Sep 2 2016 11:00am
The Rebel Heir: Exclusive Excerpt
Lady Evangeline Green is living a lie. To please her family, she masquerades as the perfect debutant...until she meets the wickedly charming Lord Crosby. With him, there are no rules. She's finally free to do as she desires-but freedom comes with a price, and Lord Crosby is not what he seems...
Ash is not Lord Crosby. He's a con artist, a noble Spare Heir living off his silver tongue. When the Green family ruined his, he swore he'd make them pay, and he never doubted his devotion to revenge...until he met Evangeline. Now, caught in a web of lies, torn between duty and desire, what's a con to do but deceive all of London and steal the one lady who dared match wits with the devil himself?
Get a sneak peek at Elizabeth Michels's The Rebel Heir (available September 6, 2016) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.
“An evening of poetry,” Evangeline said just loud enough that he would hear her above the chatter of the crowd. “I’m sure you looked forward to this event all day.”
“I did.” Lord Crosby’s rough voice whispered in her ear, sending a shiver down her spine that she fought to suppress. “I clutched the invitation to my heart and sighed. Rather wistfully, I might add.”
“The invitation you never received,” she clarified.
“Yes, that invitation.” He chuckled, his clear blue eyes sparkling with humor.
“Sometimes there is a high price to be paid for your risk- taking.”
“And poetry is that price tonight.” The corner of his mouth quirked up as he looked at her. “In truth, I happen to be fond of a good verse.”
“Really?” she asked in surprise. “It makes most gentlemen—”
“Want to curse? It could be much worse.”
She sighed. “You’re impossible.”
“That sounds plaus- ible.” He drew out the last two syllables and flashed a wide grin.
She shouldn’t encourage him; really she shouldn’t. But then she did. “Are you certain the poetry won’t make you cry? Then I’d be forced to cheer you with pie.”
“I’m simply pleased to be seated, pressed against your thigh,” he whispered so that only she could hear before nodding to the front of the room with bright eyes. “Look, it appears to be starting.” He sat back in his seat with a smug grin. Under the guise of stretching to get comfortable, he pressed his powerful thigh against hers.
Heat seared down the outside of her leg and spread to all her limbs. She should scoot away, but there was no place to scoot. And shameful as it was, she didn’t truly want to move away from him. She didn’t want to move at all.
Chancing a glance to the side, she saw that Lord Crosby’s gaze was focused ahead as if he had not a care for how he was affecting her. The thin weight of the silk gown she wore did little to separate his skin from hers. She shouldn’t think about such things. It was improper to notice the muscular build of the scoundrel at one’s side. She blinked, turning back to the front of the room as well.
But then Evangeline darted her eyes back in Lord Crosby’s direction. This time her movement drew his attention.
“What?” He mouthed before nodding toward the podium. “Poetry.” Then he added another overeager nod as he grinned at her, clearly knowing how irritating he was and relishing every second of her discomfort.
She was the very image of a polite lady, but images could be misleading. She pulled her arm up and shoved her elbow into his ribs. That would show him! Only she was the one to flinch as her elbow connected in just the wrong fashion with one of the metal buttons on his waistcoat.
A sharp stab of pain shot up her arm. She squeezed her eyes shut and curled her arm in close to her body. In the next second, warm male hands were wrapped around her arm. She opened her eyes but only saw swimming shapes for a moment while her eyes watered a bit from the impact. She didn’t need to see, however, to know that Lord Crosby was pulling her arm back toward him, holding her elbow gently in his hands.
Her gaze cleared in an instant as she searched around them for watchful eyes. But with the wall at their backs, they were all but alone and Lord Crosby clearly knew it.
He silently tugged her glove down to investigate the damage to her elbow, while the lady at the front of the room spoke of flowers or pirates or something. Evangeline wasn’t listening. He searched her skin until he found the center of the radiating pain where she’d collided with his button. Without a word between them, he began rubbing away the hurt. Slowly, she turned to look at Crosby.
For the first time, she wasn’t able to find a trace of humor about his eyes. “Are you all right?” he whispered, concern drawing his brows together until there was a small line between them.
She nodded but was unsure if that was true since she couldn’t pull her gaze from his. What was she doing? This was not how the evening was to transpire— hip to hip with a mysterious and not marriage- minded gentleman as he touched her. And yet she didn’t want it to end.
He continued to rub gentle circles around her elbow, relaxing the muscles that had tensed there. The tenderness of his movements opposed everything she thought she knew of this man. Everything about him fairly screamed, Guard your heart! She knew better than to allow him to touch her. She knew better than to let the touching continue after the pain in her elbow receded. She certainly knew better than to allow him to pull her glove farther down her arm and draw shapes over the sensitive bare skin on the inside of her forearm with his fingers. But with a thrill of rebellion, she allowed him to touch her, even silently begged him not to stop.
If she so much as flinched, the moment would be gone. The thought of facing the remainder of the evening without the warmth of his leg against hers, or the tickle of his fingers moving against her skin was an awful fate.
Time only moved in the front of the room where poetic words were spoken by a variety of ladies. In their little corner, there were only the two of them and her awareness of the gentle, yet life- roughened hands that drew swirling lines down her arm toward her wrist.
Wrapping her fingers within his, he pulled her arm toward him and rested it on his leg.
Her breathing quickened and her eyes darted to his, watching him, waiting for his next move.
Copyright © 2016 by Elizabeth Michels.
Learn more about or order a copy of The Rebel Heir by Elizabeth Michels, available September 6, 2016:
Elizabeth Michels grew up on a Christmas tree farm in rural South Carolina. After tip-toeing her way through school with her focus on ballet steps and her nose in a book, she met a boy and followed him a thousand miles away from home to Kansas City, Missouri, before settling down in North Carolina. She attended Park University where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BA in Interior Design. Elizabeth is a lover of happily-ever-afters; she invites you to read her stories, get lost, and enjoy.