Following his every order for one month to gain a season in London? A bargain.
I’m the most beautiful woman in England.
I’m not boasting, I’m simply stating a truth universally acknowledged.
Only one man seems not to notice or care. My guardian, a mere former soldier without the proper pedigree.
He’s the man who inherited my father’s estate after his death, and seems intent on ordering me about as if I’m a servant rather than a lady.
But when his orders extend to bedroom matters, I learn how much I crave his instruction…and discipline. He’s the one man I respect.
I’ll never marry him. I’ll use his body, then leave him to go marry a duke.
I could never fall in love with my guardian, right?
Release Date: August 8, 2018
He refused to believe she was as shallow and mercenary as she stated. Surely she wouldn’t be satisfied with marriage to one of the louts who’d fall over her at first then lose interest in a matter of years, months if she was lucky.
He thought of the marriages he’d seen in his army days. Loving, supportive. They were true partnerships between helpmates and sometimes even sparking with passion. It was the kind of marriage he wanted, and he’d not settle for less.
“What will happen when you’re old and your beauty dimmed?” That got her attention. It was obvious she’d never thought of a future in which she wasn’t the most beautiful woman in the room.
“What happens when you’re ill or infirm? Who do you want at your bedside?”
“And don’t say your sisters because they will have their own lives, their own families. I will see to it. They may not be available to stay at your bedside in times of trouble. And don’t say a maid either. You can buy their service, but not their love and affection which is what gets you through rough times.”
“You speak from experience?”
He thought of his multitude of scars earned during harsh battle and the subsequent days in a make-shift hospital tent, of lying in bed with no wife to wipe his brow or fetch water, no hand to hold through the days of agonizing pain. “I speak from lack of experience. I’ve seen harsh things not fit for your eyes and dreamt of a loving partner to guide me through. No real man wants an ornament by his side, they want a woman.”
She stood to her full height and folded her arms across her ample chest, scowling at him. “I am a real woman.”
He cocked a brow. “Oh? If you’re such a woman, what of the marital bed? Will you please your husband there or will you be a cold fish?”
“I’m sure a true gentleman will be satisfied with my presence in his bed.” She hurled a pile of dirt and weeds clutched in her hand. “And you are foul to even bring such a topic up in my presence. You are no gentleman.”
He laughed and sidestepped the weeds. Her aim was abysmal. “No, I’m no gentleman. I just get to live in his estate.” He edged closer to where she bent over the weeds once again, easily pulling them with strength fueled from her outrage. He inched so close his soft words skated across her ear lobe and her sweet perfume curled into his senses. “A real man wants a woman in his bed, and the reverse is true, as well.”
She didn’t look at him, but he didn’t expect her to, so he kept talking. “Real women want the pleasure a man can provide.” He hid his smile at her snort. “Did Madame Bella never speak of la petite morte?”
Elizabeth turned her head. It took a great effort not to lean in and kiss her when their lips were close enough to absorb each other’s exhales.
“She spoke of the little death,” she said.
“And? Once experienced, most seek it out again and again.”
Her perfect brow wrinkled. “Why would you seek it out again?”
He frowned. “Did you not find it satisfying?”
She shook her head. “I don’t see how imagining your partner’s death improves the discomfort.”
His hand slipped on the cold dirt forcing him to adjust his stance rapidly before he landed face-first like a fool in front of her. He regained his balance and gently brushed his finger along the curve of her face from ear to chin. “Sweet innocent, minx.”
She turned away from him. “I’m not innocent.”
He drew her gaze again gently turning her by the chin. “Aye, you are if you haven’t experience true pleasure from a man.”
She slapped his hand away from her face. “In a marriage of peers, true pleasure is not necessary.”
She was killing him with her ignorant opinions. In good faith, he couldn’t finance her husband-hunting expedition to London and allow her to marry a sour-faced elderly duke without teaching her the kind of passion that could exist between a man and woman. He stood rapidly leaving her at his knees looking up. “True pleasure may not be as necessary as food or water but it gives life meaning. If only I could think of a way to teach you that lesson.” He said it to himself, but she still heard.
She stood and thrust her hip forward. “Perhaps you should teach me.”