. She was as soft and delectable as he’d often imagined.
He pressed her for response and was pleased to find one. Her fingers dug into his coat, clinging to him as if she were as desperate for his touch as she was to rescue her father. He explored her mouth with his own, willing her to forget everything but this moment. Damn, but it would have been easy enough for him to put all his many worries aside and simply enjoy the feel of her, the taste of her.
Of course he could not afford it, though. There must be purpose to this madness. He might allow her to crumble into mindless desire, but he would have to remain in control. He must use her for his objective and never forget what that was.
God, he wished he could forget, though. Holding Sophie, hearing her muffled moan and feeling the heat that flowed between them, Lindley would have given nearly everything to believe this was real. Yet of course he’d already given everything and he knew for a fact Miss Darshaw was not what she seemed.
This is the third in a series, so as a prize to one lucky winner, Susan is offering signed copies of ALL THREE books, MISTRESS BY MISTAKE, DAMSEL IN DISGUISE, and TEMPTRESS IN TRAINING.
To be in the draw, let Susan know what temptations you just can't seem to avoid. Chocolate? Shoes? Daring young men in cravats!?
You can learn more about Susan and her books at http://www.susangh.com/
Come back next Sunday, when the winner of today's giveaway will be announced -- and a smooch from The Secretary's Secret by Michelle Douglas will be posted!