I recently bought Collette’s book, and I consider myself something of a fan. Her characters are delightful, consistent (it bugs me when characters start doing things that seem so… well, out of character), and her setting? Just gorgeous. So, here you go with a treat from Collette’s latest: The Earl’s Enticement.
Title: The Earl’s Enticement
Heat Level: Sensual
The Earl’s Enticement Cover Blurb:
She won’t be tamed.
A fiery, unconventional Scot, Adaira Ferguson wears breeches, swears, and has no more desire to marry than she does to follow society’s dictates of appropriate behavior. She trusts no man with the secret she desperately protects.
He can’t forget.
Haunted by his past, Roark, The Earl of Clarendon, rigidly adheres to propriety, holding himself and those around him to the highest standards, no matter the cost. Betrayed once, he’s guarded and leery of all women.
Mistaking Roark for a known spy, Adaira imprisons him. Infuriated, he vows vengeance. Realizing her error, she’s appalled and releases him, but he’s not satisfied with his freedom. Roark is determined to transform Adaira from an ill-mannered hoyden to a lady of refinement.
He succeeds only to discover, he preferred the free-spirited Scottish lass who first captured his heart.
“Halloo,” he hollered. “Is anyone there? I’m the Earl of Clarendon. I’m being held prisoner.”
She shook her head, sending him a contemptuous scowl. “Stop shouting, you dolt. It’s but a weasel or a stoat, perhaps even a squirrel. They come in through the drains or gaps where a stone’s gone missing in the wall.”
She motioned with the pistol for him to move away from the door once more. “I’m surprised none have paid you a visit as yet. As for Ewan, he’s away in London, just now.”
With what could only be described as a derisive grunt, Marquardt obliged her and sauntered away from the door. He rested against the far wall, ankles crossed, crunching on the apple.
A muffled thud, as if someone had bumped into something, echoed through the lower chambers.
He perked up. “That was no pest.”
Adaira whirled to peer into the gloom.
“I say, can you hear me? I’m locked in a cell.”
She spun back around.
He’d moved to the door, his hands fisted around the bars. Drat it. She was losing control of the situation. His presence mustn’t be known to anyone other than Brayan yet.
She bent to retrieve the sack. No doubt Brayan had come looking for her at one of her parents’ behest. Marquardt absolutely must not see him. Brayan would boast he’d helped lock the man up. From the sound of the crashing about, he’d sampled the flask a good deal more and was utterly bosky.
“Blast and da—” She stopped as Marquardt’s eyebrows flew to his hairline in obvious disapproval.
Lowering her voice, she hurried on. “Ewan’s expected back any day. When he returns, I’ll tell him I apprehended you. He can do with you what he wants. I’m quite sure it will involve the authorities.”
“Apprehended?” He shook his head. “You’re still sticking to the absurd notion that I’m Edgar?”
He tossed the apple core between the bars. It bounced before rolling to a stop barely three feet beyond her. A rat promptly appeared, scrambling to snatch the core in his pointed, yellow teeth. The little beast raced down the passageway with two other rodents squeaking their outrage in its wake.
Marquardt had done that on purpose, the lout.
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