A few years ago, under my other, rather-less-steamy pen name, it won the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart Award for Best Historical Romance, and I couldn’t wait to get it into readers’ hands.
Something held me back, though: I loved the story as it was, but the story WANTED to be hotter…after all, it’s about an innocent governess who pretends to be a courtesan. This year, I finally decided I’d let loose with it and bring the heat that made it work for as a Lara Archer book. And I’m so excited about the way it turned out!!!
Pre-order now at Amazon!
Wanna know what it’s about?
When Rachel Covington’s twin sister Sarah is murdered, revenge requires making the killers believe Sarah’s still alive, so the sheltered governess must take on her twin’s double role as London’s most notorious courtesan and undercover English spy.
Sarah’s former espionage partner, Sebastian Talbot, is assigned to train and protect Rachel, but he seems more interested in vexing her in every possible way. For Sebastian, the mission is a nightmare, a replay of his failure to save Sarah, but with a woman whose unfamiliar innocence threatens to slip past all the barriers of his cynical soul.
Together, they must lure Sarah’s murderers into the open, distinguish loyal agents from traitors, and struggle to trust one another. The slightest misstep may mean Rachel’s death, so Sebastian must help her play her courtesan role convincingly, and that means awakening her long-buried sensuality—a process which threatens both their professional detachment and their surprisingly vulnerable hearts.
Here’s an excerpt, from early in their partnership, when Sebastian first gives Rachel a taste of the power of pleasure:
The one practical thought that came to him involved Miss Covington’s gown. In accordance with Sal’s sophisticated style, it had been fashioned with the more subtle, softly luminous side of the silk showing outwards. That meant the glossier, slicker side turned in against the skin. It was a whore’s dress, worn without a shift and with minimal stays that lifted but did not cover the breasts. He smiled.
That fabric could be a most effective weapon, in the right hands.
He pressed his palm against her breast, shifting it slightly and sliding his thumb so the glossy silk moved along with his stroke, over the taut nub of her nipple. She nearly fell forward into him. Her hands clawed upwards over his back, and gripped the muscles of his shoulders.
Hooking his index finger into her neckline, he kept up the stroking, pressure and silk, flicks and swirls, his other fingers kneading relentlessly, until her fingertips dug into his flesh. She swayed, leaning backwards, head thrown back. Still trailing kisses across her throat, he added his other hand to the subtle torture, claiming her other breast.
Though, blazes, at this point, he itched to tear the damn fabric away entirely, to get his palms against the silk of her flesh itself, and touch her everywhere…. He was hard as a steel rod now. He pressed himself against her, instinctively, alive with the need to lift her skirts and seek out the greater heat he knew he’d find there.
Almost without his conscious intent, his right hand slipped from her breast and skimmed down over her belly, to that enticing V at the very top of her long legs.
The silk slid freely under his hand, against her skin. She gasped, and then moaned again, louder. Her spine bowed, mashing her breasts against his chest. He let his hand play against her, at the joining of her thighs, just the slightest teasing pressure against her sensitive flesh, letting the silk do most of the work.
Chancing a glance at her face, he found her eyes tight closed, her lips open and ripe. Her skin was flushed, deliciously rosy. Her expression half pained, half blissful. On the cusp of new and exhilarating knowledge.
And he’d hardly begun with her yet.
Had no one ever touched her, truly? Never given her even this little taste of pleasure?
Good God, what fools she must have lived amongst.