Blurb: Once the courtesan of a prince, and then the wife of a king, Davina Keane now finds herself divorced, banished for treason, and sentenced to a life of loveless marriage to the man who aided her in her crimes. Now a penniless widow, she has sunk as low as could be and faces a life of poverty; prostitution being her only other option besides living on the street. Desperate to save herself, Davina makes one final attempt at forging a new life … by marriage to Rafe Rothwell.
A widower and father of three, Rafe has been looking for a wife ever since his first one perished. It’s too bad no one will have him, as he and his children (known notoriously as the Racous Rothwells) have a reputation for being difficult to manage. He’s long given up his search when Davina Keane appears at his door, seemingly prepared to take on the role. Though his needs are practical at first, Rafe finds himself faced with the truth: he wants more from her than just a manager of his home and hearth.
As an arrangement of convenience becomes something more, Davina is faced with the possibility of losing her husband over the truth of a past she kept secret when entering the marriage. Will love be enough to erase the mistakes of her past, or will they threaten to upend her newfound happiness?
Excerpt: Davina approached and sank down onto the blanket beside him, laying on her side and facing him. “What a lovely day,” she said, propping her chin on her hand. “Don’t you think?”
He nodded. “Very much so. I cannot thank you enough for what you’ve done for Beth. I’ve never seen her so happy about the way she looks.”
“It was my pleasure. The poor girl just needed a little help to see that she is really quite attractive. I hope you don’t mind, I allowed her to use a small amount of cosmetics. I used a light hand.”
Rafe grunted. “So, that’s why her eyes looked so bright.”
Davina laughed. “Just a bit of kohl and some rouge on her cheeks, Rafe. I certainly wear more on occasion.”
“You don’t need to,” he said, unable to stop himself from reaching out to touch her face. “You are quite perfect without them.”
He’d expected her to smile, but she did not. Instead, she inched closer to him on the blanket, tilting her head invitingly. His throat constricted tightly, cutting off his air supply, and his stomach churned madly. Did she have any earthly idea what she was doing to him?
“Beth,” he whispered at her very blatant invitation for a kiss.
“She’s busy,” Davina murmured and Rafe knew there was no escape. Beth showed no signs of turning around to spy on them and was quite engrossed in making a daisy chain. “Please Rafe,” she said softly. “Kiss me again, like you did before.”
Rafe’s eyebrows wrinkled. “I’m not sure I know what you mean. How did I kiss you before?”
She sighed and closed her eyes, inching closer until her breasts were nearly pressed against his chest. He cradled her in one arm, his hand resting at her hip.
“You kissed me as if I were precious and fragile. You kissed me as if I meant something to you. No one has ever kissed me that way.”
He smirked and tweaked the tip of her nose playfully. “Have you been kissed much, Davina?”
Her eyes flew open and the sadness in the depths of her eyes was unmistakable. “Yes,” she answered honestly. Why shouldn’t she have been kissed many times? A woman with her looks must have had men fawning over her for most of her life. “But none of them ever took the time to mean it the way you did.”
That did it. The fragile chord of his control snapped and he closed the distance between them, pressing his mouth to hers insistently. She met him with a soft moan, a strangled cry of satisfaction as he kissed her with everything he had. The soft yet coarse rasp of her tongue against his set him on fire as he consumed her, giving her everything she’d never had in a kiss, showing her what he knew it should be. That he was the first—perhaps not the first to kiss her, but the first to make it count—filled him with a sense of primal satisfaction. She sighed and panted against his lips, her body squirming restlessly beneath his as he brought one leg over hers and pressed closer, his hips now against hers.
As their bodies met, he groaned and the sound was a duet with her breathless whisper.
His eyes flew open and he looked at her, struck by the pure desire he saw on her face. No woman had ever looked at him that way and it made him feel large, like a conquering hero. Her hero. Her eyes told him that she was his, that she would surrender to him willingly and purposely. It was a heady feeling.
“We are to be married tomorrow,” she said breathlessly. He could only nod in response. “Will you make me wait another night to make love to me? Or shall you take advantage of my unlocked door tonight?”
Speechless, Rafe swallowed, the sound noisy in the quiet glen. He was suddenly intimidated and aroused all at once. No, his mind screamed, no I will not make you wait another second! Yet, fear settled in and left him afraid. As much as she enthralled him and as much as he wanted her, she terrified him to no end. Could he truly take from her body, and give of his, without opening himself up to more pain and heartbreak? Things would have been so much simpler if they’d stayed within the agreed parameters of friendship.
She brushed her lips against his and smiled. “I will wait up for you,” she said, her deep, throaty voice rich with promise.
Available for purchase at: Smashwords
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I am a woman with two jobs. My first job consists of taking care of home and family, which includes a busy Army husband, two rambunctious kids, and two very active dogs. When I’m not doing that I’m stretching the imagination with stories of people from all walks of life (and worlds) falling in love.
I love coffee, chocolate, music (listening and singing), shoes, jewelry, and food! I am always in the kitchen whipping up something new or watching the pros do it on TV.
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