Some temptations are impossible to resist, even for a bakery heir…
Ann Haldene is the most beautiful woman Gawain Redcake has ever seen. A gifted healer who soothes his battle-scarred body like never before, the widow’s touch has a powerful effect on him. It’s no wonder the rugged Redcake heir forgets his quest for a society bride during one passionate night in Ann’s arms. But once he learns she is pregnant with his child, he searches for her, intent on giving her his name, if not his heart….
Ann is shocked by Gawain’s proposal, mostly because he has not uttered a word of love. For the sake of their baby, she accepts, even knowing that Gawain dreamed of marrying to secure a title and all she has is a severed royal Indian bloodline. Now the new bride faces her greatest challenge: showing her husband that their union is more powerful than pedigree—and love is the ultimate reward….
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Reviews for His Wicked Smile
“A delightful, sexy glimpse into Victorian life and loving with two wonderfully non-traditional lovers.” –Jessa Slade, author of Dark Prince’s Desire and the Steel Born series
Ann took a sip from her glass. “You, sir, have the most wicked smile.”
Gawain realized he wore only the towel, draped across his lap, and the linen was starting to tent. “You have me at your mercy.”
“I’m a healer,” she protested.
“You said that before. But you have discharged your duty to me, and yet here you are, still in my room, with no thought of leaving.” He put a hand on his good thigh, increasing the sight of the bulge.
Despite her dark skin, he could see her cheeks flush. “Fern’s preparing the evening meal, with the kitchen maids. We don’t have very many diners, what with all the rain.”
He listened and was rewarded with the sound of raindrops hitting the pavement outside. “I didn’t realize it was raining. It is quite an oasis in here, with the wine and candlelight.”
“Massage can put a body into a stupor,” she observed. “It’s very relaxing.”
He watched her gaze dart to his groin, then move away quickly. She bit her lip. He smiled again, noting that she seemed to have no urge to go. Was the lady as intrigued by him as he was by her?
“As does wine.” He put down his glass and took one of her hands in his. “Your hands must be tired.” He rubbed his thumbs into her palm.
She curled her hand around him. “I’m used to it. This was nothing compared to what I perform when I act as midwife.”
“But it is still tiring,” he murmured. He scooted to the edge of the mattress, shifting his towel up his thighs, and took her other hand away from her wine glass so he could massage the palm.
She let out a breath somewhere between an exhalation and a moan.
“It feels good?”
She let her head drop to her chest, then stretched it from side to side. “I touch other people. No one ever touches me.”
“Aren’t you training Fern?”
“She doesn’t like to be touched.”
“Poor wounded soul,” Gawain said. His fingers moved to her wrists, then up her arms. Her cuffs were unbuttoned and turned up. When he found a particularly tender spot, her eyes closed and her head tilted to the side. He switched to the other arm, curious to see if the same tender spot would be found on both, but in doing so he leaned in until he could smell her, not just the lavender oil, but sandalwood too, and cooking, and the scent of her hair.
He wanted to kiss her. Her mouth, her slender neck, her full breasts. He wanted to see the color of their tips, find out how tiny her waist was, how voluptuous her hips. His fingers moved to the buttons at the neck of her dress. Her eyes widened but she, astoundingly, didn’t stop him as he unbuttoned, just drank steadily from her wine glass.
Eventually, her glass was empty. He took it from her and placed it on the bedside table while she finished taking off her dress. Then, as he watched, throbbing with need for her, she disrobed fully, until she was as naked as he.
He could see her swallowing and he didn’t want her nervous. Standing himself, he limped toward her. She parted her lips and watched. When he pulled her body against his, he could feel his oil-slick skin sliding against her flesh.
“You have the most beautiful body I’ve ever seen,” he said, quite honestly, moving his fingers to her hair.
About the author
Heather Hiestand was born in Illinois, but her family migrated west before she started school. Since then she has claimed Washington State as home, except for a few years in California. She wrote her first story at age seven and went on to major in creative writing at the University of Washington. Her first published fiction was a mystery short story, but since then it has been all about the many flavors of romance. Heather’s first published romance short story was set in the Victorian period, and she continues to return, fascinated by the rapid changes of the nineteenth century. The author of many novels, novellas, and short stories, she has achieved best-seller status at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. With her husband and son, she makes her home in a small town and supposedly works out of her tiny office, though she mostly writes in her easy chair in the living room.
For more information, visit Heather’s website at www.heatherhiestand.com. Heather loves to hear from readers! Her email is heather (at) heatherhiestand.com.
