Good morning or afternoon everyone. I’m a bit slow on the uptake, because I meant to do a mini celebration of the print release of my historical romance Before The Dawn on my blog yesterday and it didn’t happen. Anyhoooo…here is a snippet you may not have seen.
Elijah McKinnon has been found innocent of a heinous murder, but it doesn’t erase the hellish years in prison he endured. He boards the train to Pittsburgh a changed man, certain he will never feel free until he’s wreaked revenge on the brother who ruined his life.
The passenger who catches his eye is intriguing, but he’s seen her kind before. The kind who puts on airs—and looks down on Irishmen. Still, he can’t seem to stop himself from stepping between her and a pack of ruthless cads.
Mary Jane Lawson is grateful for the handsome stranger’s help, but her journey has a higher purpose: to rise above her shattered reputation and declare her independence, come flood or famine. Propriety says she should refuse Elijah’s suggestion they pose as husband and wife—for her own protection, of course. Her practical side says it won’t hurt to pretend, just this once.
Come nightfall, though, their little charade must be carried all the way to shared sleeping quarters, where their vulnerabilities become painfully clear. And when danger past and present threatens, trusting each other becomes a matter of life and death.
Once more he leaned in and kissed her. Brush by brush, he painted his lips over hers in tender strokes that heated fires everywhere. He fisted his hand in her hair and drew her to his chest, his mouth now working hers with a persistent tasting. She eased away with a moan, but his lips still hovered over hers.
“That wasn’t a proper kiss,” he said.
“Of course it was.”
“How many times have you been kissed?”
She licked her lips, and his gaze caught hold of the sight and burned like a touch. She swallowed hard. “Many times.”
He frowned. “Many times? By how many men?”
“To a twenty-year-old woman, it is.”
“That’s interesting.” He kept his voice soft and non-threatening. “So, how old are you now?”
“In five years I’ve lived a lifetime.”
She had no doubt he had, in his own way. “The man was Professor Thaddeus Ricker, a lecturer at the university. He teaches Latin. He was very appealing and handsome, a scholarly man that women respected.” She shuddered. “But they should not have. I should not have.”
“The old man didn’t kiss you properly, and because you didn’t find him attractive, you didn’t enjoy his kiss.”
His brows knitted, and she saw sympathy and understanding there that she did not know if she wanted. Attractive? Oh, yes, she knew how she felt when Elijah stood near, when he looked at her with those hooded, searching-out-every-secret eyes. It was world’s above what she had experienced with Thaddeus. Her professor, once so dear in her young heart, seemed pale imitations of manhood against Elijah’s potent personality.
Before she could answer, his touch slid down to her throat and tested the pulse pounding there. “Sure, and there it is. Heat and madness.”
“Your pulse is quick. The way your breath quickens and your heart picks up speed tells me you like our kisses.”
“I do not want to like it.” She blurted the statement with a petulance that surprised and embarrassed her.
“Whether you want to like it or not isn’t the question. Did you like it?”
She knew she hovered on making a step that once taken could not be erased. “Yes. It was…pleasurable.”
His eyes turned hungry, their intensity building with her answer. “How much pleasure?”
He drew in a deep, shivering breath and trembled on the exhalation. “Do you want an honest kiss, Mary Jane?”
She could not voice it, so she did the one thing that would answer. She slipped her hand through thick, black hair at the back of his neck and eased towards him, brought him nearer inch by inch until…
Their lips met.
You can get your copy of Before the Dawn at the these outlets: