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Authors: Delilah Marvelle

Tags: #Historical Romance

Lady of Pleasure

BOOK: Lady of Pleasure
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Table of Contents

Title Page

Acknowledgements

From the Author

Prologue

Lesson One

Lesson Two

Chapter Three

Lesson Four

Lesson Five

Lesson Six

Lesson Seven

Lesson Eight

Lesson Nine

Lesson Ten

Lesson Eleven

Lesson Twelve

Lesson Thirteen

Lesson Fourteen

Lesson Fifteen

Lesson Sixteen

Lesson Seventeen

Lesson Eighteen

Lesson Nineteen

Lesson Twenty

Lesson Twenty-One

Epilogue

Upcoming Books

Also By Delilah Marvelle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kindle Edition Copyright © 2013

Delilah Marvelle Producions, LLC

All rights reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-939912-00-8

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s crazy imagination or are used fictitiously.

Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental and nothing you should worry about.

 

Book design © Delilah Marvelle.

Cover design © Seductive Musings.

Cover photo © Jenn LeBlanc.

 

All rights reserved.

This ebook belongs to vzyl at 64 70 67 72 6f 75 70 forum.
I hereby acknowledge that I have shared this book outside the forum without
permission from the original poster if I earn profit or rewards for providing access to this ebook.
I also accept responsibility for advertising and providing a hyperlink to this forum.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Late spring, 1824

London, England

There is usually one defining moment in every woman’s life when she realizes she is destined to fall in love with the wrong man and there is absolutely
nothing
she can do to save herself. For Lady Caroline Arabella Starling, the daughter of the notoriously scandalous Earl of Hawksford, that defining moment occurred on a dreary, rain-infested morning, when she was an impossible, impressionable, and most passionate thirteen years of age.

She was teetering on the library ladder, on the tips of her satin-slippered toes, trying to reach a book her brother had cleverly hidden behind the Bible, when a young gentleman with golden wavy hair and striking dark brown eyes appeared beside her.

“Might I be of assistance?” he rumbled out.

Startled at seeing a man she didn’t know, her foot slipped. “Aaah!”

He jumped toward her and grabbed her waist hard, keeping her from falling down the lacquered, wood steps.

Her heart popped as she savagely clung to the ladder and him. It took her several ragged breaths before she realized she wasn’t on the floor with a broken neck.

He steadied her, leaned in, and chided, “You really ought to more careful.”

Still clinging to the ladder, she glared. “I
was
being careful. What are you— I almost died! A man should never sneak up on a lady unannounced.
Especially
if she is up on a five-foot ladder.”

He released her corseted waist, a gruff laugh escaping him. “I didn’t mean to startle you. You appeared to be in need of assistance.” Reaching up beyond the ladder with a well-muscled arm that strained his coat, he retrieved the small leather-bound book from behind the Bible. “Was this the one you wanted?”

She paused, realizing he was holding
the
book she had been trying to read for weeks, and prayed it wasn’t
too
obscene in nature. Though knowing her brother, it probably was. Not that it ever kept her from reading his books. She was always looking for new words she couldn’t find in the dictionary. And obscene books were full of them. “Uh…yes. Thank you.”

“Of course.” He smiled and lowered the book toward her. “Is there any other book you need?”
“No.” She stared.

Though he was dressed in perfectly tailored evening attire, it appeared to have been slept in. And most likely it had been. It was, after all, morning. Despite that, his white linen cravat remained meticulous against his throat and his blond hair was brushed back into a perfect state of tidiness, whispering of a man who kept a comb with him at all times. He smelled splendidly of soap and hair tonic.

She had no doubt women liked him. He was dashing.

“Are you coming down?” He gently tapped the bottom of the ladder with his large, leather boot. “I don’t want you to fall.”

She had no idea who he was. She should have screamed, given there was a stranger in her home, but her upbringing was such that very few things caused her to scream. In fact, she was usually too worried about her parents’ behavior to give thought to much else. “You have eight breaths to tell me who you are and what you are doing in my home before I call in every last footman.”

He quirked a brow. “I just saved your life.”

She pursed her lips. “After you almost ended it.”

He smirked. “You must be one of Baxendale’s sisters.”

“I’m certainly not his mother.”

“I would have to agree. I don’t remember her having quite as many freckles on her nose.” His dark eyes mockingly brightened. “The name is Lord Caldwell. I’m an acquaintance of your brother’s.”

Oho. She knew that name. She’d been hearing it for years. And annoyingly, he was better looking than she imagined he would be. “Well, well. If it isn’t
the
Marquess of Caldwell from Devonshire. A man notorious for always getting my brother into trouble. Since you and he became friends, he has become quite the rebel. What do you have to say for yourself?”

He eyed her. “That your brother was a rebel long before I ever met him.”

She sighed. Yes. Sadly, that was true. “Well, at least he isn’t a criminal.”

He angled toward her. “And what is that supposed to mean?”

“Alex told me you robbed His Majesty of his lucky sovereign a few weeks ago. For shame. Men are hanged for crimes such as yours.”

The edge of his mouth quirked. “He meant it metaphorically. I was invited to join in on a card game when His Majesty unexpectedly visited our club. The king wagered his lucky sovereign against a box of my cigars. And I won.”

She squinted, trying to decipher if he was lying. “His Majesty makes random visits to clubs? To play cards and take bets?”

“Of course he does.”

“Since when?”

“What do you mean since when? The man may be king but he has to live life outside of duty from time to time, doesn’t he?”

That actually made sense. Caroline hesitated and softened her tone, realizing she was being rude. “It must have been exciting to have met the king.”

He shifted toward her. “It was. I actually met him once before at a formal levee when I was presented as the new marquess many years ago.”

If only she could meet the king. She had always imagined herself marrying into royalty. But then again, every female did. “So do you have it on you?”

“What?”

“The sovereign you won off His Majesty. Do you have it on you?”

“Yes. Why?” He patted his embroidered waistcoat pocket.

She almost jumped off the ladder in excitement and grabbed him. “Might I see it? Given it belonged to His Majesty.”

“After rudely being accused of stealing it? Why would I?”

She held his gaze. “I didn’t mean it.”

He kept his rugged face and tone serious. “Something tells me you did.”

She winced, knowing she had. “I’m sorry. I sometimes don’t know when my brother is teasing me or when he is being serious. But that is no excuse. Will you forgive me?”

He let out a low whistle. “Honesty
and
an apology? That deserves recognition.” With the hand that wasn’t holding the book, he dug into his pocket and snapped up the gold sovereign between this thumb and forefinger. He held it out. “Go on.”

A gushing grin tugged her lips. Leaning over the side of the ladder, she carefully retrieved the coin. The gold surface glinted against the morning sunlight streaking into the library. The fading date of 1732 was stamped into its center, its worn edges whispering that it had been carried quite a bit. “If it belonged to the king, why is it so worn?”

He lowered his voice as if imparting a secret. “Because as you can see by the date, it’s almost a hundred years old and has passed through various hands since it was minted. According to the king, it was carried in the pocket of many a great man, including that of Wellington himself, when he fought against Napoleon at Waterloo. The duke gifted this to the king as a token from the war. I don’t know
why
His Majesty wagered it, but it’s priceless. Do you know how many men have tried to buy this off me since it came into my possession? Countless. I can assure you, however,
no
amount of money will make me part with it. Because if this coin can bring a man enough good fortune to produce a victory at Waterloo, imagine what it can do for me.”

BOOK: Lady of Pleasure
3.26Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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