For the new friends, you’re saying “That Limecello chick is dumber than rocks. She doesn’t even know how to use a calendar! Her post says it’s Tuesday, but it’s obviously Thursday!” Well, I explain it here. For all the friends who have been with me… well you’re all nicer than I am so you’re more patient and tolerant. Thank you for letting me repeat myself!
As you see, we have author Beverley Kendall here today sharing an exclusive excerpt of her newest novel, An Heir of Deception. Another self-pub success story, I’d say, as she recently quit her day job. She started writing full time in June. See how awesome June is?!
A man devastated by love
After three years of carousing and debauchery, Alex Cartwright, heir to the Duke of Hastings, has put his life back in order. Having embraced sobriety for two years, he has no intention of revisiting the past or risking his heart again. But the return of the very woman who introduced him to the darkest side of hell brings not only the painful, haunting memories of bittersweet love and abandonment, but the son he never knew he had…
A woman silenced by secrets
Threatened by the revelation of a secret that could destroy her family’s place in society and forever tarnish a dukedom, Charlotte fled England on her wedding day five years ago. Now, although it appears that secret is safe, when Alex discovers her other secret—their son—Charlotte has an altogether different battle ahead. She must now fight one love to hold onto the other—the man whose touch still makes her burn, for the child who is her very world.
Charlotte affixed her signature below Alex’s. There, it was done. She looked up at him to find him steadily regarding her, the tick of his jaw hinting at deeper emotions simmering inside him than his otherwise inscrutable countenance conveyed.
Calmly, he reached over and retrieved the document from in front of her. He gave it a cursory glance, and then with a tight smile said, “It appears now we are man and wife.”
Yes they were. But what did that mean? “How are we to explain this to everyone?”
“We have been estranged and you’ve only now come home desperate to give our marriage a second chance.”
If only that were true. At least then, there’d be some hope for them.
“And Nicholas, what will you say about him? Won’t people find it strange you’ve never mentioned him?”
“Half my peers do not discuss their children. I won’t be that much of an oddity,” he replied wryly.
Charlotte rolled her eyes. He was deliberately being obtuse.
“Alex, you know this is different. First a wife everyone would swear you did not marry, and then a son—your heir—you never once spoke of? You don’t think people will question that? Even the most trusting of souls will find all this incredulous.”
“They can question it all they like but I’ll have marriage papers to support everything I say.”
How utterly confident he looked and nothing in his voice gave the impression of hesitation or uncertainty. But then the world he’d been born into no doubt led him to believe he could commit marriage fraud with impunity.
“I heard there is talk you were to court the Earl of Cranford’s daughter. Is that true? Had you plans to marry her?” It was a fair question but a small part of her wanted him to know she knew. Which was silly as it wasn’t as if there had been any betrayal on his part.
His lips twitched. “My, my, my,” he said in a deceptively soft voice. “Gossip is becoming more dependable than the papers. And travels ten times the speed of trains.”
“I’m certain my sister did not know it was supposed to be a secret as your mother was said to be quite vocal in her approval of the match. I heard all parties involved hoped for a wedding by year’s end.”
“Heard?” he asked, his voice pitched low. A dark eyebrow rose and a faint smile curled his lip. “Can you truthfully tell me you did not ask?”
Katie, will you tell me about Alex? And now? How is he now?
Of course she had asked.
Charlotte averted her gaze from his too knowing one.
“I thought as much.” The low pitch of his voice thrummed her sensitized nerves.
The tick of the clock had the power to deafen in the ensuing silence. Charlotte could feel his relentless stare. After too long under the crushing weight of his scrutiny, she waved a white flag of surrender and looked him directly in the eye; something she now tried to avoid at all cost.
That was all it took. Desire jolted her with the force of a thunderbolt. Her nipples beaded, her stomach contorted itself into a knot and she felt the relentless throb of desire below.
Tension crackled the air. Her breathing grew ragged, her heartbeat erratic as she devoured him with her eyes. She had never wanted a man more—and couldn’t imagine she ever would.
A look of pure want and need flared so hotly in his eyes, it burned her everywhere it touched: her parted lips, her breasts, her belly, her hips, the apex of her thighs.
For seconds, they hovered on the precipice of something raw and explosive, hot and all consuming. Caught up in a sexual haze, Charlotte stepped forward without conscious thought or will, mouth parted and head tipped back for the kiss she ached for so badly, she could already feel it on her lips. Taste it in her mouth.
But with her advance came his abrupt retreat.
“You want me,” he said softly, running his gaze down her body.
A denial would be ludicrous all things considered and Charlotte was not about to admit to the obvious.
The only thing preventing the smile curving his lips from being completely overbearing was the rapid rise and fall of his chest as if his breathing wasn’t under his control, and not even his mocking words could mask the desire in his eyes.
“I could stand before you now and tell you it gives me no satisfaction to know that you want me.” His gaze lit her on fire as it lifted slowly, lazily, from her rapidly rising breasts to look her in the eye. “But that would be a lie. I want you to want me,” he said, his voice silky and low. “I want you to want me so much you burn every night when you lie in bed and dream of me. Dream of all the things you want me to do to you. The things you want to do to me.”
Know why else Ms. Kendall is great? She’s giving away two digital copies of An Heir of Deception to two lucky winners. You know the drill. Have you read anything by Beverley Kendall before? Do you read historicals? What’d you think of the excerpt. Show of hands 😉 who is going to go buy a copy?!