Excerpt from An Irresistible Temptation

     With almost all the strength gone in her arms, she was attempting to heave the trunk up onto the sidewalk, perching one end on the wooden planks, when someone collided with her from the rear.
     "Oomph," she expelled all the air from her lungs as her stomach caught on the tilted edge of her trunk, then she slid slowly down the length of it back onto the dirt road, head and hands first. For a dreadful moment, she sprawled there, knowing her dress was up at her waist and her drawers, lavender-colored and lacy, were on view.
     "Shit," she heard before she could right herself. The man's sentiment echoed what was in her head, though she was too much of a lady to voice it. And then, "Oh, Jesus, ma'am" as strong arms lifted her off the ground.
     Sophie was not one to take offense, though she was getting sorely tired. Anything she was about to say, however, died on her lips at the spectacle of the man who now had hold of her.
     To compose herself, she looked down to see what had happened to her things—her carpet bag was upended in the street—then she looked back to the man's mud-splattered boots, up his worn, fitting blue jeans, and to what had once been a pale blue shirt now covered in grime.
     Her gaze traveled higher to his equally grubby but ridiculously handsome face that had stopped her cold for a moment, with his burnished brown eyes, dark eye lashes, and inviting mouth that curved as though it tended to smile often.
     He tipped his black brim to her, with a quick tap of his hand.
     "Ma'am," he said and gave her a brief smile that showed a dimple in his right cheek, his teeth looking all the whiter for appearing in the midst of his dirty face. Dirty and devastatingly attractive—a combination she hadn't experienced before.
     He was tall, clearly, for she had to look up to him, despite her own uncommon height, at least for a woman. And she realized he was still holding her arm with one hand, a strong capable hand. She felt his warmth right through the fabric of her dress and her mantle.
     Letting herself feel his fingers gripping her for a moment more, she then shook him off by taking one step back.
     "Are you all right?" he asked.
     Sophie looked at her hands, stretching them in front of her and wriggling her fingers. Everything seemed fine except for her white gloves being torn and filthy.
     "I'm fine," she said at last, seeing as he was watching her careful examination. "I'm sorry. I wasn't looking where I was going."
     "Me neither," he offered. "I was talking to Dan and walking out of Drew's." He gestured to the feed store. A man wearing a heavy apron and standing in the doorway chuckled.
     "Yup, he was," Dan confirmed. "Riley, don't you know better than to leave a store ass first? Unless you're trying to drum up future business for yourself."
     Riley laughed and looked back at Sophie, who tamped down the inappropriate notion that he had a very sweet, even sexy laugh and that his eyes sparkled wickedly when he was amused.
     "Most women would have given me a tongue lashing for knocking them into the street and ruining their gloves."
     "As long as you don't make a habit of it," she said, glad that she hadn't been in Boston, where she would have been run over by a brougham within seconds.
     "I'll try not to." He treated her to a broad grin—a very sensual grin, too, Sophie mused. She must be very tired and lonely to keep having these incorrigible thoughts.
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