Independent and high-spirited, Lady Portia Flagstaff has never been afraid to take a risk, especially if it involves excitement and danger. But this time, being kidnapped and sold into an Arab harem is the outcome of one risk too many. Now, in order to regain her freedom, she has to rely on the deliciously packaged Grayson Devlin, Viscount Blackwood, a man who despises her reckless ways—and stirs in her a thirst for passion.
After losing his mother and two siblings in a carriage accident years ago, Grayson Devlin promised Portia’s dying brother that he’d always watch over his wayward sister. But having to travel to Egypt to rescue the foolhardy girl has made his blood boil. Grayson already has his hands full trying to clear his best friend and fellow Libertine Scholar of a crime he didn’t commit. Worse still, his dashing rescue has unleashed an unforeseen and undesired consequence: marriage. Now it’s more than Portia he has to protect . . . it’s his battered heart.
Look for the enchanting Disgraced Lords series from Bronwen Evans:
A KISS OF LIES | A PROMISE OF MORE | A TOUCH OF PASSION | A WHISPER OF DESIRE | A TASTE OF SEDUCTION | A NIGHT OF FOREVER
And don’t miss her novels in the Imperfect Lords series:
ADDICTED TO THE DUKE | DRAWN TO THE MARQUESS | ATTRACTED TO THE EARL
“The author’s storytelling abilities are top-notch and this book is proof. A fascinating storyline and characters who seem to linger in one’s mind long after the very last page combine in this fiercely romantic and completely enchanting novel.”—RT Book Reviews
“A fast-paced, passionate adventure!”—Gaelen Foley, New York Times bestselling author of The Secrets of a Scoundrel
“Wickedly witty and deeply romantic, A Touch of Passion is full of emotion and rich in sensuality.”—USA Today bestselling author Nicola Cornick
“Bronwen Evans spins a sexy romp in A Touch of Passion, as a lord who doesn’t dare love is locked in passionate battle with a woman who will accept nothing less. And may the best woman win!”—New York Times bestselling author Mary Jo Putney
“A Touch of Passion is everything a historical should be: daringly sexy and romantic as hell. I loved it!”—USA Today bestselling author Delilah Marvelle
“A Touch of Passion is an engaging, adventurous romp that kept me turning the pages all night.”—Sharon Cullen, author of Sebastian’s Lady Spy
“In this book there’s danger and intrigue, desire and love, and a sometimes painful journey for Portia and Grayson to find their happiness together. I’ve loved all of the Disgraced Lords series so far and am eagerly looking forward to A Whisper of Desire.”—Rookie Romance
Includes a special message from the editor, as well as an excerpt from another Loveswept title.
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
London, two years later: December 1815
“Don’t you dare get out of this carriage.”
Portia ignored Rose’s command, one of the few people who could. Not many denied the Duchess of Roxborough when she used that tone of voice. Instead, she continued to stare into the darkening night.
It wasn’t as if they were in the wilds of Scotland. The streets around the Thames and especially where the boats left to row to the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens were teeming with people. Noise, smells, and a brisk breeze swirled around them in comforting normalness. What could possibly go wrong? She’d have her footman with her. Any apprehension churning in her stomach had more to do with whom she was meeting and what his summons meant.
Since Grayson’s return from Waterloo he had been a changed man. Robert’s death and the terrible injuries suffered by Grayson’s friend Lord Markham had destroyed the fun-loving rake. He blamed himself, and Portia knew that wasn’t fair.
Rose added, “I swear I’ll end our friendship. Going into this crowd is foolhardy.”
“Don’t be ridiculous. As if I’d fall for that threat! Since the age of five, when we became friends, you’ve threatened to terminate our friendship too many times for me to take you seriously.”
“Women have been known to go missing from Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens.” Rose pretended to shiver in the confines of Portia’s luxurious carriage. She pulled a fur throw over her knees for effect. “Perhaps I should accompany you?”
Portia would have taken Rose’s warning more seriously if it hadn’t been accompanied by a small giggle. “You’re just as eager as I am to understand why Grayson wants to meet me here of all places.”
“Exactly. Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens is no place for a lady to roam unescorted. I’m surprised Lord Blackwood suggested meeting here. Once you get on the rowboat with him you cannot turn back. Perhaps that is his plan.”
She flashed Portia one of her wicked smiles. “I’m not sure I approve.”
Exasperation bubbled up inside her. “That’s not what you said over half an hour ago. You thought Grayson requesting me to meet him here was a sign he was finally interested. The beginning of a romantic liaison, you said.”
Rose shrugged her delicate shoulders and pulled the fur higher up her body. “I was simply hoping for the best. He’s the reason you’ve reached four and twenty unmarried.”
Thank goodness the dim carriage hid the flush heating her face. “Grayson, along with every other rake in London, is the reason I remain unmarried.” She did not want to admit that the handsome and charismatic Grayson Devlin, Viscount Blackwood, was the only man who made her heart long for more. “I may not wish to give up my freedom in marriage—I see no benefit at all in doing so—but that does not mean I wish to remain ignorant of the joys to be had in this life. You positively glow when a man is sharing your bed.”
“I’m allowed to glow. I’m a widow, remember? Society would unleash holy hell upon you if the unmarried Lady Portia Flagstaff were caught ‘experimenting’ with passion. They already frown upon your occupation with the cider mill, and that is the least of your black marks in their eyes. Don’t annoy the sleeping beast.”
Her cider mill had started as a hobby because she was bored. Now her Garden Cider was sought after in all the fine houses from Somerset to London. The money she made was funding a school for orphans near her family’s estate. Even though she ran the cider mill for charity, society still managed to frown on the fact she insisted on being involved in the day-to-day running of the business. The men did not like that a young woman could set up and run a successful business. They had tried to blacklist her cider; however, it was so good that people bought it anyway.
Portia stared back out into the night, nerves stretched taut. Swinging back to Rose, she said, “Unfair. Just because you married a man old enough to be your grandfather and he had the decency to die not long after, you’re free to enjoy life to the fullest. While I must toe the line of respectability, men can behave virtually however they wish.