Thursday, March 26, 2015

Lord Coleraine's Scandalous Offer by Katy Madison Excerpt


Barnes and Noble
All Romance

From the winner of the 2012 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense Historical comes a new gothic historical romance.

Brody Gilvaroy, the Earl of Coleraine, is willing to hang for a murder he didn’t commit to protect the innocent. He struggles to find the real killer before it’s too late. As time slips away, he’s forced to choose between saving his own neck or helping his enchanting neighbor escape her dire situation, even though she wants nothing to do with him. If only she would accept his proposed bargain...

Years ago, Tessa Hall trusted the wrong man. Ever since, she’s fought to regain her good name. She lives on sufferance with her distant cousin as a despised poor relation. Her chances for a respectable life are destroyed when her benefactor decides she should earn her keep as his mistress. Rescue comes from the most unlikely source. Lord Coleraine is a worse pariah than she is. But her only option may be to trust a man everyone else believes is a cold-blooded murderer. His scandalous offer could save them both, if only for a little while...


As the darkness ticked around her, Tessa huffed in frustration. She might as well go down to the kitchen and get a cup of hot tea. Perhaps that would soothe her restlessness enough she could sleep. She slipped her arms in a wrapper, a castoff of her cousin’s and cracked open her door.
The sitting room was dark except for a slight orange glow from the coal fire and she didn’t see him sitting in either of the chairs or on the sofa. She took two steps into the room before she realized her mistake. Coleraine’s bare feet were perched on the ottoman in front of the chair with the back to her door, although his head wasn’t above the back.
She stopped in her tracks.
“Change your mind?” he asked on a low note.
“Of course not.” Her words were loud in the quiet of the night.
“Shhh.” His hand shot out and he patted the air. After a second he added in a whisper, “Every time I lay Eddie in his cradle he wakes up. However he seems perfectly content to sleep on me.”
She tiptoed forward. Coleraine was slouched low in the chair, which was why she hadn’t immediately seen him. The baby was curled across the broad chest, his little head on Coleraine’s shoulder. He supported the baby with one hand while the other rubbed the boy’s back.
Softness flowed through her turning her wanton needs into a yearning for more than just the physical act, but a desire for the rest, too. A baby, a family, a husband. But Coleraine had made it clear that wouldn’t happen. She’d only have a poor substitute that could end at any minute.
“You should try it sometime.”
“Try what?” she whispered pulling the wrapper tighter around her. He was in his nightclothes too. A plush dressing gown only partially hid the stripped nightshirt he wore. And of course the bare feet, which did strange things to her insides.
Coleraine tilted his head. “Sleeping on me.”
“I didn’t think “sleeping” was what you had in mind.” She closed her eyes at the boldness of the statement.
“Well, after.”
His offhand teasing had her flushing. She should leave before she melted in front of him. To turn around and go back into her room seemed silly, but spending time with him in the middle of the night with neither of them dressed was foolish. 

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