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Please be aware that this excerpt contains sensual content that is only suitable for adult readers who are comfortable with frank language and descriptions of erotic scenarios

A Gentlewoman's Pleasure  - click for larger versionBlurb

A long time member of the Ladies' Sewing Circle, bespectacled spinster Lucy Dawson has never had a spicy tale to tell her friends... until the day she tumbles off her bicycle in a country rain storm and is rescued the most handsome young man she's ever seen.

Carried to his cozy secluded cottage, Lucy succumbs happily to the ministrations of this mysterious stranger, and when she wakes up after a restorative doze in his bed, and catches sight of him bathing, well, what red blooded woman wouldn't want to enjoy a better view?

It's only when he seems to sense her scrutiny that she scuttles back beneath the bedclothes...

Available from Barnes and Noble Nook, eHarlequin, All Romance eBooks, Diesel eBooks, Mills and Boon, Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk


The curtain was drawn back, and she could feel his presence at the bedside with every nerve in her body. She could still see a vision of him behind her closed eyelids, tall and perfect, his skin damp from his wash and his male organ half-risen, alert, and pointing her way.

Do something! Do something!

It was an inner scream, but she knew not whether it was to herself or to her silent watcher. Still she feigned sleep, every sinew tense.

His pause seemed to last forever, but then she sensed movement. Before she could discern what she was about, she felt his fingertips at her temples, plucking at her spectacles.

Oh, you dolt, Lucy! You left them on!

Infinitely gently, her rescuer removed the glasses, and she heard him set them on the top of the chest.

He knows… he knows…

But just as she was about to open her eyes, and make a little pantomime of waking up, soft lips settled on her forehead in a feather of a kiss. She smelt soap and mint, and felt the warmth of him wash over her, even though it was only his lips that made contact, and just for a second.

Without thinking, she slid her arms out from under the covers and put up her hands to grasp his shoulders, pulling him back down to her. It was unseemly and dangerous, she knew that, but she simply could not resist his beautiful maleness so very close. Her instinct and her desire were far too strong.

For a moment he resisted her, and in the low light, she seemed to see a blur of confusion in his face.

“I’m sorry, Miss. I didn’t mean to…”

But his protest died as Lucy kept up the pressure, unwilling to let him go. With a soft exhalation, his lips settled onto hers softly and quietly. She felt him take his weight on the bed, resting on one hand and with his free hand he reached to sweep her tousled hair from her brow.

Kiss me! Kiss me harder! Kiss me properly!

As if he’d heard her plea, his tongue stroked the seam of her lips and she admitted him instantly, darting her own tongue forward to greet his. He flicked lightly, probing a little, not forceful, just playful and delicious, as inside, Lucy’s heart roared with triumph. He hadn’t rejected her. He’d matched and met her kiss.

Her body alive with simple pleasure, she wound her arms around him, loving the way he held her too, one hand cradling her jaw, the other sliding around her as he shifted his weight forward to sit on the edge of the bed. The covers slid, and bare skin met bare skin, his like silk, caressing every inch it touched.

They kissed for a few moments, and with every second that ticked by, Lucy wanted him more. She’d been romanced by her sweetheart, the one who’d ever so politely thrown her over for a prettier, better connected girl, and even though they’d never fully consummated their dalliance, there had been some pleasure. And ever since, she’d longed to repeat it with a man.

But just as her hero’s hand slid to her breast, cupping the slight orb and tantalizing its crest with his palm, he stopped, and this time she was too swept away, and off her guard to prevent him pulling away from her.

“Please, no… go on!” she urged, knowing she was wanted, but feeling the crush of disappointment after the sweet and sudden embrace.

Kind hands stroked her hair again, and pushed her back against the pillows, then drew the sheet over her. Lucy shut her eyes tightly, unable to face even the indistinct look of revulsion on his handsome young face.

“Hush… hush,” he murmured, “You’ve had a nasty shock. You don’t know what you’re doing.” He paused, and Lucy braced herself for more words of rejection. “I can’t take advantage of you this way, no matter how much I want to.”

Want to?

Despite the fact that her body was taut with frustration, Lucy’s spirits soared. He did want her. Spectacles, plain looks, shapeless body, and all.

“But what if I wish you to take advantage of me?” Her own boldness made her smile, and she saw the blurred shape of a smile on his face too. “I feel much better now. Greatly restored, in fact, and I… I would like to reward you for your kindness.”

His laugh was young and free and happy, and Lucy found herself laughing too. His mirth wasn’t directed at her. It was inclusive, almost an embrace in itself, like another deep kiss.

“Well, ma’am, I must say I cannot think of a finer reward. But still, you’ve taken a bump to your head, and you need to rest more.”

Lucy tried not to look disappointed, but something must have showed, because he cradled her cheek again, and kissed her brow once more. “Sleep for a spell. Rest while I attend to some pressing matters, and then perhaps we can return to these negotiations when you’re fully restored and in possession of your judgment.”

“Very well…” She did indeed still feel a little weary, despite everything. His low voice was so soothing, almost that of a mesmerist. “But first, there’s one thing I must know, sir.”


“May I know your name?”

Available from Barnes and Noble Nook, eHarlequin, All Romance eBooks, Diesel eBooks, Mills and Boon, Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk

Harlequin Spice Briefs
Publication Date: February 2012
Copyright © 2011 by Portia Da Costa
Harlequin Mills & Boon book covers © Copyright 2008-2011
by Harlequin Books, S.A.
® and ™ are trademarks of the publisher.
The edition published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.

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