Welcome to Sugarbeat’s Books – The Home of the Romance Novel!
New York Times Bestselling Author Gaelen Foley presents My Wicked Marquess, the first book in her passionate new series, The Inferno Club…To London’s aristocracy, the Inferno Club is a scandalous society no proper young lady would acknowledge. But though they are publicly notorious for pursuing all manner of debauchery, in private they are warriors who would do anything to protect king and country.The Marquess of Rotherstone has decided it’s time to restore the family’s good name. But as a member of the Inferno Club, he knows there is only one way to redeem himself in Society’s eyes: marry a lady of impeccable beauty and breeding, whose reputation is, above all, spotless.
Someone quite unlike Daphne Starling. True, she’s temptingly lovely, but a jilted suitor has nearly ruined her reputation. Still, Max cannot resist her allure—or the challenge of proving London’s gossips wrong. He would do anything to win her hand . . . and show that even a wicked marquess can make a perfect husband.
Why do you need to read this book? This book is filled will heroes and heroines. Daphne and Max are wonderful characters that have the reader cheering for them from the beginning to the end. Ms Foley has the reader desperate to read the next book. All I can say is thank goodness I found this series after they had all been written, and a short virtual trip to Barnes & Noble and I had the set
Excerpt ~ From Ch. 3 ~ Daphne & Max’s first private conversation
Safely ensconced in the ladies’ lounge, Daphne gave her reflection a firm look in the mirror. Having taken a moment to steady herself, she knew what she had to do, and it did not include one more moment of hiding in here. She had faltered for a moment, but she was no coward. She had to go out there and talk to him.Talk…to the Demon Marquess.She swallowed hard at the prospect. Her ladylike sensibilities protested at the notion of approaching a man to whom she had not been properly introduced. But if Albert had told him lies about her, her pride insisted on defending her reputation, at least to him.
Why she cared so much what this stranger thought of her, she dared not examine. She preferred to tell herself it was simply a matter of etiquette. The man had saved her life yesterday. The least that she could do was go and say thank you.
Gliding back out to the ball, she moved with a graceful but alert stride, glancing around for him watchfully from behind her open fan.
He was no longer standing in the doorway of the crowded dining hall, nor did she see him in the ballroom. Daphne frowned. Where had he gone? Just when she was starting to fear she had missed her chance, she spotted him striding down a lonely marble hallway toward a side door off Edgecombe House. He’s leaving?
Oh—dash! She picked up her skirts and hastened after him, her heartbeat quickening in time with the soft pattering rhythm of her satin-slippered footfalls. Her stare was glued to the broad V of his back.
Say something! she ordered herself. He’s getting away!
He was almost to the few stairs at the end of the corridor. These led up into a small foyer before a less-used door. She knew she had to stop him, but Daphne now found herself ridiculously tongue-tied.
Oh, this was so unlike her. “Um–excuse me.” Her voice came out as barely a whisper, too soft for him to hear. She rushed after him, determined to try again–not that she had any idea of what she’d do with such a dangerous man once she had caught him.
Watching him, she could not help but admire his bold, confident walk ahead, like he could march through fire and not get burned. “Excuse me!” she called in a louder tone. She faltered–rallied quickly. “Er, don’t I know you?”
He stopped in his tracks.
Daphne winced at her decidedly unoriginal greeting, then bit her lower lip. At least this time it seemed that he had heard her call to him.
She waited, wide-eyed, for his reaction, not knowing what to expect. But she decided on the spot to hide the fact that she already knew his name.
Just in case he had been making sport of her with Albert, why give him the satisfaction of knowing she had cared enough to note that information?
Ahead of her, he stood very still; he had not yet turned around.
If he had, she might have seen the startled flicker of victory in his eyes, and then the sly satisfaction that curved his lips.
“I beg your pardon, sir.” Her heart thumping, Daphne bolstered up her courage and took another uncertain step in his direction. “You are leaving—so soon?”
Finally, his motions wary and deliberate, the darkly handsome marquess pivoted to face her. His guarded stare traveled over her. “I’m not sure,” he said slowly, “there is any reason for me to stay.”
He lifted one eyebrow slightly after his words, as though challenging her to tell him otherwise.
Daphne’s knees knocked beneath her petticoat, threatening to give out as she faced the Demon Marquess in all his raw, male magnetism.
She swallowed hard. “I can think of one.”
She fiddled with her fan, but was determined to have her say. “I-I wanted to thank you for yesterday,” she asserted. “It was—noble of you to come to my aid.”
“Noble?” he echoed, both raven eyebrows arching high now.
“Yes.” She nodded fervently. Something in his stare made her fingertips tingle. The tingle crept up her arms with sweet warmth, into her chest, and straight into her bosoms. She ignored the odd sensation with a will. “It was a clever ruse—oh, but it was risky!” she chided. “It could have gone quite badly, you know. I’m not sure you should have done it.” She swallowed hard. “But, fortunately,” she continued, “since you appear unharmed, do please, accept my gratitude.”
When he just stared at her in mild bemusement, his eyes slightly narrowed, as though examining some strange species of prey animal, Daphne, not knowing what else to do, sketched a modest, formal curtsy to punctuate her thanks.
Her acknowledgment of his heroics appeared to entertain him; his chiseled face softened considerably as he held her gaze.
“I am happy to be of service, Miss Starling, and am humbled by your concern. The honor was mine.” He offered her a gallant bow in answer.
They stared at each other for a second, with several yards of marble hallway still between them.
Daphne barely realized she was holding her breath, as though she were in the presence of some magical creature, a unicorn in a moonlit grove.
Belatedly, she noted Lord Rotherstone’s use of her name. “I take it Lord Albert informed you who I am.”
“No, actually,” he said in a casual tone, “I already knew.”
“No light as bright as yours, Miss Starling, can easily escape notice.”
Well, that was prettily said, she thought. Maybe he was not as quick as some people to believe Albert’s lies. She watched him in fascination as he walked back down the few steps from the landing ahead, approaching her at a leisurely saunter.
“The patron saint of newcomers, I presume?” he greeted her with an enigmatic smile.
“Oh—right.” With a quick, modest smile at the nickname the ton had given her, Daphne lowered her gaze. “I take it that would include you? I have not seen you in Society before. Are you new to Town, sir?”
“I have been traveling abroad for some time.”
As he closed the distance between them, she had to lift her chin to keep holding his gaze, for he was quite tall.
“Traveling abroad? During a war?”
“What is life without a little danger?” he countered, flashing a very dangerous smile, indeed.
“Oh.” She dropped her gaze, cursing herself for the blush she could feel stealing into her cheeks. “I have never been beyond the, um, Home Counties, myself.”
“Nevertheless, I daresay you have visited a dangerous place or two in your day.” He smiled faintly, a knowing look in his light-tricked eyes; their outer corners crinkled with a hint of amusement. He was referring, of course, to yesterday, she realized, and her little trip to the orphanage in Bucket Lane, or Slops Bucket Lane, as the rough locals laughingly called it.
Lord Rotherstone stopped just in front of her, and stood gazing into her eyes for a moment with that same thoughtful expression she’d noticed before.
He seemed to peer down into her very soul. “You looked upset when you left the dining hall a little while ago.”
His frank observation took her off guard. “Oh—yes, well—it’s nothing. I-I just thought… ”
“I think I know what you thought,” he murmured when her stammering trailed off into awkward silence.
Daphne lowered her head, but he shocked her when he touched her gently under her chin. She caught her breath sharply as he tilted her face upward again and looked into her eyes.
“I know what you thought,” he repeated, “but, I can assure you, you were mistaken.”
“Was I?” Her heart pounded at the light but sure pressure of his warm fingertips against her skin.
Very. I should never wish to be the cause of your distress, Miss Starling.”
“What did Albert say to you about me?” she blurted out in a hushed tone, struggling to form a clear thought against the magic of his touch.
He smiled and lowered his hand to his side once more. “Better you should ask what I said to him about you.”
She shot him a wary look of question.
He shrugged with a nonchalant smile. “I simply let him know that he can either mind his tongue or lose it.”
Her eyes widened. “You threatened him?”
He sighed regretfully, folding his hands behind his back. “I’m fairly sure that’s why he left the party. Pity, no?”
Daphne stared at him astonishment bordering on laughter. Well! I was right from the outset. He is a lunatic.
“You look surprised.”
“I thought you were his friend!”
He looked away with a low laugh. “Not exactly.”
