A Most Demanding Mistress (Fashionably Impure Book 2)

BOOK: A Most Demanding Mistress (Fashionably Impure Book 2)
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A
Most Demanding Mistress

©Copyright
Natasha Blackthorne 2016

Cover
Art and photo by The Killion Group, Inc. 2015

Kindle
Edition

 

 

 

All characters appearing in this work are
fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, business
establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental.

 

Languages

All rights reserved. No part of this e-book
may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form,
including email or IM, without prior written permission from the author,
Natasha Blackthorne, at [email protected]

 

WARNING:
The unauthorized reproduction, sharing, or distribution of
this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including
infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is
punishable by up to five years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.

 

This e-book contains explicit erotic scenes
and graphic sexual language. Some readers may consider such content offensive.
It is for sale to adults ONLY, as defined by the laws of the country and/or
state where this e-book was purchased. Please store your files where minors
cannot access them.

 

DISCLAIMER: Natasha Blackthorne writes
romantic fiction for entertainment purposes only. Please do not attempt to use this
book as a “how-to” book for any topic. Her works are not meant to be guides or
representations of modern BDSM practices or lifestyles. Please seek the
guidance of an experienced practitioner and/or your personal physician before
trying any new sexual practice. The author, Natasha Blackthorne, will not be
responsible for any loss, harm, injury or death resulting from use of the
information contained in any of her titles.

Chapter One

 

 

 

 

Miranda followed the tall, thin butler, Walters, watching
his candle cast long, wavering shadows on the walls in the dark, silent
corridor. Her slipper-shod footfalls seemed to echo unnaturally loud—loud
enough to be disrespectful to the peace of the obviously sleeping household.

Hard shivers rocked her down to her bones, making her teeth
chatter so hard that she feared her jaw might come unhinged.

Was the gusting autumn wind that had cut through her evening
clothes really cold enough to produce that extreme a reaction?

No, it wasn’t.

She knew herself to be in a state of emotional shock.

Shock due to having spurned the best offer of a gentleman’s
financial support she was likely ever to garner in her life.

Suddenly, in her mind, she was back in the Duke of Froster’s
withdrawing chamber. He was kneeling before her, lamplight shining on his
forehead through the sparse light brown strands of his forelock, as he begged
her to reconsider.

She couldn’t do it.

She couldn’t give herself to him.

Images had kept running through her mind. Images of what it
would be like next time she saw the Earl of Danvers.

Adrian.

What would it be like to look into Adrian’s eyes with both
her and him knowing that she had given herself to Froster?

A man she did not love.

A man she had come to despise.

She couldn’t face Adrian under those circumstances.

But the Duke of Froster had asked for something else that
Miranda would never be able to offer any man.

And those two things had stopped her from accepting the help
that would have secured the living situation that would have ensured her mother’s
sanity. The doctors had said her mother was teetering on the edge between being
merely childlike and completely disconnected from reality. She must have a
stable home life without any further upsets— at least for the time being. Maybe
later Mama would be stronger in her mind. But for now, she was quite fragile.

Ever since coming of age, Miranda had always put her
mother’s needs above her own. The Duke of Froster’s generous offer of
protection would have enabled her to afford to provide Mama all the stability
and security in her living situation that she so badly needed.

Miranda couldn’t reconcile having made such a selfish
choice.

Miranda no longer knew herself.
Pound, pound, pound.
Her heartbeat hammered in her ears, increasing by the moment.

Panic.

Adrian.

She must see him. If she saw him, somehow everything would
be all right, everything would fall into place.

Waves of energy surged into her legs. An urge to run down
this long, dark corridor, to call out his name, seized her.

She laid a hand over her chest, forcing herself to walk
sedately, keeping her eyes trained to the butler’s back.

Maintain your outward calm, Miranda.

She gulped a breath. She had come here—run here—to the house
of the man who had always before treated her coldly, with complete disdain.

