4 Days Until Darling Duke releases…

Darling Duke is almost here! I can’t wait for you to read Spencer and Bo’s story! This story is emotional, steamy, and not without its lighthearted moments, and I hope you’ll fall in love with it. Here’s one more sneak peek to tide you over until release day…

The landing took her by surprise, hard and bone-jarring. Her teeth gnashed together, her rump taking the brunt of her fall. Pain, sharp and angry, split through her from her bottom upward. She gasped for air, stars swirling in her vision.

“Lady Boadicea!”

Perhaps she had hit her head as well. That was the reason why, in this moment of anguish as she lay on the hard, cool ground, unable to catch her breath, she heard the voice of the Duke of Bainbridge, accompanied by hooves pounding on the earth.

Or she had gone to her reward, which was clearly not heaven as one would have hoped. She’d landed in one of Dante’s circles of hell, where she was to be tortured by a contemptuous duke for all eternity. Was it the second circle or was it the eighth? Each seemed likely. She coughed out a groan as her lungs seemed to work at last, once more taking in air.

Hands touched her shoulders. A dark shadow fell over her. A voice again. His. And that familiar, decadent scent of pine and musk and soap.

“Lady Boadicea, speak to me.”

She blinked, and he was there, his handsome face hovering over hers. His jaw was rigid, his expression severe. Unless she was addled, she detected concern in his emerald eyes and the frown lines bracketing his sullen mouth. Was it just a puzzling side effect of the fall she’d taken, or was he even more lovely to behold out of doors than he was within them?

If she hadn’t gotten there already, the second circle, she decided, was where she was bound. How could she be capable of feeling such wicked warmth deep inside her at his proximity even when she could scarcely breathe? Why did she feel so drawn to a man who was as cold as ice?

He isn’t always cold, a depraved voice inside her reminded. No, he was not. And that most decidedly was the trouble, wasn’t it?

“Lady Boadicea.” He gave her a shake. “Are you hurt?”

Of course she was hurt. Every bone in her body seemed to ache. Her breath was coming in fast, uneven gulps. She didn’t think she could manage a coherent word. She stared at him, mute, wondering at the misfortune that should have led him of all people upon her in this moment of supreme ignominy.

His grip on her upper arms tightened, and she realized belatedly that he was on his knees before her. If she hadn’t just suffered the horse fall of the century, she would have taken great pleasure in the sight, which seemed to have become a habit of sorts for him. Yes indeed, some perverse part of her rather rallied to the notion of the Duke of Bainbridge as her loyal vassal, even shaken and sore as she was.

The duke, however, was not struck by the same sense of whimsy clouding her fogged mind. His frown was severe enough for a funeral. “Damn it, say something. What in the hell were you doing, riding Damask Rose hell for leather on your own? She’s a hellion. You could have been killed, you bloody fool.”

Want more? One-click here! And until next time–as always–don’t behave!

XO,

Scarlett

 

Another sneak peek of Darling Duke, and some news

Darling Duke releases in less than a month! I can’t wait for you to read Bo and Spencer’s story. Their road to happily ever after is long and winding and full of sizzle, and I hope you’ll love it! While it is undergoing edits, I’m about to serve you up another sneak peek to tide you over till release day.

But first: some news.

Those of you awaiting Her Deceptive Duke will be happy to hear that it’s getting an official release date of September 18th. The pre-order will go live later this month. And those of you who are fans of Regency romance may be happy to hear I’ve signed on with Kathryn Le Veque’s Dragonblade Publishing for a  5-book series set during the Regency era. Let’s just say that the series has spies, dukes, and a prince of the underworld, and I think you’re going to love it.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled sneak peek of Darling Duke (unedited so please do forgive any errors my overtaxed brain didn’t catch):

“Why are you here?” she demanded, holding the book to her bosom in a protective grip.

He raised an imperious, ducal brow. “Lady Boadicea, you are in my chamber.”

She tipped up her chin, defiance taking charge as her displeasure for his high-handedness replaced her momentary stupor over his unexpected appearance. “I am in the first chamber I could spy after rounding the corner thanks to the jailer you planted at my door for the last few days. Had I known it was yours, I would have taken the risk of managing a few extra steps and landing myself in the next one.”

He stalked toward her, making her resist the urge to retreat to the far end of the chamber. She would not show him her weakness. No. She would be strong. Unyielding. Above all she would not allow him to weaken her resolve or once again take possession of her book. Now that she had it back, she was not giving it up any more than she was flying to the moon.

Bainbridge stopped only when he was so near that his riding boots brushed her skirts. She knew she should wonder if he was transferring mud to her silk, but she couldn’t be bothered to look away from his arresting face.

“You took a great fall,” he said slowly, his tone cool. “Being the stubborn, wrong-headed wench that you are, you seemed to have no concern for your wellbeing and recovery. Therefore I, being possessed of sound reasoning, endeavored to make certain that you would rest.”

