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[Erotic Historical Romance, Regency]
Damien Aldermann, the Earl of Royston, is requested to visit Lord Norton, Damien's deceased father's best friend, and meet his daughter. Damien is concerned for Lord Norton's mental health. He has been ill and never quit grieving the loss of his wife and small daughter at sea, fifteen years ago.
Damien is certain this woman is an imposter. But when they meet he is uncomfortably attracted to the black haired, violet eyed beauty. Forcing himself to ignore the strong physical desire, he seeks to uncover her deviousness.
Annabelle has fled her home in Spain to seek out a father she recently discovered existed. She hoped he'd protect her from the man she fears, but he is ill and Damien is determined to prove she's a fraud. She doesn't understand the immediate attraction she feels for Damien. Can she ever trust him enough to share her secret and ask for help?
A Siren Erotic Romance
The very air snapped with curiosity as Damien gazed at the entrance to the ballroom. He’d heard Lady Annabelle would attend, but she was one of the last to arrive. Suddenly, people parted like a giant wave flowing backward.
Lady Blake’s annual spring ball was a huge success, if you went by the crush of people. With the new guest in attendance, it was a certainty.
Annabelle had taken the ton by surprise, both with her beauty and her fascinating tale. This past month she’d been introduced to the queen and invited to Almack’s and many social events. At least, she always seemed to be present at the ones he attended. He hated how his body betrayed him and responded each time he saw her.
Now, she stood under the globe lights, her jet-black hair in shiny ringlets around her face. Damien’s gaze roamed across skin the color of thick cream to the faint blush on her cheeks. Violet eyes smiled and silently mocked the world simultaneously.
Men swarmed around, jostling each other to hang on her every word. She controlled them as a great maestro would his orchestra, a smile to one, a gentle tap on the arm with her lacey fan to another. They were besotted fools. Irritation washed over him. She was not what she pretended, and he would unmask her. It was the least he could do for Lord Norton.
Spurred on by his belief, Damien stepped forward to confront the lady or charlatan, whichever she was.
* * * *
Belle stopped in the entrance to straighten her shoulders and prepare herself. It was performance time. She licked dry lips, the only evidence of her inner turmoil. Normally, she’d avoid crowds and only attended these functions because it pleased her father. She longed for the countryside but knew she must at least pretend to look for a husband.
The men flocked to her, except for the cold, condescending Earl of Royston. As soon as she entered the room, she felt the heat from his stare. She knew if she looked in his direction, she’d find his gaze on her, his full, sensuous mouth held in a tight line of disapproval. He represented danger and temptation. Nevertheless, she would not allow him to distract her.
Suddenly, the crowd around her parted, and her nemesis strolled toward her. He’d dressed in his usual black. The only contrasting color, the white of his shirt and the blood ruby pin in his fancy neck cloth. A sardonic smile curved his lips, and she couldn’t help thinking how well his name, Damien, fit him. He was her Devil.
“Lady Annabelle, I believe this is our dance.” His firm voice sent shivers down her spine.
The band began to play a waltz. She brought her fan across her face, leaving only her eyes exposed to his hard stare. “Did we have a prior arrangement, my lord?” She moved the fan down, allowing her dimpled smile to show. Deliberately, she wet her lips and took a breath. The brief flare in those enticing eyes was almost undetectable, but she noted the flecks of gold wavering in his dark gray eyes.
“Ah, I remember. I did promise you this waltz.” Her voice sounded husky to her.
He held out his arm. She placed her gloved hand on hard muscle. The other gentlemen’s faint protests followed them as Belle and Damien walked onto the dance floor. His warm hand curved at her waist as he guided her unerringly around the other couples.
Damien danced with control and elegance. Easy to follow, his guidance led her into dips and turns. Her lilac gown fluttered around her. With quick steps, he moved her toward the tall French windows. Before she realized his intent, they were out on the verandah.
