Book#1 A WILD NIGHT’S BRIDE
What happens when a struggling actress and a grieving widower come together in a night of unbridled debaucheryorchestrated by a bored and machinating rake?
She’s a lonely lady down on her luck : Phoebe Scott, alias Kitty Willis, is a struggling Covent Garden actress with a bruised heart and a closely guarded secret.
He’s steadfast and eminently respectable: Sir Edward Chambers, Ned to his intimates, is guilt-ridden over his beloved wife’s death and avowed to live out a rustic and mundane life … of celibacy.
With the devil in charge — there will surely be hell to pay : Devil in disguise, Viscount Ludovic DeVere, is determined to return his best friend, Ned, to the land of the living. His meddling machinations result in a night of mind-blowing passion after which “dull dog Ned” awakes to find himself in the King of England’s bed!
Prologue St. James, Westminster – 1783
“Ned, you must wake up.” The frantic whisper and tickle of silky hair pleasantly penetrated the periphery of Sir Edward Chambers’ drink-induced, sexually sated and fog-enshrouded consciousness. “Come Neddie,” the soft voice implored. “You must wake or, there will be the devil to pay.”
He groaned, rolling onto his side to the simultaneous awareness of a pounding head and the soft, warm presence beside him. He groped blindly, defining a shapely feminine backside that tauntingly wriggled against his groin, stirring quite another part of him to a wakeful and throbbing state. With a moan, he nuzzled her neck while his burgeoning erection sought the warmth betwixt her thighs. “Annalee, my sweet Annalee,” he murmured into her hair.
The warm, welcoming body became cold stone. “Phoebe,” the voice intoned.
Ned’s bleary eyes popped open, his attention immediately riveted to the massive bed, the heavy velvet curtains of rich crimson and gold, and the towering hand-carved posts of mahogany. He jerked upright as if doused with ice water, his gaze settling on the voluptuous blue-eyed blonde lying amidst the tangle of luxurious linens. “Kitty?”
“No. Phoebe,” she answered. “My name. It’s Pheo-be.”
“Phoebe?” He frowned in puzzlement. His vision darted from his thoroughly tumbled bedfellow to the opulent room. He frantically scrubbed his face and looked wildly about the room, eager to light upon something, anything, to assure himself he wasn’t going mad. The vision of his surroundings sent him scrambling to his knees, entangling him in the bed sheets, and tumbling him to the floor. Lying stunned on the thick Turkish carpet, his confused conscience absorbed the soaring twenty-foot shadow-boxed ceiling depicting classical heroes.
“Kitty, Phoebe, or whoever-the-devil-you-are,” he hissed through his teeth, “This isn’t Carleton House, is it?”
“No,” she answered.
His heart beating apace, Ned willed himself first to breathe and then to modulate a tone verging on panic. “I was with DeVere last night. Where is DeVere?”
“DeVere is locked safely in the linen closet.” She hugged her breasts, her expression suddenly wary. “Don’t you remember anything?”
He vigorously shook his pounding head only to bring forth a chaotic kaleidoscope of last night’s events, and the impossible truth persisted to push its way to the surface.
His eyes glued to the bed, Ned made a mechanical backward retreat to the center of the room where he had a clearer prospect of its crowning glory. His vision rose to the top of the headboard, to the heraldic shield seated betwixt the carved figures of a lion and a unicorn.
His gaze slid with dread to the engraved scroll beneath. ‘Dieu Et Mon Driot,’ God and my right, the motto of the king. His chest seized. The room began to spin.
He looked to Phoebe, aware that the blood was draining from his face, and that his voice emerged as a strangled sound. “May the same God save me…for I’m going to be hung, drawn, and quartered for spending last night rutting in the King of England’s bed!”