9:18 AM |
At last! An honest-to-goodness time machine. :))
Author: Susanne Marie Knight
Genre: Time-Travel Regency
The future and the past collide! Anthropologist Serenity Steele meets her heart’s desire in the form of a short-tempered Regency rake, Nicholas Wycliffe.
Duty or Love? In the year 2020, anthropologist Serenity Steele's research assignment is to travel back into the past--however, she doesn't count on the many attractions of a certain Regency rake. Should she ignore her obligations and stay in the past... or should she leave behind the man she loves?
An Enchanting Dilemma: Nicholas Wycliffe, the toplofty Lord Brockton, has no desire to take a wife, especially a mysterious widow who doesn't live by society's rules. But what is he to make of the enchanting "Mrs." Steele, who not only refuses to discuss her past, she also has the audacity to turn him down when he proposes marriage?
On assignment in the past, Serenity attends her first “haut ton” ball. As she studies the notorious rake, Nicholas Wycliffe, Lord Brockton, she finds him studying her.
Inhaling deeply, Serenity relaxed for the first time this evening and looked over at her companion. Amazing how he should have taken offense at her words... but he didn’t.
What was he thinking? She admired his profile: the high forehead, straight nose, and his smooth, well-defined jaw. His features, though, gave no clue to his internal thoughts.
She exhaled again. Of course it was unwise to relax in the presence of a rake, but then again, how else would she see how a professional seducer practiced his art? Something told her she wouldn’t have long to wait.
While she was looking up at the moon of the nineteenth century, Brockton stepped closer and brushed her ear with his lips.
Suddenly she was no longer curious. An image of a brilliant peacock feather tickling her skin exploded in her mind. She frantically chased it away. Why did she always have these bouts of synesthesia--the blending of the senses--when she needed all her wits about her?
“That’s not a good idea.” Retreating from him, she stumbled on the carpet of grass surrounding the walkway.
He firmly gathered her back onto the path and they continued their walk, crunching small stones beneath their feet--the only sounds that broke the quiet.
“You are right, of course. Not a good idea. Please forgive my momentary madness, my girl. Blame my lapse of good manners on this romantic atmosphere.”
A smile lurked about the corners of his mouth. He seemed so sure of himself--so certain she would respond to him. Certain of success.
Anger coursed through her veins. “I am neither!” she denied hotly.
“Neither yours nor a girl.” She left his side again, but the darkness seemed almost tangible. The blackness of night distorted the manicured yew hedges into maniacal shapes. As the wind rustled close-cropped leaves, it was easy to imagine pairs of hands reaching out--grabbing her.
Shivering, she quickly returned to his comforting, yet infuriating nearness.
“You are too literal with your words, are you not, Mrs. Steele?” A wolfish grin showed he enjoyed her unease. He circled his arm around her waist.
His touch felt warm through her silky gown. Again she saw that peacock feather. When his fingers gently kneaded her skin, she flinched.
“We should be getting back now. If you please.” She placed some space between them.
Her report on a libertine’s motus operanti would have to be glaringly omitted from the monograph. She was too nervous, too affected, and right now she didn’t have time to study her reactions. Escape was utmost in her mind. “I’ve heard it’s not at all the thing for a lady to be alone with a rake for any length of time.”
The term “rake” failed to trouble him. Probably had been called worse!
“Is that how you see me? As a rake and a rutting buck?” He stopped walking, leaned closer to her, and then with his fingertip, slowly traced an imaginary line down her forehead, nose, and stopped on her lips.
She moved her head. “I don’t know you well enough to venture an opinion. But we do need to return before anyone notices our absence.”
“You can start getting to know me by calling me ‘Nicholas.’“
He drew her closer. She tried to push him away, but he held her tighter. Leaning down to nuzzle her ear with his nose, he whispered, “And I shall call you ‘Serry.’ What is that short for?”
Without waiting for an answer, his lips met hers.
Omigosh! She trembled--all the way down to her core. After a brief hesitation, her lips opened slightly, welcoming him.
He deepened the kiss and their heated breaths mingled.
Without meaning to, Serenity moaned. Snuggling closer, she drank in the taste of Nicholas Wycliffe.
Alive. She finally felt alive.
He tightened his arms around her, tilting her head back and exploring the inner recesses of her mouth.
A flash of bold colors--crimson reds, scarlet pinks, and flaming oranges--rose up in her mind. Percussionist cymbals clashing sounded in her ears. As their mouths melded, her senses slowly spun out of her control....
Her heart pounding a path out of her body, she shook her head to clear the last traces of the vision and then opened her eyes. Sanity returned. She roughly pulled back from Brockton and his potent kiss.
The truth was obvious: Nicholas Wycliffe was responsible for plunging her into a world of synesthesia. His touch--no one else’s. Just his touch turned her upside down, inside out.
Good heavens! What should she do now?
She slid her hands down her gown, ostensibly to straighten her garment, but in reality, she needed to steady her trembling body.
As she did, he watched her. His eyes held a peculiar expression and his hands were tightly clenched by his sides. Looking at him, she was mesmerized by the light of the full moon dancing brightly on his dark, wavy curls. She had to say something. Had to pretend his kiss meant nothing to her. Which was true, right? Absolutely nothing.
She flicked her tongue over her lips before speaking. A mistake. She tasted him again.
“Um, since you asked, Serry stands for Serenity. Now, if I understand Society’s conventions correctly, this outing could compromise you... and me. We don’t want that to happen, so I’ll do us both a favor and leave. We’ll forget about this...” Her voice cracked. “...this interlude by tomorrow. Good-night, Lord Brockton.”
Moving as swiftly as she could, she returned to the sanctuary of the ballroom.
Susanne Marie KnightRead outside the box: award-winning Romance Writing With A Twist!