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Piety or passion… What’s a lady to do?
Lady Mary Rutherford believed she would live her entire life as a nun. But when King Henry VIII’s reformist movement makes practicing religion a dangerous proposition, Mary is forced to begin a new life with a family she doesn't know. Worse, she must become lady of the manor, a role for which she feels sorely unprepared.
After a decade of service to his king, Lord Trenton Stanley returns home to find his estate in ruins, his fortune depleted, and his doddering father drooling over Mary—a woman Trent fears has been installed to replace his mother. Trent strives to rebuild his life, but his desire for Mary becomes a serious distraction he can’t seem to ignore.
Though Mary is anxious to prove she’s a worthy lady, she’s tempted by the rakish Trent into deeds most unladylike…
“I have stopped, you see,” he said, lifting his hands above his head in mock surrender. “I mean you no harm, my dear, nor do I intend to rush our exploits, but you are quite the beauty. You have amazing lips and your breasts — ”
She gasped. “I am outraged, my lord. Why do you speak to me roughly? I am not the type of woman who welcomes bawdiness. I’ve never heard such words or felt such…terror!”
“Terror?” He laughed. “You kiss well when frightened.” He arched a brow.
“Seems to me, you wanted me under your petticoats. I apologize for my roughness, dearie, but you brought it out in me. It’s been a long time since a morsel like you presented itself to be sampled. And you do taste good. The finest mead honeys your breath. That tells me you demand a high price for your
comely charms. Go ahead. Tell me what you want, besides my money and my cock, of course.”
At that, the woman smacked his face with unexpected strength. The blow sent Trent back into the seat from which he leaned. If she wanted to play her wanton games with fire, he was the man for the challenge.
Trent leaped upon her and pinned her to the seat. The woman struggled to sit up and shaped her petite hands into claws. “Unhand me. I am your ward not your whore!”
He recoiled, and she scurried across the seat and laid a quavering hand to her throat. He pointed his finger at her. “You? My ward? Impossible, woman. I have nonesuch.”
Tears swam into her eyes, and Trent’s heart skipped. My God, she is utterly enchanting. The glaze of passion that turned her blue eyes almost lavender lifted. She swiped at her eyes and affected a stonier expression.
“No apology?” she asked. “No words of welcome? No lord are you.”
Now it was her turn to point, and she poked little jabs as if he were an insect she meant to squash with her finger. “You are a cur. A beast that should be tied in a field. You could not be the honourable lord my parents named benefactor before they passed into heaven. Sweet Jesu’, you are Lord Stanley?”
He nodded with a snap of his head.
Trenton was surprised at how her accusations stung his heart like poisoned arrows. He wanted to reach out and touch her soft yellow hair, move it from her proud shoulders, and hold her closely. Her outrage evoked a strange tenderness in Trent, but also bitterness. Who was this chit, and why did she act like
he’d done her harm? They rode in his coach with his driver, and she was, what, a guest, a ward? An unwelcome one if she kept glaring with those icy eyes. Trent couldn’t help it. He actually found her unbelievably attractive, even if her gaze promised no reward.
“And you are my ward? How so? Do tell, my ‘lady.’” He exaggerated the last to reinforce he doubted her assertion. His lifted brow named her a liar.
Ann Montclair writes contemporary and historical fiction and is an English professor at a small, rural community college. She was born in Los Angeles, California, where her parents and grown daughter now reside. Ann currently lives in the Finger Lakes region of New York with her husband, son, and a pile of dogs and cats. She enjoys listening to live music, hiking, cycling, cooking, and gardening. She hates dieting but spends a lot of time ruminating on the topic. Her biggest wish is that each of her readers will be inspired to believe in and find their own happily-ever-after, no matter their fears and insecurities. Her motto is Love triumphs! Ann has three published contemporary romance novels: The Billionaire’s Bauble (Soul Mate Publishing 2011), One Wet Summer (Musa Publishing 2012), and Good Things Come in Tall Packages (Musa Publishing 2012). Lady in Deed (Musa Publishing 2012) is her first historical romance. Lady is the Law, another Tudor historical romance, is forthcoming 2013.
Good Things Come in Tall Packages
B & N
One Wet Summer
B & N
The Billionaire’s Bauble
B & N