*Cindy wipes drool from her face* Lovely cover, isn't it? Congrats on the new release, Eliza!
Helene Cosgrove’s only passion is her art until she is betrothed to a respectable baron. Believing he will be the love of her life, she is crushed when her father ends the engagement. Helene is approached by a second suitor, the wicked Lord Redding, Edward Chase. She is duty bound to marry the scoundrel even though she despises him.
Redding happily snatches his rival’s betrothed and finds himself married to a woman of outstanding talents, utter radiance and innocent sexuality. Her haughty and summary rejection of him only spurs his desire to have her and prove to her he is as worthy of her love as her former swain. And what better way than to tutor her in his bed.
Helene is tempted by Redding in all the wrong ways. When he delivers her secret desires, she must reconcile her heart to the matter—deciding whether she loves Redding for who he is or for what he can do for her, in and out of the marriage bed.
An Excerpt From: WICKED LORD
Copyright © ELIZA LLOYD, 2011
All Rights Reserved, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.
“Must you be so crude? Is there not some topic of which we might converse that doesn’t disintegrate into the profane? Literature, perhaps. Or mathematics?”
“You are a student of the sciences?”
“I enjoy mathematics particularly, but all of the sciences have appeal.”
“Tell me, what is the mathematical probability that I’ll have the privilege of deflowering you? One might conclude that I have a fifty-fifty chance, but I don’t know if you have had past interests who might have seduced you. Perhaps Preston didn’t know either.”
“The odds are one hundred percent, as you have married a respectable daughter of an earl.”
“One hundred percent? Yet you have offered no proof.”
“I offer nothing. If you have to be slightly uncomfortable waiting to find out, then so be it.”
“I will be more than slightly uncomfortable, but I think it is prudent to wait. And it seems you’ve forgotten that just two nights ago, you were attempting to sneak away with Preston.”
“Thank you, Lord Redding,” she said with feigned pleasantness. “Thank you for reminding me why I dislike you so very much.”
He was the disreputable rake again, slouching against the coach seat.
“I forgot to mention that you have magnificent breasts,” he said, grinning like a jackanapes.
Helene’s face flamed, but she could not look away from his hypnotic gaze that peered at her through strands of black hair. His simple words brought back every detail of last night’s unwelcome advances.
“Did you enjoy it?” he asked.
“It is irrelevant whether I enjoyed it. It is my duty.”
“Duty? You wear that word like a badge of honor.”
“Is it not my duty to please my husband? To honor him?”
“Wife, I don’t think you have any idea how to please me.”
“You hardly know me.” She had much to give. In spite of her feelings for Alexander, she wouldn’t deprive her husband, but he didn’t seem to be interested in all those things she had been taught that could make his life comfortable and pleasing. “Given the right circumstance, and once I acclimate to my new life, I am sure you will find in me everything you could have hoped for in a proper wife.”
“I have a cook, a housekeeper, a valet who is almost like a mother—what else could you provide me that I don’t already have?”
He laughed at her again. “Someday soon, I’m going to hold you to that. And mind you, it had better be worth the wait.” He shifted his legs and reached for her.
She squeaked. His quick pull had her sprawling unbecomingly. Her arms flailed as she sought purchase, coming into contact with his upper thigh and his arm, but he somehow guided her to his lap.
“Now about this getting to know you better.” He pressed his mouth to her neck.
Helene gasped, the shock tingling over her skin. “My lord, that is not what I had in mind and you know—”
His mouth came over hers, his teeth sank into her bottom lip and she whimpered. She was afraid to pull away. Her eyes were open wide but all she could see was the darkness of his skin, his cheek and one of his eyes, the lid closed. She closed her eyes, not wanting to see him at all.
He sucked on her lip, pulling it into his mouth and running his tongue across it. Her eyes popped open and she jerked away. “What are you doing?”
“Tasting you. Your lips are nearly the same color as your nipples, did you know that?”
“Please stop it. You are being vulgar.”
“No. Vulgar comes later when I have my mouth between your legs.”
Helene gasped, shoved her elbow against his chest and tried to free herself. “I am not one of your whores.”
His hands and arms kept her securely pinned against his body. “I happen to be discriminating. I don’t do that for just anyone, but for you… I think I’m going to enjoy seeing you speechless while my tongue commands you for a change.”
His mouth found her neck again. He used that wicked tongue along her collarbone. He nipped her chin with his teeth.
One of his wicked, quick hands searched under her short pelisse.
She attempted to slap his hand away. “This is hardly the time or place for such activities.”
“Lud, you live and breathe proper. Just so you know, I don’t mind wicked. If you wanted to undress for me now, I wouldn’t say you nay.”
“I would never do such a thing.”
“Well then, let me help you.” His hand slipped inside her dress, cupping a handful of her breasts.
She wiggled again, trying to get away. One of the buttons of her bodice came free and she felt her breasts threaten to spill over. Then he slipped the first hook of her corset. It was oddly disconcerting, as everything was happening under her pelisse. “You must stop. I cannot relace my stays if you continue.” His hands were everywhere and she tried to keep him in check.
“I know how to lace a gown.”
“Not in a moving carriage!”
“It is a bit more difficult, yes.”
He worked another button loose and then slipped another of the stay clasps free. She pressed her hand to her bodice, trying to keep it from coming completely undone.
He pushed the sleeves of her dress down.
Her last defense slipped away as he untied the frogs of her pelisse, revealing her breasts fully. Edward smiled and lowered his lips to the flesh overflowing the top of her chemise. One hand cupped her below and lifted her breast to his mouth. Helene fought against the rising tension. He could upset her equilibrium so easily.
His tongue lapped along her skin. When he looked up again, he said, “You aren’t doing your duty, Lady Redding.”
“I would—I would if—”
“You want to please your husband, do you not?”
“Then stop fighting me,” he ordered.
Helene heard the firm demand of his voice and did not know how to disobey him. Mama had repeated over and over again that Helene was to be faithful to her vows. Why had he picked obedience as the one vow to which he demanded that faithfulness?
She lowered her hands and closed her eyes, flaming with embarrassment and not a little bit of anger.
He lifted the wide swath of her skirts, pooling them in her lap while exposing one of her legs. He caressed her upper thigh, right above the tie of her stocking. She stared at his hand where his fingers moved in slow repetitive circles. Trying to breathe in the enclosed carriage became difficult, the hot air feeling like a dead weight against her chest. The heat from his mouth touched her neck, adding to her misery.
“Undo the rest of your buttons, Helene. I want to see all of you.”
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