Thursday, April 5, 2012

Book Excerpt: When Dreams Come True by Cathy Maxwell

Cathy Maxwell, author of the book When Dreams Come True, stopped by with an excerpt from her book!

By Cathy Maxwell

Eden didn’t want to lie, not to him, not anymore. But she couldn’t tell him the truth.

Lord Penhollow sat down on the piano bench beside her, his back to the instrument. “Play.”

“What shall I play?”

“It doesn’t matter.”

Her fingers trembled as she touched the ivory keys. She was all too aware of him, of his thigh brushing against hers, of his arm leaning on the piano, of the intensity in his face.

For a moment, her mind went blank. She could barely remember her name, let alone why she was here. Her fingers stuck a D chord and then began moving almost with a will of their own. Mozart.

The music had been written to be played by moonlight. It wasn’t an easy piece. Its mood changed swiftly, flowing from pensive contemplation to almost joyous rapture and back again.

She played for him as she’d played for no other, letting the music speak words that could never, should never be spoken between them.

His expression sober, he leaned his head down on his arm, listening. The light from the single candle encircled them.

Eden didn’t feel the burn of tears until the first one trickled down her cheek. She struggled to hold back the others. Her throat ached with the pain of regret. Still she played, her fingers running over the keys, striking chords. Another tear escaped, this time falling free and striking the back of her hand just as she finished the final chord.

The music vibrated in the air. Neither spoke. Eden couldn’t face him. She lowered her head, staring at the contrast of her fingers against the creamy ivory keys.

The back of his fingers stroked her cheek. She shivered at his touch, then closed her eyes, pressing her cheek closer, wanting these few moments between them.

Her tears flowed freely now. She tasted them on her lips, and then, tasted him. His fingers brushed her lips softly, before his lips hovered near hers in silent question.

Eden had never kissed before. The women of Madame Indrani’s did not kiss. A kiss was too intimate, too personal. A poet had once said, a kiss could claim a woman’s soul and never give it back and Madame had trained her women to believe it. But now, Eden craved that intimacy. The blood roaring in her ears, she wet her lips and parted them.

He needed no other invitation. Their lips met.

The kiss was far more gentle than she’d anticipated. His lips were smooth and soft. Kissing him felt as natural as breathing and she relaxed into it with a small sigh. His arms came around her, pulling her closer. Her hands still rested on the piano keys. She raised them now and placed them awkwardly upon his shoulders.

His lips pressed against hers curved into smile, a heart beat before his arms tightened and his kiss deepened.

What had started off as simple and innocent flared into passion. Her breasts flattened against the solid strength of his chest. Separated by only the thin layers of cotton material between them, she could feel his heart beat. Her nipples tightened in response. The tip of his tongue gently stroked her lower lip. It tickled and she gasped in surprise. That’s when his tongue sweetly entered her mouth and she really learned how to kiss.

This was intimate. . . but, very exciting.

Eden drank her fill of him. He’d been sipping brandy. She could taste it in the kiss, mingled with the salt from her own tears. His skin smelled of the spice scent of his shaving soap he’d used a few hours earlier.

But it wasn’t enough. She wanted to be closer and hooked her arms around his neck He chuckled deep in his throat. His hands on her waist, he lifted her up to sit on his lap.

Eden faced him, her bent legs embracing his body. She kissed him back now. He’d shown her how and she reveled in the feel of his body pressed against hers. Placing her hand against his jaw, she delighted in the texture of his whiskered growth beneath her fingers and the movement of his muscles as he devoured her with his kiss.

Their movements pushed her night dress up her thighs. Pressed against his black, finely woven breeches, she could feel the long, hard length of him. Something possessive and proud soared inside her, opening her to him. She pressed closer.

His hand ran up her bare thigh and slipped beneath the night dress. Their kiss went deeper and deeper as if they could pull the very breath from each other. She tugged at his shirt, wanting clothes removed between them. Her fingers slipped under the waist of his breeches and her fingertips brushed the velvety hard head of his erection. His hand came round and captured hers, preventing her from exploring further. He broke the kiss and leaned back against the pianoforte, his breathing heavy.

Eden tossed her hair back, a wildness thrumming through her. She leaned her arms on his chest and bit his bottom lip. “Why did you stop? I want to touch you. I need to feel you.”

She would have kissed him again, but he shook his head, taking both her wrists in his hands. “If we don’t stop here, then I’ll never stop.”

Eden rubbed her breasts against his chest. “Then let’s not stop.”

His eyes glowed in the candlelight. She waited. She felt wanton, she felt powerful . . . she felt honest. This, she was trained for. This, she understood.

Suddenly, he rose, bringing her up with him. Strong arms cradled her shoulders and her legs. He blew out the candle and carried her from the drawing room to the hallway leading to her bedroom.

