The Rebel Heir
The Spare Heirs, #2
Author: Elizabeth Michels
Pubdate: September 6th 2016
The Spare Heirs Society Cordially Invites You to Meet Ash Claughbane: The Imposter
Lady Evangeline Green is living a lie. To please her family, she masquerades as the perfect debutante…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 Greens ruined his family, 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?
Hi, everyone! Let’s play a game! Since deception is a key ingredient in THE REBEL HEIR, the second book in my Spare Heirs series, I thought it would be fun to play two truths and a lie. Can you guess which fact isn’t true about me? Good Luck!
Fact 1.) The Tragic Snow Angel Incident.
One winter I took a trip with my family to the mountains of North Carolina. While we were there being cozy in front of the cabin’s stone fireplace on the top of a mountain, there was a snow storm and we woke up to 18 inches of snow. For a southern girl, that’s pretty exciting. So I was out the door that morning with a smile on my face. Spying an area that was untouched by footsteps, I knew I wanted to make a snow angel!
I closed my eyes and fell backward, ready to meet a cold pillow at my back. Instead, the surface crunched as it swallowed me whole. Minutes later I was still sprawled on the gravel drive, looking up from a person shaped hole in the snow much like when a cartoon character jumps out a window and only that section of glass breaks. As it turns out, snow isn’t that soft. And that’s how I broke my tailbone—in a tragic snow angel incident.
Fact 2.) The Hair Debacle.
When my husband was in college, I had many different jobs. He went to Clemson University, (Go Tigers!) which is in the small town of Clemson, South Carolina. Needless to say jobs in my field of interior design weren’t plentiful. I tried many different paths during that period of time from measuring people for a weight loss company, to managing a plumbing parts showroom, I tried it all. But the worst of my jobs, in my opinion, was when I sold hair to bald men.
I managed a local branch office of a toupee company. Men would come into the salon and have their hair glued down every few weeks and leave with luxurious heads of hair. I was in charge of an inventory of hundreds of toupees and the staff who administered the glue. And the worst part of this? I was fired for improper filing of hair pieces. It was quite the hair debacle.
Fact 3.) The Glitter Fiasco.
I’m a huge fan of sparkly things. Years ago, I took my fondness for bedazzling to the next level with the help of an author friend when we started adding a bit of sparkle to the lives of our friends at writer conferences. Some may refer to it as Glitter Bombing hotel room doors at 3 am, but I like to think of it as spreading cheer—lots of glittery cheer. *grins*
At a conference last year, armed with glittery confetti and a roll of scotch tape, we slipped out the door. Two doors into spreading cheer around the conference hotel, we paused at a long, narrow table opposite the hotel elevator doors. We knew that our next friend was still awake and we needed to get in and get out as quickly as possible. To get ready, we looped pieces of tape around our fingers and stuck them to confetti for the door. There we were, each with ten pieces of sticky paper on our fingers and bags of glitter on the table in front of us when a member of the housekeeping staff walked around the corner carrying an armful of towels. We froze. She pressed a button on the elevator.
Always a quick thinker, my friend picked up the only thing other than our bags of glitter and confetti on the table—the telephone receiver.
She pushed the button to hang up, but kept the phone to her ear, never saying a word. We had no reason to be standing there at 3 am, shoulder to shoulder, staring at the blank wall opposite the elevators. And the lady’s elevator simply refused to arrive.
Had it been 3 minutes? 10? Would the silence ever end?
Fighting back laughter, I turned to my friend. “They’re not answering?”
My friend had been poised with the phone to her ear for longer than could be considered normal. Still, silence. Finally the elevator arrived, the doors opened, closed again, and we ran. Anxious to get away from the scene of the crime, we tore into the bag of glitter faster than we’d intended, leaving a HUGE pile of glittery confetti on the floor outside our friend’s door. And that was when hotel security arrived...
We were escorted off the property, still in our pajamas and with glittery evidence covering our hands. And that’s how I was arrested for being too sparkly, as well as banned for life from a major hotel chain. It was a complete glitter fiasco.
His heart beat beneath Evangeline’s hand.
“Ash, this is dangerous— whatever is happening here…”
“I know.” He grinned the wicked grin of a swindler about to steal the prize. “Say that you enjoy it as much as I do, Evie. Admit that you like breaking your rules with me.”
“They aren’t my rules,” she said.
