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Monday Puzzler > 23 July: Almost like falling in love?

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message 1: by Manda (new)

Manda Collins (manda_collins) | 1895 comments Mod
This is an old favorite that has been discussed recently amongst friends. Our hero has been sent in search of a woman he's meant to rescue. He's never seen her before but he has a miniature of her he's practically memorized her face. On a wander behind the stables of the estate where she was supposed to be he has a chance encounter...

HERO stopped in his tracks at the unexpected sight of a small, slim figure poised atop the wall. It was a woman, standing so still that at first glance he thought she was a statue. But a breeze stirred the hem of her skirts and teased a lock of pale blond hair free of her loose topknot. Fascinated, he drew closer, his gaze riveted on her.

Only a reckless fool would balance on that uneven wall, with certain death awaiting if she lost her footing. She did not seem to recognize the fatal drop looming before her. The tilt of her head indicated that she was staring straight ahead, at the night-darkened horizon. What in God’s name was she doing? Two years earlier, HERO had seen a man standing with that peculiar stillness just before he had jumped to his death from a bridge over the Thames.

As HERO’s gaze raked over her, he saw that the hem of her long skirt was caught beneath her heel. The sight spurred him into action. Moving forward in a few stealthy strides, he lifted himself easily, soundlessly, onto the wall.

She did not see him coming until he had almost reached her. She turned, and HERO saw the flash of her dark eyes just as she lost her balance. Seizing her before she could fall, HERO hauled her against his chest. His forearm locked securely just beneath her breasts. The simple action of pulling her body against his was strangely satisfying, like a puzzle piece snapping neatly into place. She gave a low cry, automatically clutching at his arm. The loose lock of fine blond hair blew across HERO’s face, and the fresh, faintly salty fragrance of female skin rose to his nostrils. The scent made his mouth water. HERO was startled by his instant reaction to her—he had never experienced such visceral response to a woman. He wanted to leap from the wall and carry her off like one of the wolves that had once roamed the medieval forests, and find some place to devour his prey in private.

She was rigid in his hold, her breath coming in gasps. “Let go of me,” she said, prying at his arms. “Why the devil did you do that?”

“You were going to fall.”

“I was not! I was perfectly fine until you rushed at me and nearly knocked me over—”

“Your heel is caught in the hem of your skirts.”

Moving cautiously, she lifted her foot and perceived that he was correct. “So it is,” she said shortly.

Having rescued people from every conceivable situation, HERO was accustomed to receiving at least a perfunctory show of gratitude. “Aren’t you going to thank me for saving you?”

“I have excellent reflexes. I could have saved myself.”

HERO let out an incredulous laugh, both annoyed and fascinated by her stubbornness. “If it weren’t for me, you would have broken your little neck.”

“I assure you, sir, that this so-called rescue was entirely unnecessary. However, since it is obvious that you are going to persist…thank you. Now please take your hands from me.” Her tone rendered the words devoid of appreciation.

HERO grinned, appreciating the fearlessness of her manner, despite the fact that her heart was pounding wildly against the inside of his wrist. Carefully he loosened his arm and helped her to turn by slow degrees. She wobbled a little and dug her fingers into his coat sleeves in a spasm of anxiety. “I’ve got you,” he said steadily.

She faced him, and they both froze as their gazes locked. HERO forgot the wall beneath his feet. It seemed as if they were poised in midair, in a blue wash of moonlight that made everything look unreal. Recognition shot through him like a bolt of lightning. Incredibly, he found himself staring into the features that had almost become more familiar to him than his own.


message 2: by Susan (new)

Susan (shaydock) | 669 comments Oh what a lovely choice. Do not think I know but it sounds wonderful .

message 3: by Dls (new)

Dls | 2080 comments Mod
Pretty sure I know this one. In which case I think most people on this list have read more recent books by the author ...

message 4: by Irisheyes (new)

Irisheyes | 892 comments Sounds kind of familiar but it's not coming to me.

message 5: by Leigh-Ayn (new)

Leigh-Ayn | 1153 comments I KNOW IT !! I KNOW IT!!!

message 6: by Manda (new)

Manda Collins (manda_collins) | 1895 comments Mod
Leigh-Ayn wrote: "I KNOW IT !! I KNOW IT!!!"

Thought you might ;)

It's one of my favorites by this author (among many).

Stacey is Sassy (staceyissassy) | 1249 comments I'm not sure...🤔

message 8: by Nicole (new)

Nicole (nikanne) | 222 comments So familiar but it's been a while and I am not positive this is the same book I am remembering. Very curious for the reveal!

message 9: by Susan (new)

Susan (susaninaz) | 1002 comments I thought I knew it but no, I don't. Good puzzle, Manda.

message 10: by Manda (new)

Manda Collins (manda_collins) | 1895 comments Mod
Okay! As Leigh-Ayn guessed, because she was part of the Twitter conversation about Kleypas heroes where I made a pitch for Nick Gentry, the puzzler is from Worth Any Price by Lisa Kleypas. It's connected through characters to the Wallflowers but is part of the Bow Street Runners trilogy.

message 11: by Dls (new)

Dls | 2080 comments Mod

message 12: by Stacey is Sassy (new)

Stacey is Sassy (staceyissassy) | 1249 comments Read it, loved it, can't remember a thing about it. Guess it's time for a re-read. Great choice Manda. :-)

message 13: by Leigh-Ayn (new)

Leigh-Ayn | 1153 comments Great choice!!! I have it on my kindle and I have started it! *swoon* Nick!

message 14: by Irisheyes (new)

Irisheyes | 892 comments Wow! Ditto what Stacey said. Hahaha

message 15: by Alexandria (new)

Alexandria Jane | 7 comments Oooo...I knew I had read this book! Shoot I wish I had placed it. I think it is time for a re-read :)

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