Darling Duke is on pre-order

Once upon a country house party, an icy duke discovered a hellion reading a bawdy book in his library…

That’s how the story of Spencer, Duke of Bainbridge and Lady Boadicea Harrington begins. He’s cold, jaded, and arrogant, with a dark past. She’s feisty, stubborn, opinionated, and unapologetically outspoken. They’re all wrong for each other.

Or are they?

Darling Duke officially has a release date of July 10th! I hope you’re looking forward to finding out how Bo and Spencer’s happily ever after unfolds. It isn’t going to be easy—a marriage of convenience, a duke with a scarred heart, a fierce heroine, a dowager duchess you may long to throttle, and much more awaits.

Official Blurb:

An untamable hellion

Lady Boadicea Harrington is a scandal waiting to happen. She’s too outspoken, too opinionated, and far too much of a flirt to ever land a good match. But that doesn’t concern her. The last of her sisters on the marriage mart, she isn’t about to settle down. In fact, she doesn’t plan to marry at all. If only she could tone down her wild streak and force herself to behave…

A rigidly proper man

The Duke of Bainbridge is one of the most powerful men in England, so frigid that it’s rumored his own wife committed suicide to escape him. When Spencer learns his madcap younger brother is pursuing the unsuitable Lady Boadicea, he’s determined to put an end to their ill-advised flirtation. But his best intentions go awry when he discovers his own baffling inability to resist her.

Ice meets fire

Spencer never meant to so thoroughly compromise her that he’s duty-bound to wed her. Bo certainly never intended to enjoy being in his arms or to find him so wickedly tempting. Can her passionate fire prove enough to melt his icy heart, or are they forever doomed to a cold marriage of convenience?

Pre-order here.

Sneak peeks to follow. Want to join my reader’s group? I promise to be mildly witty. Do join in the fun. And as always, thank you so much for all of your emails, reviews, and support! I’m so thankful to have readers like you.

Until next time, don’t behave.

XO,

Scarlett

 

Sexy Spy Duke Meets Feisty Heiress

“Another keeper from Scarlett Scott. Daisy and Sebastian were so lovely together. The plot was enticing. The pace was good. A massive thumb up for the sex scenes. They were HOT.” – Sandy N.

You guys, Her Reformed Rake is about to drop, and I’m so excited for you to read Sebastian and Daisy’s story! Like literally bouncing in my seat excited. And I can’t wait to hear what you think! I love, love, love getting emails from readers, so don’t forget to email me or (equally appreciated by moi!) to leave an honest review on Amazon or Goodreads or your blog or a billboard or…you get the point.

BTW, I’m looking to put together a reader group where I’ll be giving out ARCs for review, running giveaways, and other fun stuff. If you’re interested in joining in the mayhem–ahem–fun, drop me a line here.

Maintenant, here’s one last teaser for Daisy and Sebastian…

Being in the same space as her without having her in his arms was suddenly insupportable. He had to have her. Right. Bloody. Now. Everything else could be dealt with another day—the League, her father, his mission, the lies between them. But here, in this moment, he was going to give her the only honesty he could. It wasn’t what she deserved, but it was all he had.

Her eyes went wide as he hauled her from her chair before making a thorough swipe of the table behind her with his arm. China, silver, and the fourth course all went crashing to the center of the table. He didn’t give a damn if every last monogrammed plate was smashed to bits. Didn’t care if the mutton went to waste. His hands went to her waist, spanning it easily.

She ought to eat more, he thought absently as he lifted her up and deposited her on the table at her back. Her hands went to his shoulders, and she still hadn’t said a word, her shock rendering her speechless.

When her derriere settled on the table linen and he caught her billowing skirts in his fists, she found her tongue at last. “Sebastian! What are you doing? We haven’t even finished dinner or had dessert. Cook has prepared cocoa biscuits and strawberries.”

She was breathless, flushed, and she smelled better than anything ever had. He wanted to inhale her, trap her bergamot and vanilla and ambergris in his lungs so that whenever he wasn’t in her presence he could still breathe her.

