May 15, 2011
Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!
Today we have a smooch from Midnight's Wild Passion by our fabulous guest author Anna Campbell, but first ...
the winner of last week's Sunday Smooch Giveaway is -- Helen!
Congratulations, Helen! Can you please contact Anna at:
anna (at) annhackettbooks (dot) com
and she'll send you a downloadable copy of Hunter's Surrender.
And now for today's Sunday Smooch from Midnight's Wild Passion by Anna Campbell...
London’s most notorious seducer, Nicholas Challoner lives solely for revenge…
The dashing, licentious Marquess of Ranelaw can never forgive Godfrey Demarest for ruining his sister—now the time has come to repay the villain in the same coin. But one formidably intriguing impediment stands in the way of Nicholas’s vengeance: Miss Antonia Smith, companion to his foe’s unsuspecting daughter.
Having herself been deceived and disgraced by a rogue—banished by her privileged family as a result and forced to live a lie—Antonia vows to protect her charge from the same cruel fate. She recognizes Ranelaw for the shameless blackguard he is, and will devote every ounce of her intelligence and resolve to thwarting him.
Yet Antonia has always had a fatal weakness for rakes…
[Setup: Nicholas Challoner, Marquess of Ranelaw, is bent upon revenge on his long-term enemy Godfrey Demarest. The perfect instrument of his vengeance lies in his sights, Demarest’s innocent daughter Cassandra. Unfortunately for Ranelaw, Cassie’s chaperone is the redoubtable Antonia Smith who knows all about rakes and their strategems.
Ranelaw is unaccountably attracted to Antonia and decides to kill two birds with one stone – he’ll scratch his itch for the dowdy companion and seduce her into allowing greater access to Cassie. After a prickly exchange with Antonia at a society musicale, he climbs a cherry tree and breaks into Antonia’s bedroom...]
A chaos of impressions, familiar and unfamiliar, overwhelmed Antonia. She knew how a man’s embrace felt. But the fierceness of this hold, the hard strength of this body, the clean, fresh smell, these were all Ranelaw.
She flung her head up to deliver the scolding he deserved, then forgot everything when she met the blazing excitement in his eyes. A blazing excitement echoed in her pounding heart and rushing blood.
“No…” she whispered but he didn’t seem to hear.
He bent his head and kissed her hard. He was ruthless. He was insatiable. He gave no consideration to her unwillingness or her lack of preparation or what he believed was her inexperience.
Shock rather than anything as commendable as virtue kept her unmoving under his mouth. Even as molten heat flooded her and a deep trembling set up in the base of her belly.
With a muttered exclamation of frustration, he raised his head. He seized her shoulders in an adamant grip and stared down at her. “You can do better than that.”
Anger flashed through her. The famous lover had kissed her with all the finesse of a navvy breaking ground for a new canal. “So can you,” she snapped.
Immediately she realized her mistake when challenge sharpened his black gaze.
“N…no,” she stammered, at last making some attempt to sidle away. So far she’d stood in his embrace like a quiescent doll. She needed to start thinking about self-preservation before it was too late.
It was too late.
“Ah, but how can any red-blooded man ignore a demand from a lovely lady?” he said silkily.
“Believe me, you should ignore it.” Her voice was as uncertain as her attempt to escape.
“Chivalry forbids.” His lips twitched with the humor that never failed to transfix her. She was so utterly brainless when it came to Ranelaw. He turned her common sense to sawdust. Before she could summon a crushing retort, his touch softened to seduction and a calculating light entered his eyes.
Run, Antonia, run…
Her feet didn’t heed her mind’s panicked message. Instead she waited in tremulous silence for his mouth to claim hers.
At the touch of his lips, she made a muffled sound in her throat. She clenched her hands in his coat, ready to push him away. Until he began to ravish her mouth and her knees turned to water. The salty, spicy taste of Ranelaw flooded her senses.
Briefly everything but pleasure receded. With a sigh, she sagged into his arms. Impossibly she felt him hesitate, as though her abrupt surrender disconcerted him. Before she could take advantage of the fleeting reprieve, his mouth moved in unmistakable demand. Everything dissolved into heat.
Antonia shut her eyes and drowned in hot, black delight. Deep in the recesses of her mind, she admitted this was what she wanted from him. Had always wanted. It was wrong, but his kiss made her feel more alive than anything else in the past ten years.
Midnight's Wild Passion was released in the US in April and in Australia and New Zealand at the beginning of this month. To be in the draw to win a copy signed by Anna (wearing the sunnies in the photo to the left), answer the following question:
The Marquess of Ranelaw is undoubtedly a classic Regency rake and I think it’s pretty clear he’s met his Waterloo in Antonia. Why do you think Regency rakes are so endlessly popular with readers?
Come back next Sunday, when the winner of today's giveaway will be announced -- and a smooch from The Man Behind the Badge by Sharon Archer (wearing the hat in the photo) will be posted!