London Heiress kidnapped by the Marquess of Ashlund, read the headlines. Yet no one tried to save her.
Phoebe Wallington was seven years old when a mass assassination attempt rocked Regency England. Her father was the only accused traitor to elude capture. Now as a grown woman and a British spy, she is no closer to learning what really happened that day.
Phoebe’s quest for the truth takes a sudden turn when she’s kidnapped by suspected traitor Kiernan MacGregor, the Marquess of Ashlund. However, Kiernan may not live long enough to stand trial. Someone wants him dead…and Phoebe stands in the killer’s way. Kiernan knows only one thing will keep her out of the killer’s reach. Marriage to the Marquess of Ashlund.
When the door opened and the marquess stopped dead, his eyes on her, Phoebe didn’t break the connection. His gaze slid down her face to her breasts, which were bared beyond even the sensibilities of the demimonde. She had yanked one gown strap off her shoulder and the comb from her hair, then flung herself onto the mattress. Phoebe lay, one hand thrown over her head, her hair in disarray across the quilt. She couldn’t stop the slow release of the breath she held or the slow intake of breath to refill her lungs. In the light of the low fire, his gaze sharpened the instant before he closed the door softly behind him and clicked the lock into place. She stifled a gasp, but was sure he couldn’t miss the rise and fall of her breasts caused by the thud of her heart against her chest.
Kiernan leaned his shoulders against the door, crossed his arms over his chest, and lifted a lazy brow. “I’m wondering how you got past the girls out there.”
“That is what you have to say at a moment like this?”
“Forgive me, my dear, but you’ve been so concerned about your reputation that I’m a little surprised you would take such a chance.”
“No worries, my lord, when I sneaked into your room they weren’t on this floor.”
The bemused note in his voice was unexpected. Phoebe started to push into a sitting position. “If you are worried—”
“I’m not the least bit worried,” he cut in, and she stilled.
She was sure he wasn’t, damn him. Phoebe relaxed back onto the bed, her arm draped across her midsection. His eyes flicked onto the action, then came back to her face.
“Is something wrong, my lord?” she asked. “Are you upset I’m here? You did tell me to try out the goods.” By heavens, those had been the duchess’ words, not his.
“That is certainly one way of putting it,” he replied.
Kiernan pushed off the door and her heart beat faster as he drew closer. He reached the bed, stopped, and stared down at her. Heat rose to her cheeks and she fought the urge to squirm under his scrutiny. Thankfully—or perhaps not so thankfully—he lowered himself to sit on the mattress beside her. Phoebe had expected something more direct, like yanking up her skirts, unbuttoning his pants, then lying on top of her and—she released a shaky breath.
“Are you all right, my dear?”
“Fine, my lord. You?”
“Better than I can remember.”
She wanted to throttle him.
“I like this dress.”
“The duchess’ choice,” Phoebe replied.
A corner of his mouth twitched. He lifted a thick lock of her hair and rubbed the tress between his fingers, then dropped it and slipped a warm finger beneath the strap still on her shoulder. Phoebe flinched and his eyes shifted onto her face. She lay still as a mouse and thought perhaps he was going to call a halt to the seduction—heaven help her, she had no idea where that would leave her. Instead, he slid the strap down her shoulder so that both breasts were exposed nearly to her nipples. She couldn’t say where this left her, either.
He trailed the finger down her shoulder past her collar bone and over the rise of one breast. She shivered. His finger moved closer to the edge of her bodice. He dipped down into the valley between her breasts and up the other. Warmth centered in her stomach and worked its way downward in a radiating wave. His finger slid inside her bodice and the wave peaked when he caressed a nipple. The juncture between her legs tightened and a dizzying current brought with it an unfamiliar energy.
What was wrong with her? This was dangerous territory and was most certainly not what she’d had in mind when she’d jumped on his bed. What had she had in mind? To seduce him—or pretend to seduce him—not the other way around. But how did she go about seducing him? The thought was cut off when he kissed her. As she remembered, his mouth was soft and warm, but now there was an insistence that caused her limbs to go weak. His tongue flicked at her lips and she opened without hesitation. He plunged inside, soft, sweet, and so warm that Phoebe wondered how such a large man could be so gentle.
Think, she commanded her failing wits. If she wasn’t careful, he would have an inescapable reason to force her to marry him. A memory flashed of happening upon Heddy and one of her paramours in an erotic embrace while closeted away in a private room at a party. Phoebe twirled her tongue around Kiernan’s while reaching with one hand to cup his groin. He stilled and heat raced through her at the unexpected feel of the long, hard length beneath her fingers. She hadn’t looked, hadn’t realized that he was fully erect. Fully erect? That part of him seemed ready to break free of his trousers. How was that possible in the few minutes since he’d sat down?
He broke the kiss and lifted his face a bare inch from hers. Her throat went dry, but there was no turning back now. She massaged him.
The rasp in his voice startled her, but she immediately understood the advantage and gently raked her nails along his rigid length.
“By God, Phoebe, if you keep that up—”
Award winning author Tarah Scott cut her teeth on authors such as Georgette Heyer, Zane Grey, and Amanda Quick. Her favorite book is a Tale of Two Cities, with Gone With the Wind as a close second. She writes modern classical romance, and paranormal and romantic suspense. Tarah grew up in Texas and currently resides in Westchester County, New York with her daughter.
Tarah’s Reading Group: http://microcerpt.com/groups/tarah-scott-reader-group/