Born in California and raised in the Midwest, Carrie Lofty found the love of her life in England . She earned her BA in English and history, and then her master’s in history with a thesis about Old West legends. She’s a recovering historian! Her romances have been praised as "inventive" (Dear Author) and "intelligent" (Smart Bitches), and Romantic Times claims: "Lofty writes adventure romance like a born bard of old." Her 2008 debut, WHAT A SCOUNDREL WANTS, was the hot, adventurous tale of Will Scarlet and his dangerous lady love. Carrie writes fulltime, guides two precocious daughters through their elementary years, and manages Unusual Historicals, the multi-author blog she founded in 2006 to celebrate romances set in unusual times and places. Follow her on Twitter!
A SCOUNDREL'S KISS
Turning his back on his old life as a rogue, Gavriel de Marqueda has joined a monastic order in Spain and taken a vow of chastity. Before he becomes a monk, he must pass one final test: help a woman who has lost her way. But when he lays eyes on Ada of Keyworth, he is tempted beyond measure by her sultry beauty and dangerous curves...
Far from her home in England, Ada has been battling inner demons for more than a year. When she discovers that her only friend has abandoned her, she has no choice but to grudgingly accept Gavriel's help. But Ada is not fooled. Though Gavriel wears the robes of a monk, Ada sees that he is a virile man who looks at her with a hunger that matches her own--one that begs to be satisfied again and again....
When one step separated his body from hers, Gavriel breathed the scent of lemon and skin warmed by the mineral-rich spring water. The more he breathed, the more lightheaded he became. He felt every heartbeat in triplicate: beneath his ribs, in his skull, at his groin.
He brushed his mouth along the curve of her shoulder. She shuddered but did not pull away. The moist heat of his breath raised goose bumps on her skin and reflected back against his face. He waited, glorying in that intimate caress, knowing he would take her if he tasted her.
She breathed with more urgency now. The tops of her shoulders raised and lowered. Now he needed only to turn her around. It would be as easy as taking her arm and tugging.
"Order me to go," he rasped.
Ada looked over her shoulder. He let his eyes fall down the line of her brow and her cheeks and her chin. "I won't do that," she said.
"Why not?" The need to touch her again burned like hell's fires. "No respectable woman behaves as you do."
"We both know I left respectable behind some time ago."
"Then you do this as a game or as punishment."
"You're mistaken if you believe this involves you alone." She spoke with less deliberation and more speed. "Perhaps I do this simply to see what I'll do next. I hardly know who I am anymore. It makes me wonder."
He reached out to trace the line of her shoulder blade but pulled back. "Wonder what?"
"Am I the kind of woman to seduce you outright, or will I wait for you? Either way, you've become a most welcome distraction."
"You think you've cured me because I no longer shake or cry," she said. "But in that you're mistaken. The need is still here. Right here." She clenched one hand over the other and pressed it to the hollow between her breasts. "It's like thirst or hunger or lust. A need. Can you understand that?"
He could only nod, a weak one at that. A delicious and wanton angel stood before him, his own parable of temptation. The redness of the hot spring had faded, leaving the smoothest white porcelain skin--a feast for his eyes. But he wanted more. No matter his aims or his vows, he was a man who needed more.
"I can understand," he said thickly.
"Then help me, Gavriel. Give me something new to crave."