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An arranged marriage to a wealthy and titled landowner should have been a dream for Lucy Kirkby but ends in a nightmare that could leave her falsely accused of murder. She flees to the safety of a family friend and like a phoenix rising from ashes, sheds her innocence. Emerging as savvy and sophisticated Catherine Sheffield, she is a woman who keeps her liaisons purely physical and her heart closely guarded.
Lord Miles Hawkins once knew love...and it nearly killed him. Yet he's enthralled with the beautiful stranger he encounters at a ball, and a tour of the balcony turns into a heated promise to meet again. Passion ignites an affair with the sultry Catherine, one he's confident will serve his physical needs while keeping his emotions at bay.
When an urgent summons threatens her identity, Catherine must choose between saving a life and sharing her secret with Miles, possibly losing him forever. It shouldn't matter...except desire rising has resulted in matters of the heart.
Shedding tragedy can put a heart at risk, but sometimes from desire rises true love…
A low rumble of thunder echoed in the distance. The wind picked up, swirling around them, blowing stray curls of Catherine’s hair about her face. She lifted a hand to move aside the wayward strands, but Miles was quicker, stroking his fingers along her cheek, parting her hair from her face as he did so. His touch was soft, delicate, as though handling rare and exorbitantly expensive silk.
Catherine’s voice caught in her throat as tingles of arousal stirred the path his fingers traced. He was presumptuous to put his hands about her this way, so intimately, mere minutes after they met. But his seductive aura nearly disarmed her. It was as unthinkable to restrain him as it would be not to breathe. Shivers of anticipation dappled her skin as she allowed him to continue for a moment, closing her eyes.
He tucked the dark strands of her hair behind her ear, his fingers lingering along the curve at the top before at last, with apparent reluctance, drawing his hand away.
More thunder, this time louder. He darted a quick glance at the sky before returning his gaze to her.
“Let us not go in just yet.”
“No,” she agreed.
It was as if the exchange of words, though merely an agreement on whether to return to the ball, was in fact mutual acknowledgement both wanted something more to happen between them.
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