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The Earl's Irresistible Challenge by Lara Temple - Book Tour + Giveaway

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The Earl's Irresistible Challenge

Could this infamous rake finally have found his countess?
Part of The Sinful Sinclairs.
When Lucas, Lord Sinclair, receives a mysterious summons from a Miss Olivia Silverdale he’s skeptical about whether he can help her. But Olivia, although eccentric, is in earnest about her quest to restore her late godfather’s reputation. Lucas’s curiosity is piqued, and not just by Olivia’s intelligent eyes and lithe form. A new challenge quickly presents itself: keeping Miss Silverdale at arm’s length!

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Bargaining for a kiss…

In this scene Olivia Silverdale is trying to convince Lucas, Lord Sinclair, to help her locate a man who might be involved in the death of her godfather. But then she is distracted by another task she wishes he would undertake…

Olivia smiled, her eyes narrowing, more honey than green. They were speculative now and Lucas remembered how she inspected him that first day in the church—even though she had been tense and afraid, there was that same assessing gaze, measuring his worth.
‘May we try, then?’
‘Try what?’ He was rapidly losing control of the situation. She could not possibly mean…
‘Kissing. I cannot bear the thought that every time I think of it I must think of…him. When Henry died I decided that perfidious wretch had affected my life far too much. So perhaps this is a good idea. I wish to take his power away and I may not have such an opportunity again. After all, I know I can trust you not to tattle. I’m a little worried, though. What if I do hate it? Do you think you could contrive to be convincing?’
Only a madman would pick up that hand with the cards so absolutely stacked against him. He might on occasion be a little reckless, though certainly less than society imagined, but he never…
‘I could try.’
‘Good. Thank you.’
She straightened resolutely, shoulders back. Her cheeks were still flushed, but the animation was fading from her features and she looked more as she had in the church as she waited for that boy to kiss her.
Contrarily it was the anxiety behind the determination that held him there. It made no sense for someone as intensely passionate as she to react with such a mixture of resolution and fear to a mere kiss. He wasn’t certain if he agreed with her experimentation analogy, but it struck him that, his own undeniable interest aside, to spurn her request now would be to add insult to injury. He would just have to be very, very careful. He was well served that his foolish impulse to satisfy his curiosity by bartering for a quick kiss had landed him in such hot water. That would teach his impulses not to escape their fetters again in future.
He raised her chin gently and her lips tensed, pressing together hard.
‘Relax, I will not kiss you yet.’
Her eyes flickered up to his.
‘You won’t?’
‘I will tell you before I do and, if you wish me not to, you have only to say so. Now close your eyes.’
He sighed. ‘Just trust me. I promise I won’t kiss you without asking you first. Now close your eyes.’
She closed her eyes, frowning, and he touched her cheek, moving his fingers lightly over her cheekbone to where a downy wave of brown hair curled over the tip of her ear. He brushed his thumb over its warmth, easing it back from her temple with soft stroking motions, his hand moulding to the curve of her jaw as he tucked it behind her ear. Her shoulder rose a fraction and he watched the flickering of her lashes, surprisingly dark and long, the shifting of her brows as they moved in and out of a frown as if trying to hear something far away.
He wondered what she was thinking. Whether despite her determination to master her thoughts and reactions she was cringing inside, linking his touch with memories of pain and humiliation.
‘Is it terrible?’ he whispered. ‘Shall I stop?’
Her brows twitched again, but she didn’t open her eyes or speak, just shook her head. It was hardly an accolade to his appeal, but it did quite a bit of damage, relief flowing through him more potently than her brandy, and he couldn’t stop his gaze from settling on her mouth or his head sinking towards hers. So he closed his own eyes and concentrated on touch. On the slide of his fingers over the curve of her ear, her neck, on to the hard ridge of her collarbone and the sweep of her shoulder, then back up again.
Without seeing them there were revelations on the journey. The lobe of her ear was softer than any he had ever felt, so much so he had to feel it again, brushing his palm against it and barely controlling the shudder that rushed up his arms to join the building agony in the rest of his body. Then there was her collarbone. He had noticed it before with the eye of a connoisseur who could appreciate architectural highlights, but under his fingers it was combination of hard lines and velvety skin; it drew his fingers along its definite sweep and made his body imagine her hands touching him in a mirror image of his caresses, sending tingling sensations over his chest to join the rising heat below.
His hands itched to go lower so he made them rise again, rewarding them by touching that impossibly soft skin beneath her ear and moving gently along her jaw and cheeks, resisting the urge to touch her mouth with every ounce of his control. There were limits and he had made a promise not to cross that line without permission no matter how much he wanted to, and he did. He couldn’t remember the last time he had either touched a woman so innocently or been swamped by such mind-numbing need. He gathered his disintegrating control. It was time to either go forward or retreat. He forced his hands to stop.
‘May I kiss you now? I will stop the moment you ask.’
Her lips parted and she nodded slightly, the words sliding out, hardly audible, but they seemed to enter directly into this chest, two spears dipped in molten lead.
‘Yes, please…’

Author Bio –
Lara Temple writes strong, sexy regency romances about complex individuals who give no quarter but do so with plenty of passion. After moving around the world for her career as a financial analyst and business consultant she returned to her childhood love of making up stories, and was surprised to discover that other people don’t mind reading them.

She lives with her husband and two children who are very good about her taking over the kitchen table for her writing (so she can look out over the garden and dream while Oscar the dog keeps her feet warm by sitting on them as she works).

The Earl’s Irresistible Challenge (out December 2018) is the first in her Sinful Sinclair series. In May 2019 Unlaced by the Highland Duke, part of a four book series with three other Harlequin Mills & Boon authors will be released.

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Giveaway – Win 5 x e-copies of The Earl’s Irresistible Challenge (Open INT)
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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