Title: Gotta Have Fayth
Twelve Dancing Princesses Book Six
Author: Christine Young
Genre: Historical Romance
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 4
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Fayth Graham unexpectedly meets a man with sparkling gray eyes and an infectious grin, Jarret Kingsley, who gets more than he bargained in the beautiful debutant.
BLURB: Gotta Have Fayth
A regal beauty with raven hair and piercing blue eyes, Fayth Graham is unwilling to parade herself in front of the wealthy Lords of England during the season. Seeking a means to dissuade any man wishing to wed her, she seeks a way to ruin herself for marriage. When she unexpectedly meets a man with sparkling gray eyes and an infectious grin, she decides this is the man who will keep her from agreeing to obey.
He returned from six months at sea, looking for a few nights of pleasure with a willing lass, but Jarret Kinsley got more than he bargained for when he met a beautiful debutant who responded to his kisses with a wild innocence that touched his heart. Yet the obstacles looming between them might rip them apart. Both had vowed never to marry, so when consequences of their dalliances got in the way, Jarret would have to choose between the life he's always desired and the woman he loves more than life.
“You’re frightening me. I don’t understand anything you’ve been telling me right now.” For a moment, Fayth closed her eyes, realizing she’d pushed him too far. She didn’t know how to remedy this. “I apologize if I’ve done something to change you.”
“I stole your innocence instead of keeping you safe.” His voice sounded bitter to her. “I wanted you for myself, only myself, without acting on what was in your best interest.’’
She focused on Jarret, blinked and smiled slightly. “If you remember, I asked you to ruin me,” she murmured, hoping the truth would help. “I wanted you the instant I saw you.”
“You had no idea what would happen in the aftermath of the tempest we created. I did. The pain I feel at the thought of what I’ve put you through is an agony I’ve never felt before. You trusted me without reservation, yet I’ve brought you nothing but challenges you never asked for and compromised you so thoroughly there is no way to rectify the situation.”
“You’ve misconstrued everything about me,” she murmured, wishing he would give her credit for some intelligence and understand she had no misgivings. “I wanted everything we did with all my heart. You should have no regrets unless you regret me.”
“I’m a bloody fool.”
“Then I’m a blithering idiot,” she told him, unwilling to make this about him. “I’m a willing and eager partner in everything we’ve done. Perhaps you are a bloody fool if you still think this is all about you.”
“I could’ve stopped us before we were buried in lies. Nothing will happen to me and I knew it. The town will ostracize you, and they will applaud me and my manly prowess.”
Fayth smiled and touched Jarret’s hard jawline. “I won’t let you dictate what I do and you’ve always known that fact. You’ve gone far beyond what we discussed in the beginning. I’ve no expectation of marriage, nor do I want any part of the institution that involves weddings and a commitment to obey.”
Jarret’s mouth flattened. “I’m going to leave and let you have what you’ve made damn clear to me, your independence.”
“I don’t want you to go, you hard-headed man. I want you to make love to me and hold me in your arms. I don’t want that to end.”
“I can’t do that without the commitment you will never make. There is no other choice for me. This has become a living hell.”
“I can still be your mistress.” She’d wanted that from the beginning. “I’ll wait for you and I won’t betray you in anyway. Not like your father betrayed your mother.”
Their attention once again was directed to the entrance. A young woman stepped through the door. Jarret’s mind centered on her face; she was so beautiful he couldn’t keep his jaw from dropping. She could have been the largest woman he’d ever seen, but her face seemed angelic. Gorgeous. Stunning. Yet she was petite with coal black hair, intricately coiffed with a few tendrils framing her cheekbones. She wore a travelling dress that had seen better days, but it didn’t distract from her slim delicate figure.
He swallowed hard and his breath caught in his throat. He wasn’t sure he could speak. “I want her. Gotta have her. Tonight.” Maybe my fortune is changing for the best.
“What did you just say?” Logan turned to stare at Jarret.
“My wishes for this evening have just been answered. This is the woman I’ve been waiting for. The next lady who will find my bed and enjoy all the pleasure she deserves.” Jarret rose, striding to the enchanting vision.
He reached her, feeling for the first time he could remember, tongue-tied. The air around her was filled with the scent of lemons. “Can I help you?” He touched her elbow, gently guiding her to the corner of the room where he’d been sitting. He couldn’t resist her aqua colored eyes or the tilt of her chin. When she moistened her lips, all he could think was that he had to taste them, breathe in their essence.
She stared at him, appearing a bit bewildered. “I...”
“I...” One eyebrow rose and the smile inside him grew realizing this woman, whoever she was, would be his next affair. All that remained was convincing her. He didn’t think that would be too difficult.
“I need directions.” She said, her voice assuming a note of command, yet at the same time breathless.
“You entered a tavern for directions?” he queried skeptically. “Then direction you will have.” His heart pounded in his chest, a sudden heat sweeping through his body. More than willing to give instructions to the captain’s cabin of his ship.
She let him lead her across the floor and pulled out a chair for her. “This is...” he began, only to shift his attention from his friends to this gorgeous lady.
“Fayth,” she said.
"And I'm Jarret Kingsley."
An easy peace swept through him. Gotta have Fayth. He touched the top of her hand with his. Its softness sent a warm shimmer spiraling straight to his heart.
“Fayth, a beautiful name,” Logan said, grinning at Jarret as if he knew his intentions.
Jarret slanted him the best hands offlook he could manage. Logan appeared to receive the message, and Drake downed his second pint, signaling for another.
“Kingsley, if I haven’t missed the clues, I believe your wishes for tonight have been granted.” Drake told him. Guess you won’t be going with Logan and myself.”
Now I just have to convince my lady. “Don’t the two of you have somewhere to go?” Jarret asked, nodding his head in the direction of the door.
Fayth slipped her hand from beneath his and placed it on Jarret’s arm. “I came in here for help. Can you help me?”
“Of course, directions where?” Jarret asked, knowing where he wanted her but still trying to figure out the details.
“To my new lodgings. I’ve been travelling for days and I’m confused. I’ve never been in London and I thought...”
“No fears. I’ll make sure you get where you want to go.” Jarret had every intention of taking her wherever she pleased but only after he knew her better, intimately.
The pint of ale Jarret had ordered for her appeared. She licked her lips and stared at the glass. “I don’t know if I should drink that.”
“Only if you want to. I can get you water or wine. The water is horrible, but the wine might be better if it comes from Logan’s vineyard in Bordeaux.” Jarret ignored the conversation between his two best friends. Without listening, he knew what it was that they talked and laughed about and he didn’t care, knowing he was smitten he wasn’t about to deny the emotion.
“I’ll try this.” She sipped the cold brew, a strange expression appearing on her delicate features.
“What do you think?”
“Good.” She licked her lips, and he wanted to follow the path of her tongue with his fingertip.
Historical, Romance, Regency, England