I so love Wednesdays.
This week, I'm going to tease you from a forthcoming book, The Scandalous Proposal of Lord Bennett.
Although I don;t have my cover yet, and I'm on the press-refresh cycle of behaviour, I'm really excited. It's released from Carina UK on 9th September, and it's up for preorder on Amazon,
To have and to hold?
Reluctant debutante Lady Clarissa Macpherson has never forgotten the forbidden kiss she shared with notorious rake, Lord Theodore ‘Ben’ Bennett, all those years ago. Even now, he’s the one man who sets Clarissa’s pulse racing and her skin tingling – no matter how hard she tries to ignore it!
Yet, when Ben rescues her from the unwanted advances of a drunken Lord at a society ball, she finds herself in a most scandalous predicament – engaged, to the most eligible bachelor in London!
Wedded? It appears so, but bedded? Clarissa demands more from her marriage than simply surrendering to her new husband’s sexual desires, especially when she realises she’s falling deeper in love with him every single day. Ben must prove that she’s the only woman for him – and surrender his heart!
Yet resisting her new husband’s delicious seduction may prove the hardest thing Clarissa has ever done…
and your #MidWeekTease...
Lord Theodore Bennett, known to his friends as Ben, and to his enemies – of whom there were several – as that bloody Bennett, rolled over in bed, and opened one brandy-bleary eye. No doubt if a mirror were handy, the eye would be as blood red as the wine he thought followed the brandy. Or was that before? Ben was more than a little hazy with regard to the previous night’s activities. The last he remembered was accepting a wager that he couldn’t empty the overlarge glass put in front of him, in one go. Had he? He had no idea, but it was a certainty someone would let him know if he owed them money.
Ben sighed, winced as the noise set off a blacksmith’s hammer in his head, stretched, and froze. Why was a bolster down the middle of his bed? A soft squidgy flesh-covered bolster? He patted it cautiously and it moved. He dropped his hand as if it were scalded, and tried to bring his thoughts into some form of order. It wasn’t easy.
A woman? He never spent the night with a woman. Never, ever. Bed them and leave them had always been his motto. And not in his own bed. That was a given. Everyone knew and accepted that. Didn’t they?
Somewhere in the back of his fragmented mind he remembered music and damned doves flying overhead. Doves, for fuck’s sake, and he didn’t even get a chance to take a pot shot at them. Had he been to Vauxhall to watch one of the many spectacles there? No, the music had been ‘churchy’, and … Oh my lord. A wife. I have a wife. The events of the previous day came back to him with immediate and hideous clarity. This needed to be discussed further. He reached out to the softness next to him and squeezed.
The bolster stirred and muttered something. Even in his less than awake state it didn’t sound complimentary. He pulled his hand back again. Soft fingers fumbled over his body, and fastened on his morning erection.
The screech sent sharp daggers of pain splintering through his head. Nails dug into his skin, and that hammer hit his skull with monotonous regularity.
‘For goodness’ sake, woman’ – he hoped to hell it was a woman – he didn’t think he’d suddenly discovered a propensity for his own sex – ‘there is no need to awaken every dog and monkey for streets around. Have you never felt a …?’ He paused. What polite way was there of informing your wife – or who he assumed must be his wife, for surely he was not debauched enough to take another woman to bed on his wedding night – how your body woke up every morning? Even, it seemed, after an excess of wine and brandy. ‘A man’s body like this? If not, get used to it.’
His wife – damned if his vision wasn’t so blurry he couldn’t define her features – struggled out of the bedclothes and sat up with the sheet clutched to her like a suit of armour.
‘Of course I haven’t. Who would want to feel that?’ She shuddered. ‘As for get used to it? In your dreams, not mine.’
She gulped. Actually showed distaste. Even in his bemused state Ben was astounded. It was a first. Women usually reacted in a much more positive manner.
‘Where is my nightrail? Oh thunderheads.’ Her dismay was obvious.
He glanced to where she looked. A flimsy cotton nightrail hung over the end of the bed, out of arm’s reach without her showing her all. It looked somewhat the worse for wear. Almost in tatters. Surely she could afford better? He wondered how it had got there. Ben didn’t remember taking part in that disrobing. Not that he had any recollection of having anything to do with, well, anything.
‘How? Oh, don’t tell me. Of course I haven’t. You told me …’ She shook her head in such a vigorous manner it hurt him to watch and blew several strands of hair off her cheeks. ‘Oh, never mind. Nevertheless, explain to me one thing, pray. Why?’ She spoke baldly, in a none-too-wifely manner.
Why? Why what? The state of my body? What I said?
‘Because this is me.’ He hoped it was the correct reply. By the way she pursed her lips he was none too sure. Ben tried to expand on his statement a little more. It wasn’t easy. He looked in her direction, saw three wives, and had no idea whom to address. However, he focused on the middle one and hoped for the best. He recognised her grim-looking countenance.
Clarissa? Her of the voluptuous body, and forbidding attitude. Oh sweet lord. She whom I have lusted after ever since the first time I rubbed up? He accepted he was deep in the mire. Lady Clarissa wasn’t one to appreciate his types of demands, even though they were honest and straightforward. Whenever he’d attempted to be gallant, she’d shot him down as if she thought he jested. He didn’t, but he’d never been able to make her see that. She shied away from him like a frightened filly – or virgin? In the end he gave up and used her image in his mind when he gave himself relief. That thought strengthened his staff even more. Good lord, if he wasn’t careful the evidence of how she affected him would begin to run down its length.
‘This you what? Are a drunkard?’ She snorted. ‘Then I’ll take my leave now and retire to the country and breed dogs. Big ones, with very large teeth, who have an aversion to men who imbibe too freely.’
Give me strength. She knows we are wed and it’s too late for anything else, except accept and move on. Why can she not just accept it? What have I done that I’ve forgotten?
‘This is me when I awaken. Get used to it, madam, wife.’ Was his tone as intimidating as he hoped?
Clarissa stared at him from under a dark-reddish-brown fringe of hair as if he were a curiosity escaped from the Egyptian Hall in Piccadilly.
Why does she have that frizz over her forehead? Dare I ask? Perhaps not.
‘Thankfully I won’t need to. It won’t bother me. As you gave me to believe we will not bed together.’
Perhaps this is not the time to discuss her hair.
‘Repeat that.’ Surely he hadn’t heard right?
She ground her teeth. Ben thought that was an expression, not something people actually did.
‘We. Will. Not. Bed. Together.’ She snapped each word out separately.
Definitely not the time.
If this tickles you (or even if you're just interested in reading more) it's up for preorder.
You can reserve your copy by clicking
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love, R x