Thursday, 31 July 2014

The Silk Tie - 4 Days Until Release

Professional life in the City of London is tough going which is why my husband Gabe and I live by the motto work hard and play hard. So when something, or rather someone, comes along that changes how he wants to play I’m intrigued by our sexy new game.

But there's always private sides to the ones you love, and in this case new thoughts and desires are stealing Gabe’s dreams. It’s not until I meet Brent—gorgeous and sophisticated yet soul-achingly alone—that I begin to understand the complex layers of Gabe’s needs and exactly what I have to do.

But I’m not afraid; in fact the idea of two men turns me the hell on. In a whirlwind of romance, fear, desire and a new cresting wave of passion we open up to each other, testing the water for one weekend only. Or is it? Will we ever be the same again? Can Gabe and I survive our decision to let a third into our bed? Can Brent just walk away and, more importantly, will we let him?

Hot Excerpt!!

The bathroom door opened, and Gabe wandered out wearing his favorite pair of worn jeans. His chest was bare and his hair was damp and pushed back over his head. He’d shaved that morning but I could smell a fresh application of his most expensive cologne.
“How are you doing?” I asked, standing.
Damn, he looked so absolutely fuckable.
He walked up to me and cupped my face. “I’m fine, are you?”
“Yes.” My stomach was tense and my skin hot and tingly, a bit like going up the ramp on a rollercoaster. But I was okay.
“No matter what happens, remember I love you,” Gabe said. “You’re my wife, my soul mate. Nothing can change that.”
“I know, and you remember that this is your moment of fun with Brent. Go with it. Forget I’m here. Realize the fantasy.”
“I doubt I’ll forget that you’re here…” He paused and smiled. “Well, maybe a little.”
I ran my hand down his chest then smoothed it over the lower curve of his defined pectoral muscles. “I put out the lube and condoms.”
He glanced at the locker. “Thanks.”
There was a knock at the door.
We both looked at each other then at the entrance to the room.
The door opened and Brent walked in.
He wore tight black boxers and nothing else. Like Gabe’s, his hair was damp.
He shut the door up and stood still, staring at us.
Gabe dropped his hands from my face and I took a step away.
“It’s dark in here,” Brent said.
“Too dark?” Gabe asked. “I can open the curtains.”
“No, it’s perfect,” Brent said, walking around the end of the bed and up to Gabe. “I can see you but it’s not dazzling. My eyes are adjusting now.” He smiled and gestured to the chair, looked my way. “You’ve found your viewing position, I see.”
“Yes.” I nodded.
He stepped past Gabe, reached for my hand and drew my knuckles to his lips. “I hope you enjoy the show.”
I swallowed. “I’m sure I will.”
He released me and turned to Gabe.
I admired Brent’s torso as he moved. Long and sleek, his muscles rippled gently beneath the surface. He didn’t appear to have any fat on him, he was just neat, harnessed strength. And his boxers covered an impressive bulge, the outline of which was easily made out. I’d guess he was already half-mast just with the anticipation of fucking Gabe.
“You smell good,” he said to Gabe as he ran the tip of his index finger over Gabe’s shoulder and down his bicep. “Delicious, in fact.”
Gabe tensed. “Thank you.”
“Relax,” Brent said. “You want this.”
“I do,” Gabe said, “I want you.”
Brent smiled then leaned forward and kissed my husband.
I stood and watched, mesmerized, the way I had been when I’d spied on them. Their large jaws moved in time. Both men had their eyes shut and the dance of their mouths showed their sleek tongues touching and exploring.
Gabe moaned a little, how he did when he became lost in a kiss, and he set his hands on the sides of Brent’s waist. The touch seemed a little hesitant, a bit awkward, though I could tell he was completely invested in the kiss.
Brent pulled back a fraction. He rested his palm on Gabe’s cheek then turned to me. “Come here, Hayley.”
I did as he’d asked. “What?” I asked quietly. My heart was thudding—just seeing them kiss did seriously stimulating things to my libido.
“Kiss him,” Brent said. “Kiss your husband.”
That was an instruction I didn’t need to be given twice.
Brent kept his hand on Gabe’s face as I meshed my lips with Gabe’s, prodding his tongue with mine and absorbing the lingering flavor of Brent in his mouth.
When I broke the kiss, Brent placed his hand on my face, too, so he was holding us both.
“You two are hot together,” he said smiling. “And so perfect for one another. I feel honored that you’ve let me in to fulfill a fantasy.”
