Sweetbrier Academy is more than just a school. The young ladies lucky enough to be accepted are educated in the social graces that only the wealthiest debutantes of 1870 would have learned. They can play the spinet, embroider, discuss politics, and issues of importance like any lady, but when the lights go down, the debutantes of Sweetbrier know how to make use of their God given talents and bring pleasure to their suitors.
When Miss Opal Benedict, Madame of the Academy, is called out of town, Hope finds Panther's Landing's doctor, the dashing Jonathan Norris paying court. When his attentions become obvious, they find themselves caught in a storm of their own creation. Their lust for one another becomes the object of unwanted attention in a most unflattering way.
When influenza strikes, Dr. Jonathan Norris must choose between his career or the woman who has captured his soul.
His eyes turned warm brown. She felt the focus shift from her face to her mouth. He was going to kiss her. She parted her lips as his mouth descended upon her.
This time there wasn't a need to be gentle and exploring. He knew what he would find. His tongue darted along her lips and she opened for him. Hungrily, he took what he could get. His mouth ground against hers as his hand slid up to embrace the swell of her breast.
"Hope," he murmured her name.
Breaking contact, he looked at her face. Her lips looked like a woman's should, swollen from kissing, mirroring the desire burning in her eyes
"We are traveling down a very dangerous road, Hope."
Her shoulder lifted in a small shrug. "Is that so bad?"
"I am an honorable man. I need to know that this is what you want?" As he spoke his hand brushed the swell beneath her left breast. He could feel the sweet flesh below the stays of her corset. He wanted nothing more that to set it free in the palm of his hand, to feel the weight, to savor the sweet tip as it would bud in his mouth. Yet, it needed to be her decision.
"Sometimes an honorable man needs a bad woman," she began.
He shook his head. "You must not believe you are a bad woman. You are a woman, a healthy, warm woman who has needs. The only difference between you and women in town is that you can make that decision, without fear."
He watched the dawning of her power to decide her own destiny spread across her face. He dipped to taste those lips again.