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A Time to Kill (Jake Brigance #1) Brown-Eyed Girl (Travises #4)

Indeed. Would you care to read the cards? I have left them on the arrangements so that you would be able to identify each sender.

But, he thought with a snort as he slouched into the sofa and propped his ankle over his knee, watching them across their drawing room, laughing and smiling, and making nauseating eyes at each other, he could have another drink.I think I will, he announced, downing it in one gulp.

The Lonely (The Lonely #1)

What was that, Michael? John asked, his hearing superb, as always, damn it.Michael produced an excellent forgery of a smile and lifted his glass aloft. Just thirsty, he said, maintaining the perfect picture of a bon vivant.They were at Kilmartin House, in London, as opposed to Kilmartin (no House, no Castle, just Kilmartin), up in Scotland, where the boys had grown up, or the other Kilmartin House, in Edinburgh-not a creative soul among his forbearers, Michael had often reflected; there was also a Kilmartin Cottage (if one could call twenty-two rooms a cottage), Kilmartin Abbey, and, of course, Kilmartin Hall. Michael had no idea why no one had thought to offer their surname to one of the residences; Stirling House had a perfectly respectful ring to it, in his opinion. He supposed that the ambitious-and unimaginative- Stirlings of old had been so damned besotted with their newfound earldom that they couldn’t think to put any other name on anything.

The Party (The Proposition #0.5)

He snorted into his glass of whisky. It was a wonder he didn’t drink Kilmartin Tea and sit on a Kilmartin-style chair. In fact, he probably would be doing just that if his grandmother had found a way to manage it without actually taking the family into trade. The old martinet had been so proud one would have thought she’d been born a Stirling rather than simply married into the name. As far as she’d been concerned, the Countess of Kilmartin (herself) was just as important as any loftier personage, and she’d more than once sniffed her displeasure when being led into supper after an upstart marchioness or duchess.The Queen, Michael thought dispassionately. He supposed his grandmother had knelt before the Queen, but he certainly couldn’t imagine her offering deference to any other female.

She would have approved of Francesca Bridgerton. Grandmother Stirling would surely have turned her nose up upon learning that Francesca’s father was a mere viscount, but the Bridgertons were an old and immensely popular-and, when the fancy took them, powerful- family. Plus, Francesca’s spine was straight and her manner was proud, and her sense of humor was sly and subversive. If she’d been fifty years older and not nearly so attractive, she would have made quite a fine companion for Grandmother Stirling.

And now Francesca was the Countess of Kilmartin, married to his cousin John, who was one year his junior but in the Stirling household always treated with the deference due the elder; he was the heir, after all. Their fathers had been twins, but John’s had entered the world seven minutes before Michael’s.Her lips were parted, her eyes were unfocused. And her chin seemed to tilt up, as if she were waiting, wishing, wondering when he would finally bend down and seal her fate.

He felt himself say something. Her name, maybe. His chest grew tight, and his heart pounded, and suddenly the impossible became the inevitable, and he realized that this time there was no stopping. This time it wasn’t about his control or his sacrifice or his guilt.This time was for him.

Vanish (Firelight #2)

And he was going to kiss her.When she thought about it later, the only excuse she could come up with was that she didn’t know he was right behind her. The carpet was soft and thick, and she hadn’t heard his footsteps over the roaring of blood in her ears. She didn’t know all that, she couldn’t have, because then she never would have whirled around, intending for all the world to silence him with a scathing retort. She was going to say something horrid and cutting, and intended to make him feel guilty and awful, but when she turned…

Close, so close. Mere inches away. It had been years since anyone had stood so close to her, and never, ever Michael.She couldn’t speak, couldn’t think, couldn’t do anything but breathe as she stared at his face, realizing with an awful intensity that she wanted him to kiss her.

Good God, she wanted Michael.It was like a knife slicing through her. She wasn’t supposed to feel this. She wasn’t supposed to want anyone. But Michael…

She should have walked away. Hell, she should have ran. But something rooted her to the spot. She couldn’t take her eyes off of his, couldn’t help but moisten her lips, and when his hands settled on her shoulders, she didn’t protest.She didn’t even move.

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