Tobias Walcott, the Earl of Blade, has learned it is best to exercise rigid control over his passions and emotions in all that he does. Uncaring that it makes him seem cool and aloof to most in the ton, he is content with his desire to only woo agreeable and demur females. Then unforeseen circumstances see him trapped in a closet at a house party with the last woman he would ever make his countess.
Lady Olivia Sherwood is everything he should not desire in a female—unconventional, too decisive, and utterly without decorum. But passion ignites between them and they are discovered. Honor demands they wed, and while Tobias finds himself unwillingly drawn to the bewitching beauty, he must do everything not to tempt the passion that burns in him for her, lest it leads to disastrous consequences.
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The soft growl that slipped from her throat surprised her with its ferocity. “You, my lord, have no gentlemanly qualities.”
“Are you scolding me for bad behavior?” he clipped quite icily.
It seemed as if the tentative peace they’d formed in the ballroom had dissolved. “Yes!”
“You wouldn’t know refined sensibilities if they bit you in the posterior.”
“Christ, will you lower your voice?”
She gritted her teeth until her jaw ached.
“What are you doing here?”
She ignored him.
“I will not ask again,” he said in a dangerously soft tone.
Livvie swallowed, heat burning her cheeks. “I saw you, and I only meant to enquire whether you were well. Very silly of me and now I am exceedingly embarrassed I acted on the thought.”
“Ah…once again you were acting recklessly.”
“Of course not. I had no notion you would drag me in here.” She took a calming breath. “Why are you here?”
“That is none of your business,” he said cuttingly.
“I take it back,” she whispered. “I do not want to be forgiven, you are an—”
“Good God, have we reverted to the insufferable buffoon? And here I thought I had detected some growth.”
Before she could whisper a furious rebuttal, warm lips pressed on her, silencing her and alarming her, sending a shock of desire to her system, and stripping her of her defenses. She went absolutely still, her heart a pounding roar in her ears. Tobias was kissing her! Livvie dimly realized he was just as frozen, and she could feel the thud of his heart. She raised her hand and pressed it against his chest.
He shuddered. Then he parted his lips and rimmed his tongue against the seam of her mouth. Her knees buckled and his arms came around her and hauled her even closer to him. His hand moved in a slow soothing stroke over her back. A soft moan slipped from her, and she parted her lips to him, curious as to what would happen. Pleasure. What happened was a shock of undiluted delight, pulsing through her veins as he thrust his tongue into her mouth and conquered.
He squeezed her body tightly to his, moving his lips over hers with sensual force.
She pulled from him, breathless. “Tobias.”
“Good God, you taste even better than I imagined,” he said gruffly.
Livvie was speechless, never in her wildest fancy could she have imagined such pleasure or the soft sensual tones he used. He disliked her, didn’t he? “You’ve…thought of kissing me?”
“Every night since I’ve met you, utter madness.”