Sunday Spotlight is a new feature we’re running in 2016. Each week, we will spotlight a release that we’re excited about. We’ll be posting exclusive excerpts and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂
The Earl Takes All is the second book in the Hellions of Havisham series by Lorraine Heath and it is the book that I was dreading coming out at the same time that I was anxious for it to come out. You see, the lead up to this book kind of shocked me cause an author went there. She killed her darling and when we first meet these characters, I was like “Oh shit, this is some forbidden business right here!” but then you keep reading and you’re torn.
The wait for this book still had me torn on how I would feel about what I know is going to happen. I knew that it was going to be a whopper of a story and more than anything, I couln’t wait.
The Earl Takes All (Hellions of Havisham #2) by Lorraine Heath
Releases on April 26, 2016 by Avon
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One summer night, Edward Alcott gives in to temptation and kisses Lady Julia Kenney in a dark garden. However, the passion she stirs within him is best left in the shadows as she weds his twin, the Earl of Greyling. But when tragedy strikes, to honor the vow he makes to his dying brother, Edward must pretend to be Greyling until the countess delivers her babe.
After her husband returns from a two-month sojourn, Julia finds him changed. Bolder, more daring, and more wicked—even if he does limit their encounters to kisses. With each passing day, she falls more deeply in love.
For Edward the embers of desire sparked on that long-ago night are quickly rekindled. He yearns to be her husband in truth. But if she discovers his ruse, she will despise him—and English law prevents him from marrying his brother’s widow. Yet he must dare to risk everything and reveal his secrets if he is to truly take all.
He pretends to be her dead husband y’all! Her dead freaking husband!!
I can’t even…
Sitting in a plush chair near the fire, she set her feet on a low stool and curled her toes. Unfurled them, thought of the callused hands that had stroked her with such surety, as though he’d rubbed her feet a thousand times before, when he’d never once performed that intimate and luxurious service for her. She imagined those abraded hands skimming over all of her, how marvelous the different textures would feel, what a very different experience it might be. She rather hoped they wouldn’t go completely soft before they made love again.
Hearing the click of the door opening, she looked over to see her husband stride in with two wineglasses dangling between the fingers of one hand and two wine bottles caught in the other. He staggered to a stop and stared at her, his gaze running the length of her as though he’d never before seen her in a nightdress and wrap. Perhaps it was simply that her condition was not as disguised as when she wore a dress. Self-consciously she tugged on the sides of her wrap, trying to close it over her belly and breasts, but it refused to cooperate. “I’ve become huge while you were away.”
“No, not at all.” With his elbow, he closed the door before bringing the wine and glasses over and setting them on the small table before the sofa. She could see now that one was a bottle of red, the other white. “Our guests were completely understanding, and the servants should be bringing our dinner any moment now. I thought we might enjoy a spot of wine while we waited.”
“I’m not convinced spirits are good for the babe.”
He suddenly looked incredibly uncomfortable, as though he’d forgotten about her condition. “You’re absolutely right. Not certain what I was thinking.”
“No reason you can’t indulge.”
He wasted no time pouring red into a glass, lifting it toward her in a salute before taking a sip and walking to the fireplace. He looked at the fire, darted a quick glance to her, and returned his gaze to the fire as though not quite sure what to do with his eyes. “How are your feet?”
“Much better. It helped I think to change into something not quite so confining. Since it was to be only the two of us here, I didn’t think formality was required.”
“Of course it’s not.”
Shoving herself to her feet, she was grateful the swelling had dissipated completely and she was able to glide toward him without any limping or discomfort. She couldn’t be completely certain, but it appeared he’d ceased breathing as she neared. “You should be as comfortable,” she murmured, taking his glass from that marvelous hand that had touched her so intimately and placing the wineglass on the mantel.
Slipping her hands beneath the opening of his unbuttoned jacket, she glided them over his shoulders, tugging off his coat. “You’ve broadened a bit while you were away.”
“Trekking through the wilds is strenuous work.”
The jacket began to fall. She caught it before it hit the floor and tossed it onto the nearest chair. Slowly, she freed the buttons of his black waistcoat. “Your skin is darker.”
“The African sun is harsh.”
She lifted her gaze to his. “I could always tell you and Edward apart because he wasn’t nearly as fair as you. Did you blister when you arrived? ”
She eased off the waistcoat, pitched it onto the jacket. Lowering her gaze, she began unknotting his neck cloth.
“Julia, I’m not certain this is wise.”
She gave him a speculative look. “To be comfortable?”
“To tempt me.”
A thrill shot through her. Yes, they were in mourning, yes, sorrow radiated from him, but she still had power over him. She flung the neck cloth aside and cupped his face between her hands, her fingers dancing along the back of his neck. “I missed you so much.”
She tilted his head down, rose up on her toes and planted her mouth on his. His arm snaked around her, drew her nearer. His tongue slid between her lips as he adjusted the angle and took the kiss deeper. She fairly melted against him.
Hunger. Urgency. A compelling need. They were all there. In him. In her. As though death hovered nearby, waiting, as though with enough passion and desire they could ward it off. A low growl vibrated through his chest, shimmered through her breasts, which were flattened against the linen of his shirt.
The heat between them intensified. His hands traveled over her back, her hips, cupped her backside, pressed her ever closer. The hard rigid length of him pushed against her belly, driving her mad with want and desire. It had been so long, too long. Once they knew she was with child, he’d insisted they refrain from any intimacy for fear his ardor might cause her to lose the child. Oh, he’d kissed her, held her, stroked her on occasion, but not like this. Not with this fierce need. She wasn’t certain what they’d shared had ever been as primal as this—as though he’d returned from his travels uncivilized, in need of taming.
I’m not going to lie. I already read this book and I am so on board for this book to be this week’s Sunday Spotlight because it was a damn good story. The angst was high, the romance was completely believable (I know, right?) and overall, it was a solid effort from Lorraine Heath.
We’re going to be alright because Edward is everything. 🙂
Hellions of Havisham Series
Giveaway: We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for one of March’s features.
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Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re excited for this year!
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Lorraine Heath has always had a soft spot for emotional love stories. No doubt because growing up, watching movies with her mom, she was taught that the best movies “won’t half make you cry.”
She is the daughter of a British beauty (her mom won second place in a beauty contest sponsored by Max Factor® during which she received a kiss from Caesar Romero–Joker on the original Batman TV series) and a Texan who was stationed at Bovingdon while serving in the air force. Lorraine was born in Watford, Hertfordshire, England, but soon after moved to Texas. Her “dual” nationality has given her a love for all things British and Texan, and she enjoys weaving both heritages through her stories.
When she received her BA degree in psychology from the University of Texas, she had no idea she had gained a foundation that would help her to create believable characters—characters that are often described as “real people.” Her novels have appeared on bestseller lists, including USA Today, Waldenbooks, and most recently, the New York Times.