She shook her head in wonder, trying to make sense of it all. “How do you know him?”
“He grew up near me when we were boys in Worcestershire.”
“I see…” It was hard to imagine the tall, formidable man before her as a boy.
“Miss Starling, I could never let any man insult you in my presence. Rest assured of that.”
“Oh,” she whispered, trembling at his chivalrous vow.
It dawned on her that she was making a cake of herself, but she couldn’t seem to help it. Her wits were somewhat routed by their exchange so far. Oh, but she was relieved to hear he had not been making sport of her, nor even tolerating Albert’s rudeness.
Quite the contrary. The magnificent hellion had defended her.
She beamed. Daphne suddenly found herself growing desperate for a proper introduction. He was a positively thrilling man!
Eager to get that formal step out of the way, she cast about for some means to nudge the marquess into telling her his name. Yes, of course, she already knew it, but just now it seemed too forward, rude, and gossipy to admit that she had heard it while eavesdropping on his conversation with Albert.
“Well, I barely know what to say!” she exclaimed, trying to sound like the blithe Society coquette she could be when the need arose. “Two rescues in twenty-four hours, and I don’t even know your name!”
Again, the eyebrow lifted. Perhaps she should have read it as a warning. “Shall I reveal it to you, or do you prefer the mystery to continue?” he asked dryly.
Oh, dear. The cynical tone of his voice instantly made her wonder if he could somehow tell that she was lying.
“Why, that’s an odd question,” she evaded with a quick, uneasy smile, opting to be vague.
He sighed and gazed toward the ceiling. “Yes, it’s just that once you realize who I am,” he mused aloud, “you may run from me. And that would make me sad.” He looked at her again, intently, his pale green eyes keen and searching beneath the coal-black fringe of his short lashes.
Trapped in his stare with the strange sense that he could almost read her mind, Daphne was still unsure if he saw through her amateur deception.
Unfortunately, having started down this path, she saw no choice but to carry it through. She waved her fan faster, and kept smiling, though her cheeks were beginning to hurt. “Well, you can do as you please, I’m sure! I think you’ve earned that right. On the other hand,” she countered with a coy flutter of her lashes, “I can’t dance with you if I don’t know your name, now, can I?”
“But my dear Miss Starling, I haven’t asked you yet.”
Her fan stopped. “You were going to, weren’t you?” she exclaimed in indignation.
He flashed a smile. “Maybe.”
“Well!” She tossed her head. “I had planned a dance as your reward for rescuing me, but now I’m not so sure.”
“My dear young lady, if I had done it for the reward,” he murmured, moving closer still, “I promise you, I would be asking for more than a dance.”
Daphne stared at him, wide-eyed.
The sheer wickedness of the slow, lazy smile he gave her made her catch her breath against the squeeze of her tight stays. All of a sudden, she longed to be rid of them, rid of most of her clothing, actually, when he looked at her that way. Her own little game was completely overwhelmed by his palpable expertise, and she thought again of the brothel. What would he be like to…?
She warded off the naughty thought before she could complete it. Feeling slightly faint, shocked at the extremely unladylike drift of her imaginings, she looked away, waving her fan again very fast, indeed.
Having left her speechless with his silken innuendo, Lord Rotherstone now paused, as though he had all the time in the world to play with her and steer the conversation wherever he willed.
“You see, my dear, even more than a dance, what I really want from you is a promise,” he murmured.
Her eyes flared as she sent him another swift glance. “What kind of—promise?” she asked hoarsely, barely daring wonder what a Demon Marquess might want from a girl.
To her surprise, however, he leaned down to glower into her eyes and pointed his finger in her face. “Do not ever go back to that treacherous alley again.” he ordered her matter-of-factly. “Next time, I may not be there to rescue you. Do you understand me?”
His command and his domineering stare took her aback.
She looked at him in astonishment. Who exactly did he think he was?
“I beg your pardon.” Not about to be told what to do by a man she had only just met, she lifted her index finger and pushed his aside with a dainty strike, as if in a miniature duel.
“You heard me,” he murmured in a husky tone, hooking his finger and effectively capturing hers. He held onto it, and locked stares with her at close range. “Promise,” he whispered, with a dark, irresistible charm that seemed to engulf her.
Daphne studied his lips for a second, then shook off the shiver of awareness that ran through her body. “No,” she informed him in crisp tones. “I cannot promise that, I’m afraid.”
“You can,” he told her sweetly, “and you shall.”
“No,” she repeated, just as kindly, and as firmly. “I’m afraid you do not understand, my lord. The children at the orphanage, they need me.”
“Alive, one presumes,” he said with an equally unflappable smile, though his eyes were flinty. “You are no use to them dead, now, are you, sweet Miss Starling?”
Losing patience with his highhandedness, she tugged her finger free of his light hold and scowled at him. “You don’t understand, Ihave to go back there whether I like it or not—at least until the orphanage is moved! I can’t let those poor children think I’ve abandoned them, like their own parents have. Besides, I didn’t question your business in Bucket Lane, now, did I? I hardly think it fitting that you question mine.”
She relished his startled look at her polite reminder of his visit to that disgusting brothel, but he recovered quickly. “Young lady, you listen to me—”
“Pish-posh,” she said with an idle wave of her hand. “All’s well that ends well.”
He looked at her in amazement. “Did you just say pish-posh to me?”
“Why, yes, I believe I did.” She folded her arms across her chest, giving him a serenely stubborn smile.
“Lord Rotherstone?” a voice intruded.
They both looked over.
“Yes? What is it?” The marquess frowned at Daphne, while a harried-looking footman came rushing down the hallway with a folded piece of paper on a silver tray.
“A message arrived for you, sir. I was afraid I’d missed you! Forgive the interruption. The courier said it was urgent.”
“Here, I will take it.” He beckoned the man forward with an impatient flick of his fingers.
“Lord Rotherstone,” Daphne echoed softly, sending him a twinkling smile. “Are you sure it’s not made out to the Demon Marquess?”
He narrowed his eyes at her. “So, I was right. You already knew my name, you saucy thing.”
She grinned, feeling better to come clean. “I could not let you have the advantage of me, now, could I?”
He snorted and shook his head, turning away with a low laugh to read his note. “If you’ll excuse me for a moment?”
“Of course, Lord Rotherstone.”
He gave her another sardonic look at her arch repetition of his name and unfolded the letter, swiftly scanning it.
Daphne kept a polite distance, but she watched his chiseled countenance with avid curiosity. She was not one to read over anyone’s shoulder, but she could not resist teasing him in the hopes that she might pry a little intelligence out of him as to its contents. “Do I detect a whiff of brimstone in the air?”
“Quite,” he said dryly, then folded the note again and slid it into the pocket of his waistcoat. With a wave of his hand, Lord Rotherstone dismissed the footman, who had stood waiting for any reply he might wish to send. He glanced at her. “Regretfully, Miss Starling, I must go.”
“Oh, but we were only just getting acquainted,” she countered with a playful little pout.
“Trust me,” he murmured with a roguish look, “we will pick up soon where we left off.”
“But what of our dance?”
“You’ll owe me one.”
She frowned in sudden concern. “It’s not bad news, I hope?”
“No, no, it’s excellent news, but the sort I must attend to at once. An arrival, actually, that I have long awaited.”
“Arrival?” A sudden horrible thought flashed across her mind out of nowhere. “Is your wife having a baby?” she cried as he began to turn away. In the next second, she was even more aghast at what she had just blurted out; she clapped a hand over her mouth and stared at him.
“My wife?” He stopped and turned back to her, frowning in surprise. “What do you know of my wife?”
She lowered her hand slightly from her mouth, longing to hide under the nearest rock. “Nothing! Oh, God—I beg your pardon. I didn’t mean, that is, I’m sure it’s none of my—”
His soft, tickled laughter put a halt to her mortified stammering. His pale eyes danced. “My dear Miss Starling,” he teased, laughing warmly at her flustered attempt to find out if he was a married man. “If I had a wife about to give birth, I would hardly be here, letting a charming young beauty enchant me. Though, I must admit, I can’t help but feel a little flattered that your thoughts turn so easily to breeding in my presence.”
She gasped, rendered speechless. Still chuckling as she turned rosy, he captured her hand and bowed over it, pressing the briefest of kisses to her knuckles. “Au revoir, cherie. Until we meet again.”
“Oh, will we?” she retorted, yanking back her hand as he released it, barely recovered from her embarrassment at his ribald teasing.
“Count on it,” he whispered, and took leave of her with a wink.