“We feel the same about you being here,” Gabe said. He touched Brent’s mouth with his fingertips and traced the shape of his lips.
Brent smiled and gazed at Gabe. He then dropped his hand from my face and, as I’d done earlier, he caressed Gabe’s chest.
I felt Gabe’s shoulder shift against mine as he sucked in a breath. Being touched sensually, by a man, was what he’d wanted.
“I didn’t think you’d bother with jeans,” Brent said, slipping his hand down to Gabe’s waistband.
“I’m commando,” Gabe said with an almost shy smile.
Brent waggled his eyebrows. “Really?”
“Yes, really.”
“Let’s have a look then, shall we?” Brent sank to his knees so his face was level with Gabe’s groin.
He undid the top button on Gabe’s jeans, then the next and the next. His big fingers worked slowly but steadily and his face held a serious expression of concentration.
Gabe was utterly still at my side.
Brent released the last button then tugged and shifted the jeans down to Gabe’s knees.
Gabe’s cock sprung forward, stiff and thick. The veins were raised and it jutted jauntily toward Brent’s face.
“Commando works for me,” Brent said. He swept his tongue over his bottom lip and stared at Gabe’s erection.
“I need…” Gabe kicked a little and rid himself of his trousers completely. “To lose these.”
Brent smiled and shoved the jeans aside. He didn’t take his gaze from Gabe’s cock. “Good, naked is how I like you best, so it seems.”
I liked Gabe naked too, but I wasn’t about to speak and break the sizzling connection between the two men. It was almost palpable. The air was alive with need.
Brent slid his palms up from Gabe’s knees to his thighs then tickled his fingers through Gabe’s wiry pubic hair.
Again Gabe tensed. He swayed too.
“You have an incredible dick,” Brent said. “I want to taste it.”
“Okay…” Gabe said, his voice breathy and light. “I mean yes…please do.”
Brent smiled, but only briefly because then he opened his mouth, leaned forward and took the head of Gabe’s cock between his lips. He gripped Gabe’s shaft with his right hand and with his left, scooped up his balls.
“Ah, fuck,” Gabe said. He toppled backward a few inches before adjusting his balance.
I snapped out my arm and curled it around his waist, felt his weight sag against me as I supported him.
“That’s…oh, God, your mouth on me…Brent.”
Gabe didn’t need to say the words. Brent’s mouth, stretched around the flare of Gabe’s cock, was a beautiful and highly erotic sight.
Brent slid Gabe’s shaft deeper. His eyes were shut and his jaw pulled wide. He fed Gabe in, slipping his fingers over his erection.
Gabe reached out and weaved his fingers into Brent’s hair. “Fucking hell,” he gasped.
Brent kept going. I knew how much of Gabe I could take in my mouth, and it wasn’t to the root but Brent was nearly there now. His cheeks bulged and his nostrils flared. I could hear him breathing hard through his nose.
Gabe panted and stared downward.
I held him tight, my nipples peaking against my floaty sundress and my pussy dampening the gusset of my knickers.
“Ahh, yeah…”Gabe said, rocking his hips forward.
Brent’s face became buried in Gabe’s pubic hair. His shoulders were raised, tense, and his hand that had gripped Gabe’s cock now squeezed Gabe’s hip, his knuckles were paling.
I knew he’d be fighting his gag reflex. He had Gabe so deep, so far down.
He began to withdraw.
Gabe’s cock came into view, inch-by-inch, saliva-coated and shiny.
Gabe dragged in a deep breath then blew it out slowly.
Brent took hold of Gabe’s shaft again and held it tight. He pumped from the base to the tip several times, pulling on the skin and working his tongue over and into the slit.
Gabe moaned and flexed his hips.
“Ready for more?” Brent asked, looking up at Gabe.
“Yes,” Gabe said. “Absolutely.”
Again, Brent opened his mouth wide. He took Gabe on a fast ride to full-depth.
Gabe gasped and curled his fingers into fists in Brent’s hair.
My hands tingled with a desire to also touch Brent. Feel his hair, the texture of his skin. But I didn’t, I kept them to myself. One arm around Gabe’s waist, the other bunching up a handful of my sundress. I couldn’t interfere, that wasn’t my role here.
Brent was pulling back and sinking deep on Gabe’s cock over and over, his whole body rocking backward and forward.
Gabe was breathing fast, his abdomen was tense and I could feel tremors rippling over his muscles.
“Stop,” Gabe said suddenly. “Please, no more. You’re going to make me come.”
Brent let Gabe’s shaft slip from his mouth. “That’s the idea.”
“Not…like this…I want…I need…”

The Silk Tie will be available from Amazon on the 4th of August, in the meantime if you haven't read The Glass Knot, why not pick up your copy today!

