The Countess and the Commoner (MF)

Reluctant Rogues

Evernight Publishing

Heat Rating: Scorching
Word Count: 71,000
0 Ratings (0.0)

Sarah, the Countess de Marchand, has many secrets. She’s spent the last two years writing a gossip column while also carrying on a love affair with lumber baron, Simon Archer. Realizing she cannot continue either endeavor forever, she dismisses Simon and retires to Dorset, sure that he will be better off without her.

Orphan-turned-millionaire Simon Archer knows no amount of money will make him worthy in the eyes of the ton. But when Sarah’s neighbor, the penniless Earl of Tryll, cooks up a scheme to fake Simon’s heritage so that it will be socially acceptable for him to marry his daughter, Simon accepts, if only to spite everyone.

Now forced back into each other’s social spheres, will Sarah and Simon be able to continue with their separate plans for the future? Or will their passion prove too powerful to dismiss?

The Countess and the Commoner (MF)
0 Ratings (0.0)

The Countess and the Commoner (MF)

Reluctant Rogues

Evernight Publishing

Heat Rating: Scorching
Word Count: 71,000
0 Ratings (0.0)
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Cover Art by Jay Aheer

As if the mere idea of Sarah summoned her, Simon felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end as a gentle set of footsteps sounded from behind him. The faint scent of almond soap invaded his nostrils.

“Charles? Who was at the…”

The feminine voice trailed off as Simon felt the wind go out of him. He fixed his attention on a small porcelain figure of a girl carrying a basket of flowers that sat on the mantle as the noise of a sharp intake of breath sounded behind him. A wave of heat grew against his back and he knew her eyes were on him.

A torrent of emotions began to swell within his body. He was suddenly hot and cold, eager, and hesitant, excited, and miserable all at once. The very blood in his veins began to bubble and fizz. Flexing his hands and with his pulse pounding, he took a deep breath and turned slowly as his gaze fell on her.

Sarah stood statue-like in the doorway, her face in disbelief, her perfect brows arched with shock. The air seemed to evaporate from the room at that moment, as well as the room itself. The entire world melted away, leaving only the distance between them.

Simon became breathless as he watched her. His heart felt like it was seizing in his chest. It was almost physically painful to be in her presence. A hundred memories rushed through his mind as he gazed at her, greedily taking in every inch of her flawless, tentative form.

God, how he had missed her.

Her perfect mouth slacked and Simon had to will himself to be still as every inch of his body urged him to go to her. After what felt like an eternity, she spoke.

“Si-Simon,” she breathed after a long, almost agonizingly quiet moment and he felt himself begin to shake.

No. He needed to remain in control and schooled his features to remain expressionless. Remain still.

“I’m sorry, my lady, but this man said he required an audience with you. I would have sent him away but—”

She shook her head and the butler stopped speaking.

“Thank you, Charles,” she said as the butler disappeared, leaving Simon and Sarah alone on opposite ends of the drawing room.

God, she was more beautiful than he remembered. Dressed in a rich mauve gown, her loose, dark curls framed her heart-shaped face. He wanted to run his hands through her hair, to bury his face in the thick mass. To breathe her in and exhale his desire for her. His fingers twitched with need.

 She had always been the most beautiful woman Simon had ever seen, but seeing her now felt different than before. Their separation had only magnified her physical beauty and he wanted to touch her, to run his tongue over her smooth, golden skin and taste every sweet inch of her. The memory of her taste was only a fraction of the real thing and he suddenly felt like an addict in need of a drink.

Bloody hell. He felt as if he were finally home.

“Simon,” she finally said, her hand going up to her throat. “What are you doing here?”

The anguish in her voice made his mouth go dry, but he ignored it as he stepped towards her. He needed to focus. Disregarding the pounding urge in his body to reach for her, he took a deep breath. Instead, he rolled his fingers into fists and tried to keep his face from expressing anything he felt.

“I,” he tried, but his words stuck in his throat. He coughed to clear his throat. “I’m sorry to intrude.”

She took a step towards him. He had wanted to be emotionless, aloof, possibly even cruel when he saw her, but all the animosity he had felt for the past four months was abruptly sucked out of him.

“Are you really here?” she whispered, more to herself than to him.

For a fraction of a second, he simply stood there, until something in him broke. He took several large strides towards her and reaching for her, he pulled her against him. With a soft gasp, she molded perfectly against his body, just as she always had as his arms wrapped fiercely around her. It was unnerving how much he believed that she belonged in his arms.

She stared up at him and he opened his mouth to speak, but only managed to curse before kissing her.

He was whole the instant his mouth found hers, her hands coming to his head. Her fingers snaked through his wet hair as they always did when she pulled him in to kiss her. Sarah held onto him with a grip he hadn’t expected. After four long months alone, he was with her again and he felt like this kiss was breathing life back into him.

He held her tightly, fiercely, enough that he was sure she might bruise beneath his touch, but he could hardly stop himself. He needed her, beyond substance, beyond breath. She needed to feel how he felt, terrified and angry and grateful all at once as he crushed his mouth against hers.

Simon’s hands began to move around her as if his memory had forgotten the way she felt and he was desperate to remember. It was as if a fog that had settled over him these past months had lifted.

His mouth worked at hers expertly, kissing down her neck, to the back of her ear, as a tremor seized her body and a soft moan escaped her lips. The reaction satisfied him deeply.

“This is madness,” she breathed as she pulled back.

He licked and nipped at the column of her neck as the scent of almonds filled his senses. It was as if he hadn’t eaten in ages, as if he hadn’t drunk in years. Every bit of his body felt awake and buzzing and Simon felt the last bits of his self-control disappear.

“It was madness to be apart,” he countered, unwilling to stop.

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