Welcome to Sugarbeat’s Books – The Home of the Romance Novel!
Leo Laporte and Scott Schaeffer are teammates on the ice and roommates off it who also share women. They’ve been coming into Kelly Chase’s bistro after games for months, and they know they want her. As the attraction grows, the men realize they want more than a one-night stand – they want forever.
Kelly’s not so sure. Yes, she wants both men. But a permanent ménage relationship? That’s taking giving her heart away to a whole new level, and a chance she’s hesitant to take. Then Leo is injured and Scott’s on the trading block, and she realizes this may be her only shot at true, everlasting love.
There are so many questions swirling around inside Kelly’s head. Can she believe in Leo and Scott’s love? And will her business and her reputation survive once people find out she’s with two men?
Why do you need to read this book?
This story is a great menage story. It is realistic and the chemistry between the guys and Kelly is off the charts hot!
Welcome to Sugarbeat’s Books – The Home of the Romance Novel!
Today we are going to talk about A Naughty Little Christmas by Randi Alexander, Ann Bruce, Aliyah Burke, Opal Carew, Dawn Halliday, Yvette Hines, Christin Lovell and Paige Tayler.
This book has been released for the Christmas season at 99 cents. I, like quite a few others have grabbed a copy of this anthology and enjoyed reading it! How can you lose buying 8 books for 99 cents?
Like most anthologies I’ve read, I liked some of the stories more than others, but all in all, a great deal!
* * *
COWBOYS, COPS, AND KILTS FEATURING EIGHT BESTSELLING AUTHORS & EIGHT SEASONALLY SEDUCTIVE ROMANCES Only 99 cents for a limited time! 646 PAGES – YOU SAVE $20.88!
THIS YEAR, HIT THE NAUGHTY LIST! 18+
COWBOY JACKPOT: CHRISTMAS
Cowboy Jackpot Series, Book 1
Award Winning Novella. A lucky first kiss in front of a Las Vegas slot machine pays off big for bull rider Boone Hancock and college student Gigi Colberg-Staub.
A NAUGHTY NOELLE
The 19th Precinct, Book 1.5
It’s cold and snowing and dark when a vice cop meets the perfect woman for him, all the while bad men with guns are chasing after him.
HOLIDAY SURPRISE: UNWRAPPED
Recuperating in wintery Massachusetts, Heath Dixon gives cold-hating Kassia Green something much hotter to focus on. But can he keep her after Christmas? Like…forever?
Given one chance to break the curse which has held Angelique in its grip for two hundred years, she is faced with a heart-rending decision. Can she sacrifice Nick’s happiness for her own freedom?
A HIGHLANDER FOR THE HOLIDAYS
In the wintery Highland mountains, Aileen and Niall unleash their forbidden passion. But Aileen is promised to another this Christmas, and the wicked Lowlander will stop at nothing to have her.
Even during the holidays a woman can have one reckless night that will change her life forever…especially when the man she was with is determined to prove they belong together.
HER XMAS PRESENT
After being apart from each other for a year, Libby and Tyler realize their feelings for one another are more than platonic. Are they willing to risk years of friendship on a chance at love?
ALL SHE WANTS FOR CHRISTMAS
Hayley Knowles has always fantasized about getting spanked by her husband, Conner. But how can she possibly ever get her husband to do it, especially since she’s too shy to tell him? This is the holiday season, though, so maybe Hayley might get exactly what she wants for Christmas!
A Naughty Little Christmas is available:
Randi Alexander @Randi_Alexander
An award winning author, Randi Alexander’s romance novels, cowboys and cowgirls are “Rode Hard and Put Up Satisfied” for your reading enjoyment. She loves to hear from fans at http://RandiAlexander.comand https://www.facebook.com/
Ann Bruce is the pseudonym for a self-professed computer geek who, in between snowboarding, reading comic books, and wearing out the buttons of her PS3 controller, writes because it’s an acceptable means of explaining all the voices in her head.
Aliyah Burke is a bestselling author who writes across multiple genres with one paramount belief …happily ever afters are a must. With four dogs, one cat and a military man who married her, her days are full. Join Aliyah at: http://www.aliyah-burke.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/
Opal Carew @OpalCarew
As a USA Today Bestselling author of steamy contemporary romance, Opal Carew writes about passion, love, and taking risks. Her heroine’s follow their hearts and push past the fear that stops them from realizing their dreams… to the excitement and love of happily-ever-after
Dawn Halliday @JenniferHaymore
Yvette Hines @sasseYvetteH
Christin Lovell @christinlovell
An author of paranormal and contemporary romance for the old and the young, Christin Lovell likes her coffee strong, and her alphas stronger. Connect with her at http://www.christinlovell.com andwww.facebook.com/
Paige Tyler @PaigeTyler
“Aaah!” Looking up she saw a man walking along the side of the road. “Oh, my God, don’t let me hit him.” Honking her horn and jerking the wheel left toward the street she swerved around, barely missing him, until the rear of her car fishtailed. Thump!
Tires screeched as she slammed on the brakes. Throwing the car into park, she slung the door open, vaulted out of the car and ran towards the back of it. A man lay on the ground illuminated in the red glow of her taillights.
“Are you okay? Are you okay?” She kneeled down beside him and fanned her hand over his face. “Sir…sir?”
“If there’s any mercy left in the word, you’ll stop yelling.” His head rolled toward her, gaze locking.
Reaching out, she brushed her fingers along the side of his forehead. “You’re bleeding.”
“And I’ve just been touched by an angel. A pretty caramel-brown angel.” He smiled.
Her stomach flipped. “How do you feel? Can you sit up?”
“You betcha.” Proving his words true, he sat up. He reached his hand up to feel his head and winced. Looking at the blood on his fingertips, he declared, “Good thing I have a hard head. I think I’ll live.” Sitting there with his dark hair falling over his brow made him look like a modern James Dean.
Unwillingly, her lips turned up on the sides. The humor behind his words caused her to do what she hadn’t done in a year–smile. What was it about this man?
“I’m sorry…my car hit a bump…and I didn’t see you…until it was too late.” She knew she was rambling.
The lopsided smile he gave her let her know he knew it too. “No sweat. I shouldn’t have been walking in the dark.” He held her eye contact.
His level gaze caused her stomach to flip-flop again. “Were you headed somewhere?”
Rising to his feet, he closed his eyes for a moment and took a breath as if to stabilize himself. Opening them again, he swiped his hand across the back of his pants removing the dirt and gravel. “My car broke down before the exit ramp. I was on my way to town.”
She stood as well, almost meeting him eye to eye. He had to be an inch or two over six feet, she was five ten and he still had her by a bit. “Are you sure you’re okay?”
Noticing her height, his gaze traveled down the length of her body. Returning to her face, he lifted an eyebrow and inclined his head. It was an appreciative gesture like when one sees the value in a work of art. “Peachy.”
Tingling sensations ran down the front of her body everywhere his gaze touched. She cleared her throat. “I’m going into town. I could give you a lift.”
“Didn’t your mother teach you not to pick up strangers?” he questioned.
“Yea.” She looked at his wound. “I could leave you out here to bleed to death if you’d prefer?”
The sky chose that moment to open up and present a show of force. Cold, fat drops of rain battered their clothes.
“I believe I’ll take you up on your offer.”
They darted towards her car. Once inside they closed the door against the heavy wind. “It’s always great when a man can see reason.” She rolled up the driver’s side window.
He laughed, deep and masculine. She liked it.
The interior of the car was dark, caused by the overhead lamp that broke years ago. Doug promised to fix it, but never got around to it.
Thunder rumbled outside.
Not wanting to think about her ex, she stuck her hand out in his general direction. “Amber.”
Lightening shot from the sky, light flashed in the car as if someone were taking a picture of them. Of that moment.
Seeing her hand, he grasped it. “Chris.”
For a moment, they sat just like that, in silence, neither of them moving.
His thumb stroked the back of her hand then let go.
* * *
A HIGHLANDER FOR THE HOLIDAYS
By Dawn Halliday
Aileen smiled. “Do you remember the tree stump?”
“Aye. How could I forget?”
Whenever either of them had seen Munro in one of his rages, they’d lay a piece of heather over the stump of a fallen birch tree in the bailey to warn the other to stay clear of Munro that day. Her warnings had saved Niall from beatings at least a dozen times.
“The stump is gone,” he mused. Upon riding through the castle gates, he’d been assailed by memories of his time here, and he’d looked for the stump, only to find smooth ground where it had once been.