What’s a girl to do when the guy she falls for is married to another man? 

This is exactly what happened to me. Seeing Josh Kendal stroll out of the Mediterranean Sea wearing tight navy swim trunks and looking like a hot new James Bond was a truly delicious moment. Catching sight of his wedding ring was like a kick in the shin and meeting his gorgeous husband, phew, that was enough to make any girl groan at the cruel joke God was playing on her. 

But all was not as it seemed, and when Josh needed a woman to sort out a ‘delicate predicament’ I was the one for the job – heck, what did I have to lose? Certainly not as much as him, literally. 

Trouble is, emotions always get tangled, loyalties can’t help but be divided and with a night of memories so hot they'd have the devil sweating, there was only one thing for it—it was time to get honest, fight for what I wanted despite society’s constraints and open my heart to the people it needed most. 

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

The Novice is FREE!

That's right! The first novel in the Sexy as Hell Trilogy by Harlem Dae is FREE! Go grab yourself a copy from Amazon/ Amazon UK, settle down and read, and when you need more, there's so much more! Check out the Sexy as Hell Box Set that continues Zara and Victor's wild journey PLUS contains three sexy spin-off stories about secondary characters.

Box Set exclusively on 

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

The Silk Tie - Excerpt!

“If you enjoyed The Glass Knot you’ll LOVE The Silk Tie.”

Coming on the 4th of August The Silk Tie, a steamy ménage a trois novel (mmf) that celebrates desire, fantasy and follows the brave decision of a woman to let a third into her relationship. It’s steamy, sexy and leaves no detail unexplored. Grab a copy, settle down and enjoy a rollercoaster of emotions with Hayley, Gabe and Brent.

The Silk Tie will be available from Amazon on 4th of August
The Glass Knot is available from Amazon and all other good ebook retailers right now!

Back cover information

Professional life in the City of London is tough going which is why my husband Gabe and I live by the motto work hard and play hard. So when something, or rather someone, comes along that changes how he wants to play I’m intrigued by our sexy new game.

But there's always private sides to the ones you love, and in this case new thoughts and desires are stealing Gabe’s dreams. It’s not until I meet Brent—gorgeous and sophisticated yet soul-achingly alone—that I begin to understand the complex layers of Gabe’s needs and exactly what I have to do.

But I’m not afraid; in fact the idea of two men turns me the hell on. In a whirlwind of romance, fear, desire and a new cresting wave of passion we open up to each other, testing the water for one weekend only. Or is it? Will we ever be the same again? Can Gabe and I survive our decision to let a third into our bed? Can Brent just walk away and, more importantly, will we let him?


