Special Post! A MEASURED RISK by @Nblackthorne is only 99 cents #EroticRomane #Regency #BBW

This is a special extra post for this Friday the 13th. My friend and fellow author Natasha Blackthorne has set the first book in her Regency Risks series on sale for only 99 cents starting today. It’s only for a limited time, so you’ll want to get this one before midnight on June 15th or you’ll miss out on a fabulous read!~Tammy

 

A MEASURED RISK

By Natasha Blackthorne

Book one in the Regency Risks Series

 

A Measured Risk@ 800-72 dpi low resHe is her most dangerous temptation, the only man she has ever trusted and now he is demanding her submission. Dare she take the risk?

Emotionally scarred in the horrific accident that took her husband’s life, Lady Cranfield is imprisoned by her lingering terror of horses and carriages. She longs to be closer to the fascinating Earl of Ruel, as she senses intuitively that he might be able to teach her how to overcome the terrors that hold her in bondage.

And now she’s willing to risk almost anything—her reputation, even her virtue—to find out.

But what Lord Ruel proposes startles her.

When the shy, studious and socially awkward young widow approaches him, Lord Ruel instantly senses she will be the sweetest, most submissive experience of his life—but first he must gain her complete trust. Lord Ruel makes Lady Cranfield a non-negotiable offer: His help in return for her submission and obedience.

But Lady Cranfield grew up neglected by her ducal parents, raised by servants and then later ignored by her handsome, charming husband. She’s learnt to protect her heart at all costs and she trusts no one but herself.

How can the jaded Earl of Ruel break through Lady Cranfield’s self-defences and show her how to love when he himself has spent his life avoiding that tender trap?

 

EXCERPT

©Copyright Natasha Blackthorne 2012, 2013

She backed all the way into the bookcase.

“Why did you run away?” His deep voice settled in her belly, rich and warm, like crème brûlée on a cold winter’s night.

“Because I wanted you to follow.” She tried to sound sophisticated and seductive, but her voice choked off on the last word.

Ruel placed his hand on the shelf above her head and blocked her path to the door. His tall, solidly muscled body leaned over her, surrounding her with the sumptuous, sinful scents of tobacco, Scotch whisky and something masculine and undeniably dangerous. A slow, sensual smile stretched his hard mouth.

He appeared different. Softer. More approachable.

At the change, her insides seemed to flip over.

“Well, sweeting, getting us off alone was a very inspired idea.” He touched one of her fallen ringlets. “I am bored to distraction with endless talk of hunting and fencing.”

As he slowly wrapped the curl around two fingers, he brushed her collarbone. Fiery sparks tingled down her spine, so intense that she shivered and her nipples beaded, pressing against her stays. By some instinct she hadn’t even known she possessed, she arched her back, presenting herself for his assessment.

His eyes shone so vividly blue against his bronzed face that they resembled cornflowers. She swallowed tightly and wished for a long drink of claret. This more personal side of him suddenly seemed far more hazardous than his usually fierce exterior.

Well, no matter. There was nothing to fear. She would allow only as much contact as need be to get to know him a little. Since being torn from her lonely yet secure life in Ireland and thrust into Society at age sixteen, she’d spent her time allowing people only as near as was comfortable. She was an expert at emotional evasion.

It should be easy to regain her control.

But now, as rays of the late-afternoon sun played over his pale hair, turning it the colour of winter wheat, all her carefully rehearsed words flew from her mind.

Say something—anything—else he will think you’re a bird-wit.

An intimate smile, one that invited her to play, tugged at his mouth.

“In a situation like this, alone with a gentleman, it’s perfectly normal for a lady to feel some apprehension.” His hushed voice, barely audible above the piano and boisterous singing from down the corridor, accentuated their isolation. His gaze became so piercing that she had to lower her eyes.

He brushed his fingertips over her cheek. “She will invariably ask herself if he will try to kiss her.”

She jerked her eyes back to his face. God, he couldn’t mean to—not yet, surely… Peculiar, heated chills swept over her. She tried to take a step back, but found her arse flush against the bookshelf.

