Reckless in Innocence
for my Historical Romance readers <3
© Jane Lark
Publishing rights belong to Jane Lark, this should not be recreated in any form without prior consent from Jane Lark
Reckless in Innocence
Pursing her lips in preparation for battle, Elizabeth cursed her heart for its weakness as she felt the quickening of its beat. She had seen him from the moment he’d entered the room, and watched him approach with a face that looked like a thunder-cloud. Immediately she had known the swell of satisfaction twofold, that she had finally touched his raw nerve and chased him from hiding, and equally the sheer pleasure of the sight of him. Yet when she had imagined this moment she had never expected him to manhandle her across the floor.
“I do not believe that you asked for my permission before you so crudely dragged me aside, Your Grace, and I can see that Lord Percy has now arrived with my lemonade. If you have had your fun, perhaps you would let me go?”
“Are you leading Percy on, as you led me? Do you realize how dangerous that man can be? Have you learned nothing?” His voice was a rough whisper in her ear.
Reaching his destination, away from prying ears, Elizabeth swiftly turned to face him, pulling her arm from his grip, but she was not given the option of responding.
“You are flirting outrageously, Elizabeth, and it has not gone unnoticed.” His fingers folded into fists at his side as he glowered at her. She had rarely seen Marcus do anything but smile before and the sight of his anger was exceptionally diverting, a hint that he was not as immune to her as he had wanted her to believe.
Biting back a smile, she responded. “I would be grateful if you do not refer to me with such familiarity, Your Grace. I must be getting back to my friends.” Elizabeth turned from him then.
It had been a month, in which she had not seen anything of the infamous Duke of Tay. He had become quite the recluse from what she had heard and completely insignificant within the ton’s gossip… Perhaps he was jealous of her new-found notoriety?
“This is not the same game. Do you understand, Elizabeth? This is not the same game at all. Damn it they are betting on who will take your virginity at White’s.” His harsh words were thrown at her in a loud whisper as she stepped away.
She stopped, turning her head just slightly back to speak.
He moved so he received the full and powerful effect of those amazing turquoise eyes, and felt himself turning to a pillar of salt. Her gaze was acid; it could strip flesh from bone. This was not the mild-mannered debutante whom he had found and cherished until she’d flourished. This was not the same woman at all.
“You were not so concerned, Your Grace, when the gossip involved you. Perhaps you should claim your prize.” With a swish of sheer, white muslin she left him where he stood.
Heavens, she was wearing the bloody dress she had worn that night. Anger rose and sizzled inside him as he turned his back and sought a drink. He had been hearing her name over and over for weeks at White’s, and in the card rooms of the demimonde. Everyone had something to say about the poorly chaperoned debutante who behaved like an artisan. Some people blamed her parents, some blamed the child and others, like Lord Percy, just took advantage. As you did, his conscience yelled. He should never have agreed to go to that bloody conservatory.
He’d had enough.
He had come here only to find her and put an end to the course of self-destruction she had set out upon, certain that the sole responsibility for her reckless behaviour laid at his door.
But this woman was not the girl that he had found hiding behind the potted palms. This woman oozed with self-confidence, and if he had found her attractive before, she was now incredible beyond belief.
No wonder everyone was speaking of her.
He leant his shoulder against a pillar and sipped a glass of champagne he’d snatched from a passing tray. She was striking. Every woman in the room must be jealous, and every man in the room must want her. He wanted her. His thoughts were so wicked it even occurred to him to pull her aside and find a room where he could seduce her all over again. He knew he could persuade her. With a few kisses he could have her begging for him to make love to her, as she had done before. Touch me. The soft words sounded in his head. God help him, he did not really regret that night, only that she’d been an innocent, but his conscience would never let him voice it, and never let him repeat it. He had promised her nothing; would promise her nothing. He had no right to touch her and no right to tell her what to do. He set the empty glass on to another passing tray and left. What she did was her choice not his…
More to come…
If you cannot wait until next week for more of Jane Lark’s writing there’s plenty to read right now :D
and until October the 27th many of the books are on sale in the UK and the USA from $1.99 and 69p
To read the Marlow Intrigues series, you can start anywhere, but this is the actual order
The Lost Love of Soldier ~ The Prequel
#1.5 Capturing The Love of an Earl ~ This Free Novella
#2.5 The Desperate Love of a Lord ~ A second Free Novella
Jane’s books can be ordered from most booksellers in paperback
and, yes, there are more to come :-) soon…
Go to the index
- the story of the real courtesan who inspired The Illicit Love of a Courtesan,
- another free short story, about characters from book #2, A Lord’s Scandalous Love,
- the prequel excerpts for book #3 The Scandalous Love of a Duke
Jane Lark is a writer of authentic, passionate and emotional Historical and New Adult Romance stories, and the author of a No.1 bestselling Historical Romance novel in America, ‘The Illicit Love of a Courtesan’.
Click here to find out more about Jane’s books, and see Jane’s website www.janelark.co.uk to learn more about Jane. Or click ‘like’ on Jane’s Facebook page to see photo’s and learn historical facts from the Georgian, Regency and Victorian eras, which Jane publishes there. You can also follow Jane on twitter at @janelark