feels it...the fire inside ...
Wentworth was no ordinary young woman. Headstrong and rebellious, this
daughter of a viscount had no intention of obeying her father,
submitting to a husband ... or falling in love. But she never thought
a man like Clayton Harcourt would pursue her. As the bastard son of a
wealthy duke, Clay was no stranger to scandal. Taking a wife was not
his plan, but Kitt's wild spirit drew him like a flame in the
darkness, and the gossip swirling around her awakened a desire to tame
and protect her. When Clay lays a trap for marriage, Kitt can't help
but surrender to the passion he stirs within her. But will a secret
from her past keep her from trusting her heart to the magnificent
rogue who arouses her most burning desires?
“Perhaps you can
find yourself another group of players,” the Earl of Winston said,
knowing she wasn't ready to end the game they had been playing. But
the others had quit as well and it was highly unlikely she could
replace them, considering the incredible stakes and the way her luck
had been running.
remained, the last man still seated at the green baize table. He
lounged back in his chair, long tanned fingers casually fanning a
large stack of chips. If you’re so determined to lose your
money, why don’t we play one last hand? All or nothing. A single card
each. High card wins.”
down at the pile of money she had amassed, more than she had ever won
before. She didn’t want to bet so much on just one hand. She started
to decline--and she would have--if she hadn’t seen the flicker of
amusement on Harcourt’s sensuous lips.
He wants me
to back down. He’s certain I will--damn his dark eyes to hell!
Kitt set her
jaw. The group of watchers had continued to swell, men in perfectly
fitted tailcoats, ladies in glittering jewels and high-waisted gowns.
Seeing the young unmarried daughter of a viscount gaming with a rake
like Clayton Harcourt pinched their faces into tight, unflattering
lines--which made Kitt’s decision crystal clear.
someone to shuffle the cards,” she said airily, accepting the wager
just to watch the women’s powdered eyebrows shoot up.
Behind her, a
man’s bony fingers reached down and plucked up the deck.
Anything to oblige a lady.”
William Plimpton’s sarcastic tone. It was hardly proper to be involved
in such a game, but the lure of a victory over Harcourt was simply too
great to resist. Plimpton cut the deck, shuffled several times, and
set the cards back down on the table.
first,” Clay drawled, goading her in some way, though she wasn’t quite
trembled. She steeled herself. Reaching down, she cut the pack and
turned over her card.
hearts,” Clay said, his mouth curving faintly. “Very
For the first
time she allowed herself to look at the card in front of her. The
sight of the lovely red queen made her dizzy with relief.
at Harcourt, arched a dark red eyebrow in his direction and smiled.
I believe it’s the gentlemen’s turn...though in your case...”
I’m not sure you qualify.
didn’t miss the unspoken words. He cast her a faintly mocking glance
and leaned forward in his chair, pulling his velvet-collared tailcoat
snug across the considerable width of his shoulders. With his usual
confident air, he reached out, cut the deck, and held up his card.
Kitt read it
and her stomach contracted at the same time her mouth flattened out.
King of spades. The only card more appropriate would have been
the knave.” He laughed as she shoved back her chair. Congratulations, Mr. Harcourt. It would seem you are the
His eyes were
laughing. He was amusing himself at her expense and it made her want
to hit him.
slid back his chair. Perhaps your luck will be better the next
time we play."
there is a next time," she said, which she highly doubted.
will be, sweeting. But perhaps the game won’t be cards.”
certain what he meant, she simply ignored him. If you’ll excuse
me, I believe it’s time I joined my companions.” He gave her a look
that said she never should have left them and stood politely as she
rose from her chair. His gaze moved over her one last time, gold
flecks shimmering like hot sparks in his eyes.
whispers and smug expressions that seemed to say, See? You got what
you deserve, she crossed the gaming room toward the French doors
leading out to the terrace, desperate for a breath of fresh air. Ten
thousand pounds, she thought glumly. More than she had ever lost at
one time--though most of it belonged to the other players. Still, it
rankled her to lose, especially to him.
wished Clayton Harcourt straight to the devil. Or perhaps he was the
devil. He was certainly as handsome as sin with his straight,
aristocratic nose; hard, carved jaw; and solid, broad-shouldered
build. He was also one of the most notorious rakes in London, a man
with the single-minded purpose of bedding every woman unfortunate
enough to cross his path.
her head, determined to wipe away his too-handsome image.
why it was always such a difficult thing to do.