A proper young lady should never attend a Masque...Aphrodite is no lady.
Betrothal to the callous Lord Blackhall painted a future devoid of love. Upon his death, Lady Caroline Wilmont is promised to the younger brother. Caroline refuses to allow her first taste of desire to be at the hands of a man who would rather have any woman but her. This, her last night of freedom, is to be a memory of lust that she can take with her throughout her ...
A proper young lady should never attend a Masque...Aphrodite is no lady.
Betrothal to the callous Lord Blackhall painted a future devoid of love. Upon his death, Lady Caroline Wilmont is promised to the younger brother. Caroline refuses to allow her first taste of desire to be at the hands of a man who would rather have any woman but her. This, her last night of freedom, is to be a memory of lust that she can take with her throughout her loveless marriage. As Aphrodite, Caroline attends a masque determined to find a man to initiate her into the intimacies of erotic love.
Taran Robertson, Viscount of Blackhall, makes no secret that he despises his obligation to marry the Sassenach heiress chosen for him by his father. As a last foray before his wedding, he attends a masque. However, the spirited vixen he meets and seduces has secrets...secrets that just may reveal he’s to have an improper wife.
Award winning author Tarah Scott cut her teeth on books such as The Bobbsey Twins (yes, she is dating herself!) Nancy Drew, Aesop's Fables, The Arabian Knights, and Grimms Fairy Tales. Authors such as Georgette Heyer, Zane Grey, and Mark Twain filled her teenage years. Her favourite book is a Tale of Two Cities, with Gone With the Wind as a close second. Favourite modern authors are Stephen King, Anne Rice, Amanda Quick, and Johanna Lindsey.
Born in New Mexico, Tarah grew up in the Southwest. Fifteen years ago, she relocated to Westchester County, New York, where she and her daughter reside in a lakeside community. When not working, writing, or reading—who are we kidding? She's always working, writing, or reading. Oh! There is her daughter. They do manage to spend a lot of time together.
KyAnn Waters lives in Utah with her husband, two children, and two dogs. She spends her days writing and her evenings with her family. She enjoys sporting events on the television, thrillers on the big screen, and hot scenes between the pages of her books. You can follow her releases at groups.yahoo.com/group/kyannwaters
Despite the crush of people that pressed into the intimate corner of the crowded ballroom, the din faded into the background when Lady Caroline Wilmont allowed the hooded blue domino to draw his cape close around them. She leant against the stone pillar and he rested a muscular arm above her head.
His costume wasn’t original-few at such masques were—but the piercing blue eyes staring back at her from behind the mask offered the hope she could forget the prison that awaited her tomorrow.
Guilt niggled. If her presence at the soiree was discovered...she commanded her nerves into submission. Responsibility be damned. She would leave before the assigned hour of two a.m. when the masks were to be removed. No one would know the future Viscountess of Blackhall had attended a masque. Tonight, she was simply one of the many masked women bent on seduction-and being seduced.
Caroline ducked her head, allowing the locks of her long blonde wig to fall to the sides of her face. A crescendo of violins rose from the orchestra. The beat of her heart matched the trilling vibrato. She turned her face just enough to be able to study her admirer through her lashes. His gaze boldly met hers, then dropped to the draped bodice of her Aphrodite costume. Warmth spread through her limbs and brought a flush to her cheeks.
The rich purple of the long sash around her neck contrasted with the stark white of the plunging décolletage designed to accentuate full breasts, bared to a hint of nipple pink. Her pulse skipped a beat. If she leant forward a hair’s breadth...
The crowd pressed closer, up the two steps that separated them from the dance floor. The masked gentleman’s leg brushed her thigh, revealed by the slit in the costume’s long skirt. She could scarcely believe her luck. A second move, and one so bold this early in the evening. The hour was just before midnight and the more prominent guests had yet to appear. If she had captured his imagination to the extent he would forsake other possibilities, this last night of freedom might cost less than the allotted two hours.
"Your beauty makes me forget my manners," the domino murmured.
She gave a low laugh. "I daresay your manners are impeccable-outside of this room."
His gaze locked onto her mouth. "Do you prefer impeccable manners?"
