You Only Love Twiceby Elizabeth Thornton
For three years she’s been a mystery even to herself—a young woman who awoke in a London convent bereft of her memory. But now Jessica Hayword knows her name, her birthplace, and one other thing: By some/b>
Bestselling author Elizabeth Thornton triumphs with this thrilling blend of sensuous historical romance and heart-stopping suspense.
For three years she’s been a mystery even to herself—a young woman who awoke in a London convent bereft of her memory. But now Jessica Hayword knows her name, her birthplace, and one other thing: By some terrifying twist of fate, she has the power to read another’s thoughts—the thoughts of a man who has killed and will kill again.
Convinced that she must unmask the murderer before it’s too late, Jessica goes home to Hawkshill Manor—and discovers that no one is happy about her return, especially the dangerously handsome earl Lucas Wilde. What kind of girl was she, Jessica wonders, to have earned such scorn? And whose murder is it that continues to haunt her? The deeper Jessica digs, the more scandalous details are revealed. Yet even as the clues point to Lucas as the killer, Jessica can’t keep herself away from his embrace. And now all she can do is pray that the man she’s falling in love with isn’t the man whose deadly voice she hears in her dreams.
From the Paperback edition.
“I buy her books on the basis of her name alone because she always delivers.”—New York Times bestselling author Linda Howard
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He was reaching for her, and she jerked up the gun, pointing it straight at his chest. He stopped dead in his tracks. "I know how to use this," she said, trying to control the wobble in her voice. "I'm warning you, don't come any closer."
The hard planes of his face gradually softened and he laughed low in his throat. "Now this is more like the Jess I know." He spread his arms wide and took another step toward her. "Go on, then. Pull the trigger. You can't miss me from that distance. Aim for here." He touched his heart. "What's the matter, Jess? Have you lost your nerve?"
She aimed for the floor, shut her eyes and squeezed the trigger. Nothing happened. It was a mistake that cost her dearly as she knew the moment she opened her eyes. His face was livid with color and his lips were pulled back, baring his teeth.
"Christ! You vicious little bitch! If you had remembered to cock that firing piece, you would have emasculated me."
Though she quailed before the thirteen stone of quivering masculine outrage that loomed over her, there was just enough of Sister Martha in her to be outraged as well. "Blasphemy," she coldly informed him, "is not tolerated in this house."
"The hell it isn't!"
With a suddenness that caught her off guard, he grabbed for the gun and with one yank wrested it from her hands. She had the presence of mind to give him a hard shove, then she took off. She heard another violent oath, then the thud of his boots as he came after her. Panting as though her lungs would burst, she flung into the kitchen and made straight for the paddle beside the brick oven. Without waiting to take aim, she swung it in an arc and caught him a glancing blow on the shoulder. He staggered and cursed, but still came on. There was no stopping this man! She swung the paddle again, missed, and sent the crock of flour she'd set out on the table tumbling to the floor. A fine brown powder floated up.
He gave one of his infuriating low laughs and lunged for her. She swung at him again. This time her paddle collided with the pan of strawberry jam and sent it spinning. It hit the mantel with a resounding thud and exploded in a shower of gooey crimson rain. It rained on the ceiling, it rained on the floor. It rained on him, it rained on her.
Hands on hips, he threw back his head and hooted with laughter. "If you could only see yourself!"
She didn't care what she looked like, not when she was facing a madman. Her eyes were trained on him, watching his every move. Her hands were clenched around the paddle, holding it like a lance. When he came at her, she went for him, but he neatly sidestepped her. As she charged by, he grabbed her from behind, pinioning her arms to her sides, and he lifted her effortlessly off her feet. She bucked, she kicked, she twisted, she squirmed. She could not budge him. He was squeezing her so hard she thought she would suffocate. In a blind panic, she dropped the paddle. Almost at once, the pressure of his arms eased.
When her feet touched the floor, he slowly turned her to face him. "What in hell's name did you think I was going to do to you?" he demanded, giving her a rough shake.
She didn't have the breath to answer him. She was using the dregs of her strength to strain as far back as his hands would allow.
"Dammit, will you stop squirming?"
She stopped squirming.
His brows were a dark slash. His eyes moved slowly over her face. "You're frightened of me," he said, "really frightened."
She wheezed out, "You attacked me."
He gave a crooked half smile. "Jess, you were the one with the gun. You provoked me. You know you did."
He was using the tone of voice she, herself, sometimes used with the children in the orphanage, when she wanted to soothe their fears. He didn't seem like a dangerous lunatic now. In fact, that crooked half smile made him look almost harmless. With that thought, some of the tension drained out of her. She shrugged helplessly. "I thought you were mad."
"And I thought you were . . . sweet."
When he reached out with his hand, she jerked back. "Don't!"
