thoroughly scandalous kiss. But when they were discovered in a compromising position, a nearly ruined Juliet fled into the arms of a rich, older lord… taking Max’s heart with her.Now a widow, Lady Juliet Granworth intends to use the fortune she inherited from her odious husband to build a new life in London. Five years have passed, but she’s never forgotten Max… or his soul-searing kiss. Yet it’s clear the newly-minted Marquess of Thayne has not forgiven her—after all, the infuriating man can barely stand the sight of her. But Juliet has endured far too much to give up without a fight and if it’s a battle of wills he wants, it’s a battle he’ll get.He hates her for breaking his heart. She detests him for destroying her future. But beneath all the loathing, simmers an intoxicating passion that neither can ignore… and the harder they resist, the harder they will inevitably fall.
“I happen to enjoy libraries,” she said on exhale, attempting to sound completely composed. It took a moment for her to realize how that statement, given their particular history, could be misconstrued as a flirtation. But Juliet was not one to bumble out an excuse. So instead, she lifted her chin and studied how Max would interpret it.
One corner of his mouth twitched, and his gaze dipped to her mouth. “Is that so?”
“I might even plan a tour to study various libraries—the architecture of the rooms, the spines of books, the structure of the shelves . . .” Her words trailed off as he stepped closer.
For an instant, the only sound in the room was the sibilant whisper of the silk of her skirts pressing against her legs, giving way beneath the force of his.
As if her pulse were trapped inside her body and looking for a way to escape, it flitted from one place to the next, from her wrists to her throat, to the fingertips gripping the shelf behind her, to her stomach and then to her lips. She fought the urge to press them together, not wanting to give any indication of the direction of her thoughts.
Then he lifted his hand, his fingers cupping her jaw. Slowly, his thumb swept against her mouth, inducing a riot of tingles that begged for a firmer pressure, a nip of teeth… “And would Ellery be accompanying you on this tour?”
Only now, as Max pinned her with his hard stare, did she realize his intention all along. All he wanted was an answer to his preposterous question! He had no intention of kissing her. Not that the knowledge disappointed her in the least. In fact, she was quite relieved. Because she, most certainly, did not desire to be kissed by him.
Not only that, but she wasn’t about to admit her true interest in Ellery as that of her chosen candidate. Since Max was typically cleverer than this, however, she didn’t want to give him any reason to think that Ellery was anything other than her lover. Perhaps there would be a victory in a small deception via omission.
“Unless you want your thumb bitten, I suggest you lower your hand.”
“And if you do it, there will be consequences.” He stroked his thumb across her lips once more and leaned in, goading her, tempting her. But he must have thought better of it, because he shifted his stance. Now, both of his hands bracketed her, gripping the shelves at either side of her head.
She flashed her teeth in a smile that might have been sweet, if not for the seething anger bubbling up inside of her. “To which act are you referring—having Ellery as my lover or biting your thumb? Because now that you have planted the idea in my mind, I find both entirely tempting.”
If this were any other man, she would never speak so boldly. Moreover, if this were any other man, she would be eager to flee this prison he was forming around her. She hated to be blocked in. And yet, with Max, for some strange reason, even though she despised him to his very soul, she had the impulse to wrap her arms around his waist, squeeze him tightly, and press fully against him. She wanted to climb inside the sleeves of his coat and bury her face in the spot beneath his jawline and the top of his cravat.
It made absolutely no sense at all.
Reviewed by Nicole of Books N Pearls
Max & Juliet! Oh what fun. I haven’t read the other Season’s Original stories, but this was highly enjoyable. When Juliet thinks she’s to become betrothed to Bram, but he picks another, his brother and her friend Max swoops in to try and soften the blow since he has been pining for her from afar. A stolen kiss that gets discovered tarnishes her reputation, but when Max goes to propose, she is already gone off to marry another! I felt so bad for Max. Their “relationship” becomes them claiming to be enemies, and when Juliet returns to town a widow, they have these crazy bantering attacks fueled with tension that have you screaming “just tell him/her how you really feel already.” It’s a classic tale of the girl who got away. I loved it. My heart broke for Max and felt sympathetic toward Juliet. He was a guy to really swoon over with his little jokes, which were really perfect gifts that showed how he listened to and understood Juliet. It left my pulse pounding, and when I had to put it down, I was quite eager to return. I enjoyed the writing and thought the conclusion was satisfying, not too rushed. I’d be interested in reading other stories in this series. I received a copy of this story from the publisher for review.
author of works including: Tempting Mr. Weatherstone, The Wallflower Wedding Series, The Rakes of Fallow Hall Series, The Duke’s Christmas Wish, and the
Season’s Original Series.