For three years, Lady Lydia Powell has maintained a secret corespondence with a famed gossip columnist. Of course, she never expected to be on the receiving end of the chatter. Now, with her name appearing in an engagement announcement to her worst enemy, Lydia is shocked! Surely there’s been some sort of mistake?
The Marquis of Quinton, Benedict Davies finds himself with a rare opportunity. Having suspected for a while that Lydia has been behind a defamation campaign against him, Benedict can’t help but dream of exacting his revenge on the hot-blooded beauty.
While London rejoices that the two former foes have fallen in love, not everyone is thrilled. Danger seems to be lurking behind every corner and soon the couple are left wondering if their relationship is worth dying for.
Davies stared at her with such contempt Lydia could only deduce he outright hated her. She had finally pushed him over the edge.
“It wasn’t completely my fault,” she said, suddenly prompted to explain everything. “I mean, I may have stoked the flames early on.” He made a noise somewhere between a grunt and a laugh, which made her furrow her brow. “But it was never my intent for your name to be attached to mine.”
“Had you only asked, sweet, I would have offered for you.”
Lydia was startled by his words, but the expression on his face was teasing.
“Seeing as how you were so smitten with me.”
She stiffened. “I have never been smitten with you. In fact, you are the last man on this earth I would consider marrying.” She said it as if it were some filthy word. “Nothing has given me more trouble these past few months as your fiancée, and I cannot wait until this farce of an engagement is over.”
The mischief seemed to leave his eyes as he came toward her, his steps slow and predatory. She had said something he didn’t like. When he spoke, all traces of teasing were gone, and she heard a voice she hadn’t from him in a long time.
“That you would stoop that low—”
“Believe me, I find it equally distasteful.”
“And yet you arranged it.”
“I had nothing to do with it.”
“Why should I believe you?”
“Why shouldn’t you!”
Before she could blink, before she could think, Davies had reached for her, gathering her into his arms, and covered her mouth with his in the most sensual and erotic kiss she had ever experienced.
She was momentarily frozen, shocked in place as he kissed her. Lydia had been kissed before, in fact had enjoyed it quite a bit, but never like this. This was deep and searching, a scalding, confusing kiss that seemed to shatter everything she held to be true.
She hated Davies, and he hated her.
She started to try to push him off, but as her fingers curled, they caught his lapels. Rather than push him away, she drew him toward her so aggressively that she wasn’t sure what she was doing. His tongue swept into her mouth as his arms tightened around her. Her breasts were pressed against his chest, the tips of which had hardened in response to him. She was amazed all the buzzing hatred she felt for him that lingered just beneath the surface had suddenly turned, revealing itself to be more erotic than anything.
This was a feeling she had never known before. A yearning, desperate need for something she didn’t understand.
Lydia moaned into his mouth, but it had come out more like a grunt, and Davies slowed his kiss. She tightened her fingers on his coat, unwilling to let him go. He pulled back unhurriedly, his eyes wide with a strange emotion as he looked at her, a mixture of heat and marvel displayed on his face.
“Why did you—” she tried to say after a moment. She stopped herself from asking why he had stopped and shook her head while he held her in his arms. “Why did you do that?”
He only stared at her, seemingly unsure of his actions. Then he let his muscled arms relax and untwine from her, and she suddenly felt unbalanced and missed the heat of him.
“I’ll ask you to, to…” Stopping, she closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Opening them, she saw a seriousness in his eyes that she never had before, and she felt suddenly panicked. “I’ll ask you to keep your hands to yourself.”
A long silence held between them before he spoke.
“No,” he said, his body perfectly still as he watched her.
Good heavens. She shivered. He looked as dangerous as she felt breathless.
“I don’t think I will keep my hands to myself. In fact,” he said, his head tilting a fraction. “I think I require an audience with your brother.”
Pure alarm filled her, and she took a step toward him. “Whatever for?”
“I should like to ask his permission on a matter,” he said, turning.