Meet Me at Midnight by Suzanne Enoch - Romance>Historical Other
Victoria Fontaine's mischievous nature and brilliant, biting wit have scandalized the ton . . . and earned her the nickname "Vixen." But her reputation pales before the infamous Lord Althorpe's, known as "Lord Sin." The years Sinclair Grafton spent on the Continent have done nothing to quell the rumors about his past. And when the stunning Vixen and the handsome rogue find themselves momentarily alone at an elegant gala, their passion gets the best of them.
Caught by Victoria's father in a shockingly sensual kiss, Sin and Vixen have no recourse except a wedding. At first the very liberal lady relishes the thought of an unfettered marriage to an indifferent, unrepentant scoundrel. But she suspects there is more to this enigmatic, remarkable man, that his rakish persona is merely a pose. And after one unforgettable night of ecstasy, Lady Vixen is determined to unmask the true Sin . . . to satisfy a passionate heart that craves far more than freedom.
Lady Victoria Fontaine threw back her head and laughed. "Faster, Marley!"
Below her, Viscount Marley tightened his grip around her legs and began spinning around even more recklessly. The other dancers fled to the edges of the ballroom despite the beckoning notes of the quadrille, their glares and envious whispers just a whirling blur. This would be the last time her parents kept her housebound for three days. Teach her restraint—ha! Chuckling breathlessly, she flung out her arms.
"I'm getting dizzy, Vixen," Marley panted, his words muffled in her gown's rumpled green silk. He hefted her higher in the air.
"Then spin the other way!"
"Vix . . . damnation!" Marley lurched sideways, tottered, and dumped them both to the polished ballroom floor.
"Oops!" Vixen laughed again as her herd of admirers swooped forward to assist her to her feet. Poor Marley had to scramble out of the way to avoid being trampled. "Gadzooks, that was fun." She staggered sideways, blinking as the room continued to swirl and dip.
"Whoa, Vixen," Lionel Parrish crooned, catching her up against him. "You nearly showed off your unmentionables to the Duke of Hawling. We can't have you falling again and giving him an apoplexy."
"I feel like a whirligig, Lionel. Please help me to a seat."
With Vixen back on her feet, several of her herd took pity on Marley and pulled him upright, as well. He dropped into the chair beside her as they found seats at one side of the room. "Dash it, Vixen, now you've made me seasick."
"You need a steadier constitution," she said, laughing and out of breath. "Someone fetch me a punch, if you please."
Immediately half the herd scattered for the refreshment table, while the other half moved in to take their vacated places. The musicians rallied to begin a country dance. As the ballroom floor refilled, Lucy Havers escaped from her mother's view and hurried over to sit on Victoria's other side.
"My goodness! Are you unhurt?" she exclaimed, grabbing Vixen's hand.
Victoria squeezed her fingers. "Quite. Marley broke my fall."
He sent her a glare. "If you were a large woman, Vix, I'd be dead right now."
"If I'd been a large woman, you wouldn't have lifted me into the air like a victory flag." Grinning, she returned her attention to Lucy. "Is my hair at all salvageable?"
"Mostly. You've lost a comb."
"I have it, Vixen," Lord William Landry announced, holding up the delicate ivory piece. "I'll return it to you . . . in exchange for a kiss."
My, that's a surprise. Trying to straighten her midnight ringlets, which did have a definite droop on one side, Victoria favored the Duke of Fenshire's third son with a speculative smile. "Only a kiss? That is my favorite comb, you know."
"Perhaps we might negotiate for more later, but for the moment a kiss will suffice."
"Very well. Lionel, kiss Lord William for me."
"Not for five hundred quid."
Everyone laughed, while inwardly Victoria sighed. The longer she put it off, the more he would gloat about it and insinuate she owed him—and dash it all, that was her favorite comb. She stood, straightening her skirt, and stepped up to William Landry. On tiptoes, she brushed her lips against his cheek before he could intercept her for a sounder kiss. He reeked of brandy, but that was no great surprise.
"My comb, please," she said, holding out her hand and unable to keep the smug look off her face. He should have known by now; no one bested the Vixen.
"That hardly counts," William protested, scowling, while the rest of the herd guffawed at him.
"It looked like a kiss to me," Marley said helpfully.
"Hush," Lucy said. "Lady Franton's glaring at us again."