Wealth has its dangers…
There are disadvantages to being an heiress, as Eliza Martin knows well. Fortune hunters flock to her, acquaintances lie and pander, and lately, someone is engineering “accidents” to propel her to the altar. But Eliza will not be bullied, and she will get to the bottom of this plot. All she needs is a man to infiltrate her assemblage of suitors and find the culprit. Someone not easily noticed; a proficient dancer, quiet, and even-tempered.
…so do certain men
Thief-taker Jasper Bond is entirely too large, too handsome, and too dangerous. Who would believe that an intellectual like Eliza would be seduced by a man of action? But the combination of her stubbornness and the mystery makes the case one Jasper can’t resist. Client satisfaction is a point of pride and it’s his pleasure to prove he’s just the man she needs after all…
Available January 25
Jasper watched her with an enigmatic smile. “I like this.”
“The way you follow my lead. The feel of your body moving in just the way I want, with only the slightest urging.”
“You like being in control.”
Jasper paused mid cross step. Their faces were turned toward one another, their lips only inches apart. “And you like me in control.”
“Perhaps—” she lowered her gaze to his lips, “—being out of control is my aim.”
His hand tightened on her waist. “Are you propositioning me, Miss Martin?”
“What would you do if I did?”
“Anything you want.”
He sidestepped, so that their bodies were aligned. Face to face. Jasper was such a large, strong man. She felt so delicate when she was with him, yet never overpowered.
“You know what I want,” she whispered, blushing.
“A kiss?” He gently pulled another pin from her hair. “An embrace?”
“How much more?”
She bit her lower lip.
Jasper caught her chin. “Shyness has no place between us.”
“I don’t want to be… overbold.”
“Sweetheart.” His tone was soft and warm. “Can you still be unaware of how I relish your esteem and desire? Haven’t I told you how deeply they please me and how much satisfaction I derive from them?”
“As if I’m the only woman to admire you,” Eliza said wryly.
“You’re the only woman whose admiration has value to me.”
“Why? There’s nothing special about me. Whatever pleasing traits I possess are better represented in other females.”
“Not in the combination with which you are blessed.” His hand drifted from her jaw line and closed around her breast. He studied her reaction as his thumb circled a highly sensitive nipple. “I love that you are beautiful and clever and carry a constant desire for me. You could not be more perfect.”
Her body responded instantly to his expert touch—her nipples tightened into aching points and the flesh between her legs throbbed with need.
“Tell me what you want,” he coaxed, anchoring her with a hand at her hip. With two fingers, he rolled and tugged the erect point of her breast, the pressure too light to offer any relief.
She felt pliable and wanton. Intoxicated. They’d been alone for an hour, only inches apart; his body had been in motion the entire time. Watching him move was a seduction in and of itself. She couldn’t keep herself from wanting him. Her infatuation was far too great to be moderated.
“I want you naked,” she breathed.
A soft rumbling came from his chest, sounding suspiciously like a purr. “Why?”
Her hands moved of their own volition, catching the lapels of his coat. “Take this off.”
His wicked smile made her toes curl. He shrugged out of the expensive garment and let it fall to the floor. “Better?”
“Not nearly.” She caressed his arms through his shirtsleeves. Looking behind him at the mirror on the opposite wall, she drank in the view of his buttocks and thighs. The sight, smell, and feel of him were all aphrodisiacs to her.
He glanced over his shoulder. “You surprise me in all the best ways. Should I hang a mirror above our bed?”
“Jasper…” A shiver of mortified delight moved through her. “I would never be able to look.”
“I think you won’t be able to look away. Shall we prove it?”
Eliza stilled. “Here?”
“Would Melville disturb us?”
She shook her head. “How…?”
Her mind rushed forward, planning how they could manage a coupling without a bed.
“Your nipples are so pretty,” he murmured, drawing her attention to her bodice. She was shamelessly, visibly aroused. “So tiny and petite.”
He stayed her when she moved to cover herself. “Unfair for you to hide when I cannot.”
She followed the gesturing sweep of his hand and found the bold outline of his erection straining the placket of his breeches. A soft sound of yearning escaped her. She wished for nothing more than to be naked with him, his powerful body flexing and working atop hers, his long thick penis pushing deep into her. Despite her lingering soreness, the lure of orgasm was too great to be denied.
He stroked himself brazenly through the doeskin. “You cannot have this again so soon.”
“Why not?” she demanded, her gnawing desire making her audacious.
“You’re sore, and I’m not in possession of a condom.”
Knowing he was vulnerable to her, she closed the distance between them. With one hand at his nape and the other gripping his buttock possessively, she rubbed against him like a cat.
Jasper’s chest vibrated with a chuckle, stimulating her already tender nipples. “Vixen,” he murmured, bending his knees and notching his erection against her swollen sex. He worked her against him, stroking where she ached with the stone-hard length of him.
“Yes,” she panted, her nails digging into his skin. “I want this.”
His lips moved against the shell of her ear. “You can’t have it, I told you. But I can make you come. Would you like that, Eliza?”
“Please.” She felt feverish.
“Are you wet for me?”
“Show me.” He backed away. “Lift your skirts and bare yourself.”
Despite the extremity of her desire, Eliza was still mortified by the request. It was one thing to be in his arms and lost to his skill. It was quite another to stand alone and lewdly display herself. “I cannot.”
His eyes were so very dark. “I promise to reward your courage.”
She fought against years of training and memories of her mother’s promiscuity to blossom as he wished her to do. She’d always believed intimacy was built through time and familiarity. Now she knew it could also be based simply on trust.
She clutched her skirts in her hands. “I suppose you’ve seen countless pantalettes before.”
The corner of Jasper’s mouth twitched. “Countless? How debauched do you think I am?”
“Enough to ask me to do this.”
“True enough,” he conceded with a regal bow of his dark head. “But I did not ask.”
She might have taken him to task for his arrogance, if her brain hadn’t leaped in another direction. So rare is this particular skill, that many a woman will disregard other considerations in favor of it, he’d said the day they had first met. And she’d laid claim to a man who possessed such expertise and wanted to practice it on her. How foolish was she to deny herself?
Before she altered her mind, Eliza yanked up her narrow skirts.
The way he looked at her caused the hairs on her nape to stand on end. “How brave you are,” he praised.
Emboldened by his admiration, she untied the ribbon that secured her pantalettes around her waist. The lace-hemmed linen fell to the floor and pooled around her ankles.
“Sweet Eliza,” he murmured, his foot deliberately catching on his discarded coat and sliding it across the floor to a spot directly in front of her. “You are more generous than I deserve.”
He sank to his knees.