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One Night With a Spy [Mass Market Paperback]

Celeste Bradley
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product Description

From Booklist

When the other three members of the Royal Four--England's most secretive and powerful group of spies--arrive at Lord Aldus Barrowby's estate to meet his successor, they were expecting a man. Instead, the Cobra, the Lion, and the Falcon discover that the recently deceased Fox had been training his lovely young wife, Julia, to take his place. Before they are willing to accept Julia into their circle, the remaining members of the original Royal Four commission Marcus Ramsay to find out more about the unusual young lady. As the Lion's protege, Marcus had spent years waiting for his chance to join the Royal Four, and now he isn't about to let a mere woman, even the "Beauty of Barrowby," steal this opportunity away from him. The latest superb entry in Bradley's series has everything her readers crave: wit, a deliciously sensual romance between a delightfully original pair of protagonists, and a captivating plot expertly laced with intrigue and danger. John Charles
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an alternate Mass Market Paperback edition.

Review

“Warm, witty, and wonderfully sexy.”—Teresa Medeiros, New York Times bestselling author on To Wed A Scandalous Spy

“Funny, adventurous, passionate, and especially poignant, this is a great beginning to a new series…Bradley mixes suspense and a sexy love story to perfection.”—RT Bookclub on To Wed A Scandalous Spy

“A wonderful start to a very looked-forward-to new series…once again showcases Celeste Bradley’s talent of creating sensual and intriguing plots filled with memorable and endearing characters…a non-stop read.”—Romance Reader at Heart on To Wed A Scandalous Spy

“Danger, deceit, and desire battle with witty banter and soaring passion for prominence in this highly engrossing tale…Bradley also provides surprises galore, both funny and suspenseful, and skillfully ties them all in neatly with the romance so as to make this story more than averagely memorable.”
Road to Romance on To Wed A Scandalous Spy

“A fantastic read…Bradley successfully combines mystery, intrigue, romance, and intense sensuality into this captivating book.”—Romance Junkies

From the Back Cover

The Royal Four are spies without compare--daring, dangerous, beholden only to the King. With the fate of the Crown in their charge, no temptation can interfere with the mission at hand. But as one spy is about to discover, some women refuse to play by the rules...and the results can be sinfully pleasurable…

ONE NIGHT WITH A SPYFor years, Lady Julia Barrowby has acted the part of an old man's ornamental bride, never revealing that she has secretly helped the ailing Lord Barrowby in his work with the Royal Four. Now that her husband has died, Julia believes his place in the Four is hers by right. But convincing the remaining members will not be easy, especially with Marcus Ramsay, Lord Dryden, distracting her at every turn. Somehow, the mysterious Marcus seems to see into her very soul, effortlessly satisfying all her secret, forbidden longings…

Marcus stood next in line to be chosen for the Four, and he is not willing to be displaced by a woman, no matter how intriguing or beautiful she may be. Under orders to investigate Julia, Marcus discovers her diary, overflowing with years of loneliness and yearning. Fulfilling Julia's fantasies is the perfect way to get closer to her, but seducing this fascinating creature is fast becoming more than a means to an end--it is his soul's deepest desire…

"Wonderfully sexy!"
--Teresa Medeiros, New York Times bestselling author on The Charmer

"Bradley mixes suspense and a sexy love story to perfection, keeping you wiggling on the edge of your seat."
--RT Bookclub on To Wed a Scandalous Spy
--This text refers to an alternate Mass Market Paperback edition.

About the Author

CELESTE BRADLEY is the bestselling author of The Liar’s Club series, which includes, The Pretender, The Impostor, The Spy, and The Rogue and The Royal Four series which includes To Wed a Scandalous Spy, Surrender to a Wicked Spy, and One Night with a Spy. She is the author of Fallen, which was nominated for a RITA in 2002. According to Bradley, the best thing about writing is that she finally gets to use the brain full of trivia she’s collected over a lifetime of living in eight states, residing in over twenty homes, and changing her major five times. “It was research for my writing career! That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!” For now, she lives in northern California with her journalist husband, her two divas-in-training, and the smartest dog in the world. She is currently at work on her next book in The Royal Four series.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter 1

The moon is full and swollen in the dark lapis sky. A bright path shines on the glassy lake, leading me in, calling me onward. I want to follow. I want to feel the lake on my bare skin.

A tingle on the back of my neck at the hint of sandalwood on the night breeze. No, there is no one there.

The water will be cold silver, slipping silky fingers into places it would never reach through a bathing costume. I reach to untie my wrapper—and his hands come about me from behind. “Let me.” His voice is deep enough to make me quiver, but not a growl.

My breath catches in my throat. “I told you to never come here again.”

“I cannot stay away.”

I look down to where large, competent fingers slowly tug free the knot in the satin belt. He lets the ends fall and spreads his open hands over my belly. I close my eyes at the heat that sinks into my skin and let my head fall back against the firm shoulder there. He rises behind me like a fortress, a wall of strength and protection that will never fail me. He is wrong for me, but I cannot resist him.

