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by Aurora Rose Lynn
Category: Erotica/Erotic Romance/Romance
Description: Book two in the Tempting Texans Series A diamond isn't always a woman's best friend... Cade McAvey wants a cover for the diamond heist he didn't commit. Instead, he finds a woman who is unrelenting in her search for the truth. Sara Parkman will do everything in her power to find that one precious carat, yet when she discovers that he's all man, and they need each other, how can she resist? The truth has a habit of disappearing under the bed...
eBook Publisher: Total-e-bound, 2010
eBookwise Release Date: November 2010
1 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [119 KB]
Reading time: 70-98 min.
1875: Oldham, Vermont
Don't you know? She's Barrington's mistress.
Mark my word, but she's his paramour.
She's ravishing and young. She'll lose her way.
I'm telling you, but he'll force her to marry him soon.
Cringing at the unkind remarks, Sara Parkman whirled around with hunch backed William Seward in the latest Strauss waltz. She wanted to shout at those who were so mistaken about her. She wasn't Anthony Barrington's or any other man's mistress. Barrington was simply her guardian. She suspected none of the old biddies would understand. Once they had their minds made up, there wasn't much anyone could do to dissuade them, so why try?
The stately ballroom, gaily decorated for Fiona Seward's betrothal announcement, glittered with dozens upon dozens of gaslight lamps. Sweet smelling flowers adorned the area. Their scent, along with the countless perfumes of both the elegantly dressed women and men were overpowering. As soon as the waltz ended, Sara thought, she'd run out into the gardens for some fresh air. If she didn't, she'd swoon, and she didn't want any conjectures about why. The matrons would start to speculate she was pregnant by Barrington. The notion repulsed her. She was only twenty-two compared to Barrington who was in his early seventies. Indeed, what would a young woman do with such an old man?
"You're so pretty tonight, Miss Parkman," Seward cut into her musings. His rheumy eyes glittered, but she didn't know why. Was he perhaps seeing in his mind's eye his own days of youth? He was a kind man with a shock of pale grey hair, and long ago, he must have been a handsome man. Reputedly, he was kind beyond his means, but Fiona couldn't be luckier to have such a doting father.
A devilishly fine-looking man caught her eye. With stylish grace, he leant back against a pillar near the open doors to the extensive gardens and the trickling water fountains swathed in late evening darkness. His arms were folded across his chest as he slowly surveyed the room from his vantage point with smoky grey eyes that seemed to penetrate everything, including her. Her gaze caught his, and emboldened for a few seconds, she stared back at him. He was so much like a hungry, lone wolf, feral, primitive, and so very appealing. Wasn't he every woman's dream of a sexually charming man? Tall, broad-shouldered, and with a face that lent itself so explicitly to passionate kisses?
Just for her, sensuous lips curved in a small smile. Sara's bones turned to liquid gelatine. The man kept staring at her, appraising her. Was he undressing her? Her face flamed.
"Are you all right, Miss Sara?" Seward asked politely as she swiftly looked away.
All-consuming arousal burned through her veins. She noticed that many other women in the ballroom were glancing at the man by the pillar with lowered eyelashes.
"Yes, of course," she breathed, her heart pounding in her chest.
Was that man by the pillar toying with her, playing her like one of the nearby musicians strummed his violin? After her mother had died from dysentery, she'd been thrown upon Barrington's mercy, but she'd still had to cope for herself and grow up quickly. Barrington's four sons had insured that. They believed she was their gift to them, and she'd had to elude them continuously, all without Barrington's knowledge. When he'd taken her in, he'd told her in no uncertain terms that if she dishonoured his name, he'd simply have her pack her valise and leave. He didn't much care where she went.
If she'd said anything about his sons, they'd have countered her concerns with their own, which would have been outright lies. That had been three years ago. Two of the brothers were now married, two were making a grand tour of Europe and the last had gone off on his own without telling his father where. And she was planning how to get to northern Texas. There she'd teach children to read and write. There she hoped to be free from most of the constraints formal society placed on her.
Dancers swirled around her in a melange of vivid colours as the final strains of the waltz began. Sara's nerves were on edge. Her knees trembled violently, and she was thankful her soft rose gown covered them. She had to get outside for some fresh air.