His gaze fell to her mouth. “You don’t like strawberries.”

“You do.” Her fingers tightened on his shoulders. “How did you know I don’t like strawberries?”

He didn’t answer her. Instead, he rucked her skirts up to her waist, pooling their voluminous layers on the table. And that was when he made the most astonishing, delicious revelation. His duchess wasn’t wearing any drawers. Nothing but silk stockings and garters and well-curved legs.

Want more? You know you do. One-click now or read free in KU. Paperback lovers fret not, the link is already live so you can snatch up your copy today. Audio book will be coming soon!

That’s all for now. Back to the writerly cave for me–I’m hard at work on Darling Duke and Her Deceptive Duke. Yeah, we’ve kind of got a duke fest going on right now, but what isn’t to love about a sexy, arrogant duke who falls hard for a smart and plucky heroine? Of course, there’s that snarky butler who also needs his story told (you’ll see who I mean in the teaser for Wicked Husbands Book 4), not to mention Julian’s sisters, and let’s not forget Lady Needham…okay, now you see why I have to get back to the cave.

Till next time, don’t behave!

XO,

Scarlett

 

She could be the enemy. But he can’t stop wanting her.

The countdown to release day continues, and here’s another excerpt from Her Reformed Rake!

“Your guilty conscience,” she repeated, for it was difficult indeed to make sense of anything when his thumb worshipped the bow of her upper lip, lingering with a delicate caress that made her heart race into a steady gallop. He thought he had entrapped her?

“Yes.” His gaze was fastened upon her mouth now, hungry and bright. But a hint of frown lingered between his dark brows. “My guilty conscience. Just when I thought I hadn’t one.”

His admission struck her, and she couldn’t help but feel it was the most candid he’d been since she met him. It only lasted for a flash, and then the practiced seducer had returned. His thumb followed the seam of her lips, once, twice.

She kissed the fleshy pad, allowed her tongue to dart out against his skin for a taste. Salty and delicious and Sebastian. She wanted more. But she also wanted a conversation. Some idea of who they were and where they were headed.

“It would seem, then, that neither of us ought to bear the weight of a guilty conscience any longer,” she observed, allowing herself to touch him for the first time since their awkward interview had begun. Her hands slid inside his coat, across the silk of his waistcoat, the firm, muscled flesh rippling beneath his layers of civility. He felt, in a word, divine.

So good that she couldn’t keep herself from slipping the whole way around his taut abdomen until she reached his back. Here, he was rigid. Warmth blazed from him. She pressed her palms to the hollow just above his hips. Forced them higher, gliding along muscle and bone, the starch in his bearing, absorbing him, learning him, marking him as hers.

Such freedom, the ability to touch him as she wished. To admire the solid masculinity of him, so different from her soft curves. She was lush where he was spare, and he was strong and strapping where she was small. What a delectable dichotomy was man and woman.

It had never occurred to her before this moment how incredibly perfect it was, how she fit to him and he to her. But now, she felt it, and it was…incredible. His breathing went harsh, matching hers. His mouth was very near. She tried not to stare at those perfectly chiseled lips in longing. Tried not to want him.

But she failed miserably.

“Daisy.” One word—her name—torn from him. He sounded as if he were in pain.

Perhaps he was. His beautiful face was all rigid lines when she wrenched her eyes from his mouth. She didn’t know what to say in this moment of intense possibility, desire humming in the air like a current. Her mind raced, tangling itself in knots, and all she could think was it was wrong to feel such sweeping emotion for a man she scarcely knew.

She wanted to know him. All of him. Wanted to know what his laugh sounded like, how his skin would smell if she pressed her nose to the bristle-shaded angle of his jaw. “I don’t know anything about you.” She tried to understand the effect he had upon her. “It makes no sense that I should feel the way I do for you.”

Want more? Her Reformed Rake is available for pre-order now, and you can read it free in Kindle Unlimited beginning on April 10th!

