A Study In Seduction

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Authors: Nina Rowan
Tags: Romance, England, Historical Romance, Love Story, Regency Romance
chest. She gasped, a choked, throaty sound that made him ache to know what kind of noises she’d make if she were splayed naked and willing beneath him.
    The image burned in his brain. He pressed himself against her. He lowered his hands to her tight waist, his fingers digging into an impossibly stiff corset. He wanted to strip it from her body, to feel her bare skin against his, to cup her breasts in his hands and hear her moan with pleasure.
    Hot. Christ, she was hot. He could almost feel her skin burning through the material of her gown. She kissed him back, her delicious tongue sliding across his teeth, her hands fisting in the front of his shirt. It was neither a gentle kiss nor one of seduction. Her kiss was angry, frustrated, her lips fierce against his.
    She pushed herself closer to him, one hand unclenching from his shirtfront to splay over his abdomen. Her palm slid over him in a heated and urgent caress, her fingernails scraping against his chest. She pulled his lower lip between her teeth. A mild twinge of pain went through him, only heightening his arousal.
    Yet even as his body began to ache for her, a sense of unease began to dilute Alexander’s uncoiling lust. His brain fogged too thick for comprehension, but he knew instinctively that something was wrong.
    With supreme effort, he lifted his head, his fingers digging into Lydia’s shoulders as he set her away from him. Her eyes blazed indigo blue into his, her reddened lips parted as she drew in a sharp breath.
    “Not reckless enough for you?” she asked, her voice as tight as spindle-pulled yarn.
    “Miss—”
    “You think I’m a spinster, don’t you?” she snapped. “Dried up like a piece of leather. Unused, lonely. You think—”
    “Do not tell me what I think.” The words came out harsh and frustrated. His hands clenched as he stared into her eyes. He couldn’t shake the unease, the odd apprehension. The sense that he was falling into something far more complex than he had ever anticipated.
    “You believe I’m destined for a life of solitude,” Lydia continued. “My only companions textbooks and equations and formulas. A cold, intellectual life of the mind.”
    “I don’t—”
    Lydia stepped closer, a visible shudder racking her slender body. “My lord, it would be for the best if you simply continued to believe that.”
    “Why?” he demanded.
    “Because it is far too dangerous for either of us to believe otherwise.”
    Before he could move, before he could speak, she was gone, the door shutting with a hard click behind her.

Chapter Five
    M iss Jane, you’ve got to stop coming down ’ere!” The maid Sophie turned from the kitchen sink, pushing a lock of hair away from her damp forehead with the back of her hand. The scents of toast and bacon drifted from the dining room.
    Jane shifted from one foot to the other, anxious to return to her room before Grandmama and Lydia came down for breakfast. “Has he arrived yet?”
    “I’m expecting ’im any minute now, but—”
    A knock on the door interrupted her. Sophie cast Jane an exasperated look and went to answer it. The delivery boy, a freckle-faced lad with coppery hair, stood there with a box of goods.
    “Mornin’, Sophie, yer looking quite the beauty, ain’t you?”
    “Hush now, Tom.” Sophie glanced at Jane with embarrassment and held the door open to let Tom in.
    He pushed the box onto a table. “Miss Jane, isn’t it?”
    Jane nodded, stepping toward him. “Have you got a letter for me, Tom?”
    “Indeed.” He pulled a wrinkled letter from his pocket and handed it to her.
    Jane took it, eyeing the scrawled name on the front. “Who gives these to you, Tom?”
    “You don’t know, miss?”
    “Should I?”
    “I… well, I thought you knew who was writing ’em, miss. I get them from Mr. Krebbs. He owns a lodging house over in Bethnal Green near’s where I stay. Gives me a letter sometimes to bring to you and a tuppence as well. Dunno more than that,

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