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Historical Erotica Romance ~ Short Novella Approx. 43,000 Words ~ Prequel to WHITE LACE AND PROMISES
Book one in the Wild, Wicked and Wanton series
"The emotional battle between Grey and Beth and within Grey himself was wonderful to read." ~ Dark Haven Maven Reviews
"This was an intriguing look into the sex lives of two people constrained by the era they were born in. ... Grey and Beth were perfect for one another but feared revealing themselves fully. ... A very emotional read that really had an edge..." ~ Chris of Night Owl Reviews, Sept 21, 2011.
"One of the most passionate stories I've read. The characters are very arousing and stubborn, from their own past experience. Really enjoyed this historical romance." ~ Gloria (a reader)
* * *
She wanted just one naughty carriage ride...
Poor but beautiful Beth McConnel tries to be a good, dutiful young woman by working in her family’s shop. But inside she craves adventure. In the afternoons, she slips away from all the drudgery to lead a secret life as a seductress of wealthy gentlemen. She gives herself once and leaves them burning for more.
When she boldly seduces Grey Sexton, a powerful New York shipping magnate, she finds his ice-over-fire combination of ironclad self-control and sensual indulgence too tempting to resist. Perhaps this time one or two additional clandestine trysts will not hurt. A short fling may very well be worth the additional risk…
But Grey Sexton demands more than she’s willing to give. His possessive determination to own her, body and soul, threatens to expose her secret erotic life to public shame. Beth risks losing her good name— and thereby losing her place in her brother’s home and everyone and everything dear to her.
When Grey gives her an ultimatum, can she walk away from the most exciting, intriguing gentleman she’s ever known? Can a poor girl without family connections ever trust her heart to a gentleman?
Reader Advisory: Grey's Lady is an erotic / hot historical romance. It contains scenes of frequent, explicit sex and graphic sexual language. It contains a non-traditional romance plot and an unconventional heroine.
*** SHORT NOVELLA Approx. 43,000 words ***
Want to read an excerpt from Grey’s Lady?
©Copyright Natasha Blackthorne 2011, 2014
By reading any further, you are stating that you are 18 years of age, or over. If you are under the age of 18, it is necessary to exit this site.
Grey couldn’t keep his eyes off her. Philadelphian women were the cream of the Republic, but damn if this one didn’t exceed all previous definitions. Curling wisps of hair escaped from her indigo bonnet and trailed down her graceful neck. He’d never seen hair that color, like champagne shimmering in the moonlight.
She looked up, giving him his first full glance of her face. Sky-blue eyes, full of aching, longing…and something else.
Something caught in his chest. Something reminiscent of pleurisy.
Well, it wasn’t surprising. Philadelphia air was notoriously insalubrious and the day was oppressively damp. He blinked, glancing away. Was he losing his wits? “Haunting eyes?” What romantic nonsense. If he didn’t know better, he’d think he was getting a fever.
He glanced at his pocket watch. God, time was crawling. He’d arranged this series of lectures to entice potential investors, as last week in Boston had been most profitable. However, today, Mason’s Bookstore was packed mostly with adolescent boys who sat with their mouths agape, listening to local captains recounting tales of privateering glory. His own speech on how and why to invest in a voyage had been met with yawns and bobbing heads. What a waste of an afternoon.
Shifting in his seat, he sensed her gaze. Lingering. Burning into him. Against his will, he turned back to her. Those eyes seemed to reach across the room, directly into him to touch his emptiness.
What a fanciful notion. His wits must be addled.
She didn’t drop her gaze, as a modest woman might. Instead, she appraised him, boldly weighing and measuring. A hint of tongue flirted along her pink lips. Her eyes smoldered as if she’d read his every erotic longing and fantasy.
He shifted again, trying to adjust for the heated blood rushing into his cock. The corners of her mouth turned up and humor glinted in her eyes. Clearly, she found his interest amusing. She found him amusing.
By God then, I’ll have her beneath me, writhing and begging me to fuck her.
