Sweet Scandal, the little book that could, is available for pre-order now on Amazon! Release day is May 9th, (insert huge squee here) and yours truly could not be happier to finally load this book into the carriage and send it on its way to the ball. Helen and Levi’s story required a small mountain of research, and that pair led me on a merry chase on their way to happily ever after, I’ll tell you. I’m quite proud of them, however, and I hope you’ll fall in love with their story as much as I did.
Oh, and in case you missed it, I’m on Instagram. See exhibit, stage right. Plus, I have a newsletter. If you want release updates from moi—with the promise that I won’t clutter up your inbox with endless emails, naturellement—sign up right here.
In the mean time, what’s next? Well, I could use a nap. And a vacation. But sadly, neither of those two things seem likely. So, I’ve got 2 book tours in the works, and up next on my docket is re-releasing the first two books in my Wicked Husbands series, writing Book Five in the Heart’s Temptation series (hello, Earl of Ravenscroft lovers, this one is for you!), and writing Book Two in the Coastal Heat series. Just typing this makes me tired, but nobody likes a complainer, so…
Want an excerpt of Sweet Scandal? Of course you do, and I shall happily oblige:
Helen didn’t know if it was the dance or the champagne or the heat in the ballroom generated by the crush of guests, but as Mr. Storm led her from the floor at the quadrille’s completion, steeped in formal politeness, she felt suddenly faint and unsteady. He noticed instantly, for she felt a staying hand on her waist. Her vision blurred around the edges like a watercolor painting.
“Oh dear,” she said. “I fear I may swoon.”
It wasn’t like her. She was made of much sterner stuff, but she didn’t wish to embarrass herself. She needed some air. Her corset seemed too tight. Her entire body was flushed and heated. If she didn’t get away from this clamor at once, she didn’t know what would happen. It would have been the perfect moment for one of her sisters to accompany her to the retiring room where she could regain her composure as they gossiped about all the lords and ladies in attendance. But her sisters weren’t here, and she was alone with Mr. Storm in a sea of people.
How she missed Cleo, Tia, and Bo in that moment.
Everything sounded as if it were very far away, carried to her on a lush summer breeze. Maybe she should not have consumed quite so much champagne. She’d lost count of how many flutes she’d drained over the course of the ball. Good heavens, had it been more than five? A fresh wave of dizziness assailed her and she stumbled against his powerful, lean frame. He smelled divine, she thought fuzzily.
“Come,” he ordered, ushering her hastily away.
She collected her thoughts enough to protest. “Where are you taking me?”
He couldn’t simply escort her out of the ballroom and into a private room. Propriety certainly didn’t allow such a thing. She ought not to allow such a thing. Would not if it weren’t for the spinning of her head. As it stood, she was ineffectual as a fly at the moment.
“Hush.” He steered her around a tittering countess and a footman bearing a tray of champagne flutes.
“My lady, hush.”
“Someone will see.”
“No one will notice. Everyone here is either far too inebriated or preoccupied.”
Casting a quick look about, he led her from the ballroom, down the hall, and into another chamber. As the door closed at their backs, stifling the cacophony of sound from the ballroom beyond, Helen realized they were in Jesse’s study. Alone. Still dizzied, she clutched Mr. Storm’s arm. “We are in our host’s private study. We cannot be here together.”
“Jesse won’t mind,” he assured her, guiding her to an overstuffed chair and easing her into it. He sank to his knees before her, his expression for once unguarded. “Are you unwell, my lady?”
He was concerned. A strange, new warmth stole over her. The world came back into crisp focus but her heart hammered furiously against her breast. She still felt off-kilter, almost as though she were out of her own skin, almost as if she were giddy.
Oh dear. He was before her like a knight of old, so striking and elegant, so unlike the arrogant stranger who had unceremoniously removed her from his offices the day they’d met. This Mr. Storm was different. Or maybe she was different. Or the night was different. Or she was hopelessly, thoroughly in her cups. She didn’t know which.
“I am fine,” she forced herself to say. “I daresay I sampled too much of the champagne this evening and that is all.”
“You don’t seem fine, my lady.” He frowned. His hands bracketed her skirts, near enough to her that he almost touched her, and the thought of those big hands of his on her made her quite weak. “Can I fetch you something? Some water, perhaps? Some ice?”
She licked lips that had suddenly gone dry. “There is nothing I need other than for you to return me to the ball. This is quite scandalous, sir. If someone should come upon us, it would cause us no end of trouble.”
“No one will come upon us. I’ve locked the door.”
His casual pronouncement did wicked things to her body that she was sure had everything to do with the blasted champagne. The door was locked. No one could disturb them or happen upon them. They were free to do what they chose.
Yes, she was in her cups alright, she had to be. There was no other reason for her to lean forward, set her palms upon Mr. Storm’s shoulders, and press her mouth to his. No other reason save for the fact that she had been thinking about him all day, about how he had touched and kissed her, how he had made her feel, how he had wanted her in his bed. She kissed him just for the feeling of his mouth upon hers once more, because she couldn’t help herself, because she couldn’t not.
Want more? May 9th is just around the corner.