If you remember back in the winter, I told everyone I’d been asked to contribute a novella to Katheryn Le Veque’s The Lyon’s Den Regency series. Well, low and behold, the novella is now on pre-order on Amazon! Here is the gorgeous cover.
Enter the world of the most notorious gambling den in London, where matches are made… unusually. Welcome to the world of THE LYON’S DEN: The Black Widow of Whitehall Connected World, where the underground of Regency London thrives… and loves.
What’s a young lady to do when a powerful lord tries to abscond with her and make her his mistress?
When you’re Miss Honoria Quinn, you leap from his carriage and run like the wind to find some place to hide. Trouble is, Honoria mistakenly chooses The Lyon’s Den, a disreputable gambling house as her sanctuary, a move that ends up with her having to make another choice at the hands of the Den’s match-making proprietor Mrs. Dove-Lyons: wed a complete stranger or become the lord’s mistress.
No good deed goes unpunished…
Thomas, Lord Braeton agrees to attend a wager at The Lyon’s Den only to keep his brother-in-law out of trouble. What he doesn’t count on is becoming embroiled in one of Mrs. Dove-Lyons’s schemes to marry him off. But when he tries to come to the aid of another peer, Thomas finds the only honorable thing he can do to save Miss Quinn’s reputation is put aside his hopes for a love match for himself and instead offer to marry her.
As Thomas and Honoria set out on a wary journey to matrimony, can they learn to live together and hope love will grow between them? Or are they doomed to a loveless marriage of convenience from which one or both will want to escape?
How does that sound for a steamy Regency romance?
Here’s a little excerpt to whet your appetite.
Suddenly the carriage door opened, the metal steps clanged down, and Lord Danford’s smiling face appeared mere inches from hers.
Startled by his unexpected presence, Honoria froze like a rabbit in a trap. He was so close all she could see were predatory teeth in his widely grinning mouth.
“Miss Quinn. How do you do? Please, you must sit down.” He grasped her arm and pushed her onto the rear facing seat. “When the carriage starts you’ll be thrown off balance. John!” Lord Danford called to the coachman and sat opposite her. “Drive on.”
The carriage jerked forward, throwing Honoria back into the seat as they commenced their journey once more.
Trying not to panic, Honoria gripped her hands in her lap. Her fingers were like ice inside her gloves. Her whole body seemed to have grown cold and she fought the trembling that threatened to overtake her. Lord Danford had done nothing to her so far, save try to keep her from falling. However, her slight suspicions earlier had become a full-fledged certainty that his intentions were anything but honorable. He stared at her now, his dark eyes as intent upon her as a wolf’s might be as he stared at a rabbit he wanted to devour. When his tongue darted out to lick his full lips, Honoria fought the urge to swoon. The man was bent on ravishing her, she’d wager her soul on it. “Begging your pardon, my lord, but why are you here?”
Impossibly, his smile widened and Honoria’s stomach sank. “You seem somewhat distraught, my dear. Pray do be at ease.” He patted her hands and Honoria’s flesh crawled. “I had sent for the carriage to collect me from my club. When Mrs. Edwards became ill, I saw no reason we couldn’t share the vehicle for the short journey.”
A plausible story that was almost believable. However, Mrs. Edward’s illness—if she was indeed ill—had come on suddenly, according to James. If Lord Danford had been at his club, how would he know of it? No, Honoria was in a tight pinch. If she was to avoid scandal and ruination, she’d best come up with some way to escape this carriage. Perhaps if she summoned the specter of Lady Danford, his lordship would think better of any scheme he had concerning Honoria. “But won’t it look odd for you to be seen sharing the carriage with your mother-in-law’s companion? Without a chaperone?”
Lord Danford waved that away with a casual flip of his wrist. “Oh, no one will know a thing about it, my dear. I assure you,” he slid his hand onto her knee, “I have a talent for being discrete.”
A shiver of revulsion slithered down Honoria’s back. Her breath was coming in sharp, quick gasps, making her lightheaded. She mustn’t swoon and make his debauchery that much easier. Summoning every ounce of strength she possessed, Honoria pushed his hand off her knee and slid as far from him as she could possibly get. “My lord, you forget yourself.”
“How could I in your presence, my dear?” He eased closer to her, and she strained against the corner of the carriage, unable to go any further. “I’ve been watching you ever since Lady Danford brought you home. Watching and waiting and wondering what it would be like to kiss that luscious mouth.” He leaned in toward her until his lips almost touched hers. All she could do was arch her neck to avoid him. “To run my fingers through your lovely golden hair.” One of his hands slid up to grasp the nape of her neck, urging her face down toward him. “To feel your naked body beneath mine.”
Her heart stopped. Dear God, this couldn’t be happening to her. “No, my lord.” It came out a whisper as she tried to stop the tears that had sprung to her eyes. “You cannot do such a thing.”
He chuckled and lowered his lips to her ear, the light contact setting every hair on her body on end. “I assure you, Honoria, I can. I will.” His lips descended to the tender flesh just below her jaw. “I think I can even make you come to enjoy it.”