At long last (I’ve waited for this cover for five long years), I am thrilled to present to you the cover for book three of the House of Pleasure series, Only A Mistress Will Do.
The moment I saw this pose on Period Images, I knew what my cover should look like. However, Kensington, the original publisher of the book, had a different brand in mind, so my perfect cover had to wait until I regained the rights to the book this past December. Now my dream cover is reality at last and is a true representation of the passionate and tumultuous relation between Violet Carlton and Tristan, Lord Trevor.
Here’s the new blurb for their incredible romance:
Friendless and destitute, Miss Violet Carlton has no choice but to seek work in London’s most notorious brothel, The House of Pleasure. She steels herself for her ultimate ruin at the hands of her first customer, only to be offered a reprieve in the form of a position as the gentleman’s mistress—in name only. Grateful for his benevolence, Violet agrees to the proposition and enjoys the life of a pampered courtesan—until her dashing rescuer puts her heart in jeopardy. Violet’s growing desire for the gentleman must be squashed when she discovers he belongs to another woman.
Tristan, Lord Trevor enters the House of Pleasure bent on a final night of carousing before donning the leg-shackle of marriage. To his shock, he recognizes the woman in his bed as a lady of the ton and resolves to save her from life in a brothel. After whisking her away under his protection, Tris endeavors to find her a husband, to secure her future and stem his own intense longing for the beautiful woman. With growing anguish Tris fears he can never make Violet his own for the impediment of his coming marriage pales in comparison to the secret he must hide from her or risk her loathing him for the rest of their lives.
And here’s an excerpt to give you an idea about Violet and Tristan’s relationship.
“You are pleased, miss?” Susan beamed with satisfaction.
“I cannot believe it is the same dress. The same me.” Violet couldn’t take her eyes off the image in the mirror.
“Lord Trevor has always been pleased with my efforts for his mistresses.”
Violet froze, the smile still on her lips.
“His last one, Miss Starke, was delighted as well. She wished for me to go with her when she left, but unfortunately could not afford to employ me.” Pinning up a final curl, Susan gave a nod of approval to Violet’s coiffure. “So I was happy to receive his lordship’s summons last night.”
Violet’s mouth had dried. The roaring in her ears kept her standing, staring at the image in the mirror. Mistress.
“Shall I draw a bath for you for after breakfast? Do you know if Lord Trevor will require you today?” The maid had bundled up the cloak and put her satchel in the wardrobe. “I will take this down and bring up fresh linens before you have done.” She looked pointedly at the door.
Still unable to form a word, Violet made herself turn from the mirror and walk stiffly down the stairs. Mistress. He had said she would be that, but in name only. Had it been true? She’d believed him last night, but now…. Taking hold of herself, she continued toward the murmur of voices at the bottom of the stairs. The room to the left seemed a parlor, empty save for a sofa, end tables, and the chair she remembered sitting in last night. Apparently, she’d fallen asleep. Then how had she awakened upstairs?
She turned toward the right hand room, and away from all thoughts of that question.
“Well, if Gates has taken another position, I cannot blame the man.” Seated at the small dining table, Lord Trevor, impeccably groomed and dressed in an elegant suit of dark blue wool, raised a cup his lips. Coffee to judge by the savory aroma. He spoke to a footman who nodded at regular intervals. “However, I must have a butler nonetheless. Put your ear to the ground, Thomas, and come up with some sort of solution. There must be one butler in London currently without a position.”
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?”
Only A Mistress Will Do is on pre-order on Amazon for the pre-sale price of $1.99. It releases on January 29, 2021, at which time it will revert to the regular price of $3.99.