It's two hundred years ago in Regency England...
Clarissa wonders how on earth to go on...or should that be what is going on...
As she pulled her chemise over her head, the ties caught in her hair and Clarissa realised she’d forgotten to tie a ribbon around her plait. With a sigh for her forgetfulness – she’d find a ribbon in a moment – Clarissa untangled her hair, dropped the chemise and then rolled her stockings off. Naked she lifted up the nightrail.
A scuffling noise caught her attention.
Mice? Surely not? She shuddered. Please not mice. She dropped the fine linen nightrail and resisted the temptation to climb onto the chair. Instead she curled her toes up tightly and scanned the room. The clock ticked off the seconds, but no other noise assailed her senses.
Nothing. She relaxed. Her imagination was overacting, that was all.
The noise came again.
Under the bed? Clarissa bent, very cautiously, and peered under the edge of the covers that hung almost to the floor, certain she would see nothing.
Two blue eyes stared at her from out of the darkness.
She screamed and took refuge on the chair, with eyes closed and her chest heaving. A loud bang indicated rescue was at hand. The door from the hallway sprung back on its hinges, and she opened her eyes cautiously. Then thought it might have been better to keep them closed. Ben, naked as a jay, with his staff bobbing in time to his steps, ran in. Even in her heightened state of terror, she blinked at the impressive sight, and then she ogled. Shamelessly. That was supposed to fit in her? Heavens above.
‘What?’ Ben asked breathlessly. ‘You screamed. Why? What’s wrong?’ Luckily he didn’t seem to notice where she stared.
Clarissa shuddered and pointed towards the bed. The sight of his naked body had veered her thoughts away from the monster under the bed. Perhaps that was all she needed to keep her mind off night terrors? A bare Ben. His words, however, brought all her shivering dread and panic back in a rush. ‘There. Under there, something. Big glaring eyes. Big.’ She wrapped her hands around her shoulders. ‘Ready to eat me. It’s waiting to pounce.’
Ben bent down and looked under the bed. His arse presented to her, and she admired his taut buttocks. She did her best not to look further, to see if any other part of him lived up to those etchings she’d pored over, giggling and disbelieving with her school friends. His rear wriggled – oh my – and disappeared for a second before he squirmed back from out of the stygian gloom that she decided must be the state under the bed.
He stood up, sneezed and dusted down his body. A cobweb clung to his left ear, and he brushed it off impatiently. ‘Nothing except cobwebs and dust. Not even a spider or a fly, and even they would be hard-pressed to live under there for long. I doubt it’s seen a broom in many a month. I really should have given Mrs Titchmarsh more notice of our arrival.’ He glanced towards Clarissa, who still stood on the chair. ‘Truly, I could see nothing.’
‘Well, there was something. Big blue eyes that flashed and sparkled and a funny noise.’ She swallowed. ‘And if it’s not there – and there was something – where is it now?’
‘Honestly? At least ten miles away now, I would think. Scared witless by your excellent imitation of a banshee. I thought the walls had fallen down, or the house on fire at the very least.’
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…
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love R x