As Only Scandal Will Do is my February offering as a .99 Deal Days book, I wanted to continue with an excerpt from the book, to whet your appetite for some steamy romance in the month dedicated to romance. Enjoy!
He has the woman of his dreams, but can he find a way to win her heart?
Kidnapped, displayed on the auction block of a notorious brothel, and sold to the highest bidder, Lady Katherine Fitzwilliam is furious and vows to fight her way out. Unfortunately, the rogue who bought her is way too charming and attractive to make that easy. He seduces Kat almost to the point of ruin, but she manages to escape him, although thoughts of him tend to linger long after she’s free.
Duncan, Marquess of Dalbury succumbs to temptation one night and purchases a fiery beauty whose very looks fill him with hot desire. When she insists she’s a lady, he scoffs, but is surprised when she flees before he can claim his pleasure. When he discovers she’s sister to a peer, Duncan is horrified to have compromised her. He offers marriage to scotch the scandal and gain an heir. However, the dazzling charms of the red-haired beauty, coupled with her astonishing skill with a sword, ensnares his heart and soul. If only Katarina didn’t hate him with a fury hotter than three hells…
Can he manage to turn her anger against him into a passion for him? Or will they be doomed to live together, but forever apart?
“Who are you, sir?”
“Your master, slave.”
Harsh words cloaked in a voice of deep velvet. A shiver of dread raced down Katarina’s body, as much from the words as from his tone. She gathered her courage and replied, “I am nobody’s slave. There has been a dreadful mistake.”
“I think not, my lovely. I paid a small fortune for your ownership this evening. Make no mistake about that.” He continued to stroke her hair and she twisted her head to the side. His mouth below the half mask twitched into an insolent smile. “I am pleased, however, that you possess courage as well as beauty.” His fingers touched her cheek. “The mask hid the slave’s wealth well.”
She jerked away. “You may have paid for a slave, sir, but what you find in this room is a lady in distress. Will you prove a gentleman or a rogue?”
“A lady in distress?” He laughed and straightened. “How did a lady come to find herself on display at an auction, scandalously clad in a transparent Greek costume, in Madame Vestry’s House of Pleasure?”
“House of Pleasure?” she squeaked.
“Where else would such a thing occur?” The man’s amusement seemed to deepen at her indignation. “And there will certainly be pleasure here tonight, slave.”
He ran a hand slowly down her arm, fingers trailing silkily against her bare flesh. Mouth agape at such a liberty, she slapped the hand away and ran for the door. With a long arm, he snared the diaphanous folds of her gown. The material strained against her body. Kat froze lest it rip, exposing her completely. Cursing her own folly for choosing such a costume, she swung around to face her captor.
“Please release me, sir,” she demanded, trying to keep her temper in check. She needed to woo this man to her cause. And though it galled her, she could only do so with soft words, not blows. Perhaps the blows could come later. “I beg you to aid me in my hour of need.” She put every ounce of charm into her smile; she could cajole him, as long as he couldn’t read her mind.
“Ah, but I have needs too, slave.” His hands were in her hair again, as though he could not help himself.
Well aware from his husky tone what needs the man likely had, Kat winced. If only she could see all of his face. It was so difficult to judge the man under that golden mask. She forced herself to relax, although the thought of his hands on her raised gooseflesh everywhere. It was only her hair, after all. No great sin. Perhaps if she softened her demeanor, she could convince him of her plight. She could offer honeyed tones for a little while.
“Will you hear my story of how a lady ended up in this House of Pleasure, sir?” Even to her own ears, her innocent tone sounded false. How would it sound to–
Releasing her hair, the stranger grabbed her hand. “We both know how you will end up, my slave. Come.” He pulled her toward the four-poster and she dug her toes into the rough, worn carpeting. Honey be damned, she had no intention of going anywhere near that bed.
“Let me tell you my story, sir. ’Tis truly enlightening.” She snapped her wrist down, freeing herself from his grasp, then turned and raced across the room, searching in vain for weapons once more. Frustration mounting, she seized the wingback chair. At least it presented a barrier of sorts. She thrust it in front of her.
“Sir, you must hear me. I truly am not what you think.”
His skeptical stare was bearable. But when he pursed his lips and made a “tsk tsking ” sound, he might as well have shouted the word “whore.”
“I am not!” Katarina clutched the chair’s golden upholstery to keep from launching herself at him and wrapping her fingers around his arrogant throat. “I am Lady Katarina Fitzwilliam, sister to the Earl of Manning. I was kidnapped and brought here tonight against my will.”
He cocked his head. Then his mouth twitched. “Truly? What an exciting life you must lead…Lady Katarina, was it?” He chuckled deep in his chest, and took a step toward the chair.
She glared at him. “I am Lady Katarina Fitzwilliam, you dullard.”
“And true ladies always run around London at night scandalously underdressed as Greek slaves?”
“My brother and I were on our way to a masquerade ball when I was abducted.”
“As was I, fair lady,” he bowed with an exaggerated flourish, “when I decided to come to this charming establishment instead. Perhaps if we had continued on our ways uninterrupted, we would even now be dancing together at the ball.” That nasty laugh grated against her nerves worse than the screech of rusty nails, making her contemplate murder. If the scoundrel didn’t believe her story, killing him might be her only means of escape.
Only Scandal Will Do is available on Amazon in both ebook and print, and is also available in ebook format at Smashwords, B & N, Kobo, and Apple. )
And here again is the Animoto book trailer I put together (from a previous trailer with an earlier cover) to give you an idea of the story, if you don’t know it already. Enjoy!