I've always loved enemies-to-lovers books. They're the types of stories where the hero and heroine say, "I hate you, I hate you, dammit why can't I stop thinking about you?!" and I can't get enough. I love it all from the banter to the tension to the satisfaction of finally seeing the heroine and heroine grow as they change their minds about one another and admit they're falling in love. The Taste of Temptation is one of those books, and today I'm happy to share with you another early excerpt ahead of the book's February 5th release date!
Let's jump right in and find out what why our heroine hates our hero so much.
CAROLINE’S EVERY NERVE tingled with excitement as the curtain fell, the first act ending to thunderous applause. Despite her initial interest in the play, she’d hardly heard the actors’ words. Her whole focus had been on the man sitting a few rows behind her.
She could practically feel his gaze bearing down on her, and it took everything she had not to squirm in her seat at the thought of him memorizing every inch of her bare shoulders. Madeline had twisted her hair up off of her neck and pinned it high, as was the fashion in London that season, and she wore only a simple strand of pearls for adornment.
She toyed with the necklace, a gift from her father in happier times, and quietly followed Michael and Elsie out to the lobby. As she walked, her eyes darted around, searching for the gentleman who’d sat in her seat. When she finally spotted him standing with two glasses of wine, she couldn’t suppress her smile.
He inclined his head as he handed Elsie and her a glass each. “A bit of refreshment, as promised.”
“In the confusion before the performance, I was unable to effect an introduction,” said Elsie, taking up a glass. “I’m Elsie Burkett and this is my husband, Michael Burkett. His sister, Miss Caroline Burkett, has just joined us from London.”
“London’s loss is Edinburgh’s gain,” said the man.
“Thank you, sir,” she said, dipping a little curtsy.
“My name is Jonathan Moray.”
“Not Mr. Moray of the Lothian Herald-Times?” Michael cut in before Caroline could speak.
Champagne nearly slopped onto her gloves as she reeled back. He was a newspaperman? No.
“And the New Town Tattler,” said the man with a sip of champagne so casual one would have thought he hardly noticed that the air between them had soured.
Already her initial rush of attraction had been replaced by a far more powerful emotion: disgust. It was a black, flinty anger, hardened from the white-hot rage she’d harbored against all the people who’d turned her life into nothing but a circus. The cruel ones lobbed accusations at her, conveniently forgetting that Julian had been the one who acted dishonorably. The kinder ones had described her as pitiful, weak, and broken until she began to wonder for a time if it was true.
And then there were the dreadful names. One newspaper had called her the Jilted Juliet. Another had dubbed her the Forgotten Fiancée.
She was none of those things. Instead, she was a woman who was tired of cowering. She was going to fight for her peace, and if Moray did not leave her alone he would be the first man to feel the fierceness of her finely honed fury.
“Mr. Moray,” she said, drawing herself up to her full, if diminutive, height. “Is the New Town Tattler the kind of paper I suspect it is?”
“Caroline,” Michael warned. But her brother knew nothing of her life in London these past two years. He didn’t have the right to censure her.
“I’m happy to answer the lady’s questions,” said Moray. “What do you suspect my paper to be?”
“A gossip rag.”
His mouth twisted. “The New Town Tattler is a society paper that reports on social news pertinent to the people of this city, if that’s what you mean.”
“And what of London?” she asked archly.
“From time to time, when a story merits it. Enough of Scottish society spends some part of the season in London.”
“Then you’re aware of who I am.” It was a statement, not a question.
“Yes,” he said.
“And you’ll understand why I have no interest in forming an acquaintance with you.” She picked up her skirts, ready to turn and flounce off triumphantly.
“Running away?” asked Mr. Moray, freezing her where she stood. “I’d hoped for more spirit from you.”
She dropped her skirts and held his gaze. If he thought she could be bullied with jabs and jests, he was about to be sorely disappointed. No one survived twenty-six years living under her mother’s roof without developing a skin as thick as an elephant’s hide.
“The only thing you need to know about me, Mr. Moray, is that I don’t run,” she said.
You can preorder The Taste of Temptation now to make sure you get it sent to your eReader as soon as it's available on February 5th! Just click on your favorite retailer link.