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While on a secret mission for the Crown, a proper duke falls for an improper daughter of an Indian royal and British noble.
If you like sensuous, intriguing tales where tensions run high and feelings run hot, then this story of two star-crossed lovers caught up in a dangerous conflict is for you!
If you are attracted to stories filled with evocative prose and gorgeous Victorian aesthetics, not to mention a touch of mystery, then this story is for you. And if you favor stories where the setting is not merely a backdrop in which the lovers’ saga flourishes, but is a pivotal setting as well, then don’t miss A DUKE’S WICKED KISS.
Miss Suri Thurston, illegitimate daughter of a duke and high-caste Indian royal, knows the pain of abandonment, so when she inherits upon her father’s death, she vows to open a school for children forsaken by British soldiers. Despite rumors of civil unrest, Suri travels from England to her birthplace in India, ostensibly to visit her married sister, but Suri has secret plans. Before she can help others, she must validate her self-worth by confronting her maternal grandmother, the woman who tossed untouchable infant Suri to hungry lions. Suri’s plans are upended when she arrives in Delhi and encounters the man who, ten years prior, left an indelible imprint on her soul with a single, wicked kiss, stolen in her father’s stables. Now himself a duke, he is beyond reach of even her dreams.
The Duke of Ravenswood’s title does not stop this trained spy from completing his mission for Queen Victoria. After losing his wife and child to a cobra's venom three years ago, he has dedicated himself to duty. Facing an imminent uprising against the British East India Company, he must locate the insurgents, unmask his elder brother's murderer, and escort his friend—the diplomat married to Suri's half-sister—and family safely to England. Intently focused on his responsibilities, Ravenswood has no desire for a relationship. Then Miss Suri Thurston appears in a Delhi ballroom with a mission of her own. The years fall away, and he finds himself back in that English stable, his heart forever bound to her by one haunting kiss. While their love can rise above the scandal of marriage, deceit and malevolence amidst mutiny could tear their world apart.
He was going to kiss her. He needed to kiss her.
Suri shook her head. “Don’t touch me,” she whispered. And then she was off the settee and dashing for the door.
Ravenswood followed, aware he didn’t want her anywhere but beside him. “What’s wrong with being touched?”
Gads, am I possessed?
He caught up with her and swung her around, that strange need growing at a frenzied pace. He froze when his hands clutched her shoulders. The heat of her scorched his fingers.
She was right, he shouldn’t have touched her, because once done, he couldn’t let go. She was opium to an addict. Before he knew it, he’d backed her up against the door, pressed his palms onto the smooth wood on either side of her and caged her.
Wide-eyed, she stared up at him. Her pupils dilated, and she drew a shuddering breath.
A wave of exhilaration infused him. “You desire contact, don’t you? That’s the reason you ran off, isn’t it? You want to be touched as much as I crave touching you, and it scares you to death.”
“You are mad.”
“Only about you.”
He bent his head closer to her, his words growing heavy on his tongue. “You, madam, are afraid you cannot handle a kiss—or anything else that might transpire between us, aren’t you?”
“You are arrogant.”
“Try something else.”
They stood so close he could feel her breath, ragged when it fell against his mouth. He allowed his lips to part to catch more of her sweet scent.
“I have a proposition for you,” he murmured, “I won’t kiss you if you promise not to go to
the damnable wedding.”
“I…I shall not make such…a foolhardy promise.” Her staccato words were filled with heat and vibrancy.
Emboldened by the desire emanating from her, he bent closer still, until he only had to speak in a whisper to be heard. He studied her mouth. He wanted her. God, he wanted her—right here, right now, and touching her was like finding his way home—at last. “Because you want the kiss, or because you are a stubborn fool?”
His voice rasped in his throat and now he had to force the words off his tongue. “Go on, tell me you don’t want me to kiss you. That you don’t want me for other things.”
Her hands came to his chest, as if to push him away, but her fingers merely splayed against him. Her lips quivered as though she tried to speak and couldn’t. Then her head fell back against the door, and her eyes half closed.
A DUKE’S WICKED KISS
Kathleen Bittner Roth creates evocative stories featuring characters forced to draw on their strength of spirit to overcome adversity and find unending love. Her own fairy tale wedding in a Scottish castle led her to her current residence in Budapest, Hungary, considered one of Europe’s most romantic cities. A PAN member of Romance Writers of America®, Kathleen was a finalist in the prestigious Golden Heart® contest.
You can find Kathleen at:
Book trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzWQNWFHvhU