A KISS OF LIES
Desperate to escape her abusive past, Sarah Cooper disguises herself as a governess in the employ of Christian Trent, Earl of Markham, a man she once fantasized about marrying. A governess, however, has no business in the arms of an earl, and Sarah must resist her desires—or risk revealing dangerous secrets. Before the horrors of Waterloo and his forcible removal from England, Christian enjoyed the company of any woman he chose. Now he believes he will never be happy again . . . until Sarah sparks his heart back to life, and makes him remember the man he used to be.
A PROMISE OF MORE
When Beatrice Hennessey confronts the rogue who killed her brother in a duel, she intends to blackmail him into a marriage of convenience. But while greeting his ship, Beatrice takes a tumble into the Thames—only to be fished out by a pair of strong masculine arms that belong to Sebastian Hawkestone, Lord Coldhurst himself. To both their surprise, Sebastian finds the proposition quite agreeable. A wife who hates him is far too sensible to expect romance. However, it isn’t long before Sebastian’s plan unravels in the exhilarating undertow of seduction.
A TOUCH OF PASSION
When high-spirited Lady Portia Flagstaff takes one unnecessary risk too many, she’s kidnapped and sold into an Arabian harem. Now her freedom depends on the deliciously packaged Grayson Devlin, Viscount Blackwood, a man who despises her reckless ways—and stirs in her a thirst for passion. Years ago, Grayson Devlin promised Portia’s dying brother that he’d always watch over his wayward sister. But Grayson’s dashing rescue has unleashed an unforeseen consequence: marriage. Now it isn’t just Portia he must protect . . . it’s his battered heart.
Praise for the Disgraced Lords series
“Bronwen Evans’s historical romances always make the top of my reading list!”—New York Times bestselling author Jen McLaughlin
“This tale is poignant, heartwarming, and readers may be reaching for the Kleenex once or twice before the breathtaking ending.”—RT Book Reviews (4 1/2 stars), on A Kiss of Lies
“A page-turning, sensual adventure.”—New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Boyle, on A Promise of More
“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
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
London, England, November 1815
If not for the fact that the rage-filled voice bellowing in his ear was speaking English, Christian Trent, the Earl of Markham, might have thought he was back in France.
Certainly the press of cold steel at his throat flooded his brain with memories of the war: nightmarish memories, pain-filled memories. Memories he fervently tried, but hopelessly failed, to forget.
Experience had taught him that when one was in such a precarious position, with a sword at one’s windpipe, with the identity and reasoning of the attacker unknown, one was wise to act cautiously.
Without moving a muscle he pried an eye open and tried to focus on the person who was holding the deadly weapon at his neck. The slight movement of his eyeball sent pain stabbing through his head. His mouth tasted like sawdust. Christ, he must have drunk more than he thought last night.
“I repeat, get up!”
To emphasize his request, the attacker’s sword point pierced Christian’s skin. A small trail of warmth trickled down his neck.
In a ghostlike voice, so as not to disturb the pounding in his head, Christian answered, “How can I get up with that sword at my neck? I might still be half foxed, but I have enough wits about me not to push myself upon your weapon,” and with his hand he batted away the blade.
The sword immediately swung back into place.
As lethal as the sword itself, the voice uttered, “That would save me the bother of killing you.”
For a split second Christian welcomed the idea of death before he doused it with an exhaled breath.
He ignored the cannonballs rioting in his head as he twisted and turned, desperate to untangle his limbs from the satin sheets wrapped around his naked body. He did his best to ignore the dizzying weakness his movements evoked. The headache had him willing the contents of his stomach to stay down.
Where was he? The brothel? He recalled he’d paid for a woman. He knew she’d shared his bed. He could smell her lingering scent.
He drew a deep breath and calmed his mind. He had always prided himself on his ability to use his brain more effectively than any weapon to get himself out of predicaments.
“You’re a perverted reprobate,” his attacker sneered.
He tried once more to rise. There was no doubt he’d rather collapse back into a drunken slumber, but through the degrading sickness, his body prickled with stark unease. It was like a second sense, and it had saved his life many a time before.
A movement in the shadows alerted him to a second man’s presence. This silent enemy moved across the floor to throw the curtains wide. Sunlight bounced off mirrors positioned strategically around the room, stabbing at Christian’s eyes like a sharp hunting knife. Christian put his hand up to ward off the sun’s blows.
The presence of the men in his room indicated he didn’t have the luxury of being able to lie down and resume his sleep. So much for drink-inspired oblivion. He’d not endured two years on the battlefields of France to die in a brothel in his own country. Clutching the sheet to his body, he swung his legs over the side of the bed and attempted to lever himself up, gritting his teeth against the hammering in his brain.
He clamped down on his rising panic. Panic did not serve anyone. Fear was the enemy. He’d learned that many times on the battlefield.
“You’ll pay for what you have done.” The second man’s voice indicated he liked to smoke—it was thick and gravelly. Like smoke, his anger was barely contained.
Christian’s throat constricted, as if the proverbial noose were tightening around his neck. He didn’t need a sword under his chin to understand that these men were serious.
His mind quickly evaluated the likely avenues of escape. The windows were the closest options. Although the room was on the second story, if he jumped, he could land safely on the hedgerow beneath. Alternatively, the bedchamber door was wide open, so if he could slip past both men, he could make it down the servants’ stairs.
He was still at the brothel. The Honey Pot was high-class, and even though he’d been a frequent customer there since his return from the war, he had never, ever slept here.
He rubbed the back of his neck. What had happened last night?
Anger cleared the fog clinging to his brain, but only for a second. He ruthlessly clamped down on his temper. Anger was a weakness. When consumed by anger, men lost control. As a child he’d watched his father repeatedly lose control. His father’s rages turned him into a man Christian did not recognize, and as a boy he’d suffered from the consequences. Besides, it led men to make impulsive decisions, and he was anything but impulsive. “Other than taking a little pleasure in this miserable world, what exactly do you—” He paused. “—gentlemen think I have done?”
“Pleasure? Pleasure?” The sword finally swung away as the man’s anger overcame him, and he gestured wildly. “Pleasure? You brought a young, innocent girl here—here!—and defiled her,” he bellowed.
Christian’s fists clenched the sheets. His voice held steady, his tone even. “I beg your pardon. Brought a girl here . . . ? I did no such thing. I’ll call out any man who utters such scandalous allegations.” But because he was not stupid, Christian felt his world slipping out from underneath him.
He’d changed at Waterloo, and not just physically. The puckered, reddened flesh of his neck, upper right arm, and torso was a constant reminder to him, and everyone else, that he was no longer the man he once was. The ugly burns on the right side of his face twisted his mouth and eye, making him a monster. But it was his inner soul that had changed the most. He’d grown sick of the pain, the pity, and the nightmares. At first, the laudanum he took was a necessity due to the agony of his burns. Now he used the drug not only to dull the lingering pain of his wounds but also to soothe his inner torment. The memories of the flames peeling his skin haunted him still. . . .
He’d been weaning himself off the opiate gradually—had he overindulged last night? He swore under his breath.
Why couldn’t he remember?