“What are you doing, my lord?” Belle asked. “Please take me back inside.” She hoped he hadn’t heard the quiver in her voice.
“It’s time we talked.”
Belle moved toward the door. He caught her arm. She looked down at his hand, then up at him. “Let me go!”
“Not yet. You’ll answer my questions first. This is the only opportunity I’ve had to speak with you alone.”
Belle snapped her fan open between them, as though it would protect her.
“You can’t always hide behind others and things,” he warned. “I want to know your true identity and why you’ve involved my friend, Lord Norton.”
“You know who I am. After the death of my adopted mother, Papa, my adopted father, told me about Lord Norton, my real parent. He purchased passage for me to return to England and meet the father I’d never known.” She pulled her lace shawl tighter around her shoulders.
In the light cast from candles glowing in the garden, Belle tried to see his expression. She was tall, but next to his long, lean body she felt small and dainty. Waves of heat coursed through her as they had when she’d first seen him in her father’s study two months ago.
“I heard your story, but unlike Lord Norton, I don’t believe you.”
“It isn’t necessary for you to believe. You are of no consequence to me.” She lied. Her hands wanted to reach out and touch the strong face hovering above her, to trace the line of his rigid jaw to his full lips. Her mouth yearned to move against his, and yet, she must fight him and this fascination she’d developed.
“You will be exposed to the world for the imposter you are. I will not fail to protect my father’s friend.”
Shrugging, she let the shawl fall, exposing her low neckline. The new pearls, a gift from her father, were cool against her skin. She noted the slight change in Damien’s breathing and the increasing tension in his body. She moved closer and stared directly into his eyes.
“Lord Royston hopes you will understand that he does not have time for a social call. He is busy preparing to leave for London. He hopes you will excuse him and perhaps the two of you might visit at a later date.” The butler’s face showed no emotion, although Belle thought she noted a slight flush on his cheeks.
“I see. Where might Lord Royston be located down that corridor you just traversed?”
“He is in the library,” the butler said.
“Thank you.” Belle strode determinedly in the direction the butler had taken.
“But, my lady, you mustn’t…”
Belle ignored him. Anger fueled her determination to meet with Damien. How dare he rudely refuse to see her? At the third door, she saw a room lined with books. She stepped into the doorway. Damien sat in a chair facing the windows. He started to speak as he turned his head.
“Charles, I thought I told you…” He stopped speaking and stared across the room at Belle.
“You told him to send me away. I refused to go.”
Slowly, he stood to face her. “I see.”
His cold gray eyes stared a hole through her. Taking a deep breath, she walked further into the library.
“After riding all this distance, a mere butler had no chance of stopping me at the front door.”
“It was my understanding we’d said all there was to say at Lord Norton’s house.”
“Even now you won’t call him my father. How can you want to marry me if you still don’t believe in me?”
“As you stated earlier, I assuaged my guilt and offered for you. There is nothing more to be said.”
His face had hardened into a stern mask. Belle swallowed around the lump in her throat. She had to convince him to marry her or her father would. She’d rather it be her. To be honest, she wanted to marry the man who’d made love to her in his barn, the man who protected her that day in London, the one who danced the waltz with her at the ball. This man facing her both frightened and challenged her.
If she backed down now and her father’s message convinced him to wed her, she’d never know if he truly cared for her. And, he’d always be the one in control. They’d probably never be really happy together. For some ridiculous reason, she believed they could be. She had very limited experience with men and the ways to make them agree with her. Going by instinct alone, she strolled closer. Now or never, it was time to assert her feelings.
“You might as well leave now. I’m not interested in anything you have to say.”
“Perhaps you’d like more of what I’m going to do.” She modulated her voice into a purr. Close enough now, she reached out with her hand and touched his cheek. He didn’t move.
Her fingers slid across his eyebrows, along his aquiline nose, and over his sensuous lips. A spark of light flashed briefly in those hooded eyes. Determined not to let his impassive manner discourage her, she moved her hand down along his strong neck, where she felt his pulse beating rapidly. She let a smile curve her lips.
