I think this is the most intriguing book I’ve run across so far this year.
Saints & Scoundrels #3
by Maddison Michaels
Genre: Historical Romance
Constance Campbell, the Duchess of Kilmaine, once believed that all she needed in life was a duke. But everything unraveled when she realized her perfect husband was a perfect monster. Now broken beyond repair, she hides her misery behind a perfect Society mask…even from her childhood friend, Alec.
Dr. Alec McGuinness reluctantly finds himself back in Scotland, and checking up on the only woman to ever get under his skin, Connie. After she spurned him many years ago, he knows his humble life as a doctor could never be enough for her. But when the Duke of Kilmaine is murdered in cold blood, with Connie sleeping right next to him in bed, Alec knows he must protect Connie at all costs from those who would frame her for the duke’s murder.
Now on the run, Connie feels a freedom she only ever dreamed about before, and an unexpected attraction to the man who is keeping her safe. But even if they can win her freedom and clear her name, could she ever open her heart up to someone again?
Catch Up on the Series:
“A penny for your thoughts.” Alec’s warm voice penetrated across the cooling breeze.
She glanced out the corner of her eye at him. “I don’t think you’d want to know them. They’re rather scandalous.”
He raised a brow, and his very expression sent a shiver of delight down her spine. Goodness, he was handsome. His thick brown hair was just begging to have her hands ruffle through it, and the stubble on his face was creating a dark shadow over his jawline that did the oddest things to her. She couldn’t help but wonder what it would feel like brushing against her own skin. Rough, she suspected, but perhaps thrilling, too?
As long as she didn’t make a ninny out of herself again and flinch away from his touch.
“You have me extremely curious,” Alec said.
“Very well.” Connie relented as a sense of daring overcame her. “I’m thinking about what it would feel like if you kissed me.”
She couldn’t believe she’d just blurted that out. But now that she had, it felt good. They were both adults, after all, and she was certain he’d felt the same pull of desire earlier, just as she had. Why shouldn’t they explore that attraction? There wasn’t anything stopping them from doing so. Even if she was technically meant to be in mourning and was still rather scared of physical contact with a man.
But this was Alec, and if she could feel comfortable in a man’s embrace, it would be in his. At least, she hoped so— and that Duncan hadn’t scarred her for life.
A part of her felt guilty that she was talking of kissing Alec so soon after Duncan’s death, but if she was going to end up imprisoned over it, then at the very least she should be able to experience some actual passion for once in her life. An experience Duncan had denied her but that she was certain Alec could provide, if he let himself. And if she allowed herself to let go of her fear.
Though judging by his furrowed brow, she suspected he wasn’t going to be too open to having an affair with her.
But rather than feeling depressed by the observation, Connie actually felt challenged. Which was a nice surprise. She’d always succeeded when she’d had a goal to pursue,
and the goal of kissing Alec and truly eradicating Duncan’s hold over her, physically, seemed like a worthy endeavor. In fact, she’d never felt such determination before, not even when pursuing Duncan and his title.
“Pardon me?” It sounded like Alec was choking slightly on the words.
“You heard me well enough, Alec McGuiness. I might lose my freedom anytime, and I would like to experience what it’s like to actually feel passion before that eventuates. I never have, you see. And I do not want to go to the grave with only the memories of Duncan’s touch. I want to experience the joy of being with someone. Are you up for the challenge?”
“Good God, no!”
Indoctrinated into a world of dashing rogues and feisty heroines when she was a teenager, Maddison Michaels is a bestselling, award-winning Australian romance author, who loves to write sexy history with a dash of mystery! Her debut novel, THE DEVILISH DUKE, won the 2019 RWA Australia Historical Romance Book of the year. Maddison lives in Sydney with her gorgeous hubby and daughter, and always starts her day with a cup (or two) of liquid gold… coffee (just quietly, she’s addicted to the stuff)!