A sizzling regency romance short story.
This story was previously published in the Fool for Love Anthology.
Widowed beauty, Arabella Lawson, Lady Farnsworth, knows the value of independence after being trapped in a marriage that left her unfulfilled. Although she longs for a lover at last, she’s expected to chaperone her flirtatious niece during her first season. However, given the way the girl keeps disappearing every chance she gets, there is little hope of a good or speedy result. While searching for her charge yet again, she blunders into one of Lord Rothwell’s scandalous assignations. This time it’s Arabella’s turn to be on the receiving end of his hungry kisses, and she’s far from prepared to make the most of the opportunity.
Gossip may paint Merrick Bishop, the Earl of Rothwell, as a notorious scoundrel when it comes to women, but this season his intentions are honorable. Duty bound to marry, he’s determined to discreetly court an open-minded bride and prove the gossipmongers wrong by being on his very best behavior… until in his frustration, he mistakenly kisses the wrong lady and discovers that everything about the encounter feels so very right. Merrick never once believed he had a chance with shy Arabella, and when the unthinkable happens, she turns to him not for an affair or hopes of marriage but for his friendship and protection from her own family.
Can a rogue with a reputation for breaking hearts convince a widow who only hopes for an affair that their feelings are not only the stirrings of desire but the beginnings of the deepest and truest love?
West is a man with a tarnished past. No apologies, no excuses. However, from the moment he meets Phoebe, West is consumed by irresistible desire...not to mention the bitter awareness that a woman like her is far out of his reach. What West doesn’t bargain on is that Phoebe is no straitlaced aristocratic lady. She’s the daughter of a strong-willed wallflower who long ago eloped with Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent—the most devilishly wicked rake in England.
Before long, Phoebe sets out to seduce the man who has awakened her fiery nature and shown her unimaginable pleasure. Will their overwhelming passion be enough to overcome the obstacles of the past?
Only the devil’s daughter knows…
Unrepentant rogue Giles Wexham, Earl of Daventry, wrings pleasure from every moment and likes his carefree life exactly as it is. During his summer retreat to the country, he becomes reluctant host and nursemaid to his former betrothed, a woman he’d thought long dead, a woman Giles had mistaken for a ghost while he found pleasure in another woman’s arms.
Unbearable pain and laudanum have kept Lillian Winter apart from society since the accident that ruined her life. She’s endured six years of agony at the hands of incompetent practitioners, and longs for an end to her suffering. Finding herself in the Earl of Daventry’s care brings surprising relief from her injuries, and a glimpse into the life denied her. Yet as newfound pleasures lower Lilly’s resistance to the wicked earl, a long-forgotten danger returns to stalk her.
A notorious rakehell with a stable of fabulous Thoroughbreds and a lady on a quest to locate such horses must negotiate personal minefields to forge a greatly desired alliance—one someone is prepared to murder to prevent.
Prudence Cynster has turned her back on husband hunting in favor of horse hunting. As the head of the breeding program underpinning the success of the Cynster racing stables, she’s on a quest to acquire the necessary horses to refresh the stable’s breeding stock.
On his estranged father’s death, Deaglan Fitzgerald, now Earl of Glengarah, left London and the hedonistic life of a wealthy, wellborn rake and returned to Glengarah Castle determined to rectify the harm caused by his father’s neglect. Driven by guilt that he hadn’t been there to protect his people during the Great Famine, Deaglan holds against the lure of his father’s extensive collection of horses and, leaving the stable to the care of his brother, Felix, devotes himself to returning the estate to prosperity.
Deaglan had fallen out with his father and been exiled from Glengarah over his drive to have the horses pay their way. Knowing Deaglan’s wishes and that restoration of the estate is almost complete, Felix writes to the premier Thoroughbred breeding program in the British Isles to test their interest in the Glengarah horses.
On receiving a letter describing exactly the type of horses she’s seeking, Pru overrides her family’s reluctance and sets out for Ireland’s west coast to visit the now-reclusive wicked Earl of Glengarah. Yet her only interest is in his horses, which she cannot wait to see.
When Felix tells Deaglan that a P. H. Cynster is about to arrive to assess the horses with a view to a breeding arrangement, Deaglan can only be grateful. But then P. H. Cynster turns out to be a lady, one utterly unlike any other he’s ever met.
Yet they are who they are, and both understand their world. They battle their instincts and attempt to keep their interactions businesslike, but the sparks are incandescent and inevitably ignite a sexual blaze that consumes them both—and opens their eyes.
But before they can find their way to their now-desired goal, first one accident, then another distracts them. Someone, it seems, doesn’t want them to strike a deal. Who? Why?
They need to find out before whoever it is resorts to the ultimate sanction.
A historical romance with neo-Gothic overtones, set in the west of Ireland. A Cynster Next Generation novel—a full-length historical romance of 125,000 words.
Praise for the works of Stephanie Laurens
“Stephanie Laurens’ heroines are marvelous tributes to Georgette Heyer: feisty and strong.” Cathy Kelly
“Stephanie Laurens never fails to entertain and charm her readers with vibrant plots, snappy dialogue, and unforgettable characters.”Historical Romance Reviews.
“Stephanie Laurens plays into readers’ fantasies like a master and claims their hearts time and again.” Romantic Times Magazine
Esme has never lacked for admirers, but having Lord Windermere’s company goes a long way to ease the pain of losing her suddenly betrothed lover. And when Windermere suggests an affair, Esme is intrigued by the blazing-hot connection even while knowing their relationship has no future beyond his house party.
But as with any temptation, it’s a bargain they’ll soon regret.