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DescriptionHOT UNDER THE COLLAR is a 37,500 word novella (approximately 110 printed pages). In addition, this ebook includes excerpts from THE LESSON PLAN, the first Lords of Lancashire novella, and INCARNATE, an Edwardian-set urban fantasy novel set for release in fall 2012.
Despite the old saw about third sons being destined for the church, no one ever expected the rakish, irresponsible Walter Langston to take up the collar, least of all himself. After an accident renders him unfit for military service, however, he has few other options. When he’s given the post of vicar at a parish church in a sleepy, coastal village, he’s convinced he’ll molder in obscurity. Instead, his arrival brings a sudden resurgence in church attendance…or at least, the attendance of female parishioners. As word of the eligible young vicar spreads, every well-heeled family for miles with a marriageable daughter fills his pews, aiming to catch his eye. Unfortunately for these hopeful members of his flock, Walter’s eye has already been caught—by the one woman who doesn’t come to church on Sundays.
Artemisia Finch left a lucrative career as a celebrated member of London’s demimondaine to care for her ailing father. Returning home hasn’t been easy, though, as her past isn’t even a well-kept secret in the village. When the new vicar arrives on her doorstep, Artemisia is determined to send him on his merry, pious way. But Walter Langston is nothing like any man of the cloth she’s ever known—he’s funny, irreverent, handsome, and tempting as sin. Falling in love with a vicar would be a very bad idea for a former courtesan. Why does this one have to be so hot under the collar?
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Excerpt:“In my experience, men never want to be caught, but they do tend to be attracted to bright, shiny objects, which often leads to that result.” She tilted to her head to one side, recalling the original question that had led them down the path of this conversation. And that it had not been answered. “Is that why you’re here, Mr. Langston? Because I’m a bright, shiny object that doesn’t have a hook hiding underneath?”
He placed his palms flat on his legs, just above the knees, and leaned forward, his expression earnest. “To be quite honest, Miss Finch, I’m not entirely sure why I am here except that I felt compelled to meet you. And to offer you my friendship, for what it might be worth. I can’t imagine it’s easy for you, living here, given everything that’s happened.”
Artemisia stood abruptly, sending her needlework to the floor with a clatter. She met his gaze to find his rich, brown eyes filled with sympathy and kindness, and wanted to slap him. “I don’t need your pity, vicar, any more than I needed a sermon on repentance.” Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to see to my father’s afternoon tea and biscuits.”
Her skirts swirled about her feet as she turned to leave. It was rude in the extreme, but she meant it to be. She didn’t regret her choices, and she didn’t want anyone else regretting them on her behalf. The bed she’d made was perfectly comfortable—if a bit empty—and she was more than willing to lie in it.
She had taken precisely two steps when strong, capable fingers wrapped around her upper arm and whirled her back to face him. His eyes were no longer soft with sympathy, but hard as the famous rocky cliffs of Dover.
“Let me make myself perfectly clear, Miss Finch. I do not pity you.” He yanked her against his chest, which she tried not to notice was broad and warm and solid and very, very male. “Does this feel like pity?”
It didn’t, but she couldn’t say so, because he was kissing her, and under no circumstances did she want him to stop.
Hot Under the Collar (A Lords of Lancashire Novella)By: Jackie Barbosa