The Kiss of a Viscount
(The Daughters of the Aristocracy, #1)
By: Linda Rae Sande
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Published: March 4, 2013
Genre: Historical Romance
Having inherited a viscountcy, George Bennett-Jones knows he must find a bride, preferably the daughter of an aristocrat. His mistress Josephine insists on it. Through a series of lessons, she instructs George on the finer points of meeting and pleasing a woman. Josie has the ear of a politically powerful marquess, and his daughter, Lady Elizabeth, would suit perfectly. Elizabeth, though, has her sights on the handsome Earl of Trenton. When he returns to London for the Little Season, she is sure he will propose. Elizabeth has secretly founded her own charity, Finding Work for the Wounded, using bribery to secure employment for ex-soldiers. The first beneficiary of her charity knows George. Knowing he has only one night to court Elizabeth, George enlists Josie to help make the evening s arrangements. She acts as a chaperone, assuring Elizabeth she is safe with George, and shares information she has learned from Trenton s mistresses.
“I must find Mr. Bennett-Jones for this dance,” Elizabeth stated as she heard the orchestra begin playing. She moved away from her friends, and then, sure no one was watching her, stepped out through the nearest door. Having been in Lady Worthington’s home several times, she knew exactly where to find the library. Certain she wasn’t seen, Elizabeth ducked into the room and quietly closed the door behind her. Holding the knob to lock it, she was dismayed to find it did not have a lock.
“I’m afraid we’ll have to make do without a lock.”
Elizabeth gasped and whirled around to find George leaning against a library table, his arms crossed over his chest and his face sporting a mischievous grin. Her breath caught again as she realized the man wasn’t as unattractive as she’d first thought. In fact, with his sable hair combed into a perfect Titus style and the close fit of his evening wear and the grin that lifted his eyes, and indeed, his entire face, Elizabeth thought him rather handsome. “George!” she whispered hoarsely, meaning to scold him for startling her.
“I’m sorry, my lady,” he said as he bowed. “I thought you would at least look about the room before you closed the door,” he teased, but then his breath caught as he took in the sight of her again. The auburn curls atop her head were dressed with satin ribbons and mother-of-pearl combs, a single strand of pearls graced the base of her long neck, and the satin gown displayed the tops of her breasts and a rather deep cleavage.
Curtsying to his bow, Elizabeth nearly rolled her eyes. “It is I who should be apologizing, George. I do hope you have not been waiting long,” she hedged as she moved to stand before him.
My whole life, he almost said. “Just a few moments. Enough time to read The Iliad and half of The Odyssey,” he added as he waved toward a copy of Homer’s epic poems left open on the table. Two glasses of champagne stood next to the book. “Will you join me in a toast?” he wondered as he picked up the glasses and held one out to her.
Smiling at his attempt at humor, Elizabeth felt the nervousness leave her body. This was George. Just George. She had nothing to fear from him. He was just going to kiss her. “Of course,” she finally said, moving a step closer to take the glass.
George’s eyes closed for more than a blink, as if he was saying a silent prayer. “To the art of kissing,” he stated, holding his glass out to touch hers.
A self-described nerd and lover of science, Linda Rae spent many years as a published technical writer specializing in 3D graphics workstations, software and 3D animation (her movie credits include SHREK and SHREK 2). An interest in genealogy led to years of research on the Regency era and a desire to write fiction based in that time.
Now running the front office of a busy print shop, she’s developed an appreciation for pretty papers and spends time using them in her scrapbooks. She can frequently be found at the local cinema enjoying the latest movie. During the winter, she hosts several junior hockey players, and an indeterminate number of tropical fish live with her year-round. She makes her home in Cody, Wyoming.