Readers have asked for a little glimpse of Iain Sinclair, Marquis of Alynwick's book. Apparently, he's captured the fancy of quite a few readers, and I'm so glad. I loved writing him, and his book. And his heroine, Elizabeth, is one of my favorite heroines, right up there with Jane, from Sinful. I love their story, the emotion between them, the raw, and sensual love scenes. I hope readers will, too. So, here is a little Friday tidbit. Temptation and Twilight's cover, the song that inspired their romance, and a couple of little teaser passages. Enjoy!
I just love this cover, the colours, her gown, and the model portraying Elizabeth. The hero is quite handsome, although, he is not 'my' Alynwick. He's a little too soft in this cover. Alynwick is hard, rough around the edges. He's deeply intense, a violent storm brews inside him. And this model just seems....well, I don't know what it is. But it's not my image of Iain, and how he holds Elizabeth the first time. Here's the image I had in mind for Iain. I've used this model quite a bit--it's the hair, but mostly its the eyes--so intense. So focused--yet sensual and beautiful.
And whenever I hear this song, I always imagine Alynwick saying these words to Elizabeth. I just love this short piece, and I did write two love scenes to it. Just perfect for them!
In this excerpt, Alynwick is in Sussex's study, secretly watching Elizabeth from his spot by the window...
Elizabeth had softened his hard edges, but he was rather grateful for it. It had been a long time since he’d allowed himself a modicum of honesty in regards to his true feelings, but in this, he had to be honest. He had never stopped caring about Elizabeth and her well being. Had never stopped desiring her. Had always secretly loved her, knowing she held nothing inside for him but a seething hatred, he knew all too well he deserved.
Iain had always feared that love for her, feared examining his feelings about loving another--so fiercely--and not having the same feeling reciprocated. Before he had faced death on Gresham Field, Iain had been able to bury that need. To use the savage control and discipline his father had made him acquire to bury his feelings for Elizabeth where they could never be found, or disturb him. But something changed that night. Like Pandora’s Box, the long ignored feelings had sprung free from their hiding place, bringing chaos and fury, and a sickness that clung to him. Every thought, every decision was made with a purpose to reunite him with Elizabeth. For the past few days he felt as though every breath he took, was for her. Always her. Only her.
And now, here she was, robbing him of breath and speech, and the brutal self control that hid everything he was. Elizabeth had done this, taken a wild, snarling wolf and turned him into a damnable, drooling lap dog!
Before, the very idea of allowing himself to fall so easily, to be vulnerable to another human being would have sent him lashing out, reeling against feeling anything. Surprisingly, he did not feel angered by the fact that she could have no idea what it was like to lay in bed at night and ache for another, to love only one person on Earth and know she did not feel anything but contempt. Did she know how lonely it was? Could she imagine his guilt, regret, the hatred he held for himself and the actions he had caused twelve years ago? Could she fathom that he, the Mad Marquis, the Aberrant Alynwick could harbor such deep sentiment, a love that would cross oceans of times--lifetimes. A love that would never die?
Would she believe him if he told her all this? If he exposed his feelings to her, and in doing so, expose himself to her ridicule and rejection?
How did one take such hatred and turn it into love? As she stood before him, he pondered that, questioning how he could take something dark and forbidding and make it pure and desirable. He’d give away his fortune, his title, all his earthly possessions for one chance to make Elizabeth see it--his worth. His love.
He didn’t know how to pray. He was not a man of religion and faith, despite his vocation as a Brethren Guardian, but he swallowed hard, closed his eyes and silently plead. 'Please, give me one more chance to earn her forgiveness. Let me love her well, like I should have all those years ago…one more chance at redemption, and I shall do whatever you ask.'
2nd excerpt. Elizabeth has been standing before a looking a glass, in her blindness she is unable to see the woman she has become. Iain has come to her, and this scene is one of the ones I love most with them. It's sexy, and yet, it strips them down, raw and bared (and not in the literal sense!) and you really get a sense of each of their pain, and the struggle within. Iain is struggling not to hide from Elizabeth and his feelings, and Elizabeth is struggling to hid from him, knowing how easy it would be for her to accept him, and forget the past.
Here's a bit of a teaser from this scene...
Her hands, of their own volition slid up along the curve of her hips, hips her gown could not conceal, and over to the rise of her belly, the soft protuberance beneath her corset, and up, to the bodice of her gown.
