A Persistent Attraction [Regency Intrigue, Book Two]
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by Silvia Violet
Category: Erotica/Erotic Romance/Historical Fiction
Description: Their wicked desire sparks a game of passion that could claim their hearts. If a killer doesn't first claim their lives. Sometimes desire cannot be denied. Regency Intrigue, Book Two At first, Amanda Halverston assumes the anonymous extortion letter she's received is a harmless prank. But the following night she is attacked and nearly killed. Desperate for help in finding her attacker, she turns to the notorious rake she has avoided for the last five months, Rhys Stanton. Rhys, a confirmed bachelor, hasn't been able to stop thinking about Amanda ever since he met her while helping her sister uncover a plot to sell young women into prostitution. When the alluring Amanda seeks him out, he offers a bargain. He will help her--in exchange for one chance to seduce her each day. Despite a wicked desire to explore the heat that crackles between them, Amanda refuses and launches her own search. But the attacker strikes again, and when Rhys is there to save her she decides to accept his shocking proposition. In the midst of an investigation that could claim their lives, the two begin a dangerous game of passion that could claim their hearts. Product Warnings Warning: This book contains lusty sex that would make Jane Austen faint, so beware of four-letter words.
eBook Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd., 2008
eBookwise Release Date: February 2011
6 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [340 KB]
Reading time: 220-309 min.
He flashed one more knee-buckling grin and walked away. Amanda tried not to observe the animal grace of his movements as he made his way through the crowd. His powerful, fluid walk was at odds with his foppish attire. Her sister had warned her there was more to Rhys than his appearance indicated, but she didn't want to delve into his secrets. If she were wise, she would do her best not to cross his path again after their dance.
Despite her resolve, she could not pry her eyes from him. She watched him halt next to one of the musicians. The man continued to play, never faltering, while he held a brief conversation with Rhys. Rhys handed him something, and he pocketed it when he had a chance. What was he up to?
She turned away, hoping to seek her aunt's advice on how to manage Rhys's advances. But Claire had followed her friends to the punch table. A few minutes later, the music ended with a flourish, and Rhys appeared behind her.
When he set his hands around her waist, she pulled away and turned around. "Have you forgotten where you are?"
"Not in the least. I merely intended to guide you onto the dance floor."
The strains of a waltz floated across the ballroom, and Rhys's conversation with the musician suddenly made sense. "You bribed them, didn't you?"
"I made a request and tipped them for their thoughtfulness."
"I will not waltz with you."
"Yes, you will."
"You can return when the next dance begins."
"What are you afraid of?"
"I am not afraid. I am wary as any young woman should be of a man like you." Amanda was intensely aware of him. She could still feel the heat of his hands where he'd touched her. How was she going to survive a waltz without letting him know how he affected her?
He took her arm and linked it through his. "Even a rake such as I would not attempt to ravish you on the dance floor."
Much to her annoyance, his touch sent shivers down her spine. "One waltz. Then you promise to leave me be for the rest of our stay here."
Rhys smiled. "If that is what you still wish, then I will not plague you again."
Amanda's heart pounded as he led her onto the dance floor. The strictures of society dictated that a waltzing couple kept eighteen inches of space between them, but Amanda doubted Rhys left three. He was so close, the warmth of his body radiated against her as if she were naked. His thighs brushed hers as they twirled, and she tried to look anywhere but into his eyes.
As they moved together, she realized Rhys was an excellent dance partner. Most men whose invitations she accepted were arrogant and boorish once they got her on the floor. Even if they showed any skill at dancing, she was too busy trying to discern their true motivations to enjoy herself.
Rhys made his motives clear enough. He wanted to seduce her, but she also knew he would not truly harm her. Mark would kill him if he did. Rhys led so expertly she had only to relax and let him direct her body. She could easily let her world narrow to the strains of the music, his body pressed to hers and the wonderful feeling of flying.
Then she made the mistake of looking up. Their eyes met. Raw hunger was reflected in his gaze. She'd seen lust on men's faces before, but she'd never expected such primal desire to be directed at her.
She realized with dismay that Rhys had managed to maneuver them so they were standing by the French doors which led to the courtyard. When the music ended, he flashed a wicked smile. "I thought you might enjoy some fresh air."
Before she could protest, he reached around her, opened the door and practically pushed her through. She took a slow, deliberate breath. "Now I have some fresh air in my lungs. Please return me to my aunt."
"Your aunt is busy catching up with old friends. Why don't we take a few minutes to enjoy the cool evening?"
Rhys had made her body come alive while they danced. She was much too vulnerable to be alone with him. "I found the temperature in the ballroom quite pleasant."
"Really? Then why are you flushed?"
"How rude of you to notice."
"Not rude, simply honest."
He walked toward her. She backed up, but a bench caught her behind the knees. She sat down hard, her breath escaping in a whoosh.
Rhys sat beside her and took her hand in his. His thumb stroked her wrist, sending waves of heat straight to her belly. "Why are you afraid of me?"
"I'm not afraid. I'm annoyed. Now unhand me and let me go inside."
He smiled. "Prove it."
"That you are not afraid."
"How would I do that?"
"You must be joking."
But she looked into his eyes and knew he was quite serious. He'd said the words in a light, teasing tone, but his eyes glowed like a predator stalking prey.
She told herself to get up and go inside, but her legs wouldn't obey. He'd trapped her like a frightened rabbit. A secret part of her wanted to sample what he had to offer.
His lips descended on hers, and she opened to him. For once in her life, she gave herself utterly to a new sensation.
What a glorious sensation it was. The heat of his mouth enveloped her as his tongue sought the recesses of her mouth. Never in her most fevered fantasy had she imagined a kiss could feel so...exotic and sinful.
Instinct took over, and her tongue reached out, sliding across his and seeking entrance to his mouth. He groaned as she traced his lower lip with her tongue. His arms closed around her, pulling her firmly against his hard chest. She shuddered as his hands stroked the naked skin of her shoulders.
Amanda sank her teeth into the soft flesh of his lip, and he growled. His hands slid around to cup her breasts. When his thumbs flicked across her nipples, bolts of lightning ran through her body.
Then reality crashed like thunder.