Until next time, don’t behave.

XO,

Scarlett

Her Reformed Rake Countdown Is On!

The countdown for the release of Her Reformed Rake is on, and I can’t wait for you to read Sebastian and Daisy’s story! I hope you’ll fall in love with their happily ever after.

To tide you over until release day, here’s another sizzling excerpt…

At long last, she appeared at the top of the staircase, beginning her graceful descent as though she wasn’t—he consulted his watch again—thirty-three minutes late. When he glanced back up at her, his mouth went dry and a hunger that had nothing to do with dinner and everything to do with her slammed straight into his chest.

Her gown was purple brocade with full, tiered skirts that were pinned with flowers and trimmed with lace. Her ivory shoulders were mouthwateringly bare above small, delicate sleeves. But the most arresting feature of her gown was the ribbon that crisscrossed over a bodice that hugged her ripe bosom and trim waist to perfection. The ribbon tied into a pretty bow just between her breasts.

He had never wanted to untie a ribbon more in his life than he did now as he wordlessly drank in the sight of the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. His woman, and he felt that possession of her in his bones as though it was just as right and natural and necessary as his own blood. Some devil in him, some wild impulse, wanted to keep her.

Forever.

What the bloody hell?

He frowned, feeling like a volley of cannon had exploded in his head. “You’re late,” he barked out, his voice a tad more sharp than he’d intended.

She faltered on the last step, losing her balance and pitching forward. Like a child drawn to a sweet, he’d already stalked to the base of the stairs, his body subconsciously seeking proximity. When she fell, it was directly into his arms. He caught her, soft and warm and bergamot-scented and unbearably fucking lovely.

Her golden curls brushed his jaw.

“Sebastian.” She sounded breathless.

Her small hands splayed against his chest, twin brands through three layers of cloth. When she would have taken a step back, he held her firm. He told himself it was so that he could ascertain she was steady on her feet. The truth of it was that he wanted to hold her. He craved her. Had to have her.

“Dinner was set for half an hour ago.” Some churlish part of him, that part at war with himself, forced him to issue the cool admonishment. He could have said so many other things. Told her how blindingly lovely she looked, for instance. Demanded she spin on her heel and return to her chamber so he could strip her out of the gown she’d just spent half the evening donning.

The push and pull inside him was like a gong. Had to have her. Couldn’t have her. Shouldn’t. Wouldn’t. Needed to. Longed. Damn it, when had this mission become so complicated? The first moment he’d ever laid eyes on the dazzling, complex goddess that was Daisy Vanreid. That was precisely when.

Don’t forget that you can pre-order if you haven’t already or read it free in Kindle Unlimited on release day! Until next time, don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.

XO,

Scarlett

Her Reformed Rake is coming soon!

Her Reformed Rake releases on April 10th, and you know what that means, don’t you? Time for an excerpt! Book 3 in the Wicked Husbands series, this one features a whole lot of steam (bring a fan), a sexy duke leading a double life as a spy, the spunky heroine he suspects of treason, a sizzling scene in a study, and, well, you get the point.

On to the excerpt:

“Very well.” Sebastian closed the distance between them in two long strides. “I assume this bloody frock has buttons on it somewhere?”

Her breath caught as his fingers traced the front panel of her bodice, beginning just beneath her breasts and then down over her ribs. Through her stiff corset and layers of undergarments, she could still feel the heat of him. She watched his large, capable hands tracing downward, over her waist. The buttons were hidden on her back, and some wicked part of her longed to hold her tongue, to make him continue his fruitless search just for the delicious slide of his fingers over her body.

“On the back.” Her gaze traveled from his hands to his mouth. What would it be like to have those sensual lips angling over hers again, this time with no one to interrupt and no encumbrances?

