The Duke and the Lady in Red
Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James #3
Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James #3
By: Lorraine Heath
Releasing April 29, 2015
Sparks fly in the finale of the Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James Place series, as the last wicked rogue meets his match.
When Rosalind Sharpe gains the attention of the deliciously wicked Duke of Avendale, she’s torn between her distracting attraction to the notorious rogue and the knowledge that he—rich as Croesus—is the perfect target for a deception that will put her swindling days behind her.
However, Avendale is no fool. After he discovers the tantalizing lady packing up to leave London with his coins in tow, he confronts her with a scandalous proposition: she can have all the money she requires…for a week in his bed.
Desperate for the funds, Rose agrees, but on one condition: he must never question her motives. Avendale quickly sees beneath her mask and discovers she is more than passion and pleasure—she is everything he has ever desired. But claiming her requires he unveil her secrets and lose her forever. Unless he can put his own dark past aside and risk everything for a chance at love.
Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2015/03/the-duke-and-lady-in-red-scandalous.html
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22864442-the-duke-and-the-lady-in-red?from_search=true
Goodreads Series Link: https://www.goodreads.com/series/110654-scandalous-gentlemen-of-st-james
LORRAINE HEATH always dreamed of being a writer. After graduating from the University of Texas, she wrote training manuals and computer code, but something was always missing. After reading a romance novel, she not only became hooked on the genre, but quickly realized what her writing lacked: rebels, scoundrels, and rogues. She’s been writing about them ever since. Her work has been recognized with numerous industry awards, including RWA’s RITA® and a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award. Her novels have appeared on the USA Today and New York Times best-seller lists.
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He did indeed possess a key. It was no doubt unwise to take her up there as he wanted to do things with her that were best done within shadows, and there were shadows aplenty within the balcony, and his passions were on a weak tether. She was not an innocent miss, only recently presented to the queen. She was a widow. She had to know men, had to know that he was with her at that moment because of his desire to know her in the biblical sense. Without guilt he could give into his desires.
But she was not quite what she seemed. Of that he was fairly certain. He had spent a lifetime avoiding entanglements and relationships. He never looked below the surface of a woman, but something about her urged him to explore a little deeper.
She wasn’t an American as he’d first wondered. Her speech was refined, definitely English, deliberate but now and again he caught the lilt of something else, as though she were putting on a performance and forgot for a moment her role in the play.
That little aspect to her intrigued him all the more but was no cause for alarm. He didn’t want anything permanent with her. He merely wanted to explore all that lay beneath the red gown. His hands would span her waist. Her breasts would overflow his cupped palms.
He guided her through the crowd that was becoming more populated by the hour. How many blasted invitations had been dispatched? He doubted he would seek sport here after tonight. The club would no longer be as exclusive as it had once been. But then he’d long ago found darker places in which to vent his shame and anger.
They came to the door that opened into the hallways where offices and secluded rooms provided very private entertainment. Removing the key from his waistcoat pocket, he extended it toward her.
She gave him a delighted, wicked smile, filled with mischief and daring. She enjoyed doing things she ought not. He liked that about her. Before the night was done, he anticipated that they would do a great many things they ought not.
Inserting the key, she turned it, twisted the knob, and opened the door. She hesitated not even a heartbeat before walking through and passing the key back to him. After closing the door, he once again offered his arm.
“Everything here seems older,” she said.
“Darling didn’t bother refurbishing this part, for which I’m glad. There is something comforting about the familiar. It has been this way for decades.”
“You don’t look old enough to have been visiting it for decades,” she said.
“I got started quite young.” Although she was right. He’d visited for only a little over a decade. “I know its history. It’s legendary among those of my acquaintance. The stairs that lead to the balcony are here.”
With his hand on the small of her back, he guided her up them and down the short hallway that ended at the balcony.
“As long as you stay behind the draperies, you can’t be seen,” he said quietly. “The shadows serve as cover.”
She eased forward slightly and gazed out over the assembled guests. “Is this where you were when you spotted me?” she asked in almost a whisper.
He came up behind her, only a hairbreadth separating his body from hers. “Yes.”
“It’s odd, but I felt your gaze on me.”
“Perhaps it was someone else’s.”
“No, I’m rather sure it was yours. You have an intensity about you. Do you often stand up here, gazing out, spying on those below?”
“Darling did. He liked to watch the money coming in. Dodger, the previous owner, did as well.” He removed his gloves, stuffed them into the pockets of his coat, and skimmed a bare finger along her nape. Beneath his touch, she shivered. “I was simply striving to determine if it was worth my time to go downstairs tonight.”
“What would you have done if you hadn’t gone downstairs?”
“There is a private game in one of the rooms up here. The stakes are high, but those who play cheat.” He pressed his lips to the juncture where her neck and shoulder met. “You should be aware I employ any means to get what I want.”
“You sound ruthless, Your Grace.”
“That is putting it kindly. I want you, Rosalind. I have wanted you from the moment you walked through the door. There are rooms here. We can make use of them. Or I can take you to my residence.”
“I am not quite so easy to obtain.”
“Are you not?”
She turned to face him. “No.”
“I am prepared to convince you otherwise.”
He claimed her mouth as though he already owned it.