The dance she never dared to dream…
One year after a carriage accident killed her parents and left her seriously injured, Lavinia Montgomery has finally learnt to walk again – just in time to make her societal debut. Yet while the beautiful debutante’s body may have healed, she hides a broken heart.
Before her injury, Lavinia had exchanged letters with a man she knew to be the love of her life – despite never having set eyes on him. But when she feared she’d be crippled for life, she made the heart-rending decision to let him go…
Randolph James Caulfield, Earl of Penwick, is betrothed, but cannot forget the words he once received from a woman whose name he knew, but who he never had the chance to meet. So when, at a ball, his dance partner is introduced, he can’t believe his luck. One thing is certain: if this really is his debutante, he won’t lose her a second time.
He cradled her face with his palms, holding her mouth to his. She tasted like a fantasy, ethereal, sweet and forbidden, a temptress who experimented with sin, yet at the same time conjured cherished remembrances of childhood, daring, carefree adventure. She even smelled like the honeysuckle flowers that grew beneath his window. They were bonded somehow. Plighted.
Her tongue touched his, at first a flick of curiosity, then a slide of assertive demand, only to curl around his with inviting bliss. She offered and he took. He could hardly think for the pleasure of it, falling down a well of pleasure and he didn’t care a whit.
He heard the quiescent rustle of fabric before he experienced her touch, the composed caress of her fingertips along his jaw. Such a tender affection in the throes of their passion, the opposing sensations engulfed him, warred at his conscience and threatened anarchy, urging him to continue though he knew it as wrong. Didn’t want it to stop. He needed to stop. Damn it to hell, he had to stop, but the decision did not translate to action.
She was wondrous and original, yet somehow warm and familiar, all things combined, and he pulled her closer, not wanting a breath of space between their bodies as he kissed with all the pent yearning he’d stored for too much time, aching desire and dire longing. He deepened their embrace and moved his hands from her shoulders, over her arms to her waist, locking her within his hold. She made a tiny noise in her throat that ignited his blood like fire. Did she experience the same ferocious need that devoured his better sense? That dared him to do, want, take what he knew he shouldn’t?
Blood drummed in his veins, through his heart to his groin. What was this ferocious torture? He barely conceived thought, his body dictating all action. He wanted to feel her smooth flesh, the pleasure of her scent filling him, tempting him. He slid his hands upward, his fingers poised at the soft swell of her breasts. He could feel her every breath, each tremble hot and inviting. He wanted more. So much more.
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