Feb 19, 2012

Sunday Smooch: Emily May's BEAUTY AND THE SCARRED HERO

Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!

Today we have a Regency smooch from BEAUTY AND THE SCARRED HERO by Emily May, but first ...

the winner of last week's Sunday Smooch Giveaway is -- Kate Kylie!

Congratulations, Kate! Can you please contact Lynne Marshall at

Lynne (at) lynnemarshall (dot) com

and she'll send you a signed copy of The Christmas Baby Bump in a Medical Romance Duo.

And now for today's Sunday Smooch from BEAUTY AND THE SCARRED HERO by Emily May...

Major Nicholas Reynolds returns from the Battle of Waterloo a hero. Once, his rakish good-looks ensured he had his pick of beauties, but now his battle-scarred face exiles him from high society.

Lady Isabella Knox is horrified by the cruel gossip surrounding Nicholas, but intrigued by the man whose steely glance makes her blush on the outside...and burn deep on the inside.

A few stolen kisses later this beauty knows she's lost her head--and her heart--to the most notorious gentleman of the Ton...

[Major Reynolds and Lady Isabella are guests at the Worthington's masquerade ball. After a fireworks display at midnight, they linger on the moonlit terrace when the other guests return indoors to dance. They've both had a little too much punch, and when the Nicholas discovers that Lady Isabella has resolved to remain a spinster, he challenges that decision...]

Nicholas took hold of her fingers. ‘You don’t know what you’re missing.’

She laughed. ‘I assure you that I do!’

‘No,’ he said. ‘You don’t.’

It was music swirling from the ballroom that made him tighten his clasp on her hand, that made him pull her closer. Faerie music, wild and reckless.

Lady Isabella became very still. ‘Major.’ There was a note of warning in her voice.

‘Don’t dismiss something as worthless until you have tried it.’

‘Major Reynolds—’

‘You have set your heart against marriage, without knowing anything of the pleasures that may attend it.If you were to make a love match, you would find that the ... er ... physical side of marriage can be extremely enjoyable.’

Lady Isabella pulled her hand free. She folded her arms across her chest, defensive. ‘Roland did kiss me once; I didn’t like it.’

‘He didn’t do it right, then.’

Her frown vanished. She laughed. ‘And pray, how do you know? You weren’t there!’

‘How do you know if you’ve only tried it once?’ He looked at her, gilded in music and moonlight. Desire clenched in his belly. Dear God, he wanted to kiss her. The music was no help, whispering in his ear, urging, enticing. ‘I think you should try it again.’

Just what is it you’re proposing, major?’

He shrugged and tried to keep his tone careless. ‘A kiss.’

There was no revulsion in her voice, merely shock: ‘You know I dare not!’

He glanced over his shoulder, at the shadowy gardens. ‘We wouldn’t be the only ones.’

Her brow creased. ‘Why, major?’

Because I want to taste your mouth. ‘So that your decision may be more informed.’ He leaned against the balustrade. ‘It’s a very important decision, after all.’

Her lips twisted, as if she tried to hide a smile. ‘For my own good?’

‘Yes,’ he said, striving for a note of piety. ‘I feel it is my duty.’ 

She laughed aloud at this and uncrossed her arms. ‘You have a glib tongue, major. Is this how you won your battles? By sweet-talking your enemies?’

You are not my enemy. Nor was she the woman he wanted to marry. But right now, while the mad, Bacchanalian music swirled around him and the night air was cool on his face, he had a burning need to kiss her.

Nicholas stepped away from the balustrade and reached for her hand. ‘I dare you,’ he whispered in her ear.

‘My reputation—’

‘Will still be intact. I give you my word of honour.’

Lady Isabella made no demur as he led her down the steps into the garden, as they followed a barely-seen path into the shadows, as he pulled her into the darkness of a gazebo. ‘I have drunk too much punch!’ she said.

‘I know I have.’ He pulled her close to him, cupping her face in his hands. ‘I shouldn't dare to do this otherwise!’

‘Am I so terrifying?’ she asked, a tart note in her voice.

Not terrifying; untouchable. He was suddenly, painfully, aware of his ruined cheek. Beauty and the Beast. And yet I am touching her.

Nicholas angled his head and touched his lips to hers. Slowly, he told himself, closing his eyes, inhaling the scent of her skin. Slowly.

He started gently, laying soft kisses on her mouth until he felt her relax, then he tasted her lips lightly with his tongue. She tasted of the punch, of strawberries and oranges, sweet and tart, delicious. Heat built in his body. When her lips parted to his tongue he almost groaned. Slowly, damn it. Slowly.

But it was impossible when she was kissing him back. Arousal jolted through him when her tongue shyly touched his. Nicholas abandoned his caution. He kissed her more deeply. His awareness of their surroundings, the gazebo and the shadowy garden, faded. Her mouth was more bewitching than the Faerie music, more intoxicating than the punch. His world narrowed to her lips, to her body pressed against his, to the taste and scent of her. This was indulgence, this was bliss, this was—


BEAUTY AND THE SCARRED HERO is on the shelves this month in the UK. To be in the draw to win a signed copy tell us whether you've ever stolen an illicit kiss at a party. A school prom, perhaps, or a raucous New Year's Eve bash, or an office party...or perhaps even a masquerade ball!

