The Devil in Disguise by Stefanie Sloane - Romance>Historical Other
BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Stefanie Sloane's The Saint Who Stole My Heart.
Filled with espionage and intrigue, Stefanie Sloane's witty and sexy debut is a Regency historical--the first novel in a back-to-back Regency Rogues trilogy that features seductive spies and the ladies they must protect.
Lord William Randall, the Duke of Clairemont, is a rake with little regard for society--a most unlikely suitor for Lady Lucinda Grey. But his latest assignment for the Young Corinthians, an elite spy organization, involves protecting her from a kidnapping plot. To do this, the notorious "Iron Will" must use his devilish charm to seduce Lucinda and convince her he's worthy of her attention. William never planned to become enthralled by the lovely Lady Grey--or to lose his own heart in the bargain.
Beautiful and fiercely intelligent, Lucinda has managed to gracefully sidestep even the most persistent suitors. Until the Duke of Clairemont, that is. She's tempted by his sinfully sensuous mouth and piercing eyes, and finds it hard to resist the champion thoroughbred he offers her in exchange for the honor of courting her. Can she keep him at arm's length when his touch begs her to let him so much closer?
Sloane: THE DEVIL IN DISGUISE
Lady Lucinda Grey had not precisely decided what she would do if the overly eager Matthew Redding, Lord Cuthbert, compared her eyes to the Aegean Sea. Or the most brilliant of sapphires. It had all been said before and--Lucinda admitted with a stab of regret--in much more creative ways than poor Lord Cuthbert could ever dare dream.
"I shall faint, I believe," she said succinctly, straightening the Alençon lace fichu neatly tucked into her jonquille gown.
Lord Cuthbert stopped ogling Lucinda's bosom abruptly, a look of confusion clouding his round face. "I beg your pardon?"
Lucinda realized her earnest suitor clearly felt he'd reached the point in his seduction where she should have been dizzy with anticipation and too caught up in the moment to speak.
"Lord Cuthbert, I do apologize," she offered, taking advantage of the moment to discreetly reclaim her hand from his damp gloved grasp. She slid to the end of the settee, putting two feet of gold damask cushion between them. "Pray continue."
Lucinda felt compelled to see this thing through, despite the temptation to feign what would surely be a spectacular fainting spell. Lord Cuthbert's fumbling attempt at romance was, she realized, not unlike happening upon a carriage accident; be it concern or distasteful fascination, one simply could not look away.
Nor faint away, she acknowledged with a frustrated sigh.
Over the last few weeks, Lucinda had acquired far more experience with this sort of thing than she could have ever imagined or wished to endure. The endless parade of suitors who had found themselves on her doorstep this season had been uninspiring, to say the least.
This was all her dear friend Amelia's fault, of course, Lucinda reflected as Lord Cuthbert droned on. If Amelia hadn't married the Earl of Northrop last year and if the couple had not displayed a love so wide and vast that those observing wondered if they might very well be lost forever . . . well, Lucinda would not be in this predicament.
A fellow ape leader for the last several seasons, Amelia had, until the altogether unexpected appearance of the earl, been a staunch supporter of a woman's right to peace. And quiet. And sanity. In other terms, a woman's right not to marry.
"If only Lord Northrop had not worn Amelia down," Lucinda muttered under her breath, causing not even the slightest pause from the windbag before her.
Lord Cuthbert was completely absorbed in his rehearsed speech, which left her free to return to her contemplation of the events that had led to his presence in her parlor.
Discreetly counting the winged cherubs that inhabited the plaster ceiling in force, Lucinda begrudgingly admitted that Lord Northrup had not precisely worn Amelia down. Not exactly. That was to say, not at all. On the day the two met it was as if the heavens echoed with the cries of angels--and Cupid himself nearly collapsed from the joy of uniting such a pair.
Uncharitable and unkind, Lucinda mentally chided herself. She adored Amelia as though she were her own sister. To be unhappy over her newfound marital bliss would be inexcusable. And in all honesty, Lucinda was pleased for her friend. It was just that they had both been so convinced that love was a ruse, invented to keep the poets out of trouble. And now one had only to look upon Amelia and her new husband to know that they'd been utterly wrong.
But the real difficulty was that--London being London-- Amelia's blissful state meant that the entirety of polite society assumed Lucinda would follow suit and be felled by love as...