Also by Heather Hiestand
“The Burro” in Murder Across the Map
“Victoriana” in Holiday in the Heart
Looking Forward, Looking Back and Other Stories
“The Bachelor” in Cupid Gone Wild
Steampunk Smugglers 1: Captain Andrew’s Flying Christmas
Steampunk Smugglers 2: Captain Fenna’s Dirigible Valentine
Dancing in Red (a Wear Black novella) (with Eilis Flynn)
The Kidnapped Bride
Cards Never Lie
One Juror Down
Two on the Hunt
Wear Black (with Eilis Flynn)
The Marquess of Cake
One Taste of Scandal
His Wicked Smile
Christmas Delights (upcoming)
Interview with Holly Hewson
Holly: Heather, thank you so much for talking with us at TRS. Your featured book is His Wicked Smile and it is part of your Redcakes series. What can you tell us about this series?
Heather: The Redcakes is a late Victorian series (1880s) set in England. It follows two families who intertwine in the first book, the Redcakes and the Shields. I love growing my characters, both major and minor, through the novels. While each is a standalone read, consequences follow from one book to the next. Though some of the characters are aristocrats, my books are more about “real” life than fancy parties and the like, though I have those too. I think this is because my heroines tend to have more ambitions than simply marrying the right man. In fact, the right man can be a real complication.
Holly: What can you tell us about earlier books in the series?
Heather: The Marquess of Cake came out in July 2013. The heroine, Alys Redcake, is the twin sister of Gawain, my new hero. She works in her family’s bakery and tearoom, which happens to be Lord Hatbrook’s favorite place to dine. This is where they meet and fall in love. In the second book, One Taste of Scandal (December 2013), Lord Hatbrook’s brother takes center stage when he comes to manage the bakery/tearoom business. He falls in love with Magdalene Cross, who is the well-connected but impoverished daughter of a scandal-ridden family.
Holly: How does His Wicked Smile continue it?
Heather: The heroines of both of the first two books were cake decorators, so I wanted to branch out with a different kind of heroine for book three. Gawain is a character in both of the two books, in love with another character from those books, Lady Elizabeth Shield, but I wasn’t about to let him have her! Gawain doesn’t like the bakery business and has built his own successful enterprise. It made sense to have him fall in love outside of the bakery, though it did play a role in the story. I’m not known as a “foodie” romance author for nothing!
Holly: What do you like best about Ann and why will readers identify with her?
Heather: Ann is the first multicultural heroine in the series. She’s half-Indian and her mother was a queen in India before marrying a British officer. Her mother taught her cooking and healing arts but otherwise she considers herself quite British. She’s a very strong woman who believes utterly in love. I think readers will identify with her commitment to family and her desire to use her skills for healing despite the mores of Victorian times.
Holly: What do you like best about Gawain and why will readers love him?
Heather: Gawain is a tough guy, an ex-soldier who still suffers from his battle wounds, a successful businessman, and is incredibly ambitious in both his personal and private life. Readers will appreciate how finding out he’s become a father changes everything. In the end his morals are more important than his ambition and I think readers will enjoy his journey.
Holly: What can you tell us about the books to come in this series?
Heather: I have two more stories contracted for the Redcakes series that are already completed. The Kidnapped Bride is a novella and will be out on September 15th. Christmas Delights will be out in November and is the fourth full-length Redcakes novel. Beyond that, I’ve proposed another novel and we’ll see what my editor thinks.
Holly: What else do you have in store for lucky readers?
Heather: I have another name, Anh Leod, and just released Tempting Josie, a sexy contemporary novel with a romantic suspense flavor at the end of April. I hope readers like it so that I can write another sexy FBI story. As Heather Hiestand, I’ve also dropped another historical romance proposal for a new series on my editor’s desk.
Holly: What appearances will you make this year – online or in person?
Heather: I try to do a blog tour with every new release, so I have various appearances during the month of May. Check my blog for details. This year I’ve had two Anh Leod releases already and I will have three Heather Hiestand releases by the end of the year, so I’ll be around online. In person I am giving two presentations at the Emerald City Writer’s Conference in Washington state in October.
Holly: What do you do when you aren’t writing?
Heather: I have a preschooler who keeps me very busy. I enjoy cooking and baking and I’ve never lost the reading habit so my Kindle is open any free moment. I also try to take a walk every day.
Holly: Where can readers find you online?
Heather: Website: http://www.heatherhiestand.com