“I am not yours to order about,” she argued, trying not to notice the strong cords of his neck or the breadth of his chest. Allowing her weakness for him to get the better of her just would not do. “Nor am I a wench, wrong-headed or otherwise. I am a woman fully grown, and if I require rest I shall take it. If I do not, I will not. What I most assuredly do not need, Duke, is a man who thinks he knows better than I making my decisions for me.”

There. Let him stew upon that.

“I care for your wellbeing,” he said quietly. “You are stubborn to a fault, and I did not wish to worry about you wandering the halls at midnight or stealing my horses.”

He’d rather ruined the first bit of what he’d said with the second. She frowned at him. “You are the most vexing man I have ever met. Your unfortunate personality aside, I never stole your horse.”

His expression remained imperious as ever, revealing nothing. “I will not argue semantics with you, my lady. You are, as seems to be your singular talent, once again trespassing where you are not welcome. I need to change. Leave the bawdy book and go.”

Ah, so he had noticed. “This is my book, and I want it back.”

“It is filth.” His lip curled.

“Such filth that you threw it into the fire?” If her tone was arch, it couldn’t be helped. Something about the man before her irked her in ways she could not fully comprehend. He was cold and reserved and forbidding, and yet he also made her melt.

He tilted his head, considering her in an intense manner that left her feeling flushed and exposed. “Perhaps I wished to know what to expect from my future wife, having already been cursed with one unfaithful duchess. Tell me, Lady Boadicea, what manner of bride will I bring to my bed?”

Something inside Bo froze. His wife had cuckolded him. It should not come as a surprise, she supposed, for marriages in which husband and wife sought comfort in the arms of lovers was commonplace in their set. And so it would seem he intended to paint her with the same brush.

The gauntlet had been thrown. She stepped forward, straight into his large, unyielding body, and she didn’t care. “What do you mean to ask, Duke? You have only to ask, and I will answer.”

“Why do you read such smut?” His hands settled upon her waist.

Smut. She did not like that word. But she studied him, unable to resist the smug grin that curved her lips. She could see right through his pretense. “Because I like it. And so, I would wager, do you, else it would not have been so readily available alongside your bed. It would seem that you did not burn it in the library grate after all.”

“As you can see, the thing is still in fine fettle.” He was solemn. “In spite of my strong inclination to destroy it.”

“And it is mine.” Her grip upon it tightened. She didn’t know why it should matter to maintain possession of a small, unassuming volume of erotic literature. Some of the stories it contained were frankly profane, some silly, and others still quite intriguing. Bainbridge clearly shared her opinion, or he would not have kept it at his bedside. There were layers to him, hidden depths, which intrigued her. And still, she could not be certain if she was better off leaving him intact or attempting to find the very, pulsing heart of him.

Did he have a heart?

The icy Duke of Disdain—the man she’d thought him—would have her believe he did not. But she had glimpsed more than the façade he showed the world. More, even than the façade he had initially showed her. He possessed passion and fire. He was not an immovable iceberg at all. Rather, he was an enigma, a man who had known pain and hurt, who had perhaps loved a wife who had betrayed him and taken other lovers to her bed. The more she knew about him, the more she suspected that her opinion of him was altogether wrong.

“Take it, then.” His voice was a low, decadent rumble to her senses. His eyes had dipped to her mouth, and she felt that gaze like a kiss. Her lips tingled.

That’s all for now. You can pre-order Darling Duke here. Sign up for my newsletter right here. And definitely do join me and some fabulous steamy historical romance authors over at Historical Harlots on Facebook for fun, hot guy GIFs (from Hiddleston to Heughan, we’ve got your back), giveaways, and more.

Until next time, don’t behave!

XO,

Scarlett

 

A sneak peek of Darling Duke

Take an icy duke with scars on the inside and add one feisty heroine who isn’t afraid to challenge the status quo. What do you get? A whole lot of steamy encounters. While Spencer and Bo are busy burning up my laptop screen, I’m emerging from my writing cave to give you an unedited snippet of their story, Darling Duke. Available for pre-order now, releasing July 10th.

What had she done?

She’d fallen down the rabbit hole, just like Alice, that’s what. Perhaps next, a mouse would appear and begin to explain William the Conqueror to her. It seemed every bit as likely as marrying the haughty man at her side.

Yes, surely that was the explanation for her inability to steel herself against the persuasive kisses of a man who had derided her as a tart masquerading as a lady. A man who thought she wasn’t good enough to marry his brother.

Her skin went entirely numb as realization assailed her. She hadn’t been worthy of the matrimonial prize of his brother, but he’d had no compunction about touching her himself. Because he imagined her the sort of lady he could trifle with. He thought her fast. He thought he could offer her a furtive coupling in his private library—after mocking her—with no repercussions.

