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Elizabeth lives in Texas with her husband, the indispensable Mr. Essex, and her active and exuberant family, in an old house filled to the brim with books.
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His low voice was full of a strange sort of gentle, exasperated wonder, and he was regarding her through those dangerous, soot-dipped lashes, with such minute attention, as if she looked as strange and foreign as he. As if she were the map of a place he had forgotten he had visited.
He shook his head silently, a slow negation, before he reached across the gulf between them, and ran his thumb along the line of her cheekbone.
“You’ve dirt,” he murmured, as he smudged something off her skin, “on your face. And you’ve done something to your hair to make it darker and duller. Such a crime. But somehow, despite all that, you look so lovely, I have the strongest urge to kiss you.”
That way lay madness. Or at the very least, bad, bad, regrettable decisions. He was no longer Tanvir Singh. He was no longer her friend.
She squelched it all down—the vanity and whatever unmet longing was attempting to stir itself back to life. “I beg you would suppress it.”
“No.” He shook his head again even as the corner of his mouth hitched into a single lovely, bittersweet dimple. “I think not. I think I’ve come a deuced long way to find you, and I’ve done with polite, English caution.”
Yet, he took her face in his hands cautiously, slowly and carefully, in the way a man raised a too full glass to his lips, bringing his mouth to hers. Even as she told herself she should not—she should push him away, and run as fast as she could in the opposite direction and not stop until she had reached the ocean—she let him come nearer and nearer. She watched, her eyes open wide, searching his face, helpless with the need to reconcile this handsome Englishman Thomas Jellicoe with her memories of Tanvir Singh.
But his lips were still the texture of ripe fruit, smooth and taut, and tasting of plums. In response, her own mouth dropped open, parched and thirsty, longing foolishly—so foolishly—for another taste of him.
He slanted his mouth across hers and kissed her more deeply, searching her out, pushing his hands into the tight constriction she had made of her hair, pulling apart the low fist of the bun, scattering pins into the ground. And she was falling or melting, or going somewhere far, far away, dissolving into nothingness, and everything-ness, all at the same time. With his thumbs fanned along her cheeks and his big hands wrapped around the back of her head, drawing her into him, he kissed her with heat and abandon, drawing her out with lips and tongue, and with the very breath from his body, as if she were his air and his water.
Everything else faded, until there was nothing but the longing for the feel of his mouth on hers, and the pleasure so sharp she could not tell it from pain. Catriona was enveloped in the heat and scent of him. The heat, radiating out of him in leaping bonfires, was familiar, though the scent, a uniquely English combination of horse, leather, and privilege, was entirely foreign, and she realized she had been seeking it out—nosing along the slide of his neck below his ear, tasting his skin with little openmouthed kisses—seeking the faint hint of the patchouli that had once perfumed his long, long, beautiful dark hair.
A low growl of appreciation and encouragement wound out of his chest, and she lost herself to him. Every pulse in her body beat with him. Every breath was mingled with his.
They were no longer tentative. They had nothing left of what he had called English caution. They kissed with the knowledge that they were hidden from anyone else’s eyes and that they wanted this joining—had longed for this fervent press of flesh and pleasure. Indeed, her hands were wrapped around his strong wrists and she was all but pulling him closer, holding him near so she could lose herself in the awful, dangerous pleasure—in the promise of his passion.
Excerpt from Scandal In The Night ©2013 by Elizabeth Essex. All rights reserved.
THE SPY WHO LOVED HER
Assuming a false identity as a prim and proper governess, the bold and beautiful Cat Rowan thinks she has finally escaped the wild misadventures of her past—and the wickedly handsome spy who seduced her in India. Imagine her surprise when her employer introduces his brother: the very same cad who destroyed her heart!
THE ONE WHO GOT AWAY
The Honorable Thomas Jellicoe cannot believe his eyes when he sees his beloved Cat—the British beauty who nearly jeopardized his mission in India. Disguised as a horse trader from the bazaars of the Punjab, the British spy risked his life for one night of passion in her arms. But here and now—breaking all rules of decorum—one heated kiss ignites a flurry of gunfire. For their enemies have followed them home. And love is the greatest danger of all…
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