THE WANTON WIDOW

EXTENDED EXCERPT

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BLURB

Crackling lightening and booming thunder roar through the night, almost shaking the mansion. Lady Verity James, a widow who shuns society’s rules, is in her lavish boudoir with a secret lover when her austere butler knocks on her door. A foreign stranger, soaked through, is in the foyer.

Suddenly her life is turned upside down, and surrounded by drama and intrigue, she finds herself swept away in a decadent, unstoppable romance.

EXTENDED EXCERPT

Completely stunned, as her face flamed, and her mouth fell inexplicably dry, Verity could only stare back at him. She wanted to yell at him and run from the room, she wanted to forcefully reject his claim, then she wanted demand how he could possibly know such a dark secret. She wanted to do anything except sit and stare into his steely blue eyes, but she was literally frozen.

“Perhaps I should have been softer,” he murmured. “I should have found another way to say that to you. I apologize Verity. You are less worldly than I had thought. I rarely make a mistake, but apparently in this case I did. Please forgive me.”

Still she couldn’t move, but she could swallow, and it helped.

“You poor woman,” he sighed. “How empty your life is. Come here, let me hold for a moment.”

As his arms encircled her she wanted to resist, to push him away, to fight the heavy emotions surging through her, but she couldn’t, and with a woeful moan she sank against him and closed her eyes.

“Take a breath,” he purred. “You’re safe with me. There is no need for pretense. I know who you are.”

“Who…who I am?” she managed. “What do you mean, who I am?”

“I don’t mean who you are as in, Lady Verity James, I mean, who you are as a woman. It is very difficult living with such needs when they are not met. It is just as hard for a man who carries the same fever.”

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She found comfort in his words, and wondered if she was actually dreaming; it was too divine, his arms were too marvelous, his understanding too unimaginable, but she knew she was awake. She knew it from the flood between her legs, from the beating of her heart keeping time with his, she knew it because she had felt something indefinable the moment her eyes had first met his.

“There, that’s much better,” he said warmly. “You’re breathing again, you’re surrendering.”

“Yes,” she murmured, “surrender. That’s what Jack would say. Surrender to me, my darling Verity, surrender.”

“It is all about surrender,” he said tenderly, “for both, not just the woman,” then taking hold of her hair, he slowly pulled her back. “Ah, there you are,” he smiled. “The woman behind the mask.”

She could feel it. The veil behind which she lived her life had fallen away; she felt soft, wonderfully weak, and her entire body was warm.

“Such a beauty,” he mumbled, and taking her face between his hands, he laid his lips gently upon hers, softly gliding them back and forth, then pressing harder, making her heart race, before gently pulling back.

Verity was enthralled. She was enthralled by his subtle power, by the spark in his iridescent blue eyes, by the heat of his kiss, but mostly by the overwhelming need she had to kneel before him, gaze up at him, and do his bidding.

“So, at last we have truly met,” he said, a knowing smile curling the ends of his lips. “Now I will explain how we must proceed.”

“Proceed?”

“I am in your home, you need to know about the count and me, and I feel obliged to inform you of our circumstances. I can tell you most, but not all.”

“I understand,” she nodded. “I do. No doubt there are certain elements of your story you must keep secret.”

“Indeed, but Verity, what I am able to share with you, will put you and your house in danger.”

“I already figured that out,” she frowned. “I’m not entirely without thought and reason.”

manorj

“I didn’t say you were, and I didn’t think it for a moment, but there is being in danger, and there is being in such danger that you might have second thoughts.”

“How am I to know until you tell me? You’re talking in circles.”

“Yes, I am, but there’s a reason for it,” he said patiently. “Do not be offended by what I’m about to say.”

“What? Why?”

“In order for me to trust you, in order for me to feel confident about sharing certain information, I must spank you, and I must spank you as you need to be spanked, as you were spanked in the past.”

“I…uh…I…don’t know what to say.”

Her voice had been a squeak, and a fresh blush was sweeping across her face.

“Once you have been over my knee, you will have a loyalty to me you don’t yet have. We will be connected in a unique way, connected much more strongly that you are to any lovers you may have, and-“

“Please, stop!” she exclaimed, a deep frown crossing her brow. “I fear that connection. After it is born, then what? Then you will leave, and I will be here, alone again, worse off than before you arrived. How can I accept such a fate? I cannot. It will be more than I am able to bear.”

corset-back

“Why would you think such a thing?” he exclaimed, taking her hand. “Why would I leave you? Why would you assume that? Finding you is a miracle. We are unique, Verity. Don’t you know that? Can’t you see that? Can’t you feel that?”

“A miracle for you? It is a miracle for me, but you are a man of the world. Surely you have women to whom you will return?”

“As you have men in your life, but those men do not begin to understand what beats in your heart. What your body and mind need, just as the women I know, have no comprehension of my nature. You and I, we suffer the same curse Verity.”

“You live in Italy!”

“Do I?”

“Don’t you?”

“I can live anywhere, as can you. Such things are of no importance. They work themselves out, but Verity, already we feel a mystical bond. I would not so carelessly toss that aside.”

“How can this be happening?” she whispered. “It’s just like Jack, no, not just like him, but similar. I knew when I met him we had was something unique. It wasn’t until after we were together that I came to know what it was.”

“Where were you when you met?”

“I was standing in a gallery admiring a painting,” she began, a soft smile crossing her lips, “and he came and stood beside me. It was peculiar. He didn’t say a word, he just stood there, and together we studied the work, then he looked down at me and said, a cup of tea, don’t you think? The moment he stood beside me I knew immediately he was to be mine. I don’t know how, I just did. I was with my mother and father, and the four of us walked down Oxford street to a tea room.”

“As you knew with me,” Dantae said softly, “even though you felt that you were betraying him.”

“Yes,” she whispered, swallowing back the heat in her throat, “yes, I did, and I do.”

“Jack would want you to be happy again, and you know that too. The room with the covered furniture, that’s where you shared your specialness. Remove all those sheets, let the room come alive again. Your memories won’t hurt you anymore, embrace them.”

“I believe I can,” she murmured, “and I understand why I must feel the hot sting of your hand before you tell me anything. I understand completely.”

“Good,” he nodded. “Can the door be locked?”

“It can. I shall lock it, and then…?”

“Then I will help you remove your dress and undergarments but for your corset, and you will lay yourself over my lap. Then, Verity, I shall spank you.”

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