She nodded. “’Twas dug up a few years ago. I miss it. It saved me many times.”
“Aye,” he said gruffly. “Me too.”
The reminiscent look on her face called to him. His body resonated with the urge to draw her lush body into his arms, to hold her, comfort her…make love to her…
He shook himself free of that thought. “’Tis good I have been gone so long. Otherwise, I dinna think…” I could have kept my hands off you.
“Is that why you went away?” she asked. “You felt you couldna protect me from him?” She laughed, a soft, smooth sound that slipped under his skin like a warm caress. “If you defended the honor of every wife whose husband took a mistress, you’d be occupied every minute of the day.”
“I’ve no desire to defend every wife,” he said. “Only you.”
Her gaze strayed away, and she didn’t speak. Instead, she took his hand and drew him toward the fire. The gold glow of the lantern light caught the subtle sheen of tears in her eyes before she knelt at his feet to remove his shoes.
Niall stiffened at the gesture. This was inappropriate. He touched his fingers to the top of her head. “Please dinna kneel.”
She bowed her head. “Let me help you prepare for your bath, Niall. ’Twill me great pleasure.”
“I’m your servant, milady.” He’d do anything she asked of him. Even watch her bow at his feet when he ought to be bowing before her.
His fingers itched to stroke her head, to touch that sleek black fall of hair, to caress the gentle slope of her cheekbone. But the Mackenzie had sent Niall here to fetch his sister, to accompany her to Ellandonan as her protector, not to seduce her. To touch her would be to betray his oath to the laird.
There would be no way to hide his arousal when she undressed him. He would shame himself.
As her deft fingers worked the laces on his boots, he tried to think of anything but the thought of her hands on his body. He forced his mind to saddling a temperamental horse. To the puffed cheeks of a man playing the bagpipes. To haggis…
She moved behind him and with skilled precision untied his belt, which she placed on the table beside the bed. Niall helped her to lift off his mail shirt and unwrap his plaid. Her fingertips skimmed over the side of his arse as she worked it off him. Just like that, all thoughts of haggis and everything else fled, until there was only Aileen and her touch. Niall gritted his teeth so hard his jaw ached.
Was her touch deliberate? An invitation?
Of course it wasn’t. The mail shirt and plaid dropped to the planked floor. Still standing behind him, she reached down to clasp the bottom of his shirt. In one motion, she pulled it over his head.
He stood naked, his arousal painfully thrust out. Thankfully, she didn’t move from behind him.
“You must be weary,” she said quietly, touching the back of his shoulder with gentle fingers. “One of your men told me how hard you rode from Ellandonan. I…” Her voice caught. “Please,” she whispered. “The bath is ready.”
Welcome to Sugarbeat’s Books – The Home of the Romance Novel!
Publisher: St Martin’s Paperbacks
Source: I received this book as a gift from my secret santa
Blurb: New York Times bestselling author Lisa Kleypas invites you to spend the holidays with the Wallflowers – four young London ladies who finally found the men of their dreams….and will join together once more to help the world’s most notorious rouge meet his match.
Rafe Bowman has just arrived form America for his arranged meeting with Natalie, the very proper and beautiful daughter of Lady and Lord Blandford. His chiseled good looks and imposing physique are sure to impress the lady-in-waiting, and if it weren’t for his shocking American ways and wild reputation, her hand would already be guaranteed. Before the courtship can begin, Rafe realizes he must learn the rules of London society. But when four former Wallflowers try their hand at matchmaking, no one knows what will happen…
Winning a bride turns out to be more complicated than Rafe Bowman had anticipated, especially for a man accustomed to getting anything he wants. However, Christmas works in the most unexpected ways, changing a cynic to a romantic…and inspiring passion in the most timid of hearts.
As I commented above, I received this book from my Secret Santa as part of the Book Blogger Gift swap. I had been lusting after this book the entire time I had been doing Christmas shopping. It seemed that everywhere I went, this book was staring at me from the shelves! I loved the Wallflower series when I originally read them, and I was excited to find out how they were doing. There is something about reading series of books. Many of the series that I have read, the characters are written so vividly, they seem like real people. You get attached to these characters and miss them when you are finished the book.
A Wallflower Christmas allowed me to catch up on how the Wallflowers are doing, and witness some more shenanigans that they get up to! This time their matchmaking involved their brother.
Rafe has arrived from America to meet and marry the woman his father has chosen to be his future wife. Natalie Blandford is a beautiful young woman, adept in manipulating men. She has been pursued by several men, but is holding out for the best match. That seems to be the incredibly wealthy Rafe Bowman. Her poor cousin and companion, Hannah Appleton, is left in her shadows. When Hannah is invited to tea so that she can be pumped for information about Natalie, she gets her first look at Rafe Bowman as well as the rest of the Wallflowers. Brash Rafe, is decidedly American in her books – bordering on boorish and lacking in polite manners. When he corners her and kisses her, she’s not certain what to think.
“ Slowly Bowman took his lips from hers and guided her head to his chest, which moved beneath her cheek with strong even breaths. A mischievous whisper tickled her ear. ‘This is how we court girls in America. We grab them and kiss them. And if they don’t like it, we do it again, harder and longer, until they surrender. It saves us hours of witty repartee.’ “
The problem is if Rafe doesn’t marry Natalie his father will cut him off. Although he is wealthy in his own right, he wants to be part of the Bowman empire, expanding the manufacturing plants to new countries, new locations. What to do?
Although I am admittedly a fan of Lisa Kleypas, I completely enjoyed this book on many levels. It was wonderful to “catch up” with the Wallflowers. I enjoyed their books when I read them, and this book brought back memories. For those readers who haven’t read the Wallflower series yet, it isn’t necessary. There is enough history skillfully woven into the book to help the uninitiated reader. Rafe is a wonderful character, almost an over the top parody of an American male. It’s interesting to see the public side of Rafe as well as the caring, sensitive, and morally upstanding private Rafe. He’s brash enough to catch the attention of Hannah and sensitive enough to hold her regard. Hannah is also a well written character! She’s basically a well-treated servant to Natalie. She does her job well and has a reasonably comfortable life. She realizes the implications of falling in love with Rafe and fights it at every turn.
I liked this book. It was well paced and well crafted. Lisa Kleypas writes a sensual love story that has you glued to the pages. I loved the final glimpse into the lives of the Bowman family and the Wallflowers. Well worth the read!
Wealthy entrepreneur Rafe Bowman has come to London to marry Lady Natalie, an aristocratic bride who will help to further his ambitions. But two things stand in his way : Lady Natalie’s disapproving companion Hannah . . . and Rafe’s passion for a woman he should not want and can never have . . .
They walked through the winter garden in silence, while Hannah struggled with the certainty that Rafe Bowman was even more dangerous, more wrong for Natalie, than she had originally believed. Natalie would eventually be hurt and disillusioned by a husband she could never trust.
“You are not suitable for Natalie,” she heard herself say wretchedly. “The more I learn about you, the more certain I am of that fact. I wish you would leave her alone. I wish you would find some other nobleman’s daughter to prey upon.”
Bowman stopped with her beside the hedge. “You arrogant little baggage,” he said quietly. “The prey was not of my choosing. I’m merely trying to make the best of my circumstances. And if Lady Natalie will have me, it’s not your place to object.”
“My affection for her gives me the right to say something”
“Maybe it’s not affection. Are you certain you’re not speaking out of jealousy?”
“Jealousy? Of Natalie? You’re mad to suggest such a thing”
“Oh, I don’t know,” he said with ruthless softness. “It’s possible you’re tired of standing in her shadow. Watching your cousin in all her finery, being admired and sought-after while you stay at the side of the room with the dowagers and wallflowers.”
Hannah sputtered in outrage, one of her fists clenching and raising as if to strike him.
Bowman caught her wrist easily, running a finger lightly over her whitened knuckles. His soft, mocking laugh scalded her ears. “Here,” he said, forcibly crooking her thumb and tucking it across her fingers. “Don’t ever try to hit someone with your thumb extended—you’ll break it that way.”
“Let go,” she cried, yanking hard at her imprisoned wrist.
“You wouldn’t be so angry if I hadn’t struck a nerve,” he taunted. “Poor Hannah, always standing in the corner, waiting for your turn. I’ll tell you something you’re moore than Natalie’s equal, blue blood or no. You were meant for something far better than this.”
“A wife for convenience and a mistress for pleasure. Isn’t that how the peerage does it?”