He leaned closer; so close that his Scotch-scented breath tickled her face. “And just in case you are wondering, Lady Cranfield—the answer is most assuredly yes.”

She should demand that he put his arm down so she could pass by and leave. She really should. But she couldn’t stop looking at his hard mouth and wondering what it would feel like upon hers. He was so close to her that his breath blew on her lips. If she moved but a fraction, she’d be kissing him.

Kissing him.

Dear God. Her breaths began to come very fast and short. Her throat went tight with a suppressed moan.

His eyes burnt as brightly as aquamarines. He looked so fierce. If he kissed her, if he dared… Oh God, it would be so harsh. That cruel-looking mouth could express itself no other way.

Excitement rushed through her, sending tingles to every point of her body, even her toes.

But no, he wouldn’t. Not yet.

He kept leaning closer. He didn’t close his eyes. Instead, he seemed to focus all the harder upon her.

Her heart pounding, unable to move away, she braced herself for his assault.

His lips brushed hers, barely. A gossamer caress.

He lifted his head.

It was done.

And it hadn’t even begun.

He held her chin, appearing so cool, so unaffected. His kiss had seemed to sear her. An urge to put her fingers to her lips arose in her. She resisted it, for it would give away too much of how she was affected.

Never show your feelings.

He traced his thumb along her lower lip, slowly, deliberately, as he studied her with eyes that now glittered with something powerful and predatory. Heat pooled in her pelvis, low and spreading even lower.

She went weak all over, as if she’d lain in a sunny window seat for too long. Her knees almost buckled. She forced them to lock. To be strong.

It should not have affected her so profoundly. It had been just a peck—not a true kiss at all. William had poured out all of his skill upon her and hadn’t garnered even a tenth of the reaction in her that this man’s peck had.

Ruel traced her jaw line with his fingertips. Unthinkingly, she leaned in to his touch.

“Of course, once he has kissed her, then it’s his turn to wonder…” His voice sounded unnaturally loud in her ears. “How will she respond? Will she withdraw, or can he ignite some hidden fire?”

She sensed that he was toying with her. She didn’t understand flirtation—why had she imagined she could carry off this ruse? Was he making advances in order to have a laugh with Francesca and her simpering friends later? Hurt blossomed in her chest. She resented him for that. She ought to feel indignant, superior, uncaring—anything but hurt.

“Please don’t make sport of me.”

She cringed. Was that quavering, pleading voice really hers?

An infinitesimal pause. “Now, why on earth would I do such a thing?” His voice was as smooth as velvet.

“To please your vanity,” she replied, trying to regain her wits.

“Here.” He placed her hand to his chest. The contours of his muscles were hard, powerfully developed. Even more so than she’d expected. His body heat radiated through the satin and, beneath her hand, his heart’s beat was rapid and strong.

“Is that vanity?” He put a finger under her chin, giving her no choice but to face him. “Is it?” He gentled his grip.

The warmth in his voice settled over her like luscious hot chocolate. Melting her insides to quivering burgoo, rendering her speechless, unable to move.

“My dear, lovely Lady Cranfield, I am going kiss you again.”

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Escape into the past with intensely erotic, emotionally driven love stories. Natasha Blackthorne writes character-focused historical erotica romance featuring strong internal conflicts. Her stories are most frequently about the intimate journey of the characters as they learn to open their hearts to love.

Her heroines are not perfect ladies. They are wildflowers and wallflowers who enjoy flirting with the forbidden. Whether they are bold or shy, her heroines’ strong desires and deep emotions drive the plot and drive their heroes to the point of no return.

 

GIVEAWAY!!!

 Enter to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card. The giveaway is open to all current USA residents who are aged 18 or older. Please fill out the Rafflecopter below. By entering to win, you are stating that it is legal for you to enter such contests where you currently reside. Giveaway ends: 12 AM Eastern Time on June 30, 2014.

 

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A Measured Risk@ 800-72 dpi low res

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@Nblackthorne Shares Her Latest #Erotic #Regency #Historical

I’m very excited to open up Behind Closed Doors again this week for a fellow author and dear friend Natasha Blackthorne.  After several published books under her belt, and more than a little bit of prodding from yours truly, she’s finally jumped on into the world of self-publishing.  Today she shares an excerpt from the first chapter of Her Mystery Duke. 

