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by Isabel Martens
Description: Clementine Pennington accepts a position as housekeeper in Lord Denby's Highland home. She's unaware that the devastatingly attractive, Ambrose Silverton, who hires her, actually intends her to be Denby's next wife.
eBook Publisher: Awe-Struck E-Books/Awe-Struck E-Books, Inc., 2008 2008
eBookwise Release Date: March 2008
9 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [452 KB]
Reading time: 287-402 min.
"Isabel Scott's skillfully woven story of mystery, love and danger will keep readers briskly turning pages to see what the outcome is. CLEMENTINE is a fine example of the gothic thriller; with chilling undertones, an innocent heroine and a maniacal villain. Don't miss this one."--Lettetia, Coffee Time Romance
"Uhmm," she murmured, hanging onto his neck more tightly.
He was rooted to the floor, his heart pounding, her soft, sweet figure pressed against him, one of her breasts nestled against his chest. What insanity had prompted him to pick her up? The delicate scent of lavender rose from her warm skin. Her breath bathed his neck. His loins tightened with desire. This would never do. He set her back down in the rocker, smoothing her robe and nightdress around her. Touching her. Would his insanity never end? He yanked his hands back.
She gazed at him through shuttered lashes. Her shell-pink lips were the last word in invitation. He knelt beside her and held her hand. He must get her attention. Bring her fully awake. Get her to eat something in order to keep up her strength. She needed her strength for James and the children. She lifted her hand and touched his cheek. His heart swelled to bursting inside his chest and the air was vanquished from his lungs leaving him light headed with need. His fingers had somehow become tangled in her hair. When he tried to free them his fingertips caressed her temple. Her skin was like satin, warmed by the fire.
Her thumb was at the edge of his mouth, touching his lips. He could taste her sweet flavor. He closed his eyes and sucked ever so lightly on her fingertip. She shifted and the rocker moved, bringing her forward. Her knee slipped between his legs and against him. There was nothing between them but the superfine of his breeches and the silk of her robe. Desire battered his reason and he hardened with burning need.
The smallest sound might have restored his sanity. The least resistance on her part might have brought him to earth. But there was none. She was half-asleep, melting against him, her soft curves fitting themselves against his body like a smooth satin drape. Her soft breasts squashed against his chest. He could feel her peaked nipples.
In the back of his mind a chorus of voices clamored. She was perfect for James. She would make him an ideal wife with her musical background, her loyalty and strength and caring temperament. No woman could be more suitable. So said the sane part of his mind but without sufficient volume to drown out the wild, undisciplined part of him that responded to her like a love-struck youth. By merely staying still he allowed her hand to make contact with his erection.
What they were about penetrated Clementine's sleep-hazed awareness. At first she discounted it as a dream like every other dream she'd had of him: Vivid, fanciful dreams filled with romantic impossibilities. But this was a dream like no other. A dream with substance. She felt his hands. The taunting touch of his fingertips. His breath was rich with brandy and tobacco. She had touched his face and felt the faint scratch of stubble on her fingers.
Powerless she floated in that dangerous chasm between wakefulness and sleep where all things were possible. She wrapped her arms around his neck and clung to him, propriety and virtue distant considerations, well erased by the dire need that had exploded in her like wild fire. She strained against him, quick sighs and fast breaths escaping her throat.
From first glance they had been drawn to each other. The letters they'd exchanged had formed an association that would have taken months to develop in regular society. Now the intimacy of a candlelit bedchamber, exhaustion and the aftermath of the day's high emotions combined with sleep lay waste to her common sense and self-control.
She wore nothing under her nightdress save her silky skin. His hand slipped along her thigh until he caressed the soft curls between. She welcomed him with warmth and dampness, yielding to the new feelings enveloping her. He invaded with his finger and a soft cry fell from between her parted lips.
The sound of her voice washed through him like an icy draft. He pulled back. My God, what was he doing! This woman was not for him. In a single swift movement he scooped her out of the rocker and carried her to the bed. He slipped her between the sheets and drew the covers up to her chin. He turned to leave but she caught his hand and pulled him down for a kiss. Unable to resist her he yielded and kissed her with hungry ferocity. Then, with super human effort, he set her at arm's length. She was not his to have. She belonged to James. He fled from the room.
Clementine curled on her side, her eyes tightly closed, clinging to the feelings flickering through her like the flames of a dying fire. She'd foolishly allowed herself to be seduced by her dreams. She'd allowed passion to blossom when she knew he meant her for another. And he had rejected her. Foolish, foolish girl.