A Code of Love

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An Unexpected Pleasure ~ Excerpt from 'A Code of Love'

Cord stepped into the hallway. “Lady Henrietta, what a pleasure to welcome you to Rathbourne House.”

She stood abruptly. By the astonished expression on her face, she hadn’t expected to see him. “My lord…” she mumbled, looking down at the floor. She fingered a necklace hidden under her pelisse, an anxious gesture, he was coming to recognize. “I’ve come to see your aunt.” Her chin went up in defiance.

He knew nothing of her friendship with his aunt. He glanced behind her to see if her maid accompanied her. She was alone.

She didn’t offer any further explanation but bit on her lower lip.

A very sensual lower lip, now that she had called attention to it. He found himself riveted to the pink plump lower lip. “My aunt is out on her social calls with Gwyneth. May I assist you?”

It didn’t matter what brought her here today. He wasn’t going to let her leave until he had time to probe the mystery of her unaccompanied appearance.

She stood motionless.

The air filled with expectation.

“Is your need to see my aunt concerning your uncle? I know they’re close acquaintances.”

It was hard to imagine that her large green eyes could get any larger, but they seemed to grow.

“What do you know of my uncle?” Her strident voice and stiffened stance challenged him. She was absolutely compelling with her fiercely determined eyes.

“I don’t believe I’ve yet had the honor of meeting the gentleman.”

She studied him, weighing his answer.

“I’m trying to understand what would cause you to arrive at Rathbourne House, seeking word with my aunt.”

“My visit is of a private nature.”

His impulse was to take her into his arms and console her about whatever problems she faced, to kiss away the anxiety furrowing her forehead. “May I offer you tea while we wait for my aunt?” He gestured with his hand to the marble staircase, which wound grandly up to the second floor.

A Code of Love

All About Kissing - Excerpt from 'A Code of Love'

Excerpt from A Code of Love

Gus pounced as Henrietta rose from her knees, the task of weeding the flower beds complete. Henrietta teetered but the impact of the four-stone Labrador couldn’t be stopped. She fell backward on her heels, giving Gus the perfect position to lick her face. His wet kiss landed squarely on her lips and was followed by a full frontal assault. Her shrieks encouraged Gus to intensify his slobbery affection.

“Gus, you kiss better than the gentlemen of the ton.” She stood, brushing the paw marks from her pale yellow muslin dress.

“You never told me that you kissed a lot of men.” Edward came down the steps. Her younger brother never appeared to be listening, but it was like him to hear her slightly risqué comment.

“I was joking, and a gentleman would never ask a lady whom she has been kissing.”

“Why were Michael and his friends laughing about Lady Hawksley’s lips?” Edward asked.

Henrietta was going to wring their older brother’s neck for being indiscreet about the voracious widow in front of Edward. “I’ll let Michael explain what he and his friends were discussing.”

“I knew you weren’t going to tell me anything. Michael is in France and isn’t going to be home for at least four or five years.”

With his round baby cheeks and the golden Harcourt hair, Edward looked like a cherub in a Raphael painting. Leaning over, she tousled his hair. “I’m sure Michael will be home before you’re twelve years old and will answer all your questions.”

She had definite plans for educating Edward on the relationship between women and men, to shatter the male balderdash that women needed to be protected and thus excluded from the workings of the real world. With Michael’s departure to France for intelligence work, the management of the entire household fell on her shoulders.

Edward chased Gus over the grass and behind a tree. The dog came then waited for Edward to give chase again. The boy and dog ran circles around the giant oak.

Watching their enthusiastic play, she felt a deep longing for something she couldn’t identify. When Edward and Gus came to a halt near her, she hugged her younger brother. “I’ll tell you about kissing. It’s delightful when you’re kissing someone you care about, like your younger brother or your dog.”

“Hen, I’m not talking about that kind of kissing.” Edward, appearing to have no interest in the conversation, drew away and threw a stick to Gus.

“Kissing between women and men is exactly like kissing between families, a sign of mutual affection between people who care about and respect each other.” She shook her gardening gloves, carefully choosing her words. “Women want to know men respect them for their minds, their wit, who they really are, before they share their affection.”

Why was she thinking of a man whose kisses wouldn’t be the least respectful?

A Sneak Peek at A Cantata of Love

JackiDelecki_ACantataofLove_HR[1]Here’s a sample of the heart-pounding adventure, international intrigue and sizzling romance coming June 14, 2016, with the release of A Cantata of Love, book 4 in The Code Breakers series.

1803 ~ In the seaside town of Berck, France

Gabrielle De Valmont brushed back Lord Kendall’s blond curls and applied the wet cloth to his burning brow. His long golden curls and eyelashes accentuated his bright red cheekbones. In their days of hard travel from Paris, the Earl’s gunshot wound had festered into a nasty infection.