He seized her waist and spun her about so abruptly that she lost her balance and fell into him. A distinct ridge prodded the small of her back, and she fought and lost the urge to rub herself against him like a cat. His fingers bit into her waist, pulling her back and anchoring her to him completely. A dark, carnal sound tore from him. His mouth was on her in the next breath, kissing the same sensitive skin behind her ear that he had brought to life that night in the moonlight.

His lips grazed the shell of her ear, then skimmed lower, trailing a series of decadent kisses down her throat. When he stopped to lick and nibble there, a pang of something new started from her core and radiated throughout her entire body. The heady, magic spell that had descended on her at the Darlington ball returned.

She yearned for something she didn’t entirely comprehend. All she knew was that she ached with a need that only he could slake. Sebastian. Her husband. Self-preservation was the last thing on her mind as she writhed against his powerful frame, wanting more of his mouth, more of his kisses, more of his touch.

Daisy felt pins being plucked from her hair, the heaviness of her braids loosening and opening. One of his hands had migrated from her waist, and was buried in her half-unbound locks, fisting in it, angling her head back so that he could feast on her neck.

“Christ, you smell so bloody good,” he growled against her throat.

So did he, and she would have told him as much if she could have managed to utter a single, coherent word. But he had robbed her of the ability to conduct intelligent conversation. To think of anything that wasn’t him, his wicked lips, his knowing touch.

She inhaled deeply, her fingers reaching back to sink into his dark hair. Perhaps they didn’t need pretense. Some wild impulse within her imagined him stripping her gown away, covering her body with his on the bed. Consummating their union. It was such a tepid phrase, a bloodless way of describing the intense pleasure he gave her. What would it be like to give herself to him? To become his wife in deed as well as name? Her pulse pounded.

But just as curiosity mingled with desire, he tore his mouth from her neck and set her away from him. “Jesus,” he muttered, sounding as shaken as she felt. His fingers skated over her spine. “Where are the goddamn buttons, Daisy?”

That’s all for now. Don’t forget to pre-order your copy right here. I hope you’ll love Daisy and Sebastian’s happily ever after as much as I loved writing it. Check back for more excerpts, and as always, don’t behave!

Restless Rake is here!

Julian and Clara’s story is officially live!

His dark reputation precedes him, but she thinks he’s the perfect candidate for a marriage of convenience. And while she has no intention of remaining his wife, he isn’t planning on letting her go.

Are you in the mood for a notorious earl who meets his match in a feisty American heiress and loses his heart along the way? Read it free in Kindle Unlimited, or get your e-book or paperback right here.

Now, how about another snippet for the road?

Suddenly, the brougham felt very small. His cologne teased her senses. Her gaze settled on his muscled thigh, brushing against her skirts. A reckless urge to touch him struck her. He was her husband. She could press her palm to him, absorb his heat through the fabric of his trousers. Such a foreign notion, the liberty to do as she wished. But no, she would not touch him. She had no desire to touch him. It must be the newness of her status that prompted her wayward compulsions.

Clara turned to the window. The gathering of well-wishers still stood in a half-circle, watching their departure with grim expressions. She waved one last time as the brougham lurched into motion. It was done. She’d gained her freedom.

“‘O mistress mine where are you roaming’?”

The soft, low words skittered over her skin, leaving a trail of goose bumps in their wake. She looked away from the family and friends growing smaller and farther away with each clop of the horses’ hooves. The earl watched her, his eyes probing, his expression unreadable as he removed his gloves. She hadn’t expected him to recite Shakespeare, but then he seemed to have an innate skill for surprising her.

She wouldn’t speak the next line to him. O stay and hear, your true love’s coming. Clara swallowed, collecting her jumbled emotions, tamping down the unwanted warmth that threatened to steal over her. “Soon enough, I’ll be roaming to Virginia.”

“Newly wed and already prepared to flee, little dove? I can’t be as bad as all that, can I?” He took her hand in his, bringing it to his lips for a kiss that was hot as a brand, even through her glove.

She would have tugged her hand from his grasp but he held fast. “Your reputation precedes you, my lord.”

