Meet the Author:
Wendy LaCapra has been reading romance since she sneaked into the adult section at the library and discovered Victoria Holt & Jane Aiken Hodge. From that point on, she dreamed of creating fictional worlds with richness, intrigue and passion. Her stories have placed in several contests, including the 2012 Golden Heart® and her debut series, a trilogy about three Ladies who refuse to play by society’s rules, was released by Entangled Scandalous. She lives in NYC with her husband and loves to hear from readers. For new release and sale alerts, sign up at http://bit.ly/GetWendyNews
About the Book:
Lady Clarissa has decided to live life on her terms. After the end of a ten-year betrothal, she wants nothing to do with marriage or the men of the ton. Least of all her friend’s brother, the very charming Lord Markham, or Hearts, as many ladies call the oh-so-handsome earl.
Markham pursues relationships with no ties that bind. Acting the rake leaves everyone satisfied...until he overhears a wager that could lead to Clarissa’s ruin. He can’t help but step in and claim she’s his intended bride.
Clarissa is appalled. She did not need to be saved. Reluctantly, she agrees to the fake courtship, if only to experience what the rakish Markham can offer. But when lust becomes love, Clarissa must make up her own terms and bet it all on Hearts.
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Markham lifted his brows. “At present, you are my only concern.”
Oh, heavens. Why did being his only concern seem like all she could ever want?
She flashed him a quelling look. “You must stop that.”
“Stop what?” He asked, frowning.
“Stop using that voice.”
“You mean my voice?”
“You sound as if you are sincere.”
“I have given you my word. I am sincere.”
She went hot. Then cold. Then hot again—a fluctuation that matched her conflicting desires. “Forgive me. I—I have never been in quite this position before.”
“You must believe,” he looked deep into her eyes. “I am not out to harm you in any way. And I will always respect your wishes.”
She rather liked that word.
She nodded slowly. “I wish—” What did she wish?
I wish…I wish…I wish…
Her unfinished wishes wafted between them like seeds flying on little feathered umbrellas.
I wish…I wish…I wish…
But would her wishes land on fertile ground, or would they be crushed beneath a boot?
“I wish us luck,” she finished.
He smiled warmly. And suddenly she was thinking of trees in unlikely places—hanging off cliffs, pushing up between flagstones.
“Would you permit me to hold your hand?” he asked.
Hearts—rake of the seasoned ton—asked to hold her hand.
And, his voice had shaken.
“Now?” Silly question. When else would he mean?
The color in his cheeks deepened. He nodded.
She held out her hand. “Since we’ve made an agreement, I suppose we should shake hands.”
At first, he did not move. She began to wonder if time itself had frozen—caught inelegantly between desire and impossibility. Then, his warm, gloveless fingers closed over hers and the sensation was divine.
Pillowed by the rich tones of her voice her name was not so much a name as a blessing.
He threaded his thumb under hers and stroked between her thumb and forefinger. She closed her eyes, leaving their hands entwined. Behind her lids the world turned gray as he traced indecipherable lines into her hand.
Only they weren’t lines, were they?
He was tracing a heart.
Her eyes flew open.
Markham was looking down at their joined hands with a raw, bewildered expression.
“I just remembered something my mother used to say.”
“What was that?” she asked.
“Come here and give me a kiss for courage.”
“Are you asking me for a kiss?”
He lifted his brows. “I don’t suppose we can approximate a proper courtship without a kiss.”
“Well,” she replied, “I had a life-long betrothal without a kiss.”
He blinked. “Really?”
She could not decide if he looked hopeful or concerned. She, on the other hand, felt awkward and uneasy. The gap in their experience yawned wide, yet, with her hand in his, she wanted nothing more than to discover the secrets he knew.
“How does one go about kissing?” She unconsciously wet her lips. “I’ve never actually seen a kiss. Not a proper kiss, anyway.”
His throat moved. “That, I can help you with, if you wish.”
“I wish,” she repeated, realizing what she’d been hoping for all along.
“Just to be clear, you wish to be kissed.”
She lifted a brow. “Yes.”
He cocked his head. “…Though not specifically by me.”
Of course specifically by him. “A general knowledge would be helpful, don’t you think? No one would believe you courted me and hadn’t stolen a kiss.”
“I don’t steal.”
“What do you do?”
Sensual knowing entered his eyes. “I offer.”
She was beginning to understand his reputation. A kiss suddenly seemed like a terrible mistake.
“Kiss me chastely, Lord Markham, and let us be done.”
“Chastely.” He exhaled. “I’m not experienced in chaste...but I can try.”
He placed his fingers against the back of her neck, heating four individual points that spanned from her shoulder into her hair. His thumb rested beneath her chin. With a gossamer-light touch, he moved her face until she formed a mirror of his. As he drew closer, his features blurred. Her senses filled to overflowing.
She closed her eyes. And then, his lips brushed hers.
Sparks ignited in every nerve, tingling as if she’d smoothed her skin with a potent, warming salve. Deep inside, those sparks lit hope, a promise of warmth and tenderness, and burgeoning passion.
Then, the hot points of his touch disappeared, and she was left bereft.
She opened her eyes to a completely different world.
A world in which she’d become, apparently, mute.
“Right, then,” he bowed. “I’ll await the list of events you’ll be attending.”
Before she found her voice, he was gone.
She’d been wrong.
A kiss could change everything.
A kiss just had.
- A Tiara - US shipping ONLY
- eBook prize pack featuring the following titles:
- Scandal in Spades by Wendy LaCapra
- Slightly Dangerous by Mary Balogh
- Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean
- As Rich as a Rogue by Jade Lee