Blue Eyed Devil
New York Times Bestseller
March 25, 2008, St. Martin's Press
"Blue-Eyed Devil" is the story of the charming, volatile and ambitious Hardy Cates, who is determined to carry out his private revenge against the Travis family. Haven is the rebellious Travis daughter who struggles against her overpowering attraction to the most dangerous man in town. But when Hardy crashes a Travis family wedding, the heiress and the bad boy uncover an explosive chemistry that neither of them can deny. Hardy Cates is an unscrupulous rascal, but now he's trying to clean up his act. He is looking for the perfect society wife, the kind of woman Haven Travis could never be. Having once been burned by a love affair gone wrong, Haven vows to stay far away from the sexy heartbreaker. However, Haven discovers that the temptation of a blue-eyed devil is hard to resist. And then when a menace from Haven's past appears, Hardy may be the only one to save her...
In this scene, Haven Travis seeks comfort from her fiancé Nick Tanner. They are attending a family wedding at the Travis mansion:
To my relief, I saw the familiar outline of Nick’s head and shoulders near the dark arched doorway that led to the dine-in wine cellar. He had gone through the small wrought-iron gate and left it ajar. It looked like he was heading into the vault, which was lined with oak barrel stays that sweetened the air. I figured Nick must have gotten tired of the crowds and had come early to meet me. I wanted him to hold me. I needed a moment of peace in the middle of all the cacophony.
Skirting around the dining table, I went to the wine cellar. The gate closed behind me with a smooth clack. Reaching for the light switch, I flipped it off and went into the cellar.
I heard Nick mutter “Hey—”
“Just me.” I found him easily in the darkness, giving a low laugh as my palms slid over his shoulders. “Mmmn. You feel nice in a tux.”
He started to say something, but I tugged his head down until my half-open mouth skimmed the edge of his jaw. “I missed you,” I whispered. “You didn’t dance with me.”
His breath caught, and his hands came to my hips as I wobbled a little in my high heels. The wine-sweet air filled my nostrils, and something else . . . the scent of male skin, fresh like nutmeg or ginger . . . a sun-warmed spice. Exerting pressure on the back of his neck, I urged his mouth to mine, finding softness and heat, the tang of champagne melting into the intimate taste of him.
One of his hands traveled up my spine, coaxing out a shiver, a sweet shock, as the warmth of his palm met my bare skin. I felt the strength of his hand, and the gentleness, as it closed over my nape and tilted my head back. His mouth barely grazed mine, more a promise of a kiss than an actual one. I made a little sound at the brush of his lips and kept my face upturned, straining for more. Another lush descent, a dizzying pressure as he opened my mouth with his. He reached deeper, his tongue finding ticklish places that drew a shivering laugh from my throat.
I tried to curl around him, holding him with my arching body. His mouth was slow and searching, the kisses hard at first, then loosening as if unraveling from their own heat. The pleasure thickened, hard flushes rising through me, bringing the desire to full-slip ripeness. I wasn’t aware of moving backward, but I felt the frame of the tasting table high against my bottom, the sharp edge digging into my flesh.
Nick lifted me with astonishing ease until I sat on the chilled table. He took my mouth again, longer, deeper, while I tried to catch his tongue, tried to draw him as far inside as possible. I wanted to lie back on the table, an offering of aching flesh on sterile marble, and let him do anything he wanted. Something had been cut loose in me. I was saturated with excitement, drunk with it, and part of it was because Nick, who always seemed so in control, was fighting for self-restraint. His breath came in ragged puffs, his hands gripping my body.
He kissed my throat, tasting the thin, susceptible skin, his lips stroking the throb of my pulse. Panting, I slid my hands up to his hair, so soft and thick, layers of heavy silk in my palms.
Not at all like Nick’s.
A cold shot of horror went down to my stomach. “Oh God.” I was barely able to force the words out. I touched his face in the darkness, encountering hard, unfamiliar features, the scrape of shaven bristle. The corners of my eyes stung, but I wasn’t sure whether the imminent tears were caused by embarrassment, anger, fear, disappointment, or some unholy combination of all of them. “Nick?”
My wrist was caught in a powerful hand, and his mouth dragged softly over the insides of my fingers. A kiss burned the center of my palm, and then I heard a voice so smoky and deep I would have sworn it belonged to the devil.