Kiss of Scandal. I love this story, the Russian history, the deception of the plot, the way fact and fiction are woven together. I studied Russian history in college, until I realized that in order to go further I'd need to learn Russian. A completely different alphabet? Never mind. My degree is now in American History...
But that didn't stop my love of Russian history, or this book. Here's a brief excerpt, I hope you enjoy it!
“I expect venom to spew forth momentarily,” the deep voice rumbled from behind her.
She could feel his hot breath tickling her shoulder, skin tingling with awareness. His lips brushed the base of her neck, there and gone in a heartbeat. Scandalous in so public a setting. Heart racing, she forced herself to turn slowly, arching an eyebrow as Count Nikolai Andreiovitch Orlov joined her and Anatoli in front of the Jordan Staircase.
Her need to rush up to the state rooms vanished.
Drinking in his appearance, Katria kicked the hem of her heavy skirt as she faced him. Her focus left his eyes to slide down his tall, muscular frame. As tall as Anatoli, Nikolai towered over her. It was the look, however, the one she now knew he reserved for her, that inspired sinful thoughts whenever they met. She smiled.
“Count Orlov.” She extended her hand, but instead of delicately kissing the back of it, Nikolai raised his dark eyes to meet hers and kissed her gloved palm. Katria tilted her head and offered a cordial nod for the benefit of any who may be watching.
“Countess.” Nikolai offered his arm and they started up the stairs. He closed his other hand over hers, keeping her close by his side. Katria couldn’t say she minded. “The vipers are restless, slithering about the rooms in search of prey.”
The way he’d said “prey,” the hungry look he slanted in her direction, made her shiver. Her fingers tightened on his arm, and Katria was certain he noticed. Then again, everything about Nikolai elicited a reaction, from the strength of his arm to the power in his smooth, deep voice. Now, as they climbed the stairs, his fingers brushed over her wrist, teasing the bare inch of skin between glove and dress.
“I’ve missed you,” Nikolai said. The words were so low, for a moment she wasn’t certain she’d heard them. Then he chuckled, and the sultry sound went straight through her.
Katria shook her head, temporarily clearing her thoughts. What had they been talking about?