Monday, December 03, 2007

THE PERILS OF PLEASURE by Julie Anne Long




Will you look at that beautiful cover? You know, most of the first romances I read were historicals - and I admit that a good many of them were bought based solely on the cover. I'll further admit that this is one that I would have taken one look at and tucked it under my arm! Now that I buy a good deal of my books online, this one is going straight into my shopping cart! Several years ago, the number of historicals I read dropped to just a handful a year, but in the past couple of years I've begun to return to those historical roots; now I'm trying to catch up with all of the ones I've missed. I've read (and loved) several of Julie Anne Long's books over the years, and I hope that you'll take a minute to read the excerpt below, because if you haven't read her work, I think you'll be mighty tempted to start with this one!

THE PERILS OF PLEASURE
by Julie Anne Long
Coming February 2008!

It was early summer, and accordingly, hedgerows were a riot of Hawthorne blossoms. Horse chestnuts, beeches and the occasional old oak stood sentry over the roads, and songbirds rustled amongst all the greenery. Up ahead, around the bend, Madeleine could see the branches of an enormous oak splaying out in every direction, taking up more than its share of roadside.
"Do you know what I haven't done?" Colin said suddenly. He stopped, allowed her to catch up with him.
She sniffed indelicately. "Very little, if you believe the broadsheets."
"I haven't yet kissed you."
And then he snatched hold of her hand and pulled her behind that oak, barely giving her time to squeak.
Blessed shade the tree provided, with arms that splayed everywhere like a mad octopus. It hid two of them from the road, but not from the gaze of a gently curious sheep, who paused in its grass cropping to stare. Colin spun her about and had her up against it in a thrice, pinned between his arms, and he towered over her, staring down for a moment. At the stars in my eyes or my great white forehead? She wondered.
"Don't—" she began nervously.
"Don't what, Mad?" Colin laughed softly, in a voice that stroked up her spine like velvet. His arms dropped from the tree, went around her waist; he pulled her hips hard against his hips, very familiarly; she felt the outline of everything male about him. "Don't…what?" He whispered it this time, and when his hands went up to her face, it was she who closed her arms around his slim waist, flattening her hands to feel the hard muscles of his back, keeping him pulled close to her body, keeping the two of them groin to groin. She wanted to feel again the heat of his body over the entire length of her.
His knuckles dragged softly over her cheeks, and she closed her eyes, because his eyes were too merry and too hot and too soft and too knowing, and she, at the moment, didn't want to be known by a man who had known nearly every woman in London, if rumors were true.
She did want to be kissed.
And then his fingers opened to feather across her ears, along her throat, the nape of her neck, and she felt her head tip back trustingly into his hands.
Cradling it, he touched his lips very, very softly to the pulse in her throat.
"Oh, Mad." It was half sigh, half soft laugh.
Colin dragged his lips softly from the arch of her throat, to her ear, to her lips, which were parted, while her eyes were still closed.
"Now I'll kiss you properly," he murmured.
She knew how to do this. She'd done it before. Her body knew where it wanted to be touched, and how it wanted to fit against his, and oddly nothing had ever seemed more right. And still somehow it became a little battle, as it always was with the two of them, in part because Madeleine only felt safe in the midst of battle. Their lips brushed, bumped, nipped softly, Madeleine now afraid to surrender to this. Too late she recalled how a kiss sometimes had the power to split one dangerously, vulnerably open. More so even than lovemaking.
"Shhhh," he whispered against her mouth, although she wasn't making a sound. It was as though he wanted to soothe the battle inside her. "Shhhhh."
His hands were at the back of her neck, soothing, stroking, and he brushed his lips over hers, urged hers apart with tender strokes of his tongue, sending a rain of silver sparks down her spine, and she gave a sigh. It was part pleasure, part some unexpressed sadness. The sound of something released.
Madeleine's hands slid up to the hard blades of his shoulders, pulling him closer, and her lips fell open beneath his. His tongue, at first, was a gentle invader, warm, velvety soft, finding and twining with hers softly in a tentative foray.
He took his lips away from hers, looked into her eyes, as though looking for some sort of answer, or wanting to see what the kiss had done to hers. His own eyes were hazy with desire.
And then his firm, clever lips took hers again, more decisively this time, and she was ready. Her arms slid up his chest to wrap round his neck, and he pulled her into his body, and his iron-hard arousal pressing against her was a maddeningly erotic contrast to his soft lips, his soft tongue. He drove the kiss deeper, and she met him; their tongues touching and tangling, part dance, part duel. He moaned softly, the sound of it vibrating in his chest beneath her hands. He withdrew his tongue to bite her bottom lip gently, a sensation startling and erotic.
Then he took her mouth again, ferociously this time, and she took as much as he did, devouring, needing him deeper into her body. He tasted sweet and dark and as she kissed him everything in her was melting, dissolving, until Madeleine knew that terrifying, exhilarating sense of having no other existence outside the heady, penetrating bliss of this kiss.
And then Colin suddenly broke the kiss with a gasp.
He tucked his cheek against hers. His whiskers rasped at her delicate skin; his breath was hot and swift the crook of her neck.
He was quiet for a long time. His arms loosened on her.
Confused and strangely bereft, Madeleine's clung to him for a moment longer. Then her arms loosened about him, too, uncertainly.
"Just a kiss," he whispered, sounding dazed.
She didn't quite understand what he meant.
They remained close but not nearly as close as moments before, their breathing slowing to before-kiss rhythms.
Colin lifted his head up, looked down into her eyes. He looked as if he was considering whether to speak.
"Did you love him, Mad?"
The question surprised her so completely that she didn't have time to disguise the truth, and she was certain it was written all over her face.
Why did he do this? How did he do this?
"Life can be the very devil sometimes, can't it?" he said softly.
She stared at him.
"The very devil," she agreed thickly, after a moment.
He smiled down at her, as only Colin Eversea could smile.
And when he took her by the hand back out to the road Madeleine felt feeling as though she'd been thrown from the moon back down to earth.

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Thanks for reading! Like it?? Here's a preorder link for Amazon, if you're interested!


Laurie

2 comments:

flchen1 said...

Oh my...
*going to click on the Amazon link now*

Laurie said...

Absolutely love her books! I'm on a real historical kick lately.