Night Garden comes to New Concepts Publishing in January. Here is a taste! Laura goes to the opera with the baron, Nathanial, Lord Lanyon.
“My estate in Cornwall demands a lot of my time, as does the House of Lords.” His gaze moved over her face, settling on her mouth, causing her heart to beat faster. “I need a partner in life, Laura, someone who can take on a good deal.” He peeled back her glove and pressed his lips to the inside of her wrist, sending a thrill through her. “I’d like that person to be you.”
“You hardly know me.”
“Oh, but I do know you, my dear.”
“On such a short acquaintance?”
“I know you to be intelligent, resourceful and strong.” He smiled. “You are also a romantic, and very young.”
Laura stared at him. She couldn’t contemplate marriage when she wanted so many other things from life. Could she?
“Will you marry me, Laura?” Laura wanted to refuse him, because she was sure no one ever had.
“I have many things I wish to do before I marry,” she said stiffly.
His eyebrows rose. “You do? Pray tell me what they might be.”
Laura swallowed. “To go on with my studies of art history. I plan to travel and visit those wonderful art treasures I’ve only seen in books.”
He continued to hold her hand, rubbing the inside of her wrist with his thumb where her pulse raced. “We shall visit the art treasures of the world together. The Louvre in Paris, all that Rome has to offer, the Parthenon in Greece.”
Excitement churned low in her stomach, and she took back her hand. “Do you really want to do those things?”
He smiled and shook his head. “I will enjoy them through your eyes.”
Nathaniel moved his hand to her waist pulling her closer. She gasped. Leaning forward, he brought his face close to hers. “Marry me, Laura.”
She breathed in the scent of him, felt his hard body against hers. “I ... need to think.”
He took her chin in his hand. “No, you don’t,” he said softly. She knew he was going to kiss her and closed her eyes. The force of his soft lips on hers surprised her. It was a long passionate kiss and when it ended she was breathless. His mouth hovered close to hers, their breaths mingling. “You know, don’t you? That first moment we saw each other? It was Kismet.” Again, his kiss claimed her mouth, making her pulse pound in her ears.
“Do you believe in destiny?” she asked weakly, when he moved away.
“I do.” He peeled off her gloves and pressed his lips to her palms. One burning kiss on each.
Laura sank against him, taking a deep, steadying breath. She opened her mouth to offer some form of argument, but her mind, usually so clear, became befogged. He lifted her chin and plundered her mouth again, more urgently, his breath growing heavy. The carriage rocked as it negotiated a corner. Laura had no idea where they were or who might see them. Neither did she care. She kissed him back as desire unfurled through her body, warming as it went. She felt lost when he drew away.
He reclaimed her hands, his skin warm and seductive against hers. “Can you deny the strong and immediate attraction?”
“I don’t know.” Laura drew away into a corner of the carriage. “You must let me think.”
“Will you see me tomorrow?”