Title: The Passionate Love of a Rake (Marlow Intrigues #2)
Author: Jane Lark
Genre: Historical Romance
Published: November 17th, 3013
~ Synopsis ~The only woman who had power over notorious rake Robert Marlow was now walking away from him, again. He'd heard Sutton had died, and known Jane was free, but he'd always thought his desire would only be for revenge, not her. Yet here he was, unable to deny what he felt for her…what he’d never felt for any other woman before…
To give her fingers something to do, Jane applied her black lace fan in a swift sweep beneath her chin and looked up at the call of a new arrival. The footman positioned at the head of the stairs, rapped his staff on the wooden floor and announced the guest whose name was swept away by the tune of the Venetian waltz flooding the room. Yet when the imposing male stepped forward, Jane’s heart stopped, as did the movement of her fan.
Lord Robert Marlow, the eleventh Earl of Barrington, was the last person on earth she wished to meet. Or perhaps – her heart set up a wild and anxious rhythm – he was the person she most wished to. But not like this, not in her blacks, when she did not look her best.
Blushing and lifting her fan a little, hiding the lower half of her face, Jane set it back into motion, cooling her hot skin and peering over its top, unable to tear her eyes away from him. She had not seen him for years, not since they had both been young, innocent and naïve. He looked different, more confident, stronger, more handsome too, and taller, and broader.
He surveyed the gathering from his vantage point at the top of the stairs as though he assessed and judged everyone.
She’d considered this meeting thousands of times in the years since their last and she’d pictured herself armored in sophistication, someone he would respect and admire. Yet, now, she felt everything the opposite.
The gulf he’d left in her life ripped open wider. He was magnificent – she insignificant. If he’d been attractive as a nineteen-year-old youth, he was a demigod as a man in his late twenties. His physique was muscular, yet lean and athletic.
His hand rose and swept long fingers through his chestnut-colored hair, swiping a loose lock from his brow. A gesture she had seen him do a hundred times as a child.
Still, he did not move, just looked, watching, appearing self-absorbed.
His confidence had not been there in the zealous, full-of-adventure and expectation youth.
She felt tears in her eyes and an ache in her chest, inspired by the could-have-beens and if-onlys which had haunted her throughout her married life.
It was a long time since Robert Marlow held her dear. In the intervening years, he’d toured the continent, establishing a reputation in the vices of a gentleman. His prowess in the sexual arts was renowned. He was no longer the young man she’d adored. He was a very different beast, one whom she’d no experience or knowledge to understand.
When he’d returned to claim his father’s estate a few years ago, his reputation had endured. He was one of, if not the most, profligate rake in the ton.
She’d never been able to stop herself seeking his name in the gossip columns of the papers Hector left lying on the breakfast table.
Robert’s gaze passed across the dancers and reached toward her. Jane turned, covering her face with the fan, hiding. She needed to regain command of her wits.
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