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Then as silence settled around them, he cradled her head in one large hand and slanted his mouth over hers. She inhaled sharply, drawing in his warmth as their breath mingled before she stopped breathing altogether when his firm lips caressed her mouth.

It was shocking and exhilarating. The garden slipped sideways and slid away until there was nothing except in the world but his arms. Her legs nearly folded beneath her as the heat from his chest burned through her dress. Every bone in her body melted in that liquid warmth.

Then, mortified at her reaction, she tried to push him away. But even as her sense of propriety returned, his grip strengthened.

Her will to push him away faded, and an odd elation filled her. Her hand slipped over the hard muscles of his chest. The wool of his jacket rubbed against her fingertips as her hands made their way up his neck and into the dark curls at the nape. His lips pressed against her mouth until she opened it to feel the tip of his tongue tickle her own.





Erin Hatton, Associate Editor





The Necklace

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