She drew her bottom lip between her teeth. His eyes darkened, and her heart skittered as he leant into her. Caroline slid around the pillar towards the wall, intending to draw him into a more intimate semblance of privacy. Her hip collided with rounded buttocks. She twisted to the right. A masked joker grinned at her over the head of the lady she had bumped into. He reached out with the hand that was wrapped around the woman’s waist and nipped at the skin just below Caroline’s breast.
She turned back around and got a mouthful of her domino’s hard chest. She snapped her head up, and blue eyes stared down at her in a blaze of desire. She froze as his mouth descended. Soft as velvet, his lips slid languidly over hers. He flicked his tongue against her lips and she breathed in the heavy aroma of cigars, and recognised the pungent taste of brandy. Her uncle smelt of brandy and cigars.
Uncle? She tensed, eyes locked on the domino’s shadowed features. His seductive kiss played on her lips. An unpleasant tremor fluttered in her stomach. Damn her uncle. She closed her eyes tight and focused on the warmth of the domino’s lips. A low groan rumbled from him. Strong, solid arms banded around her and pulled her closer. Caroline concentrated on the feel of her breasts flattened against the hard muscles of his chest. Why didn’t her heart pound, her breath catch, her body yearn for his touch?
Fear surfaced. No. She refused to believe what her betrothed, John, had said only two months before his death. Despite the fact he had come from yet another night of drinking, gaming, and carousing, the accusation that she was a passionless husk had cut deep. The cloying scent of perfume and tobacco that clung to him had reminded her that he felt no regret about going from one woman’s bed to another. But doubt lingered.
She forced back the memory. It wasn’t lack of desire that kept her from enjoying the domino, but the dread of discovery. Once they were alone, she would discover the ecstasy of his lust. Her heart beat faster with the memory of overhearing John speak of how a woman had driven him mad by sucking and licking his cock. She planned to drive this man wild and discover the part of her that ached for a man’s touch.
The domino deepened the kiss and Caroline envisioned him braced over her, hands on her bared breasts, his hard length rubbing against her pussy. Darker features and black hair unexpectedly replaced the fair-haired domino in her mind. A flicker of pleasure tightened her nipples and the desire streaked to the heated petals of her pussy.
Caroline clutched the domino’s shirt. His grip tightened as his tongue curled around hers, tasting, stroking. She slipped her hands between their bodies and pressed against his sternum. The firm, contoured muscles of his chest quivered beneath her fingertips. She liked this, would gladly take him, and yet, she had expected something more.
He drew back and trailed fingers over the thin material of her costume, grazing the edge of her breast. From the corner of her eye, Caroline caught sight of lush, blonde hair piled atop the head of a woman wearing a Marie Antoinette costume. She froze. Only one woman between Newcastle and London had such luscious hair that she needed no wig to play Marie Antoinette. Lady Margaret.
What was Margaret doing here? Earlier that afternoon, when her mama had asked her if she planned to attend the ball, she had claimed to have a headache. She’d told Caroline privately that she found the ton even more tiresome in Newcastle than she did in London. Caroline would never have dared attend the masque in London, where she was sure to be recognised. But her uncle had insisted at nearly the last minute that they oblige her future father-in-law and hold the wedding in the chapel on his estate. So here in Newcastle, she had little fear of getting caught at the party. Her heart sank. Now Margaret had destroyed her last chance for seduction. There was nothing left but to flee.
The blue domino leant forward and whispered in her ear, "Aphrodite."
His breath, warm and eager, brushed the tiny hairs on her skin. A shiver raced along her spine and made her scalp tingle. Yes. This she craved. Damn. Too late, all too late.
The domino withdrew enough to be able to look upon her face. "Perhaps we should find somewhere more private?"
If he had suggested that but five minutes ago! She would throttle Margaret. Caroline lifted a corner of her mouth in a half-smile. "Pray, sir, fetch me a punch. This room is a veritable sweatbox." She ran fingers over the swell of her breasts, wiping a trail in the sheen of perspiration beaded across her skin.
His gaze followed the action, eyes darkening before he returned his gaze to her face and gave a slight bow. "At your service."