Read An Excerpt

by Carla Neggers

Genre: General Contemporary Romance, Contemporary Romance

 | Read Book Review

Phoebe couldn’t take her eyes off the man coming toward her as if they were the only two people in the crowded, glittering ballroom. As if nothing could stop him and he was determined to reach her.

She’d arrived twenty minutes ago, wanting just to watch the festivities with a glass of champagne. Best just to be the proverbial fly on the wall. She adjusted her mask. Of the half-dozen masks Ava and Ruby had made for tonight, this one provided the most coverage. Her eyes and the line of her jaw were all that anyone could see of her face.


With this swordfighter gliding toward her, Phoebe appreciated the anonymity.

And he really was gliding. He moved with such smoothness, such an air of masculine purpose and self-control. He didn’t pull away to the bar or meet up with another woman. His mask covered most of his face, as hers did, and he was tall and lean, wearing a black cape over sleek black trousers and shirt, with a sheathed costume sword at his side. He looked as if he could handle the sword, fake or not.

His eyes locked with hers.

Phoebe started to duck away, but she was transfixed.

Why not stay?

There was a lull in the live music provided by a small, eclectic band near the separate dance floor. Her swordfighter continued toward her, his eyes still on her. She stared right back at him, ignoring the quickening of her heartbeat, the rush of self-consciousness.

Do I know him?

She shook her head. Impossible.

So far she’d managed to avoid running into Maggie and Olivia. Once she reached the ballroom, she got caught up in the crowd, the music, the lights, the laughter and especially the costumes. Her mysterious Edwardian dress passed muster—she’d known it would—striking just the right note of elegance and daring.

The swashbuckler stopped a few yards from her. His eyes were a clear, striking blue, sexy and captivating. It wasn’t just the contrast with his black mask or the glow of the chandeliers or even her few sips of champagne at work. They were great eyes. Fantastic eyes.

She held her glass motionless in one hand as a couple passed in front of her, blocking her swashbuckler from her view. When they were gone, he was right in front of her.

Phoebe didn’t breathe.

I don’t belong here.

Then she remembered she was alone, anonymous and dressed as an Edwardian princess. Why not play the part? Why not be a little bold, even a little reckless?

With a deliberate smile, she raised her champagne glass in a flirtatious toast, hoping the man couldn’t tell that her heart was hammering in her chest.

Next thing she knew, he was at her side, an arm around her waist. “Dance with me,” he said, his voice low, deep and impossibly sexy.

Phoebe nodded without saying a word.