And she had proven him correct.

She would not marry such an oaf, a man who believed himself her better because he’d been born the heir of a duchy and she hailed from a family laden with scandal and eccentricities. She would be her husband’s equal, or she would have no marriage at all.

Not to mention the matter of Lord Harry, who was a dear friend. She was aware that he imagined he harbored tender feelings for her, even as what she felt for him was decidedly platonic. Still, she wouldn’t hurt him for the world by suddenly marrying his brother.

“No,” she said to the room at large. Three sets of eyes swung her way. So she said it louder, this time with more force, holding her head high with a dignity she certainly didn’t feel. “I must decline any such offer.”

Bainbridge was first to react, his lip curling in what was either amusement or a sneer—she couldn’t be certain. “You must decline.”

She inclined her head. “Regrettably.” And then she smiled, her brightest and most entrancing smile, because the part of her that waved the flag of her tattered pride wanted him to know that she didn’t feel a single dram of regret at turning him down.

Want more? Don’t forget to one-click, and I’ll be back with more sneak peeks in the weeks ahead.

P.S. So many of you are eagerly awaiting Kit and Georgiana’s story. I hear you, and I’m working to bring it to you as soon as possible! I can’t thank you all enough for your support and for reading my books.

Until next time, don’t behave.

XO,

Scarlett

 

 

 

Sexy Spy Duke Meets Feisty Heiress

“Another keeper from Scarlett Scott. Daisy and Sebastian were so lovely together. The plot was enticing. The pace was good. A massive thumb up for the sex scenes. They were HOT.” – Sandy N.

You guys, Her Reformed Rake is about to drop, and I’m so excited for you to read Sebastian and Daisy’s story! Like literally bouncing in my seat excited. And I can’t wait to hear what you think! I love, love, love getting emails from readers, so don’t forget to email me or (equally appreciated by moi!) to leave an honest review on Amazon or Goodreads or your blog or a billboard or…you get the point.

BTW, I’m looking to put together a reader group where I’ll be giving out ARCs for review, running giveaways, and other fun stuff. If you’re interested in joining in the mayhem–ahem–fun, drop me a line here.

Maintenant, here’s one last teaser for Daisy and Sebastian…

Being in the same space as her without having her in his arms was suddenly insupportable. He had to have her. Right. Bloody. Now. Everything else could be dealt with another day—the League, her father, his mission, the lies between them. But here, in this moment, he was going to give her the only honesty he could. It wasn’t what she deserved, but it was all he had.

Her eyes went wide as he hauled her from her chair before making a thorough swipe of the table behind her with his arm. China, silver, and the fourth course all went crashing to the center of the table. He didn’t give a damn if every last monogrammed plate was smashed to bits. Didn’t care if the mutton went to waste. His hands went to her waist, spanning it easily.

She ought to eat more, he thought absently as he lifted her up and deposited her on the table at her back. Her hands went to his shoulders, and she still hadn’t said a word, her shock rendering her speechless.

When her derriere settled on the table linen and he caught her billowing skirts in his fists, she found her tongue at last. “Sebastian! What are you doing? We haven’t even finished dinner or had dessert. Cook has prepared cocoa biscuits and strawberries.”

She was breathless, flushed, and she smelled better than anything ever had. He wanted to inhale her, trap her bergamot and vanilla and ambergris in his lungs so that whenever he wasn’t in her presence he could still breathe her.

His gaze fell to her mouth. “You don’t like strawberries.”

“You do.” Her fingers tightened on his shoulders. “How did you know I don’t like strawberries?”

He didn’t answer her. Instead, he rucked her skirts up to her waist, pooling their voluminous layers on the table. And that was when he made the most astonishing, delicious revelation. His duchess wasn’t wearing any drawers. Nothing but silk stockings and garters and well-curved legs.

Want more? You know you do. One-click now or read free in KU. Paperback lovers fret not, the link is already live so you can snatch up your copy today. Audio book will be coming soon!

That’s all for now. Back to the writerly cave for me–I’m hard at work on Darling Duke and Her Deceptive Duke. Yeah, we’ve kind of got a duke fest going on right now, but what isn’t to love about a sexy, arrogant duke who falls hard for a smart and plucky heroine? Of course, there’s that snarky butler who also needs his story told (you’ll see who I mean in the teaser for Wicked Husbands Book 4), not to mention Julian’s sisters, and let’s not forget Lady Needham…okay, now you see why I have to get back to the cave.

Till next time, don’t behave!

XO,

Scarlett

 

She could be the enemy. But he can’t stop wanting her.

The countdown to release day continues, and here’s another excerpt from Her Reformed Rake!

