Eden owed her life to Madame Indrani, who rescued her as a child from the slums of London. Then she sold her to a sultan as his concubine in 1815, and sent her by ship to Kurdufan. But, Eden's fate was caught up in the wishes of the villagers of Hobbles Moor, Cornwall, who cast a love charm, asking for the ocean to deliver a bride to their bachelor lord, Pierce Kirrier, the Earl of Penhollow. When Eden escaped from the ship during a storm, and washed up on the beaches near Penhollow Hall, it was Pierce who rescued her. The machinations of the villagers threw the two of the them together, and it wasn't long before the two were in love. But, how could Eden tell the Earl of Penhollow about her past?
Maxwell's historical romance is a beautiful, sexy story of romance, with a little touch of magic. It's no wonder that it was so popular it has been reprinted. The characters, from the villagers to the stuffy gentry, to Eden and Pierce, come alive on the page. If you haven't yet read one of Cathy Maxwell's Regency romances, you might want to start with this enchanting story of two people brought together by strong wishes, a determination to marry for love, and a determination to live.
And, you have a chance to win a copy of Cathy Maxwell's When Dreams Come True. One lucky winner from entrants on my blog will receive a copy of the book from the publicist. Email me at Lesa.Holstine@gmail.com. Your subject line should read, "Win When Dreams Come True." Include your name and mailing address in the body of the email. The contest will end Thursday, April 12 at 6 p.m. PT. I'll announce the winner on my blog, and the publicist will send the winner a copy of the book. Entrants from the U.S. and Canada only, please.
Do you want a taste of the book? HarperCollins/Avon has given permission to reprint an excerpt from When Dreams Come True.
WHEN DREAMS COME TRUE excerpt
By Cathy MaxwellEden 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.”
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.
Cathy Maxwell's website is www.cathymaxwell.com
When Dreams Come True by Cathy Maxwell. HarperCollins/Avon. ISBN 9780380797097 (paperback), 376p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The publicist sent me a copy of the book after I said I would review it.