She felt the curves, sensed a woman’s body, but could not decipher if it was the sort that was becoming to men. Impotent frustration rose like a fury inside her. She was not vain, not at all, but there were times in a woman’s life when she wanted to see her reflection and gaze upon herself, discovering the woman she was. What others saw in her. What she saw in her own eyes while looking upon herself. She had no idea what shone in the looking glass. No sense of identity, or person…
“Wondering what he sees when he looks at you?”
She startled, gasped, nearly screamed until she felt him, the heat of Iain’s chest against her back. The firm grip of his large hands anchoring around her waist as he slowly brought her rigid back to rest against the long length of his body.
“Shall I tell you what he sees? What any man sees.”
“Don’t.” Ooh, her voice sounded breathless and weak, so very unconvincing in her protestation. She thought back to that afternoon, to Lucy and Isabella, and she only felt weaker, thinking of what they had said. What they saw in Iain’s gaze. “Let me be your eyes, Beth.”
The whisper of her name, the name only he used, was at once so arousing and powerful, yet like a sword to the heart. How could one weaken, be aroused, when they were slowly, but effectively being stabbed to death?
“G…get out before you are discovered here. You have no right to come here, none at all!”
“I think I do.”
“Well, you’re wrong.”
“I only wanted to make certain you were safe.”
“And why shouldn’t I be? This is, after all, my home.”
“You are determined to thwart my attempt at being a gentleman.”
“No, to prevent any more lies that spring so easily from your lips.”
His hand was hot, burning through the bodice of her gown. “All right then. The truth. I came up here to find you because I could not stay away.”
Elizabeth snorted, trying to find level footing. “Not likely. You have some other motivation up your sleeve.”
“Perhaps. Maybe its that I want to kiss you again. Want to see your body naked in this mirror, with my hands covering you. I want, Beth” he whispered darkly next to her ear, “to see myself sink so deeply inside you. To watch you accept me.”
“Slowly, penetrating deep, softly, lazily, until the past is gone, purged from us both.”
That, she could not allow. She was not good at hating. Forgiveness and understanding came too easy to her, she feared; and knew it would be all too simple to forgive him for the past. To want to allow him that kiss. Or worse, to wish he would take the decision from her hand, and just take it from her. Yes…that…she had always gravitated to that aspect of him, the dominant part that always knew what she wanted, that wouldn’t allow her to run away in fear.
Swallowing, she gathered her courage to fight him, and her body‘s natural instincts. “I am not at all interested in your kisses, my lord.”
“Are you not?”
How smooth and dark his voice was, whispering into her ear. The man knew she lied. It seemed she couldn’t hide anything from him.
“What of Sheldon’s kisses?” he asked darkly, “are you in interested in his?”
“I don’t see what concern that is of yours.”
“Everything you do concerns me. Everywhere you go, everyone you visit, everything you do…or dream.”
“I have no need of your concern. You may continue in the pursuit of your own vices, and no longer have to involve yourself in anything I’m doing.”
“I’ve been involved in your life, Elizabeth, whether you have noticed it or not, for a very long time.”
She struggled against him, fighting against a warmth that refused to grow cold in his arms. How she wished she could send him on his way, but she was weak and inconstant. The wicked creature who always found him irresistible was much more insistent than the woman of good sense.
“You’ve said your piece, now it is time to leave.”
“Not yet. You haven’t answered my question,” he said quietly, his voice wrapping around her in the dark, “what is your purpose standing here before this mirror?”
“None of your business.” She could not weaken. Could not. “You have no right to know my thoughts.”
“I know it for the truth, that I should never be allowed into your life, that I have no right to assume I should be allowed in. Yet I cannot help but think it is my concern. After all, I have tasted you, have brought you to shuddering climax. My body has been so deeply inside yours. I know you as no man ever has, Elizabeth. We have a connection, and although you want to deny it, to ignore the fact, that the bond between us remains--neglected and dormant, but like a bud in the spring, is awakening beneath the heat.”
“I will never allow you back in.”
He sighed, and Elizabeth felt his chin drop to the juncture of her shoulder and neck. He needed a shave, for his chin was covered in a night beard. The devil slowly brushed his chin against her, abrading her, sensitizing her, and her womb responded with a deep ache of want.
