Click through for an excerpt of Lily's first kiss with the scandalous Lord Thorburn. If you'd like to read more, Once an Heiress is now available for pre-order at most major eBook retailers. Click on my "Books" page for a link to your favorite merchant.
She made no further protests as they descended into the garden. They strolled past other couples and exchanged greetings with acquaintances. It was all very respectable.
Why, then, Lily wondered, did she feel that stepping into the night with this man was an act of rebellion?
Why did her heart pound so as he led her farther away from the house?
And why was he moving around the hedge and pulling her into a shadowed alcove?
Alarms sounded in her mind. “My lord — ” she started.
He gripped her waist and swung her around so her back was to the tall hedge.
She couldn’t see the house at all now. Only the faintest wisps of music and laughter filtered to their secluded hiding place. His features melted into the darkness, rendering his face a study of shadow-on-shadow. There was only his overwhelming nearness and the warmth of his hands on her waist.
Her heart hammered madly. She had to get out of here. This wasn’t a good idea. In fact, her overwrought mind pointed out, this was a very bad idea. She’d have been better off discussing the various, precise attributes of the musicians with her swarm of fortune hunters, rather than allow herself to get carried away by Lord Thorburn’s many charms.
Her throat was dry. She swallowed. That didn’t help — her mouth was dry, too. “My lord — ”
Then his mouth was on hers, extinguishing her voice like a snuffer on a flame.
The contact shocked her. Her eyes went wide.
His lips were soft, yet exerted firm, insistent pressure. Strong arms snaked around her back and drew her against his hard length.
No! her mind protested. He didn’t ask, I didn’t say he could …
She placed her left hand on his shoulder and pushed herself away. At the same instant, she brought her right hand swinging up.
His hand clamped around her wrist like a vise before she made contact with his face.
“That’s rather uncalled for, isn’t it?” he asked, his voice full of mirth.
He was laughing at her — again! Never had she known someone who laughed at her as much as he did. It was lowering in the extreme. “I didn’t give you permission to do that,” she said.
His hand slid from her wrist to cover hers. His thumb traced small circles on her palm. Tiny convulsions of pleasure shot up her arm and her eyes fluttered closed in spite of herself. “I’m leading this dance, remember?”
Lily’s arm went limp under his touch. “We’re not dancing anymore.” Her voice was small and weak in her own ears.
“Of course we are.” He guided her hand to his neck. Of their own volition, her fingers burrowed into the short hair at his nape.
His hand still covered hers, keeping her firmly anchored. His other hand rose to her face and grazed her cheek with the back of a finger.
She jerked a little, turning her face toward his touch. The part of her mind that had sounded the alarm bells now notified her she was being drawn in by a practiced seducer. But the warning voice scarcely made an impression against the pleasurable sensations rolling through her.