Barbara Monajem here, to let you know more about the boxed set, Rakes and Rogues, which is up for pre-order now. At 99 cents, it’s a great deal! My story in the set is The Reluctant Seductress. Here’s the blurb:
When the lady in distress is a rogue…what’s an honorable gentleman to do?
Forced to work as a spy due to her uncanny seductive powers, Lettice Raleigh emerges from the war with her virginity intact and her reputation in tatters. When she is sent for a month to the estate of England’s starchiest marquis as a step toward reentering polite society, Lettice knows it’s a hopeless cause—but she doesn’t reckon with Lord Hadrian Oakenhurst, a younger son with a strict sense of right and wrong and an agenda of his own. Will Hadrian succumb to her seductive wiles—or has Lettice at last found the one man she can’t resist?
And here is an excerpt:
“You read my letter,” Miss Raleigh said the moment they reached the path that meandered toward the Thames estuary.
Hadrian had anticipated this conversation but not how she would broach the subject. She should be outraged or at the least disconcerted. Instead, she merely offered him that same half-smile…but it wasn’t reflected anymore in her eyes, which were cool and almost hard.
Good, because when she warmed up, he responded like a fool.
“Why did you read it?” she asked.
“You seemed upset, and I wished to know why.” Ruefully, he added, “Curiosity is my besetting sin.”
“It overrides good manners? Reading another’s private correspondence is hardly the mark of a gentleman.” She showed no anger, merely disdain.
“I don’t gamble, I don’t drink to excess, and I rarely fornicate. Surely I can be allowed this one small sin.”
“You will have to take that up with your Maker,” she said. “Why did you pretend to know of Mr. Pilgrim?”
“To help you out,” he answered promptly.
She gave a tiny snort. “That’s flummery, Lord Hadrian.”
“Not at all. If I understand correctly, you decided to stay a few more days because you are obliged to help him with some undisclosed task.”
She gave the same sensual shrug as yesterday, and once again it spoke to his libido. Perhaps he should find himself a mistress—although it was hard to imagine any woman as appealing as Lettice.
She said nothing. Did she realize that her unwillingness to speak about it made her secret all the more intriguing?
“Therefore the sooner he gets here, the sooner you can help him, and the sooner you can leave,” Hadrian said.
“A glib explanation.” She wrinkled her nose. “I’m sure your curiosity drives you far more than any kindness to me.”
No, he really did want to do her a kindness, although his motives for that became more confusing by the minute. “Perhaps half and half.”
“And to what should I attribute your unexpected impertinence to your father this morning?” she asked.
He grinned. “It’s fun to annoy him. May I assume that was your motive in suddenly turning flirtatious?”
She laughed―a deep, rich chuckle that went straight to his loins. “You may. But if he sends me packing, I shall lose nothing. Surely you risk far more by antagonizing him.”
“It would take more than a little flirtation to make him throw me out. Disowning one son made him appear stern and upright. Disowning a second would make him seem a fool.”
“Particularly a son with such a pristine reputation,” she said with that faint smile. “But of course no lack of manly vigor.”
Once again, his libido took notice, but he mustn’t allow himself to be disconcerted. “No, I am merely discreet. My father’s views on manliness are―” He stopped himself; he shouldn’t discuss his father with this woman he hardly knew, no matter how much he wanted to.
Why did he want to? It couldn’t be because of this unexpected attraction. He’d had to stop himself from discussing his parents with her yesterday too, and that was before she’d become flirtatious. He was in the habit of keeping his feelings to himself, but he was comfortable talking to her. He enjoyed it very much. How strange and unexpected.
“Wild oats followed by marriage, with discreet liaisons thereafter,” she said. “It’s not an uncommon attitude.”
“No,” he said, “but why should everyone should be obliged to follow the same path? He―” Hadrian stopped himself again. “I shouldn’t discuss him.”
“How very proper you are,” she said. “In that way, you are your father’s son.”
“No, I’m not,” he retorted.
“No?” she asked, again with that faint, provocative smile.
He’d done his best to be proper—not a hypocrite like his father, but truly proper—but now, damn the woman, he would poke right back. “To return to your letter,” he said, “why was it signed with a phallic symbol?”
Good question, Hadrian. I’m sure you’ll figure it out. 😉
Here are the blurb and taglines for the whole set. Five of the books are previously published first-in-series — a great way to get an intro to series by several authors. Mine is being published here for the first time.
Rakes and Rogues abound in this six-book collection of secrets, spies, vengeance, and lust. From London’s glittering ballrooms to the intimate mischief of a pre-season country house party, be captivated by these sexy first in series Regency romances.
A duchess and her son’s heir join forces to solve a family mystery in ENGAGING THE ENEMY by Heather Boyd.
Barbara Monajem’s lady spy is a rogue in distress in THE RELUCTANT SEDUCTRESS.
An earl’s sensible plans go awry as he becomes embattled with a sworn enemy, and his best friend’s sister, in TO LOVE A HELLION by Nicola Davidson.
In Wendy Vella’s LORD GALLANT, newlyweds hide secrets and confront dangers of the heart as well as a deadly foe.
When a sizzling encounter with a handsome stranger at a masquerade ball leads to love, Fanny’s dreams have nearly come true in RAKE’S HONOUR by Beverley Oakley.
In LORD WASTREL by Donna Cummings, a former rake needs a scandal-free wife to help him raise his child, but he’s falling for London’s most notorious woman instead.
Publisher’s Note: With the exception of The Reluctant Seductress, these stories are all previously published works.
This autumn, look for a Christmas boxed set by many of the same authors!