It’s release day for A Promise of More, book #2 in my Disgraced Lords series, and my blog tour is under way. I’m running a contest where you can win
1. A $25 Gift Card and an eBook of A Kiss of Lies
2. 3 x bundles of A Kiss of Lies and A Promise of More eBooks
In the second novel in Bronwen Evans’s sexy new Disgraced Lords series, two very independent souls find themselves fighting to resist a deepening passion.
When Beatrice Hennessey sets out to confront Lord Coldhurst, the notorious rogue who killed her brother in a duel, her intent is to save her family from destitution. She’s determined to blackmail the man into a loveless marriage. She’ll make the wealthy Lord Coldhurst pay for the rest of his life. 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 tempt her to stay locked in their heated embrace forever. That is, until she realizes those arms belong to Sebastian Hawkestone, Lord Coldhurst himself.
The little drowned mermaid has an interesting proposition indeed; one that Sebastian is surprised to find quite agreeable. Although he’s had women more beautiful, she is pleasing to the eye, and besides, it’s time he fathered an heir. Beatrice promises to be the ideal wife; a woman who hates him with an all-consuming passion is far too sensible to expect romance. However, it isn’t long before Sebastian’s plan for a marriage of convenience unravels, and he’s caught up in the exhilarating undertow of seduction.
Sebastian studied her steadily and said, “You look absolutely petrified at the thought of sharing my bed. Has no one explained what goes on between a man and a woman?”
Beatrice nodded and looked away. She would have to tell him something. “I had a friend, a very dear friend. She had an experience that wasn’t very pleasant, and her experience has not made me look forward to intimate relations with any man.”
“So you are afraid? This friend of yours, her lover obviously wasn’t very skilled if all she felt was pain. No woman should feel any pain if her lover prepares her correctly.”
Beatrice turned to face him. “I feel inclined to believe you, since many women want to share your bed.”
“Have you never experienced desire? For any man? Or a woman perhaps?”
“Woman?” She puzzled over that while she took a deep breath. “No. I guess I’ve been a coward.”
“You must have been desperate as you broke your rule—you propositioned me.”
She could hardly deny it. “Yes. My family was desperate and I blamed you for our situation.”
“I suppose your father and your brother didn’t help raise your esteem of men in general. Did your mother not have the power to sway your father or your brother at all?”
“No. She had no idea how to manage them.”
Sebastian’s mouth curved cynically; Beatrice instinctively knew he’d never allow any woman to “manage” him. “We should go to bed. We’ve got a big day tomorrow. I’ve agreed to stand up for Christian, but then I’d also like to get back to London as soon as possible.”
Beatrice glanced over her shoulder at the large bed behind her and took a deep breath. She quickly looked back at her husband. Thankfully he wasn’t the man she thought he was, but he was still incredibly dangerous. Apart from his sensual charm and heartbreaker handsomeness, Sebastian Hawkestone possessed a potent quality that beckoned and lured, a compelling vitality that called to everything deeply feminine within her. Despite her fear about what went on in the marriage bed, she was also very vulnerable to him. The last thing she should do was fall in love with, or have feelings for, her husband, the man who made no secret that he despised love. A man who was only looking for someone to bear his children.
“I can see your mind thinking. Don’t let your fear cloud your judgment. You should empty your mind and put your trust in me to show you pleasures you have never dreamed of. Can you do that? For one night, your wedding night, can you trust the man you married?”
Her breath caught in her throat at the images his promise conjured in her mind. That and the seductive sensuality in his eyes held her so spellbound she couldn’t reply.
His gaze dropped to her lips. “Come here, Beatrice.”
She stared at him, still dazed by the seductive tone in his voice.
“You promised to obey me when you married me this morning. Come here. I promise you’ll enjoy it.”
Warily she searched his face, darkened in the shadows, but it was the faint line of stubble along his jaw, lending his handsome features a dangerous intensity, that made her evade his gaze. Sebastian’s vital masculinity didn’t exactly intimidate her, but she would be wise to remain uneasy, for the forbidden sensations he aroused so easily in her both frightened and titillated. The raw, powerful sexuality emanating from him was palpable, the unspoken tension between them very real.
Restless and adrift in unfamiliar sensations, she finally obeyed him and got to her feet, moving across the small space to stand in front of him. He reached out and took her hand and pulled her closer until she was standing between his legs.
“Give me your hand, sweetheart. Touch me . . .” He guided her hand to his face. “I am flesh and blood, just like you. I don’t want to hurt you. I want to teach you all the pleasures that a man and woman can share.”
He made her breathless, fluttery inside. And yet there was something warm and tender in his eyes that doused her fear.
“This doesn’t frighten you, does it?” he asked, drawing her fingers to his lips, letting her touch him there.
