This is one of my very favorite historical romances. I reread this book so often I think I’ve memorized whole chapters. This is the scene that leads to Callie and Ralston having smex for the first time. I also love the scene immediately after when Callie is furiously cleaning the library and Ralston comes to ask for her hand in marriage and she says no… which is like ten pages so you’ll just have to go read it for yourself. 😊
This book is also getting a new cover for its paperback edition! Yay! Here are both the old and the new versions.
“Deal the cards.”
She did, and they played the next round in silence, but it was clear he was no longer playing a harmless game of twenty-one. She knew from his hard face that he would win, and her heart pounded in her chest at the thought– what would he do in the face of her outburst?
When he won, he threw his cards into the center of the table. In silence, he stood, moved to the sideboard and poured two glasses fo scotch.
Returning, he offered her one of the tumblers.
She took it and sipped the amber liquid, surprised when she did not sputter adn cough as she had in the tavern. In fact, the liquor served only to enhance the warmth that had spread through her as she waited for Gabriel to name is next favor.
Turning away from her, he moved to one fo the overstuffed chairs by the fireplace and relaxed into it. She watched as he stared into the fire, wondering what he was thinking. Was he considering taking her home? She’d certainly said enough not only to embarrass herself but also him. Should she apologize?
“Come here.” The words cut through the room., even though he didn’t redirect his attention from the dancing flames.
“Because I will it.”
An hour ago, she would have laughed at the imperious sentiment but, for some inexplicable reason, at that moment, Callie was drawn to the command. She stood and went to him, stopping mere inches form his right arm. She waited, the sound of her own blood pounding in her ear, the sound of her breath seeming to fill the room.
The wait was torturous.
And then he turned to her with an imperious look in his brilliant blue eyes, and said, “Sit.”
It wasn’t what she had expected. She moved stiltedly to take the other chair, but stopped as he added, “Not there, Empress. Here.”
She turned back to him, surprise and confusion in her eyes. “Where?”
He reached out a hand. “Here.”
The word echoed through the room. He meant for her to sit on his lap? He shook her head, “I couldn’t.”
“You wanted to try the role on for size, lovely,” he said, the words warm and coaxing. “Come. Sit with me.”
She knew without his having to say any more that this was her chance to experience it all. With Ralston.
She moved to stand directly in front of him and met his eyes. She did not say anything; she did not have to. Within seconds, he pulled her down onto his lap and covered her lips with his.
There was no turning back.
She gave herself up to the adventure. And to him.
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