After placing the papers on the desk and setting down my purse, I put my iPhone on charge. There was no message from Gabe.
“You can’t…you can’t go in there. You don’t have an appointment.”
I turned at the sound of Jeannie’s panicked voice.
“Sir, really you can’t,” she said again.
I stepped toward the door.
“Sir. I have to insist…”
A man—tall, wearing a suit and with dense facial hair—strutted into the center of the room, placed his hands on his hips and set his gaze on me.
“Please, you must leave.” Jeannie appeared, twisting her hands together and shifting from one foot to the other.
“It’s okay,” I said, not tearing my attention from Brent. His expression was dark, his mouth, usually upturned, a dead-flat line. “I’ll handle it from here.”
“Are you sure? Shall I call security?” Jeannie asked.
I wasn’t sure. He was breathing fast and his eyebrows were pulled low. Something had really pissed him off.
“Yes, I’m sure.” I nodded. “Just shut the door please, Jeannie.”
“Good idea,” Brent said, his voice low and husky.
Jeannie hesitated.
I nodded at her. “It’s fine.”
She frowned then pulled the door up.
The second it clicked shut Brent moved toward me, fast.
I backed up.
My shoulders hit the polished paneling that clad the walls of my office. I couldn’t move any farther.
“What the hell,” he said, coming up close then pressing his palms against the wood either side of my head, “do you think you’re doing?”
“What?” I asked, gulping and looking up at him.
“Jesus Christ, don’t pretend you don’t know.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” I managed, flattening my hands behind myself and pulling in fast breaths.
I knew exactly what he was talking about.
“Gabe,” he said, lowering his face. “That’s what I’m talking about.”
I could feel the air leaving his lungs through his nose as it washed over my cheeks. His aftershave invaded my nostrils and laced my tongue. The heat of his body radiated onto mine, blasting through my silky blouse as though it wasn’t even there.
“What about Gabe?” I asked, tilting my chin.
“He’s just asked me to fuck him.” His eye contact was unwavering. “And he told me that it was your idea.”
“What? No, that’s not right.”
“Which bit of that isn’t fucking right, Hayley, because it all sounds pretty fucking not right to me?”
I gathered my strength and refused to be intimidated by him. “You can’t deny you like Gabe.” I gave him a steely glare.
“That’s not the issue.” He narrowed his eyes.
“And he likes you,” I snapped back.
“All of that is irrelevant because he’s married…to you.”
“Which surely means, if there is one person who can give Gabe permission to fuck someone else, it’s me. His wife.”
His mouth opened slightly and he stared at me.
“What?” I asked. “It makes sense. Gabe’s got a crush on you, I suppose that is one way of describing it, and he wants you, badly, he—”
“He’s not even bloody gay.”
“No, but he must have elements of being bi for him to be feeling this way.”
Brent stepped away, turned and locked his fingers on the crown of his head with his elbows outstretched.
“Brent,” I said, pushing away from the wall. “Please don’t be mad.”
“I’m not mad…just…”
“Confused, I suppose.” He dropped his hands and turned to me as he sighed. The hardness had gone from his face.
“Why?” I moved to my desk and leaned my behind on it, kept my arms at my sides in an effort to look open and available for him to express his feelings to. It was a tactic I used with clients. “Tell me, Brent. We’re friends, aren’t we?”
“Yes, we are.” He sat in one of the two chairs in front of my desk and sighed. “I like you, Hayley, a lot, and I like Gabe too. I care about him.”
“And do you fancy him?”
“I’m not gay either.” He paused and appeared to summon courage. “But I am bi. I have been with a man before.”
I nodded and kept my expression neutral even though there was something electrifying about his admission. No longer a rumor but a solid fact he was able to share with me.
“And would you want to be with Gabe that way?” I asked. Again words were coming out of my mouth that I wouldn’t believe I could utter. This time last month this conversation would be ludicrous.
“Do I want Gabe that way,” he repeated.
I waited for him to go on.
“Yes, in a word. He’s bloody gorgeous and damn sexy too, but I don’t need to tell you that, Hayley. Heck, you married him.”
I smiled. “He is gorgeous and sexy, and also the most passionate, loving person I’ve ever met.” I paused. “His happiness is also my responsibility and right now, him not being with you the way he wants to be is screwing with his mind.”
“Have you had a third person in your relationship before?”
“No, it’s always been just us. We’re strong, our bonds are tight, but…”
“And you’re willing to risk it all.”
“Perhaps it’s a risk for it not to happen.”
“Bloody hell…” He pressed his hands over his face and looked at me from over his fingertips. “You’re really are deadly serious.”
“Yes.” I sat on the seat at his side. “I am. He’s been on edge, preoccupied. I know he loves me, would die for me, we’ve been in each other’s lives for a long time now, there’s nothing that will tear us apart.”
“Except me. Maybe I will.”
“Do you really believe that?”
“It would be my worst nightmare to split you two up. Seeing you and Gabe together makes me very happy. You have something special, something I’ve hunted for, seen glimpses of, but never truly found.”
I reached out and rested my fingers on the sleeve of his gray suit jacket and rubbed my thumb on the smooth material. “Gabe and I are strong. Strong enough to cope with this.” I paused, hoping to hell that we were. “If you feel the same way about Gabe then this can happen. I don’t have a problem with it.”
He stared at me, long and hard, then, “You’re right, I do want to fuck him.”
My belly clenched and I squeezed my internal muscles. This might actually happen for Gabe.
“But I have one condition,” he said, leaning back and folding his arms. His suit jacket bunched at the lapels.
“What’s that?” I asked.
“You’re there. You watch us.”
“You can’t be serious.” I knotted my fingers together and gripped them in my lap. “Why would…?” Much as the idea appealed, I’d never thought it would become reality.
“You remember that film, Indecent Proposal? Robert Redford I think it was.”
“Yes. What about it?” I laughed but the sound caught in my throat.
Brent reached out, rested his palm over my clasped hands. “It screws him up, the husband. After his wife has spent a night with another man for a huge sum of money, he obsesses about what they did, how they were together. Was there love or was it just sex? Had she had more fun with the rich guy than with him?”
I nodded. I’d seen the film.
“That’s what causes the problems,” Brent went on. “They had a million in the bank but the husband’s imagination, his not knowing, was a much bigger problem than being poor.”
“And you think I’ll be like that?”
“I don’t know. You seem pretty…cool with the idea at the moment.”
“I am. I’ve given it a lot of thought.”
He lifted his hand from mine and shifted on the seat.
I glanced at his groin and wondered if he was getting hard talking about screwing my husband. “Okay,” I said. “It wasn’t how I thought it would go. But yes, I’ll be there.” A flush traveled over my skin just at saying that. I could hardly begin to think how horny it would make me to actually see them together, for real—fucking.
Brent stood, slid his hands down the front of his suit jacket then straightened his tie. “You can tell him yes for me. I’m afraid I was a little harsh on him when he blurted it out over a cheese panini in Costa. It had been the last thing I was expecting him to say.”
“I will, but…” I hated to think of Gabe being upset, confused by Brent’s reaction.
“Yes. I’ll call him too.” He looked at his watch. “But right now I’m late for a meeting with my bank manager, and I really have to run.”
“Yes, of course.”
He walked to the door.
“Brent,” I called.
“What?” He turned and a long shard of sunlight sliced over his face and down his body.
“Thank you.”
He smiled and swept his tongue over his bottom lip. “I should be the one thanking you.”