So, why would she come here?

Because, recently, he had saved her. He had single-handler
pulled her emotionally and physically through the horrid ordeal when she had
unwittingly taken a goblet of drugged wine from a group of young men who had
been intent upon taking what they wanted from her semi-conscious body.

They had inadvertently given her too much of the potion
and turned what should have been a sedative into a…
poison
.

No one had ever given Miranda such focused devotion and care
as Adrian had that morning when he had rescued her and seen her through the
nightmare of the medical intervention necessary to save her life.

Certainly never had a man ever been so caring of her
physical safety and emotional well-being.

In her world, men were like her father, the Duke of
Winterton—cold, disapproving, self-seeking.

She was absolutely convinced that Winterton had been behind
the boys’ attack.

Her father had never acknowledged her. He had never given
her a tender word or gesture or even a father’s natural guiding hand of
discipline.

No, he had always hated her with the same unwavering
intensity of emotion with which other fathers loved their daughters. Walters
stopped at a door. His keys jingled softly then the door moved soundlessly on
its hinges.

Her heart leaped into her throat. His candle made a dim
illumination, and she recognized the elegant décor of the study.

Being here again in this chamber where Adrian had shamed and
rejected her, it was too easy to second-guess their all too recent and tenuous
connection.

She took an uneasy breath.

Was she thinking clearly?

Likely not.

Would Adrian
really
welcome her, especially after the
way they had parted the last time? Especially after the way she had rejected
all his offers of support and help.

But he couldn’t help her with her current troubles regarding
Mama. He simply did not possess the wealth necessary to purchase the Mama’s
house.

A heavy weight settled into her stomach. Despair for the
utter unfairness of it all.

It was the Duke of Winterton’s doing.

All of it.

He had gone out of his way to purchase the land and decrepit
country mansion that was part of the estate that Mama’s house sat on. He
demanded full payment, asking three times what that estate would ever be worth.

He’d done it to hurt Miranda.

Lightning flashed a burst of bright, pulsing light that
filled the space and drew her attention to the windows. Steady, pounding rain
put silvery sheeting over panes of glass that stretched nearly floor to
ceiling. The light faded even as thunder rumbled through the floorboards
beneath her feet.

Walters turned to her. “May I take your wrap, Miss Jones?”

Needing the illusion of protection that the heavy velvet
pelisse gave her, she hugged her shoulders tighter and shook her head.


Please,
Miss Jones, I fear I must insist.”

She shook her head again.

The barest wince crossed his distinguished features and with
a gloved hand, he gestured to the floor.

She looked down and saw the droplets coming off her wrap
that left tiny puddles on the richly hued rug and then she glanced back at the
servant.


I
cannot have Lord Danvers find that I have simply left you here, shivering and
dripping in his withdrawing chamber.” A slight smile graced his thin lips, one
that portrayed an air of conspiratorial camaraderie that she knew he would
never have shown to a woman who was of Lord Danvers’ social standing.

But then, she was no aristocrat, even though her father had
been a duke. She was a commoner.

A courtesan who had come to a gentleman’s house, alone, late
at night.

Still, it did say something that the butler himself had come
hurrying, breathless and still smoothing his hair, to attend her and escort her
from the vestibule to here. Did that say something about her importance to
Adrian Sutherland, the mighty Earl of Danvers?

Reluctantly, she shed the garment and handed it to him. Cool
air caressed her nearly bared shoulders, her upper arms, and bosom as well,
making her feel strangely naked and unprotected.

Gooseflesh rose on her exposed flesh, and she shivered
again, hugging herself once more even though she knew how undignified the
position was.

Even though, normally, she would never, ever betray her
sense of vulnerability in such a manner.

A soft knock sounded on the open door.

Her heart leaped into her throat and she jerked her gaze to
the door.

A young maid stood there—sleepy-eyed with her white cap
somewhat askew.