Blast him, not even a kiss, only a small grazing and she was already aching deep inside. She closed her eyes against the knowledge of it, the realization that she was weak and wanton.
“I am already there, aren’t I? Already so deep inside you. Just as deep as you are inside me. The past might lay between us, but there is something there beyond the hurt. Isn’t there?”
She refused to answer. Couldn’t. Didn’t trust herself to speak for fear she might say ‘yes,’, or to even nod in agreement. No man made her surrender, made her give up her control like Alynwick.
“Damn, but you smell so good,” he murmured as his palm, large and firm, moved from her waist and made a slow progression over the rise of her stomach, her ribs, the valley between her breasts where the tips of his fingers toyed with the edges of the bow on her bodice. “I can smell you, the building desire, the struggle within. I remember it from all those years ago, the heady musk of your excitement. The outline of your body before the window. The way it made me feel to look at you, to know you were mine. The way I took you,” his lips brushed softly over her flesh. “The way you gave to me.”
Once before, they had stood like this, in the dark of night, when he had crept into her room. She had been watching for him from her window, and he had silently come up behind her, captured her around the waist and tore off her nightrail and wrapper, rendering her naked to him. He had made love to her like that, her naked and on her knees, her hair fisted in his hand. Him, behind her, fully dressed, breathing hard--exciting her. He had possessed her, and she had allowed him to. Had given him everything she had, and he’d taken it, like a man starved, he had greedily consumed her.
“Tell me what you were searching for, standing before this mirror?”
Shaking her head, Elizabeth pressed her lips together. She refused to answer, to give words to her vulnerability, but he knew…somehow the soulless, callous Alynwick always could read her thoughts…knew what she wanted, what she yearned for her. He proved her correct when he said, “see yourself through my eyes, Beth.”
Coward. Weakling. Silly wanton. No, she could not allow him to show her what she was. She had no wish to see how quickly and easily she could succumb to him.
But oh, god his fingers, hot on the bare flesh of her bosom felt so good. The trembling of them against her, the sweep of his mouth against the bounding pulse of her neck.
It felt too good to resist, and she allowed her head to fall back against him. It had been so long since she had been touched. She’d had so much of him before, his mouth, his hands, his body moving inside hers. And then he had left, abruptly withdrew from her. It had been like a death, her body grieving for what it once had, and no longer did. His touch had been a living thing, a life, and when he had left her, withholding his touch from her, it had been a death. Hers.
How she longed for this in the nights. To be stroked. Held. Caressed. There was nothing to rival a lover’s soft, reverent touch. It had been sacred to her, he had made her body his, a supplicant only too willing to obey with just a touch. And like all masters do with their slaves, he had tossed her aside when her worth was no longer of any value to him.
“You are so beautiful,” his lips moved over her neck, his chin over her sensitive collar bone. “You cannot imagine how lovely, Beth. Every man’s dream. My most wicked, erotic fantasy come to life.”
“No,” she shook her head, protesting not his assessment, but the way she felt herself falling against him, the way her arm rose up over her head to clutch at him. She could not stop the action, could not prevent the tears that started to well behind her closed lids.
So much pain….her heart was aching with it, with the memories of his betrayal. It was mixed with the onslaught of pleasure, so acute, so overwhelming. She was literally trembling with it, her body awakening after years of being cold and dead. It wanted to reach out to him. To live. The inner struggle, it was tearing her apart, and she could do nothing more than rest against him and pray…pray that he would not destroy her once again.
“Let me in, Beth,” he murmured, his voice dark, compelling. “Please…”
Time hung, suspended, the sound of his breathing mingled with her racing pulse.
Please…had he ever asked before? Ever begged?
“Come back to me, Beth, let us find our way back to one another.”
A tear slipped from her eye and she squeezed them shut, struggling with an answer to a question she could not answer without regret. To deny him, and live in regret for the dashed opportunity to feel his exquisite touch, his body loving hers, or to submit, and despise herself forever for her weakness.
“Beth,” he whispered, “I am your slave. Command me to your will, and I will do anything you desire. Anything….”
To stand firm or submit….she struggled with the decision, and from some place deep inside her, she wondered how sweet and heady it would be to surrender, to yield to Iain and the dark, sensual pleasure that awaited her.