On October 14th, my new release The Darkness in the Marquess of Dane will be available but you can get it on sale now for only .99 cents. After that it will back to it's regular price of $2.99. Better hurry.
Here's a new blurb:
“Is deflowering all that you expected?”
She turned away from his mocking gaze. Dane rolled to his side beside her, slowing as he came to rest on his back.
“I’m not afraid of you,” she said.
“Is that what you think this is about? That I’m trying to scare you? I have better things to do with my time.”
She sat up in the bed and peered over her shoulder. “I think that you have nothing better to do than intimidate anyone who dares show you a kindness.”
“You aren’t old enough to know that no one is kind without an ulterior motive. And, in case you’ve forgotten, I’m paying you. Neither kindness nor fear has anything to do with our time together. Unless I wish it.”
He swung his feet off the bed. “Dress yourself, Miss Turnbow. I’ll send for the carriage.”
So he wasn’t going to accept the price for which they had bargained. She couldn’t read anything into his decision. Should she be insulted that he did not want her? Or should she be thankful his reasons for entering into their Faustian bargain were to remain unclear and unfulfilled?
If he was inviting her to leave, she wouldn’t hesitate. She ignored the torn undergarments but buttoned her short jacket. Her cape would cover a multitude of outward sins. Her conscience would have to deal with everything else.
Dane stood at the table, his robe still disarranged and too revealing. He had collected a metal box that now sat before him with the lid thrown back. “Your money,” he said, glancing at her as she approached.
He threw the money on the table one bill at a time, giving her time to count. When he stopped at two thousand five hundred, she said, “But you’ve already given me five hundred.”
She reached for the money, feeling a moment of uncertainty now that Dane’s sexual excesses officially tainted her. Tarnished, that was what she was.
He started a second stack that grew to five thousand pounds, the pile of money in a small mound on the table.
“Another week, Miss Turnbow. What do you say?”
* * * * *
Mark stood at the library door, drink in hand, when Christina came in the front door of their townhouse.
Looking at her brother was more difficult than she imagined it might be—after the events of last night.
“You look like you could use a drink,” he said.
She did not bother to remove her cape, instead brushing past him and walking to the sideboard. She had never been interested in hard alcohol, preferring sweet drinks like ratafia or lemonade. Drunkenness to the point of forgetfulness seemed a good idea for the first time in her life. It would dull her memory temporarily, but she thought she’d earned a few hours to disconnect from her new reality, that of a fallen woman.
She poured the brandy into her glass and lifted it with shaking fingers. Mark reached around her and took the glass.
She turned into his chest and his arms went around her.
There were no racking sobs, but the trickle of tears came. The pent up pressure crumbled beneath her brother’s support.
“I got the money,” she said. Before she left, Dane had stood at his table, counting out the bills as if they were ha’pennies. And then, when he’d counted out another five thousand, she’d almost gotten sick. His offer was untenable and no one would ever have to know about the new offer or the twenty-four hours she had agreed to spend with him.
“Am I the worst brother in Christendom, allowing you to do this wretched thing?”
“I had to help, Mark.”
“And you will be happy to know I am still a virgin.”
Mark took her by the shoulders at held her at arm’s length. “Dane? He didn’t touch you?”
She sucked in a breath and she felt the crush of anxiety at the realization of what she had done. “I didn’t say that. He is…very different.”
She reached for the brandy. Mark didn’t stop her this time. Once she swallowed, the golden elixir trailed down her throat, leaving behind a scorching reminder that she was not a practiced drinker.
She coughed and set the glass aside.
“Do you want to talk about it?”
“I don’t even know where to begin.”
“I will make this up to you some day. I don’t know how, but I promise I will.”
“Just help John make this right. Use this money wisely so that when I do have to give up my virginity, it is to a man who will appreciate my worth.”