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But Asher Blackbourne has a secret. He knows it’s just a matter of time until he goes mad and loses his illustrious title, so when Ivy falls into his path, he realizes he could use her to keep his house of cards from falling down. If every illicit touch between them doesn’t drive him mad first, that is.
Yet Ivy cannot escape her grisly legacy and the dark desires of her father’s admirers. What if violence runs through her veins, and no one who gets close is safe? Mayhem will descend as this rake finally falls for the enigmatic woman who might be just his brand of poison…Er, cure, of course.
Blackbourne came towards the clawfoot tub, running a finger along the porcelain edge.
Ivy shrank back instinctively into the steam.
He chuckled. “Don’t worry, love. I won’t bite,” he drawled, and then paused. “Yet.”
She inhaled as his eyes flashed promises of things she wasn’t sure she understood.
“Your bathwater is quite thoroughly unrevealing with all those suds. What a pity.” He sighed, pulling the nearby chair closer to the tub and lowering himself down into it. “Will you wash your hair for me?”
Ivy blinked “Right now?” she choked, reaching up to pat her hair, which she’d styled in a high chignon.
He nodded, his posture relaxed, although Ivy knew this to be deceptive. He was waiting to hear her answer with taut focus. When she didn’t move a muscle, Blackbourne interrupted her tumultuous thoughts with a soft suggestion. “Let me help you.”
The words reached out to her with tendrils that wrapped her consciousness in a sensual fog, causing the hair on her nape to rise. This was not done, she knew. A proper lady would never allow a gentleman to touch her hair, much less while she bathed. But what about any of their arrangement was proper in the first place? Who would even know?
So she reached up slowly so as not to disturb the water covering her chest and drew the stickpin from her hair, letting its length fall in a heavy coil down her back.
His sharp intake of breath echoed in the tiled chamber.
Was that a good thing? Ivy’s body trembled as she watched him rise and come towards her through the steam…
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