|Название||Regency Scandal: Some Like It Wicked / Some Like to Shock|
|Автор произведения||Carole Mortimer|
|Жанр||Исторические любовные романы|
|Издательство||Исторические любовные романы|
Some Like It Wicked
Some Like to Shock
CAROLE MORTIMER was born and lives in the UK. She is married to Peter and they have six sons. She has been writing for Mills & Boon since 1978, and is the author of almost 200 books. She writes for both the Mills & Boon® Historical and Modern™ lines. Carole is a USA Today bestselling author, and in 2012 was recognised by Queen Elizabeth II for her ‘outstanding contribution to literature’.
Visit Carole at carolemortimer.co.uk or on Facebook.
To Peter, with all my love
Some Like It Wicked
Some Like to Shock
May 1817—Highbury House, London
‘Do smile, Pandora; I am sure that neither Devil nor Lucifer intends to gobble you up! At least … it is to be hoped, not in any way you might find unpleasant.’
Pandora, widowed Duchess of Wyndwood, did not join in her friend’s huskily suggestive laughter as they approached the two gentlemen Genevieve referred to so playfully. Instead she felt her heart begin to pound even more rapidly in her chest, her breasts quickly rising and falling as she took rapid, shallow breaths in an effort to calm her feelings of alarm, and the palms of her hands dampened inside the lace of her gloves.
She did not know either gentleman personally, of course. Both men were in their early thirties whereas she was but four and twenty, and she had never been a part of the risqué crowd which surrounded them whenever they deigned to show themselves in society. Nevertheless, she had recognised them on sight as being Lord Rupert Stirling, previously Marquis of Devlin and now Duke of Stratton, and his good friend, Lord Benedict Lucas, two gentlemen who had, this past dozen years or so, become known more familiarly amongst the ton as Devil and Lucifer. So named for their outrageous exploits, both in and out of ladies’ bedchambers.
The same two gentlemen Genevieve had moments ago suggested might be considered as likely candidates as lovers now that their year of mourning for their husbands was over …
She gave a shake of her head. ‘I do not believe I can be a party to this, Genevieve.’
Her friend gave her arm a gently reassuring squeeze. ‘We are only going to speak to them, darling. Play hostess for Sophia whilst she deals with the unexpected arrival of the Earl of Sherbourne.’ Genevieve glanced across the ballroom to where the lady appeared to be in low but heated conversation with the rakish Dante Carfax, a close friend of Devil and Lucifer.
Just as the three widows were now close friends …
It was sheer coincidence that Sophia Rowlands, Duchess of Clayborne, Genevieve Forster, Duchess of Woollerton, and Pandora Maybury, Duchess of Wyndwood, had all been widowed within weeks of each other the previous spring. The three women, previously strangers, had swiftly formed an alliance of sorts when they had emerged from their year of mourning a month ago, drawn to each other by their young and widowed state.
But Genevieve’s suggestion a few minutes ago, that the three of them each ‘take one lover, if not several before the Season was ended’, had thrown Pandora more into a state of turmoil than anticipation.
‘Our dance, I believe, your Grace?’
Pandora had not thought she would ever be pleased to see Lord Richard Sugdon, finding that young gentleman to be unpleasant in both his studied good looks and over-familiar manner whenever they chanced to meet. But, having found it impossible to think of a suitable reason to refuse earlier when he had pressed her to accept him for the first waltz of the evening, Pandora believed she now found even his foppish company preferable to that of the more overpowering and dangerous Rupert Stirling or Benedict Lucas.
‘I had not forgotten, my lord.’ She gave Genevieve a brief, apologetic smile as she placed her hand lightly upon Lord Sugdon’s arm before allowing herself to be swept out on to the ballroom floor.
‘Good Lord, Dante, what has put you in such a state of disarray?’