Mary Campisi is back today with an excerpt from her latest release - Book I in the An Unlikely Husband series - The Seduction of Sophie Seacrest, now available from Amazon Kindle....
Love and Betrayal . . . Regency Style
When Holt Langford, the new Earl of Westover, returns to England after twelve years at sea, he resembles more pirate than nobleman, a far cry from the scrawny youth shipped off by his father to become a man. No one recognizes him and he’ll use this anonymity to enter a game of subterfuge in order to expose the scoundrel who has vowed to destroy Holt’s family business.
Unfortunately, that scoundrel has a devoted daughter - Sophie Seacrest. Sophie can’t deny her attraction to the unorthodox stranger who stirs her blood and makes her think things no proper lady should. Holt and Sophie are drawn into a seductive tangle and just when he’s about to reveal his true identity and his honorable intentions, she discovers the truth and must choose between love and family duty.
Excerpt from The Seduction of Sophie Seacrest:
He was not a handsome man by society’s standards. There was too much bulk, too much hair, good heavens, too much man, but there was something compelling about him that stuck her to her spot. Was it the eyes that appeared to consume her every breath? She could see them now, a deep navy. Or the roughness of his voice that sent a tremulous shiver through her entire body? Or perhaps it was the man’s sheer size, a true oddity by today’s standards.
“And who are you?” he asked in a too soft voice as he stepped closer.
“Lady Sophie Seacrest.”
His eyes narrowed a fraction. “Ah, a Seacrest.”
“You must know our groomsmen, Hodge.”
He shook his head and long strands of wet hair clung to his massive shoulders. “No, I’ve only been at Ellswood a short time.”
Which explained why she had not seen or heard of him before today. Seacrests might be estranged from Langfords but staff tongues still wagged and Aunt Vivian made it her business to stay abreast of all happenings. She said it was best to keep one’s enemies close.
The man retrieved a blanket from a nearby bureau and settled it around her shoulders. “You shouldn’t ride when a storm is threatening," he said, his deep voice curling around her.
She pulled the blanket closer in an effort to stave off the tingling in her middle and replied, “I’m an accomplished horsewoman.”
He lifted a brow and slivers of amusement filtered his words. “But not so accomplished as to remain seated during a thunderstorm?”
She shrugged and smiled. “Apparently not.”
“Step by the fire so you don’t catch a chill.” Drops of water slid from her gown as she moved toward the fire’s heat. What would her father say if he knew she was alone in a cottage with a stranger, an employee of the Langford’s no less? He would not be pleased. Nor would her aunt. But they would never know for she would keep this one scrap of harmless adventure to herself and perhaps in nights ahead, pull it from her memories and think of the dark stranger.
“Drink this.” The man thrust a snifter in her hands and she took a healthy swallow expecting brandy.
A burn captured her throat, stealing her breath as she coughed and sputtered. “This is not brandy!”
“No,” he smiled and his dark eyes glistened. “It’s whiskey.”
She coughed again and cleared her throat. “Why on earth do men find that drink so appealing? It is much too harsh and unrefined.”
“Some of the best things in life are harsh and unrefined,” he commented, glancing at her lips.
“I beg your pardon?”
“A kiss for example.” He moved closer and rubbed his jaw. “There are many kinds of kisses. There is the kiss you give your mother or the peck on the cheek for your father or aunt.” His voice dipped. “And then there is the other kind of kiss.”
“Oh?” The room suddenly grew very small.
He lifted a finger and traced her lower lip with such lazy perfection she forgot the dampness of her skin, forgot everything but the fire on her lips.
“Yes.” He worked his finger over her upper lip in a faint caress, then dipped into her parted mouth and stroked her tongue with the tip of his finger. “There is the kiss a man and a woman share. Harsh. Unrefined.”
She swallowed. “Oh?”
The man cupped her chin and leaned forward, brushing his lips over hers. “It’s part of an age old mating ritual, a dance which begins slowly with the faintest touch of skin to skin and escalates to,” he flicked his tongue across her lower lip and said, “more primitive methods of communication.”
“I see.” But she did not. Her lips tingled and burned where he stroked her, filling her with the need to . . . do something . . .
“And soon, there is only touching and all refinement slips away.” He captured her mouth once again, this time easing his tongue between her lips. He pulled her roughly to him, his massive arms circling her waist, sliding down her back.
A rush of heat spread through her as he pressed his hardness against her abdomen. She flung her arms around his neck, burying her fingers in his long hair as wondrous sensations overtook her. Eager for more, she strained against his chest and sighed when the velvet fabric of her soggy riding habit heightened the pleasure.
“And then there is no more thinking.” He cupped her buttocks with a large hand, and murmured, “Only feeling.” His mouth slanted over hers, urging her lips apart as his tongue delved inside. Sophie moaned when he captured her tongue and gently sucked.
Oh, but this delicious tasting and touching must be wrong, but did she not deserve this one small pleasure after so many years of thinking only of others? Yes, her body cried, smothering logic and common sense. Yes!