Unraveling the Earl, Book 3 in the Idyllwild series:
The Earl of Hastings’s reputation as London’s greatest gift to the ladies has taken on a life of its own, one he is only too happy to live up to in one Mayfair bedchamber after another. Until he encounters a lady more interested in poking around his country estate than sampling his lauded charms.
Georgiana Buchanan is possessed of murky morals, skewed notions of right and wrong, a talent for dancing around the truth, and a penchant for crashing weddings, funerals and charity balls.
When Georgie catches Henry’s roving eye, she turns the tables on the arrogant scoundrel, introducing him to a world of sensual delights and unraveling his vaunted control before fleeing into the night.
Henry is determined to make the elusive Georgiana his mistress while the lady wants only to use his desire to further her own schemes. When they find themselves marooned at Idyllwild during a summer storm, they will both discover they’ve gotten more than they bargained for.
Henry’s voice, soft and underlain with amusement, pulled Georgie from her slumber as one hand reached beneath her back and a second wrapped around her legs.
She opened her eyes to find him bent over her, golden morning sunlight shimmering around his head, a tender smile lifting his lips.
“Foolish man,” she murmured, winding her arms around his neck as he lifted her.
“That I am,” he replied with a quiet laugh.
“You ought not take the risk.”
Henry pulled her close to his chest and jiggled her about to assure a proper grip before turning toward the door. “Which risk would that be?”
“There might be fuzzy mold on the berry crumble,” she said, pressing her lips to his neck just below his ear. She did not kiss him but rather held her lips there, just there, where she could feel the warmth of his skin and breathe him in, clean linen and musk, the unmistakable scent of her lover just arising from his bed.
“I prefer sweet cream, if it’s not too much trouble.”
“Quite a bit of trouble, I’m afraid,” she said, feeling the need to warn him one last time.
“Fuzzy mold it is.”
Georgie felt the sting behind her eyes first, a warning of its own, and clamped her eyes tightly shut.
Silly to find his words sweet when he was only humoring a barely awake woman spouting nonsense. But sweet she found them. Unbearably sweet.
A lone tear seeped from beneath her lashes and she dragged an uneven breath through trembling lips, fighting to hold back a laugh that might be a sob. Whatever it was, it took up residence just below her left breast and she would be damned before she granted it freedom.
“Georgie?” Henry’s voice was barely audible, more a vibration against her lips than actual sound, and she suspected the single tear had landed on his shoulder.
“I’m so sleepy,” she whispered, pleased when her voice did not waver, when the foreign object lodged in her chest did not break free.
“Poor darling,” he crooned. “What were you doing sleeping in the parlor?”
But Georgie was finished speaking, unwilling to take the same risk twice. Instead she sifted her fingers through the hair at his nape, memorizing the silky texture, the way the strands curled around her fingers.
They made the journey upstairs in silence, Henry carefully stepping to the far right on the seventh step so as not to set it off and she found herself missing the soft screech of the old wood.
Once inside his chamber, he lowered her to the center of the bed, wrestled his robe from her supine form and crawled in beside her.
“Sleep, love,” he ordered, settling onto his back and easing one arm beneath her to turn her onto her side against him.
Georgie continued the motion, rolling until she was draped over him from his muscular chest to his lean hips, his shaft riding low on her belly. With her legs dangling along his, she placed her hands on his shoulders and lifted her head, blindly searching for his mouth, sighing in gratitude when he met her halfway.
His lips were warm and soft beneath hers, brushing softly, nibbling one corner before returning to pay homage to her bottom lip as his hand sifted through her hair to rest at her nape.
Oh, God, his kiss. Tender, so bloody tender.
He cradled her head in his palm, gently angling her just so as he deepened the kiss, easing her lips apart to trail his tongue over the upper, the too thin upper that no man had ever taken the time to explore.
As if he knew how devastatingly sensitive his touch was just there, he lingered. Dipped and stroked. Suckled lightly, oh so lightly. He cuddled her flesh and sighed, his breath whispering into her mouth, mingling with her own until she could taste him, taste them together on her tongue.
Undone by the intimacy, desperate to banish it, Georgie pulled her knees up along his thighs, his hips, his ribs until she straddled him.
Where to find Lynne: