Saturday, July 5, 2014

Saturday's Excerpt from The Diva and the Duke by Jackson D'Lynne

Book Blurb:
The Diva and the Duke – Book One of The Three Goddesses Series
When a 21st century diva...
Haven Edwards is a sensual, intelligent, 21st century diva with an “exotic” career. Wanting nothing more than to move past her ugly divorce, she attends an adults only Carnal-val where she’s compelled to steal a strangely glowing pocket watch. Overcome with its power, she winds it. A portal opens beneath her feet, hurtling her back through time to 1817 where she crashes into the life of the very proper, very sexy, Logan Dunham. A duke with a deep distrust of beautiful women, Logan can’t understand his staggering desire for the woman with the quick wit, and jade green eyes—the woman who haunted his dreams long before they met.
…meets a 19th century duke…
Haven is determined to find a way home, but she can’t shake her hunger for the dark, brooding duke. He’s a duke, he’s out of her league, right? So why does her heart beat a little faster whenever he is near? Why does her mind conjure images of happily ever after?
One touch, and they are consumed by their desire. But before they can untangle their feelings for one another, a sociopath with a god complex and a knife fetish sets his evil intents on Haven. In order to save her life, Logan must destroy the demons of his past, and learn to trust a power he doesn’t understand. What happens when he arrives too late? Will the time-swept diva be lost forever, or will the diva get her duke?
…the sparks fly, tempers and passions flare, and two souls touch across time.
The Diva and the Duke is a time-travel, paranormal, Regency suspense filled to the brim with spicy wit, fiery romance, hot sex, humor, and a villain you have to read to believe.


Haven hid behind the bed curtain when the maid brought in a very late dinner, and fought back nervous giggles at the utter craziness of the situation. Not only had she just made earth shattering love to a 19th century duke for the third time, she was ducking behind a silken curtain in order to keep their “indiscretion” a secret from his household staff. If they were in 2013, there wouldn’t be a need for the secrecy—they’d be uncaring about who knew about their intimacies. In 2013, no one cared, it wasn’t their business, everyone had sex, right? In 1817, sex outside of marriage was juicy gossip that could literally turn an entire society on its head. As if no one had affairs. She’d read enough Regency era romance novels to know better.
Struck again by the overwhelming disparities in their times and cultures, she blew a pent up breath. When the bedroom door clicked shut, she let her legs fall from their bunched position behind the curtain.
Logan set the tray of food on a footstool, made his way to the bed, removed his dressing gown, and climbed in.

“God, Haven, your legs are so long, luscious, and as smooth as silk. I can't help but touch them. How are your legs are so sleek?”

A rush of blood through her brain buzzed behind her ears. She couldn’t concentrate on his words when his hands slowly caressed her bare leg.

Smooth? Sleek? She tilted her head, and blinked. It took her a moment to figure out what he meant. When she realized he meant hairless, a loud laugh burst from her. “You mean why aren't they covered in a layer of prickly hair?”

He raised an eyebrow at her, and hesitated before answering. “Covered in hair, yes.”

Women's razors, Nair, cosmetic wax, and other hair removal beauty treatments were commonplace in the 21st century. In 1817, women didn't have the luxury of electrolysis, so unlike the historical romance novel portrayals of sexy, bare legged heroines, realistically, women in Regency England had gams that could double as cacti in stockings.

“Well, in 2013, a woman can go to a dermatologist, a skin doctor, or a special oasis for stressed out women called a spa. At the spa, or dermatologist, you can get a procedure called electrolysis. Using a laser, a beam of concentrated light, they burn out the root of the hair along a targeted area. I had the procedure on my legs. They will never grow hair again.”

Eyes wide, he murmured, “That sounds painful.”

“It’s totally safe, I didn’t feel a thing, but afterward I did get a terrible rash at the top of my right thigh.” She shuddered in pleasure when his hand slid its way from her calf to the very top of her inner thigh.

“Now that’s a shame, but I do appreciate the results,” he drawled low.

Her tummy did a flip-flop when a sexy smile lit up his face. God, this man was too damn gorgeous. “So, how do you still have all your teeth? And they’re pearly white and gleaming clean to boot.” Seemingly inspired by her words, he nipped the sensitive area beneath her right ear which sent delicious shivers through her. He smiled again when his actions elicited a moan.

