and a marriage of convenience
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Trelayne St.Christopher is a cossetted young English woman longing for adventure, like the daring females in her purloined romance novels.
Captain Walker Garrison, a Yankee sea captain, heartbroken after the death of his wife, is in need of comfort, but he seeks solitude.
Thrown together by necessary rather then need, their worlds collide, and the fun begins.
Excerpt from Victorian Dream:
At the Crystal Palace: London,1851
To her surprise, Walker tightened his grip on her elbow and urged her off the walkway and into the shadows. She felt light headed, and her cheeks grew warm with the unstoppable heat caused by his intense perusal.
“That’s some hat you’re sporting,” he said.
His unexpected comment took her off guard, leaving her confused. “You don’t like my new hat?”
“I didn’t say I didn’t like it, just that it was really something.”
“That’s a bit vague. Something can mean good or bad.”
He canted his head and studied her more thoroughly. “It’s unique, I’ll give you that.” He flicked a finger at the bright bow and scarlet ribbons cascading down one side of the creation. “And unexpected.”
“Do you like surprises?” she ventured.
“Not generally,” he admitted. “But I do like discovering new things, taking my time, savoring each revelation, wondering what will come next.
Capturing her left hand, he toyed with the buttons on her glove. Entranced, she waited restlessly, conjuring naughty images of what he might try to discover next. One by one, he slipped the buttons free, splaying open the soft leather. Cool air slipped beneath the material as he rolled down the top, exposing her skin.
The pulse in her wrist jump beneath the pressure of his fingers. Raising her hand to his mouth, he whispered something, but she couldn’t catch the words, only the feel of his breath on her bare skin. He lowered her hand, and little by little peeled the kid leather away, turning it inside out, sliding the softness over her knuckles, down her fingers, off the tips. She wished he would undress the rest of her just as completely and slowly—oh so slowly, one little piece of clothing following another.
“Your fingers are cold, Trelayne,” he said, cozying her bare hand between his strong warm ones. “But I’ll wager there’s fire in your heart.”
Speechless, she strangled the moan threatening to escape her. There was fire in more than just her heart, and it was near to burning out of control. Was it proper for a woman to ravish a man? For that was exactly what she wished to do.
A hint of smile lingered on his mouth, but his eyes darkened, and there was nothing humorous about the way his gaze made her feel.
She wished to speak, but words escaped her. Rarely at a loss as to what to do or say, she tried to recall what she’d been taught in deportment about keeping up lively conversation and witty dialogue. Nothing came to mind to cover a situation in which her body ruled her mind. All she could think about was what it would be like to kiss this man, make love to this man, be naked beside this man.
“Fires can be dangerous,” she finally murmured.
“Yes,” he agreed. “Especially the ones that burn long and slow and incredibly hot.”
Illustrations from the books she read in secret seared across her mind—scandalous, wonderful imaginings.
He leaned in closer. She swore he was about to kiss her, could feel his breath and the tiniest tickle of his mustache as his mouth hovered oh so near her lips. Then he straightened, his expression one of confusion, even consternation. He looked like a man delirious with fever, just come to his senses.
“We should find the others,” he suggested, releasing her from the spell she was under.
It was the last thing she wanted. Couldn’t he tell, didn’t he know?
“Out of all the grand wonders here tonight,” he reassured, “spending time with you is what I shall remember most.”