Hannah stiffened all over, gasping, as Bowman brought her against his large, powerful form. She stopped struggling, recognizing that such efforts were useless against his strength. Her face turned from him, and she jerked as she felt his warm mouth brush the curve of her ear.
“I should make you my mistress,” Bowman whispered. “Beautiful Hannah. If you were mine, I’d lay you on silk sheets and wrap you up in ropes of pearls, and feed you honey from a silver spoon. Of course, you wouldn’t be able to make all your high-minded judgments if you were a fallen woman . . . but you wouldn’t care. Because I would pleasure you, Hannah, every night, all night, until you forgot your own name. Until you were willing to do things that would shock you in the light of day. I would debauch you from your head down to your innocent little toes”
“Oh, I despise you,” she cried, twisting helplessly against him. She had begun to feel real fear, not only from his hard grip and taunting words, but also from the shocks of heat running through her.
After this, she would never be able to face him again. Which was probably what he intended. A pleading sound came from her throat as she felt a delicately inquiring kiss in the hollow beneath her ear.
“You want me,” he murmured. In a bewildering shift of mood he turned tender, letting his lips wander slowly along the side of her throat. “Admit it, Hannah, I appeal to your criminal tendencies. And you definitely bring out the worst in me.” He drew his mouth over her neck, seeming to savor the swift, unsteady surges of her breathing. “Kiss me,” he whispered. “Just once, and I’ll let you go.”
Welcome to Sugarbeat’s Books – The Home of the Romance Novel!
A Christmas anthology by two hot names in historical romance fiction…
Merry Christmas, Mrs. Robinson by Delilah Marvelle
Lady Jane left her father, the Earl of Chadwick, and the ton behind to experience life on the stage. After a disastrous marriage, the widow is living on the edge of poverty, determined to guard her heart, when a secret admirer from her past demands a second chance.
Shy and retiring Martin Nicholas Pierce, the Sixth Duke of Somerset, has carried a torch for Lady Jane since her youth, but he is five years her junior. When she married another man, he left for Europe, determined to put her out of his mind. After returning to find Lady Jane free, he vows to replace the memories of her cursed Twelfth Night with a new beginning.
The Twelve Days of Seduction By Màire Claremont
Alexander Hunt, Eighth Duke of Berresford, is aware his ward’s governess isn’t quite what she seems. Although Miss Flint is beautiful and intelligent, she misrepresented herself to gain employment, and he threatens to give her the sack mere days before Christmas.
Desperate to convince the sexy duke not to tear her from the little girl she’s grown to adore, Adriana challenges him to seduce her before the Twelve Days of Christmas have come to an end, although she fears it may cost her heart. Alexander accepts the challenge, unconcerned that he has as much to lose, if not more, than the delectable Miss Flint.
Why do you want to read this book?
This book contains two stories that are wonderful compliments to each other! My favorite was Merry Christmas Mrs Robinson as I loved the character of Martin!
Excerpt of Merry Christmas Mrs Robinson
5th of June, 1849
My dearest and most beloved Jane,
I hear you tried to bribe my messenger into telling you a name. Dare I ask what it means? Is it possible you are enamored with me? In the same manner I am shamelessly enamored with you? Or are you merely enamored with the mystery I represent and the fact that even the gossip rags, which have no business knowing of our exchange, are seeking to unveil me? Speak of me to the world, if you must, but only do so to keep lovers away. Otherwise, you are inviting all of London to mock me and what I represent. I recognize your impatience and share in your impatience, as well, but let us be honest in this. If I were to reveal myself in the manner you insist upon, by calling on you at Drury Lane, I would find myself crowded out by countless men of talent and accomplishment who hover over your hand every night. Sadly, I have no real talents or accomplishments I can boast of other than the one I was born unto. I wish to believe in your devotion and in the words you write. By the light of heaven, I live for it. My breath catches every time I reread your letters, knowing how you yearn for me and that you genuinely wish for us to meet. Give me time so I may whisper upon every last star in the sky that you will not be disappointed when we meet. From this night forth, however, I step toward our future. I step toward a lifetime of endless possibilities knowing you are mine.
I am yours. Let there be no doubt in that.
Twelfth Night, 1850
To the world, Mrs. Jane Margaret Robinson was the epitome of savoir faire. To herself, she was merely an ordinary woman who considered herself extraordinarily blessed to have followed not only her own head but her own heart. Neither had ever led her astray in her two and twenty years. Not ever. Not once. In fact, both had led her to this very pivotal moment of knowing that she, Jane, was celebrating her first Twelfth Night as Mrs. X. Or rather, Mrs. Robinson. Though she rather enjoyed flaunting the salacious title of Mrs. X.
The ornate ballroom and all of its guests who danced and conversed beneath glimmering crystal chandeliers draped with holly made her feel exquisite and alive. The violins and the floating harmony of playful flutes and the stomping of feet and clapping of hands engulfed her and made her blissfully sway from side to side.
Whilst men and women stared at her throughout the night with awed expressions, as if she had descended from Mount Olympus wearing nothing but fig leaves, she was used to it. As an opera singer who had been hailed by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert as an exemplary talent not to be missed, she had been flung from obscurity into the gilded realm of celebrity so quickly it still overwhelmed her.
She had everything she had ever wanted.
Everything, that is, but her father’s blessing.
She sighed. One couldn’t have everything.
George Franklin Robinson, the host and her husband’s older brother, who was worth a ridiculous godly sum due to his family’s investments in the railroad, sidled up to her. He lingered for a moment before offering,
“Hello, George.” Jane continued to sway to the music, pinning her gaze to a laughing couple tossing berries of mistletoe at each other. She smiled, watching them playfully dodge the berries.
“Another Twelfth Night.”
She glanced toward her brother-in-law, sensing he was distressed. “George. Are you all right?”
Grey eyes briefly surveyed her before blinking away what were clearly tears. He gestured with his half-empty wineglass toward the couples dancing. “Seeing everyone so happy makes me miss my Elizabeth all the more. ’Tis a damnable way to live. To see her in everything. I drown in it.” He took a swig of wine. “Twelfth Night was her favorite night, you know. She used to say to me, ‘When things aren’t right, all will be as it should come Twelfth Night.’” He took another swig of wine and was quiet for a moment. “But it isn’t as it should be. She isn’t here.”
Tears pricked her eyes. She had never known a man so devoted to the memory of his wife. It was as beautiful as it was heartrending. She reached out and gently squeezed his arm. “I know how much you loved her. I’m so sorry for your loss.”
“So am I. Two years and I still can’t breathe.”
“I wish I could have met her.”
“You would have liked her,” he murmured, fingering the glass. “She and I would have been married ten years next month. I try to take pleasure knowing she gifted me with four children and that they are still with me and in good health.” He tossed back the rest of his wine and hesitated, his blond brows coming together. He glanced toward her. “Have I ever told you she was as musically inclined as you?”
Jane smiled. “No. Did she sing?”
“God, no. No, no, no. She was always a touch off-key. She did, however, play the harp. Exquisitely.” He took on a distant look. “She used to play when all was quiet. Sometimes I still think I can hear her playing when I’m walking down the halls at night.”
It was obvious Jane had married into a family of hopeless romantics. Not that it surprised her. Philip’s own antics of taking on the role of Mister X were but an introduction to it. “Elizabeth was blessed to have been so loved by you.”
“You flatter me. I would say Philip is the one who is blessed. When it comes to you, that boy is always—” He sighed and leaned in. “Jane.”
He hesitated. “Are you happy?”
She blinked. “With Philip?”
“Yes. Does he make you happy?”
Jane playfully nudged him. “Ask me again in five years, George,” she drawled, trying not to laugh. “Because it’s only been two weeks since I have been Mrs. X. I am likely to be biased.”
He eyed her and glanced down at his empty glass, fingering it. “Philip still hasn’t told you yet, has he?”
She stared, her smile fading. “Told me what?”
After a long moment of silence, he said, “He never wrote any of those letters.”
Her lips parted and her heart nearly dashed itself to the floor. “What? But he knew the contents of every one.
Letters I never showed anyone. Not even my— How would he have known?”
George didn’t meet her gaze. “He paid one of your footmen to bring all the letters to him. He read every one and then had them returned to your dressing table. He feels guilty as hell about it and doesn’t know how to go about telling you. Which is why I’m telling you.”
She gasped. “What?”
He tightened his hold on the wineglass. “He isn’t a bad chap. As with all men, his passions misguide him.”
