Ready for a glimpse into Jonas and Livvy’s romance?
Here’s an excerpt (part of Chapter One):
Jonas stood bare-arse naked before a crackling fire, bathwater dripping down his chest. There was no time for a proper dry off. The drapes were stirring in his bed chamber though the window was closed. He snatched velvet breeches off the chair and slipped them on casual as you please —minus his smalls. All his clothes sat in a battered sea chest next to a pair of black boots peeking out beneath blue drapes.
Boots that weren’t his.
With a cautious hand, he lifted his heavy dragoon pistol off the mantel and kept an eye on the scrubby, modest-sized side boots. A lad? Who would want to ambush him here? His coming home to Plumtree should be of no consequence…not after ten years gone.
The village and his grandfather’s stone house hadn’t changed much. Humble, quaint, and cramped. He didn’t belong here. Not anymore. The sooner he took care of matters with his grandfather, the Captain, the sooner he’d be on his way.
But, his first order of business was dispatching the unskilled housebreaker.
“I know you’re hiding behind the curtains,” Jonas said, one hand buttoning his placket. “Show yourself.”
The boots didn’t move. Howls of laughter drifted up from downstairs. Christmas Eve celebrations must be going well in the parlor. The house burst with fresh pine boughs and spiked cider, the green and spicy scents floating everywhere.
“Come now. This is not a night for ill will.”
Housebreaking was a serious crime with grisly consequences. The lad needed some sense knocked into his foolish skull. Jonas padded across the room, his dragoon pistol in an easy hold at his side. Raucous guffaws exploded through the floorboards. Mr. Goodspeak, fine soul that he was, brayed the loudest. Fiddle music played a Yuletide carol in double time while the salty old sailors stomped a bad rhythm. The Captain must’ve shared his best whiskey, the kind that warmed a man as good as a woman.
Weary from a hard day’s ride, he could use a dram. And a woman.
“I’ll count to three.” Jonas padded barefoot across the room. “One…two…”
The drape bulged with the business end of a pistol. Jonas froze. Air nipped him. A slow click sounded, the lad cocking his gun. Jonas’s pulse beat in his ears.
“…thr—” He dropped low and rammed his shoulder into the lad’s mid-section.
“Umph!” The housebreaker grunted and a shiny piece clattered across the floor. A blunderbuss.
Jonas kicked the weapon backward. Fists pummeled his back as white hot pain shot up from his toes. A black boot mashed his foot.
“Enough,” he growled, hoisting the lad over his shoulder.
His foot throbbing, Jonas spun away from the window. Cloth ripped overhead. The drapes and rod crashed down on their heads. Whoops and hollers rang through the house. The Captain and his cronies had to be deep in their cups not to hear this scuffle. Jonas knocked the wool off his face as the housebreaker kicked and…squealed. He squinted at the bottom wiggling on his shoulder, and the split second cost him. A knee jabbed his ribs.
“Oomph!” His gun slipped, and the brass buttcap hammered his already aching toes. Air hissing through clenched teeth, Jonas hop-stepped to the bed. “Stop!” he bellowed and landed all his weight on the lad.
The bed frame quaked from the assault. The housebreaker sunk into the down mattress, fighting hard. Jonas drove his head into the criminal’s chest, and two mounds pressed his face. Soft, round, and jiggling. A slow smile formed against the wool. He was nose deep between sizeable breasts—a fine pair as breasts go swathed in old drapes.
“Well, bugger me.”
The housebreaker wheezed. “I’d…rather…you get off me!”
Eyes wide, Jonas rolled sideways and clamped his thigh across her thrashing legs. The woman’s mouth gaped behind wool like a caught fish. She flopped like one too. A feminine hip squirmed at the juncture of his thighs. Fingers clawed the curtain. His midnight visitor tussled fiercely with the drape, the bed ropes creaking madly beneath her.
“Shhh. Let me uncover you,” he said, staying her busy hands.
“So you can shoot me?”
“No. So you can breathe easy.” He paused, his grip on her wrists full of authority. “We can stay like this all night, or you can trust me. It’s your choice.”
Yellow firelight danced across waves of mussed bed sheets. Land-locked sailors sang off-key below stairs. Music pitched fast and high from the parlor, but the storm on his mattress calmed. Tautness in the wrists he held eased a fraction. The housebreaker lay stiffly against him, smelling oddly of…vinegar.
She panted against the drape. “You call those choices?”
“Best I can do for a woman who pointed a pistol at me.”
Jonas’s blood pumped with satisfaction. His lush, midnight visitor was at his mercy. Bit by bit, her breathing slowed behind blue wool. She grumbled, but her body went lax against him. He grinned, liking her pliant, surrendered. The skirmish was over.
“Well?” she said, her hip shifting against his ballocks. “Aren’t you going to get this off me?”
Copper-hued hair shined through a tear in the cloth. The woman in his bed was a gift trussed in cloth, excitement in his otherwise dull Christmas Eve homecoming. It was time he unwrapped his present. Jonas stuck a finger in the hole and yanked. Threads snapped, showing bold brown eyes staring at him through tangled hair. With the hole wider, he ripped the drape with both hands all the way to the soles of her black boots.
A pretty mouth opened wide and sucked fresh air. “Thank you.”
His comely housebreaker lay dressed in homespun breeches and a plain shirt open at the neck. A gentleman’s faded bottle green coat flopped wide as she brushed hair off her face. Exquisite breasts free of a corset, shift, and waistcoat ruined the mannish disguise. Cambric stretched across dainty nipples at the center of curves flattened as nature would have it when a woman was on her back. The siren’s chest rose and fell with alluring rhythm, the sight striking him speechless.
“Did you get your fill?” She snapped her coat shut and laughed. “Welcome home, Jonas Bacon Braithwaite.”