He grinned, his touch sliding to her wrist. He caught her glove with his teeth, and removed it in one fluid motion. “Call me Julian. I’m your husband now, after all.”

Julian. It suited him. A strong name, equal parts bold and leonine. Becoming more familiar with him than necessary would not be wise. She’d already allowed him far too many liberties.

“Not truly,” she insisted. He must not be allowed to forget the nature of their union. “Ours is a temporary joining, my lord.”

“It needn’t be.” His bare fingers tangled with hers. “You could remain my countess, little dove.”

The contact and the solemnity with which he undermined all her intentions jolted her. “I have no wish to be your countess.”

But her breathless tone belied her words. Even she had to admit to herself that she was not entirely immune to him, for here she sat, watching as he took the tip of her index finger and gave her a wicked little nip. And the thoughts swirling through her mind had nothing to do with boarding a vessel bound for her homeland and everything to do with the debauched things he would do to her body if she but allowed him.

Want more? Don’t forget to clickety click, dear readers.

And as always, thank you so much to all of you for your support. You make this crazy job of mine worth every minute!

Till next time, don’t behave.

XO,

Scarlett

Another sneak peek of Restless Rake

Are you looking for another snippet from Restless Rake? As the countdown to February 6th and release day continues, I’m back with another excerpt for you:

It didn’t take him long to locate Clara. She leaned against the faded damask in the main hall, looking as if she held up the entire weight of the wall with her small shoulders. How young she appeared suddenly. How defeated. Her eyes had been closed, but they flew open when she heard him approach.

“Clara.” An odd sensation settled heavily upon his chest. Surely not remorse?

“What do you want, Lord Ravenscroft?” Resignation underscored her words.

She was asking about more than just this moment in the hall. She didn’t merely wonder why he’d followed her. She wondered why he’d married her. Why he’d allowed her to believe he’d load her aboard the first Virginia-bound vessel she could find after they wed. Why he’d never once corrected her when she reminded him their marriage would be in name only. Why he had her dowry in his coffers but no intention of letting her go.

It was simple.

He wanted her.

From the moment she’d appeared in his study wearing that monstrosity of a hat, blustering and offering herself to him like a feast for a starved man, he’d been drawn to her. She was a beauty, but it was more than that. She was innocent, sharp-witted, brave to a fault. She smelled of summer and her body was meant for sin. Meant for him. But Clara Whitney was not the sort of lady he could have. At least, not if he’d been entirely truthful with her.

And so, he hadn’t bothered to disillusion her. He’d made clear to her that he desired her. His intention to seduce her had never been a secret. The rest, however, had been facilitated by his silence. He wouldn’t regret his actions now, but neither did he like the defeated wariness in her expression.

He closed the last of the distance between them. “Need you ask, little dove? I want you.”

When he would have stroked her cheek, she flinched away from his touch. “You cannot have me.”

Stubborn woman. Julian braced a hand on the wall above her head, trapping her. “I already have you.”

Want more? Don’t forget to one-click it now if you haven’t already!

In the mean time, I put together a little collection of my inspirations for this book on Pinterest right here. Check it out if you want to see some beautiful Victorian fashion and an insidious looking Victorian medical instrument used to drill into the skull.

And psst. Don’t forget that Her Reformed Rake is up for pre-order. There’s a sexy spy duke, a marriage of convenience, a fierce American heiress, and a whole lot of sizzle awaiting you.

In the interest of fairness, I will also direct you to my compilation of hot men with beards. You’re welcome.

Get your Reformed Rake while he’s hot. Pre-order now!

Lovely readers,

Wicked Husbands Book 3, Her Reformed Rake, is officially up for pre-order. Release day is April 10th! Can you tell I’m excited for Sebastian and Daisy’s story? I hope you are too! This one has all the sizzle and a healthy dose of intrigue. Not to mention a sexy duke with a big secret and a bad-ass heiress who finds out she’s stronger than she ever imagined.

