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Jo-Ann Power

Genre: Victorian Period, England, Historical Romance

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Cat Farrell has been jilted, ostracized and blackmailed. Nevertheless, this Victorian lady plans to regain society's respect and open a school for girls. Only a couple of obstacles block her chosen path: a blackmailer demanding an ancient artifact, and the reappearance of Spencer Lyonns, her erstwhile fianc.

Three years ago Spencer left her at the altar and disgraced her. He suddenly appears and offers his friendship and aid. She refuses him and leaves him-as he once left her-to the ridicule of England's proper set. Meanwhile she tries to ward off a blackmailer who demands she hand over the artifact or more money than she can ever hope to raise.

What she doesn't know-and what Spence aches to reveal-is that Queen Victoria has requested his aid in locating the priceless treasure which Cat's father stole. Of course, what Spence finds is not the ancient Egyptian papyrus he needs, but the woman he adores-and cannot leave again.

I hope you'll join this Victorian weekend house party in 1874 and discover with Cat that a man can leave a woman he cherishes for viable reasons-and return to offer her a better man, a nobler heart and an all-consuming love.

Here's an excerpt:

After days crammed with waltzes and boating excursions and tantalizing dinners beside Spence, Cat found herself entranced with him against her better judgment.

She paced her bedchamber and asked herself how in heaven's name she was supposed to forget Spence had left her three years ago. She tore open the doors to her balcony and strode out. The night had chilled. All the guests had gone to sleep. She shivered and clutched her arms about her waist, wishing she had stayed home. The breeze lifted her hair. The night air stung her eyes. Tears pooled. They refracted her vision, shaping clouds into horses and chariots..:and a man with darling eyes. In her misery, she wandered among the topiary trees, wondering why the night had hands and heat-and a resonant voice like Spence's.

"God, I'm glad you came outside," he breathed into her hair and wound his arms around her. "I've been standing here over an hour watching you argue with yourself." She felt her body forge to his. She couldn't have left him if the whole British Army marched across the lawn to demand it. She reveled in the taut, hot feel of him.

"This is where you belong," he murmured as he turned her in his embrace. "I've been crazy to hold you like this. Wanting you to myself. Wanting you to touch me. Do it."

Deprived of the feel of him for long, lonely years, she slid her hands across his shoulders and down his arms.

He placed his lips on hers.

She gave herself up to him, to what they'd been and what they might have been. She met him, kiss for savage kiss, moan for delight, succor for pain, desire for regret and need. She'd never known a kiss-a thousand kisses-could be like this, want like this, feel like this heaven. This floating paradise.

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