His wicked desire could free her...***
Strikingly handsome, wealthy, and accomplished, Brian Donovan has succeeded in everything he puts his mind to—except marriage. Now, as a favor to his former military commander Teddy Roosevelt, Brian is investigating a powerful new weapon invented in the small European country of Eisengau. The task carries prestige, danger, and an enticing complication in the lithe form of Meredith Duncan. With her deliciously candid approach to all things sensual, Meredith is unlike any woman Brian has known. In fact, she wants him to ruin her reputation—and Brian eagerly obliges, initiating a passionate, playful, and wildly erotic affair...
Or enslave her...
A feminist who believes in free love, Meredith has always battled convention. When her parents urge her toward an odious marriage, Meredith turns to the dashing, thoroughly masculine American who could be her only hope of escape. But nothing is as simple as it seems, and as competition to acquire the new weapon turns deadly, two lovers are drawn into a treacherous game where the stakes run as high as their raw, mutual desire, and the greatest risk of all may lie within an untested and all-consuming love...
Brian looked out across the park edging the stables behind the Grand Hotel, Eisengau's greatest hostelry. The great linden trees were heavily leafed for high summer, veiling the horses' quarters. Flowerbeds and stone paths meandered through the garden. The distant hotel was brilliantly lit, with a brass band inside belting out enough dance music to deafen anyone within pistol shot. Beyond it stood the long green ribbon of the waterfront parks and promenade, where Eisengau's finest enjoyed watching their great river.
If he and his girl could get that far, who could stop them?
The trees were very close together here between the stables and the Old Town's streets. Dense enough that nobody inside the hotel could see what was happening in the dark. Unfortunately, this was also where the city's less enchanting prostitutes gathered to ply their trade--as demonstrated by the couple only a few feet away.
The man and woman behind the hotel were hardly paying attention to the magnificent vista, though. Given that the fellow's hands were under the slut's skirts and her hand was in his back pocket--plus their grunts and moans--Brian would wager their motives were less than artistic.
He leaned back against the wall beside his girl, striving to keep a safe face. "They probably won't take long," he said soothingly.
Their pursuers' whistles shrilled again, making her flinch.
How much time did they have before the police caught up? Next to none. Crap.
Her dog growled, making Brian glance down. "Be quiet," he ordered sharply in Gaelic.
The dog's bushy eyebrows drew together but he stayed silent.
"What are you--"
Brian wrapped his arm around her waist and whipped her out of their hiding place. A couple of steps--half dragging, half carrying her--brought them to a separate linden tree from the amorous couple. He backed her against the solid wood, the sweet fragrance sifting around them.
"They'll see us," she hissed.
The police whistle sounded from the alley they'd just left. No time now for long explanations.
He kissed her, slanting his mouth over hers to cover any objections. She had a delicate frame to support all the courage she'd shown and her lungs were still heaving from their desperate race, lifting air into his mouth.
She stiffened. Her hands clawed at him, pushing him away. Her knee came up, hard and fast to unman him, and he blocked it quickly. Pity he couldn't allow her any games now. Steady, milady, steady. Play along with me and they won't take you.
A moment later, her fingers loosened, curved, and curled around the nape of his neck. Her mouth moved to meet his.
Feet ran back and forth, urged on by shouting. He should be concerned about them. But it was hard to worry much, when his girl was warm in his arms at last.