by Maggie Carpenter
A Mysterious Italian Count… Murder and Vengeance… Blazing Passion…
Crackling lightening and booming thunder roar through the night, almost shaking the mansion. Lady Verity James, a widow who shuns society’s rules, is in her lavish boudoir with a secret lover when her austere butler knocks on her door. A foreign stranger, soaked through, is in the foyer.
His name is Dantae Fellini, and he claims to be the secretary to an Italian Count. Their carriage crashed, and Dantae has been sent to seek help.
She offers shelter, but quickly discovers their accident was sabotage. What secrets do the men hold? Is danger now lurking in her home? And why does Count Cavaletti appear ill-at-ease, while his secretary, with his long dark hair and blazing blue eyes, make her pulse race and her face redden.
Suddenly her life is turned upside down, and surrounded by drama and intrigue, she finds herself swept away in a decadent, unstoppable romance.
Genre: Erotic Historical RomancePurchase link(s): Amazon B&N
Content/Theme(s): D/s, Victorian
Release Date: August 25, 2016
Publisher: Dark Secrets Press
Excerpt & More
But Verity wasn’t particularly cold; she was unnerved. Having him pay attention to the fire, rather than her, would give her a moment to collect her thoughts, something she desperately wanted to do. He was having that strange affect on her again. The sparks were flying between them just as much as they were shooting from the log he was spurring, and she didn’t understand why, or what to do about it.
“There, is that better?” he asked, returning the poker to its holder and sitting back down opposite her.
“Yes, thank you.”
“Tell me, Verity, what is it you want to know?”
“Everything? That’s quite a bit,” he said with a faint smile.
“Who is it that pursues you, and why?”
“Who? I’m not entirely sure.”
“How can you not be sure?”
“It could be one of several people.”
“You have several people wanting you harmed? Why? How long have these people been after you? Is the count really a count? Quite frankly, you appear to be more a count than he does. Are you both whom you claim? I insist on answers, and I insist on them right now.”
Verity knew her voice was loud and rising in pitch, and she also knew why. It wasn’t her unanswered questions, it wasn’t her insatiable curiosity, it wasn’t even that he and the count were mysterious strangers. It had nothing to do any of that. It was the rising erotic fever in her body.
Sitting across from him in front of the gently flaming fire, seeing the glow reflected in his extraordinarily blue eyes and feeling his magnetic pull, was more than she could bear. She wanted to taste the brandy still wet on his lips, she wanted to open her robe, lift her nightgown, and settle herself on the ramrod she knew was hiding in his trousers.
“Verity,” he began, a deep frown spreading over his forehead, “you’re becoming agitated. Please, take a breath and-”
“Of course I’m becoming agitated,” she exclaimed, jumping to her feet. “Can you blame me? You sweep in here on the winds of a storm, a mysterious Italian count and his oddly dignified secretary, you want your coach hidden, you tell me someone wants to kill you, and you don’t think I should be agitated?”
“I didn’t say-“
“Never mind, never mind!” she shrilled, “I’ve heard enough.”
She started to charge past him, but he was too quick. His arm shot out, grabbed her wrist, and pulled her on to the seat cushions next to him.
“How dare you, Sir!” she raged. “Unhand me! Unhand me at once!”
She knew her face was flushed, and to her great dismay, as she met his unwavering gaze, she felt it flame an even deeper red.
“I shall unhand you when you tell me why you’re truly upset, because, My Lady, I do not believe it has to do with my curious circumstances.”
“I don’t know what you mean,” she huffed. “What are you talking about?”
“Your eyes betray you, the beautiful blush that pinks your cheeks betrays you, the rising and falling of your breasts betray you.”
Her free hand was suddenly flying through the air, landing on his face with a piercing slap. She hadn’t meant to do it, it had just happened, and in the seconds that followed she sat silent and still, horrified by her action.
“Lady James,” he finally said, his voice frighteningly soft as he released her wrist, “the count and I will take our leave first thing in the morning. You may tell your groom not to bother with the repair. We shall find other transportation. Goodnight to you.”
