She lives in the wonderfully warm Southeast with her beloved husband, son, dog, and a garden she likes to call romantic rather than unkempt. A professor of European History at Duke University, Katharine writes fiction because she thinks modern readers deserve high adventure and breathtaking sensuality too.
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“Good night, Miss Caulfield. Pleasant dreams plotting your revenge.” Lord Vitor bowed. His gait as he walked away was not entirely even. He favored his left leg, the leg she’d hit with the pitchfork.
Guilt and some confusion tangled in her belly. “I absolutely will not dream of you, even to plan revenge,” she said to his back.
Over his shoulder he turned a smile upon her that sent her breath into her toes. For a moment, almost, his smile seemed regretful. “I was referring to your revenge upon Ladies Penelope and Grace, of course,” he said.
An alien sensation swept into her face. She touched her cheek. It was hot. Hot?
At a slow pace he returned to her. His smile had vanished. He halted before her and bowed again, this time soberly.
“Miss Caulfield, I beg your forgiveness.” His voice was low and his gaze seemed to seek hers quite closely. “I intended you no harm, in truth. Still, I was unpardonably dishonorable to assail you and then tease you and then rescue you and then tease you yet again. Can you forgive me, or will those eyes like stars stare with accusation at me throughout the remaining weeks of this fete?”
Eyes like stars? It was a very good thing she didn’t regularly consort with lords. Their rote flatteries were positively inane. “You are still teasing. And you ask my forgiveness in the same words you asked Lady Grace’s.”
“But in this instance I am most sincere.”
“I am not in the habit of forgiving.”
“Perhaps you might make an exception this time.”
“I don’t know why I should.”
“Consider my injuries.” The dent deepened anew. “Perhaps I am already sufficiently punished.”
She tried not to smile. “I won’t apologize for that.”
“I never expected you to. Now may we put this unfortunate episode behind us and instead pretend to be two people who happened to become acquainted over spilled champagne?”
“Why should we pretend that?”
“It’s either that or the pitchfork.” His dark eyes glimmered.
“All right. But don’t do it again.”
“Kiss you in a stable or defend you from tabbies?”
The heat was back in her face. “Either.”
“I believe I can promise that.” He bowed again. “Good night, madam.” He walked away.
Ravenna stared at his back but her cheeks still burned. She dragged her attention to the floor. Nothing there could make her feel peculiarly hot or unsteady as his shoulders and dark hair and the muscular lengths of his legs did.
Where her gaze alit, a blot of dark liquid pooled about the pointed toe of a suit of armor. She crouched and studied the leak. It was not black but dark crimson and congealed. Blood. Undeniably, blood. Far too much blood for a mouse that might have gotten trapped in the armored foot, or even a cat. The hairs on the back of her neck prickled.
She stood and peered at the suit’s visor. The steel looked impenetrable, with a tiny slit over the eyes that was lost in shadow now, one of those old helmets from which she could not imagine how a knight would be able to see. She reached up and pried open the visor.
She jolted back. The visor clanked shut. But she’d seen enough to make her hot skin turn clammy.
“A student of medieval arms, are you, Miss Caulfield?” Lord Vitor’s voice echoed from the opposite end of the gallery. “And here I’d thought you preferred farm tools.”
“There is a dead man inside this suit.” …
Excerpt from I ADORED A LORD ©2014 by Katharine Ashe. All rights reserved.
Series: The Prince Catchers series #2
Length: 384 pages
Publisher: Avon (July 29, 2014)
She’s intended for his brother. He’s destined for adventure. Then a dangerous mystery throws them together, and all they want is each other.
All that clever, passionate Ravenna Caulfield wants is to stay far away from high society’s mean girls.
All that handsome, heroic Lord Vitor Courtenay wants is to dash from dangerous adventure to adventure.
Now, snowbound in a castle with a bevy of the ton’s scheming maidens all competing for a prince’s hand in marriage, Ravenna’s worst nightmare has come true. Now, playing babysitter to a spoiled prince and his potential brides, Vitor is champing at the bit to be gone.
When a stolen kiss in a stable leads to a corpse in a suit of armor, a canine kidnapping, and any number of scandalous liaisons, Ravenna and Vitor find themselves wrapped in a mystery they’re perfectly paired to solve. But as for the mysteries of love and sex, Vitor’s not about to let Ravenna escape until he’s gotten what he desires…
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