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- They are charming and seductive.
- They give the heroine (and the reader) a challenge.
- They are persistent.
- In romances at least, they have skills in the bedroom.
- When they give their heart to the right woman, they fall so hard that they will do anything to keep her.
In my current novel, A Marquess for Christmas, Kit is a boxer, a gambler, and rumor has it that he has dallied with a few actresses and courtesans in his day. He refuses to marry, despite his family’s pleas. He just won’t be saddled with an innocent, prudish, and boring wife and he can’t stand the thought of wedding a sharp-tongued shrew like his sister.
It takes a strong woman to tame him. Violet Laurens is no wallflower. She attacks a thief with a broken basket, pushes the villain from a moving carriage, she gambles at dice and wins--even when she doesn’t cheat--and she doesn’t bat an eyelash when she finds out that Kit is a competitive boxer.
Here is a snippet of A Marquess for Christmas:
She looked down to see dark eyes watching her.
“You are awake!”
“Sing,” he repeated, but he’d barely finished the word when a ragged cough took over his body.
“A belt of straw and ivy buds, with coral clasps and amber studs, and if these pictures may thee move, come live with me and—”
“Be my love.” His voice was hoarse, even more than she expected for someone who’d slept for two days. She lifted from the bed to pour water from the pitcher into a cup.
When she lifted the cup to his lips, he coughed and it dribbled down his chin. “Easy.” They tried again, but still, most of the water ended up down his chest. His tunic absorbed the excess liquid and clung tightly to his body, so she could see every line and curve. His nipples hardened again.
“Let me try this another way,” she said. This time, she dipped her fingers into the cup and let the water drip into his mouth.
He opened wide for more. She leaned closer, her bosom near his face, and poured more water from her fingers.
After the third time, he put her two fingers to his lips and sucked them. A flash of heat shot through her limbs. If she’d been standing, she would have faltered and lost her balance.
His mouth was hot and she suspected it had little to do with his fever.
“More,” he whispered. He stared at her and she could not move, could not speak.
There was a knock behind them and that jolted her out of her frozen state. Miriam stood in the doorway with ice and more water. The man groaned.
She motioned for the maid to come in. As soon as the girl was close, Violet took a tiny chip of ice and put it in the man’s mouth.
The ice would help his thirst, but she also was afraid for him to speak. The need in his eyes was too real, too close to the desire that she felt. But he was a stranger. A beautiful, dark, bewitching stranger who had risked his life for her, yet she knew almost nothing about him.
A fact that she could remedy. No. What was she thinking? He was wounded, disoriented, and who knows if he mistook her for his wife or some mistress. A sharp pang twisted in her gut. Did he have a mistress? She’d already considered that he could be married, but she hadn’t thought about the possibility of a mistress.
He was a virile, handsome man with a body any sculptor would worship and carve into stone. She’d seen it all, every wicked inch of him. The thought of that body being pleasured by some other woman made her ill.
“Do you or the gentleman need anything else, my lady?”
“Perhaps the cook has some broth. But please make sure it is tepid, not hot.”
Miriam set down the tray of ice and curtsied before exiting the room.
He rubbed his temples, then when Miriam was gone, he turned back to her. Though he whispered the word, “Water,” his eyes said something else.
She plopped another ice sliver into his mouth. He sucked on it, watching her still. She felt a flush run down from her ears to her belly. If she didn’t know better, she’d have thought his fever was catching.
Excerpt from A Marquess For Christmas ©2012 by Vivienne Westlake. All rights reserved.
A MARQUESS FOR CHRISTMAS:
A proper widow. A rakish marquess. He rescued her from thieves, but will she be able to save him from himself?Get Your Own Copy: Amazon | All Romance | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords
When Violet Laurens is rescued from highwaymen, the furthest thing from her mind is that her heart might tumble next. She loves her independent life, no matter her lonely bed. The handsome stranger reawakens the passion she thought buried along with her husband, pushing her to new heights of desire. But she knows it’s only a matter of time before he remembers his name and leaves her.
The dissolute Marquess of Kittrick has vowed never to marry, causing a rift in his family that sets him on the road just in time to do battle with ruffians intent on stealing a lady’s coins—and more. Discovering the fiery wanton beneath the widow’s oh-so-proper demeanor makes him want nothing more than to forget who he is for just a bit longer. Maybe forever.
When Kit is forced to acknowledge who he is, will the truth trump their shared passion, and the love they can’t quite admit to? Or will Violet overcome her fear—and Kit his dissolute ways–and be able to lay claim to A Marquess for Christmas?
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