Welcome, keep reading to enjoy a sneak peak at A SCANDALOUS SEDUCTION, out on 1st of November.
She burst into the dark of the interior, swiping at the water on her face. “Oh my goodness.” She set her bag to one side for fear of dripping on it and soaking the paper within. “I am wet through.”
“It certainly was a deluge.” He half laughed and placed his book and quill next to her bag on the table.
His shirt was clinging to his body, making it appear almost as if it had been painted on—sheer paint, almost opaque paint. His nipples were visible, hard little dots, as was the scribble of hair on his sternum. A drip ran from his brow, past his left eye and to his cheek. He dashed it away and studied her in the same manner she was studying him.
“Your…gown,” he said then bit on his bottom lip.
Elizabeth looked down. “Oh my Lord.” The wet material was clinging to her bosom the way his shirt was sticking to him. Luckily, it wasn’t nearly as sheer, but still, her nipples poked at it. Small stiff points. Hurriedly, she crossed her arms over her chest.
“I should get you a towel,” he said.
“Yes. Thank you. I would be most grateful.”
But he made no move to get her a towel. He stepped closer. He was still breathing fast, and his wet cheeks were touched with redness.
She stared up at him, and a little thrill, one she hadn’t felt before, went through her. It twisted in her chest and belly. He was gazing at her with such intensity. The kind of intensity she’d always dreamed of.
And he was so handsome, so masculine, so broad and strong. Everything she’d hoped to find in a man.
“Beth,” he said, his voice low and husky.
“Yes.” Her heart rate picked up.
“I have…” Daringly, he cupped her cheeks in both of his hands. His big palms were damp and hot.
There was no part of her that wanted to shake him off. Her heart rate picked up, and she rested her hands on his tendon-thick forearms. He was standing so close, it was quite improper, but oh, it was lovely to be so near to him.
“I have just produced some of my best work,” he said quietly. “Sitting in the forest with you.” His eyebrows drew together, his eyes narrowing slightly. “I feel like you have been sent to me, by God, to be my muse.”
“Your muse?” Her voice was barely a whisper.
“Aye, my muse. My beautiful, delicate, captivating muse. You have no idea how many emotions you stir in me.”
She swallowed and stared into his eyes. “And that’s a good thing?”
“Aye, it’s the best.” He brought his face to hers, his lips hovering over her mouth. “The best thing for me and my poetry.”
“Tom,” she managed, her breath mingling with his. “I—”
“I want to kiss you,” he said. “Say that I can.”
“Kiss me…?” A strange heat filled her, longing gripped her. This was what she’d been waiting for. Tom was who she’d been waiting for. He was all wrong for her, but he was also so right.
“Beth?” he murmured. “Please.” He screwed up his features, as though it would physically pain him if he didn’t kiss her.
“Yes. Kiss me.”
Very gently, he brushed his lips over hers.
She gripped him tighter and closed her eyes.
He held her face firmly, as though keeping her exactly where he wanted her, and probed his tongue into her mouth.
She moaned softly and opened up, let him in. The kiss deepened, and she pressed closer to him, her breasts squashing against his wet chest.
“Beth,” he murmured, breaking the kiss for a moment before capturing her mouth again.
Desire shot into her system; it was thick and potent and brought with it a longing for more. Tom was everything she wanted. The feel of his solid body was intoxicating, and she ran her hands over his shoulders, down his back, learning the shape of him.
He did the same, and slid his hands down her neck so his thumbs rested on her collarbones.
“You’re exquisite,” he said, looking at where he touched her. “In every way, how you move, speak, smile, I could get drunk on watching you, being with you, writing poems about you.”
“You could?” She was dizzy with joy. It seemed her attraction for Tom was reciprocated.
“Aye.” Sliding one hand lower, he cupped her right breasts over her gown. “I really could.”
“Tell me to stop if you need to.”
He smiled then kissed her again.
A moan escaped her throat. The way he was caressing her breast sent hot ribbons of pleasure to her belly, then lower, to between her legs. Catching in that place she longed to be touched.
She pressed her thighs together. She was heating up, dampening. Her nipples were hard pebbles, and he was fingering one of them through the material of her gown. So many times she’d wondered about a man’s touch, but never had she thought it would be this good.
“I know we’ve only just met,” he murmured and kissed across her cheek. “But this feels so right. You feel so right.”
She tipped her head as he kissed the angle of her jaw, soft peppering touches of his lips.
His exploration of her body continued, one hand gliding to the small of her back, the first rise of her buttocks, and the other slipping under the neckline of her gown.
“Tom.” A stuttered sigh left her mouth at the feel of his hand on her flesh.
He caught her nipple between his fingers, gently rubbing the pointed little twist of flesh.
“My beauty, my muse,” he said, before once again kissing her.
She squeezed in close, caught up in the moment, wanting more, not wanting it to end.
But when she felt a solid wedge of flesh, hard and demanding and trapped between them, a rush of panic gripped her. She wasn’t so naïve that she didn’t know what it was he really wanted.
“Stop.” She tore her lips from his and stepped back. The loss of his touch and body heat was almost a shock, even though it was her who had ended the embrace.
She blinked and looked around. Everything was the same as it had been when she’d stepped into the lodge. Long shadows, rain running from the roof, the dormant stove, a clutter of books and paper on the table.
“What is it?” he asked, holding out his hands to her.
“I don’t know what came over me?” She put her hand over her mouth. “We really shouldn’t have…you shouldn’t have.” She was breathing fast.
“Do not be remorseful.” He frowned.
“How can I not be? We…” She swallowed.
“We kissed, that is all.”
“But we…I am a…”
“You are what? A virgin?”
That wasn’t what she was going to say, but he’d still hit a truth. “Yes.”
“And you still are,” he said. “One kiss does not stop you being a virgin.”
“I should go home.” She eyed the door over his left shoulder.
“It’s still raining.” His gaze dipped to her chest. “You can’t go yet or like that.”
“Darn it.” Quickly, she pulled up the neckline of her gown, covering her bare right breast which poked rudely from her clothing. “It’s passing. The storm. I really should go.” She rushed to the door and yanked it open.
“No, please. You’ll catch your death.”
“I can’t stay. I really can’t.”
She raced outside. With each step up the path, shame weighed heavier on her shoulders. How could she have got so swept away by a handsome gamekeeper? She was a lady, a young woman who had to marry well, and to do that she had to live a life free of scandal.