His heart may be the last thing she ever steals . . .
Marlowe is a pickpocket, a housebreaker—and a better actress than any professional on the stage. She runs with the Covent Garden Cubs, a gang of thieves living in the slums of London’s Seven Dials. It’s a fierce life, and Marlowe has a hard outer shell. But when she’s alone, she allows herself to think of a time before—a dimly remembered life when she was called Elizabeth.
Maxwell, Lord Dane, is intrigued when his brother, a hired investigator, ropes him into his investigation of the fiercely beautiful hellion. He teaches her to navigate the social morass of the ton while his brother attempts to confirm her true identity. But Marlowe will not escape so easily. Instead, Dane is drawn into her world of danger and violence, where the student becomes the teacher and love is the greatest risk of all.
“While I do not usually object to a woman in this position,” Dane said quietly, “I must confess something about the dagger between your lips is less than romantic.”
Marlowe reached for the dagger, but he was faster, grasping her hands and pinning them at her side. She lost her balance and settled on top of him, and he pushed her down so that she would fall forward if she tried to swing her legs out from under her.
“What, exactly, are you doing?”
She couldn’t answer, not with the dagger in her mouth, and she shook her head, shaking her arms to indicate she wanted to be freed from his hold.
“What’s the matter? Can’t speak with a knife between your lips? Hazard of your profession, I assume.” He began to rise, sliding her along his body, as he did so. Even beneath the layers of bedclothes, she could feel the strength and power of him. His hands, remarkably strong, held hers at her sides. Nothing she did would free them. He was far too strong. It was times like this she hated being a woman. Gideon would have freed himself easily. He was also tall enough that he wouldn’t have needed to climb onto the bed.
When the swell was sitting, with Marlowe conveniently in his lap, he leaned forward so his face was inches from hers. “Drop the knife.”
She wanted to tell him it was a dagger, a subtle but important distinction, but she couldn’t speak and hold on to her weapon. And she couldn’t think very well with her body pressed against his. Something about their positions made her skin tingle and her belly flutter. She should want to pull away. Instead, she fought the urge to push closer, to rock against him. What the bloody hell was wrong with her?
“Drop the knife or I’ll take it.”
She laughed. Just let him try.
To her surprise, he leaned closer, his lips moving so near to hers she could smell his breath. Like the rest of him, it smelled clean. She was so intent upon smelling his breath, so intent upon the heat of his body pulsing against hers, she forgot to move her head back, and she jolted in shock when his lips touched hers. What was he doing? Kissing her?
But then his teeth flashed and closed on the dagger’s blade, and she reacted too slowly. He yanked it from her mouth, and she had no choice but to let it go or risk the blade cutting the corners of her sensitive flesh.
“Bastard!” she yelled. He released her hands then, allowing the dagger to drop into one of his. She swung at him, and her fist collided with a satisfying thunk against his cheek. But her satisfaction was short-lived as he recovered easily and flipped her over. Suddenly, she was beneath him on the bed, and all the warmth from the bedclothes and his body were covering her. She bucked immediately, trying to throw him off, but he was solid and heavy, and when his hands grasped her wrists and pinned them to the pillow, she knew she was trapped.
Shana Galen is the bestselling author of passionate Regency romps, including the RT Reviewers’ Choice The Making of a Gentleman. Kirkus says of her books, “The road to happily-ever-after is intense, conflicted, suspenseful and fun,” and RT Bookreviews calls her books ” lighthearted yet poignant, humorous yet touching.” She taught English at the middle and high school level off and on for eleven years. Most of those years were spent working in Houston’s inner city. Now she writes full time. She’s happily married and has a daughter who is most definitely a romance heroine in the making. Shana loves to hear from readers, so send her an email or see what she’s up to daily on Facebook and Twitter.