Eden threw her arms around his shoulders breathing in the scent of warm man and starched cotton. Tomorrow, she would leave, but she would have tonight.

He pressed her door open with his shoulder. The room was dark save for the moonlight coming in through the panes of the French doors and spreading across the bed. Outside, the fountain splashed and crickets called.

Eden’s heartbeat quickened as he didn’t waste time but crossed to the bed and laid her down upon the sheets, the bed still indented where her body had been resting earlier. She reached for him.

But Lord Penhollow didn’t follow her onto the bed. Instead he backed away, moving into the shadows.

Eden came up on one elbow. “Aren’t you joining me?”


Her passion fuddled mind had difficulty understanding. “No?” She came up on her knees. “But I thought– We were just . . .” Her voice trailed off. She couldn’t put into words what they’d been doing in the drawing room. Oh, she knew many descriptions for it, but none of that matched this racing of her heart and the almost desperate need inside her. “Don’t you want me?”

He gave shaky laugh and then whispered, “I burn for you. I want nothing more than to be buried inside you and feel your body around me.”

Eden groaned with the aching desire his words inspired. She reached out. “Then come to me.”

“I can’t.”

Eden dropped her hand to the bed, gathering the sheets in a fist clenched in frustration. “Why?”

“Because there is something I want from you more.”

“And what is that?”

“I want you to trust me.”

Trust. Eden sat back on her heels. She combed her hair back from her face with her hands. “What if I can’t give you that?”

“You will,” he said fiercely. “Because I’m not the type of man to stop until I get what I want.”

Her heart seemed to stop. “What if what you want, is not what you expect?”

“You’re an innocent, Eden. I could never believe you guilty of wrong doing.”

“An innocent?” she repeated with disbelief. “What makes you believe that, my lord?”

His teeth flashed white in the darkness. “My sweet Eden, I could tell by your kiss. I’m the first man you’ve kissed, although you learn quickly.”

“My lord, I’m far from innocent that you think–”

“No, stop. Aren’t we all guilty of something?” he practically growled.

His anger surprised her. She pulled back just as he crossed the room to her. His hands grasped her arms and lifted her to meet his kiss. This kiss was different than the earlier. It was savage, possessive, and branded her completely as his.

He let go and Eden slid to the bed, unable to move.

Her body cried for more.

He stood over the bed. “You’re mine,” he said. “But I want more than just this, Eden. When I take you, it will be when I can claim all of you. Your heart, your mind . . . your soul.” Without another word, he turned and left the room, shutting the door behind him.

It was hours before Eden could fall asleep and when she did, she knew she would not be leaving on the morrow.

Copyright by Cathy Maxwell. 
Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.

About the book:

Everyone knew the Earl of Penhollow needed a wife, so one thunderous night the villagers gathered together to ask the ocean to deliver a bride to the bachelor lord…

When Pierce Kirrier rescues a mysterious beauty from the billowing ocean waves, he has no idea who she is or where she came from. But at first sight of this enchanting maiden, he knows he must claim her for his own. Taking her back to Penhollow Hall, he pampers her like a princess, determined to win her trust and her heart.

For Eden, awakening in an elegant bedchamber in a remote corner of Cornwall is like a perfect dream. In Pierce’s arms she has discovered true love, true joy, and a passion she never imagined could exist. Yet she knows in her heart that, once her secret past catches up with her, her dreams could be shattered … forever.

About the author:

Raised in Olathe, Kansas, Cathy Maxwell’s love of stories and history come from family tales shared around the dinner table. She's from pioneering stock who first hit these shores on the Mayflower. (She and Dick Cheney share the same Mayflower ancestor. Who would have thought?) She has long called Virginia home, noting she is “a Virginian by choice, but a Kansan by nature.” (That means she isn't afraid of a challenge.) She worked in television news as a broadcaster before spending six years in the Navy . . . and then she took to writing.

Maxwell began her writing career in 1991 while her children were still small. “It wasn’t easy,” she says. “I worked full time, my husband travelled, we had three kids, I volunteered and I was writing from four until seven every morning.” Now, twenty years later, she is the author of seventeen national bestsellers and her novels appear regularly on The New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists. Her recent bestseller, The Seduction of Scandal, the fifth and final book in her Scandals and Seductions series, was published in September 2011 and was part of Avon Books’ K.I.S.S. and Teal campaign marking National Ovarian Cancer Awareness month.

Maxwell has set all of her novels during the Regency time period. A rarity in the book world, she has published every one of her novels with the same publisher, Harper Collins/Avon Books. Her next novel, Lyon’s Bride, is the first of her The Chattan Curse series and will be on sale April 24th, following the re-release of WHEN DREAMS COME TRUE.


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