A Season for Treason
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A traitor. A courtship. A scandalous Season.
In the race against time, will this pair reach the altar or the traitor first?
In the service of England’s spymaster (well, his niece, but surely he’ll appreciate the help), Miss Mary Wilson is on a mission to uncover a treasonous plot. Though her only clue leads to the debaucherous secret society of the Marquess of Hartford, a lifetime of being overlooked should ensure her access to all of the gossip her assignment will require. There’s just one problem: Mary is due to find a husband this Season and her Aunt Elizabeth, the Viscountess Hood, is determined to see her niece shine bright.
Focused on finding the perfect bride this Season, the Marquess of Hartford, known to his friends as Rex, finds himself distracted by the quiet Miss Wilson as she continually turns up everywhere she shouldn’t be. As Rex considers the misbehaving Miss Wilson, a curious thought occurs to him. Is it possible that she could be the kind of bride who would enjoy life by his side and the pursuits of the Society of Sin?
When I wrote the Bridal Discipline series, I was actually not intending to write another spin off series until I got to the last book and realized there were still more characters whose stories I wanted to tell. Mary was so mysterious, she caught my attention, but I didn’t originally know what she was hiding. As I tried to tease her out – and realized how well she and Hartford would get along – a new kind of book started to take shape in my mind.
The Deception and Discipline series is going to have the same kind of friendships, spankings, and steamy heat that the previous series did, but it’s also going to delve into danger, traitors, and a foul plot to stop. I’m especially excited because this series has several characters who have been residing in my head for a while but who were never quite right for any of my previous series.
It’s going to be a wild ride!
Slowing his stride, taking the time to look at some of the flowers under the moonlight—and admitting to himself he was only doing so in order to delay his return to the ball—Rex became aware that he was being followed. At first, he thought it might be one of the French ladies, looking for an assignation, but when he paused to examine a rose bush, so did his pursuer.
A lady hoping for a tryst would hardly be so shy, but he did detect a sweep of pale skirts when he turned his head back, as if looking over his shoulder. Very pale skirts. A debutante? Following a rake into a darkened garden? It was implausible, but very few other ladies wore that pale of a hue during the Season.
Intrigued, Rex wandered on, turning a corner with a suitably thick rhododendron for him to hide behind, waiting for the lady so he could see who she was. Any debutante with the audacity to follow him into the garden piqued his interest. As long as she was not a title or fortune hunter… hell, perhaps even if she was. There was no rule saying a young lady searching for a title or fortune would not make an entertaining and enjoyable wife.
His eyebrows rose at the figure that appeared next to the rhododendron, hugging its branches as she looked about, trying to see where he had gone.
It was Miss Wilson—apparently not as much a cipher as she had appeared next to her cousin. Perhaps he had been hasty in his judgment of her.
“Hello there.” His voice was a low purr as he emerged from the shadows of the bush, looming over her from a mere foot away. Her eyes widened and she stepped back, but she did not run, her head tipping back to stare up at him. “Looking for someone?”
“I… ah…” She blinked. Rallied. Her chin came up with a stubborn feminine air. “Lord Hartford. I seem to have lost my way. My apologies for interrupting your evening.”
Rex took a step closer, tilting his head down at her. In the moonlight, it was hard to see whether she paled or blushed, but he did see the rising panic in her eyes. Despite that, this time she held her ground rather than retreating again, which only intrigued him more.
“Have you?” he asked, now standing closely enough that the pale blue skirts of her dress brushed against his shins.
“Have I…” She repeated, her voice trailing off. She did not seem to be able to look away from him.
Rex leaned down, his lips moving closer and closer to hers, giving her ample time to run. Would she do it? Or would she let him kiss her?
“Lost your way?”
Her eyelashes fluttered against her cheeks and then his lips were on hers.
It started as a gentle kiss, a firm press of his lips against hers, but when she did not immediately jump back, Rex’s own desires pushed him onward. His hands found her hips, holding her in place and pulling her lower body against his as his cock began to stir. Perhaps Miss Wilson had been hampered by her stuffy cousin’s expectations and overshadowed by Arabella’s exuberant confidence in the ballroom, but out here in the darkness of the garden she was revealing an adventurous and far more interesting side to herself that he would have never guessed at.
Running his tongue along the seam of her lips, he was gratified when she opened them on a gasp and he ruthlessly deepened the kiss, hands sliding to her back to cradle her against him. She met his tongue with her own, uncertainly at first and then with growing confidence as the kiss continued, stirring his passions. Satisfaction and interest welled.
Well now. Perhaps tonight was not a total loss after all.
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