Juliet Foster has just become the wealthiest spinster in town. Her domineering and thoroughly unpleasant father has died and left her millions. She's free to be her own woman, and seek a life of adventure.
David Winslow, Marquess of Derrington, is in search of a wife who can break the Winslow Curse. Every second generation heir inherits a restless, defiant nature that can only be tamed by a mate as independent and rebellious as himself.
Miss Juliet Foster is perfect--and eager for seduction. But when he wants more than a few nights of passion, Juliet runs like the devil's on her heels. Can the Marquess convince her that marriage isn’t a trap, but the greatest freedom of all?
About this excerpt: Miss Juliet Foster has decided that Lord Derrington is the man to take her virginity. Unfortunately, the stubborn fellow has decided he'll only share the pleasures of the marriage bed with her after they're married. Determined women make desperate decisions, so Juliet has taken matters into her own hands by finding her way into his bedroom.
One lone candle hardly lighted more than a foot or two in front of Juliet, but she'd come this far and wouldn't give up before she reached her destination--the Marquess of Derrington's bedchamber. She'd opened several doors only to find cold silence inside. Typical of him to put her as far away from him as he possibly could, but she'd find him, and when she did, she'd get what she wanted.
She tried another door and found another empty room, curse it. That left only one more before she'd have to double back and check them all again.
The moment she turned the knob, the sound of breathing told her she'd found him. The tone was deep and masculine, just like his speaking voice. Dark. Sinful. The mere fact that she'd found his bedroom sent a little thrill through her. She tiptoed inside and closed the door silently behind her.
Now that she'd come so close to her goal, she'd allow herself some anticipation of her victory. And, of her reward. Derrington was everything any woman could want in a first lover. Handsome, gentle, and oh, so talented with his hands and mouth. If any man could make her ready to accept the bulk of his cock inside her, this man could.
And he would. Now.
She crept to the bed. He'd set his candle on a table there, so she lit it with the one in her hand. That gave her a bit more light to study him, and she gasped. His arms and shoulders above the covers were naked. Did he sleep in the nude? He might have some type of pants covering his lower regions, but everyone--women and men--wore the same type of nightshirt.
Oh, my. Oh, my, my.
She stood, drinking in his male beauty. Besides never having looked at so much male flesh before, she'd also never watched a man sleep. With his eyes closed and his features relaxed, he looked almost innocent. His chest rose and fell gently with his breaths, his lips parted as they had been when he'd kissed her the first time. Dark hair framed his face, and she carefully reached down to touch one lock. Warm silk against her fingertips.
He seemed a creature of myths and dreams, so entirely foreign to her experience he might have been another species. And yet, nature had made their bodies to fit together in the most basic way. Miraculous, really. She'd waited so many years for this--from the day she'd turned marriageable age until she'd grown too old to attract multiple offers and then to spinsterhood. This would be good. She'd will it so.
She'd find some way to please him, despite her lack of experience. Honestly, she shouldn't care, as she wouldn't stay in London once she'd known him. But, somehow it did matter for that she could do a good job of satisfying him. She didn't have feelings for him. Not at all. Feelings complicated things. She'd have this one night with him. They'd both remember it for as long as they lived, and then, she'd exit his life for good and follow her own adventures.
Damn it all. Why was she worrying about something like this now when she'd gotten so close to what she wanted with every inch of her body?
He gave out a soft snort and rolled over, clutching his pillow against his chest and presenting the width of his back and the spread of his shoulders. Suddenly, he appeared huge, even though he stood only a few inches taller than she did. What did she know of men's bodies? More important, what would she learn in the next minutes?
She set her candle next to his and took a steadying breath. She'd removed all her clothing except for her chemise, and that came off easily. It pooled around her feet on the floor, and she stepped out of it. The chill of the night air made her shiver, so she quickly lifted the covers and slipped into the bed. His body's warmth clung to the sheets, surrounding her. He must have had a furnace in him to produce all the heat he put out.
And yes, he was completely naked. Her hip snuggled up against his bare bottom. How odd it felt to lie with him this way and yet how right. Even in marriage, she'd wear something to bed. Decency would require that he do the same if he was to sleep with her. No wife with any sense could bear to send a husband to another room if he felt like this next to her.
She ought to wake him up and get things going, but why rush this heaven? Maybe if she touched him softly, she could feel his flesh without waking him. She'd never get the chance again, at least, not with this man. Besides, she'd need to know her way around a male body if she was going to pretend to sophistication.
She started with his shoulder. Broad, strong, firm. His skin was softer than she'd expected of a man. Smooth and stretched over the muscle beneath. From there, she traced her palm over his shoulder blades and along the furrow down the center of his back. When she reached his buttock, she savored the firmness of it. She'd called his cock magnificent when, in truth, the word described all of him.
Suddenly, he turned over, and his arm flopped on top of her. She bit her lip before a cry escaped, but he roused. For a moment, his eyes opened but didn't focus properly. Then, they closed again and he was everywhere on her. His weight pinned her to the mattress and his mouth captured hers. No niceties, just a savage kiss as if he'd devour her.
Finally. She'd come for this. She answered with her own mouth, although she could hardly keep up with the pace of his caresses. His hands moved over her, stroking her flesh, molding her body to fit against his own. Just the friction of their bodies was enough to ready her for the joining that would follow.
"Yes, David," she whispered against his lips. "Yes, oh yes."
"What?" He propped himself on his elbows and shook his head. Finally, his eyes came into focus. "Bloody hell, Juliet. What are you doing here?"