If you love erotic Regency historicals, you’ll want to have this one for your collection of MUST READS. Natasha’s heroine is also like me—a bit curvy in all the right places—what’s referred to as a “Rubenesque heroine.” She’s the epitome of the classical beauty. She’s big, beautiful and ALL woman. More and more writer’s are choosing to write about heroines (and heroes) with a bit more meat on their bones. Ms. Blackthorne happens to place her characters in a fabulous historical setting completing the overall fantasy package. I’m sold already. How about you? Would you like to learn more?

Here you go my little chickadees. Enjoy!

Blurb

Her Mystery Duke CoverIs he insane? Or is he the answer to all her naughty dreams?

Jeanne Darling spent her adolescence coping with her father’s increasing illness and insanity. Left alone by his death and plunged into poverty, she did what she had to do to survive. Now still reeling from the overwhelming physical and emotional demands her father’s care required, she values her peace above all. She doesn’t need anyone or anything except her writing and the safety of her rented garret chamber. She’s about to rise above her past and create financial independence for herself. What she absolutely does not need is the mysterious and possibly insane stranger who walks into the coffee shop and into her life.

David Somerville, the Duke of Hartley, has known pain and betrayal from the people closest to him. Born to privilege, power and wealth, and filled with idealistic vision for humane change, he gives all of himself to his political career. He keeps his life circumspectly under control. But one day, all the carefully arranged threads of his life unravel and his life intersects with Jeanne’s in a way that challenges his view of everything he thinks he knows.

Leagues apart in society, they can have only one possible future, that of protector and mistress. And neither wants to risk deeper connection. However, their overwhelming attraction and resulting sexual games provide them with pleasures neither of them has ever known. Will their sensual journey lead them to discover a more emotionally profound side to domination and submission? Or will their seemingly insurmountable differences and passionate personal goals drive them apart?

Reader Warning: Her Mystery Duke is a work of historical erotic romance. It is not meant to be a guide to or an accurate portrayal of modern BDSM lifestyles or practices. This story contains graphic descriptions of sexual acts and frank sexual language. It also contains light bondage, anal play, sexual toys, cunnilingus, fellatio, masturbation, voyeurism and spanking. Please be aware, there are no scenes of ménage or sexual sharing in this story.

 

Chapter 1

Indecent. The tall gentleman’s stare was the most blatantly indecent assault Jeanne had ever encountered. Deeper than intense. Intimate, as if he knew everything thing about her.

That penetrating gaze set her palms sweating and made her mouth dry. It was a direct threat. No one could possibly know her. She kept herself too well protected, hidden beneath layers of aloof disinterest. Yet she found herself unable to look away. She just sat there and let that gaze burn her. Burn through the wall she kept between herself and the world. It even seeped under her skin and melted her blood into warmed honey.

A single pane of rain-splattered glass separated them. The thudding of her heart in her ears blocked out the sounds from the common room of the coffee shop and created a sense of isolation.

He wore no hat and his hair lay plastered like spilt black ink streaked across his high, broad forehead. Rain dripped over hard chiseled cheekbones, down an aquiline nose and square jaw, over shoulders that were made even more impossibly broad by a dark blue greatcoat.

He was like something from a dream. A harlot’s very naughty dream.

Oh really. A handsome, mysterious stranger, one who was intensely interested in her and seemed to know all about her? Her imagination was running away with her, taking a life of its own. She closed her eyes and shook her head slightly. The wine hadn’t been that strong as to make her conjure carnal fantasies in mid-afternoon. In public. She dared to look again.

The tall gentleman was gone.

There, see? An author of fairy stories couldn’t be fooled by a waking dream. And yet cold, heaviness sank through her insides, a feeling of loss. How utterly ridiculous. Irritated with herself, Jeanne bent over her mug, inhaling the fruity, spicy scent of mulled wine, and listened to the low rumble of conversations around her. Mrs. Roberts had a new blue bonnet and she was preening like a peacock. Mr. Taylor announced to his friends that he’d just become engaged to Miss Smith and his companions were alternately ribbing and toasting him.
Once a week, she ventured from her garret to this little coffee shop to be among people, as an observer. A customer, keeping a protective distance.

