Today I’m sharing a sneak peek from The Viscount’s Seduction, Book 2 in the Sons of the Spy Lord series, wherein our hero and heroine meet for the first time in ten years:
“Go. I know you’re in no danger of beguilement.”
“I’m in no danger of getting another glass of punch either.”
He searched the room for his brother’s tawny hair. Charley was indeed preparing to stand up again with the same partner. Nodding to acquaintances, he wove through the crowd, reached his brother, and moved him aside.
And his heart launched into a gallop. The beauty that Charley was with—and she was a rare beauty—stared soulfully up at him. The blondest of hair shimmered and gray eyes glowed luminous in the light of many candles.
“How do you do?” Only manners honed by many years of encounters with the fairer sex kept him from stumbling over his words. He bowed. “Charles, Father commands your appearance. I am Bakeley, miss. I hope you do not mind dancing with an older brother.”
Charley sighed, and then shrugged, a grin spreading. “My apologies, my lady. This is not a proper introduction, but it will have to do. This is my brother, Lord Bakeley.”
The lady’s cheeks went unaccountably pink and she ducked her head in a curtsey.
Drat. She perhaps knew him, but he didn’t recognize her. So she was a lady, and beautiful. Was she also rich?
They took their place in the line. Damn, but he should have examined her when Charley had picked her out.
When she moved in a turn around the next gentleman, he looked her over as discreetly as possible. She was a thin little thing in her blue silks, not as plump as he normally liked. What he knew about dresses was almost nothing, but this one seemed to fit with the current fashions, though it had less of the flounces, ribbons, and fluttering pieces.
Which, in his estimation was good.
And it was not white, which meant she was not making her first bows.
A widow, perhaps. She smiled up at him on the next turn. A young widow, and not terribly willing. That smile had been tight and polite.
They went down the middle together and waited through a set. “I don’t believe we’ve met before. Is your family in town for the Season? Is your husband active in Parliament?”
She blinked and her eyes widened.
Not married, then. “I beg your pardon. Your title is from your father?”
They were interrupted again by the need to turn, and he concentrated momentarily on the dance.
When they came together again, her lips had curved up and her eyes gleamed with humor. “You are Shaldon’s heir, are you not?”
More infernal turning. Would this dance never end so he could find out who she was?
They marched down the center together again. Where her hand touched his arm, he felt a delicate heat.
“And isn’t this always the problem, Lord Bakeley, when a lord and lady dispense with a proper introduction?”
He heard it then: the slightest lilt, the tiniest burr. They parted to go round the next couple in line and came together again.
“You are Irish.”
The dance ended and she curtsied, dipping her chin and rising again with a grin.
“It was more than kind for you and your brother to dance with me. Indeed, I’m Sirena, Lady Sirena by birth. But now I’m the paid companion to Lady Jane Monthorpe, so I’ll just take my leave and return to her.”
She chuckled low in her throat, in a way that sent more heat through him.
“Thrilled she’ll be at my social success tonight. Thank you for that, and the dance.” She bobbed again.
“Wait just one moment.” He offered his arm. “You must have some refreshments. And you must tell me all about your home in Ireland.”
Her gaze slid over his shoulder. “Is that not your father, Lord Shaldon, there? His eyes are all but glowing. I shall free you, my lord, and return to my lady.”
He took her hand and placed it on his arm. “Then we shall both go and speak to your Lady Jane.”
Sirena drew deep inside searching for the whisper she used when controlling a particularly hotblooded horse. If she could but call it up—and since leaving home, she hadn’t been able—perhaps it would work on the high bred stallion beside her. Lord Bakeley danced a bit less like a dream than his brother Charles, but only a bit less. And while the younger brother had wild fun in his eyes, this heir to Shaldon held a bubbling cauldron that she could sense but not see inside his handsome exterior.
Yow, but she’d not had a good, close-up look all those years ago when he’d come to buy Pooka. Father had been right to keep her away from this devil. And hadn’t Bakeley turned the wary Pooka into an obedient sop before they’d left Glenmorrow? The man’s looks alone would have horses and women swooning.
And fancy her, he did. She could feel it in the hot press of his hand over hers, even through the fine gloves. She could see it in the pulse at his neck, just over his ornately tied neck cloth.
And wouldn’t she like to pull the ends of that neck cloth tighter and make his villainous father squirm?
Pre-order it today for the September 12, 2017 release!
Image: Wikimedia Commons