Blurb: When airship engineer Melody McKay's dirigible explodes and plunges her into the yard of a gothic manor, she suspects foul play. With her ankle injured--an indignity far too feminine for her taste--she resolves to crack the mystery while in the care of Victor Arrington, the stuffy-yet-disarming Earl of Blackwell.
Ex-Royal Navy Captain Victor runs a tight house and is on a mission to protect his niece and foil a ring of smugglers using fire-breathing metal dragons. He has no time for romantic attachments. Particularly not with women who fall from the sky wearing trousers and pilot's goggles.
As he and Melody navigate a treachery so deep it threatens the lives of everyone in Black Heath, the earl becomes unexpectedly attached to his fiery houseguest, and Melody discovers a softness in her heart for him. But when the smugglers strike, there's more at risk than just their future together.
Did he really want her? Care about her? She itched to touch him but was afraid to try.
“I am sorry for the things I’ve said about you. You’re not what I expected in a lady, but you certainly are one of the finest I’ve met.”
“Thank you. For a sailor posing as a country landowner, you do all right yourself.” Frankly, right now, she was tired of being a lady. Perhaps it was time to simply take what she wanted. “Anything else?”
“Only that we ought to both go upstairs to bed—our separate beds.” He grimaced. “We may not be destined for a real marriage—I know I can’t be what you want and you would never be happy here—but that doesn’t mean I don’t admire you…don’t want…”
“Want what?” She swallowed hard. “Victor, you might be surprised—”
“You’re a beautiful woman, clever and brave and apparently magickal as well. I’m only a very flawed human, but you’ve gotten under my skin. Despite my best intentions, I want you, and that rosy flush on your cheeks tells me I’m not alone in desire. I’ve been trying to be a gentleman, but I can’t promise to continue if we stay here much longer. I should leave.”
He wanted her. Heat tingled from Melody’s scalp, all the way down to the tips of her toes, concentrating low in her belly. She looked at him, gazing into his eyes, and felt his passion almost like a physical touch, gliding along her skin. Her breath quickened and her heartbeat raced.
“Don’t go.” She held out her hands. “I’m tired of being a gentleman too.”
His laugh was a soft deep rumble in his chest. He engulfed both of her hands in his larger ones and slowly pulled her into his lap. “Are you sure?”
“Quit talking and kiss me.” She slipped a hand behind his neck and lifted her lips to his.