BOOK BLURB: Inspector Archie Bruce, the brilliant young man who runs the Scotland Yard crime laboratory, is suddenly shifted from his duties behind the scenes, directly into the line of fire. Undervalued and overworked, Archie has no time for a social life––that is, until the heroine’s father, a noted chemist in his own right, offers Archie a deal. He will modify a secret latex compound that will transfer fingerprints from the crime scene to the lab. In exchange, Archie must agree to tutor his charming, but exasperating daughter, Miss Fiona A. Rose, for the major pharmacy exam.
But as Archie and Fiona attempt to study for the major, they can’t help but get involved in a bit of sleuthing. Was the fire in the opium den accidental or deliberately set? Who was behind the lab explosion? Not to mention the strange and haunting memory of a masquerade ball and a very seductive kiss. Amidst the pop quizzes and adventure, Fiona and Archie ultimately find the force of attraction too tempting to resist.
If you’ve always been curious about The Gentlemen of Scotland Yard, this e-novella is a great way to give the series a try: $0.99 at all ebook outlets!
Please stop by the author’s website: http://jillianstone.com
Outside Greater Scotland Yard, Archie hailed a cab. “What about Alfred?” He opened the cab door. “Up boy.”
“We adore dogs at Rose & Company––Mrs. Gallagher especially.” Fanny smiled at the droopy-eyed bloodhound.
Archie stared at her. “But you don’t have any pets.”
Fiona scooted over and Archie settled in close beside her. “We recently lost our two Highland Terriers. Father brought them home as pups for my eleventh birthday. Princess Margaret went first and Nelson died shortly after. That was nearly sixth months ago. Mrs. Gallagher cried for week when Nelson passed.” Fiona removed a glove to scratch behind a floppy ear. “I do believe Alfred will be fused over.”
“Take care––” Archie swept her skirts over. “Pardon the forwardness, but your dress. I’m afraid he’s a drooler.” The brush of his shoulder against hers, as he leaned over to pull her skirts back felt wonderfully intimate, and their close proximity, especially now, with the dog stuffed between them…well, there was no way to describe it but, it just felt right.
“Sorry the laboratory was in such chaos today. Things should settle down by tomorrow. Did you otherwise enjoy yourself? Exploring lab––meeting the staff?”
“Very impressive, and I must say your lab workers all seem…” She could not help but recall Miss Mowbray’s remarks. “Unusually devoted.”
Archie nodded, though the look on his face seemed distant and if she was reading him correctly, worried. “They’re wonderfully energetic and enthusiastic,” he mused aloud. “But the firing off of that shrapnel shell has me concerned. And then there’s the problem of Miss Mowbray––I do hope she didn’t––she wasn’t…”
Fiona felt a twitch at the ends of her mouth. “As I said, your staff does seem unusually…admiring of you.”
Archie met her gaze directly, then exhaled an exasperated, decidedly masculine sigh. The kind she occasionally heard from her father when mother was being particularly trying. “I would just like you to know––even though this will seem awkward and––premature, 4whatever transpired between Miss Mowbray and myself is long in the past.”
Fiona’s heart was pounding so loud, she could barely hear his words. She was quite sure Archie was implying an interest in her, beyond that of teacher and pupil. A gray dusk had settled over the city and the lamplighters were out and about. Her gaze swept from the street scene to Archie. “It may well be in your past, but I’m not so sure about Miss Mowbray’s.”
“I will insist she curb her remarks, but I’m afraid I must ask you to pay little mind to what she says in the days ahead.” He rubbed his hand over the stubble of chin beard. “Ouch.” He shook his hand, and turned it palm side up. Fiona peered over his shoulder.
“Quite a nasty burn,” she said. “I have something wonderful––near miraculous for that when we get home.”
Archie grinned. “A secret Rose & Company salve?” Fiona leaned close, to get a better look at the injury. Gently, she traced a finger over the circular outline of red. “From the scorching hot door knob?”
He nodded. “Must be, though I don’t remember it hurting much at the time.”
“And when might you have thought about the pain? When you were sent flying down the stairs?” She looked up into his lovely dark eyes. “You could have been badly injured, or worse––and I would have…” Fiona caught herself before she said something…premature.
Liquid brown eyes, glowed in the evening lamplight. “And you would have?” His gaze dropped to her mouth.
“I…would have…” Her voice faltered, barely a whisper. A piece of netting had fallen in her face, which he returned to her hat brim. His body, hard and warm against hers, and so close she could easily detect the subtle mystery of his man scent. They were so very close, now, a sudden lurch of the carriage might be all it would take…
“Kiss me again, Fiona.”
She taunted him with a narrowed gaze. “If I kiss you now, we won’t be able to keep our minds on schoolwork.”
“If you don’t kiss me now,” his breath buffeted softly against her lips, “concentration will be impossible.” Then, as if the streets of London had conspired with Cupid himself, the carriage hit a bump in the road.
Velvet lips pressed gently to his own. And Archie responded to her, deepening the kiss as it gained in strength and passion. “Good God, I have missed this mouth,” he murmured. He probed with his tongue, teasing her lips open, and she returned his ardor with a surprising amount of intensity. Her lips brushed back over his as her tongue played a tangled, thrilling chase, heightening his desire.
The carriage stopped––quite suddenly.
Breaking the kiss, his mouth traveled to the tip of her chin, and down to the hollow of her throat. He swept an arm around her waist and pressed her against his chest––felt the rise and fall of her breasts, heard her soft, sweet moan. Mysteriously, his tongue found a sensitive spot behind her ear and she trembled. Good God, his entire body thrummed with his physical need of her. He’d wanted her for years, and now he held her in his arms again. “It appears we have arrived at Rose & Company, chemists to the tony Knightsbridge set.”
Fiona eased away, and he released her just enough to capture her gaze. He was about to ask if the kiss they’d shared was as good as the one of memory, but she reached behind her and pressed the door latch. “Come Alfred,” she coaxed, and climbed down from the cab.
Bewildered by her sudden exit, he handed over the leash. paid the driver, and followed her inside the empty shop. She stood by a cabinet full of exotic soaps, waiting for him. He approached her slowly. “Fiona, I hope I didn’t offend––”
She grabbed his coat lapels and kissed him so unexpectedly she sent a shock of arousal coursing through him. She remained very close and spoke softly. “We have neighbors, the Greens, who own the millinery next door. Ida Green, their daughter, is better known as the Brompton Square Tattler. I wouldn’t want her to go round gossiping about us.” Fiona moistened her lips, a nervous habit he enjoyed immensely. “Sorry to be so abrupt,” she added.
Archie kept his grin soft, playful. “You may kiss me abruptly, any time you wish.”
FEATURED AUTHOR: Jillian Stone
Coming later this month: A PRIVATE DUEL WITH AGENT GUNN releases November 27. Yes! The dashing operative finally gets his own full length romantic adventure, just in time for the holidays!
Commenters: Do your remember your first kiss? Or perhaps a kiss that happened once a long, long time ago that you still remember? Please share! Jillian is giving away an e-copy of A LESSON IN CHEMISTRY WITH INSPECTOR BRUCE to one lucky commenter today.
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