True love does not exist.
At the least, not as far as the Earl of Hetherton is concerned. Still entangled in the loose ends of a ruinous affair that shocked the ton, Julian has given up any idea of love or marriage. But a chance meeting with an old friend may change his mind.
Miranda Parkman’s reunion with the handsome earl is bittersweet, to say the least. Eight years ago, Julian crushed the bloom of her first love, leaving her waiting for a proposal that never came. Now, she’s in London, prepared to sacrifice the yearnings of her heart for a proper union with a respectable peer–until Julian puts himself in her path once again.
When their renewed attraction culminates in an unintended seduction, they’re forced to the altar, facing an uncertain future. Yet someone is determined to tear them apart. Will twisted stories and undeclared truths leave Miranda and Julian forever longing, or will true love guide them into overcoming their bittersweet past?
Julian held his breath against the abrupt longing that surged through him.
Madness had to be overtaking him. The night of the masquerade, Miranda Parkman had suddenly turned into a siren, tempting him with her innocent sensuality. Now, with her bare hand stroking the marble bench and the shimmer of moonlight creating mysterious shadows along the line of her neck, the siren call had returned. He fought to maintain a veneer of gentility.
She turned her head away from him, the movement tempting him to turn her head back toward his. He wanted to claim her lips in the kisses he had taken so liberally eight years ago. Instead, he took hold of her hand and placed a delicate kiss on the naked skin of her wrist. Her gasp of surprise sent shivers through him.
“Julian…please…” Her use of his Christian name revealed her disquiet.
Instead of releasing her, he kissed her wrist again, and then gently drew her closer. She gave no resistance, but moved toward him with a soft rustling of chiffon and satin. As the delicate scent of violets drifted up to his nose, he decided he wanted that kiss after all. His fingers were gentle but insistent on her chin, leading her mouth to his. At the very last moment, her lips moved against his, as they had done so long ago beneath a sunlit chestnut tree.