At this moment, he rested. For days, when the fever spiked, he thrashed about, calling out about sending a code book to a woman named “Henrietta.”

Desperate to soothe him, Gabrielle discovered that he would calm with the French songs of her childhood.

She was exhausted from the strain of caring for the Earl and from the constant fear that they might be captured and forced to return to Paris.

They couldn’t hide much longer without being discovered by Napoleon’s or Fouche’s henchmen. When the Earl’s condition had worsened to the point he could no longer travel, Gabrielle had brought them to her former nanny’s tiny village of Berck, south of Calais. They made their arrival into the village under cover of darkness to avoid alerting the citizens.

For eight long days and nights, she had cared for the feverish Earl. Their presence in the tiny town couldn’t be kept secret much longer. They must leave Berck and France soon.

But how could they flee with the French soldiers on high alert, inspecting every boat crossing the English Channel?

Monsieur Denby, Lord Kendall’s valet, had assured her that he had a plan to divert their attention.

Exhausted and despondent, she beseeched the Blessed Virgin for their safe escape and the Earl’s recovery.

She also prayed that the Earl would forgive her and Mother Therese for their deception. She had to have believe that Lord Kendall would never abandon her to her terrible fate.

***

Pre-order A Cantata of Love exclusively from iBooks to be the first to read my new release.

A CANTATA OF LOVE

Napoleonic France is no place for an Englishman, especially Michael Harcourt, the Earl of Kendal, who is on a clandestine assignment for the Crown. Already injured and facing imminent discovery by Napoleon and Fouche’s men, Michael finds his escape made even more perilous when he is charged with the safety of a young boy who must be spirited out of Paris.

Desperate to escape the terrible fate that awaits her if she remains in France, Lady Gabrielle De Valmont must disguise herself as a boy and rely on the cunning of a virtual stranger—an Englishman, no less—to smuggle her out of the country. When the Earl’s injury becomes severely infected, rendering him gravely ill, Gabrielle realizes it is now up to her to save them both.

You can enjoy the rest of The Code Breakers series on audio, narrated by Pearl Hewitt. Click the cover to listen to an audio sample. Available at Audible.com, iTunes and Amazon.

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The Code Breakers Series box set special release price of $4.99

Don’t miss this limited offer to treat yourself to  CODE BREAKERS, The Series (Books 1-3) for just $4.99JackiDelecki_TheCodebreakersSeries_3DBundle2500[1]

Men and women from the class of privilege and rank risk their lives to defend England against the treacherous designs of Napoleon. They confront disaster, scandal, and passion as they pursue their code of honor and love.  

Book One: A CODE OF LOVE

Threatened by French spies, assassins, and calculating suitors, can Lady Henrietta Harcourt trust the infamous rake, Lord Cordelier Rathbourne, with her carefully guarded family secrets?

Book Two: A CHRISTMAS CODE

Lady Gwyneth Beaumont has long awaited the opportunity to show Viscount James Ashworth that she is no longer the impetuous child who dogged his footsteps. Now a much sought-after debutante, she is determined to prove to the hard-headed rake that she is a grown woman and a worthy participant in both the spy game and the game of love.

Book THREE: A CODE OF THE HEART

When Miss Amelia Bonnington unwittingly stumbles upon a smuggling ring in the modiste shop of her good friend, it is up to Lord Derrick Brinsley to save her. Can the disreputable rake and undercover agent prevent the French from stealing the Royal Navy’s deadly weapon and find love with the only woman capable of redeeming him?

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New release coming April 7

Available from all online retailers April 7: CODEBREAKERS, The Series (Books 1-3)

Men and women from the class of privilege and rank risk their lives to defend England against the treacherous designs of Napoleon. They confront disaster, scandal, and passion as they pursue their code of honor and love.  

Book One: A CODE OF LOVE

Threatened by French spies, assassins, and calculating suitors, can Lady Henrietta Harcourt trust the infamous rake, Lord Cordelier Rathbourne, with her carefully guarded family secrets?

Book Two: A CHRISTMAS CODE

Lady Gwyneth Beaumont has long awaited the opportunity to show Viscount James Ashworth that she is no longer the impetuous child who dogged his footsteps. Now a much sought-after debutante, she is determined to prove to the hard-headed rake that she is a grown woman and a worthy participant in both the spy game and the game of love.

Book THREE: A CODE OF THE HEART

When Miss Amelia Bonnington unwittingly stumbles upon a smuggling ring in the modiste shop of her good friend, it is up to Lord Derrick Brinsley to save her. Can the disreputable rake and undercover agent prevent the French from stealing the Royal Navy’s deadly weapon and find love with the only woman capable of redeeming him?

JackiDelecki_TheCodebreakersSeries_3DBundle2500[1]