And the TBR keeps growing!
The Undercover Scoundrel Synopsis:
The author of The Millionaire Rogue returns to her dazzling series about a bygone era filled with romance, espionage, and one dangerously seductive diamond…
Mr. Henry Lake spent the past twelve years uncovering the most scandalous secrets of Europe’s wealthy and powerful, serving as one of His Majesty’s most decorated spies. But when a mission to find the legendary French Blue diamond brings him back to London, and face to face with a beautiful noblewoman he once loved, it’s his own hidden passions that are uncovered…
Lady Caroline, dowager Duchess of Berry, knows better than to lose her head over a man. After an embarrassing romantic entanglement forced her into a loveless marriage and early widowhood, she learned to never trust in desire, especially when it comes to the man who once broke her heart. Only, despite her good sense, she finds Henry impossible to resist—even when he once again places her in deathly danger…
She breathed against him, and he breathed against her. He wondered how a naked shoulder could be infinitely more erotic than other, more private naked parts.
Her left hand went to her forehead; with her right, she poured wine into her cup and threw it back in a single gulp.
“Henry,” she whispered. The sound of her voice made him feel the burn behind her closed eyes as his own. “Mr. Lake.”
“Don’t call me that.”
She scoffed. “Maybe we shouldn’t call each other anything.”
“Of course. Yes,” he said. A pause. He was holding himself an inch away from her. It was killing him, the impulse to close the distance between them, to press his body against hers. Resisting it was like resisting the end of night, the approach of morning: inevitably idiotic, vexingly futile.
Frustrating. Waiting out the passing of this moment, and then the next, frustrated him to no end.
He wanted to touch her. God, he wanted it more than he’d ever wanted anything.
But he was hurting her. She was hurting, and it was because of him. He closed his eyes against his guilt. He’d married her, claimed her as his own, and left her the next day.
Henry had no right to touch Caroline. He’d lost that right twelve years ago. He’d lost her. He was a cad, a blackguard, a scalawag of the worst sort.
Still, the desire to claim her again glowed brightly inside him.
He stared down at the skin of her neck; that skin. His fingers burned with the need to touch her there.
Those stray wisps of her hair were stuck to her glistening nape. Without thinking—without meaning to—he reached up and brushed them aside with his thumb.
Caroline sucked in a breath as the skin along her neck and shoulders broke out in a wave of goose bumps. She didn’t say anything.
And then Henry was leaning forward, angling his neck as he lost himself in her nearness. He pressed his mouth, gently, to the bottom corner of her neck, the place where it sloped into shoulder. Her skin singed his lips; he tasted salt, and her.
A flood of memory rushed through him. He knew her, he knew her taste and the curves and hollows of her body, the breathless sounds she made. Across the ballroom she’d been a stranger; but now, up close, she was as familiar as she’d been that summer night so many years ago.
She was his.
At least for now.
His lips were moving up the elegant length of her neck now, slowly, as he savored every inch of skin, and felt the furious working of her pulse in the curve beneath her ear.
Caroline’s eyes were still closed as she tilted her head, baring her throat to him. He held her neck in his hands, holding her closer against him, steadying her against his increasing hunger.
His mouth moved over her jaw to graze the corner of her lips, and then he was turning her toward him, trapping her legs between his own as he at last took her face in his hands and pressed his lips to hers.
A levy broke inside him at that moment, releasing a torrent of emotion, of feeling he hadn’t known he’d been holding inside his chest until now.
Behind his closed lid he saw stars, and then he saw nothing, blind to everything but the riot of sensation that pulsed through him from this place where skin met skin.
In half a heartbeat he was wild with desire. It took his every ounce of self-control to kiss her carefully, thoughtfully, as she ought to be kissed; as he wanted to kiss her.
He wanted to do a thousand other things, too, things he’d learned in the misguided hope that he would one day be able to do them to her. Things that one could only learn in Paris; things that would make an Englishman blush, or die, or both.
God, but her lips were soft. Yielding. Her mouth tasted sweet, like wine, and clean. She allowed him to open her lips with the gentle press of his own; he groaned aloud, eyes rolling to the back of his head.
He dug his fingers into her hair, his thumbs hooked beneath her chin. He moved her head against his kiss, tilting her to the right, then to the left, taking her bottom lip between his teeth.
Henry took and she gave, willingly, meeting him stroke for stroke. She was falling into his caress; he could feel her sway beneath him.
The wildness that ran hot just beneath his skin—he struggled to control it.
And then, in the next instant, he couldn’t.
Jessica Peterson began reading romance to escape the decidedly unromantic awkwardness of her teenage years. Having found solace in the likes of Rhett Butler and Mr. Darcy, it wasn’t long before she began creating tall, dark, and handsome heroes of her own.
A graduate of Duke University, Jessica worked at an investment bank before leaving to pursue her writerly dreams. She lives with her husband, the tall, dark, and handsome Mr. Peterson, in Charlotte, North Carolina.