A woman without a past. A man who could be her future…
I am not so naïve that I don’t know what happens between a man and a woman when they are lovers.”
In the sanctuary of Rian Connor’s magnificent ancestral estate, Catherine Davenport struggles to remember who she was before he found her wandering practically naked on the docks of London. She has little memory of the vicious attack that brought her there, but she can’t deny the feelings Rian awakens in her. In danger of losing her heart to a man tormented by the dark secrets of his own past, Catherine questions what an innocent like her has to offer such an experienced man of the world.
“You have no idea what you are doing to me - how much I want you, how much I need you!”
But on the night of his brother’s wedding ball, Rian proves exactly how much he wants his beautiful young protege. Only to be lured by his former mistress into committing the ultimate betrayal. For Isabel Howard will stop at nothing to do away with Catherine and destroy her future with the man they both desire above all others . . .
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Catherine had no way of knowing that the bright cornflower blue of her eyes had deepened, becoming a darker, richer color. But she felt the unexpected heat in her cheeks as her gaze was drawn to his mouth. Rian's lips were slightly parted, and she felt the warmth of his breath on her face, and saw the even white teeth behind the sensuous curve of his lips. It was temptation and distraction combined in one, and savoring the feel of his body as he held her, the delicious tightness of the arm that imprisoned her, she closed her eyes tightly ... and kissed him.
To say Rian was surprised would have been a marked understatement. The softness of Catherine's lips as she pressed her firmly closed mouth against his amazed him. Unfortunately the kiss was over before he had time to appreciate it as she jerked her head away, burying her face in his shoulder, refusing to look at him.
In itself, her kiss told him nothing at all, but its execution told him everything he wanted to know. Reaching up with his free hand, he gently stroked her hair, waiting patiently for her to raise her head and look at him once more. After a few moments she did so, and Rian noted her face was now a delightful shade of pink.
"I-I don't know why I did that," she stammered.
"Yes you do," Rian told her. "You did it because you wanted to."
"You must think me terribly forward."
"Must I?" Continuing to stroke her hair, he asked "Would you be disappointed if I chose not to?"
"You're not shocked by what I did?"
"Shocked?" Rian arched a brow. "No, but I am surprised."
He didn't know it was possible for such a small word to carry so much anguish.
“Did you like kissing me?” He made no attempt to move, keeping his arm firmly around her waist, and enjoying the feel of her lying on top of him.
“Mmmm, well…” She wrinkled her nose. “It really wasn’t how I thought it would be.” Her head sought the comfort of his shoulder again, and she worried she had hurt his feelings by saying the wrong thing.
“Catherine, look at me.” Rian’s voice was a low, warm, seductive whisper in her ear. Hesitantly she obeyed, and now her heart began to pound wildly. She felt as if she were prey, only she had to wonder, how often did prey want to be caught by the hunter?
“Have you ever been kissed?” Rian asked her.
“I don’t know. Perhaps ... I’m not sure."
“And is that how you think a kiss is supposed to feel?”
She had no idea, but as the question was being asked she reasoned perhaps there was more to kissing than the way she had pressed her mouth against Rian’s. Although what else could possibly be involved she couldn’t begin to imagine. With nothing else to go on, she nodded in answer to Rian’s question, only to wince when he sighed in exasperation.
“Would you like me to kiss you?” he asked.
She didn’t answer because she didn’t trust her voice, but Rian read the response in her eyes easily enough. Framing her face with his hands, he pulled her down to him and gently covered her mouth with his. Catherine would never know how much self-control it took for him not to simply take her. Taste all that she had to give, and let himself become lost in her. Instead, he kept his kiss light, his tongue gently sweeping over her closed lips, and when he felt her beginning to surrender to him so he could taste the sweetness of her breath, he stopped and lifted his mouth from hers.
Her eyes had turned glassy, her voice husky with desire as she asked, "Is it always like that?”
“No … it usually gets better.”
“It does?” She positively glowed at his nod. “Then … will you kiss me again?”