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Click here for the Excerpt from Bound by Temptation

Click here for the Excerpt from Taken by Desire

Click here for the Excerpt from What a Duke Wants

Click here for the Excerpt from Mastering the Marquess

 

Excerpt from A Talent for Sin

 

"An intense romance and an unusual couple…it's a steamy story - but also a beautiful one showing the redeeming power of love."

-Lynn Spencer, All About Romance

 

London, 1817

“Will you do me the great honor of accepting my hand, becoming my bride, and living with me in endless delight?” Lord Winster proposed, settling to his knees before the beautiful and righteous Clarinda.

Oh, for God’s sake, was that all anybody cared about? Marriage. Violet could not think of a more abysmal way to start a book. There was nowhere left to go. How was she supposed to care what happened to the heroine when it was finished on the first page? Even a proposal in the first chapter would certainly ruin a book. She slammed the novel shut, unconcerned about the noise. The Duke’s Darling, indeed! She couldn’t believe the Minerva Press had let her down so awfully, just when she needed them the most.

It was enough to make a woman cry, although of course Violet, Lady Carrington could count back the days and years, almost to the minute, to the last time she had cried. Tears were overrated. The only thing they’d ever gotten her were a soggy handkerchief and a red nose.

She pushed herself up from the brocade chaise by the fire. Dark reigned outside her window except for the small glow of two gaslights far down the street.

Unsettled, she stared deep into the window. Her room reflected back at her in the black glass, elegant dark wood and plush velvet— a room designed to provide for every pleasure and comfort.

Violet gazed deeper. Her own image stared back at her – the russet curls without a single strand of gray to dull their fire; the round breasts that were only slightly lower than they had been in her girlhood; the waist, still slender; and the white skin, smooth. The reflection in the window glass was much kinder than her mirror. It didn’t show the fine lines about her eyes and the skin that didn’t pull as tight as it once had, that she knew the first light of morning would reveal. Thirty-one was not an easy year.

Oh, she didn’t regret the years or the lines that marked them, but sometimes – it was reassuring to see the softening the night window bestowed.

She looked further into the dark glass, not at her own reflection this time, but at the core of her problems, at the man splayed on the bed behind her. He needed no softening of his lines. He had none.

She turned to face him. Softening. It was a strange word to use in relation to Lord Peter St. Johns. There was nothing soft about him. He was all hard muscle and sinew. And youth and innocence.

She walked towards him. He sprawled diagonally across her entire bed in sleep, a sheet draping him modestly. Violet smiled at that. There was nothing modest about Peter. He could have walked naked through Piccadilly Circus without a blush. The bed linens must have somehow snuck up and crept about him. He jerked in his sleep, his massive frame unaccustomed to stillness.

She paused at the edge of the bed and ran a hand over him, a hairs-breadth above his skin. Peace and splendor surrounded him. It would be a shame to wake him. Asleep he was everything she could ever want and she could have kept him trapped in this moment forever.

Heat rose off his skin and caressed her hand. The smell of his herb soap tantalized her. She could see his chest fill and fall with each breath and she had to resist the urge to lay her hand there to feel the steady beat of his heart.

He was so alive that even in slumber, motionless, his body exuded more vitality than she had ever known. Awake, he positively vibrated with it. He was impossible to keep still, an inquisitive puppy always after a new toy.

So young, so beautiful, so joyous. She started to turn away, disconcerted by her own thoughts, but iron fingers reached out and caught her.

“Don’t you like what you see?” he asked, his voice coarse with sleep.

“You know I always like what I see when I look at you.” Her own voice was husky – and not with sleep.

His fingers loosed and his thumb began to caress the tender spot at the base of her palm. Pleasure grew in the friction between their skin and each stroke plucked at the firmness of her resolve. He tugged her towards the bed, eager as always.

“Again? I should think you would be tired after our earlier festivities.” She resisted his urgings.

“Tired? I am more than refreshed after my nap. Would you like to examine for yourself?” He pulled her forward again, rotating his hips to loosen the covers.

She stood, withstanding his pull, and held the sheet steady against him. “Slower,” she whispered as she bent her neck to rub her face in his black, wavy hair. The strands tickled her nose.

He tilted his head back until their lips met, rewarding her with the softest, sweetest of kisses – mouths closed, lips simply rubbing, pressing, feeling, endless – just the way she loved it, velvet softness. She parted her mouth in invitation, let his tongue glide along the crease, tasting her. The tip of her tongue slipped out to meet his, brandy and cinnamon, to begin their courtship dance. Brush. Taste. Retreat. Again.

They had kissed like this a thousand times and still her belly quivered and her breasts grew tight with its perfection, with his perfection. She closed her eyes and sank into the moment. No past. No future. Nobody else had ever before kissed her like this, knowing every nuance of her desires. As if sensing the heat growing within her, Peter pulled back. She opened her eyes and found him staring up at her swollen lips and half-lowered lids. Watching carefully for her approval, he untied the belt of her wrap and let it ease across her skin. The rough weave of the nubby silk sent tiny sparks along her belly and arms.