I’m not a math person, but I have the oddest urge to sum up Her Reformed Rake like this: a spy duke + the feisty heiress he suspects of treason = swoon! Is that called an equation? I haven’t had a math class since college, so this girl right here’s a tad rusty on the math lingo. (Also, I think I’ve forgotten some of the multiplication tables. But don’t tell anyone. That’s totally what calculators are for, right?)

Enough already, you’re saying. Give us an excerpt. Okay, okay. Here you go, with the warning that it’s unedited just in case there’s something my brain missed:

She stopped when she reached a statue that loomed over her, tall and eerie in the silvery night. Zeus perhaps? In the darkness, she couldn’t be sure. She was far enough that she could no longer hear the conversations of the guests on the terrace. Far enough for what she needed to do.

A pang of guilt struck her then, for entrapping any man into marriage, let alone the insufferable duke, was the last thing she wanted to do. But when her only other option was accepting the grim fate her father had selected for her, she knew what she needed to do. Save herself.

“I confess, I’m quite curious to hear why you have such a peculiar fondness for disappearing at balls, Miss Vanreid.”

The voice, low and clipped in perfect born-in-the-purple English, sent a fresh wave of longing through her. She knew without bothering to turn that it was him. How neatly he’d fallen into her trap.

She searched for the bravado that seemed to have suddenly fled her as she slowly spun about. He stood a scant few steps away, gorgeous even in the dim light. Daisy offered him a full, perfect curtsy, for she could behave whenever the need arose. It was simply that she didn’t prefer to behave. “Your Grace. You seem to have a similar, peculiar fondness for following me at balls. Perhaps I too should inquire as to the reason?”

“Inquire all you like, darling.”

There was something about the way he uttered the term of endearment that made the otherwise ordinary word ‘darling’ into a caress that she felt all over her body. Especially in her belly and…lower.

She could play the role of flirt quite well by now, but he had a patent way of disarming her, throwing her off kilter. Daisy took a step toward him, willing herself to keep her goal foremost in her mind. The urge to trade wits and verbally spar with him was strong. But clashing with the Duke of Trent would not compromise her, and so she needed to resort to different tactics.

Well, there you go. I ended it right before a kissing scene. Because I’m evil.

That’s all for now, my dears. Don’t forget about Restless Rake, which will be out in less than a month. Pre-order it here now or read it free in Kindle Unlimited on release day! Julian will be happy to steam up your e-reader or your paperback either way.

Come back for more excerpts soon! Until next time, happy reading and try not to behave.

P.S. Sometimes, I forget to moderate my blog comments for months at a time. And I miss wonderful comments that have been waiting for me, comments that I love so much. I promise to try to get better at this. If only the spammers would kindly stop leaving me a boatload of filth that I need to wade through to find the gems…#goals.

Another sneak peek of Restless Rake

What happens when a wild American heiress hell-bent on returning to her homeland strikes a bargain with the most notorious earl in London? A wicked carriage ride, many persuasive kisses, and oodles of temptation. Here’s another snippet from Restless Rake, releasing February 6, 2018 and available for pre-order now:

“Perhaps I was remiss in my efforts.” He allowed his gaze to dip to her lips. “Next time I shall use my tongue.”

Her eyes flew open wide. He’d shocked her again. Such an innocent, his future countess. But just as quickly, she schooled her features into unaffected elegance once more. “For what purpose, Lord Ravenscroft? I’m sure you’ve already wielded your tongue upon me with your verbal prowess on each occasion of our meeting. Sometimes with manners, but usually without.”

Ah, she wanted to play the game? He hoped to hell that Lady Bella wasn’t about to swoop down upon them and put an end to their invigorating tête-à-tête, for he was enjoying himself immensely. “Sweet, innocent darling, you cannot think I meant to use my tongue for something as boring as speaking.”

She swallowed. “My lord, this conversation is quickly becoming improper.”

“If you wanted proper, you sought out the wrong earl, little dove,” he reminded her with a touch more bitterness than he intended. “Proper is for clergymen and maiden aunts. Proper is dull as hell. Improper, however, is infinitely more rewarding. Do you want to know what I’d do to you with my tongue?”

