Today’s snippet comes from one of the best historical romances I’ve read this year. I couldn’t put this book down and read it one sitting. Ian amazing hero and my heart broke for him as we got to know his story. I love this story so much I’m giving away an e-copy to one commenter. Just tell me what twists (because there is a really cool twist in this story) you love to read in romance. (The giveaway is for today March 30th only)
Corinna hadn’t thought through this evening well. She had only ached, knowing where Ian would be tonight, every night, in a hotel or in some seductive widow’s boudoir, and needing desperately to distract herself from it.
But something inside her, something dishonest and hopeful, had nevertheless dressed for him. Something that longed to accidentally encounter him one night in society and see his crystal blue eyes light with appreciation when he looked at her.
She never imagined it would be tonight, with Lord Drake’s party at the Grand Mastif, but she still had her speech prepared. For three days since he sent the books and she tumbled into folly she had practiced the words before her mirror each evening.
In the foolish first flush of her infatuation, however, she had conveniently forgotten how absolutely horrid he always was. Never mind what they’d gone through together, what he’d done for her, and those strange, stomach-clenching moments when something passed between them. Nothing had changed. His condemning expression now proved it.
But heaven help her, he was gorgeous, and so familiar. She drew in his scent of ease and strength, and realized she’d known it for ages—not only since last week, but since years earlier when a young gentleman had asked a sixteen-year-old girl to dance, told her she was deuced pretty, and unwittingly she began the slow descent into madness.
She pulled away from him and stepped back.
“What is this?” His gestured to her body. The night air was cool and damp, auguring rain momentarily. Corinna’s skin tingled where his gaze rested.
“A new gown. It’s lovely, isn’t it?”
He scowled. “It isn’t you.”
“It is now,” she shot back, her stomach tightening. He didn’t want her. She had dressed to please him, and he didn’t like it. But she loved the gown, and she loved the way she felt in it, beautiful and desirable, even if he would never see her that way. Good heavens, this hurt much more than she had imagined it could.
She turned her back on him and moved toward the doors.
“Pelley is in there.”
She halted and looked over her shoulder. He stood in partial shadow, his long legs and handsome face slanted with light.
He folded his arms over his chest. “I thought that might stop you.”
“Are you telling the truth?”
“I never lie.”
She bit her lower lip. “I did not consider the possibility of his presence here.”
He frowned, his gaze slipping along her bodice to her hips. “Apparently.”
“Don’t look at me with such disapproval,” she snapped. “Your doxies wear much less than this.” How on earth had she gotten herself into this? What had she been thinking? He was right: this was not she. She was trying to be something she was not and making a fool of herself. And now Lord Pelley would see her and any last shred of hope she might still have of convincing him she was a serious, sensible woman would be lost.
“I don’t disapprove,” Ian said. “Quite the contrary. I am merely curious as to your motive.”
The words that were so easy to practice alone in her dressing chamber now clogged her throat. His gaze sharpened. For a moment that seemed endless, neither of them spoke.
He strode forward and grasped her arm. Raindrops pattered on the shoulders of his dark coat and her lashes.
“I’m taking you home.”
She resisted. “What if I don’t want you to?”
“Oh, you want me to.” He tugged harder and she gave way. He pulled her hand through his arm and moved into the crowded drawing room and across it. He paused only long enough to bid their hosts good evening. In the foyer he released her to command her cloak from a footman, then took hold of her again to go out into the night.
Rain fell steadily, splattering off the sparkling pavement like a million tiny stars falling to earth, filling the street with fresh, cool scent. Corinna didn’t bother complaining that he ought to have borrowed an umbrella and that her gown would be ruined. It was better this way. She shouldn’t be wearing it, just as she shouldn’t want Ian Chance. It had been a colossal mistake from the moment it all began.
They walked swiftly along the queue of parked vehicles to the carriage with the Chance crest on the door. Ian gestured to the coachman huddled beneath a tree with the others, and crossed with her in front of the horses to the street side of the carriage. Confused, she looked about.
Ian pulled her around, wrapped his hands about her waist and the back of her neck, and brought his mouth down upon hers.
She melted. Everything inside her surged toward him, rain sliding down her cheeks like tears of relief as she tilted her face to meet his kiss. His mouth was hot and wonderful, just as she remembered but even hungrier, instantly demanding, forcing her lips apart. She opened to him and his hand moved down her back, filling her with aching, flattening her to his body. She clung to his shoulders, clutching the damp fabric over hard muscle she knew so well but in truth not at all. Not with her own hands.
She broke away. “Ian, I want you to take me to bed.”
He swallowed visibly and shook his head once, as though disbelieving. His clear eyes seemed to flash like the shimmering raindrops.
“Please, take me to bed,” she repeated and went up onto her toes to press a kiss onto his jaw, then beside his sculpted mouth. “You have already seen everything. Now I want your body inside mine.”
He pulled back, his gaze searching. “Do you know what you’re saying?”
She tried to laugh, but he looked so strange, so intense. “You are asking me if I know what I’m saying? You’ve been telling me for years that words are all I know.” She slid her hand to his neck, her fingertips twining into his short locks. Her breaths came fast. “I want you to teach me something else,” she whispered. “Teach me actions. Teach me to feel.”
Book #1 in a new series of historical romances… with a twist.
Lady Corinna Mowbray has three passions: excellent books, intelligent conversation, and disdaining the libertine Earl of Chance.
Lord Ian Chance has three pleasures: beautiful women, fast horses, and tormenting high-and-mighty Corinna Mowbray.
Neighbors for years, they’ve been at each other’s throats since they can remember. But when a twist of fate forces them to trade lives, how long will it be before they discover they cannot live without each other?
Katharine Ashe is the award-winning author of historical romances that reviewers call “intensely lush” and “sensationally intelligent,” including 2014 RITA® Award finalist How to Marry a Highlander and How to Be a Proper Lady, an Amazon Editors’ Choice for the Ten Best Romances of the Year. She lives in the wonderfully warm southeast with her beloved husband, son, dog and a garden she likes to call romantic rather than unkempt. Please visit her at www.KatharineAshe.com .