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Copyright © Natasha Blackthorne, 2012
If you are under the age of 18, it is necessary to exit this site.
Copyright © Natasha Blackthorne, 2012
Excerpt from A MEASURED RISK
“Why did you run away?” His deep voice settled in her belly, rich and warm, like crème brûlée on a cold winter’s night.
“Because I wanted you to follow.” She tried to sound sophisticated and seductive, but her voice choked off on the last word.
Ruel placed his hand on the shelf above her head and blocked her path to the door. His tall, solidly muscled body leaned over her, surrounding her with the sumptuous, sinful scents of tobacco, Scotch whisky and something masculine and undeniably dangerous. A slow, sensual smile stretched his hard mouth.
He appeared different. Softer. More approachable.
At the change, her insides seemed to flip over.
“Well, sweeting, getting us off alone was a very inspired idea.” He touched one of her fallen ringlets. “I am bored to distraction with endless hunting and fencing.”
As he slowly wrapped the curl around two fingers, he brushed her collarbone. Fiery sparks tingled down her spine, so intense that she shivered and her nipples beaded, pressing against her stays. By some instinct she hadn’t even known she possessed, she arched her back, presenting herself for his assessment.
His eyes shone so vividly blue against his bronzed face that they resembled cornflowers. She swallowed tightly and wished for a long drink of claret. This more personal side of him suddenly seemed far more hazardous than his usually fierce exterior.
Well, no matter. There was nothing to fear. She would allow only as much contact as need be to get to know him a little. Since being torn from her lonely yet secure life in Ireland and thrust into society at age sixteen, she’d spent her time allowing people only as near as was comfortable. She was an expert at emotional evasion.
It should be easy to regain her control.
But now, as late afternoon sun rays played over his pale hair, turning it to the colour of winter wheat, all her carefully rehearsed words flew away.
Say something—anything—else he will think you’re a bird-wit.
An intimate smile, one that invited her to play, tugged at his mouth.
“In a situation like this, alone with a gentleman, it’s perfectly normal for a lady to feel some apprehension.” His hushed voice, barely audible above the piano and boisterous singing from down the corridor, accentuated their isolation. His gaze became so piercing that she had to lower her eyes.
He brushed his fingertips over her cheek. “She will invariably ask herself if he will try to kiss her.”
She jerked her eyes back to his face. God, he couldn’t mean to—Not yet, surely… Peculiar, heated chills swept over her. She tried to take a step back, but found her arse flush against the bookshelf.
He leaned closer; so close that his Scotch-scented breath tickled her face. “And just in case you are wondering, Lady Cranfield—the answer is most assuredly yes.”
She should demand that he put his arm down so she could pass by and leave. She really should. But she couldn’t stop looking at his hard mouth and wondering what it would feel like upon hers. He was so close to her that his breath blew on her lips. If she moved but a fraction, she’d be kissing him.
Dear God. Her breath began to come very fast and short. Her throat went tight with a suppressed moan.
His eyes burnt as brightly as aquamarines. He looked so fierce. If he kissed her, if he dared… Oh God, it would be so harsh. That cruel-looking mouth could express itself no other way.
Excitement rushed through her, sending tingles to every point of her body, even her toes.
But no, he wouldn’t. Not yet.
He kept leaning closer. He didn’t close his eyes. Instead, he seemed to focus all the harder upon her.
Heart pounding and unable to move away, she braced herself for his assault.
His lips brushed hers, barely. A gossamer caress.
He lifted his head.
It was done.
And it hadn’t even begun.
He held her chin, appearing so cool, so unaffected. His kiss had seemed to sear her. An urge to put her fingers to her lips arose in her. She resisted it, for it would give away too much of how she was affected.
Never show your feelings.
He traced his thumb along her lower lip, slowly, deliberately, as he studied her with eyes that now glittered with something powerful and predatory. Heat pooled in her pelvis, low and spreading even lower.
She went weak all over, as if she’d lain in a sunny window seat for too long. Her knees almost buckled. She forced them to lock. To be strong.
It should not have affected her so profoundly. It had just been a peck—not a true kiss at all. William had poured out all of his skill upon her and hadn’t garnered even a tenth of the reaction in her that this man’s peck had.
Ruel traced her jaw line with his fingertips. Unthinkingly, she leaned in to his touch.
“Of course, once he has kissed her, then it’s his turn to wonder…” His voice sounded unnaturally loud to her ears. “How will she respond? Will she withdraw, or can he ignite some hidden fire?”
She sensed that he was toying with her. She didn’t understand flirtation—why had she imagined she could carry this ruse off? Was he making advances in order to have a laugh with Francesca and her simpering friends later? Hurt blossomed in her chest. She resented him for that. She ought to feel indignant, superior, uncaring—anything but hurt.