Damned if he wouldn’t.
The fervor of his thoughts shocked him back to his senses. People were talking and laughing and moving around. The lecture was over and he prepared to leave. Yet he found himself standing at the windows, transfixed by the rain sheeting down.
“My goodness.” The breathy feminine voice hit him low in his gut and he didn’t have to look to know who spoke. Something primal pounded through his blood. An urge to turn, grasp her by the back of her hair, and kiss her with such brute force she would run.
Shaken, he took several long, deep breaths before he trusted himself enough to turn to her.
“It’s so hard, isn’t it?” she said in a breathy, bedchamber tone.
She stood a couple of inches shorter than his shoulder. A petite slip of a young woman. Yet the force of her presence hit him as though he’d been broad sided. He tightened the muscles of his face, kept all trace of how he felt from his expression. “Pardon me, madam?”
“The rain, it’s coming down so hard today. Buckets and bucketfuls.” Her voice sounded sincere. Yet her eyes glimmered with mirth.
“Yes, it is.” He kept his tone cool, polite.
“And everything is getting so…” Again, she let her little pink tongue snake over her lip. “Wet.”
He should have laughed at such talk. Such a lack of finesse. However, she stood so close, his arm almost touched her breast. So close, her tangy-sweet, gardenia-like scent was intoxicating.
“Pardon me, madam, but do you have some question about investing in a privateer venture?”
“Oh, no…” Her small yet lush mouth formed the most appealing O as she paused over the word.
All the ways in which that mouth could be employed— He pulled his attention away from those lips and met her eyes. “No?”
“No, they answered all my questions in the lecture.”
He frowned. “But how could they have? You came in after the part about investing.”
“I didn’t really have any particular questions. I come to all the lectures here.” She glanced at the chalkboard on the opposite wall where the lecturers were posted. “You are Mr. Asahel de Grijs Sexton of New York?”
“At your service.”
“Your middle name, de Grijs, it means gray?”
“Yes. It’s Dutch.” It had been his mother’s maiden name.
“And you’re here to invest in privateering voyages for the expected war?” She took hold of the curtain’s thick, gold, braided cord.
“I own some ships and take on investors. I also invest in other voyages. It’s a numbers game for safety.”
“Hmm—” her gaze warmed “—gray, like your eyes.” Her soft, pink lips spread into a smile, showing small, even pearly white teeth. The first completely sincere smile she’d gifted him with. Tropical sunshine in the midst of the gloomy day.
She gave a soft sigh—no, it was more like a moan. A lush bedroom sound which made his lower belly tighten. “Well, I was wondering…” Her fingers caressed up and down the braided cord in a way that could only be described as suggestive. Sinfully so. Right here in the bookstore.
A tide of lust like he’d never felt before boiled in his blood and stiffened his cock.
“I—I was wondering…” Her fingers trailed one last time before she dropped the cord.
“Yes, madam?” The steadiness of his voice amazed him.
“It’s miss,” she said, a bit breathless.
“Yes, miss?” he said, more impatiently this time.
Now she wouldn’t meet his eyes. A slight rose tint spread over her cheeks.
“What can I do for you?” he asked, trying to soften the hard edge of frustration in his tone.
“Could you—” She drew her lashes lower yet as her lips spread in another slow, sensual smile. “Would you be so kind as to give me a ride in your carriage?”
The inflection in her voice gave no doubt as to what kind of ride she meant.
Good God. What a bold little minx.
He definitely should not accept. For years now, he’d held to a steadfast rule against dallying with women under thirty. They could prove so troublesome. And this particular young woman seemed so…irregular, such an odd air of boldness contradicted by an awkward ingenuousness. A little recklessness there, too. In any case, he already kept a satisfactory mistress here in Philadelphia.
He couldn’t tolerate complications in his personal life.
The shimmering beauty of her eyes seemed to dim and composure seemed to falter, as though a lovely flower were wilting for lack of water and sunlight. As though she sensed his forthcoming rejection.
