After years of playing the rake to hide a dark family secret, the Duke of Aversley feels tainted beyond redemption and cynical beyond repair. Never does he imagine hope will come in the form of a quirky, quick-witted lady determined to win the heart of another gentleman. Thanks to a painfully awkward past, Lady Amelia De Vere long ago relinquished the notion she was a flower that had yet to blossom. But when her family faces financial ruin and the man she has always loved is on the verge of marrying another, she’ll try anything to transform herself to capture her childhood love and save her family―including agreeing to participate in a bet between her brother and the notorious, dangerously handsome Duke Of Aversley. Bound by the bet, Amelia and Aversley discover unexpected understanding and passion beyond their wildest dreams, if only they can let go of their pride, put trust in each other and chance losing their hearts.
Colin rose, walked over to Amelia and grasped her by the elbow to lead her to the looking glass. “You do not properly see yourself, Amelia,” he said staring at her. She furrowed her brow. “I see perfectly fine and what I see is tall, gangly and graceless. He wanted to run the pad of his thumb over her skin and remove the lines of worry. Instead, he took a deep breath and continued. “The color of the gown does not make you beautiful nor in truth the opulence of the material. It is correct both can enhance beauty, but unless beauty is there it cannot be revealed.” He gripped her shoulders and turned her until she faced the looking glass. ”You already possess beauty. It’s here.” He brushed his finger down the silken skin near her shining eyes. “Real joy comes from your eyes. I also see beauty here.” He ran a finger perilously close to her full lips. “When you smile it’s genuine.” The tremor that coursed through her made him want to spin her around, tilt her head back and claim her delectable mouth for a kiss that would make her forget who the devil Worthington was. The problem was the kiss might make him forget who the devil he was. Appalled at the desire she inspired in him, he forced himself under control, inch by painful inch, until the detachment that had always been a part of his life when it came to women descended over him like a fog blanketing the countryside. He forced his fingers to release her arms and break the contact that made him feel tethered to this woman who was supposed to mean nothing to him. Yet words that needed to be spoken still burned his throat. “Never forget that a dress cannot make you beautiful, because you are already heartbreakingly so.”
Julie Johnstone is a best-selling author of Regency Romance and the author of a new urban fantasy/paranormal romance book. She’s been a voracious reader of books since she was a young girl. Her mother would tell you that as a child Julie had a rich fantasy life made up of many different make believe friends. As an adult, Julie is one of the lucky few who can say she is living the dream by working with her passion of creating worlds from her imagination. When Julie is not writing she is chasing her two precocious children around, cooking, reading or exercising. Julie loves to hear from her readers.