Please welcome Ms. Marguerite Kaye to The Wolf Pack today. She was kind enough to let me read and review this hot little number here. I like! Also, she has generously offered up an ebook of BEHIND THE COURTESAN'S MASK to one commenter. Please be sure to leave your email address in the comment.
Behind the Courtesan’s Mask
Troy Templeton, the Earl of Ettrick, has been tasked with the strangest job of his diplomatic career: visit London’s most notorious courtesan, La Perla, to warn off the ambassador’s besotted son. Instead, he’s irresistibly drawn to her beguiling combination of sensuality and unexpected innocence.
Little does he realize that “La Perla” is actually her twin sister, Constance. Staying in her sister’s home, Constance is aroused by its erotic ambience and dreams about the sinful delights that have taken place within its walls. And as La Perla, she can finally experience such pleasure for herself with Troy—if she can maintain the ruse…
Excerpt from Behind the Courtesan’s Mask
“I’ll give you five hundred guineas,” he said casually.
“Five hundred guineas?” Constance repeated faintly, for surely she had misheard.
“For one night with you. The infamous La Perla.”
“But I’m not….” She hesitated, her wits thrown into disorder by the unexpected turn in the conversation. To one whose entire housekeeping budget for the year had been two hundred and five pounds, such a sum was unimaginable. So unimaginable as to seem quite unreal. Was it customary for one to barter over such arrangements? How high would he go? Not that she had any intention at all of accepting, but she couldn’t resist the impulse to discover the value he gave to her company – La Perla’s company.
“You are not what?” Troy asked, becoming impatient.
Constance bit down the bubble of slightly hysterical laughter and managed a very creditable shrug. “I am not available for such a derisory sum.”
“A thousand then.”
She caught her jaw just before it dropped. “Pin money,” Constance heard herself saying, astonished at her ability to dissemble, wondering if this was what Annalisa would do, instinctively feeling as if it was. Across from her, Troy uncrossed his legs. He had good legs. Too many men were either too fat or too thin to wear these knitted pantaloons, but not this man.
“I’m still not interested,” Constance replied, quite intoxicated now with her game, too taken up with it to notice the very real excitement quivering through her body. He really was incredibly well-built, this man who desired her to the tune of fifteen hundred guineas – an astronomical sum. He was not much older than herself, maybe early thirties. His skin would be smooth, not wrinkled like Granville’s. His muscles would feel hard against her skin.
“Two thousand, then. And I know you are interested.”
Low in her belly, a flicker of fire licked its way into her blood. As her gaze clashed with his, she encountered something there that made her shiver with recognition. His eyes were dark pools. Dark as sin. His hair would be like silk to touch. His mouth, that sensuous curve of it, it would be like kissing an angel. Or a devil. Wicked. The fire in her belly licked its sinuous way down. If anyone could show her what true pleasure meant, it would be this man, she was certain of it.
Not that she intended to allow him to do any such thing! But there was no harm in imagining, any more than there was any harm in teasing him a little further. Constance shook her head. “Paltry,” she said, in her best not-interested negotiating voice, the one which she had last used to such good effect when taking her chickens to market.
Troy got to his feet. In one sense, it didn’t matter how much he offered, for he had no intentions of paying up. The idea was to entice her into agreeing, nothing more, suffice to make her see she had been found out, that her vows of fidelity to the poor love-struck boy were worthless.
He would not actually go through with it. Absolutely not. Every fibre of his being should be repelled at the idea of touching her. Of kissing her. Of sheathing himself in her. She sold her body for money. She was haggling with him over the exact amount right at this moment.
And yet, as he ran his fingers down the tender skin of her forearm, his erection strengthened. And La Perla shivered. She wanted him.
©2012 Marguerite Kaye
I had real fun writing this, and if you enjoyed reading it and want to find out how it turns out, I’m giving away a copy of the ebook here. Just leave a comment to enter.
The following restrictions apply:
The coupon has to be used by March 31, 2012. The download is in Adobe epub format. It can only be used on the eHarlequin site. It is valid only for people in North America (US and Canada). Giveaway runs through Friday, March 9.
Behind the Courtesan’s Mask is available as an ebook novella from Harlequin Undone! available from 1st March in North America, and 1st April in the UK and Australia.
You can read excerpts and more from all of my books on my website at www.margueritekaye.com. Or why not join me on Twitter, @margueritekaye or Facebook www.facebook.com/margueritekayepage.