We are so excited to share with you the fabulous excerpt from Kerrigan Byrne’s How To Love a Duke in Ten Days (the first book in her Devil You Know series) out August 27th!
Famed and brilliant, Lady Alexandra Lane has always known how to look out for to herself. But nobody would ever expect that she has darkness in her past — one that she pays a blackmailer to keep buried. Now, with her family nearing bankruptcy, Alexandra strikes upon a solution: Get married to one of the empire’s most wealthy eligible bachelors…even if he does have the reputation of a devil.
Piers Gedrick Atherton, the Duke of Redmayne, is seeking revenge and the first step is securing a bride. Winning a lady’s hand is not so easy, however, for a man known as the Terror of Torcliff. Then, Alexandra enters his life like a bolt of lightning. When she proposes marriage, Piers knows that, like him, trouble haunts her footsteps. But her gentleness, sharp wit, independent nature and incredible beauty awakens every fierce desire within him. He will do whatever it takes to keep her safe in his arms.
Redmayne turned to her, looming closer. Larger.
“Don’t,” he whispered. “Don’t what?” “Don’t try to make me a good man.”
“I wouldn’t dream of it, Your Grace.” When she should have retreated, she didn’t.
Instead, she finished her whisky, enjoying the warm languor spreading from her middle to her blood.
“Good.” He became very still, watching as she licked the last of the honeyed liquor from her lips. The cool of the night suddenly disappeared, the air turned heavy with salt, and moisture, and . . . something more illicit.
“Have you ever really been kissed, Alexandra Lane?”
She blinked. And froze. However, the usual paralyzing terror that would have cinched around her bones at such a predicament . . . didn’t. Fear was more of a faint shimmer through veins made sluggish with whisky. It was accompanied by another more curious emotion. Not excitement, but something adjacent to it. Why did he want to know? What did he hope her answer would be? Indeed, what should she say?
The truth, of course. A lie would not serve her here, and besides, she’d too many of those on her conscience to bother with a flippant fib in the dark.
“N-no.” She wished her voice were stronger. That she’d had a different, more worldly experience to share. But alas, she’d never allowed a man close enough to kiss her. As far as she was concerned, men had long ago ceased wanting to.
“I thought not,” he murmured, setting his glass next to hers on the banister.
Alexandra forced another swallow. “How—I mean— why thought you not?” And why was she suddenly speaking nonsense?
A faint hint of arrogance brushed at his lips. “Men like me can just tell.” Her heart kicked against her lungs, evoking shorter, shallower breaths.
“Men like you?”
“Hunters.” The vibration of the word spread down her spine and unfurled in the most alarming places. “Your lips, innocent as they are, beg to be kissed whenever I am near. Your tongue moistens them. Your teeth worry at them. And when I stare, as I am doing now, they soften and part, like an invitation . . .”
Stunned, Alexandra curled her lips around her teeth as if to hide them from him. Had he really gleaned all that from her mouth? Had her lips truly betrayed her so?
He paused, glancing up. “Your eyes are always afraid, though. I think it’s because you can sense I want to kiss you, too.”
He nodded, his own lips melting into a soft smile at the abject astonishment in her question.
“Since the moment we met on the train platform, I’ve dreamt of kissing you in more than a dozen ways.”
The sound she emitted was somewhere between a cough and a gasp. Were there more than a dozen ways to kiss? How many more?
“We . . . we shouldn’t be speaking of such things, Your Grace.” She turned away from him, suddenly trembling at the edge of an abyss, ready to leap into madness. He drew close, never once touching her. But the heat and strength of him stretched beyond his physical being, threading through the night toward her, endangering her composure.
“It’s wrong, I know it,” he murmured, his voice containing an agony that tugged at her racing heart. “I’m to announce my engagement to your friend this very night, and all I can think of is what you’d taste like. I’m more of a monster than any scars or scandals I claim. But I’ve not kissed a woman since before the jaguar. I’ve not particularly wanted to until your lips drove me to distraction.”
Unable to hear any more, she whirled around.
“Would you marry me?” The idea had sparked like a fever, an idea that could fix everything. An idea that would release them all from the clutches of their sins. All it would cost was her soul.
About the Author
Whether she’s writing about Celtic Druids, Victorian bad boys, or brash Irish FBI Agents, USA Today bestseller Kerrigan Byrne uses her borderline-obsessive passion for history, her extensive Celtic ancestry, and her love of Shakespeare in every book. She lives at the base of the Rocky Mountains with her handsome husband and three lovely teenage girls, but dreams of settling on the Pacific Coast. Her Victorian Rebels novels include The Highwayman and The Highlander.
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