Dearest God. “It can’t be true,” she rasped, feeling the happiness she thought was hers shriveling. “George. I would have known. There wasn’t a breath of doubt in my mind as to who he was. Not a breath. The spark between Philip and me was instantaneous. It was real.”
“All sparks usually are. That doesn’t make it any less real.”
Her throat tightened. “So he didn’t—”
“No. He didn’t.”
“I’m sorry. He can be quite the boar when it comes to something he wants. He was beyond smitten when it came to you. He couldn’t be reasoned with. He asked me not to say anything. He promised me he would tell you when he was ready.”
A breath escaped her. It was like she had fallen in love and married the wrong man.
He gently touched her arm. “Let him know that I told you. It will all settle amicably. You will see.”
Anger and shame choked her. “Settle amicably?” She could barely say the words. “For three months of courtship and two weeks of marriage, he made me believe he was someone he wasn’t. He made me believe he was a man that I—” Oh, God.
Gathering her skirts, she hurried toward the opposite side of the room, the faces around her blurring. Her hands trembled even though she tried to exude strength.
Well before her fame, and once upon a time, she swept into her dressing chamber after each performance at the Theatre Royal to find an unsigned letter whose perfectly scribed words went beyond depicting her beauty and ability to sing. It was as if the man who had written them knew her intimately and was challenging her to know him. It was a mutual conversation that went beyond lust. It was a mutual conversation that went beyond need. He had become her twin flame.
Although every man tried to be him, no man ever was. She was able to decipher the frauds who claimed to be him when unsavory gossip about Mister X and her had hit the papers, because no man had been able to disclose the contents of his letters. She waited and waited for the mysterious Mister X to make himself known as he promised he would. And then one night, he appeared. She knew it was him, even before any words had passed his lips or hers. He was everything she had imagined he would be. Dashingly passionate, intelligent, witty, kind, and divine. Not even three months later, she married him.
Or who she thought was him.
Jane skidded to a halt and turned toward her husband at seeing him converse with a group of other men several feet away. Her skin crawled, realizing the predicament she was in.
She had married a lie.
That was why the letters had stopped.
Not because she had found Mister X.
But because she had betrayed him.
The room seemed to momentarily sway.
Philip’s gaze veered toward her. As if sensing something was wrong, his masculine features tightened. He excused himself from his male entourage. “Jane?” he called out.
How could she not have known? And who had she taken into her life, into her heart, and into her bed?
Grey eyes searched her face as he approached with long-legged strides. “Jane.” Philip veered in close and took her hands, his fingers grazing her skin with his warmth. “What is it?”
Humiliation choked her. She flung away his hands, not wanting to be touched. “Don’t touch me. Don’t ever touch me again.”
He wordlessly lingered, startled.
Her breaths came in uneven takes. Perhaps her fame and her need to be loved outside of it had ultimately led to this betrayal. From chroniclers standing outside her doors on the hour, to men and women overstepping their bounds, it was relentless. Everything had blurred. Including her own understanding of the love she had for Mister X. She thought she would know him upon first glance. She was sure of it. She thought— “You lied,” she managed, the words feeling heavy on her tongue. “You made me believe you wrote those letters.”
He grew somber. “Jane. I wanted to tell you, but I knew if I did, you would have ended it before we had a chance.”
“So for three months of courtship and two weeks of matrimony you exchanged my trust for your so-called chance? Is that it?”
He said nothing.
She swallowed, unable to unleash the anger simmering within. “I want a divorce.”
He stared. “Surely you don’t mean that.”
“I do. Because I don’t know you. You are not the man I wanted.”
“But I love you.”
“No,” she bit out. “You don’t love me. Or you would have told me the truth long before we pledged ourselves to God. What you loved was the idea of me, much like every man in London who held up pearls in the hopes of getting noticed and seizing me like some…some…thoroughbred to be trotted around Hyde Park. It was a lie. All of it. You. This. I married a lie. And I am not staying married to a lie.”
His expression stilled. “You cannot divorce me over this.”
“You seduced me under false pretenses.”
His brows flickered. “False pretenses? Is that the crime I am accused of? When you wouldn’t even let me or any other man engage you unless he was your Mister X?”
“Because I didn’t want anyone else but Mister X!” she yelled, no longer caring if the world watched.
“So you are still in love with him?” he yelled back. “As opposed to me? Is that what you’re telling me? Despite our marriage? Despite the fact that I have claimed you for my own?”
She glared. “Don’t mock me when you are the one who betrayed my trust.”
He dropped his voice to a lethal tone. “You and your obsession with a man who ought to be shot doesn’t even make sense. I did everything to make you mine. Everything. And what did he do? Write letters? Hell, he couldn’t even do that much. Because he didn’t even bother to write you a letter stating I wasn’t Mister X!”
She narrowed her gaze, trying to remain calm. “Maybe he didn’t fight for me, Philip, because he doesn’t believe in forcing his intentions upon those he claims to love.”
He glared and leaned in close, almost hitting her nose with his. “Everything that happened between us was real and you know it. Though your prim and proud nature refuses to admit it, you enjoyed every last moment you writhed naked beneath me. Admit it.”
She slowly shook her head, biting back the need to smack him. She stepped away. “How could you kiss me and touch me knowing that in my heart I was kissing and touching another? Did that not turn your stomach? Did that not turn your soul?”
He swiped his face. “I didn’t lie about anything else.”
“And I’m supposed to believe you?”
He turned away and punched the air. “I’m not letting you do this!” he roared.
Startled guests, including an old woman, glanced their way.
She took in several astounded breaths, wishing the air around her would clear her thoughts. She had never heard him roar with such loathing before. It was obvious this was who he really was. A sob escaped her. “I’m not coming home with you tonight, Philip. Or any other night, for that matter. This is not what I wanted.”
He swung back toward her, his grey eyes dark and fierce. “If you leave, I will unearth whoever this Mister X is. And when I do, I’ll kill him. Don’t think I won’t. Because you’re my wife, Jane. Not his. Mine. And I damn well won’t—” Rubbing his upper arm, his brows came together. He winced and tightened his grip on his arm.
“Oh God.” He winced again and staggered, glancing toward her in bewilderment.
She paused, her mind cluttered. “What is it?”
“I—” He collapsed onto the marble floor with a thud, arms limply falling at his sides.
Her eyes widened in disbelief. This wasn’t real. It couldn’t be. He was trying to manipulate her emotions. Pulse roaring, she frantically kneeled beside him and grabbed his shaven face through the bundling of her evening gown. “Cease this! This is hardly going to change my mind.”
His head rolled heavily toward her, his lips still parted, and his eyes wide open without any hint of movement.
A startled sob escaped her as she shook him. “Philip!” she choked out. “Oh dearest God. Philip!”
He didn’t respond. Nor did he appear to be breathing.
It was real. He was dead.
She screamed, unable to believe what was happening, as multiple male hands tried to pry her away.
Welcome to Sugarbeat’s Books – The Home of the Romance Novel!
Once upon a time, he was Lord Tristan Easton—now he is Crimson Jack, a notorious privateer beholden to none, whose only mistress is the sea. But all that will change when exquisite Lady Anne Hayworth hires his protection on a trip into danger and seduction. . .
Desperation brought Anne to the bronzed, blue-eyed buccaneer. But after the Captain demands a kiss as his payment, desire will keep her at his side. She has never known temptation like this—but to protect her heart, she knows she must leave him behind. Yet Tristan cannot easily forget the beauty—and when they meet again in a London ballroom, he vows he won’t lose her a second time, as fiery passion reignited takes them into uncharted waters that could lead the second lost lord home
Why do you need to read this book?
I loved the character of Tristan! He’s had a hard life – separated from his brothers at an early age, and somehow he becomes the wonderful man that he is! One more book to this series and I’m looking forward to it!
Welcome to Sugarbeat’s Books – The Home of the Romance Novel!
Kami has fallen for her boss, J.C., who can’t bring himself to cross the employer-employee line. Until someone pushes him.
When Kendall’s house nearly goes up in flames, Wynne saves the day. She soon learns she needs to do some saving herself to awaken his heart.
Kacey finds success in business and pays the price by losing her husband Daniel to another woman. She needs to be reawakened and reminded why she married him in the first place.
Jaded Kat has been hurt too many times to let love in. It takes a double dose of love from Kaden and Rock to help her see there is hope.
Welcome to Olympus, where Eros, the God of Love seems to be losing his touch. Eros joins forces with Apollo to spread love and lust all over the earth, joining couples everywhere! ALL’S FAIR IN LOVE AND LUST is a steamy little story that starts with an interesting problem. Love and lust seem to be disappearing on earth. Something or someone seems to be interfering with the path of true love. Eros, the God of Love, is determined to get to the bottom of this problem because without love and lust, there will be no more earth! So, Eros kisses his wife Psyche goodbye and heads to earth to solve the mystery. The clue in the mystery seems to be Eris, the Goddess of Discord. She interferes with the first couple that Eros shoots with his arrows. To overcome the effects of the Goddess of Discord, Eros has to shoot this couple with several arrows and even brings in Apollo as reinforcements. It seems that the problem is much larger than it first appears. Eris isn’t the only god messing with love and lust on Earth. Eros finds and gets rid of several messengers from Hades before righting things on earth. This short little story rocks along! Eros is determined to solve his mystery and we follow him through his work on several couples. The sex is hot, scorching the pages as Eros goes from couple to couple shooting them with arrows. He even mistakenly shoots Apollo in one scene resulting in a steamy hot ménage. This book also serves as a little refresher on the Greek gods as quite a few of them are featured in this story. This book is well written, fast moving, and gripping. At under 200 pages it is possible to read it in one sitting, so pull up a comfy chair and settle in for a good read!
Welcome to Sugarbeat’s Books – The Home of the Romance Novel!
Renowned for his bedchamber prowess,Ransom Seymour, the Duke of Ainsley,owes a debt to a friend. But the payment expected is most shocking, even to an unrepentant rake—for he’s being asked to provide his friend’s exquisite wife with what she most dearly covets: a child.
Lady Jayne Seymour, Marchioness of Walfort,is furious that such a scandalous agreement would be made. If she acquiesces, there must be rules: no kissing . . . and, certainly,no pleasure.
But unexpected things occur with the surprisingly tender duke—especially once Lady Jayne discovers the rogue can make her dream again . . . and Ransom realizes he’s found the one woman he truly cannot live without.
Why do you need to read this book?
I loved this book, and didn’t love this book. It has a moral dilemma that is difficult to read, but oh so rewarding if you finish to the end. Read it!
Welcome to Sugarbeat’s Books – The Home of the Romance Novel!
On the rebound from the tumult of his bisexual lifestyle, notoriously sexy rock guitarist Trey Mills falls for sizzling new female guitar sensation Reagan Elliot and is swept into the hot, heady romance he never dreamed possible.
She Can’t Get Enough of His Body
Ecstatic to be on tour learning the ropes with Trey’s band, The Sinners, Reagan finds she craves Trey as much as she craves being in the spotlight.
They Both Need More…
When Reagan’s ex, Ethan Connor, enters the scene, Trey’s secret desires come back to haunt him, and pleasure and passion are taken to a whole new level of dangerous desire.
Why do you want to read this book?
I love reading Olivia Cunning’s work! The books that I’ve read of her’s are ultra hot and this one is no exception. A must read!
Excerpt: (R rated)
(from Olivia Cunning’s website)
The pretty, young nurse who had woken him with smelling salts stood just outside the delivery room door. When he walked past her, she perked up and grabbed his arm. She’d been waiting for him. Too easy.
“Hey,” she said breathlessly. “Hey, um, Trey, right?”
He offered her a crooked grin and she flushed, before lowering her wide blue eyes to his chest. He watched her, noting the submission in her stance, the way she swayed toward him slightly. The way her thumb stroked his bare arm just above his elbow.
“Um…” she pressed onward. “I was just about to take a break and wondered if you’d like to go grab a cup of coffee with me.”
Trey’s heart rate kicked up a notch. He turned and took her firmly by both wrists, pressing her back against the wall, their bodies separated by mere inches. He bent his head so his breath would caress her ear as he spoke to her in a low voice. “You don’t want coffee.”
Her pulse raced out of control beneath his fingertips. “I don’t?”
“No, but I know what you do want.”
“What’s that?” Her dark blue eyes flicked upward to meet his. She’d already surrendered and he rarely turned down a good time.
“A hard, slow fuck against the wall.”
“Here?” she whispered, her eyes wide.
He didn’t dare laugh. That would have broken his spell over her. “In that supply closet.” He nodded down the hall.
He held her gaze in challenge, daring her to deny him. She tore her gaze from his and peeked around his body for witnesses before grabbing a handful of his shirt, racing down the hall, unlocking the supply closet, and dragging him inside. The instant the door closed, she wrapped both arms around his neck and plastered her mouth to his. He let her kiss him. Let her touch the hoop piercing his eyebrow and the ones in his ear. He’d show her the one in his nipple, but she was still a little skittish and he knew if he took the upper hand too quickly, she’d balk and either leave or pretend he’d taken advantage of her.
“You’re so sexy,” she murmured against his lips. “Why are you so sexy? I shouldn’t be doing this.”
By this, he assumed she meant unfastening his belt, tugging at his t-shirt, rubbing her firm breasts into his chest, biting his lip.
“I don’t want you to think I normally do this kind of thing,” she said, her hand slipping into his silk boxers to toy with his hardening cock.
He did this kind of thing almost daily, but he wouldn’t make the mistake of telling her that.
“Take off your pants,” he whispered.
When she obeyed, he knew she was in this until the end. Which he estimated would be approximately fifteen minutes in the future.
“Are you really in a rock band?” she asked.
Trey chuckled. Couldn’t help it. Did she seriously not know who he was? It had been a while since a woman had jumped him without knowing he was notorious for this kind of thing. “Yeah, I’m really in a rock band. And I play an actual instrument.”
He grinned. “How did you guess?”
The excitement in her eyes led him to believe she wasn’t half-naked in a supply closet at work because she wanted famous-guitarist Trey. She was pantsless and submissive because she wanted bad-boy Trey. He was all about giving her exactly what she wanted. The walls were concealed behind floor-to-ceiling shelves, so he pressed her back up against the door and trapped her arms on either side of her head. She gasped when he lowered his head to kiss her neck. He nibbled, suckled and licked the pulse point under her jaw until she began to fight his hold with impatience.
“You’re driving me insane,” she said. “Do you have a condom?”
“Are you in a hurry?” he murmured.
“Kinda. My fifteen minute break is almost over.”
“You’re going to be late.” He nipped her earlobe and released her wrist. Trey’s left hand moved down her body and gave her breast a gentle squeeze before moving between her legs. She clung to his hair and then fingered the tiny hoops in his ear, his eyebrow again.
“Do you like piercings?” he whispered. “I have a couple more.”
“Where?” she whispered.
“I didn’t wear the one in my tongue. Didn’t realize I’d have a sweet pussy to lick this early in the morning.”
She moaned in torment. When Trey’s fingers found her clit, she cried out. Damn she was swollen. And wet. And eager. He liked eager. The chase meant nothing to him. He just liked to fuck. Kissing her neck, he stroked her clit rhythmically.
“There’s another in my nipple,” he whispered.
Her hand moved to his chest. She found the ridge of his jewelry under his T-shirt and then she slid her hand up under his clothes to finger it.
“Pull it,” he encouraged. “It makes my balls throb.”
“Do you like that?”
“Try it and see.”
She tugged and he shuddered. “Oh,” she gasped when his hard cock leaped against her thigh.
“Come for me.” He rubbed her clit faster in wide circles until she shuddered hard with orgasm. Her gasping breaths in his ear made him want to join her in bliss. He lifted his head to look at her then. “Where do you want it?”
Dazed, she gazed up at him. “Where do I want what?”
“I have more than one choice?”
He slid a finger inside her slippery pussy and she jerked. “There’s here.” A second finger probed her ass and her eyes widened. “Back here.” He licked her lip and then the ridge of her teeth. “In here.” He slid his hand up from her wrist to intertwine their fingers. “Your capable hands.” He lowered his head to whisper in her ear while he palmed her full breasts with both hands. “Or you can hold me between these. If you’re really kinky…”
“What do you want?” she asked breathlessly.
“No preference.” Which wasn’t exactly true. Seeing the startled look on her face when he’d probed her ass made him crave some backdoor action, but that probably wasn’t the best choice for her if she had to go back to work.
“Regular,” she whispered.
Regular? Since when was anything he did regular? He stifled a laugh, trying to be sensitive to her feelings. “I assume by regular you mean vaginal sex.”
He found a condom in the back pocket of his jeans and tore it open with his teeth. She watched him as if amazed, but didn’t say a word as he applied it.
