Grey’s Lady is the story of a wealthy New York merchant prince, Grey Sexton, who falls for a poor but beautiful seductress, Beth McConnell. Yet, for all their social and economical differences, at their most basic level, Beth and Grey are very similar. This story explores how these similarities threaten to tear them apart before love can overcome the fear of being vulnerable.
Both Beth and Grey suffered isolation and emotional neglect in childhood. Grey grew up as a privileged only son, heir to Sexton Shipping, one of the fledgling nation’s largest mercantile fleets. Grey’s father was a stern businessman who did not understand his daydreaming son and held him at a distance. A child in this position might take solace in a closer relationship with his mother. However, Grey’s mother was chronically ill and unable to bear his childish energy. She kept to her chambers and died while he was still quite young. Later at age nineteen, Grey engaged in an emotionally scarring experience with a slightly older woman, something that is not covered in Grey’s Lady. All of these backstory issues and more are explored in more depth in the sequel, White Lace and Promises, which is scheduled for release Dec. 26, 2011.
In contrast, the focus of Grey’s Lady is on the immediate interaction between two wounded and self-protective people who feel an overpowering attraction to each other but who do not want to admit it to themselves or the other.
I will let Beth tell her story in her own words.
Why should men always have the power of choice when it comes to sexual and romantic relationships? Is it right that we women have no choice but to sit and wait for a man decide to honor us with his declarations–usually uttered in the form of a demand? And all we as women may do is say “yes” or “no” and hope we have made a wise choice. The man still has the power to break his promises and it will be our good name and heart that bears the damage.
My mother fell into an adulterous affaire with an unknown man and as a result I was created. Her husband put her out of their house. I would have been borne in the almshouse if not for the kindness of her employer. After my mother’s death, I would have gone to the foundling home without my kindly benefactress. My unknown father also had his power of choice, the choice to abandon me. How fair is it that men have all the power of choice?
A gentleman once declared passionate love for me. He said this so ardently, his beautiful brown eyes shone with sincerity. I was young. I was naïve. I believed him. I trusted him and gave my heart wholly into his keeping. And as went my heart, eventually so went my virtue.
Do you what happened next? Surely, I don’t have to tell you. You know how these maudlin stories go. He married someone else. A lady. Someone of his own class. His took his power of choice. He became a respectable family man and I was left being a soiled dove. I had a good cry over it. I may have drank a little too much at his wedding celebration. What a pitiful little fool I was. But I did not wallow in my self-pity for long. So men have needs and desires? Well, I also have needs. I also have desires. Why should men have all the power of ch
I take my own power of choice now. I chose whom, when and for how long and I select only the most handsome, wealthy, and powerful of gentlemen.oice? Why should they have all the enjoyment in life?
Yes, I know you are asking do I not fear discovery? This is a worry and I take it seriously. Truly I do. I live with my half-brother and his family now. He is very protective and very touchy about matters of honor. Our mother was not faithful to his father. Now he takes such matters so seriously. Too seriously. If he had his way, I would stay home all the time, working in the backroom of his cobbler shop with one eye on the children. But honestly, though I love my nieces and my half-siblings, life there is dreary. It’s all work, work and more work. Everything is shabby, everything seems to stay gritty and grimy no matter how hard I work to keep things clean. There are always more shoes to repair. I swear my eyes shall go crossed trying to sew by candlelight night after night. I never get enough sleep or time to myself. If I couldn’t go out and seek my adventures, I should go mad. I have my mother’s wild blood in me and my desires can run so high I fear they shall consume me.
I could marry a nice man and he would carry me away from all of this. I
would have my own cozy home and hearth. My benefactress has introduced me to a nice young minister and to a nice young but struggling legal clerk and a nice young medical student who trembled all over and went pale when I said good morning to him. I have no interest in nice young men. It’s the wealthy, powerful, arrogant gentlemen who fascinate me. I know they will never desire me for a wife but they shall burn for me. They shall remember me.
How do I protect myself from discovery? I limit my liaisons to one single meeting. I never meet with my gentlemen again, no matter how desperately they implore me. And they do implore me. Though I am poor, the child of adultery by an unknown man and powerless in my society, I have something gentlemen desire. I have beauty, and thanks to my mother’s wild blood, I understand their hot lusts better than the women of their class. I do gain a measure of satisfaction out of leaving them burning for more. Burning for me. No gentleman shall ever forget the one afternoon he spent with me.
I don’t really deride gentlemen for their focus on beauty. I appreciate a handsome face and well-made masculine form. Well, if Mr. Sexton’s physicality matches his other attributes, then I shall be entertaining a gentleman today. In private. In his carriage. But only for today. Afterwards, he shall burn for me. He will never forget me. Today is a special day for me. Mr. Asahel de Grijs, otherwise known as Grey to his friends, is coming to my favorite bookseller to give a lecture on privateering. He is a New York man, the owner of Sexton Shipping which has a fleet of over forty sea going vessels. He is rumored to be the wealthiest gentleman in America. I know this is not true. I know exactly who is the wealthiest man in America. But Mr. Sexton is among the top three wealthiest men in our nation. He is also politically connected and quite powerful. He would be the brightest feather in my cap. I think I shall wear my shabbiest dress because it is always more thrilling when these gentlemen cannot resist the tattered, poor little bastard girl. They are slaves to their own greed for beauty.
