When faced with losing his inheritance, notorious rake Lord Julian Luvington sets his sights on Lady Sara. She’s as respectable as they come, just what his father ordered. But the lady shall not be easily won.
She’s determined to marry for love or not at all, and she’ll do anything to obtain the freedom granted to men. A blackguard like Lord Luvington could destroy her hard-won reputation, but marriage to him also offers her the opportunities she can’t achieve on her own. What’s a lady to do?
When Lord Luvington refuses to abandon his pursuit, Lady Sara proposes an arrangement. Only the price may be more than either bargained for. Lady Sara could lose more than her social standing and Julian could lose his heart.
Sarah pushed out a sigh as Lord Luvington lead her toward a stone bench nestled among the lush green hedge.
“Shall we sit for a moment? I wish to explain.” He pressed his arm against her hand then loosened it again.
She looked away. “Very well. Though I cannot imagine what you might say to change things.” Sarah hesitated for a moment, reluctant to release her grip on him before she lowered herself onto the bench. The stone’s cool exterior seeped through her skirts, a welcome contrast to the warmth radiating through her. She rested one hand on her lap and waved her fan with the other.
Lord Luvington positioned himself on the bench a smidgen closer than was proper, angling himself so that he faced her. The fresh spring scents of foliage and flowers took on a heady intensity. She stared fixedly at the hedge in front of her. Her face flamed though she could not credit it to the heat of the atmosphere.
She needed to take control of the situation before it swept her away. “Speak your piece and be done with it. I do not wish to linger here over long.” He flashed a toe-curling grin just before she glanced away.
“What I said in the park was the truth. Is the truth. But there is more to it than just my need of a respectable wife.”
“Do tell.” She lowered her fan to her lap, its ribbons trailing in the breeze, and locked her gaze with his.
“I have come to care for you, admire you, even. You’re a fascinating and attractive woman.”
She plucked at her satin skirts as the heat climbed back into her face.
“It is true that I will not inherit the duchy without a proper society wife. It is the very reason I began looking for one. I shall not deny it, but nor is it the reason I continue to pursue you.” He reached up and brushed a curl that had escaped her bonnet away from her cheek.
His fingers left a tingling trail in their wake, and something inside Sarah began to crumble. She glanced down at the path they had just walked.
“I would like the chance to make this right. Allow me to court you, Lady Sarah. Let us discover if there might be something real between us.”
She glanced at him, unsure how to respond. Her mind screamed no, but her heart and soul begged for him. She wanted to reach out and run her hand across his strong jaw, feel his lips pressed against hers, discover what it felt like to be in his arms.
“Spend the rest of the party in my company, Lady Sarah. Grant me one afternoon to change your mind.”
A wave of tingles ran down her and congregated in her abdomen at his smile. This was dangerous, and she knew it. And yet…