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Open Book

Stand & Deliver

This charming second chance novella brings together a hero and heroine who were always meant to be.

Elliot Brock is devastated when the woman he loves marries his best friend, who happens to be the son of an earl. When the two men are sent to war in 1812, only Elliot survives. The earl's dying wish is to unite his friend with his widow but by the time Elliot returns to England, the countess is courting more than scandal. She's risking her neck – and her life – to preserve a legacy for her son.

To find a way round the family trustee with nefarious designs, Countess Olivia Essex takes on the persona of Black Peter, a notorious highwayman. With her stalwart mama as accomplice, she keeps the estate running with a minimum of staff and supplies, but the legend of Black Peter grows daily, and Olivia is running out of time. Soon, she must re-enter society and her midnight rides will be noticed.

When Colonel Brock finally returns from war, Olivia is both relieved and alarmed. Brock is too clever not to guess what's going on – and too attractive not to kiss. More than kiss… She'd better hold her nerve. She'd better not give way to distraction - especially when the man who's after Black Peter is also the man she loves.

No one ever said love was easy.

Your Steamy Taster

“I don’t like it, Olivia,” Elliot whispered urgently, his gaze fixed on her mouth. “I don’t want you hurt.”

“Nor do I.” Was that her voice, speaking so firmly? If so, then this is my hand reaching to pull this man’s lips to mine.

    His mouth over hers sent a jolt of lightning along each nerve ending. His hands found her waist, pressing her into the warmth of his large, firm body. Olivia made a small sound, drawing back to study Elliot’s darkly intense gaze. Uncertainty warred with longing in his eyes.

    “I want you, Olivia.” His voice echoed off stone, deep with desire, tight with restraint. “I love you.” His face flushed.

    “Oh, Elliot.” She kissed him again, delighting in his heat as her hands combed their way inside his coat, working away at his jacket buttons with a sluggishness that had him draw away.

    “Elliot,” she gasped, frustration in her voice.

    “A moment, my love.” He built up a small pile of straw and sticks.

    Ringing his creation with leftover chalk stone, her colonel drew off his caped coat and spread it over the ground. Olivia caught on quickly, rummaging in her trunk for her tinder box.

    “How did you know I’d have flint?” she asked, standing beside their makeshift hearth. 

  “Your father taught his troops to be prepared.” Elliot took her box, lit the straw and sat back on his heels, watching the flames catch.

    Olivia moved closer to the fire, the sheen of flames turning this man’s face a burnished pink.

    He looked up, his dark eyes unreadable. “Is that better?”

    "Very nearly.” She leaned down, stroking an unsteady palm over his jaw. Not as warm as your kisses, Colonel.

    He must have seen the heat in her gaze because Elliot rose up on his knees to clasp her waist.

    “I’m quite used to taking orders your ladyship.” He grinned, lifting her linen to palm her breasts, teasing her nipples with his thumbs.

    “Elliot – oh,” she gasped as he rubbed his lips across her ribcage, pressing tiny kisses over her belly.

    “Are you warmer now?” he murmured, stroking the sensitive skin at her hip, pressing his mouth to her navel as he untied her breeches.

    “Yes,” Olivia whispered. “Oh, yes, Elliot.”

    He drew her breeches lower, teasing the bare flesh of her thighs with his breath, his lips, his tongue. Olivia’s skin quivered as he pulled her breeches all the way down, casting them aside. Her fingers wound through his hair as he stroked her legs, teasing the area behind each knee with his fingertips. She gripped his shoulders, fearing she’d swoon.

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