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My Reckless Surrender  - Anna Campbell

My Reckless Surrender

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Published: 1st June 2010
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Headlong into sin...

A well-practiced rake, weary of easy conquests and empty pleasures, Tarquin Vale, Earl of Ashcroft, knows women - and his every instinct warns him to beware of this one. Diana Carrick's brazen overtures have thrown the haunted, sinfully handsome lord completely off his guard. Why, the exquisite temptress stated outright that she wishes to be his lover! But it is neither Diana's boldness nor her beauty that intrigues him so - it is the innocence he senses behind her worldly mask.

Intent upon the seduction that will finally free her, Diana has set her sights on the notorious Ashcroft - never dreaming that there is much more to the enigmatic rogue than sin and deviltry. His kiss is bewitching, his caress intoxicating - and even the dangerous secret Diana must protect cannot shield her from Ashcroft's dark allure.

Unwittingly yet most willingly, they are playing with fire. Now the fuse has been lit and there is no escape…except surrender.

About the Author

Anna Campbell decided to become a writer shortly after she learned to walk. Then she discovered romance novels and realized she just had to be a romance writer and tell stories about love and hope and triumph through adversity, not forgetting gorgeous, passionate men. After various jobs and as much travel as she could afford, including a stay of several years in the United Kingdom, Anna has now settled near the sea on the east coast of Australia.

London, July, 1827

   "Perhaps I want you," Ashcroft murmured. And watched her gray eyes darken with fear and a fascination she couldn't hide, much as he knew she tried to.
   Which made no sense when she'd boldly offered herself, cool as a drink of spring water on a summer's day.
   She had beautiful eyes. Large, clear and brilliant, shadowed by thick dark gold lashes that matched her elegant brows but not her bright gold hair, just visible under the bonnet.
   Ashcroft frowned down at the mysterious Diana, the pores of his skin tightening with unwelcome arousal. And warning.
   Nothing about her added up. He didn't trust her. Instinct urged him to throw her out on her stylish rump and pray he never encountered her again.
   Yet he wasn't entirely ready to let her go.
   This close, his senses filled with her scent. Green apples. Disconcertingly innocent. And beneath that fresh perfume, a subtle female warmth.
   Since she'd raised her veils with that absurdly dramatic gesture, he hadn't been able to look away. She was exquisite. Slender and graceful, with a purity of feature he'd never seen before. She looked like a Madonna, yet hawked herself like a streetwalker.
   Any man would pay a fortune for her favors. If she was a courtesan. He already knew she wasn't.
   Perhaps she was the country widow she claimed. His intuition insisted she wasn't completely honest. If not about everything, about most of what she'd said.
   His intuition, unlike the women he'd known, never lied.
   "You don't want me." Resentment beaded her low voice. "You just said…"
   A pulse fluttered under the delicate skin of her bare throat. He told himself he should take pity on her. Except she didn't cringe away and her face held stubbornness as well as fear.
   He didn't know what she wanted of him. Not what she asked, although he recognized the signs that she found him attractive. She'd needed courage to come here and she needed courage to continue staring into his eyes.
   He'd always admired courage. Unwilling interest wove its way through anger and doubt. "Perhaps I'd like a taste of what's on offer before I decide whether I want more."
   Her white throat moved as she swallowed. "You play with me."
   His response was curt. "You come here unbidden and insult me. I deserve some fleeting entertainment as recompense."
   "In…insult you? I meant no…"
   He leaned closer and bent his head to the crook of her neck and shoulder. With every second, the urge to taste her burgeoned, but he reined it in. Instead he drew in a lungful of her sweet fragrance.
   "That only added to the insult," he murmured. "You appear from nowhere, proposition me as if I were a whore, then you're surprised I'm less than overwhelmed at your generosity."
   He heard the ragged saw of her breath, but she didn't pull away. He was astonished he had to struggle to resist kissing the smooth flesh so close to his lips.
   "I can't be the first woman who's wanted to…sleep with you." Her voice strengthened. "You've invited plenty of women into your bed. What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander."
   He laughed softly and watched her tremble as his breath brushed her skin. "This gander likes to do his own chasing, Madam Goose."
   "So…" She paused and he knew she scrambled after her scattered courage. "Are you chasing?"
   He lifted his head and studied her. Except for two hectic flags of color high on her cheekbones, she was pale. Her pupils dilated, the black threatening to swallow the gray. A pink tongue flickered out to moisten her lips.
   Hunger slammed through Ashcroft.
   Before this he'd toyed with her. In that second, the game became serious.
   He wanted her.
   By God, he could take her. She'd offered herself. He only needed to hike up her skirts, part her thighs and ease his aching hardness in her wet heat.
   The idea filled his head with fire.
   The onset of such powerful desire made him pause. His instincts still shrieked danger.
   Very slowly he edged away, although his hand remained splayed next to her head on the door. Each inch he removed himself felt like an excruciating mile. That in itself was admonition to banish this puzzling visitor.
   "Lord Ashcroft?"
   Her low voice played along his veins like music. In spite of his best efforts, he couldn't help but imagine that voice whispering salacious wishes in the privacy of his bed.
   As she spoke, her lips parted. All he saw was that lush, glistening mouth. The hint of darkness within. While the rest of her features could be carved for a cathedral sanctuary, her mouth was pure sin. He already knew she'd be delicious.
   Against every dictate of self-preservation, he leaned down. One taste. One taste only…
Anna Campbell

I was born in Brisbane, Australia, and grew up on an avocado farm with views of Moreton Bay and Stradbroke Island. As a result, my ideal setting ever since has involved lots of water—even if it’s just a large bathtub with me lolling around in it.

The other element in my ideal setting is lots and lots of books. I was a kid who spent her childhood with her nose buried between the pages of a book. To me, the worlds I read about were at least as real and ten times as exciting as anything that happened to me in Redland Bay. I still think one of life’s finest pleasures is picking up a great book and just losing myself in it for however long I take to finish it.

Being such an avid reader naturally morphed into wanting to do what these wonderful writers did. My mother very proudly kept my grade two composition book, in which I penned a heartfelt wish to become the new Enid Blyton. At least you can say I had an early sense of vocation.

When I was 8, my mother was so desperate to shut me up—in between reading, I used to talk a lot—that she gave me a Mills & Boon romance. That was back in the days when you were lucky to get a kiss at the end, rather tame by today’s standards. But I was immediately hooked. The vivid emotion and the fact that a woman is so central to the story made these books precious to me. I still feel that way about a good romance.

To read Anna’s revealing answers to the Booktopia Book Guru’s TEN TERRIFYING QUESTIONS…and to leave a comment - CLICK HERE

Visit Anna Campbell's Booktopia Author Page


ISBN: 9780061684319
ISBN-10: 0061684317
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 512
Published: 1st June 2010
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Inc
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 18.1 x 11.3  x 3.2
Weight (kg): 0.27