“Miss Darling.”The slightly nervous, boyish voice broke into her peace. “You usually come here on Saturday.”

She forced the irritation from her expression and looked up to meet his freckled face. “Yes, Paul, this week I decided on a change.”

She kept her tone cool and polite, as always.

Mr. Ratherford, her publisher, had sent a note, informing her that she must present herself at his offices and bring the fairy tales he’d requested. As an author of children’s stories, she’d been working for months on the stories but she still had one more story to write, the grand finale in a leather bound volume of the stories that she hoped to have printed. However, she’d been unable to write for several weeks. The harder she tried to create a story, the less she liked anything she wrote. Today, that note had put her into a state of desperation. She’d come here to try and stimulate her mind. It had worked a little too well judging from the daydream of the handsome, mysterious stranger.

“A special occasion?” Paul’s words cut into her thoughts again.

Oh bother! She took a deep breath and struggled to find more patience. Once Paul Cook started, he never let up. But he was just a boy, and a kind one at that. She bit back an impatient response.

Her concentration, her peace, however: they were gone. Never mind. The wind was howling with more intensity outside, and the winter’s day was growing dark far too early. It was time to leave.

As she reached down to retrieve her reticule, the odor of wet wool intruded on her senses, mingled with the citrus-soapy scent of a gentleman’s shaving lotion. A body close to hers. Too close. She jerked her head up and faced a waking dream.

His greatcoat was opened to reveal a fine, silk, embroidered waistcoat that encompassed a broad chest, which narrowed into a flat-as-boards stomach. Water dripped from his hair, leaving wet spots on his hopelessly crushed cravat. He didn’t seem to be aware of his dishevelment.

She met his eyes. His gaze intensified, turning to brilliant, intimidating greenish fire, like an emerald catching the sunlight. Thick, dark lashes and heavy black brows made the color appear even richer.

“Thérèse.”
His voice was deep yet hushed and utterly masculine. It sent another curl of heat through her, stronger, penetrating all the way down from her chest to her navel and into her womb. However, it was the note of despair that made her catch her breath.

Pressure swelled in her throat, a pang of sympathy. Sympathy for others was the most dangerous emotion of all. It could lead one to make painful, unwise sacrifices.

She’d never had such an immediate reaction like this to any man. Tingles raced from her midsection to her toes, not arousal this time but an urge to run. He was dangerous.

And Thérèse? Clearly he was grossly mistaken. Or foxed.

She stood, then took a deep breath, released it and raised her brows up in a haughty mask.“Pardon me, sir?”

His expression sharpened. He took her arm, harshly. “Don’t toy with me.”

She pulled back and he tightened his grip. His hand was large. His hold stronger than any gentleman she’d known.

He leaned so close she could have brushed her lips against his. “Don’t pretend that you don’t know me?”

His deep, hushed voice sent pleasurable shivers through her but Jeanne pushed the sensation aside. As his breath wafted over her, she inhaled deeply but couldn’t detect any odor of spirits. Prickles raced over her scalp like a thousand needles.

Perhaps the gentleman wasn’t in full control over his mental faculties. Dear God. Just like Papa. She’d spent her youth caring for her father in his varying stages of insanity. Life with him had become a prison. Since his death, she had lived in fear of the unbalanced. Now she’d become the target of a stranger’s madness. Another series of prickles raced over her scalp.

She met the stranger’s gaze levelly. “What’s your game?”

“Thérèse, don‘t be this way.” His whisper, laced with steel, was so low, that she unwittingly leaned closer. “We needn’t make any dramatics here. We’re going home.”

This near to him, Jeanne noted the glassiness of his eyes. Again, she sniffed. No hint of alcohol. But then again, having experienced all of Papa’s variances of sanity, she had an instinct for spotting others who were likewise afflicted. This man was definitely afflicted in his mind.