 * * * *

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Good Cop, Bad Cop by Harlem Dae

If ménage a trois with sexy cops is your thing, don't miss Good Cop, Bad Cop written by myself and Natalie Dae - it's scooped up a pile of 5* reviews on Amazon!

Fame and fortune is a blessing that, for me, has changed its taste from sumptuously sweet to murderously bitter. Leaving me no choice but to look over my shoulder at every turn and question the scruples of even my most faithful friends. 

I would give up all the glowing adoration from my fans in a heartbeat in exchange for not running for my life. But fate doesn’t deal cards that way, and instead I find myself far out at sea and being bounced between two hot cops—one so chilly just his glance gives me frostbite, and the other showing a kindness that barely covers his own demons. 

So with nowhere else to turn, quite literally, I have to trust two men I hardly know with my life and cope without the luxuries my status usually affords me. But it’s not long before I discover when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Turns out these cops are not only the wrong guys to mess with, they also have partnership skills above and beyond the requirements of their day job. And for once, while just being me without the frills, I get to discover that they are as sinfully bad as they are dreamily good in every department, and it seems, I am the one they want cuffed and controlled at the same time as they are protecting and serving. 

Monday, 28 July 2014

Special Guest Natasha Blackthorne

Please welcome Natasha Blackthorne to my blog today…

Hello Everyone,

I just love Lily’s writing because it is so emotional and sexy and she paints such vivid pictures with her words. So, it was a real honor to be invited to her blog today for a guest post.

Lily asked me to talk about what drew me to write erotic historical romance. When I was about six, the other people in my house were watching Dark Shadows. I was playing with my Barbies and couldn’t have cared less but then I glanced at the TV. It happened to be an episode set in the late 1700s. I immediately got this aching, nostalgic feeling in the center of my chest. I asked the adults, what is that place, where is it, can we go there? I had a deep longing to be there.

The first time I picked up a Laurie Ingalls Wilder book, it was On The Banks of Plum Creek, I was just enthralled. I rapidly devoured all the series. And I wanted desperately to be able to jump into those pages and live there. My love for history had begun.

I read so many wonderful adventure based historical romances and I also discovered history books that explored the more sensual and decadent sides to the historical eras that enchanted me so much. I developed a greater love for that fabulous combination of history and sex. It added a personal dimension to history that fired my imagination as never before. Well, truthfully, there’s a lot of sex at the heart of what occurs history, no matter that they don’t teach that in the textbooks.

