A cup of sugar…a dash of cream….and a craving for a cake decorator that won’t be denied… When Captain Judah Shield learns he is more bastard than noble born, he goes in search of his true lineage. Determined not to lean on his family’s wealth, he accepts a job managing Redcake’s Tea Shop. Despite the flurry of excitement a single soldier creates among the staff, Judah clearly has no time for a wife. Though what man doesn’t have time for a delectable beauty like lovely Magdalene Cross?… He has the bearing of an English gentleman and the fiery touch of a true rake. Which is precisely why Magdalene must avoid Judah if she hopes to escape her family’s reputation for scandal. Surely no good can come from a man whose kiss leaves her hungry for more. Certainly not the kind of marriage that could restore her social status. Still, Magdalene cannot help imagining what an incredible wedding night it would be—and when fate steps in, she may not have to imagine after all…
“Are you okay? Did he hurt you?” She rushed toward Judah and put her hands on his upper arms.
“I’m fine. You look as if you’re about to shake me.”
A bit wild-eyed, she did just that, then attempted to pull him forward. When she couldn’t move his hard bulk, she pressed herself to him and gave him a hug.
“On a public street, Miss Cross? Someone might see you.” He couldn’t suppress a grin at this warrior’s welcome.
“You could have died!” She stamped her foot. “Oh, I could slap you. You know how poor I am. My reticule isn’t worth anything.”
He pulled her against a chandler’s window and handed the small item to her. “It looks handmade. It matches your shawl.”
She took it with a sigh. “Yes, yes, but it holds no sentimental value. I made them both.”
The value might not be monetary, but the reward here was he could tell she’d worried about him. “It was just a boy.”
“I know, but these cutpurses are often in gangs. It isn’t worth the trouble.”
She still clung to him and he took the hero’s liberty of placing his hands at her back. “I thought it was.”
She shook her head, giving him a rueful half smile. “I suppose I should expect such gallantry from a military man.”
“That is not to say I wouldn’t like a reward,” he countered.
“Oh?” Proving she was in on the game, her eyelids fluttered flirtatiously.
He put a gloved finger to her cheek. “Fear and worry has put such a pretty flush into your skin.”
Her skin burned hotter under his touch. Her voice was breathy when she responded. “What reward? I only have a few pennies. Why, I even forgot to buy a newspaper.”
He patted his pocket, then realized he’d dropped his when he ran after the thief. “I’ve lost mine.”
“You must be very sad about that,” she whispered, pressing closer.
He imagined he could feel her breasts, round and heavy, under her clothing. “I need comforting as well as rewarding.”
She bit her lower lip between her teeth.
He felt his body’s response. She maddened him. “And now you have a wound on your mouth. We are a sorry pair.”
“We should call a doctor,” she agreed, touching her lip.
“I have a better idea.” He leaned forward, pressing her lightly against the window behind them, forgetting the passersby, the carts and the carriages, the shouts and the smells of bread and horse and coal.
That lovely mouth opened in a round little moue as his intention became known. Her hands gripped his arms more tightly as he placed his palms on either side of her head and bent forward, pressing his lips into hers. She yielded to him with a gasp of surprise, her soft warmth tasting of fresh apples and cream. The tip of his tongue brushed against her lip, an instinct to smooth the small hurt there.
“Captain Shield,” she gasped, finding his chest with her small hands. Her reticule bounced against his arm, though she didn’t put any force behind her movement.
He tilted his head and deepened the kiss, closing his eyes to get the full sensation. An English girl in September, with blond hair, blue eyes, and full, pouting lips. He had spent many a day in India dreaming of such a thing.
But this was a girl who pulled his umbrella from his hand and rapped him smartly on the arm. “Sir!”
He drew back, and blinked at her.
“Don’t you give me that heavy-lidded look, sir.” She spoke with a schoolmistresslike authority.
Was she not affected? “You can’t tell me you’ve ever been kissed like that in your life.”
She colored. “I–I, well, not by a shop at Piccadilly Circus, no.”
He glanced around. “So that’s where we are.”
“I have to go to work. The manager is a stickler for correct behavior.”
He chuckled. “This has nothing to do with work.”
“I know that. But I do not know you very well, and I feel my high spirits have led me astray yet again.”
His interest perked again. “You let men kiss you?”
“No!” she exclaimed. “You do not know my family’s reputation, having been away so long, but I’ve always tried very hard not to emulate my relatives in the, er, kissing realm.”
He smiled. “But it is clear you share their hot blood.”
“You are not a gentleman to mention it.” She gave him his umbrella.
TO WIN A $5 AMAZON GIFT CARD, ENTER THE GIVEAWAY AT RAFFLECOPTER BELOW:
About the Author
Heather Hiestand was born in Illinois but her family migrated west before she started school. Since then she has claimed Washington State as home, except for a few years in California. She wrote her first story at age seven and went on to major in creative writing at the University of Washington. Her first published fiction was a mystery short story, but since then it has been all about the many flavors of romance. That first published romance short story was set in the Victorian period and she continues to return, fascinated by the rapid changes of the nineteenth century. The author of many novels, novellas and short stories, she is a bestseller with Amazon and Barnes and Noble. With her husband and son, she makes her home in a small town and supposedly works out of her tiny office, though she mostly writes in her easy chair in the living room.
For more information, see her website at www.heatherhiestand.com. Heather loves to hear from readers! Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.