“Then why follow them?”
She swallowed and looked up at him. “I make poor decisions on my own.”
“I disagree,” he said, still holding her close. He toyed with the hair that fell over her shoulder.
“I haven’t thrown you from my bedchamber. I’m certain that’s a poor decision.”
“That’s a matter of opinion,” he said with a grin. “What’s your opinion? What do you want, Evie?”
You, her heart screamed, but her mouth refused to form the word. Her gaze dropped back from the depths of his eyes to his lips. He was so close, and yet he only touched her hair and held her hand to his chest. It would be so easy to rise to her toes and show him what she wanted. And yet it wasn’t easy at all.
“You think I haven’t noticed that you’ve been staring at my mouth since I arrived?”
“I have not…” She began to disagree, but it would have been a lie and he knew it.
“Say that you want me to kiss you, Evie.”
“I would never…” she began, but fell silent.
“Tell me you want me. Say the words and I’ll kiss you.”
Evangeline’s lips parted, but she said nothing.
“Say, ‘I want your lips on mine, Ash.’ That’s all you have to do. I could show you so many things, Evie. Do you want me to? Say the words.”
Her breathing came out harsh as her heart pounded in her chest. How was he making her so unsettled simply with words?
“I could bring you so much pleasure, Evie. Do you want me to touch you? To truly touch you? If you asked me, I would fit your breasts into the palms of my hands just like this.” His hand hung in the air over her breast, close enough that she could feel the heat of his skin through her night rail. “Then I would lower my mouth to take your nipple between my teeth, tugging at your polished exterior until the real Evie pulled me closer. I would take your breast into my mouth and with my tongue…” He sighed, dropping his hand away from her. “But you have to tell me you want it.”
“Ash,” she whispered, already missing the heat of him close to her skin.
“There’s a world out there that you could experience. All you have to do is stop hiding and tell me what you want.”
It wasn’t that simple, was it? She opened her mouth, unsure how to speak of her own desires. She never talked that way, not like Ash was able to do. But the truth was, she did want him to kiss her. She wanted everything about this man. That was also the trouble. She couldn’t be trusted to speak— not just now. “I…”
He grinned and brushed a strand of hair from her face, placing a kiss on the top of her head as he did. “You’re almost there. Just a few more words. Perhaps you need more encouragement.”
“No.” She took two steps backward until her heels bumped the wall. “I- I’m quite…”
“Evie, has anyone ever spoken to you this way?” He took slow steps to close the gap between them.
“No,” she breathed.
“Do you like it when I do?” He grinned down at her as if he could hear all the thoughts she was too afraid to voice aloud. “I think you do. Do you want me to continue?”
“Do I have to say that as well?” she asked.
“No. I’ve learned in my line of work that it’s sometimes necessary to give someone a taste of what they want before they’ll pay the price.”
“Is that what you’re doing to me? Is this a taste of what’s to come?” Heaven help her, she hoped it was.
“Only if you want it. That’s my price.” He shifted her hair from her shoulder as he spoke, letting it fall down her back.
“That seems…” Whispers of his touch brushed down the side of her neck as he moved her hair. She worked not to lean into his palm and feel the full force of his hand on her skin. “…reasonable.”
“I thought so as well.” He shifted even closer to her, leaning his arm on the wall above her head and surrounding her without the benefit of his embrace to steady her. “If you tell me you want me to kiss you, I’ll kiss you here.” He spoke the words against the sensitive skin beneath her ear before moving down her neck, not touching her, but close enough that she could feel the warmth of his lips.
She splayed her hands on the wall behind her to keep from tipping sideways. He wasn’t even touching her, and still she struggled to breathe.
“I would kiss my way down your neck to just here where I can see your pulse beating rather fast. Is it beating fast because you want me to kiss you, Evie?” he asked against her skin. “You know my terms. Say the words. This is only the beginning…”
Elizabeth Michels is the award-winning author of the Tricks of the Ton series. This romance author lives in a lake-side town in North Carolina with her husband and son. She’s a fan of shoes, coffee, mimosas, laughter, hugs, things that are sparkly, and tater tots. Oh, and she likes her readers a lot too. Dive into her latest series about the members of a secret club in London, The Spare Heirs Society, today! Connect with Elizabeth on her website: http://www.elizabethmichels.com/
10 copies of The Infamous Heir, book one in the Spare Heir series
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