Lords in Time series, Book 1
by Petie McCarty
Jared Langley, present-day Duke of Reston, tumbles into an abandoned fountain on his ducal estate and travels back in time to the year 1816. There, Reston servants and local villagers think him a dead ringer for his namesake and rakehell ancestor—the seventh Duke of Reston, gone missing at the Battle of Waterloo. Unfortunately, Seven got mixed up with French spies out to assassinate the Duke of Wellington, and an unwary Jared ends up in their crosshairs.
Lady Ariana Hart has loved Jared Langley, the seventh Duke of Reston, since she was twelve years old, until the night the rogue broke her heart. Given up for dead, her rakish neighbor makes a miraculous return from Waterloo—only Jared shows up a changed man and reignites all the feelings Ariana had long ago buried.
Jared is in a race against time. He must waylay the suspicions of his quirky servants and neighbors, get to Wellington before the French spies do, fix his fountain—before Seven shows up—so Jared has a way home, and definitely not fall in love with the irresistible Lady Ariana.
“Did I hurt you?” he asked, as he pulled the boot free.
His gaze swung up to her face, and she forced a smile. The boot removal had affected her as much as him. How would he ever make it through the night? He frowned slightly and then set to work on the other boot, holding her other knee and reigniting the heart palpitations all over again.
She made another swipe at the coverlet with her palms and almost fell over sideways. He fought back a grin. Misery loved company, and the sight of her flushed cheeks and bright eyes caught his breath in his throat.
Jared straightened and placed the second boot by the first next to the bed. “Are you feeling all right? You look a bit flushed. Maybe the ride was too much for you.”
He leaned in and placed the back of his hand against her forehead, ostensibly to check for a fever, and she whimpered at his touch. The intimate sound had his mouth feeling dry as sand, and he desperately wanted to touch more than her forehead.
His gaze locked with hers. Her eyes darkened.
Oh no. This could be trouble. A misstep here could ruin her…Or keep me here forever.
Still he did not move his hand. His gaze held hers. “You feel warm.”
He heard his voice go low and raspy.
Great. Let her know she has the upper hand.
Was she warm or was he? Every vein and artery in his body pulsed with the need he had denied since the day he’d met her.
“I’m fine,” she said softly.
He had to fight this magnetism, or he would have her ruined in short order.
“Are you?” He leaned closer.
Her look of befuddlement tugged at his heart, and he fought the lust roiling in his chest. He couldn’t read the look in her eyes. Did she want him, too? Oh, what did it matter unless he kissed her?
She leaned forward, whispered, “I think so.”
“Let me check.” He pressed his lips to hers.
Every nerve ending in his body exploded with pleasure. Primal desire had overwhelmed him in the taproom after he had saved her from the drunken farmer, his primitive nature taking the lead.
He had not thought twice. Jumped in like the knight in shining armor she raved on about. He had wanted to be her knight.
His lips did not plunder, as she no doubt expected. He gentled his kiss so as not to frighten her, locked together in this room as they were. He brushed his lips across hers, caressed, hoping to make her want him half as much as he wanted her. He leaned back to stare into her eyes. He shouldn’t have started this. He would not be able to stop.
“This way lies disaster,” he rasped, “for both of us.”
“Maybe,” she said breathlessly, “but could I please have another?”
Petie spent a large part of her career working at Walt Disney World — “The Most Magical Place on Earth” — where she enjoyed working in the land of fairy tales by day and creating her own romantic fairy tales by night, including her new series, The Cinderella Romances. She eventually said good-bye to her “day” job to write her stories full-time. These days Petie spends her time writing sequels to her regency time-travel series, Lords in Time, and her mystery-romance-with-elements-of-suspense series, the Mystery Angel Romances.
Petie shares her home on the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee with her horticulturist husband, a spoiled-rotten English Springer spaniel addicted to pimento-stuffed green olives, and a noisy Nanday conure named Sassy who made a cameo appearance in Angel to the Rescue.