“Please don’t make sport of me.”
She cringed. Was that quavering, pleading voice really hers?
An infinitesimal pause. “Now, why on earth would I do such a thing?” His voice was as smooth as velvet.
“To please your vanity,” she replied, trying to regain her wits.
“Here.” He placed her hand to his chest. The contours of his muscles were hard, powerfully developed. Even more so than she’d expected. His body heat radiated through the satin and, beneath her hand, his heart beat was rapid and strong.
“Is that vanity?” He put a finger under her chin, giving her no choice but to face him. “Is it?” He gentled his grip.
The warmth in his voice settled over her like luscious hot chocolate. Melting her insides to quivering burgoo, rendering her speechless, unable to move.
“My dear, lovely Lady Cranfield, I am going kiss you again.”
Then he touched his mouth to hers, more firmly this time. Delicious, steady pressure. Her lips trembled and she clutched his lapels. He lifted his head. At the loss, a throaty, pleading moan sounded in her ears. Had it really come from her?
Clearly, now was the time for her to reassert some control over her reactions. To put him at a more comfortable distance.
“Kiss me back.” At the commanding edge in his voice, hot, sweet honey pooled in her belly.
What had she wanted to ask him? Focus? Dear God, what rubbish. She could scarcely remember her own name, much less anything else. What madness had made her think she could maintain control over him?
He traced her mouth with his tongue. Deliberately; lingeringly. This time she couldn’t hold back a moan. She had grown to dislike it when William kissed her opened mouthed. It had always seemed such an overheated, messy thing. But where was her coldness now? She was burning to know what it would feel like to know Ruel’s full kiss. She had to know—just once—or she would surely die.
Just once. Certainly once wouldn’t hurt.
Tentatively, tremulously, she opened her mouth.
What are people saying about A MEASURED RISK?
"Jonathon was pure male and super hot...a perfect mix of passion, dominance and submission...Well written and wonderful escapism...A highly recommended read." ~ Best Selling Author Sam Crescent
"I loved everything about this story, it was so good. But want I loved most was Jon patience with Anne. He was a strong male lead and very dominant, but his patience with her was just...I can't even explain it. I mean just reading this story, you knew this man as dominant as he was, was falling in love with this woman." ~ Salacious Reads
"...a too-die-for alpha hero who loves to dominate the heroine, and an interesting storyline...definitely one of the best erotic romances I've read this year...Jonathan Lloyd, the Earl of Ruel, is my new Christian Grey!" ~ Author Dana Delamar
"Wonderful erotic romance! I absolutely loved this story. It's rare to find a real, sweet love story in a BDSM romance. This one's definitely a keeper, something to read a second time. Looking forward to read more of those!
~ Author Deborah Court.
"I am hopelessly in love with the Earl of Ruel and I don't care if he's a fictional character! Experience the elegant, and frequently excessive life of the privileged during this romantic era." ~ Romance in Review
"So this a whole new world for me, and I definitely did not expect it, but it is HOT!!!! You can't help but get involved with Ruel and Anna, they have such chemistry! And I was cheering them on the whole time :) I do believe this will be a re-read for me, and I am definitely reading Natasha Blackthorne's other books!" ~ Gloria on Amazon
*** Newly Re-Released! ***
Alex's Angel, Wild, Wicked and Wanton series, book three, now available at both Amazon and Barnes & Noble:
"An erotic historical romance that will keep readers on the edge of their seats. The characters will capture your heart, as you watch them grow. A must read! I loved this story." ~ My Book Addiction and More
"Very erotic with the blistering chemistry..."
~Night Owl Reviews
"The characters are well-rounded, very well explored, and their emotions were displayed... Best Bits: The whole damn book. Every single lush word, scene, character and emotion they inspired. Verdict: This has honestly been one of the best historical books I've read." ~ Ms. Love and Crew Loves Books
"I'm becoming a steadfast fan of Natasha Blackthorne. She writes the most heated, sexually charged historical novels that I've read. And it's not just the sex in these stories that keeps me coming back, but its also her writing. It's just fabulous, it's the main reason why I'll keep reading her books. She's taking women from a period where you were actually only seen and not heard and she's empowering them.
These women are strong mentally, physically and sexually and they are taking control of their sometimes dire situations. But lets not forget the men in these stories. They are strong men, A man's man. Men who expects a lady to act as a lady should, but still remain the strong woman she is.
All and all, another awesome read. I LOVED it. Please pick this one up and any other book in the ... series, you will not regret it and you will definitely be hooked." ~ Salacious Reads