Okay, I can’t resist putting this story out into the world. I thought this would be my breakthrough novel, and I tried to give it to Mills & Boon, they did ask for the full manuscript and then kindly gave it a home for over two years before finally saying no thank you… :/ One of the reasons it took me a few years to publish as I was waiting for their answer… but still while I was waiting for it back I wrote The Illicit Love of a Courtesan, which was my breakthrough novel. A play of fate maybe…
But anyway, THIS is NOT a part of the Marlow Intrigues series, and I have no intention of going backwards and publishing single titles now, so… it’s the perfect story to share for free on my blog. But you will be in for the long hall, it is not a short story, it is a full M&B length novel, so I probably will post longer excerpts each week… But anyway here you go, here is the beginning. :D enjoy this little gift to all the readers who buy and love my books <3 xx Jane
Reckless in Innocence
© Jane Lark
Publishing rights belong to Jane Lark, this should not be recreated in any form without prior consent from Jane Lark
Marcus Campbell, the Duke of Tay, leaned against a cold marble pillar watching Miss Elizabeth Derwent skim down the line of dancers. He knew his gaze was visibly predatory. Her dress swayed in fluid motion about her legs as she moved, the gown was cut in a way which left nothing to his imagination. They called the style nude for a reason.
The dance drew to a close. High colour burned in her pale cheeks, as she curtsied to her partner. Shifting his focus to the man who faced her, Lord Percy, Marcus let his distaste show as he saw the firm grip the man took of her hand, the thumb that slipped across her palm and the kiss that he set on her wrist above her glove. Elizabeth smiled, that totally trusting smile which not only shone on her lips but also in her blue eyes.
A sudden stab of envy pierced his chest, hot and sharp inside him, but he did not move towards her. He waited––and as he anticipated, she looked at him, her smile passing across Percy’s shoulder her eyes sought and found Marcus, as they always did. He smiled back, uncaring if the whole room saw the exchange. That was what she wanted and that was what he had given her–– attention. What he did not know was what he sought from this amusement.
She was incredibly beautiful. Her skin was flawless and her hair the golden blonde of a field of wheat ready for harvest. He had been extremely proud of himself at first; it had been highly diverting to find such a beauty hidden among the potted palms, and to bring her out and show the judgemental ton what they had missed. It had been an interesting game. He had enjoyed watching her blossom.
Then she had taken great delight in making the tabbies and other debutantes gossip, and that had been even more diverting.
He had not enjoyed it so much though, when other men had joined the game. She had been his find, and he knew that where a rake shows interest others follow, yet…
It was always the way, because it gave the lady a certain reputation. To entertain the interest of a rake, no matter how innocent the interest or the entertainment, gave the woman a new perspective to others.
The prospect was a desirable thing for widows and the women of the demimonde, whom he generally associated with.
Yet… Miss Elizabeth Derwent was no experienced widow. She was a debutante, in her first season, with no idea how to play the game of men. Oh, she toyed with him, she was deliberately leading him on with looks and giggles and a discreetly revealed shoulder or ankle, but she had no real knowledge of what she did––he did not want her playing the same game with others. The thought made his blood run hot with anger.
Especially if that man was Christian Percy
She was on the move now, Percy left standing, as she walked towards Marcus, across the open floor, all coquette.
The smile held on Marcus’s lips.
“I am just in time for the waltz, Miss Derwent. How fortunate. May I?” The orchestra had begun the melody, Marcus lifted his hand out towards her as couples began surrounding her, flooding the small dance floor.
When she clasped his fingers, he felt hers tremble. He embraced them more tightly, and moved to bring her into hold. His fingers settled on her back, just in between her shoulder blades, while her hand lifted to his shoulder.
The distance between them narrowed, as be began to move, leading her into a turn… The curve of her spine beneath the fabric of her gown aroused a heat under his skin. She had the qualities to make a man melt with desire, yet she had no concept of it.
That wonderful lack of awareness made her even more attractive to men…To him.
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
and, yes, there are more to come :-)
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
Jane’s books can be ordered from most booksellers in paperback