Welcome to Wednesday and #MidWeekTease
I'm getting a bit excited now. Only, (If you're reading this on the 12th) there are a mere fifteen more sleeps before The Lord's Persuasion of Lady Lydia is released.
It's up for download on the usual suspects, but on 27th it can whizz from those sites to your eReader.
So where better to take my #MidWeekTease from than #TeamHarry? (no don't tell me let me live with my illusions)
Seducing the wallflower…
Over the years, Lydia Field has perfected the art of being a wallflower. It’s the only way to avoid the attention of unwanted suitors – and the perils of a convenient, loveless marriage! Instead, she dreams of the day she can leave London’s high society behind her, trading the glamorous balls and afternoon teas for a quiet life in the country.
But in an unguarded moment, she finds herself catching the eye of notorious rake ‘Handsome Harry’, Lord Birnham. Now that he’s glimpsed the wildness and fire that lurks beneath Lydia’s demure exterior, Lord Birnham will not rest until he has unleashed the full extent of her passion!
For if there’s one skill that Lord Birnham is known for, it’s the art of persuasion…
Lydia glanced at the man beside her and frowned, as he seemed to have trouble answering her question. Surely it wasn’t that difficult? ‘I am not asking you to recite Shakespeare,’ she said somewhat tartly as the silence lengthened. ‘All I asked was…’
‘I know what you asked,’ he interrupted her with a grin. ‘And Shakespeare would be easier to proclaim, I assure you.’ He struck a pose. ‘To be or not to be and so on.’
She grinned like an urchin, and nodded. ‘Oh, very good, do you know any more?’ Her voice, she hoped, was full of very over the top, insincere admiration. ‘You do that so well.’ Lydia blushed. ‘I like it.’
He inclined his head. ‘I was often in amateur theatricals while I was at Cambridge. It was a relief from studying. Otherwise I feel I was well on the way to getting a reputation for all work, no play, and that would never have done.’
She looked doubtful. ‘Why did I never hear that?’
‘Easy,’ Harry answered complacently, and grinned. ‘Because I was careful not to show how much the studying side of university life appealed to me.’
‘I wish I had the chance to learn more,’ Lydia said wistfully. ‘Soon, though, I will read and learn to my heart’s content.’ It couldn’t come quick enough. ‘Oh, I do beg your pardon, my lord.’ Her tone intimated anything but. ‘I interrupted you and I know how much gentlemen like their… er, dislike that. So you were saying?’
‘I was debating whether to say something innocuous and banal. Anything that would satisfy most women, but…’ He held his hand up and she shut her mouth on the snappy retort she had been ready to give him. ‘But I understand and accept that is not the way for us to proceed. And were you about to say us males like the sound of our own voices?’
In that split second Lydia went hot, cold and hot again, and Harry chuckled. ‘‘Tis generally true, but to me it’s a waste of breath if what is uttered is total drivel. And oh yes, before you try to give me a disclaimer, I agree it often is. Now, if we are to have any sort of relationship we need to be open and honest. And, more importantly, you are not most women.’
She burst out laughing. By the perplexed expression on his face, it was not the reaction he had expected. Was it a good or a bad thing? Lydia honestly had no idea.
‘My lord… Harry.’ She amended her words quickly. ‘How many times does it need saying? We are not likely to do so. As for me being like other women? I’m glad you understand that, if nothing else, I intend to be my own person. However, it still doesn’t answer my question. Why? And while I have your attention I will expand on that. Why informality, when we will no doubt see very little of each other from now on? I do not intend to stay in the capital any longer than I have to. Once I leave…’ Her well-rehearsed words faltered as he shook his head. ‘What?’
‘I have no idea where you got the notion we are nothing to each other,’ Harry said emphatically. ‘But you are very wrong.’
Did she say that? She didn’t think so. Before she had a chance to query his words, Harry took her arm.
‘You, my dear, and I are going to see a great deal more of each other, I promise you. A great deal.’
His tone made her bristle. How dare he say something so outrageous and expect her to agree to it? ‘I think not, my lord,’ she said frostily. ‘Now I feel I’d best go in. Alone.’ And make sure you do not go anywhere near my mama. She stood up, shook out her flounces and curtsied. ‘Thank you for an enlightening and… interesting conversation.’
He laughed and stopped her withdrawal by taking hold of her wrist. ‘You aren’t thanking me properly.’ The pulse in her wrist jumped and he grinned. ‘Exactly. A proper way to thank me would be with a kiss.’ Why was he baiting her? Lydia reined in her temper – lord, she should think a kiss was one step – no, ten steps – too far, surely?
‘A true gentlemen would let me go,’ she said icily.
His eyes twinkled. Damn him, was that the look she had heard women say made them want to swoon? Now, on the receiving end of it, she could understand that.
‘Ah, but I’m not just a gentleman, am I? I’m a lord.’
‘Lords can be gentlemen, or so I have been led to believe.’ She did her best to make her voice level and undemanding. ‘Even rakes have a code of honour. Do you agree?’
‘Oh yes,’ he purred. ‘And I have now decided to adhere to it, instead of to my own. So much more scope. And of course it is in the way you define the word gentleman – and rake.’
She knew her jaw had dropped open as she listened to his outrageous words. ‘You, what… argh, you are…’ Damn, she wanted no more than to wipe the smile off his face. Oh, and slap him for good measure.
Of course she did neither.
Bloody infuriating… Words failed her. She glared and held her free hand rigidly to her side and counted to ten.
‘As you are no gentleman, then I suppose it is no use asking you to unhand me?’
He inclined his head. ‘No use at all.’
‘Then…’ She gave in to temptation, and stood on his immaculate evening shoes. Hard. ‘I need not be a lady.’
My goodness, did I really say that? What will he think? And what exactly do I mean by it?
To her chagrin, before she could fathom her thoughts, he laughed.
Catch all the other #MidWeekTease posts ~here~
love Raven x