The Duke Takes A Bride by Suzette de Borja [Excerpt]
Happy to share the cover of the new book of Suzette de Borja! Suzette writes royalty-themed contemporary romances. Read on to see an excerpt from The Duke Takes A Bride…
Displayed on the large expanse of white wall were several portraits, some so tall it almost reached the soaring ceiling of the penthouse. She walked barefoot to gape at them closely. She recognized the grand style of Reynolds, the hauteur of the subjects of Van Dyck, and the pastoral style of Gainsborough.
“Oh my God,” she cried out in disbelief, turning to Julian. “This is incredible!”
He smiled, duly pleased by her reaction.
“You had them shipped all the way to Los Angeles?” She recognized some of the paintings. One in particular because it was of a young boy with blond hair astride a pony. She remembered telling Julian it was easy to imagine he looked like the portrait when he was a boy, and he had told her it was the 3rd Duke of Blackmoore.
“In a manner of speaking.”
She shot him a puzzled look, but he refused to elaborate and instead strode to stand shoulder to shoulder with her. She wrenched her eyes away from him and instead studied the six-foot portrait.
“This is a Reynolds, right?” She cited one of the most prominent British portraitists of the 18th century. His nod was affirmative. “His use of colors are so bold and yet they look,” she searched for the right word, “clean.” She cringed at how gauche she must sound to someone like Julian. Her graphic design course was no match for his minor degree in Art History. She flashed him a sheepish smile, but it died when her eyes locked with his. Gone was the perpetually amused, languid expression lurking in those green depths. In them was a watchful intensity that made Imogen’s breath stall, afraid to break the tableau.
“It’s all in the technique,” he spoke, his voice low and liquid, and Imogen felt its effect like a living thing, heating her blood as it coursed through her body, plumping her breasts and making her moist between her legs. “Reynolds used brushstrokes that were long, firm, and broad.”
“I− I see,” she stammered.
His eyes had gone darker. “He didn’t like mixing paints, so he layered the colors while they were still fresh,” an infinitesimal pause, “and wet…”
His voice rasped on all her nerve endings. They could only stare at each other, transfixed. Imogen felt her skin simmering with little curls of desire. There was no street sound to slice through the pregnant atmosphere way above the pedestrian life below.
It was the spaghetti strap that broke the impasse. She must have made a small movement because it fell down her shoulder. Julian’s darkened gaze flicked to it, then moved lower. She resisted the urge to throw her arms across her chest to hide her peaked nipples. And then because she couldn’t bear the torment any longer, she shattered the charged silence.
“Are you as delicious as they say, Your Grace?” Shit. Did she actually say that out loud?
Julian’s bark of laughter made her cheeks flame. She wanted to jump off the penthouse’s glass viewing deck from sheer embarrassment. She could still salvage the situation by attributing her outrageous question to the effects of alcohol. She was about to open her big mouth again when he grasped her cold hands and tugged her closer.
“Why don’t you have a taste and find out?”