A shivering young woman leans against a lamppost in the most notorious street of ill repute in all London. For Asher Colborne, Baron of Wenlock, this is a haunting vision of beauty and wretchedness. Uncharacteristically halting his carriage, he is shocked to discover the thin, dressed-in-rags creature is none other than Chastity Armitage, a beautiful angel who captured his heart at a grand ball more than two years past. For Colborne, her circumstance is a mystery he feels honor bound to unravel.
Chastity and her siblings have been on the run for more than two years. Desperate for food and lodging money, she is forced to sell herself. She never expected a tall, handsome man to appear as if from mist and change her life forever. She is given a choice, continue down the path of never ending poverty or become the baron’s mistress.
Though they are both determined the arrangement remain an emotionless business transaction, the attraction between them is scorching. Many barriers and obstacles lay in Chastity and Ash’s path. Can the baron and the mistress embrace true love?
Chastity could not believe she allowed the well-dressed gentleman to take her away in his carriage. They did not go far nor did they speak during the short journey. They both sat in a private room at The Pig and Whistle tavern. Her stomach rumbled. The man, who introduced himself as Ash and insisted she call him by that name, ordered beef stew, ale, and extra bread and cheese.
Fifteen shillings? The obscene amount still rattled about in her bewildered brain. With proper planning the money would keep her and her brother and sister comfortable for some weeks. What in God’s name did he wish to do with her? Or to her? What perverse act would she be subjected to? His intense stare made her uncomfortable. This Ash was too handsome by far. After removing his hat and gloves, he ran his hand through his black-as-midnight hair. His eyes were the color of a fine cognac and the gleam of lust that shone from them sent waves of heat through her body. Ash removed his cloak. The silver lining appeared to be the finest silk. His tall frame was perfectly proportioned and how well it filled out the excellently tailored evening wear. A smartly tied silver cravat about his neck completed the look and he did look every inch the rake. Chastity caught a whiff of expensive cologne. The scent of bergamot and lemon invaded her nostrils. Her stomach dipped precipitously. Dear heaven, I find him attractive? Not wise. Chastity’s gaze darted about the small room trying to find a quick escape route.
“What is your name, my sweet?”
His voice was deep, resonant, and cultured. A sensual baritone as rich as melted dark chocolate. Should she give her name? What would it matter? “Chastity.”
The man’s eyes widened briefly as he shifted in his seat, but his concentrated gaze did not waver. “Interesting choice of name for a prossie.”
Fury boiled quick and hot in her veins. “It’s my real name and I’m not a…a…prossie!”
The corner of his mouth quirked in amusement. “Of course not, even though you offered me a quick tup—for coin.”
Chastity’s cheeks burned in humiliation. Before she could answer, the door burst open and the barmaid carried in a tray of foodstuffs. The tantalizing aroma of beef, grilled onions, and fresh bread made her salivate. For a meal such as this and fifteen shillings, she would agree to anything. And she would bet this arrogant, handsome man knew it.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Karyn lives in a small town in the western corner of Ontario, Canada. She whiles away her spare time writing and reading romance while drinking copious amounts of Earl Grey tea. Tortured heroes are a must. A multi-published author with a few bestsellers under her belt, Karyn loves to write historicals, particularly in the Victorian era. She also writes the occasional contemporary.
As long as she can avoid being hit by a runaway moose in her wilderness paradise she assumes everything is golden.
Karyn’s been happily married for a long time to her own hero. His encouragement keeps her moving forward.