When she was bare, he didn’t stare at her breasts, although she could feel his suppressed desire, but instead pulled her towards him until his lips settled in the little hollow at the base of her throat. His tongue darted out and swirled in a delicious circle as his lips caressed. All the feelings in her entire body focused on that one spot.

His fingers swept her hair aside and began to knead the tight tendons of her neck until she relaxed into him, letting him pull her fully on the bed and spread her beneath him.

###

He paused for a moment, staring. His eyes swept over the swollen breasts, waiting for his touch, the gentle curves of her belly, quivering in readiness at his glance, and settled for a second on the fiery curls that hid how ready she was for him. She could feel the tension in his body, see how he held himself in check.

His gaze moved up and met hers. The desire she saw in his darkened eyes made all her earlier anxiety fade. In his eyes she was beautiful. There was no mistaking the adoration of his expression.

She arched her back, lifting her breasts towards him, needing him to ease the ache that grew within. He touched her reverently, the soft touch of the pads of his fingers sweeping upwards in slow spirals from the base of her breasts upwards. Her aching nipples were impatient for his touch, but still he teased her, drawing the flames of passion even higher.

She fought the urge to grab his hair and pull his head towards her, to bring his lips, his mouth to her. Instead, she tightened her fingers in the twisted linen, gripping so tightly she could almost feel the weave tear. She had taught him patience, now she must fight for her own.

Finally, his fingers reached the tight peaks and began to pinch, to pluck, each movement setting a quiver through her like the string of a violin. He was the maestro, and she his instrument.

She closed her eyes, waited. She knew what was coming, could sense almost to the instant when his mouth would descend, granting some release, while drawing the string still tighter. He sucked, he bit, he laved – the slight sting and then the soothing.

When she felt the coil drawing too tight, the end approaching, she pushed him back. He held himself above her, arms straight and solid around her. Their gazes met and held again, an unspoken contest of desire and withholding. He shifted, bringing his hips over her, pressing his arousal in the valley between her legs, but pushing no further.

She knew he must feel her heat and moisture, but he gave no signal beyond a tightening of his fingers, a sharp intake of breath. He was panting with the stress, longing to move, but awaiting her cue. She lifted her hips, opening her legs more, granting him access, but still withholding her final permission.

The tip of his erection pushed against her still closed lower lips, and she moved, shifted until it ran against the bundle of nerves that were the center of her longing. She raised and lowered her hips, running herself against him, sending shivers of desire through both of them. She reveled in her moment of control. His jaw was clenched with the effort not to move and the arms around her quivered with the strain.

He gasped when she tightened her legs about him, increasing the sensation. Her own heart was speeding and her body screamed for release. She tortured them both.

She pulled her head high, running her tongue up his neck, over the stubble of his beard, until she reached his chin. She nipped, a cat’s love bite. He knew his cue.

He knelt, grabbed her ankles and drew them up over his shoulders. Their eyes met, held, souls merged, as he sought her final permission.

In one long stroke he was in her, filling her, completing her. Her whole body shuddered as he rose up again and again, taking her with him to each higher cliff. Fast, slow, he knew her rhythms, her secret spots, and deepest desires.

She closed her eyes and let herself slip into that place where only sensation mattered. She was lost upon the sea and he her only anchor.

When the waves finally crashed, reaching crescendo, she cried out loud and true. The world ended and was reborn in a single blinding instant.

###

Peter felt her climax around him, her every pulse surrounding him, blinding him, making it harder to maintain control. Sweat prickled on his brow, and he mentally counted backwards, fighting for that last minute, last second, last moment.

He felt her convulse again, and let himself go. He knew he screamed, so intense was the pleasure, the release, but even as he circled back to earth, all he knew was her, the feel of her, the look of her, the deep feminine scent of her. Violet was his world.

He released her legs and collapsed upon her for a moment, enjoying her softness, then rolled aside, conscious of his great weight and her petite build. He knew she was not small for a woman, but always he was aware of how fragile she was next to his own heft. He turned on his side and stared down at her, this goddess who had opened new kingdoms to him.

She lay with her fiery hair spread wide across the pillow, her eyes half-closed in satisfaction. Her lips curved up as she felt his glance. They were swollen and chafed from his kisses. He would need to shave early in the morning if he intended another interlude – and he did.

Reaching out he brought a curl to his lips. It smelled of musk and amber. Other women smelled of roses and lilies, but never Violet. He ran it against his cheek, enjoying the rasp of it against his beard.

Violet’s hand reached over and caught his. She pulled it down and filled his palm with small kisses. If only he could close his hand and keep them safe for always.

“That was wonderful.” Her voice was deep and ready for sleep. She moved over and curved her body against him, her curves melting into his own hard planes. She shifted and lay her head high on his shoulder, treating his neck to those same small kisses.

She was happy. He could always tell when he’d driven worry and thought from her busy mind. There was no greater pleasure in the world that knowing he’d brought her joy.

He brought his arms around her, treasuring her for the prize she was. “You never answered me,” he whispered into her curls.

She stilled.

He pulled her tighter. “I know you haven’t forgotten.” He kissed the crown of her head. “Will you marry me?”

 

Coming in July 2016

Angel in Scarlet

Sarah's Surrender

 

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