He furrowed his brow in puzzlement. “Why wouldn't I have all of my teeth, and why wouldn't I take care to keep them clean?”

She giggled. “When you've seen as many photos of Europeans in history books as I have, you'd know the answer.” Laughing again, she smiled. “The running joke in America is that men and women in England are a smile's worst enemy. They don’t care about their oral hygiene, so their teeth are crooked, tinted shades of brown, or missing altogether. Hence my surprise at your perfect teeth. They are white, clean, straight, and all there.”

The smile in question appeared and commenced the stomach flip flops. “That isn’t a fair assumption. That observation cannot possibly be true of all Britons. While I haven't examined my aunt's teeth as I would a horse I was eying at Tattersall’s, I do believe her teeth are still there. She snaps them at me often enough.”

She threw her head back on the pillow and laughed. Rising over her, he looked down at her, his eyes burning black, desire and want etched into every feature.

“I love your laugh. You don’t do it often enough.” His husky voice sent shivers over her quickly warming skin.

Her playful smile transitioned into one of sensual appreciation. How could this man say something so innocuous, and still turn her inside out?

After a long, deep, body humming kiss, Logan’s expression turned contemplative. Was his pensive face ever a good face? Bracing for a sour turn in their sweet interlude, she waited for him to speak.

“Haven, the night of the dinner party, after I’d...ahem...accused you of slashing my mother’s portrait, you said something that didn’t stir my mind until now.”

A low flutter beat against her stomach. “What?” She took a fortifying breath.

“I believe you said you hadn’t “asked to be spied on and creeped out”. What does ‘creeped out’ mean, and who was spying on you?”

She let her breath out with a rush, the flutters in her stomach dying away. Squeezing the bridge of her nose, she paused, unsure of where to start she explained. “Creeped out means I felt uncomfortable, uneasy, because I thought someone was standing outside the powder room waiting for me.” Thinking back to their earlier confrontation over the misplaced, or rather purposely placed glove, she continued, “Apparently, I was right. My glove didn’t get up and walk into the gallery by itself. Someone followed me to the powder room, waited for me to go in, stole my glove, shredded the painting, and then left my glove there as planted evidence.” Fury furled through her like a slow burning blaze. “Who in the hell would do that? What could they possibly gain from framing me? I am nothing, no one.”

Especially to you...

She looked over at him. He sat silently, a quizzical look drawing his brows together.

“Why didn’t you tell me this immediately?” He sounded affronted.

She huffed in frustration. “I tried! When you get on your high horse and are hell bent on cramming someone’s guilt down their throats, there’s no getting through to you. Although, you must have heard some of what I said.”

Chagrin flooded his expression. “I do hear you, Haven,” he said smoothly. When she pinched her expression in disbelief he amended, “I heard you. The words just didn’t fully form in my mind until the heat of the situation cooled.”

She laughed. Their current situation was much hotter than that of their earlier argument.

Much hotter.

Trying to get her mind out of the gutter where it swam amongst debris shaped like rock hard cocks, she bit her lip. When the sharp pain focused her mind, she asked, “Who’d want to slash a painting of your mother, and then blame me? Who would have motive?”

Throwing his legs over the side of the bed, he made to stand up, but turned to her instead. “Honestly, I do not know. My mother didn’t have an enemy in the world. As per her wishes, everyone loved her, would do anything for her, and she thrived on the attention. She would do anything for the adoration.” His voice hitched as the last words rumbled passed his lips. His face darkened, and his eyes turned a smoldering black. A bitter, inky black.

She should tread lightly, change the subject and let the cards fall where they may, but where had that gotten her so far? In a sweltering, loveless hell, that’s where. She wanted out. She wanted to pull out the sledgehammer and smash through the walls he’d erected around his heart, and show him he didn’t have to be bound by the shadows of his past.

So, she swung the hammer. “So you can’t think of anyone who would want to destroy your mother’s portrait? Maybe someone she’d wronged? She can’t have been a saint, no one is.”

“No,” he ground out, “not a saint.”

His voice flattened, and his expression blanked. “She tried to kill me.”

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