On Tuesday, the newly wed Lady Theodora Stonemere and I had the occasion to take tea. It was quite the visit as I have learned so many tidbits about some of my favorite former patrons.
You see, I am the former Madame of The Market. But, since I married my long lost sweetheart, I have become Lady Hartfield. And now I sip tea with those ladies daring enough to associate with me and I occasionally offer a smidgen of guidance here or there.
On Tuesday, Theo, Lady Stonemere, came to tell me how she and her rather highhanded husband are doing. Lord Stonemere is struggling with his wife’s rebellious nature, and she is finding it difficult to stay out of trouble.
But she tells me that despite their issues, marital relations are going along smashingly! I knew that visit to The Market I arranged for her would turn the trick.
Of course, we are both worried about poor Lord Brougham. He is Stonemere’s best friend, the two were inseparable before Stone married, but Brougham appears to still be very much a bachelor.
Theo is worried that the man will meet a woman who steals his heart but won’t surrender hers. He’s broken the hearts of so many ladies over the years, it seems he might be due for a taste of his own medicine.
Well, I say. Would you look at the time? I’m due at Madam La Fleur’s for a fitting within the hour. I hope to have more news on Lord Brougham for my next visit! Until then, here is an excerpt from His Hand-Me-Down Countess (Lustful Lords, Book 1)
Since the recitation of their vows that morning, Stone had barely spoken to Theo. Nerves stirred again as he glanced at the brave face she had pasted on upon their arrival at the wedding breakfast her parents were hosting. Despite the tension around her eyes, he assumed most of their guests wouldn’t notice it, or would chalk it up to bridal nerves as she smiled and welcomed all their well-wishers.
Concern filtered past his walls until he asked, “How are you holding up, Lady Stonemere?”
Her cheeks flushed an enticing shade of pink. “I am fine, Lord Stonemere.”
“Good. I believe these are the last of our guests and we may take our seats soon.” He nodded at the group of arrivals just entering her parents’ foyer.
Stone watched his bride beam at each guest and wondered how much longer they would be required to indulge their company. The last group filed past until they stood alone in the dark-paneled entry hall. The impulse to take her there and then, feed off her vitality, soak up her liveliness, and mark her as his lanced through him. He burned to stretch her out across his bed, bind her to it, and make her scream her pleasure. Yet he knew to use her thusly would at best shock her and at worst send her screaming from their breakfast.
Without any indication of his filthy thoughts, he tucked her delicate hand into the crook of his arm and led her into the dining room to their table. What kind of man desired to use his wife in such a coarse manner? Did his need to command her body and soul stem from some cancerous mass that tainted his own soul?
“Regrets so soon, my lord?” She watched him warily as she sipped champagne from a delicately etched crystal flute.
“Regrets? No.” He frowned, confused by her query.
“Then you may wish to consider schooling your features when you look at me, or our guests may be led to believe that you intend to whisk me away and thrash me as opposed to ravish me like a dutiful bridegroom.” She set her glass down and smiled sweetly at him.
Chagrined at being caught out by his bride, he dug deep to smooth his features and shut down his lecherous line of thought. Casting his most devastating smile in her direction, he took her hand and carried it to his lips. Skin against…moleskin. A strong reminder that his wife was a lady, not a prostitute, or even a widow. And yet his desire refused to abate.
His gaze lingered on the swath of skin exposed above her neckline. It pleased him to see the gooseflesh his touch raised. And the soft sigh that escaped her kissable lips teased his inner beast, made him desperate to elicit more such sounds from her.
She softly cleared her throat and lifted one silky eyebrow. His lips curved up at her less-than-subtle reminder. “I suppose I should have gathered from our previous conversations that you have a tendency to say unexpected things in the most inappropriate of places.”
“If by unexpected you mean true, then I suppose you should.” The little minx agreed so effortlessly with his observation that he couldn’t resist smiling.
“Quite so. I see you shall keep me on my toes. Be warned, madam. You will find me equal to your challenge.” A strange sense of contentment chased away his consternation and left little room for his previous inner debate. As long as his wife continued to engage him in conversation, he had no time to worry about things he could not change.
His Hand-Me-Down Countess (Lustful Lords, Book 1)
His brother’s untimely death leaves him with an Earldom and a fiancée. Too bad he wants neither of them…
Theodora Lawton has no need of a husband. As an independent woman, she wants to own property, make investments and be the master of her destiny.
Unfortunately, her father signed her life away in a marriage contract to the future Earl of Stonemere. But then the cad upped and died, leaving her fate in the hands of his brother, one of the renowned Lustful Lords.
Achilles Denton, the Earl of Stonemere, is far more prepared to be a soldier than a peer. Deeply scarred by his last tour of duty, he knows he will never be a proper, upstanding pillar of the empire. Balanced on the edge of madness, he finds respite by keeping a tight rein on his life, both in and out of the bedroom. His brother’s death has left him with responsibilities he never wanted and isn’t prepared to handle in the respectable manner expected of a peer.
Further complicating his new life is an unwanted fiancée who comes with his equally unwanted title. Saddled with a hand-me-down countess, he soon discovers the woman is a force unto herself. As he grapples with the burden of his new responsibilities, he discovers someone wants him dead. The question is, can he stay alive long enough to figure out who’s trying to kill him while he tries to tame his headstrong wife?
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About the Author
Sorcha Mowbray is a mild mannered office worker by day…okay, so she is actually a mouthy, opinionated, take charge kind of gal who bosses everyone around; but she definitely works in an office. At night she writes romance so hot she sets the sheets on fire! Just ask her slightly singed husband.
She is a longtime lover of historical romance, having grown up reading Johanna Lindsey and Judith McNaught. Then she discovered Thea Devine and Susan Johnson. Holy cow! Heroes and heroines could do THAT? From there, things devolved into trying her hand at writing a little smexy. Needless to say, she liked it and she hopes you do too!