Devlin Markham, the notorious “Devil Duke” of Huntington, needs a woman. And not just any woman. If he can’t woo one of the most eccentric bluestockings of the Ton within the month, he can kiss his hard-earned fortune goodbye. But he’s always thought love a wasted emotion and marriage an inconvenience at best. And oddly enough, Lady Sophie Wolcott seems unmoved by his charm…
When Sophie learns her beloved orphanage is in imminent danger, she will do anything to save it. Even marry a ruthless rake who takes what he wants in business and pleasure. A man who’s everything she’s always feared most—but whom she reluctantly begins yearning for.
Then Sophie becomes the target of a killer lurking from the dark shadows of Devlin’s past. And they find not only their lives in jeopardy but their very hearts.
He stepped forward, stopping barely a foot away—so close, she could see the thick eyelashes framing his deep blue eyes. It wouldn’t take much to lift a hand, place her palm against the deep black silk of his waistcoat, and feel that broad chest under her fingertips… She inhaled deeply, hoping for some air to clear her clouded senses, yet all she accomplished was breathing in the woodsy masculine scent of his cologne.
“I think,” he continued, “that your aunt has the right idea, yet is going about it all wrong.”
Sophie could only look away. He was like the male version of the sirens that led Greek sailors to their doom. “Well, so far her endeavors have come up empty- handed.” Feeling a sudden urge to discomfit him as much as she herself was, she cocked her head to the side and appraised him. “You would not credit it, but she has the most far-fetched notion that you are looking for a wife.”
“How interesting.” He lifted his eyebrows in mild surprise. “I wonder how she came upon that idea?”
Who on Earth knew when it came to Aunt Mabel? “It amazes me where she gets her information, though most of the time her sources have proved consistently accurate. However, in this instance, I fear, she has been led very far astray.”
“Is my marrying really so farfetched a notion?”
“Yes,” she said without hesitation. “I imagine one does not earn the moniker the ‘Devil Duke’ without having an even more jaded view of marriage than I do, besides being far too busy with your business dealings to even spend a moment of your time considering it.”
“True. Though you must know I delight in confounding Society.”
“I suppose I do not really know you well enough to comment.”
“Something I fully intend to rectify.” His head slowly slanted down towards her own, until his lips were but a breath away. “If only you will let me?”
She felt her heart nearly stop and her knees weaken. For a mad moment, she wondered what it would feel like to have his lips pressed to hers, his tongue dancing against her own. A delicious heat curled down her spine.
“We could have such fun together,” he murmured softly. “I could teach you so many things.”
How many times had he made that offer to a woman—probably to many women in this very room? What was she even thinking to allow him to affect her so? The man was a rake, a libertine, and a scoundrel. She knew better than to succumb to sweet, meaningless words from someone of his ilk. She loftily raised her chin and took a deliberate step away from him. “I have no need, to learn anything from you, thank you very much.”
He sighed long and heartily, obviously being dramatic for effect. “I will endeavor to change your mind, my dear.”
Not likely. “You will be trying a very long time indeed.”
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Indoctrinated into a world of dashing rogues and feisty heroines when she was fourteen years old, Maddison Michaels is a prolific reader and writer of romantic suspense and historical fiction. She gets her daily dose of suspense from working as a police officer, prosecuting real-life villains in the Courts of Australia. A member of the RWA and RWA Australia, Maddison is as passionate about her writing as she is about her other two loves: her family and her cups of tea. Luckily, she gets a healthy dash of romance married to her wonderful husband, and her exercise regime is kept on track by her six-year-old daughter, who ensures Maddison is kept very busy chasing her around. Maddison’s debut novel The Devilish Duke is her way of time traveling back to Victorian London to experience a cornucopia of intrigue, romance, and debauchery all from the comfort of her living room!