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He’d taken care that this kiss be private, and thus unhurried.
Anwen liked the unhurried part exceedingly. Lord Colin held her not as if she were frail and fragile, but as if she were too precious to let go. His arms were secure about her, and he’d tucked in close enough that she could revel in his contours—broad chest, flat belly, and hard, hard thighs, such as an accomplished equestrian would have.
Soft lips, though. Gentle, entreating, teasing…
Anwen teased him back, getting a taste of peppermint for her boldness, and then a taste of him.
“Great day in the morning,” he whispered, right at her ear. “I won’t be able to sit my horse if you do that again with your tongue.”
She did it again, and again, until the kiss involved his leg insinuated among the folds and froths of her riding habit, her fingers toying with the hair at his nape, and her heart, beating faster than it had at the conclusion of their race.
“Ye must cease, wee Anwen,” Lord Colin said, resting his cheek against her temple. “We must cease, or I’ll have to cast myself into yonder water for the sake of my sanity.”
“I’m a good swimmer,” Anwen said. “I’d fish you out.” She contemplated dragging a sopping Lord Colin from the Serpentine, his clothes plastered to his body….
“Such a sigh,” he said, kissing her cheek. “If ye’d slap me, I’d take it as a mercy.”
“I’d rather kiss you again.” And again and again and again. Anwen’s enthusiasm for that undertaking roared through her like a wild fire, bringing light, heat, and energy to every corner of her being.
“You are a bonfire in disguise,” he said, smoothing a hand over her hair. “An ambush of a woman, and you have all of polite society thinking you’re the quiet one.” He peered down at her, his hair sticking up on one side. “Am I the only man who knows better, Anwen?”
She smoothed his hair down, delighting in its texture. Red hair had a mind of its own, and by the dawn’s light, his hair was very red.
“No, you are not the only one who knows better,” she said, which had him looking off across the water, his gaze determined.
“I’m no’ the dallyin’ kind,” he said, taking Anwen’s hand and kissing it. “I was a soldier, and I’m fond of the ladies, but this is… you mustn’t toy with me.”
Everlasting celestial trumpets. “You think I could toy with you?”
“When you smile like that, you could break hearts, Miss Anwen Windham. A man wouldn’t see it coming, but then you’d swan off in a cloud of grace and dignity, and too late, he’d realize what he’d missed. He wouldn’t want to admit how foolish he’d been, but in his heart, he’d know: I should ne’er have let her get away. I should have done anything to stay by her side.”
I am a bonfire in disguise. “You are not the only one who knows my secret. I know better now too, Colin.” She went up on her toes and kissed him. “It’s our secret.”
Check out the Series
THE TROUBLE WITH DUKES, #1
TOO SCOT TO HANDLE, #2
NO OTHER DUKE WILL DO, #3
Series Page on Goodreads
About the Author
Grace Burrowes started writing as an antidote to empty nest and soon found it an antidote to life in general. She is the sixth out of seven children, raised in the rural surrounds of central Pennsylvania. Early in life she spent a lot of time reading romance novels and practicing the piano. Her first career was as a technical writer and editor in the Washington, DC, area, a busy job that nonetheless left enough time to read a lot of romance novels.
It also left enough time to grab a law degree through an evening program, produce Beloved Offspring (only one, but she is a lion), and eventually move to the lovely Maryland countryside.
While reading yet still more romance novels, Grace opened her own law practice, acquired a master's degree in Conflict Transformation (she had a teenage daughter by then) and started thinking about writing.... romance novels. This aim was realized when Beloved Offspring struck out into the Big World a few years ago. ("Mom, why doesn't anybody tell you being a grown-up is hard?")
Grace eventually got up the courage to start pitching her manuscripts to agents and editors. The query letter that resulted in "the call" started out: "I am the buffoon in the bar at the RWA retreat who could not keep her heroines straight, could not look you in the eye, and could not stop blushing--and if that doesn't narrow down the possibilities, your job is even harder than I thought." (The dear lady bought the book anyway.)
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