Seeking sexual excitement and conquest, poor but beautiful Beth seduces wealthy merchant prince Grey Sexton, only to find herself the pursued as he seeks to own her body and soul.
In Philadelphia, PA 1812
Flouting the moral standards of Jeffersonian America, temptress Beth McConnell lets no man touch her heart. Her motto is love them once and leave them burning.
But when she boldly seduces Grey Sexton, a self-controlled merchant prince from New York, she finds herself too fascinated by his ice-over-fire nature to stay away. His possessive determination to own her, body and soul, threatens to expose her secret erotic life to public shame.
But Beth will only surrender her love to a man she can trust. And Grey’s materialistic approach to relationships leaves her little reason to believe he can ever give her what she truly needs.
For these two cynical yet lonely people, can deep sexual intimacy work a miracle and lead to the opening of their hearts?
Heat Level: EROTIC 18+
Here’s an Adult excerpt from Chapter One. You can read the entire chapter here.
Shifting in his seat, he sensed her gaze. Lingering. Burning him. Against his will, he turned back to her. Those eyes seemed to reach across the room, directly into him, to touch his emptiness.
What a fanciful notion. His wits must be addled.
She didn’t drop her gaze, as a modest woman might. Instead, she appraised him, boldly weighing and measuring. A hint of her tongue flirted along the seam of her pink lips. Her eyes smouldered as if she’d read his every erotic longing and fantasy in his face. He shifted again, trying to adjust for the heated blood rushing into his cock. The corners of her mouth turned up and humour glinted in her eyes. Clearly, she found his interest amusing. She found him amusing.
By God, then, I’ll have her beneath me, writhing and begging me to fuck her.
Damned if he wouldn’t.
The fervour of his thoughts shocked him back to his senses. People were talking and laughing and moving around. The lecture was over. He got up to leave, but he found himself standing at the windows, transfixed by the rain sheeting down.
“My goodness.” The breathy, feminine voice hit him low in his gut and he didn’t have to look to know who’d spoken. Something primal pounded through his blood. An urge to turn, grasp her by the back of her hair and kiss her with such brute force she would run.
Shaken, he took several long, deep breaths before he trusted himself enough to turn to her. He looked down to where her head barely met his shoulder and suddenly he was drowning in those azure eyes.
“It’s so hard, isn’t it?” she said in breathy, bedchamber tones.
“Pardon me, Madam?”
“The rain. It’s coming down so hard today. Buckets and buckets full.” Her voice sounded sincere but her eyes glimmered with mirth.
“Yes, it is.” He kept his tone cool, polite.
She stood so close his arm almost touched her breast. So close her tangy, sweet gardenia-like scent became intoxicating.
“Pardon me, Madam, but do you have some question about investing in a privateer venture?”
“Oh, no, they answered all my questions in the lecture.”
“But how could they have? You came in after the part about investing.”
“I didn’t really have any particular questions—I come to all the lectures here.” She glanced at the chalk board on the opposite wall, where the names of the lecturers were posted. “You are Mr Asahel de Grijs Sexton of New York?”
“At your service.”
“Your middle name means grey…like your eyes. Correct?”
“Yes. It’s Dutch.” It had been his mother’s maiden name.
“And you’re here to invest in privateering voyages for the expected war?” She took hold of the curtain’s thick, gold, braided cord.
“I own some ships and take on investors. I also invest in other voyages. It’s a numbers game, for safety.”
She gave a soft sigh… No, it was more like a moan. A lush, bedroom sound that made his lower belly tighten.
“Well, I was wondering…” She caressed her fingers up and down the braided cord in a way that could only be described as suggestive. Sinfully so. Right here in the book store.
A tide of lust like he had never felt before swept through his blood and stiffened his cock.
“I—I was wondering…” She trailed her fingers one last time before she dropped the cord. A half-smile curved her lips.
“Yes, Madam?” The steadiness of his voice amazed him.
“Could you—” She drew her lashes down as she spread her lips in a slow, sensual smile. “Would you be so kind as to give me a ride in your carriage?”
Her inflection left no doubt what kind of ride she meant.
What true gentleman could disappoint a lady? He offered her his arm. “Come, then.”
She raised fine, pale-gold brows. “I cannot be seen leaving here in your company.”
“Drive around the block and wait there. I shall come along presently.”
“It’s raining like the flood. You cannot walk in that.”
“Do you think I shall melt?” Her deep and throaty laugh resonated deep in his balls.
“I think a gentleman doesn’t expect a lady to walk in the rain.”
She laughed again. “Oh, but I am not a lady.”
“Don’t talk like that.” His harsh tone puzzled him. Where had it come from?
“Did my fine silk gown fool you?” She plucked her coarse woollen skirt. Her fingerless nankeen gloves revealed digits reddened as though they habitually spent hours soaked in lye. The sharp contrast with her refined loveliness made his throat burn and he swallowed tightly.
She sighed. He glanced up. Her eyes were sad again and her emotion seemed to touch him in places he’d forgotten had existed. Damn, she was beautiful. How many times had he repeated that today? God, he was making a jackass of himself. But what did she really want from him? She was bold, yes, but she lacked the hardened look of a girl on the town. Maybe poverty had forced her into temporary whoring.
“You need money?” The hoarse terseness of his whisper surprised him.
“I don’t want your money.” She turned her gaze to him. Bold, blue and full of unmistakable longing. “I only want a ride.”