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362 pages, Mass Market Paperback
First published September 1, 2007
He would’ve thought it a terrible dream, one of an endless succession that haunted him nightly—or worse, that he’d not survived the beating and had made that final infinite plunge out of this world and into the flaming next. But he was almost certain hell did not smell of lavender and starch, did not feel like worn linen and down pillows, did not sound with the chirping of sparrows and the rustle of gauze curtains.
And, of course, there were no angels in hell.
Simon watched her. His angel was all in gray, as befit a religious woman. She wrote in a great book, eyes intent, level black brows knit. Her dark hair was pulled straight back from a high forehead and gathered in a knot at the nape of her neck. Her lips pursed slightly as her hand moved across the page. Probably noting his sins.
“Why angel?” she asked. “I’m not particularly angelic.”
“Ah, there you are wrong. Your eyebrows are most stern, your mouth curved like a Renaissance saint. Your eyes are wondrous to look upon. And your mind . . .” He stood and ventured a step toward her, until they almost touched, and she had to turn her pale face up to his.
He thought he felt the warm puff of her breath. “Your mind is an iron bell that rings beautiful, terrible, and true.” His voice was husky, even to his own ears, and he knew he’d revealed too much.
"I am the duke of nonsense," he whispered in her ear. "The king of farce, emperor of emptiness."
Did he really see himself so? "But - "
"Blathering is what I do best," he said, still unseen. "I'd like to blather about your golden eyes and ruby lips."
"The perfect curve of your cheek."
She heard him close the door.
“I was going to impress you with my romantic eloquence, of course. I’d thought to wax philosophical about the beauty of your brow.”
Lucy blinked. “My brow?”
“Mmm. Have I told you that your brow intimidates me?” She felt his warmth at her back as he moved behind her, but he didn’t touch her. “It’s so smooth and white and broad, and ends with your straight, knowing eyebrows, like a statue of Athena pronouncing judgment. If the warrior goddess had a brow like yours, it is no wonder the ancients worshiped and feared her.”
“Blather,” she murmured.
“Blather, indeed. Blather is all I am, after all.”
"I think you are the provincial one, to judge me without knowing me at all. Or rather, you think you know me, when in reality, you do not."
He was in the doorway, his gaze locked with hers- hot, hungry, and very, very male. Then he let his eyes drop and deliberately perused her.