SEVEN NIGHTS OF SIN 99cents
This is my contribution to the fabulous anthology!.
Can one night with a rake be enough for a lifetime?
Miss Bella Lacey desires to accomplish two things before settling into an unfulfilling marriage to the man her father has chosen. First, she intends to inveigle a goodly amount of money for her orphans from a man of means and, second, to have one night of passion to help her endure the dreary years ahead.
When Derrick, Lord Eaglestone, a wealthy viscount with a scandalous reputation, agrees to donate to Miss Lacey’s charity, he has only seduction in mind. Little does he suspect that Miss Lacey has already chosen him to debauch her before she weds another. The lady has virtually fallen into his lap, but much to his annoyance, he finds himself reluctant to oblige her.
The champagne was delicious, and she drank thirstily. Holding the half-empty flute, she took in the trees in summer leaf and banks of bright flowers. It was quite perfect. At the thought of Lord Eaglestone attempting to seduce here on the blanket, her toes curled. It must happen during the night and would require perfect timing. She took a deep sip of champagne, thinking of what was hopefully to come.
Eaglestone showed little inclination to seduce her. He began to remove plates, silverware, and napkins from the hamper. Delectable foods followed.
She sipped the champagne while watching him pile her plate. “Oysters!”
He pinned her with his gaze. “You like oysters?”
“Yes, very much.”
He took a small penknife from his pocket, wiped it clean, and levered open a shell.
“Why then, the world’s mine oyster,
Which I with sword will open.”
Surprised, Bella laughed. It seemed incongruous for him to quote from Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor.
“You find that amusing?” A smile lifted the corners of his mouth. He was very appealing when he smiled.
The wine banished her nerves and loosened her tongue. “Most appropriate. I must confess I didn’t expect to hear Shakespeare quoted from someone who denounced verse so ruthlessly last night.”
“You are quite wrong. I only denounce my own paltry attempts.”
He leaned over and held the oyster shell to her lips. When she parted them, he tipped the oyster in. “Swallow it whole,” he said, his eyes on her mouth.
Her mouth filled with the smooth, salty taste. She closed her eyes as the oyster slipped down her throat. “Mmm, lovely.”
“You look very lovely eating it,” he said in his husky voice. He leaned forward and kissed her.
With the light touch of his lips, Bella’s breath caught. Her hand fluttered to his shoulder before common sense prevailed. “Sir!” Flushing, she drew back. He must first agree to her request.
“Merely a small kiss between business associates, Miss Lacey.” He lay back on his elbows on the rug like a sleepy panther, watching her.
Bella’s whole body tingled. The kiss, brief as it was, had turned her insides to honey. Was he laughing at her? She sensed he wasn’t as relaxed as he made out. Fighting to keep hold of her objective, she forked up a piece of chicken from her plate. “Do you often picnic in the park with a lady?”
“Not as a rule.” The sight of him biting a chicken leg with his strong white teeth made her feel hot, imagining him nibbling on her.
That he was here with her made her suspect she’d become part of an exclusive group of women who’d gained his attention. She couldn’t help but be flattered, although she wasn’t fooled into believing she was any more special to him than the rest. It hardly mattered. After one night, they would part. She drew in a breath; she really must stop her mind racing ahead to that night.