This was the exact situation she always dreaded. Since her girlhood, she always watched others, seeking any sign of madness. She’d had to cope with Papa, that had been her duty, but she was always careful to keep others who showed any inkling of mental instability at a safe distance. How stupid of her to have let herself be distracted by this man’s masculine beauty.

Angry at herself, she jerked her arm, trying once again to free herself. His grip remained relentless.

“Thérèse!” Again, the low steely whisper. “Behave yourself.”

How unwise of her. An insane person could react unpredictably. She ought not provoke him. Yet she knew it was important to present a strong, confident front.

“Sir, I am not your Thérèse and have no wish to be. So please unhand me.” Her heart was hammering at her chest wall so violently, she had trouble keeping her voice even. She lifted her chin and stared at him steadily. “Now.”

“You are deliberately pushing me, Thérèse. I don’t appreciate it.”

Boots sounded on the floorboards. The sound drew her attention to how quiet the public room had become. She glanced around. The other patrons were staring.

“Miss Darling, is everything all right?”

The tall gentleman turned to Paul and regarded him with an icy, haughty stare. “The lady is a friend. Please go back to your counter and mind your business.”

At the velvet over iron tone, the young man’s eyes grew round. He took one step backward and then another, then stood looking uneasy.

“Are you having a spot of trouble here, Miss Darling?”

Jeanne turned to face the shop owner, a large, barrel-chested man.

The stranger exhaled long and loud. A sound of complete exasperation. “As I told the boy, the lady is a rather close friend. I would appreciate a little privacy.”

The shop owner turned to her. “Miss Darling?”

Her heart froze and her chest constricted. She placed a hand to her throat. She didn’t know what to say.

“The gent don’t look right to me.”The owner’s wife squinted at the stranger.

Jeanne glanced at the gentleman’s handsome profile and the proud jut of his jaw. He gazed at her sideways and she caught her breath. There was something about that brief gaze. A lost, disorientated air. Just like Papa when he had been in one of his worst spells and he was trying to hide it by acting arrogantly assertive.
But she had seen. The stranger was truly not in his right mind.

He swayed then braced his hands on the back of the chair and caught himself. Arrogance fell over his face like a mask.

Jeanne’s throat ached. He was so vulnerable. So alone.

Mrs. Cook motioned to the chair Jeanne had vacated. “Sir, you better sit.”

The gentleman stared at the matron, well, rather he glowered down his nose at her. “If you please, the lady and I have some personal business to attend to.”

His eyes jerked from side to side. At the alarming motion, Jeanne started.He seemed to lurch forward. She looked down and saw his hands gripping the chair back. The knuckles were white. The ache in her throat increased.

“Paul.”

Jeanne glanced back at Mrs.Cook. The woman wrinkled her forehead. “Go fetch Dr. Miller.”

Paul walked to the door.

“Quickly now.” Mrs. Cook’s voice carried urgency and she made a shooing motion.

A doctor.

Memories rose in Jeanne’s mind. Her father screaming, his face contorted in torment as the doctor painted yet another mustard plaster on his skin in an attempt to draw the poisonous humors out. The endless purges and emetics. None of it doing anything to cure Papa’s mad fits and mental lapses. And then finally, the insane asylum.

But that was how people dealt with madness. It would be how they would deal with this obviously touched gentleman. As if her stays had suddenly shrunk, her chest constricted. No, no, it wasn’t her place to step out of her way to aid this gentleman. He wasn’t her responsibility. She owed him nothing. Her breathing came shorter, faster. It wasn’t safe to stick one’s neck out. And yet the words rose. She tried to hold them back but they burst out, “There‘s no need for a doctor.”

Mrs. Cook frowned deeper. “But he called you Thérèse, that’s a French girl’s name, not yours.”

“He is calling me by my middle name.” Jeanne held her breath and waited to see if this lie would be accepted.

Mrs. Cook blinked several times. “You have a French middle name?”

“Yes. My mother’s mother was French.” Another lie.

The matron’s eyes narrowed. “Just how does this gentleman know you? He seems very well off to be on familiar terms with a decent girl from around here.”

Jeanne caught herself biting her lip. She quickly released it and gave the first answer that came to mind. “He’s my cousin, on my mother’s side, twice removed.”