Did it matter so much to her then?
His heart pounded into a galloping beat. A heady thrill that could not be said to be wholly carnal. A sense of arousal like he’d not known in years. He craved to experience this peculiar, audacious girl.
And what true gentleman could disappoint a lady? He offered his arm. “Come then.”
She raised fine, pale, gold brows. “I cannot be seen leaving here in your company.”
“Drive around the block and wait there. I shall come along presently.”
“It’s raining like the flood. You cannot walk in that.”
“Do you think I shall melt?” Her deep and throaty laugh resonated deep in his balls.
Her gaze sparkled with amusement. Lightning glowed outside, illuminating her as she stood before the huge storefront window. He noted how her golden lashes glinted with silvery lights in that sudden flash. Those pale, pale lashes made her eyes seem even larger, even more iridescent.
The ground rumbled beneath his feet and shook him from his thoughts. The bookstore was darker now than before the lightning had struck. He took a quick glance out the window. Through the thick glaze of the pouring rain on the glass, he saw heavy gray clouds blanketing the sky. He attempted to focus on their conversation. “I think a gentleman doesn’t expect a lady to walk in the rain.”
She laughed again. “Oh, but I am not a lady.”
“Don’t talk like that.” His harsh tone sent a wave of regret through him. But her self-denigrating tone had angered him.
“Did my fine silk gown fool you?” She plucked her coarse wool skirt. Her fingerless nankeen gloves revealed digits reddened as though they spent hours soaked in lye. The sharp contrast with her refined loveliness made his throat burn and he swallowed tightly.
The sound of boots on the floorboards made Grey turn. Over wire-rimmed spectacles, brown eyes full of frank speculation met his own. Mr. Mason, the bookseller.
Grey offered his most imperious stare.
The man jerked his gaze away and set to lighting the lamp that sat on the window ledge. Then he hurried away to light the next one.
Beth sighed, drawing Grey’s attention. In the soft glow of the lamplight, her face was sincere now. Beautiful. How many times had he repeated that today?
God, he was making a jackass of himself.
A public spectacle of himself in a damned second-rate bookshop.
But what did she really want from him? She was bold, yes, but she lacked the hardened look of a girl on the town. Maybe poverty had forced her into temporary whoring.
Again, he noted, painfully, the obvious worn quality of her clothing. He’d always believed it highly inappropriate for a man of wealth such as himself to pursue an impoverished woman. Especially if she were young.
Maybe she didn’t really want this. Maybe she was simply desperate for coin.
“You need money?” The hoarse terseness of his whisper surprised him. But if she were doing this only because she needed money, he’d give it to her. And watch her walk away.
“I don’t want your money.” She turned her gaze to him. Bold, blue, and full of unmistakable longing. “I only want a ride.”
* * * *
Alone with her in the carriage, Grey took her hand. “What is your name?”
He exhaled her name, cupping her face and rubbing his thumbs over the hollow beneath her cheekbones. The sensation was pure luxury, a texture like creamy satin.
She closed her eyes, lifted her face. Barely aware he still moved closer, he felt her soft mouth under his with a sense of shock. She moaned and opened her mouth, all hot, wet, and spicy-sweet, like mulled cider against his tongue.
He moved his hands down the coarse wool of her back, pulling her closer. The folds of his cravat rustled, crisply crushing. She cried out.
Damn. His cravat pin.
He leaned away, stripped his coat off, plucked off the offending pin and came back to her. She laughed and tugged at his cravat until it came loose. Her grip tight on the two loose ends, she pulled him close to her face and held him in place.
Her taste was so intoxicating. He ravished her mouth without mercy. She returned his strokes measure for measure until they were forced to stop and pant for breath.
Fuck, she was so intense.
So willing and wanton and womanly.
Her fire consumed him. Part of himself, the gentleman, watched appalled as he hooked his hand around the dampened hem of her coarse wool skirt, pushed it up in one swift motion, baring her to the waist. She gasped then laughed again.
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