Richard, Marquess of Devon is satisfied with his ton marriage. His wife of five months, Lady Eugenia Devon, thought she was, too, until she found the book. Their marriage is one of respect and affection, with no messy entanglements such as love. Devon’s upbringing impressed upon him that gentlemen slake their baser needs on a mistress, not their gently bred wives. However, once married, he was no longer comfortable bedding a woman other than Eugenia. When she stumbles onto a naughty book, she begins a campaign to change the rules.
Lady Eugenia wants her very proper husband to fall in love with her. But her much changed and undeniably wicked behavior might inadvertently drive her confused husband to ponder the unthinkable—his perfect Lady has taken a lover. But the only man Eugenia only wants is her husband. The book can bring sizzling desire to the marriage or it might cause an explosion.
Devon and his valet Jake stood there. Eugenia backed up to allow the two men to enter. Devon’s eyes went directly to her chest. If his eyes grew any wider they would surely pop out of his head. He turned to Jake. “I will be with you in a minute.” Lest the man not understand him, Devon laid his hand on the valet’s shoulder and pushed him toward the door. Eugenia thought for a moment that he would cover Jake’s eyes with his hand.
Once the door closed, Devon marched up to her. “Eugenia, for heaven’s sake what do you have on?”
She raised her chin. “Is there something wrong with my gown, my lord?”
“Not at all. ‘Tis lovely. My question to you, madam, is where is the rest of it?”
Eugenia tilted her head sideways, all innocent puzzlement. “My lord?”
Devon ran his fingers through his hair, turned in a circle, then rested his hands on his hips. “Eugenia. Love. I have never seen you in anything like this. Ever.”
He waved his hands around as if overcome with frustration. “And. And. And. You cannot wear that.” He gestured toward her. “That is not a proper gown for a married woman!”
“Lower your voice, my lord. I am sure the entire household has heard you.” She had the incredible urge to burst into laughter. Today she’d gotten more responses from her husband than she’d had in all the time she’d known him.
Eugenia took another deep breath and Devon’s jaw slackened. “Take that gown off. Now,” he growled.
“I’m afraid I cannot, my lord. The maid has left.”
He grabbed her shoulders and spun her around. With deft fingers he undid the back of the gown. She allowed the bodice to drop, which took the entire gown to the floor in a rush of muslin.
Devon’s hands rested on her shoulders. Her skin burned where he touched her. So rarely had she felt his hands on her bare skin. Her breath hitched as his warm lips met the juncture of her shoulder and neck. She closed her eyes as her insides melted. This was what she’d been longing for.
“You are stunning, Eugenia.” He moved his mouth to the other side and kissed her on the soft skin under her ear. “But you are mine. Only mine.” Her knees weakened and she felt as if she would crumble in a heap like her gown.
“My lord, ‘tis time to dress for dinner.” Jake’s voice came through the door, shattering the aura that had encompassed her. Devon drew back and his hands dropped to his side. “One moment,” he shouted to the door.
He turned her toward him. “You must choose another gown and I will lace you up.” His eyes were dark. A shade she’d ever seen before. She reached out to touch his cheek. The skin was warm, rougher than hers. Her fingers slid to his chin where she dipped her thumb into the indentation there.
“My lord?” The voice sounded through the door.
Devon sighed. “Yes, Jake. I will be right there.”
The mood broken, she pulled open the wardrobe doors and drew out another new gown, just as flattering, but nowhere near as scandalous as the other. She pulled it over her head and turned so Devon could fasten the back.
This time there were no soft kisses, just a quick fastening. Disappointed in the change in her husband, she turned. “Thank you, my lord. I will meet you downstairs.”
Callie Hutton, USA Today bestselling author writes both Western Historical and Regency romance with “historic elements and sensory details” (The Romance Reviews).
Callie lives in Oklahoma with several rescue dogs, two adult children, a daughter-in-law, twin grandsons and her top cheerleader husband (although thankfully not all in the same home!). Living in the Midwest provides plenty of opportunities for Callie do pursue her interests: researching history, meeting readers, spending time with her adorable two year old twin grandsons, and discovering new adventures.
Callie loves to hear from readers and welcomes the opportunity to become friends, both in person or virtually.
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