He presses warm lips upon my temple and I turn into his arms, leaving my wrapper behind to slip to the grass. I am as naked as he. His arms come around me and for one, long perfect moment he holds me pressed close to his heat and strength. His embrace is a pledge, a vow, and I nod in understanding before I open my eyes.

I may look upon his form—I must look upon it, and caress and take pleasure in it. His great chest rises with each breath, which comes more quickly as I allow my fingers to explore the plates and cords of muscle that shape him. I slip my hands up to trace the thickened strength of his arms to his broad shoulders—those shoulders I do love to rely upon—and then back down. I especially love to trace the risen vein that throbs in each forearm, and to feel his blood jump at my touch.

Then I take his large, square hands in mine and press them to my breasts, giving him the weight of them in his palms. His organ rises between us, rigid and hungry, without shame. “Do you want me?” I know he does, but I need to hear him say it.

“I want you.” His hands tighten on me, not cruelly but possessively. I close my eyes and let my head drop back.

“Tell me why.”

“I want you because I was made to fit within you. I live to lose myself in your wetness and your heat. I love—”

No. Wait. She couldn’t have him say that. Good heavens, love was the last thing she wanted on her plate! He was a plaything only. That thought sent a tiny shiver through her and put a naughty twist to her lips as she bent to scribble in her diary once more.

I stop him with trembling fingers over his lips. No. Not that. Even I dare not dream of that.

“I need you.”

That was better. Not as dangerous.

I flow against him, melting into his skin, wishing I might stay in the circle of his protective, urgent embrace forever.

He sweeps me into his arms, lifting me lightly from my feet. With me in his possession, he strides into the lake. The water is cool, not chill, on my heated skin and it slides over my nipples and between my bare thighs like a sweet invader, tightening my flesh and making me shiver. He spins me in the water, creating a wake of shimmering wavelets that continue onward to break up the flawless pale path to the moon. I won’t be going there tonight. I will stay here, in my lover’s arms.

He stops with the moon behind him, throwing him into silhouette, and only then do I look up to see his dampened hair curling about the shadows of his face. He kisses me and allows my body to slide down his until we are pressed breast to chest once more. My feet do not touch bottom, for I am weightless under the heat of his mouth.

I wrap my arms about his neck and my limbs about his waist. His erection presses demandingly to me and I ease myself down onto his thickness.

I close my eyes and press my face into his muscular neck. I don’t want to see his features, for if he has a face he will also have a name—and I must never know it.

“Will you bathe, my lady?”

With a start Julia, Lady Barrowby, twenty-year-old wife of the elderly lord of the manor, looked up from her writing to where her maid, Pickles, stood tapping her toes impatiently.

Julia blinked as the fantasy faded into mundane reality. Right. It was only early evening, not midnight, and she was in her bedchamber as usual, not swimming naked in the lake. A twinge of guilt went through her. Her life in Derbyshire was wonderful, after all. Why did she feel the need to escape it into these diary entries? “So sorry, Pick. I’ll put it away as soon as the ink dries.”

“Always scribblin’. You’ll lose your eyesight, my lady, see if you don’t!”

“I know, Pick.” Julia capped the ink bottle with a sigh. “Did his lordship mention that he might be joining me this evening?”

A glint of pity shone in Pickles’s eyes. She turned briskly away to hide it. “Himself went straight to his room after dinner, as usual.”

As usual. Julia lifted her chin. Aldus hadn’t come to her in so long—and even when he had, he’d always been more embarrassed than amorous. She didn’t care about the difference in their ages. She owed him so much. She would do anything for him . . . if ever he should ask.

“Humph. Good hot water gettin’ cold, too.” Pickles sniffed reproachfully, the moment of crusty pity past. “If you were still our little Jilly, I’d tan your bottom for wastin’ my time this way.”

“Yes, Pickles.” Julia let a little Lady Barrowby creep into her voice. “You’ve made yourself perfectly clear.”

Pickles subsided with a last irritated grunt and held out her hand for Julia’s wrapper. Julia removed it and stepped into the now tepid water with another sigh. Pickles left the room, giving the door a decidedly miffed slam.

Julia closed her eyes. She’d pay for that one later—she likely wouldn’t get a truly hot bath for a fortnight—but she couldn’t allow Pickles to go too far. Aldus was adamant—simply because the woman had once been one of her mother’s closest friends was no reason to allow her and the rest of the handpicked staff to badger the mistress of the grand house of Barrowby.

Looking back, she decided tonight’s entry had been a particularly lovely fancy, full of beauty and titillation. The last line was a bit embarrassingly melodramatic—“if he has a face he will also have a name—and I must never know it”—but what did it matter? No one was ever going to read it but her.

She slid deeper in the bath and leaned her head against the back of the lavish copper tub, letting the fantasy take over her imagination once again.

The moon is full and swollen . . .

“My lady!” Pickles burst back into the room, graying hair astray and eyes wide. “My lady, it’s his lordship—he’s collapsed!”
 

Copyright © 2006 by Celeste Bradley. All rights reserved.
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