“Your heartbeat tells me you are not able to resist me completely.” She put her lips over the spot where his pulse throbbed. She licked the spot, then moved her body fully against him. Wrapping her arms around his neck, she scattered kisses over his face, ending at his mouth. He kept his lips tight as she kissed him. Using her tongue, she teased his firm lips as her fingers traced the outside of his ear. She brushed her breasts back and forth across his chest. She was afraid she’d never crack his shell and almost gave up. He finally groaned, yanked her closer, and devoured her mouth.
“Damn you,” he muttered under his breath as his lips moved to the area between her neck and shoulder.
Tremors shook her with a hunger so deep it shocked her to her core. He swept her into his arms. “I’ll be damned if I’ll make love to you on this hard floor.” He carried her out, along the corridor, and up the winding staircase.
“The servants,” Belle protested.
“You should have thought of them before you seduced me.” He never slowed. When he reached the last room on the second floor, he managed to open the door and go through. A startled maid straightened from making his bed.
“Leave, now!” She scurried out of the room, and Damien dropped Belle onto the bed.
“Damien, what will they think?”
“That I’m going to ravish you and they’d be right, my love.”
Belle watched as he threw off his clothes, discarding each piece on the floor with careless abandon. Once he was completely naked, he turned to where she waited on the bed. Her gaze swept down from his muscular chest to his fine, flat stomach all the way to his cock, fully erect and ready to pleasure her. He was beautiful.
“You are definitely overdressed, my love. Let me help you get ready for our afternoon.”
The muscles of his long, lean body rippled as he stalked across the room. His manner had gone from angry to seductive. “Now it’s my turn to undress you.”
His warm fingers stroked across her skin lightly as he unbuttoned her gown. When he uncovered her breasts he stopped for a moment to cup them in his hands and skim his lips across her nipples. “Lovely,” he murmured. “But let’s get the rest of these clothes out of the way before I feast on you.”
Belle lay back and watched as he undressed her, almost as though he unwrapped a package. He stood straight and let his gaze roam over her after he’d removed everything but her stockings and shoes. A sensation of heat followed behind his inspection. When he’d finished, he took off her shoes and then reached up to unroll one stocking. His lips tasted each spot of her skin as it was revealed. At her foot, he kissed each toe and her instep. Then, he moved his attention to her other leg. She shook with the intensity of her desire. After giving equal devotion there, he raised his head. A wicked smile crossed his face.
“How daring of you to put yourself at my mercy.” He moved one leg over her and straddled her body. “Where to start?”
Her heart pounded almost out of her chest as his icy gray eyes narrowed. His sex stood erect. The engorged length, high against his abdomen, stopped her breath. Cautiously, she reached out and circled his penis with her hand. He took a deep breath.
“I know you like it when I touch you here.”
“Oh, yes.” He waited, as though to see what she’d do next.
She moved her hand up and down the length of him, watching his expressions. He fought to not show any response, but she saw his eyes begin to warm and the tightening of his jaw. Impulsively, she raised up and pushed him down on the bed.
“It’s my turn,” she said. “I started this, and I intend to finish it.” Her other hand brushed over the fine hairs that lay around his erection and gently cupped his sac. She flushed when she saw him studying her intently. She bent and moved her cheek against his hard shaft. Her hair fell around her, hiding her face from his perusal. Her mouth caressed the length of his cock, and her lips licked the drop of salty liquid at the tip, bringing a strangled moan from him. She opened her mouth and took him in as far as she could. His breath rushed out.
Reaching down, he grasped her hair in his hands as she began to move the way he’d shown her before. Her body tightened with need as she tasted him.
“Come here,” he said and gently pulled her up beside him.
“You didn’t let me finish.”
“No. I want to come inside of you. To feel my cock buried in your warm body.”
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