As he abruptly rose to his feet and began to stride from the room, Verity’s head was screaming at her to chase after him, to apologize profusely, to explain that she hadn’t meant it, that she didn’t know why she’d done something so unforgivable, that she was confused and befuddled, and she wanted to help him, she did, she really, really did, but her mouth was dry, her heart was pummeling inside her chest, and she was absolutely unable to move.
Take deep breaths. Deep breaths. You can explain in the morning.
What is there to explain? How can I explain something I don’t understand myself? What have I done? What have I done?
Her fingers trembling, she reached for her glass and brought it to her lips. As the warm liquor glided over her tongue and slipped down her throat, she felt the impact of its soothing warmth, and let out a long, whimpering moan.
“Jack would have spanked you for that outburst, Verity James,” she mumbled, then taking another sip of her drink, a vague thought wandered through her head. Had she exploded because she’d been testing Dantae, because she’d waned to see how he would react? Surely not, and yet…
Leaning back, she moved her eyes to the dying fire. Even before they’d become lovers, Richard would have begged her forgiveness, and she realized the other men in her life would have done the same; cajoled her, tried to reason with her, and even if they had been angry with her, they would not have done what Dantae had. He had been right in his assessment of her. She had been feeling all those things he’d described, and yet, he had walked away. Even with so much at stake, he had walked away.
“You can’t just leave in the morning,” she muttered. “Where will you go? How will you get there? What about your baggage? No, you cannot just leave. I will fix this. I don’t know how, but I will.”
Upstairs in the Hampton Suite, the man who called himself Dantae Fellini, was laying on his bed, a lamp on the bedside table set to its lowest flame. His head was filled with many thoughts, but he had the ability to place them in separate compartments. It was a method taught him by a great scholar, and through the years it had served him well. He could easily recall names, places and facts, and sort through situations and circumstances in a logical, calm, methodical manner. Tonight, however, the beautiful Lady Verity James had opened and slammed the doors inside his head, and he simply didn’t know where to put her. He had placed her in his immediate needs cabinet, someone to be humored and amused and kept on his side, but standing next to her as Lambert had poured the champagne, and later, sitting near her at the dinner table, had stirred in him something unfamiliar. It had felt almost cavernous, like a swimming hole one could sense was deep, but perhaps deeper than one could fathom.
And there was something else. Something he could not deny; his need to take control of her, to tame her wild side, to lay her over his lap, bare her bottom, and spank her with gusto.
The temptation to do just that when she’d begun to throw her tantrum had surged through his body, and when he’d clutched her wrist as she’d been storming from the room, the craving had been almost impossible to endure. She’d been so full of challenge and passion, so determined to show him how powerful she was, how smart, how brave, how tempestuous.
But he’d wanted to do so much more than spank her.
He’d wanted to kiss her too, kiss her and consume her. He’d wanted to bend her over the sofa and thrust his throbbing member into her depths and pound her with abandon.
He’d wanted to do all those things, and he’d done none of them. He couldn’t have, of course, not without her willing submission, and even had she been so inclined, which he was convinced she would have been, he was on a mission to save a most important life, and avoid the murderous villains who were trying to stop him. He could not allow himself to become distracted, and more importantly, he could not put her in danger.
It had taken all his self-control to release her wrist and leave her, but had he not, he would have surrendered to his dark, decadent urges. She wanted him as he wanted her, he had felt it, and then, suddenly, out of the ether, it hit him; had she been provoking him to get such a response? Her face had been flushed with the familiar flame of carnal hunger.
“Is that what you were doing, Verity?” he muttered. “Did you want me to pull you into my arms and silence you with a kiss?”
But the moment was forever gone, and he doubted it would come again, but regardless of his feelings and what had transpired, he had to find a way back into her good graces. The success of the mission was highly improbable if they did not have a base, and the small hotel in which he had planned to stay was out of the question. He would have to humble myself and make things right. It wouldn’t be easy, but he would find a way. He could achieve anything if he was determined, and making up with Lady Verity James was imperative.
Purchase link(s): Amazon B&N
Other titles by Maggie Carpenter:
Loves A Woman
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Be on the lookout for Maggie Carpenter's future release(s): The Alien's Discipline coming October 2016
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