Beneath the cover of darkness, passion plays by its own rules.
Lovely, poised Anne Beddington is in a desperate situation: on the run for a crime she didn't commit. Anne understands the wicked games she must play to survive--she has perfected her silky voice, practiced her feathery caress--but has she sufficiently mastered the art of seduction to become the mistress of the notorious Duke of March, Devon Audley? War has left him a recluse, but Anne is penniless, alone, and needs a powerful gentleman's protection. Anne has learned how to pleasure a man, yet when this sinfully handsome duke insists that intimate delights must be a two-way street, Anne cannot deny his sensual promise.
Anne's delicate hands hold a healing touch, but it's her gentle kindness that opens the duke's eyes to the beauty around him and to a family who need him. Still, Anne is a mystery, and Devon intends to spend endless erotic hours uncovering her secrets. When he finds out the terrible truth about the devious plot to brand her a villainess and endanger her life, saving Anne becomes his salvation. She has shown Devon how to live and love again. Now he will prove the power of his passion.
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
November 01, 2011
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from Engaged in Sin by Sharon Page
The first time she'd tried to sell her body outside the Drury Lane theatre, Anne Beddington approached a handsome black-�haired gentleman, without knowing whom he truly was.
He had been gentle and kind. And young--�perhaps only a few years her senior. Twenty-�one to her seventeen, she guessed. He smiled patiently at her even as he refused her offer. Somehow he'd known at once that she was a virgin, that she had never prostituted herself before. He pressed a couple of coins into her shaking hands, then he tipped up her chin to look at her.
She'd never gazed directly into a gentleman's eyes. He had violet irises--�a color so unearthly it gave him a fey air--�and thick black lashes. One look and she was bewitched.
"Angel, this is not a thing you want to do," he'd said grimly. "You are an innocent and are pretty despite all that grime. Take the money and use it to go home to your family."
He assumed she'd left her country family and run away to London, or that she had come to Town to find work, as so many girls had to do. Nothing could have been further from the truth for her.
She had clutched the coins in her palm--�two gold sovereigns--�embarrassed to be given his charity when she'd been quite prepared to earn her money, but she had swallowed her pride, lifted the hems of her threadbare skirts, and scurried back to her mother's bedside.
The money had not lasted long. Her mother had needed so much laudanum for her pain. Eventually Anne had been forced to do what the gentleman had warned her not to.
Now, five years later, she was about to do the very thing she had failed to do that first night outside the theatre. She was going to convince the Duke of March to bed her.
This time she was not in London. And this time the duke was her captive quarry. She stood in his study in his hunting box--�a manor house in Leicestershire--�with her hand still on the door handle. He was sprawled out in front of her on the carpet, more than six feet of brawny, tanned, naked male. His long legs were splayed apart, his bare buttocks relaxed. His black hair fell in a mess of waves to his shoulders. An empty brandy decanter lay by his outstretched hand.
He appeared to be dead to the world.
Anne's heart tripped in her chest. Was he only unconscious? With his chest squashed against the rug and his mouth turned away from her, she couldn't tell if he was breathing.
If he had polished off an entire decanter of brandy, could he have drunk himself to death? She didn't know. In the slums she'd seen men drink quite a bit, but could a man stomach that much?
She glanced to the study door. For privacy, she had closed it behind her. Should she summon the odd, terrifying butler who had met her at the door? The stooped man had a hump on his back, tufts of yellow-�gray hair at his ears, and a large gap where his front teeth should have been. He'd tried to shoo her away. She had been firm, though he'd cackled in the most revolting way when she informed him she was a gift from the Earl of Ashton and must see the duke at once.
She really did not wish to deal with the butler again.
Lifting her hems, Anne hurried to the naked duke and crouched beside him. Her body cast a shadow over his face, but she could see scars on his cheek above the haze of thick black stubble. His lips were full and soft. They appeared completely motionless.
Her throat dried. She bent close and felt his breath whisper over her cheek. Then he gave a low, rasping snore, and Anne choked on a relieved giggle.
Should she shake him awake? She had been a whore for so long it meant nothing to touch a masculine body, but she didn't know quite what to do with an unconscious duke who had no idea she'd invaded his home.
Would summoning help end with her tossed out on her rump? What if the butler suspected she'd knocked the duke over the head? She shivered. The room was damp and chilly even though it was late August. Drawing off her gloves, she brushed her fingertips over the bronzed shoulder in front of her. His skin was cool. A silk throw lay across a wing chair. She plucked it up. The chill of his skin made her feel cold; it made her shiver once more, just for him.
Gently, she arranged the blanket over his smooth, muscled back. She tugged it down to his slim waist, to cover his hips, buttocks, and legs. His bottom proved tighter, rounder, than any she'd ever seen, his legs long and powerfully built.
Any woman would quiver, faced with such male beauty, but she knew there was fear beneath the tremble of her shoulders. A man this strong could easily hurt her. He had been kind to her once, so long ago, but she now intended to lie her way into his bed.
First she had to wake him. She gently touched his forehead to brush back his hair. A thick lock had fallen into his eye--�
His hand shot out and clamped onto her wrist. A scream flew out into the room. Hers.
The duke moved so fast, she couldn't think. He pushed her down to the floor. His big hands pinned her shoulders and he was braced over her, his legs on either side of her hips. His knees pressed into her skirts. She stared up into his eyes. Still violet and every bit as astonishing as they'd been five years before.
"Your Grace." Her voice was barely a croak. "Your Grace, I--�I did not mean you any harm. I am the woman the Earl of Ashton sent." The lie dropped off her lips. She prayed he believed it. Lord Ashton had no idea she'd overheard his conversation when he had been trying to coax another woman to come to the duke--�her friend Kat, who already had a protector.
The duke's heart pounded against her breasts. His gaze still focused over her head. His eyes didn't look injured at all. It was only because he didn't focus on her that she could tell he was blind. Everyone in England knew the hero of war, the Duke of March, had miraculously survived a bayonet wound to the head that should have killed him, but he had lost his sight. A deep scar disappeared into his hair.
"Hell," the duke muttered. His head dropped, then he rolled off her, landing hard on his side on the floor. "Ashton sent you? You are the whore he thought would heal me with pleasure?"
Anne flinched. She still did at the word whore. Even though she had been one for a very long time. He spoke with such a dismissive tone, her stomach churned. "Yes," she said, trying to sound confident. As saucy as a paid ladybird should.
"Didn't Treadwell frighten you away?"
"He made an admirable attempt, but I was insistent. After all, I had direction from Lord Ashton to see you. I do not understand why you would engage such an odd creature as your butler. Do you wish to frighten callers away?"
"Yes, angel, I do."
Anne struggled to sit up and her corset jabbed into her, below her breasts. She hissed in pain.
The duke reached for her. She took his hand and he pulled her upright.
"I'm sorry I leapt on you, my dear. But why in Hades did you creep up on me without announcing yourself?"
"Your butler directed me to your study, then left me to my own devices. I entered alone and found you asleep."
"Passed out, you mean." The lashes dropped. He stroked the stubble on his chin--�more of a beard than simply stubble. He must not have shaved for many days. "Don't ever do it again. I could have killed you."
"Killed me?" she squeaked.