Come back next Sunday, when the winner of today's giveaway will be announced -- and a smooch from MELT by Natalie Anderson will be posted!


  1. Emily, I LOVED Beauty and the Scarred Hero and having a little Sunday Morning visit with Nicholas and Isabella again was the perfect start to a day. Happy sigh.

  2. Sounds like a great book. Can't wait to read the rest!

  3. Emily, I loved this scene! What a terrific way to spend Sunday, reading 'Beauty and the Scarred Hero'. If only I had a copy. I've just been online a the Book Depository and think I'll have to go back. I really enjoyed the conversation leading to the kiss - excellent. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Emily, what a fabulous kiss. I love historicals and don't get to read as many as I would like. This is definately on my list now. :)

  5. It's his duty! Oh, I love it =) That was a gorgeous kiss, Em. Love that combination of tastes and how he convinced her...or was it she allowed herself to be convinced!

  6. Reminds me of Beauty and the Beast which was my favorite fairy tale. Sounds wonderful.

  7. Hi Rachel -- glad you enjoyed the smooch! Have a nice, relaxing Sunday.

  8. Annie, I'm glad you enjoyed the scene. Writing that conversation was a lot of fun!

  9. Thanks, Helen! Have a great Sunday, won't you?

  10. Of course it's his duty, Robbie -- he's the hero, after all! ;-) And yeah, she didn't take a whole of convincing, did she? Potent stuff, that punch! All those inhibitions just melt away... Must be the strawberries, don't you think? Or maybe the rum...

  11. Catslady, I have to confess there is a bit of a Beauty and the Beast theme! Have you read Robin McKinley's novel Beauty? It's a retelling of Beauty and the Beast and is Absolutely Fabulous!!!

  12. Ooh, it'd be so much fun to steal an illicit kiss at a masquerade ball... Alas, my life is not that exciting. :-)

    I love Beauty and the Scarred Hero, Emily, and it was a real treat to read that kiss again. Happy sighs.

  13. This was the 1st Emily May bk I read & I absolutely loved it! Started me hunting for all her other books. I hv 3 of her bks now (all wonderful reads!)...are there more? I'd eagerly snap up any & all others! A big fan :)

  14. Fabulous kiss, Emily! I adored Beauty and the Scarred Hero! Must be time I had a re-read! (happy sigh)

  15. Linda, have you tried Emily's fantasy books? She writes them as Emily Gee and they're just as fabulous. My favourite is The Thief With No Shadow, but a few of us were just talking about this on twitter and Yvonne Lindsay said her fave was The Sentinel Mage. http://www.emilygee.com/

  16. My first kiss wasn't done right either. I had a 'Nicholas' to lead the way the second time. A beautiful smooch thank you. It brought back some wonderful memories.

  17. this book remind me with beauty and the beast which i love this story

    looking forward your book Emily ;)

  18. Hi Emily!

    This book and your hero sounds wonderful! What a kiss...sigh!

  19. No illicit kisses at masquerade balls, Michelle? Me neither. Yet. There's always time, right?!

  20. Linda, I'm so glad you like my regencies! Thank you! I have no other regencies out yet, but there are three fantasy novels, if you like fantasy? Rachel's mentioned a couple of the titles in her comment. Once again, I'm so glad you enjoyed B&SH!

  21. Thanks, Sharon. Hope your weekend was a great one!

  22. Rachel, clearly I should employ you as my publicist! You and Yvonne both. :-)

  23. Ooh, Marybelle -- lucky you having a 'Nicholas'. Every girl needs one! Glad you enjoyed the smooch.

  24. Thanks, Eli. Yes, there's a definite Beauty and the Beast theme in this book!

  25. You're welcome, Nas. I'm very fond of Nicholas as a hero -- he's one of my favourites!

  26. Oh Em...sigh! Loved that smooch.

    I've not ever stolen an illicit party kiss but I've had one stolen from me.

    Early 90s and I was a uni theatre student on a camp in WA's south-west. We booked out the whole ex logging camp accomodations and were partying in the designated party-house. Maybe 100-150 ppl? All very squashed.

    I squeezed past some revellers, up against a bedroom door and someone came pressing past from the other direction. He was the course lethario. Fancied himself a bit of a Byron, was fond of absynthe and was much adored by the female students in the course. So as I squeezed past with the bedroom door at my back and him at my front, he reached over my head, opened the door and pushed me through it with him.

    Very dark, very unexpected, just a little bit exciting and dramatic. Then he pressed me into a corner and kissed me. I'm sure he gave me his very best effort but I was so distracted by the curiousness of what was happening I forgot to enjoy it.

    Then he just smiled and disappeared back out again, leaving me standing there in the dark. I think I was supposed to grow all dreamy and fixated, but I just shrugged and bounced back out to keep partying. I figure I may have missed an important social cue there somewhere :)

  27. Nikki, I love your stolen smooch story!!! Very funny. I wonder what happened to your course Lothario? Bald with a potbelly now, do you think?

    Thanks for sharing -- gave me a good laugh (and just a twinge of envy!).