Title: Sinfully Ever After
Series: Book Club Belles Society
Author: Jayne Fresina
Pubdate: December 2, 2014
Teaching scandalous young men a lesson? This is not your typical book club
To Rebecca Sherringham, all men are open books—read quickly and forgotten. Perhaps she’s just too practical for love. The last thing she needs is another bore around—especially one that’s supposed to be dead.
Captain Lucius “Luke” Wainwright turns up a decade after disappearing without a trace. He’s on a mission to claim his birthright and he’s not going away again until he gets it. But Becky and the ladies of the village Book Club Belles Society won’t let this rogue get away with his sins. He’ll soon find that certain young ladies are accustomed to dealing with villains.
He was going to kiss her.
Her skin shivered with anticipation until she could barely sit still. There was something proprietary about his gaze, the way it claimed her as surely as an arm around the waist.
After the meal, she left the table and Lucky Luke stayed to talk with her father. Becky found the dog Ness, now with a full belly, snoring happily by the fire, his paws twitching. The scene was peaceful for once with no Mrs. Jarvis angrily crashing her pots and pans about. Snow piled up against the window, and a stronger wind had sprung up to send the flakes spinning and spattering against the glass panes, but it was warm and cozy in that kitchen, and her smile, reflected in the window, was sunny. It was pleasant to hear her father’s distant laughter and the low murmur of male voices in the house.
She took three leaves from the pot of mint on the windowsill. If he was going to kiss her, she ought to have sweeter breath. Several other leaves had also been very recently ripped from the stems, she noted. Had he also taken some to be prepared? Smiling, she chewed the mint and resumed wiping down the table.
When Luke came in, she was still cleaning up the kitchen.
“Your father has fallen asleep, Miss Sherringham. I hope I didn’t bore him too badly.”
“Oh, it’s quite normal for my father to drift off midsentence. I’ll see him up to bed shortly.”
Becky had extinguished the lamps in the kitchen, and now light came only from the fire and the soft glow of the hall sconces through the open door behind him. He cast a great, bulky shadow across the flagged floor, a black, three-legged spider. His eyes were very dark and wary again as he paused there, just inside the kitchen doorway, leaning on his cane.
“Thank you for preparing the dinner,” she said. “It would have been cold game pie if you weren’t here to share your talents.”
“Well, I had to repay your kindness somehow, Miss Sherringham.”
He was being very polite now, she noted. His tone changed back and forth, one minute casual and even too familiar, the next formal, distant, as if he couldn’t decide what he ought to be. When she’d first met him in Brighton, she’d never imagined that he even knew how to be courteous, but now, seeing him converse civilly with her father, she suspected there were hidden sides to Lucky Luke.
She looked at his scars, his watchful eyes, and then his lips.
I tell you what…you’ll owe me a kiss…One kiss. To clear your brother’s debt to me.
Becky swallowed hard, tasting the cooling mint on her tongue. She reached into a drawer of the Welsh dresser, fumbled to the very back of it, and brought out the playing card he had once given her. She placed the IOU, writing side up, on the kitchen table.