Lady Marisa Hawkestone’s nightmare is just beginning when she wakes up naked, with no memory of the night before, lying next to Maitland Spencer, the Duke of Lyttleton—a man so aloof and rational he’s nicknamed “the Cold Duke.” A scandal ensues, in which Marisa’s beloved beau deserts her. As a compromised woman, Marisa agrees to marry Maitland. But on her wedding night, Marisa discovers the one place the duke shows emotion: in the bedroom, where the man positively scorches the sheets.
Taught from a young age to take duty seriously, Maitland cannot understand his new wife’s demands on his love and affection. Marisa’s hot-blooded spirit, however, does have its attractions—especially at night. In retrospect, it seems quite silly that he didn’t marry sooner. But being one of the Libertine Scholars requires constant vigilance, even more so when the enemy with a grudge against his closest friends targets Marisa. Now Maitland must save the woman who sets his heart aflame—or die trying.
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
“With complexity, depth, and hot, hot passion, A Whisper of Desire kept my emotions on a roller coaster—and I didn’t want to get off.”—Lavinia Kent, author of Sarah’s Surrender
“If you are a lover of romance and don’t mind a little heat, Evans’s novels are the way to go. She constantly reminds us what passion is all about, and because she is so on point with her facts and lively characters, you just can’t go wrong. Her latest is suspenseful, well written and a great read all around.”—RT Book Reviews
“A must-read . . . delightful . . . I laughed out loud, I cried, I wept and I couldn’t keep the smile off my face.”—Night Owl Reviews (five stars)
“A compelling Regency tale full of passion and danger.”—Fresh Fiction
“This book covered everything, and yet did so in an uncluttered, coherent fashion. I ended up being awake way past my bedtime because I couldn’t stop reading. I’ll be going back and reading the first ones in the series, and I look forward to seeing how the later ones pan out.”—The Romance Factor
“I can’t wait for the [next] books in the series to come out. This is rapidly becoming one of my favourite series out there!”—Kilts and Swords
Includes an excerpt from another Loveswept title.
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“Come, my love, don’t play coy with me. You have teased me mercilessly all evening,” a youthful sounding tenor from the other side of the rosebushes spoke with undisguised eagerness.
Maitland Spencer, the fifth Duke of Lyttleton, sighed and stubbed his cheroot under his expertly polished shoes, counting out the twists—one, two, three—before staring into the dark night.
Was it too much to ask for a quiet moment away from the noise and heat of a crowded ballroom? Lord Dunmire did have an exceedingly beautiful garden. Instead, his peaceful moment was broken by what appeared to be an illicit liaison. He should know; he’d seen his fair share as a member of the Libertine Scholars.
The six lords known as the Libertine Scholars met at school and were renowned for their scholarly brilliance as well as their popularity with the ladies. Four of them were in attendance at the ball tonight.
The ball, held in the large Governor Square townhouse behind him, was enough to send a man mad. Mothers throwing their daughters in his path had driven him to hide in the garden. He was on guard duty tonight, helping his fellow Libertine Scholar Sebastian look out for his sister, Marisa.
An unknown madwoman, intent on destroying the six Libertine Scholars, was still at large. They knew very little about her—only that it looked as if the men were paying for the sins of their fathers.
Some heinous crime, orchestrated by the Libertine Scholars’ fathers, occurred ten years ago. Something terrible was done to this woman and now she was out for revenge. Since their fathers were now dead, the sons had become the targets.
She’d managed to almost destroy Christian, Grayson, Sebastian, and their wives. Sebastian was determined they would not hurt his two sisters, Helen and Marisa.
Sebastian had given Maitland a respite from guard duty, and he’d wanted a peaceful moment to clear his head from all the twittering nonsense and malicious gossip. The constant drivel meant he often had to bite his tongue to stop from issuing very rude and uncivilized responses. He never knew what to say in these social situations. The ton never wanted to discuss the truth of anything, and he couldn’t seem to muster the art of lying. For instance, this evening Lady Arielle had asked him if he liked her new brooch. It was a large gold figurine with a central emerald. Apparently he was supposed to say something, such as that the emerald matched her lovely eyes. His response of “No, it looks like a gargoyle with one eye” wasn’t the done thing, yet it was the truth.
Due to the liaison he’d now have to return to the overheated rooms or announce his presence. Perhaps he’d just go home, but he’d promised his friend Sebastian Hawkestone, the Marquis of Coldhurst, that he’d stand as an extra guard for Marisa.
A woman’s voice on the other side of the rosebushes brought him back to his predicament: Should he stay and hope they left soon, or creep away unnoticed?
“My Lord Rutherford, I’m not sure your intentions are honorable,” and then she giggled. “I’m a tad angry with you. The rumor is you’re going to propose to the Coldhurst chit.” Maitland halted. Rutherford was expected to make an offer for Marisa’s hand.
A rustle of silk followed as if she was pressing herself into his arms. “You’ll find I’m much more woman than that virginal miss will ever be.”
“Charlotte, my love, men do prefer virgins for wives,” Rutherford offered cruelly in response. “Besides, my father told me that one never marries one’s mistress.”
“I prefer the term ‘lover.’ Respectable widows with large estates make even better wives. They know what a man wants in the bedroom, while bringing riches that enhance their husband’s standing, and I know how you need riches.”
Maitland almost found himself nodding in agreement with her practical advice.
“I’m certainly standing to attention at the moment,” Rutherford answered. When no reply was offered from Charlotte, he continued. “The Coldhurst girl brings a very large dowry. The damnation of it all is I only need money until Father turns up his toes. It would appear marriage is the only way to get immediate funds.”
More kissing followed. When they next stopped to grab a breath, Rutherford continued.
“Never fear, even when I wed I intend to carry on my life as usual. The girl’s completely besotted with me, and I give her every reason to think I reciprocate those feelings. She’d never for one moment believe I have a mistress.
Her brother thinks I love and respect her.” Rutherford’s next words made Maitland’s temper, which was usually difficult to rouse, flare to life. “The only reason I’ve agreed to the marriage is to get my father to stop hounding me about producing a future heir, given I’m his only son, and to gain access to my funds. I receive ten thousand pounds upon my wedding day, plus any dowry my wife brings. Father thinks marriage will settle me down.”
“If Lord Coldhurst ever finds out you don’t . . . Aren’t you scared of a duel, especially with a man like the Marquis? He killed young Baron Larkwell in the last one.” She pressed closer. “Besides, I have more money than we’ll ever need. Why not marry me?”
He chuckled. “I do want an heir, my dear. You were married to Lord Marshall for almost seven years and you produced no issue. Plus, you are five years older than I.”
“Age is irrelevant when you’re lying down,” she replied seductively.
“But not when children are required. You don’t have another seven years.”
“You are such a bastard.”
His voice held a smile. “But that’s why you love me.”