Author: Jade Lee
Series: Rakes and Rogues, #2
Pubdate: December 1st, 2015
As the illegitimate son of a duke, Bramwell Wesley Hallowsby grew up tough, on the fringes of society, learning to hide his hurt and cynicism with charm and Town polish. He’s carved out a place for himself as a mercenary, serving as bodyguard and general strong arm for the peerage. Bram has nothing to lose… and he’s exactly what Maybelle “Bluebell” Ballenger needs.
Meets his match in a blue-eyed beauty with everything to hide
Maybelle needs a mentor to teach her to speak and act like a lady, so she can claim the place in society she was denied. As they team up to take on the ton, Bram knows she’s hiding something even from him. Despite the deception he sees behind those sparkling blue eyes, Bram wants to believe that Maybelle’s love is no lie. But it seems fate has served him up his just desserts in the likes of this determined damsel.
A Word From Jade Lee:
After a country disaster with the pig, our hero has gone to the creek to bathe. Our heroine, nicknamed Bluebell, has creeped to the water’s edge to watch and gotten caught.
“Widow Dwight said you were a fine fig’ man. I wanted t’ see.” She got it all out on a rush.
He smiled at her, the expression slow and wicked. “Slow down your words, Bluebell. Ladies speak slowly.”
She stared at him, confused by his actions. He was just standing there, his back to her as he talked over his shoulder. Wouldn’t most men at least crouch down into the water?
“I wanted to see if she was right,” she said excruciatingly slowly.
“And is she?”
He was teasing her, challenging her to admit her interest. She knew it was a game to him, and yet she found herself responding nonetheless. “I ’aven’t see the front o’ ye yet.”
“Say it correctly.”
“I ain’t a lady yet.”
“But you’re practicing. Say it—”
“I haven’t seen the front of you, so I can’t tell.”
“Do you want me to turn around?”
Yes! No! Yes!
“So far you’re not any different from the men I’ve seen afore.” Liar, liar!
“It’s true, the parts are all the same. But I take issue with the idea that I’m not any different. My hair, for example—does everyone’s curl so abominably wild when dry but remain completely flat when wet?”
“Are their shoulders so broad? Their noses so strong?”
He was pointing out all the things she had noticed, though a strong nose was not an asset in her mind. Still, he had a kind of chiseled granite to his features that she found very appealing.
“I didn’t look that closely.”
“I didn’t look closely…at your nose.”
He grinned. And then he dropped more deeply into the water. Gone was his tight bum, gone too were the tiny indents just below his waist. But that was as far as he sunk. And then he turned around.
She gasped and pressed a hand to her mouth to silence the sound. It was too late, of course, but she tried anyway. Especially as her eyes were devouring the sight of the dark hair on his chest. Not as thick as a pelt, but it was slick with water and drew the eye from the widely spaced nipples, narrowing down to his flat stomach, and into…
She could not see more.
“Have you seen a naked man before, Bluebell?”
She nodded without willing it. “I helped the witch-woman for nearly a year until Mama found out and stopped me. But I saw ailing men of all sorts.”
“Truly? For nearly a year?”
She nodded. “Mum had the cough and was sleeping whene’er she could. Hard to keep track of me then.”
“So you took the excuse to play?”
She glared at him. “I worked to pay off the medicines. And I worked to learn ’ow t’ make them meself.”
“How to make them myself,” he corrected.
She grimaced. It was damned hard to keep her words on track when other concerns seemed more important. But she repeated the words slowly with the h.
“Good. Now I’m going to stand up, Bluebell. I’m going to stand up completely and let you look your full.”
She gaped at him. He couldn’t truly mean it, except one look at his face told her he did. “But…” She had no other word.
“But what, Bluebell? It’s not proper? That is decidedly true. In fact, a properly reared young girl would have run away squealing by now. She wouldn’t still be standing bold as brass discussing things with me.”
She thought about it. She didn’t want to, but she couldn’t help wondering what it would be like to finally learn the things married girls knew. A little peek wouldn’t hurt…
USA Today bestselling author Jade Lee has been crafting love stories since she first picked up a set of paper dolls. Ballgowns and rakish lords caught her attention early (thank you Georgette Heyer), and her fascination with the Regency began. An author of more than 40 romance novels and winner of dozens of reader awards, she brings laughter into the sexy nights of England's elite. Quirky characters and sexy banter are her hallmarks. Find out more at her website www.JadeLeeAuthor.com, or check out her wild contemporary half at www.KathyLyons.com.