Again, Mrs. Cook blinked a few times. Then her mouth twisted until she looked like she’d just tasted a particularly sour lemon.

“My cousin is not well.”

“Apparently. More likely drunk as a lord.” Mrs. Cook’s tone became sourer than her expression. “I don’t like this.”

“Pardon me?”Jeanne tried for genteel outrage.

Mrs. Cook’s tone became sharper. “I have known you since you started coming here on Saturdays with your Papa. I always thought you were such a dedicated daughter. A good girl. But I don’t like having fancy pieces courting trade in my shop.”

“Mrs. Cook, this man is my cousin.”

“A wealthy relation who didn’t help you when your dear Papa was ill?”

“My cousin was out of the country at that time—he was in India, making his fortune.”

Mrs. Cook looked from Jeanne to the gentleman and back. Several times. “I don’t see any family resemblance.”

Jeanne swallowed against a tightening throat. Could everyone hear the pounding of her heart? “I favor my father’s side. H-he is my cousin.”

Her voice came out so strained that she cringed internally.

The matron’s expression hardened. “I think you met this gentleman under less than respectable conditions. Perhaps in a place where you’re known by a false name, a fancy French name to make yourself sound more interesting to wealthy gentlemen.”

Jeanne’s mouth dried and anxiety twisted her insides. “That’s not how it happened.”

“I’d appreciate if you took your cousin and left. I’d also appreciate if you never came back. I run a decent shop here, not a place of disorderly assignation.”

Jeanne sucked in a deep breath. That had hurt. More than she wished to admit. This was her place of comfort and respite when her isolation became too much. And she was a horrible liar. But what else could she have done? Consigned this gentleman to Bedlam? Oh God. She’d known he was dangerous. Why hadn’t she listened to that inner voice?

She glanced up at the gentleman. He was gazing at her with an odd, confused expression. Were his eyes a bit glassy? Might he be ill, instead of insane? Surely, if he were that ill, he’d be in bed.

She reached a hand to him. “Let’s leave.”

The gentleman released the chair then took her hand and laced his fingers with hers as naturally as if he’d always done so. “Come, Thérèse.”

They walked sedately out of the coffee shop, just like that, with their gloved hands intertwined.

The rain had let up yet the wind still gusted. With her free hand, she readjusted her scarf. His hold remained firm on her hand until they had traveled a block away. The strength of his grip sent prickles of fear darting into her. He could easily overpower her, if his insane whim so dictated.

He stopped just as they were about to turn the corner, and he looked down at her. A slight smile softened his mouth. “My darling.”

Dear heavens, he was such a gorgeous man. Dangerous, utterly dangerous. But he was still a madman. Any sensible person knew well to be frightened of the insane, she more than anyone. She returned his smile but only to placate him.

“Are we headed in the proper direction for the mews?” he asked.

“Yes, we are. They are just down this street and to the right.”

“Esau has the carriage there.”

Well, there it was. She’d done her part keeping him out of the clutches of an overzealous doctor. God and this Esau fellow would have to watch over him now. She wasn’t about to get anywhere near his carriage and risk him shoving her bodily into it.

She offered another, hopefully warm, smile.

She must have succeeded for he relaxed his grip on her hand and they resumed walking. As they rounded the corner, she slipped her hand from his.

And ran.

“Thérèse!”

Her heart pounded and she ran faster.

“Stop, please. For the love of God!” His tone was hollow with desolation. Her sympathy panged her yet again. Unwittingly, she glanced over her shoulder.

Wind whipped the gentleman’s dark forelock. He leaned against a street lamp, one hand holding his side. He appeared to be panting for breath, his expression a mask of loss and despair.

Just like Papa. She’d seen those emotions on her father’s face too many times. But the expression appeared so out of place on such an arrogant, masculine face. Her heart constricted. She turned to face the direction she was running and put all her energy into it.

Something came between her foot and the pavement. She lost her balance and fell forward. As the bricks rose to meet her, she threw her hands out to brace her fall. She cried out then reeled from the fall. Her arm began to burn like fire. She knew she wouldn’t be able to run easily for much longer.