“No . . . ,” she murmured truthfully.
He pulled her gently down until she sat in his lap. His strong arms came around her to cradle her tightly against his chest. His face was so close to hers she could see the tiny lines at the corners of his eyes. Laughter lines, her mother would call them, and it warmed her even more. He brought his mouth close to her and brushed her lips with his. They were warm and soft. Soft as the caress of a butterfly’s wing. An unmistakable yearning flooded Beatrice along with an unfamiliar hunger she could only call desire.
She stared at him, dazed, as he drew back.
The husky texture of his voice stroked her as brazenly as the hand that rose to graze the line of her jaw. “Have you never been kissed before?”
She shook her head. His beauty robbed her of all speech.
He brought his head down once more and pressed his lips firmly against her mouth. His kiss was like nothing she had ever dreamed. His mouth was hot, wet, open against hers, bold and excitingly intimate. Her nostrils filled with his scent. Her mouth tasted his brandy flavor as shocking pleasure assaulted her senses.
The kiss went on, and on, and on, until she felt as though she were drowning. Drowning in feelings. Drowning in emotions that she wasn’t sure she wanted to feel. Reluctantly his mouth pulled away from hers, and he drew in a deep breath while capturing her gaze.
“Did you feel that? Did you feel the same fire I did? The signs are all there. Your pulse has quickened, your skin is flushed. Your body responds to mine.”
Her heart racing, Beatrice sat in his arms trying to analyze the perfectly described sensations that were overwhelming her. She couldn’t believe she was indeed feeling this way, experiencing powerful, forbidden sensations for a man she had only known for a day, a man she really didn’t know at all. Never had she had such a primal reaction to a man, and it frightened her. She wanted to feel pleasure but nothing more. With just one kiss she was certain Sebastian could make her feel far too much.
In all her twenty-five years, no man had ever stirred her the way one look from Sebastian could.
His eyes darkened with sensuality like a cloud-covered night. Captivated, she stared into them.
His voice dropped lower. “Shall we retire, my lady?”
She didn’t protest when he stood with her in his arms and made his way across to the bed, which Beatrice eyed with trepidation, her mouth suddenly dry.
He looked down into her face, his gaze locking with hers. “Bridal nerves are not uncommon. I understand your nervousness, but I promise you have nothing to fear.”
“In this area, the intricate workings of pleasure, I curtsey to your experience. I trust you not to hurt me.” Not to hurt me physically, that is, Beatrice added to herself. The man had the power to hurt her emotionally if she let him.
She took a deep breath, chastising herself for being such a mouse. She was the one who had asked to become his bride, and agreed she would share his bed and provide him with children. Now it was her turn to uphold her end of the bargain, especially as it had turned out he was probably not guilty of the crime she’d thought him guilty of.
“Do you know what is supposed to happen between us?” he asked as he gently laid her on the bed.
“As I said before, I have an idea. But perhaps I have not been given the right information. I was told generally what to expect. That I should be prepared to submit and it will be painful the first time in particular.”
His eyes softened. “There will be a brief moment of pain, but after that, I promise you, you will find lovemaking quite pleasurable.”
“Half the women in England would not have rushed to your bed if you were not expert at what you do, my lord.”
“Sebastian. And it has not been quite that many.” His faint smile held more than a hint of charm. “I shall do my utmost to justify your faith in me.”
Beatrice searched his compelling eyes, finding a tenderness there that amazingly reassured her.
“I hope I do not disappoint you,” she said as she looked up into his face.
His brows drew together thoughtfully. “Disappoint?”
“You never wanted to marry me, and for all I know you never wanted to marry at all. I want to try and be a good wife to you.”
“I’m happy with this arrangement. I always knew I would marry and sire an heir. I just didn’t realize it would happen so fast.” A half smile flashed across his mouth before he gave a graceful shrug of his shoulders. “It’s too late now for recriminations or deliberations on our marriage.”
“I regret that I trapped you into an unwanted marriage,” Beatrice replied, her voice rough with emotion. “Especially as it seems I have made a grave error of judgment.”
Sebastian rose over her, the muscles of his arms taut as he leaned above her, commanding her attention. “Let’s not regret the past. We both agreed that we were not unhappy with this marriage. I don’t want to spend tonight dwelling on regrets.” His dark eyes held her spellbound. “Do you think we could make a pact, sweetheart? For tonight we forget everything else, we forget your brother, we forget how it was that we came to be in this position.”
“I would like that.”
“So would I.” His voice was hushed. “This is our night. Nothing exists before or after this moment. Tonight we celebrate our union and start the marriage as we mean to go on. Friends.”
“Yes,” she whispered. Friends would be safest‑for her anyway.
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