Today, at long last, Book 3 of my House of Pleasure series releases!
Only A Mistress Will Do
This is one of my favorite books of this series, because Violet Carlton faces such horrible obstacles to overcome all the way through the book. By the end, even I felt sorry for her! I also threw everything but the kitchen sink at my hero, Tristan, Viscount Trevor. They have a very rocky time of it, making you wonder will they ever get their HEA?
The man of her dreams . . . belongs to another woman.
Destitute and without friends, Violet Carlton is forced to seek employment at the House of Pleasure in London. She steels herself for her first customer and is shocked when the man rescues her instead of ravishing her. A grateful Violet cannot help but admire the handsome Viscount Trevor. But she must curb her desire for the dashing nobleman she can never have because he is already betrothed to another . . .
Tristan had gone to the House of Pleasure for a last bit of fun before he became a faithful married man. But when he recognizes the woman in his bed, he becomes determined to save her instead. Now, his heart wars with his head as he falls for the vulnerable courtesan. Unable to break his betrothal without a scandal, Tris resolves to find Violet proper employment or a husband of her own. Still, his arms ache for Violet, urging him to abandon propriety and sacrifice everything to be with the woman he loves. . . .
And here’s an exclusive excerpt from Only A Mistress Will Do:
When she entered, the quiet young man stood even straighter.
Lord Trevor marked the man’s movement, noted her, and rose. “Miss Carlton.” He stopped, his mouth still slightly open, but wordless.
What was wrong? A thousand possibilities bloomed in Violet’s imagination. Fearful her dress had suddenly popped open at the site of the repair, she glanced down. When she raised her head, Lord Trevor had managed to close his mouth, but that hungry look still smoldered in his eyes.
“Miss Carlton, excuse me.” He cleared his throat, sipped the coffee, and tried again. “Please be seated.” He pulled out the chair next to him.
“Another plate, Thomas.”
With a lurching bow, the footman hurried out of the room.
“I trust you slept well? I apologize for the lack of creature comforts. However, you look as though the night’s adversities never happened.” His sapphire gaze hadn’t left her face since she entered the room. “You are a most beautiful woman.”
Heat rose in her cheeks. “Susan is a very skilled ladies’ maid, my lord. She believes me to be your current mistress and insisted on turning me out for your satisfaction.” The words were a challenge. Let him deny what he would.
“I beg your pardon, Miss Carlton. I wasn’t exactly sure how to proceed.” Lord Trevor sat back in his chair, shoulders sagging. “I’m in two minds about the situation, you see.” He folded his napkin and laid it neatly on the table before looking at her. “What we do not wish to happen is for anyone to discover I’m keeping you here. You’d be as ruined as if you were found at Madame Vestry’s, no matter the true circumstances. Last night I had no choice but to bring you here, since you had no companion or maid and could scarcely be left alone. It may be that in several days I can move you to more suitable lodgings. With Susan accompanying you it may serve.” “Thank you, my lord.”
Thomas entered with a plate filled with sausage, smoked herring, grilled kidneys, potatoes, and hot rolls. Enough food to feed her for a week.
She inhaled and the rich scent of the kidneys mingled with the yeasty smell of the rolls made her sway. A quick indulgence before she shook off the delicious distraction. “That is most kind of you. However, why did you tell her I am your mistress?” Violet forced herself to remain calm. Lord Trevor seemed to trust the maid to remain silent, so she must as well.
He shrugged and sipped his coffee again. “I told her only that I wished to employ her services again, immediately, for a guest at Lammas House. She assumed our relationship based on past occupants.”
“Then you don’t intend to make me your mistress, Lord Trevor?” Her voice came out harder than she had intended, but she was coiled like a spring inside.
“Would you like to be, Miss Carlton?”
Her throat closed as if she’d swallowed a peach pit. Worse, her entire face flamed.
He eyed her coolly. “I believe we covered that subject last night, however, if you have reconsidered, I’d be delighted to discuss the terms.”
“Terms?” Her squeak startled her. What terms would a woman be able to dictate to a man?
“Yes, the terms of your employment as my mistress. Do you think such arrangements are done on the fly?” His boisterous laugh made her shrink back in her seat. “I’ve heard of marriage settlements that were less advantageous to a bride-to-be. Mistresses, if they are canny and the protector generous, can negotiate everything from amounts, times and places, to how many trips to the opera or the numbers of pieces of jewelry she can expect to receive each year of the arrangement.”
That such dealings involved detailed contracts had never crossed Violet’s mind. She gawked at Lord Trevor as he sipped his coffee, watching her every move. Of course, she’d never had cause to wonder about anything like this at all, until now. Still, it sounded almost like a settlement. With a kind and handsome man like Lord Trevor, such an agreement might almost seem like a marriage.
Lord Trevor sat up, the lascivious twist to his mouth replaced by a sober line. “I beg your pardon, Miss Carlton. Such information is not within the purview of genteel ladies. And at any rate, as I informed you, I am no longer inclined to take a mistress, due to my impending nuptials.”
Of course. He’d told her last night he couldn’t make her as his mistress because he would shortly marry. Unaccountably disappointed, Violet raised a forkful of kidneys to her mouth. The brief temptation had been absurd. Lord Trevor had promised to find a respectable position for her. That was the next goal.
If you’d like to read more, Only A Mistress Will Do is now live on Amazon! Pick up your copy today!
As this is a party, I thought I’d have some party games. In this first game, I’m giving away an autographed copy of Only A Mistress Will Do to the person who comes up with the perfect name for Jack, Lord Manning’s home estate.Lord Manning figures largely in Mistress, but in my next book, he’s going to spend some time at his estate. What should I call it?
In Only Scandal Will Do, Duncan’s family estate is Merrywell; in Only Marriage Will Do, we find out Amiable’s family’s seat is called Cheswyck.
What should Jack’s estate be called? Leave a suggestion in a comment to be entered to win!
POST NUMBER 2 WILL RELEASE TODAY AT NOON!
STAY TUNED FOR MORE CHANCES TO WIN!