Intrepid and outspoken, Blythe Culpepper is dragged against her will to London for a Season. To her dismay, her guardian enlists the devilishly attractive Lord Leventhorpe, the one man she detests, to assist with her Come Out. Since their first encounter, hostile looks and cutting retorts have abounded whenever they meet, yet she cannot deny the way her body reacts when he’s near. So perhaps it’s no surprise that upon overhearing another woman scheming to entrap Tristan into marriage, Blythe risks all to warn him. Haunted by childhood trauma, Tristan, the austere and controlled Marquis of Leventhorpe, usually avoids social gatherings. So why, against his better judgement, does he agree to aid his closet friend in presenting the Culpeppers to the ton? Might it be because one Culpepper stirs more than his interest? Blythe taxes him to his limits with her sharp wit and even sharper tongue. Yet, he cannot deny the beauty fascinates him. However, when an old enemy comes calling, using Blythe to settle old scores, Tristan must decide if protecting his honor is more important than winning the heart of the woman he has come to love.
“You’ve a dab of dirt smearing your cheek, just there.” Lord Leventhorpe indicated her cheek with a long finger.
Covered in dog hair, mud, and grass. Perfectly lovely.
Blythe wiped her face. “Did I get it?”
“No. You smeared the blob more.” He chuckled and moved his fingers over his cheek, in imitation of where her smudge was. “You look rather like an adorable ragamuffin who’s been making mud pies.”
Blythe rubbed the spot again then examined her gloves. Earth marred the fingertips. Whether from wiping her face or from her tumbles in the park, she didn’t know. Probably ruined her gloves too. “Better?”
“No. Allow me.” He swiftly removed his black leather glove. “Lean my way a mite.”
Blythe complied, and he bent and brushed his thumb along her cheek a couple of times.
Sensation darted outward, raising the flesh along her shoulders and arms.
The shards of silver in his gaze glittered as he stared into her eyes, and his touch lingered a fraction longer than entirely necessary. “You have the loveliest eyes and the most perfect mouth I’ve ever seen.”
Such was the wonder in his voice, he almost seemed to speak to himself.
Blythe wet her lips, gone abruptly dry as autumn leaves.
His gaze riveted upon her mouth, tension tightened his lips.
He had the most beautifully sculpted mouth she’d ever noticed, and that included the Greek gods from last night’s ball. Were Lord Leventhorpe’s as warm and firm and tasty as they appeared?
What the blazes did Mr. Burlington’s lips look like?
Did he have lips?
He must, of course.
A wheel sank into a hole with bone-jarring force, abruptly interrupting Blythe’s mental rambling and pitching her and Lord Leventhorpe headfirst. His hat flew from his head as he tumbled from his seat onto his knees and reflexively wrapped his arms around her to keep her from plunging to the floor.
Their faces mere inches apart, Blythe couldn’t haul her gaze from the glinting specks in Lord Leventhorpe’s eyes. His focus sank to her lips, and his enlarged pupils revealed his arousal.
Would he kiss her?
Did she want him to?
Breath suspended, she remained perfectly motionless. Waiting.
Lowering his head, he tightened his embrace an instant before his lips whispered across hers.
A brilliant light burst behind her eyes, and every bone in her body turned molten. She clutched his lapels, certain if she let go, she’d slither to the floor.
He ran his tongue along the seam of her lips, and, sighing, she readily capitulated and parted her mouth, eager to taste more of him.
Bestselling, award-winning author, Collette Cameron, has a BS in Liberal Studies and a Master’s in Teaching. Author of the Castle Brides Series. Highland Heather Romancing a Scot Series, and Conundrums of the Misses Culpepper Series, Collette writes Regency and Scottish historicals and makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and five mini-dachshunds. Mother to three and a self-proclaimed Cadbury Chocolate chocoholic, Collette loves a good joke, inspirational quotes, flowers, trivia, and all things shabby chic and cobalt blue. You’ll always find dogs, birds, quirky—sometimes naughty—humor, and a dash of inspiration in her novels. Her motto for life? You can’t have too much chocolate, too many hugs, or too many flowers or books. She’s thinking about adding shoes to that list.