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Viscount


Romancing the Rogue

When the new earl inherits, poor relation Miss Rebecca Bond must wed immediately or be out on her ear. The only man she’s ever loved is summoned to hear the will—but he already rejected her so soundly that they haven’t spoken in years. Yet who better than a rakish Viscount to teach her how to snare a gentleman who appreciates her charms?

Daniel Goodenham, Lord North-Barrows, regrets nothing more than the lost friendship with the one woman who treated him like a man, not a title. Fate has given him the perfect pretext to win her forgiveness—even if it means having to matchmake her to someone else. But now that she’s back in his life, he’ll do anything to convince her to choose him instead…

Romancing the Rogue was first featured as part of the Vexed anthology.

Meet the Heroine: Lady Amelia Pembroke

Accounts. Right. Focusing, Lord Benedict Sheffield dipped his pen into the standish and began totaling the first row of sums. He made it through the first few pages before his butler appeared in the doorway.

Benedict frowned. No one called upon him during working hours without prior arrangement. “Yes, Coombs?”

“I’m afraid there’s a Lady Amelia Pembroke here to see you, my lord. She was most insistent.”

“I trust you informed her that I was not receiving, and refused to let her in?”

“Of course.” Coombs hesitated before continuing, “She said she would simply wait until you are receiving.”

Benedict put down his pen. “Wait where, pray?”

“Upon the front step, my lord. I’m afraid the lady brought . . . the lady brought . . . a book. She cannot be budged.”

Benedict tilted his head, impressed. Rather than attempt to barge her way in, she’d come prepared to wait him out—on the front stair, where every eye in every townhouse in the whole crescent was likely watching her. Intrigued despite himself, he tugged at his fob and checked the time on his watch.

A quarter ’til eight. Damn.

“Did the lady mention whether she was calling for business or for pleasure?”

“Both, my lord.”

He coughed. “Both?”

“She would not elaborate. She said . . . she said explaining the intricacies of her design to a butler would be a waste of both our valuable time, and that each of us would operate far more efficiently minding the tasks in which we’re experienced. Then she pulled out a book and a pair of spectacles and sat down on the front step to read.”

Benedict mentally canceled his plans for the theater. He loved actresses, found them endlessly diverting in fact, but was forced to admit he’d never once been intrigued by one. They were beautiful, simple creatures, which was precisely what he liked about them. After a long day of arguing in the House of Lords or negotiating business contracts or managing tenant properties, he liked to disconnect his brain and let the rest of his body reign for a few hours.

At least, he’d always thought he liked that. He was beginning to suspect he liked being intrigued even more. He consulted the hour again.

Still a quarter to eight.

A sudden thought occurred to him. “Do you mean to say we’ve got a lady with her derrière freezing to ice atop our slush-covered concrete?”

Coombs shook his head. “Not at all, my lord. She brought several rugs and a warming brick, and had her coachman clear off the steps before she settled in. He’s got eyes on her, even if he can’t talk her back into the carriage.”

Benedict drummed his fingers atop his leg. She hadn’t just been prepared in case she had to wait—she’d known it would happen! She’d planned for the lost time, for the denied entry, for the slush upon the stoop, for the inclement weather . . .

He shoved his watch back into his pocket.

Business and pleasure, the chit had said. He certainly hoped so. “By all means, Coombs. Show the intrepid lady in.”

He returned to his sums until footsteps sounded out in the corridor. Eight o’clock. Perfect timing. He sheathed his pen.

Let the games begin.

He pushed to his feet the moment the lady appeared in his doorway.

Her hair was a rich brown and her eyes a clear green, but despite the fine cut of her gown or the becoming flush upon her cheekbones, those were not the aspects of her appearance he found the most incredible.

She was dry.

There wasn’t a spot of snow on her pristine slippers. No hint of dampness to her velvet-and-ermine pelisse. No sign of the book or the warming brick or the infamous rugs. She had not only planned to be kept out, she had also planned to be let in!

“Who are you?” he found himself asking, his tone at complete odds with his usual charm and decorum.

She dipped a pretty curtsey. “Oh dear, I have you at sixes and sevens. I am Lady Amelia Pembroke, sister of Lawrence Pembroke, whom you perhaps better know as the Duke of Ravenwood.”

He peered behind her. “Where is your chaperone?”

Elder sister,” she enunciated crisply. “At nine-and-twenty, I find myself being a chaperone rather than requiring one. If you suspect I have come to trap you to the altar, have no fear. Once our brief partnership has concluded, you will have no need to lay eyes on me anew. In fact, interacting in person need not happen beyond just this once. It would be far more efficient for us both if I were allowed to handle our business from here on out.”

He leaned back. “What, may I ask, is the nature of our business?”

The adventures of Lord Sheffield and Lady Amelia continue in:
The Viscount’s Christmas Temptation
The Dukes of War #0.5

Meet the Hero: Lord Benedict Sheffield

Amelia tilted her head toward the door. “Are we ready?”

Lord Sheffield stared at her, incredulous. “Ready? I haven’t a clue where we’re going!”

“Haven’t you?” she teased. “But it’s Wednesday!”

Almack’s?” His mouth opened and shut without making a sound. “But its rooms are only open during the Season, which hasn’t even begun yet—”

“—making it quite suitable for our ends. All we have to do is bend the patronesses to our point of view. Lady Jersey has agreed to hear our request.”