His hand dropped away. Something came and went in his eyes, pain, regret--whatever it was, it made her feel less threatened.
"It's only a blob of jam," he said.
She brushed her face with her hand. "Jam?"
"Allow me." Again, his hand reached for her, but this time she didn't flinch away. With the pad of his thumb, he removed the sticky substance from her chin. "Jam," he said, showing it to her. Then, with eyes holding hers, he spread the jam on his tongue and swallowed.
The muscles in her throat contracted involuntarily. She felt the swift rise and fall of her breasts. A strange expectancy gripped her. As his eyes continued to hold hers, her heart began to pound.
He let his breath out slowly. "It's still there, isn't it, Jess? You feel it, too. Is this why you came back? Is it, Jess? Is it? No, don't push me away. I won't hurt you. I just want to hold you."
She didn't resist when he drew her into the circle of his arms. Something stirred in her, something that went beyond memory. Her brow wrinkled as she searched his face. Here was someone who could tell her all she wanted to know about Jessica Hayward. Then his dark head descended and she froze as his mouth touched hers.
Before she could draw a breath to protest, every fiber of her being was electrified. The terror she had experienced only moments before at the hands of this man was forgotten, as were the rules she was sworn to uphold as a nun. Sister Martha might never have existed for all the impression she made on Jessica. The kitchen of Hawkshill Manor slipped quietly into oblivion. The only reality she was sure of was the rightness of being in his arms. Her mind might not recognize this man, but there was something in the deepest reaches of her psyche that was profoundly affected. In that moment, she could have sworn he was as familiar to her as the beat of her own heart.
She was captivated by the gentleness of the powerful arms that held her; she was enthralled by the reverence of his lips as they moved on hers. He kissed her again and again, each kiss sweeter than the last. Her lips softened beneath the pressure of his, and her hands moved of their own volition to slide over his shoulders and into his hair.
That small act of surrender changed everything. He tore his mouth from hers and covered her face with hard, random kisses, her throat, her breasts. His chest rose and fell rapidly. Air rushed in and out of his lungs.
"Jess," he whispered hoarsely, "Jess."
She cried out when he lowered her to the table, then she relaxed as he came down beside her. She wasn't afraid. Memories that were born and bred into every cell and sinew of her body had taken over.
He was staring down at her through the veil of his thick dark lashes.
"I trust you," she whispered, and the truth of it awed her.
From the Paperback edition.
Meet the Author
Bestselling, award-winning author Elizabeth Thornton was born and educated in Scotland, and lived in Canada with her husband for more than forty years. She had been a teacher, a lay minister in the Presbyterian Church, and a full-time writer. She died in 2010.
From the Paperback edition.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I am not particularly fond of heavy suspense, action and/or mystery in my romance books. I prefer internal conflicts with lots of heart soaring twists. I prefer goose bumps alerts and heart squeezer twist. However, despite that personal preferences, from time to time, I do give historical-romance-mystery or those kinds of book a try because I've read quite a few in the past that have stirred up my emotions and I have actually enjoyed the overall story. I am happy to say that LOVE ONLY TWICE is one of those few novels. This is my first novel of Elizabeth Thornton and I am much interested to read more of her works. I like the complexity of the plot. There were many twist... few internal and lots of external ones which were all intriguing. I specially liked the way Ms. Thornton describe and portrayed her characters. Each and every one of them, even those extra-passing-characters were properly executed. Jessica is my favorite overall. Her character was represented beautifully, I think. I read books with heroine who lost their memories but this is the only book that have actually made me ache and feel for the heroine. I understood her confusions. I admire her strength, her courage and her determination. Must be awful not knowing who you are, where you come from and what's enstore for your future. Lucas is likable but not my favorite in this book. He is straight-forward, sexy, loving, honorable and patient. Their love story was alright. Some excitement, some passion and desires, few heart soaring moments and a little laugh here and there... But I couldn't say their's is FULL of love. I think the action-mystery overshadowed a tiny bit of their relationship development or perhaps it's just me and my preferences? The minimal inconsistencies in this book such as their language didn't bother me at all. Yes, I noticed it but it's not overly much as to distract me. Once again, I didn't think it's fair for me to rate this book less than 4 stars mainly because of my self preferences... Afterall, Love Only Twice is an exciting and an enjoyable read. It really all goes down to a matter of taste and preferences. If you like heavy action-mystery-suspense in your romance reading, then this book if definitely the one for u. For those who are picky and prefer more lovey-dovey scenes... hmmm, I do urge you to try this book anyway, who knows you might like it just as I have or perhaps even more...
Loved it my first book by her not the last
Totally loved this book! This is my first time reading this author but look forward to reading more of her books. Storyline is great. Lucas and Jessica are awesome. I recommend this book - a must read!