Taming a Rogue
Lady Emmeline Prescott is shocked when Sir Alexander Thornton, the most incorrigible scoundrel in England, suddenly notices she even exists-and starts flirting with her! The dashing cad has a well-earned reputation for carousing that brings a blush to checks, but more distressing still I is the unwanted desire he arouses in her!
To win a wager, Alex must win a kiss from an innocent maiden, But first he must get past the giggly girl's chaperone-her straitlaced older sister, Lady Emmeline. And to his dismay, it is the enchanting, levelheaded Emmeline who intoxicates him with her soft sensuality and eminently kissable lips. Yet such a conquest is unthinkable-unless Alex abandons his cherished reprobate ways... and surrenders to his heart's traitorous yearning for a true and passionate love.
Alex Thornton was fresh out of new scandals. Standing beside his friend Edmund Blackwell, he sighed as he watched the hall full of glittering couples dancing merrily beneath vaulted ceilings.
It had been eight months since he'd given his twin brother Spencer's identity back to him. Eight months of constantly explaining to disappointed people that he'd only posed as the viscount.
Alex had vowed to enjoy his own life again, without the responsibilities of a noble title. He would do as he pleased, drink, gamble himself into oblivion, and find willing young women to enjoy it all with him.
Sad to say, those pleasures had grown almost...tiresome of late. Each party blurred into the next. He needed a change, something new to interest him.
“Edmund, are you as bored as I?”
Edmund shrugged, and his gaze surveyed the crowd. “I doubt it.”
Of course Edmund wasn't bored -- he hadn't grown up among the nobility. He was one of those rare men who'd worked hard since childhood to achieve success, and had been knighted for his efforts.
Alex almost envied him.
“We need to enliven the evening,” he continued. “I propose a wager.”
Edmund rolled his eyes. “You know you can outdrink me.”
“No, something new.” He met the bright gaze of a lady and gave her a smile. “We seem to have the attention of several young women this evening.”
“Until their mothers see where they're looking,” Edmund said dolefully, folding his arms across his chest.
“And there is our challenge. I wager that I can get one dewy-eyed innocent to kiss me before you can find one who'll kiss that face of yours.”
“A virgin? I'd be beetle-headed to accept such a thing!” Edmund scoffed. “You've stolen kisses from half the girls here.”
“Not the challenging ones, I haven't,” Alex said. “So to make this interesting, I shall pick out the girl for you, and you shall pick out mine.”
A slow grin eased Edmund's deceptively hard face. “I'll wager five sovereigns. But what happens if an angry father decides that one kiss compromises his daughter?”
Alex shrugged. “We have to marry sometime, do we not?”
“As if you would ever be trapped against your will,” Edmund said. “Very well. I'll be magnanimous and allow you to choose first.”
They turned to look out on the great hall. Couples whirled about, and women were lifted in the air by their partners. Crowds of people talked and ate and laughed. Who to choose for Edmund?
Then he saw her -- blond, pretty, and not ranked highly enough to look down upon Edmund, who'd begun manhood as a common soldier. Due to her overly protective family, it would be difficult for Edmund to get even close to her.
Alex cleared his throat and clasped his hands behind his back. “I have the perfect girl. Elizabeth Langston.”
Edmund looked doubtful. “Her name is not familiar.”
Alex pointed to where she stood alone with her parents, not dancing.
“She is quite beauteous,” Edmund said. “But surely you had a specific reason in choosing her?”
“I shall just warn you to beware her father -- and her brothers.”
Edmund sighed and continued to search the crowd. Finally he displayed a triumphant smile. “Ah, now there is a woman who'd be a challenge for...