Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Mistress Mischief by Susan Carroll Excerpt


Barnes and Noble

Left widowed and penniless, Frederica Barry resolved to become what her late husband’s relatives had always proclaimed her to be- a very wicked woman. Taking London by storm, Freddie put her wits to work to support herself and her unusual entourage of servants.

But losses at the gaming tables soon brought the merry widow to the brink of disgrace and debtor’s prison. Clearly there was only one solution, to find herself a wealthy protector. Drawing up a list of the richest and most eligible men in the city, one name stood out above the rest- her distant cousin, the handsome rake, Max Warfield.

Max had witnessed Freddie’s outrageous antics with astonishment and reluctantly realized something had to be done about the young woman. But to accept her offer to become his mistress? Out of the question! His aim was to save her reputation, not destroy it. If only the beautiful Freddie did not make her offer so very tempting. . .

Mistress Mischief is another light-hearted romance from the award-winning author of Brighton Road and The Sugar Rose.


Max did not like to have to speak to anyone before breakfast, let alone bellow for his valet. He strode impatiently from the dressing room back into his bedchamber, only pausing in front of the glass mounted upon the wall. He wondered if he looked as hellacious as he felt.

He did. Dark circles cast shadows under his eyes, and the knot on his temple had formed into a bruise the most alarming hue of purple. Recoiling in disgust from his own reflection, Max did not glance up when he heard the door glide open softly.

"Bloody well about time, Georges," Max growled.

"I like the bruise. It makes you look like a prizefighter," a voice cooed.

"What the deuce!" Max whipped around, staring at the apparition leaning up against the frame of his four-poster--a golden-haired angel gowned in white, a crimson shawl draped around her shoulders. Her blue eyes glinted at him through the thickness of lashes in a manner calculated to fire his blood.

He caught his breath, wondering exactly how hard he had been hit over the head last night. As he stood gaping, the angel eased her shawl away, letting it drop to the floor, and Max felt an involuntary shudder rack through him.

He gave himself a brisk shake, bringing his wayward masculine senses to order. "Freddie," he croaked. "What—what the—"

"Hullo, Max."

"What the devil are you doing here!"

His explosive greeting did not appear to disconcert her. If she was at all nervous, the only sign of it was the way she played with one lock of hair, twisting it until it became a curl, resting tantalizingly along the ivory column of her neck.

"You said last night you were coming to call upon me. I thought I would save you the trouble."

"Have you lost your mind?" Max asked.

"I don't think so. How about you?" Freddie's head tilted regarding him with unabashed curiosity.

Max suddenly recalled that he was clad in nothing but his dressing gown. He fumbled with the belt, drawing the folds of the robe tighter as he blustered, "You little idiot. Have you no notion of propriety? You cannot come creeping into the bedchamber of an unmarried man in this fashion."

"Oh?" Freddie dimpled into a mischievous smile. "Would it be all right if you were married, then?"

Max glared at her. To his complete horror, she flopped back on his unmade bed, stretching out upon the sheets with a languid sigh.

"Why are you making such a fuss, Max? We are cousins, after all. I remember once after one of our outings, you even stayed late enough to tuck me in at night. You tickled me so unmercifully that I fell off the bed and I was not the least bit sleepy. Aunt Jameson was furious."

"You are now too old for tickling games, so I would appreciate it if you would get off my bed."

After their parting last night, he had half expected he would have to go in search of her. She had fairly told him to go to the devil. What, then, had induced her to turn up in this startling manner? Far from darting scorn and fury, she was almost playful. She was up to some mischief, that was certain, but what it might be, he could not think.

That might be because of her perfume. As he leaned over the bed, he caught a whiff of it. The sweet odor of violets seemed to curl around his brain, threatening to steal his reason.

The stirrings she roused in him were neither cousinly nor gentlemanly, but inevitable. Whatever devilment she contemplated, she ought to know what behavior such as this could do to a man. But then, Freddie did not think of him that way. He was just Cousin Max, one of her doddering relatives. And he needed to get her the deuce out of there before he was tempted to show her otherwise.

Reaching down, he seized her by both wrists and hauled her roughly to her feet. "All right, I have had enough of this nonsense, Freddie. Tell me what you are really doing here, and I warn you not to trifle. I am in a very dangerous mood."

"So am I." Her eyes glinted up at him, hard and bright as sapphires.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...