“Tell me what you want,” he pressed. He had already decided she needed the added psychological stimulation to get off. Demands and directions. Whatever she liked was fine by him. He was game. “I want you to say it.”
She grabbed his hair in both fists and said, “A slow, hard fuck against the wall, just like you said.”
“Where do you want me?”
She shuddered as if the very thought had her near orgasm. “Inside.”
Her hands tightened in his hair and the last shred of her resistance crumbled. “My cunt. Fuck it hard, Trey.”
He lifted her off the floor, pressing her against the door for leverage, and then directed his cock inside her. He loved losing himself in mindless fucking. No worries. No heartache. Just pleasure. He gave her what she wanted, possessing her with hard, deep, slow strokes, but she gave him what he needed to. A temporary reprieve from his turbulent thoughts and his perpetually broken heart. Trey concentrated solely on sensation. He felt no emotional connection as he thrust into her. Never did. Hadn’t since Brian had made love to him back in high school and he’d tossed his heart at the guy’s feet. Twelve years of sex without love. Twelve years of love without sex. And now that Trey had given up on Brian ever loving him or making love to him, he just felt hallow. Empty. Desolate. He doubted anything could fill the empty chasm inside. Certainly not some pretty nurse he’d just met and was fucking in a supply closet. He didn’t even know her name. Didn’t care to.
When she came, he followed her over the edge, his release bringing him that state of tranquility he craved. He wished it lasted longer than thirty seconds. And didn’t have to be followed by a whole lot of awkwardness. He pulled out and removed the expended condom, tossing it in a convenient garbage can on the janitor’s cart and then refastened his jeans and belt. He let her find her panties and scrub pants. Waited until she was dressed before he looked at her. Not that he didn’t want to watch the hot stranger he’d just fucked slide her panties up her legs. He just knew that if he did, she’d start seeing things that weren’t there. Feelings. With feelings came attachment. With attachment came complications. That was the last thing Trey ever wanted.
“I…” she said breathlessly.
“You don’t have to say anything,” he said. He pinned her with the look that got him almost anything he wanted. He’d perfected it as a child, modified it as a man, used it unabashedly. She flushed and leaned against the door for support.
“Sometimes a beautiful woman just needs a hard, slow fuck against a wall with a perfect stranger. I understand.”
She gazed at him, looking more dazed than a pothead at a Grateful Dead concert. “Yeah… Perfect.”
“I’ll leave first. I wouldn’t want you to get in trouble.”
He waited for her to collect enough sense to move out of the way of the door. One hand on the doorknob, Trey took her chin between his thumb and forefinger and kissed her trembling lips. “That is the best sex I’ve ever had against a door in a hospital supply closet.”
“You’re an amazing woman.”
“Will you call me?” she gushed.
He shook his head slightly. “I want to keep my memory of this moment untainted. Let’s not complicate it. Let it be what it’s meant to be. Pleasure for the sake of pleasure.”
Her face twitched with disappointment, but she nodded.
He gave her a gentle kiss on the forehead and then let himself into the corridor. He strode towards the bank of elevators at the end of the hall.
Hot nurse a fuzzy memory already, Trey dug his cell phone out of his pocket and called his brother.
“What’s up?” Dare answered.
“Brian and Myrna had a boy.” Trey smiled at the thought of holding Brian’s perfect son for the first time. “They named him Malcolm Trey.”
Dare sniggered. “What the fuck are they thinking? Poor kid.”
“Yeah, but I’m busy.”
Trey grinned. “Busy, huh? What’s her name? I’ll help you entertain her.”
“Not that kind of busy. Remember that stupid contest our publicist came up with: Guitarist for a Year with Exodus End? Today we’re auditioning studio musicians to identify the winner. We do need find someone to take over for Max on rhythm guitar, but this is fuckin’ stupid.” Max was the lead singer of Dare’s band, Exodus End. Max had also played rhythm guitar until recently. “We hoped he’d his carpel tunnel surgery would get us out of this mess, but the surgery fucked up his hand even more. He can’t stand the pain of playing and he’s been advised not to move his wrist for several weeks.”
“That should make jerking off a challenge,” Trey said.
“As if Max needs to jerk off.”
True. The man could have any woman he wanted.
“Hey,” Dare said, “you should come try out. We can make it seem like you entered the contest.”
“You know I can’t do that. I’d never leave Sinners. Not even for you.” Trey stepped on the elevator and made his way down to the lobby. The well-built guy in the elevator smiled at him and let his eyes drift down Trey’s body with appreciation. Trey had to admit he was tempted by the open invitation, but he had a powerful need to hang out with his big brother. Dare understood him. Trey needed that at the moment. More than he needed more meaningless, but amazing, sex with yet another attractive stranger.
“You can help us decide then,” Dare said, drawing Trey’s attention from the way elevator-guy was gnawing on his lips and making Trey want to kiss him. “We’ve narrowed it down to five guitarists based on their demos, but there’s no way to know how many times they redid them before sending them in. They’ll all be playing live for us in about an hour. They can’t fake that.”
Trey stepped off the elevator, winking at Open-Invitation before wandering toward the exit to find a cab.
“Okay, sure. Sounds like fun.” Trey’s phone beeped. “I’ll be there in a few. I’ve got another call.”
Trey disconnected and checked his phone’s screen. Mark? Shit. He considered ignoring him, but knew Mark would just keep calling and calling until Trey finally talked to him. The guy could not take a hint. Might as well get this over with.
“Hey,” Trey answered.
“Are you in town?” Mark asked.
“I’m on tour. You know that.”
“The Sinners News Blog said you flew in to LA this morning because Brian’s wife was in labor.”
Trey wasn’t sure how the owners of that blog knew what was going on with Sinners so quickly. Sometimes they knew more about Sinners’ goings on than Trey knew and he was living it. He guessed he couldn’t deny that he was in town. “Yeah, they had a little boy. Adorable little shit.”
“Yeah, that’s what the site said. 7 pounds 9 ounces. 21 inches. Named him Malcolm Trey. Are you still at the hospital? I could stop by.”
Stalker alert! “Mark, we’ve been through this. I’m not interested in a relationship with you.” Men! They could be such a pain in the ass. Especially if they didn’t know what they were doing back there. Trey had slept with Mark more than once. They’d met in Portland over a year ago and after relieving him of his anal and oral virginity, Trey had taken him to get a tattoo. The guy had moved to Los Angeles a few months later. Trey suspected it was because of him as Mark was relentless in his pursuit. Trey had no problem fucking him, but when Mark had started trying to forge a commitment, Trey was finished with him. The guy could not take a hint. Or blatant rejections. Or flashing neon signs that read: Go the fuck away.
“Who said anything about a relationship? I just wanted to congratulate Brian,” Mark said.
“Do whatever you want. I’ve already left the hospital.”
“Oh.” Mark hesitated. “Are you hungry? I could take you out for breakf—”
“No, I’ve got plans.”
“What kind of plans? Are you seeing someone else?” The jealousy in Mark’s voice was so fucking annoying Trey considered hanging up on him. But then Mark would just call back and blame a bad connection or some stupid shit.
“Yeah,” Trey lied. “I am seeing someone. I’m seriously dating a woman right now.”
“Bullshit,” Mark said.
“It’s not bullshit. I’ve sworn off men for the rest of my life.” When the lie had formed, Trey hadn’t meant it, but now that he’d said it, he decided it was the best idea he’d ever had. Women he could deal with. Men either broke his heart or complicated his life. Exhibit A was upstairs bonding with his son. Exhibit B was on the phone. Exhibits C through triple X were scattered across the US and Canada waiting for Sinners to pass through their area again.
“Whatever, Trey. Come over to my place tonight and I’ll make you dinner. Suck your cock.”
Mark was a decent cook. And he did suck good cock. He was also exceedingly easy on the eyes and had a spectacularly tight ass, but the guy needed to move on. Trey had tried to hook him up with a few different men, but Mark was too hung up on Trey to consider anyone else.
“Can’t or won’t?” he challenged.
“Don’t want to, how’s that?”
Mark sighed loudly. “I’ll call you tomorrow.”
“Mark, what do I have to do to convince you that it’s over between us?”
“I’ll call you tomorrow.”
Shit. Trey was going to have to get his number changed. Again. He honestly didn’t understand why some people couldn’t take a hint. He didn’t want to be in a relationship. Why was that concept so difficult for his sex partners to grasp?