“Bend—Queen Sarah—” He burst into laughter and offered her his arm. “Come, my lady. I shall permit you to do all the talking.”

She slipped her gloved fingers into the crook of his elbow and allowed him to escort her to his waiting carriage. Despite the many times her societal roles had caused her to be on the arm of this duke or that earl, she had never before been struck by the sudden, foolish wish that her fingers were not so properly gloved, and his arm not so encased in winter layers, so that she might feel the warmth and strength of the muscle beneath.

Heat pricked the back of her neck. Her, blush? It simply would not do.

Oh, certainly, Lord Sheffield was a Tulip of Fashion and a delight for the eyes. Even were he to suddenly attire himself in waistcoats of tangerine and puce, his golden curls and sparkling hazel eyes would flutter the heart of any maiden—and did. Amelia was not so green as to be unaware of his rakish reputation. Being alone with him in a carriage might be considered fast, even if one was a spinster in her dotage.

And yet . . . His behavior toward her had spoken very well of him from the very first. When he had enquired about her chaperonage, she had been the one to point out her age obviated the necessity. He had not only been perfectly willing to drive separately to their various assignations, he had accepted the assumption without question. It was she who had foregone her carriage in favor of accompanying the viscount.

Just what were her intentions toward the man? She bit her lip and forced herself to turn from his handsome mien and focus instead on the view out the carriage window.
His profile reflected back at her.

She closed her eyes. It wouldn’t do, she reminded herself. Besides the frivolous reasons that they could not suit—his estate being perfectly run, future children failing to be lords and ladies—his nightly carousing was legendary, and unlikely to alter for someone as negligible as a wife.

Unless the rumors were greatly exaggerated? She indulged herself in another long look at the golden-haired Corinthian seated across from her. He didn’t seem blue-deviled and bleary-eyed. But if that was because he’d spent the entirety of his daylight hours sleeping off a night of unrepentant bacchanalia, then she couldn’t even fathom a friendship forming between them.

No. She’d had it from no less than three sources: after she’d gone home from the theatre at two in the morning, he’d traipsed directly to the Daffy Club, where he’d caroused until dawn.

His eyes met hers and his brows lifted in question.

She gazed back blandly, thankful the shadowed interior would mask any flush to her cheeks.

“Guinea for your thoughts,” he said in his low, smooth voice.

“Prinny has caused that much inflation?”

The corners of his mouth quirked. “Most people’s ruminations aren’t worth a ha’ penny. Yours, I am persuaded, are worth considerably more.”

“You shan’t think so once I’ve made them known.” She flattened her lips into a straight line. “I was thinking about those who behave impractically. All of today’s scandal sheets were full of a certain Viscount S—’s adventures with Blue Ruin.” She arched a brow pointedly. “Late night, was it?”

“Mmm. And an early morning.” He stretched his long legs out before him. “As a lady of clocklike precision yourself, you may appreciate my schedule. I have kept strictly to it every day for the past decade. From eight in the morning to eight in the evening, I devote myself to my duties. Then from eight in the evening to eight in the morning, I . . . do . . . not.” He smiled, as if in remembrance of some unspeakable exploit.

Amelia was horrified. His devil-may-care response had been crafted in just such a way to provoke her displeasure, and so it had. But not, perchance, for the reasons he might expect.

As much as she tired of the house parties and winter retreats she was obliged to attend, or the two weeks in Bath every year with her cousins the Kingsleys, she could not deny the rejuvenating effect of several days in a row without a single responsibility or effort on her part. While she’d been picnicking at follies or riding in the parks, he hadn’t enjoyed a single ray of sunshine at all.
She bit her lip. His estate might run smoothly, but it was in shocking want of efficiency. What had he said about the Christmastide party? He hadn’t wanted her to do it?

“Requiring help does not indicate one is incapable of performing a task,” she said softly. “It simply means it is more expedient not to do so.”

The darkling look he glowered upon her could have melted iron.

The adventures of Lord Sheffield and Lady Amelia continue in:
The Viscount’s Christmas Temptation
The Dukes of War #0.5

Dukes of War #1: The Viscount’s Christmas Temptation

Coming November 1st! Join the VIP List to get the e-book for free on release day, and the next book in the series for only 99¢!

The Viscount's Christmas Temptation

Certain individuals might consider Lady Amelia Pembroke a managing sort of female, but truly, most people would be lost without her help. Why, the latest on-dit is that rakish Viscount Sheffield is canceling the fête of the year because he hasn’t time for silly soirees. He doesn’t need time—he needs her!

When a flash of lightning destroys the venue for his family’s annual Christmas ball, Lord Benedict Sheffield intends to enjoy a relaxing holiday for once. But after twelve days of beguiling Lady Amelia’s guerrilla tactics, he’s up to his cravat with tinsel… and tumbling head over heels in love.

The Viscount’s Christmas Temptation

Dukes of War series #1: FREE at all retailers! (ebook)

Certain individuals might consider Lady Amelia Pembroke a managing sort of female, but truly, most people would be lost without her help. Why, the latest on-dit is that rakish Viscount Sheffield is canceling the fête of the year because he hasn’t time for silly soirees. He doesn’t need time—he needs her!

When a flash of lightning destroys the venue for his family’s annual Christmas ball, Lord Benedict Sheffield intends to enjoy a relaxing holiday for once. But after twelve days of beguiling Lady Amelia’s guerrilla tactics, he’s up to his cravat with tinsel…and tumbling head over heels in love.

Regency-set Historical Romance

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