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Tall, Dark and Disreputable
She must make a deal with the devil himself!
Portia Tofton has
always yearned for brooding Mateo Cardea. His dark good-looks
filled her girlish dreams--dreams that were cruelly shattered when
Mateo rejected her hand in marriage.
Now Portia's home
has been gambled away, and Mateo is the only man she can turn to.
This time, however, she has in her possession something he wants--and
she finds herself striking a deal with the devil himself.
ExcerptMateo looked up. "Well, there's no hope for it." he said cheerfully. "I suppose you'll have to come along to Marlborough."
She froze. Her heart fell and she let her skirts follow it to the packed dirt floor.
"You'd meant to leave me behind?" she whispered.
The gathering cloud of ire inside of her must have shown on her face, because he hastened to add, "But only because I can travel more quickly alone."
Speechless, she picked up her skirts again and headed for the door.
He stopped her just as she reached the threshold. "Portia?" He took her arm. "Where are you going?"
"We passed a gunsmith, just down the street," she snapped. "I feel the sudden need to purchase myself a firearm."
His mouth quirked. "Does someone need shooting?"
She jerked her arm from his grasp. "Yes. You--for being a great, irritating lout. And me--for being a great, naive fool."
"Cara, come back." His tone rang smooth and caressing. And also insincere and patronising. She knew he didn't mean anything at all, calling her beloved. She'd heard him use the term with his cousins, with her cousins. She was sure he'd used it once with a scullery maid from her father's kitchens. But she wanted it to mean something when he said it to her. "Surely it cannot be as bad as all that."
He really did need shooting.
"Tell me," he said, stepping closer. "What is the trouble?"
The trouble was that he stood too close yet again. Sensation rippled from the top of her head and took a swirling detour round the front of her, raising her nipples to stiff peaks. She shivered and all the fine hairs on her nape and along her arms stood on end, straining toward him, no doubt.
"The trouble is that I've been silently singing your praises," she grumped.
He grinned. "It doesn't sound so bad."
She crossed her arms in front of her. "It is. All morning I've been thrilled because we were acting as equals in this endeavor. Now I see I was mistaken." She turned away again. "You are no different from any of the men in my family--dismissive and in no way inclined to believe that I have a brain and an idea how to use it."
"No--not so!" he exclaimed. He grabbed her hand as she tried to walk away again. "I was rude, it was true. I am most sorry, Portia. Of course we are equals, just as you asked. Partners in this damned rum."
"Hum," she said. Which was exactly what her body was about, humming, even while her brain was slowing, ceasing to function altogether. Warmth, thick and rich, spiralled from their clasped hands, crawled up her arm and slid downwards, settling low.
But Mateo had grown serious. "Truly--I thought only of speed," he said earnestly. "You must understand, it is very important that we finish this as quickly as possible."
Disappointment nearly choked her. Aghast, she could only marvel at her own stupidity. Of course he wanted to be done and gone quickly. Of course his interest in her was only mild at best. She'd come a distant second to adventure nine years ago. She placed further behind his business interests now.
Mateo reached up and squeezed both her shoulders in what was meant to be a comforting grip. Letting his hands slide, he grasped both her elbows and pulled her close. "Now," he said with a warm smile, "was that all that was bothering you?"
It was the smile that did it. She wished he'd snapped at her. She wished he'd agreed that she was a woman and of no use. But he stood there, smiling that easy, encouraging smile and she couldn't help herself. It blended into all the countless other times he'd teased her, heartened her, made her feel special and alive. Fondness swamped her, along with exasperation and a great flood of hot and molton desire.
"No," she said. She gripped his arms tight, stood on her toes and leaned in until her breasts pressed against the hardness of his chest.
His eyes widened and then darkened. His heart beat against hers, quickening to match the racing tempo of her pulse.
"There's more," she whispered, right before she leaned in further and kissed him.
A wonderful story that will leave you breathless as these two people find happiness and peace.--April at My Book Addiction and More
Tall,Dark and Disreputable is a funny and charming story of two friends finding each other again in the most desperate of times and discovering that there's more than they had hoped for waiting in the other. Portia and Mateo's tale is full of adventure, dubious characters and an attraction that just might singe your fingers if you are not careful. I highly enjoyed this story and would recommend it to anyone looking for historical romance with layers of story and intrique built into it.--Cholla at Long and Short Reviews
A captivating tale . . .--Jennifer Bishop, Romance Reviews Today
Portia knows that Mateo needs to be free. Mateo understands that Portia loves her home and the land she works so hard to landscape. They can't see how they can work ... and they aren't even sure that they trust each other. Watching the two try and sort out these issues while running around Britain on what seems to be a wild goose chase is a ton of fun. I didn't want to put this book down. The pace is fast and the chemistry between Portia and Mateo sizzles off the page.--Cybil Solyn, Rakehell
Marlowe pens another winner full of memorable characters, authentic historic details, lots of action,mystery and passion. Regency historical fans are in for a treat--Maria Ferrer at Romantic Times Book Reviews
A beautifully written tale of two people's struggle for independence
and freedom of choice, Tall, Dark and Disreputable turns into so much
more. Pick up Tall, Dark and Disreputable and follow the journey
of Portia and Mateo not only through the countryside but also through
their emotions. Deb Marlowe is in the driver's seat with Tall,
Dark and Disreputable.