She hauled herself to her feet and scanned the shop fronts.

Mrs. Mason’s Bakery.

Relief washed over her. Mrs. Mason had always been friendly. She had even given her day-old bread, on days when she couldn’t pay.

She darted into the shop and the scent of baking bread and spicy cinnamon and apples comforted her.

“Good day, Miss Darling!” Mrs. Mason sang out. “What shall it be today?

“I think I shall have whatever smells of apples and spice.”

“You sit and I’ll bring it right out.”

Jeanne sank into the nearest chair. Moments later, Mrs. Mason brought hot tea and apple pie. But Jeanne found the pie tasted like ashes and could only manage a few tiny bites. Unable to stop twitching and fidgeting, she kept catching herself glancing back at the window.

She jerked her head away.

No, don’t look. He is not your affair.

She forced herself to focus on Mrs. Mason’s steady chatter. The wind made a long, low, threatening howling sound. Such a dreadful day. What about—

No, he isn’t your responsibility.

A loud crash seemed to rumble through her body and shake her bones and resound in the pit of her stomach.

What happened? An accident? A carriage trying to avoid a disorientated pedestrian and yet hitting them all the same?

She jumped to her feet and rushed to the window. Some crates had blown over. Men were shouting and running about. The sky had grown darker.

Against all her caution, her gaze was drawn back to the direction whence she had come.

Oh God, there he was, staggering down the street in a wavering pattern. For such a stalwart-looking man, the gentleman walked so oddly, so slowly. Had he been in the war perhaps and suffered some irreparable head injury that had left him this way?

Almost completely in front of the shop, he glanced up. He had that lost, desolate look.

Her throat burned.

His gaze sharpened. Honed in on her.

Oh, damn. How stupid of her. Of course, he’d seen her at the window. She stepped back several paces. But it was too late. He began walking toward the door.

“Isn’t it just dreadful weather, Miss Darling?” Mrs. Mason exclaimed. “My Ben can take you home in the gig later, if you like. Come sit back down and have a chat.”

Jeanne didn’t answer, her gaze was fixed on the gentleman as he reached for the door. He was coming in. And he looked absolutely furious, in a cold, controlled way that was all the more frightening. Her hand flew to her mouth to stop the cry of protest that sprung from the depths of her and she backed away from the window.

The little bell tinkled as he entered, an incongruously gay herald. His eyes blazed into hers. She gave a little squeak and took several steps backwards until her bottom hit one of the display cases.

* * * *

Her Mystery Duke Cover

Where to Find Her Mystery Duke

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Special message from Natasha: As a bonus, two erotic Regency era romances from my backlist, A MEASURED RISK and GREY’S LADY, are both on sale at Amazon and All Romance E-Books for .99 for a limited time.

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About the Author

Natasha writes emotional, evocative, erotic historical romance featuring non-traditional and unconventional situations. Her stories are most frequently about the internal journey of the characters as they learn to open their hearts to love.

Her heroines are not perfect ladies. They are wildflowers and wallflowers who enjoy flirting with the forbidden. Whether they are bold or shy, her heroines’ strong desires and deep emotions drive the plot and drive their heroes to the point of no return.

“I haven’t been disappointed with a Natasha Blackthorne historical romance as of yet…the men, yes..they are strong and dominant, but they also support their women in everything. These men are written with strength and purpose… Thank you Natasha for helping me love historical romance once again.”— Salacious Reads

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Natasha Blackthorne interviews me today

Kongsky/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Not too long ago, I was honored to have the author of Grey’s Lady visit both of my blogs.  Now it’s her turn to change things up.  She interviews me today about what inspires me on a daily basis, why I write and my characters in For the Love of Quinn.  Natasha gets me to open up a little about my private life and how I finally found my Knight in Shining Armor!

Stop by and say hello!

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Grey’s Lady temptress opens up to Author Natasha Blackthorne

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?

Oh, you ask what about the gentlemen? Ha! The gentlemen. They are the very worst.

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.”

“Then what?”

“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.”

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Be sure to stop in at Not Enough Time in the Day for more insight into Grey’s Lady from author Natasha Blackthorne.