She did. Her expression, her sparkling, intelligent gaze, all clamored with curiosity. “Perhaps you ought to bite your tongue, my lord,” she suggested airily, refusing to give in to that inquisitiveness. “That seems to be the wisest course of action for all concerned.”

“Wisdom and desire so rarely go hand in hand,” he returned, smiling at her rejoinder before bemusement overtook him.

I hope you enjoyed this sneak peek of Julian and Clara’s story. Happy New Year, and thank you so much to each and every one of you for being so kind, supportive, and all-around wonderful to me and my little books in 2017! I’m incredibly grateful for you all!

XO,

Scarlett

 

A sneak peek of Restless Rake

We’re getting closer to the release date of Restless Rake! Book 5 in the Heart’s Temptation series, Restless Rake is the story of the notorious Earl of Ravenscroft and Clara Whitney, who find it increasingly impossible to resist each other after they agree to a marriage in name only. It releases February 6th but is available for pre-order now. (Stay tuned for more details on the release of Her Reformed Rake, which will be available for pre-order soon as well, not to mention the fabulous new series I have in the works that will start releasing this summer! See? Aren’t you glad you stopped by? I’m telling you all my secrets.) And now, without further preamble, I give you a sneak peek of Restless Rake

***

A lone woman hurried along the street, head down, dressed in the first stare of fashion though she clearly sought to be unnoticed, a large hat tilted to conceal her face. He recognized that form, even though he’d held those lush curves in his arms but once. She turned and he saw her face.

Damn it all to hell, she was a troublesome one.

He instructed his driver to stop and alighted, closing the distance between them with easy strides. “Miss Whitney, can it be you?” he kept his voice carefully low and intimate as he drew alongside her, touching her elbow lightly.

“Lord in heaven,” she exclaimed in her airy drawl. Surprise mingled with alarm on her beautiful, expressive face. “You gave me a fright, sir.”

What the devil was she thinking, sneaking away from her home with no chaperone, in the midst of the day? Did she truly believe no one would see and recognize her, that she wouldn’t ruin herself? That there wouldn’t be hell to pay? The girl’s temerity knew no bounds. She was either slow-witted or possessed of tremendous audacity. Though, to be fair, she had stolen her way into his study at midnight and proposed to him—that alone suggested audacity of a most unbecoming and tremendous sort. The sort he quite admired, in fact.

But none of that meant that he was going to allow her to ruin his plans to wallow in her dowry and thoroughly debauch her after she’d become his countess.

“Come,” he said in his most authoritative tone. Clearly, she needed his aid before she committed any more egregious sins. And wasn’t that a laugh, the Earl of Ravenscroft looking after a lady’s reputation? “Into the carriage with you.”

“I can’t go anywhere with you.” Her eyes were wide and bluer than the clearest country sky.

“You can and you will.” He cast a glance around the busy street. It was only a matter of time before they were both recognized. “For your sake, little dove, get into the carriage. I’ll take you safely back home.”

“I’m safe enough.” She cast a pointed look toward her reticule, which bulged in most peculiar fashion. “I carry a pistol with me always. I’ve done this many times before.”

Damnation. He had no doubt that she had, the minx. Perhaps she was as much of a cutthroat at heart as her dear papa. “Into the carriage. You cannot run about the streets of London unchaperoned. Mr. Whitney was most firm in his stipulations.”

She frowned at him, her eyes sparkling with mulish heat and her chin tilting in the air. “What business is it of yours whether I run about the streets? I’m my own person, my lord.”

“Of course you are, little dove, but you are also to be my wife. You’re under my protection now.” As he said the words, he couldn’t resist touching the tip of her stubborn chin.

***

Don’t forget, you can one-click Restless Rake now. I’ll be back with more excerpts and information about Her Reformed Rake and my top-secret new series in the upcoming weeks. Until then, happy reading!