Disappointment crashed over Miranda. Oh, if only Adrian
would appear.

A wave of sensation swept through her, like needles brushing
over all her skin, all at once. Impatience like she’d never known in her life.
She gritted her teeth.

She
needed
to
see him.

Only him.

The butler made a sharp gesture, and the servant rushed to
the hearth, dropped to her knees and set to lighting the fire.

He turned back to Miranda and made a sweeping gesture
towards a wing chair. “Please Miss Jones, have a seat.”

Her knees seemed to have locked and, for some reason, she
wanted to be standing when she faced Lord Danvers.

She shook her head, moving her head just barely.

The butler compressed his lips.

Who was he to show displeasure in her choice? She lifted her
chin and let a haughty expression fall over her face.

The butler lifted his brows then nodded. “Very well, Miss
Jones, I shall go and inform his lordship that you are here.”

Her mouth fell open slightly and she gaped at him as he
departed.

She clenched her fists.

All this time waiting, she had assumed that Danvers had
already been alerted. She realized that she’d have to wait for him to dress and
do whatever gentlemen did to compose themselves before granting a visitor an
audience.

Just knowing she’d have that much longer to wait sapped what
little spunk she had regained and her body sagged as the energy drained from
her.

Weeks before, she had stood in this exact same spot whilst
Lord Danvers had glared down his narrow, aristocratic nose at her.

Noblemen were notoriously fickle, vain and easily offended.

Suppose her reluctance to accept his help earlier had
offended him so deeply that he would not wish to see her now?

Again, she shivered.

She shifted her weight from foot to foot. Her tingling hands
made her aware of her quickening breath. Aware of her rising apprehension. No,
she was letting her emotions run riot, to control her. She should face him with
a calmer demeanor. Never give a gentleman—an aristocrat—a greater sense of
power over others than they already bore. She tightened and released her fists,
whilst concentrating on breathing slower.

Noble or not, he was just a man.

If he didn’t wish to see her, she would simply leave.

Her heart paged.

How badly it would hurt if he refused to see her.

Not just inconvenience her or thwart some need she had, but
hurt
.
The emotional type of pain she had spent her whole life trying to shield her
heart against.

For the first time, a gentleman’s possible rejection
mattered for more than monetary reasons.

She began to realize just how much emotional power Danvers
had managed to attain over her.

This theft of her heart had seemed to happen outside of her
knowing. She would never have willingly given anyone such power.

The sound of the doorknob turning made her start. She took a
deep breath and tried to compose herself. “Yes,” she called out in a shaky
voice.

She watched the doorknob turn, expecting the butler or the
maid, returning so soon for what reason…

To tell her that Danvers had no wish to see her?

A knot of heaviness sank into her belly. She took another
deep breath, swallowing back a sudden queasiness that increased as the door
came open.

Adrian.

He filled the doorway. A dark green banyan clung to his
broad shoulders and well-developed chest, the garment open at the collar.

His face was slightly flushed, his chest rising and falling
quickly, as though he had hurried here. Perhaps he had even run, though the prospect
seemed unlikely for the ultra-dignified Earl of Danvers.

She met his eyes.

Beautiful eyes—as blue as rich and vivid as lapis. His coal
black hair fell over his forehead, haphazardly mussed and providing a contrast
that made the color of his eyes all the more intense.

How those eyes had once portrayed such cruel amusement and
intense dislike, at just the sight of her.

Her chest tightened with an aching sensation and she tried
to discern his mood, his thoughts.

But his expression betrayed nothing.

She swallowed against the tightness rising in her throat.
She couldn’t have spoken to save herself. But it didn’t matter. Let him speak
first. Let him reveal first what he felt at seeing her again, here in this
chamber where he had shamed and rejected her before. She would protect herself
as much as she could.


Miranda.”

The tenderness in his voice made her knees go weak.

BOOK: A Most Demanding Mistress (Fashionably Impure Book 2)
7.79Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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