Today, we're going to go back in time. To a time of corsets, proper lords and ladies, subtle innuendos, manor homes, and a good Queen to rule them all. My novella, Secrets Uncovered, which may be turned into a novel, is set in the late Victorian period. Circa 1890.
To sum it up: American widow, Elena Montgomery, has discovered that her mother lied to her about her parentage. She accompanies her friend to England to search for a man who might be her biological father. But, along the way, she gets entangled with a gorgeous earl who has a very dirty reputation. Jamie Davenport, Earl of St. James, has every intention of making her his mistress, no matter what the cost. But, will he still be willing to pay the price once he discovers the secrets she's hiding?
The scene below is part of the first chapter. Elena and her friend have arrived at the country estate of Sir Charleston, the man she thinks may be her father, for a two-week party. While Elena and Melissa plot to find out Charleston's connection with her mother, Jamie corners Elena...
“You summoned me, Mrs. Montgomery?” St. James’s voice was thick and low, yet smooth. Certainly not the kind of voice that a man used in a crowded ballroom. It was the voice a man used from within the covers of a canopied bed.
He took her gloved hand and kissed it. Once those brilliant sapphire eyes looked into hers, she lost every ounce of her will. And this wasn’t the first time.
“No.” Breathe, Elena. Breathe. He cannot see you nervous.
That lazy smile was the downfall of so many women. Apparently, Elena was the next one on St. James’ list.
“Your eyes bid me to come.”
“They did no such thing.”
“Then why were you staring?” he challenged.
“As if you are not always staring,” she muttered. She couldn’t remember a time since they’d been introduced when St. James wasn’t attempting to seduce her with those eyes.
“Is it not natural to let your gaze linger on something exquisite?”
Despite herself, Elena felt heat creep up her cheeks. They must be red as beets.
She gave him a suspicious glance. “Am I the first one to hear that phrase or did you practice it on a few other widows before me?”
He smiled. “I reserve my best compliments for women who rise above the crowd.”
That devil. He felt he could charm any woman out of her pantaloons. He was mistaken.
“Such as those young ladies who are longing to drag you back into conversation?” Elena nodded in the direction of the three women he had just abandoned.
“They are merely to pass the time.”
He leaned in closer. “You are one to savor.” He spoke the word slowly as if he tasted on his tongue.
They could have been alone for all the intensity with which he gazed upon her. An intensity which made her stomach flutter. The air between them crackled with heat. She fell for his charm. Again.
Why couldn’t they have met under different circumstances? Though truth be told, she wasn’t sure if an affair with Lord St. James would be good under any circumstances.
“He has a reply to everything,” Elena said, addressing Melissa.
The girl smiled. “That he does.”
“Would you rather I stuttered and stammered in the face of your delectable beauty?”
She could feel the hammering of her heart beneath the corset. The temptation to lean in toward him burned within her.
Yet she could not give in so easily. “Perhaps I would rather you said something sincere.”
“Ah.” He paused for a moment. Thinking up a good line, no doubt. “Would it please you if I were to tell you that I have thought of little but you since I heard you had accepted the invitation to my aunt’s party?”
He smiled. “That is all I have to offer in the way of sincerity.”
Elena shook her head and laughed. “You will have to practice, my lord. That was hardly a confession of undying devotion.”
A dark look passed over his face. “I do not make those, madam.”
He was serious. The man never confessed love. She should know better. For all intents and purposes, Jamie Davenport bedded one woman after another. If gossip could be believed, he amused himself with a woman for three to six months and then moved on. No declarations. No marriage proposals. Just heated nights under the bedcovers.
“Just as well, my lord. I would never expect such from you.”
She turned from him to look at Melissa. “I think you have an admirer of your own.”
Across the room, St. James’ cousin, Lord Langdon Sterling, had his eyes on Melissa. Elena looked at him and wondered again how he and the rake could be so different. They were first cousins, but other than their curly hair, tall, lean physiques, and superb tailoring, they were totally unalike.
St. James exuded mystery and
What did it say of her that the angel did not tempt her in the slightest? It was the devil she craved. It was the Sin-James who made her awaken breathless and heated in the dead of the night.**************
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