As a masked ball reaches its fever pitch, Cybelline Caldwell surrenders to the embrace of a midnight lover, a stranger who seals her fate. By morning the wanton seductress has been replaced by a determinedly sensible woman preparing to leave London...and its memories. Yet temptation follows. For Christopher Hollins, Earl of Ferrin, the notorious rake she so brazenly challenged, vows to show her that one night was not enough. It took some clever detective work, but Ferrin uncovered the identity of his mystery lover, surprised and intrigued to come face to face with Cybelline. Soon he discovers she is a woman of mystery--and a woman in danger, stalked by a ruthless enemy. Unable to erase the searing memory of Cybelline in his arms, Ferrin knows he must discover the secrets that shadow her days ... for only then can he claim all of her nights.
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July 31, 2006
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Excerpt from One Forbidden Evening by Jo Goodman
London, November 1817
If it was possible to die of boredom, Ferrin was of the opinion he was not long for this earth. Only minutes ago he had been contemplating murder. Not seriously, of course. Perhaps if he had been contemplating the murder of someone other than his own mother, he reasoned, he might have been able to think the deed through to completion. But murder his mother No, it was just not done. Not even in his own mind, no matter the provocation.
He could, however, cheerfully throttle Wynetta. The masquerade had been her idea and everyone ' save him ' had pronounced it a splendid notion. He would have pronounced it corkbrained, but since his views on such things were well known, no one considered it necessary to consult him.
There was never any doubt but that he would throw in his lot with the rest of them. He was ever the easy touch when it came to matters of family, though he knew this would surprise his society and many of his acquaintances. That was just as it should be, else what was the point of cultivating a reputation for not suffering fools
' I say, Ferrin, you ' re a dark one, right enough. Are you going to make your play or merely scowl at your cards '
One of Ferrin ' s dark eyebrows lifted in a perfect arch; the scowl remained unchanged. ' Why cannot I do both ' He tossed a four of spades toward the other cards at the center of the table and took the trick with trump.
Across from Ferrin, Mr. Porter Wellsley returned to the contemplation of his own cards. ' Don ' t know how you manage to do that, ' he said idly, rearranging his hand. ' Damned if you do not always make the right play. '
Ferrin led the next round with an ace of hearts. ' Then count yourself fortunate that you are my partner. '
' Oh, I wasn ' t complaining. Just don ' t know how you do it. '
To the left of Ferrin, Mr. William Allworthy flicked his cards with the buffed nail of his index finger before choosing one. He didn ' t look up as he spoke. ' Enough chatter, Wellsley. This ain ' t the ladies ' table. '