“Gillian,” the duke growled, “how in the hell did you get such an ugly bruise?”
His Grace was breathtakingly handsome, more so than when he’d been a younger man, more so than when Gilly had first confronted him up in London a few weeks ago. Without his beard she could see he’d lost the worst of his gaunt edge, put on some weight, and some…confidence. Maybe a lot of confidence.
But he was glaring at her ferociously, for all he traced the bruise along her hairline gently.
“I bumped my head when we lost a wheel about two hours from here,” Gilly said. She stood close to him, and his body heat, clean and scented with the ginger and lemon aftershave, threatened to swamp her wits.
“You put ice on this?” His touch moved over her forehead slowly, then he sank all four fingers into her hair and feathered the pad of his thumb over her bruise.
She could not move, did not want to move. “Ice wasn’t on hand. We were in open country, and I would rather have spent the time completing the journey than pestering each coaching inn for some unlikely ice.”
He set his lips to her bruise. Gilly’s insides rose up and sighed when his arms slipped around her, for when, when had anybody ever, kissed a hurt of hers better?
“John Coachman will rue the day,” he said.
The duke brought her against him so Gilly’s cheek was pressed against his naked chest.
They’d shared embraces before, but nothing like this. His fingers massaged her nape, his flat male nipple was directly in her line of sight, and she felt empty and hungry and mortified all at once.
But oh, feathers, he was holding her snug and secure against the warm, muscular planes of his body, with his freshly shaved scent teasing her nose, and the rise and fall of his breathing a lullaby to her common sense.
He’ll never be free…
Captured and tortured by the French, Christian Severn, Duke of Mercia, survives by vowing to take revenge on his tormentors. Before the duke can pursue his version of justice, Gillian, Countess of Greendale, reminds him that his small daughter has suffered much in his absence, and needs her papa desperately.
Until he surrenders his heart…
Gilly endured her difficult marriage by avoiding confrontation and keeping peace at any cost. Christian’s devotion to his daughter and his kindness toward Gilly give her hope that she could enjoy a future with him, for surely he of all men shares her loathing for violence in any form. Little does Gilly know, the battle for Christian’s heart is only beginning.
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Grace Burrowes’ bestsellers include The Heir, The Soldier, Lady Maggie’s Secret Scandal, Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish and Lady Eve’s Indiscretion. Her Regency romances have received extensive praise, including starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist. Grace is branching out into short stories and Scotland-set Victorian romance with Sourcebooks. She is a practicing family law attorney and lives in rural Maryland.
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