In college I majored in history. I still love reading all kinds of history and historical biography. I want to know what it would feel like to really live in those people’s skins, to breathe the air that they did. What was it like to struggle against the social and moral expectations in those periods?

I write to explore and to live the experiences of the characters. That’s where my drive to write comes from. I enjoy exploring the characters at their deepest emotional and most intimate levels and so writing erotic romance was natural for me.

My series set in Federalist/Regency Era America is called Wild, Wicked and Wanton. This series is concerned with themes of sexual shame. I explore how people cope with their sexual needs and their sexual shame in a time when people in general do not speak openly about such things.

The first two books of the Wild, Wicked and Wanton series, Grey’s Lady and White Lace and Promises, explore the story of a beautiful but impoverished young woman of illegitimate birth named Beth. She is a sexually aggressive and very in touch with her own body and sexual needs. How would a woman like this cope when the feminine ideal of the time, a lady, is expected to behave chastely?

My series set in Regency era England titled Regency Risks, deals with aspects of fear, emotional repression and sexuality. The first book, A Measured Risk, tells the story of a young widow who is suffering from what we would call Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Shy, bookish Anne Bourchier, the dowager Countess of Cranfield, finds herself imprisoned by a deep emotional trauma. This trauma developed because her husband was killed while being held in her arms during a carriage accident. She survived the accident but the emotional trauma is slowly killing her inside.

When her late husband’s cousin comes home for the hunting season, she suddenly finds her private world invaded by a loud, fast crowd that pushes the limits of what is considered scandalous. Anne has been relegated to the position of an unwanted relic. She’s about to meet Jonathon Lloyd, the Earl of Ruel.

Jon is something she has never encountered before. He is the bravest, strongest willed man she has ever met. He fascinates her. She begins to wonder if he can help her overcome her fears.

These are the types of issues that really fuel my writing and are the heart and soul of what led me to write erotic historical romance.

I’d like to share a little more about A Measured Risk with you.

Erotica Romance ~ Light BDSM ~ Rubenesque / BBW ~ Regency Historical ~ Novel Length 84,000 Words

He is her most dangerous temptation and now he is demanding her submission. Dare she take the risk? 

Book one in the Regency Risks Series 

Emotionally scarred in the horrific accident that took her husband's life, Lady Cranfield is imprisoned by her lingering terror of horses and carriages. She longed to be closer to the fascinating Earl of Ruel. She sensed intuitively that he could teach her how to overcome the terrors that held her in bondage.

And now she's willing to risk almost anything-her reputation, even her virtue-to find out. But what he proposes startles her.

When the shy, studious and socially awkward young widow approached him, Ruel instantly sensed she would be the sweetest, most submissive experience of a lifetime-if only he can gain her total and complete trust. He makes her a non-negotiable offer. His help in return for her submission and obedience.

But Lady Cranfield grew up neglected by her ducal parents, raised by servants and then later ignored by her handsome, charming husband. She’s learnt to protect her heart at all costs and she trusts no one but herself.

How can the jaded Earl of Ruel break through her self-protective defences and show her how to love when he has spent his lifetime avoiding that tender trap?

