Love comes when least expected.
Nobody would blame widowed doctoral student Eliza James for giving up on Happily Ever After; at twenty-nine, she’s suffered more loss than most people do in a lifetime. But Eliza’s convinced her own hero is still out there, waiting for her, just like in the beloved romance novels she devours. Every girl deserves a Darcy, right?
Only Eliza doesn’t dream of a modern-day affair: she wants the whole Regency experience. When a magical manuscript thrusts her back two hundred years into the arms and life of one Deveric Mattersley, Duke of Claremont, however, Eliza soon realizes some fantasies aren’t all they’re cracked up to be, especially when her duke proves himself less than a Prince Charming.
Deveric Mattersley has no interest in women, much less marriage. Determined to atone for his sins after convincing himself he’s at fault for the death of his first wife, he decrees himself content to focus on running his family’s estates, and on raising his son–until the mysterious Mrs. James appears. Who is she? What does she want? And why does she make Dev’s blood run hot in a way no woman ever has?
Can a man with a past and a woman from the future forge a love for all time?
“Oh, come on. Play along. What’s your type, Deveric?”
Hearing his Christian name on her lips was delicious, though in truth they oughtn’t be so familiar with each other. She wasn’t family. He didn’t know what she was. Beyond … his type.
His eyes trailed over her figure. How could she look so delicious in that silly morning gown? Amara had surely been only too willing to rid herself of the dress; it was the one his mother insisted his sister wear often after her scandal. Covered from head-to-toe, as if clothing itself could keep one from temptation.
This American tempted him, whoever she was and whatever she was wearing. The fabric of the dress stretched tightly over her breasts, emphasizing them in a way he could hardly complain about.
He ran his fingers through his hair. “A gentleman of good breeding doesn’t think in such ways.”
“Oh, baloney,” Eliza said. “You can’t tell me that out of that gaggle of girls over there, not one of them interests you more than the others? Come on, I see a couple of blondes, a brunette, a redhead …”
Why was she pushing him on this? Was that a gleam in her eye? Was she deliberately provoking him?
The only woman here who interests me is you, he wanted to shout. You, with your strange ways and odd manner, with your lips that make me long to taste them again. You, with that delicate bit of flesh showing between that ridiculous dress’s neckline and your ear, you with the bluest eyes I’ve ever seen.
“This is a pointless, and inappropriate, conversation.”
“Who knew you’d be so stuffy? Are all dukes this stuffy? I should have told Cat, no stuffy guys.”
“Yeah, stuffy. Pompous. Rigid. Uptight. Overly proper.”
“You think I’m stuffy?”
His blood burned, his eyes searing hers. He pulled her into the garden and around the hedge, in the place they’d stood the previous morning, out of sight of the other guests.
His hand reached up and hovered in mid-air, over her breasts, without touching them, before he put it back down, clenching it in a fist at his side.
“Do you have any idea how far from stuffy I feel at the moment, Eliza James?” he ground out. “I’ll tell you who’s my ‘type,’ as you put it.” He ran his fingers up into her hair, fixing her head between them. “Bizarrely endearing widows with unusual ways of speaking.” He swooped in to kiss her.
“American women who claim,” he nipped at her chin, “to be from the future, who bewitch me with their flashing blue eyes and swishing derrieres and lovely breasts.” His mouth found hers again, and his tongue traced a path across her upper lip. “Who make me doubt my own sanity. But if this is madness, I want—” He pulled her face toward his again. “—it all.”
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A lover of romance novels since the age of ten (shh, don’t tell mom!), Margaret Locke declared as a teen that she’d write romances when she grew up. Once an adult, however, she figured she ought to be doing grown-up things (such as earning that master’s degree in medieval history), not penning steamy love stories. Yeah, whatever. Turning forty cured her of that silly notion. Margaret is now happily ensconced back in the clutches of her first love, this time as an author as well as a reader. Margaret lives in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley in Virginia with her fantastic husband, two fabulous kids, and two fat cats. You can usually find her in front of some sort of screen (electronic or window); she’s come to terms with the fact that she’s not an outdoors person.