Lord Pierce Brandford promised his mother he’d find a bride—and planned to leave her and return to his debauched life in London as soon as possible. But that was before his marriage to Lady Helene Sayer, a woman with a wanton reputation and passionate nature to match his own. When he discovers his new wife is actually a virgin desperate to suppress her desires, he vows to initiate her in all manner of sensual delights until she begs her wicked husband to take her in every way….
“His Desirable Debutante” November 2011 Spice Briefs
Oh dear, he was doing it again. Staring at her. She darted behind a potted palm praying no dirt would mar the pristine condition of her white ball gown. A quick glance from behind a particularly large leaf told her she was still the object of his attention. Drat, she’d never accomplish a single goal if that man insisted on marking her with his attentions. Although, admittedly she’d done her fair share of staring at him.
She’d first caught sight of him last week at the Fauntley rout and smiled graciously, before she’d known who he was, of course. Once he’d entered the room, it was as though all the other eligible bachelors faded into the walls of the room, leaving only him. She’d gazed at his tall, broad form and dark hair in raptures. At last, a newcomer to the Ton. A man who wouldn’t know her reputation and scorn her at once.
Unfortunately, the whispers of his reputation quickly circled the ballroom filling her heart with disappointment. Who cared if he was a Marquis? With his tarnished name, he may as well been a chimney sweep for all the good he’d do her. With a silent prayer to be left alone, she shrank behind the plant again and counted the minutes until the evening’s end.
* * *
“What about that one?” Pierce gestured to the woman hiding behind a plant, a woman he’d been discreetly tracking since last evening. He seemed to have some sort of special awareness when it came to her, for once he’d seen her all other debutantes faded in comparison.
She appeared older than the rest of the innocent chits circling the ballroom like cats hunting mice. Mice, of course, being eligible bachelors.
“No. Absolutely not. You don’t want her,” Adam, Viscount Ryder, said.
“Why not? What’s wrong with her? She appears to be the right age, and if she has the sense to avoid gossipy old biddies here by hiding, then she shows a modicum of intelligence lacking in every other lass I’ve spoken to tonight.” His exasperation rose. Day one of his wife search had extended into week one and was now hovering on week two. Damn, how hard could it be to find an eligible miss, get the papa’s permission, marry her and beget an heir? Apparently more difficult than foreseen.
His prolonged absence from good societal events had ensured his reputation had sunk to a tattered ruin. Furthermore, his frequent attendance at events lacking in all propriety, buried it even more than a mudlark’s boots. Few fathers and even fewer mamas seemed willing to let their daughters take a turn around the dance floor let alone marry him.
“Don’t let the white fool you. She’s no innocent,” Ryder said with a scowl on his face. “And besides, she appears to be hiding from you.”
Pierce snorted. “You deride her innocence with such disdain as if you’ve never dallied in a lady’s bed. While I’m intrigued by the notion of taking a woman’s virginity, as it is the one sin I’ve yet to commit, I do not require my wife to be a virgin.”
“Marriage to Lady Helene Sayer will do nothing to repair your reputation, nor gain you entrance into the best Ton homes,” Ryder said.
Pierce remained silent. He’d allowed Ryder to imagine his marriage hunt was an attempt to mend bridges with good Ton, but in reality, his search for a wife and desire to procreate was simply fulfillment of a deathbed promise to the one decent woman he’d ever known, his mother. He assumed he’d be like his father and abandon his wife at his estate and come back to London. Back to the days filled with gaming and drinking at his disreputable club and nights fucking a myriad of nameless, faceless women and the occasional man. He took a step toward the potted palm and Lady Helene. “Introduce me. I wish to dance with her.”
He ignored the groan that emerged from Ryder and continued on his path.