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.’
‘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.
‘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!