Excerpt from A Measured Risk
©Copyright Natasha Blackthorne 2012, 2013

She backed all the way into the bookcase.
“Why did you run away?” His deep voice settled in her belly, rich and warm, like crème brûlée on a cold winter’s night.
“Because I wanted you to follow.” She tried to sound sophisticated and seductive, but her voice choked off on the last word.
Ruel placed his hand on the shelf above her head and blocked her path to the door. His tall, solidly muscled body leaned over her, surrounding her with the sumptuous, sinful scents of tobacco, Scotch whisky and something masculine and undeniably dangerous. A slow, sensual smile stretched his hard mouth.
He appeared different. Softer. More approachable.
At the change, her insides seemed to flip over.
“Well, sweeting, getting us off alone was a very inspired idea.” He touched one of her fallen ringlets. “I am bored to distraction with endless talk of hunting and fencing.”
As he slowly wrapped the curl around two fingers, he brushed her collarbone. Fiery sparks tingled down her spine, so intense that she shivered and her nipples beaded, pressing against her stays. By some instinct she hadn’t even known she possessed, she arched her back, presenting herself for his assessment.
His eyes shone so vividly blue against his bronzed face that they resembled cornflowers. She swallowed tightly and wished for a long drink of claret. This more personal side of him suddenly seemed far more hazardous than his usually fierce exterior.
Well, no matter. There was nothing to fear. She would allow only as much contact as need be to get to know him a little. Since being torn from her lonely yet secure life in Ireland and thrust into Society at age sixteen, she’d spent her time allowing people only as near as was comfortable. She was an expert at emotional evasion.
It should be easy to regain her control.
But now, as rays of the late-afternoon sun played over his pale hair, turning it the colour of winter wheat, all her carefully rehearsed words flew from her mind.
Say something—anything—else he will think you’re a bird-wit.
An intimate smile, one that invited her to play, tugged at his mouth.
“In a situation like this, alone with a gentleman, it’s perfectly normal for a lady to feel some apprehension.” His hushed voice, barely audible above the piano and boisterous singing from down the corridor, accentuated their isolation. His gaze became so piercing that she had to lower her eyes.
He brushed his fingertips over her cheek. “She will invariably ask herself if he will try to kiss her.”
She jerked her eyes back to his face. God, he couldn’t mean to—not yet, surely… Peculiar, heated chills swept over her. She tried to take a step back, but found her arse flush against the bookshelf.
He leaned closer; so close that his Scotch-scented breath tickled her face. “And just in case you are wondering, Lady Cranfield—the answer is most assuredly yes.”
She should demand that he put his arm down so she could pass by and leave. She really should. But she couldn’t stop looking at his hard mouth and wondering what it would feel like upon hers. He was so close to her that his breath blew on her lips. If she moved but a fraction, she’d be kissing him.
Kissing him.
Dear God. Her breaths began to come very fast and short. Her throat went tight with a suppressed moan.
His eyes burnt as brightly as aquamarines. He looked so fierce. If he kissed her, if he dared… Oh God, it would be so harsh. That cruel-looking mouth could express itself no other way.
Excitement rushed through her, sending tingles to every point of her body, even her toes.
But no, he wouldn’t. Not yet.
He kept leaning closer. He didn’t close his eyes. Instead, he seemed to focus all the harder upon her.
Her heart pounding, unable to move away, she braced herself for his assault.
His lips brushed hers, barely. A gossamer caress.
He lifted his head.
It was done.
And it hadn’t even begun.
He held her chin, appearing so cool, so unaffected. His kiss had seemed to sear her. An urge to put her fingers to her lips arose in her. She resisted it, for it would give away too much of how she was affected.
Never show your feelings.
He traced his thumb along her lower lip, slowly, deliberately, as he studied her with eyes that now glittered with something powerful and predatory. Heat pooled in her pelvis, low and spreading even lower.
She went weak all over, as if she’d lain in a sunny window seat for too long. Her knees almost buckled. She forced them to lock. To be strong.
It should not have affected her so profoundly. It had been just a peck—not a true kiss at all. William had poured out all of his skill upon her and hadn’t garnered even a tenth of the reaction in her that this man’s peck had.
Ruel traced her jaw line with his fingertips. Unthinkingly, she leaned in to his touch.
“Of course, once he has kissed her, then it’s his turn to wonder…” His voice sounded unnaturally loud in her ears. “How will she respond? Will she withdraw, or can he ignite some hidden fire?”
She sensed that he was toying with her. She didn’t understand flirtation—why had she imagined she could carry off this ruse? Was he making advances in order to have a laugh with Francesca and her simpering friends later? Hurt blossomed in her chest. She resented him for that. She ought to feel indignant, superior, uncaring—anything but hurt.
“Please don’t make sport of me.”
She cringed. Was that quavering, pleading voice really hers?
An infinitesimal pause. “Now, why on earth would I do such a thing?” His voice was as smooth as velvet.
“To please your vanity,” she replied, trying to regain her wits.
“Here.” He placed her hand to his chest. The contours of his muscles were hard, powerfully developed. Even more so than she’d expected. His body heat radiated through the satin and, beneath her hand, his heart’s beat was rapid and strong.
“Is that vanity?” He put a finger under her chin, giving her no choice but to face him. “Is it?” He gentled his grip.
The warmth in his voice settled over her like luscious hot chocolate. Melting her insides to quivering burgoo, rendering her speechless, unable to move.
“My dear, lovely Lady Cranfield, I am going kiss you again.”

* * *

Thank you, Lily, for hosting me today.

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