“Your guilty conscience,” she repeated, for it was difficult indeed to make sense of anything when his thumb worshipped the bow of her upper lip, lingering with a delicate caress that made her heart race into a steady gallop. He thought he had entrapped her?

“Yes.” His gaze was fastened upon her mouth now, hungry and bright. But a hint of frown lingered between his dark brows. “My guilty conscience. Just when I thought I hadn’t one.”

His admission struck her, and she couldn’t help but feel it was the most candid he’d been since she met him. It only lasted for a flash, and then the practiced seducer had returned. His thumb followed the seam of her lips, once, twice.

She kissed the fleshy pad, allowed her tongue to dart out against his skin for a taste. Salty and delicious and Sebastian. She wanted more. But she also wanted a conversation. Some idea of who they were and where they were headed.

“It would seem, then, that neither of us ought to bear the weight of a guilty conscience any longer,” she observed, allowing herself to touch him for the first time since their awkward interview had begun. Her hands slid inside his coat, across the silk of his waistcoat, the firm, muscled flesh rippling beneath his layers of civility. He felt, in a word, divine.

So good that she couldn’t keep herself from slipping the whole way around his taut abdomen until she reached his back. Here, he was rigid. Warmth blazed from him. She pressed her palms to the hollow just above his hips. Forced them higher, gliding along muscle and bone, the starch in his bearing, absorbing him, learning him, marking him as hers.

Such freedom, the ability to touch him as she wished. To admire the solid masculinity of him, so different from her soft curves. She was lush where he was spare, and he was strong and strapping where she was small. What a delectable dichotomy was man and woman.

It had never occurred to her before this moment how incredibly perfect it was, how she fit to him and he to her. But now, she felt it, and it was…incredible. His breathing went harsh, matching hers. His mouth was very near. She tried not to stare at those perfectly chiseled lips in longing. Tried not to want him.

But she failed miserably.

“Daisy.” One word—her name—torn from him. He sounded as if he were in pain.

Perhaps he was. His beautiful face was all rigid lines when she wrenched her eyes from his mouth. She didn’t know what to say in this moment of intense possibility, desire humming in the air like a current. Her mind raced, tangling itself in knots, and all she could think was it was wrong to feel such sweeping emotion for a man she scarcely knew.

She wanted to know him. All of him. Wanted to know what his laugh sounded like, how his skin would smell if she pressed her nose to the bristle-shaded angle of his jaw. “I don’t know anything about you.” She tried to understand the effect he had upon her. “It makes no sense that I should feel the way I do for you.”

Want more? Her Reformed Rake is available for pre-order now, and you can read it free in Kindle Unlimited beginning on April 10th!

Until next time, don’t behave.

XO,

Scarlett

Her Reformed Rake Countdown Is On!

The countdown for the release of Her Reformed Rake is on, and I can’t wait for you to read Sebastian and Daisy’s story! I hope you’ll fall in love with their happily ever after.

To tide you over until release day, here’s another sizzling excerpt…

At long last, she appeared at the top of the staircase, beginning her graceful descent as though she wasn’t—he consulted his watch again—thirty-three minutes late. When he glanced back up at her, his mouth went dry and a hunger that had nothing to do with dinner and everything to do with her slammed straight into his chest.

Her gown was purple brocade with full, tiered skirts that were pinned with flowers and trimmed with lace. Her ivory shoulders were mouthwateringly bare above small, delicate sleeves. But the most arresting feature of her gown was the ribbon that crisscrossed over a bodice that hugged her ripe bosom and trim waist to perfection. The ribbon tied into a pretty bow just between her breasts.

He had never wanted to untie a ribbon more in his life than he did now as he wordlessly drank in the sight of the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. His woman, and he felt that possession of her in his bones as though it was just as right and natural and necessary as his own blood. Some devil in him, some wild impulse, wanted to keep her.

Forever.

What the bloody hell?

He frowned, feeling like a volley of cannon had exploded in his head. “You’re late,” he barked out, his voice a tad more sharp than he’d intended.

She faltered on the last step, losing her balance and pitching forward. Like a child drawn to a sweet, he’d already stalked to the base of the stairs, his body subconsciously seeking proximity. When she fell, it was directly into his arms. He caught her, soft and warm and bergamot-scented and unbearably fucking lovely.

Her golden curls brushed his jaw.

“Sebastian.” She sounded breathless.

Her small hands splayed against his chest, twin brands through three layers of cloth. When she would have taken a step back, he held her firm. He told himself it was so that he could ascertain she was steady on her feet. The truth of it was that he wanted to hold her. He craved her. Had to have her.

“Dinner was set for half an hour ago.” Some churlish part of him, that part at war with himself, forced him to issue the cool admonishment. He could have said so many other things. Told her how blindingly lovely she looked, for instance. Demanded she spin on her heel and return to her chamber so he could strip her out of the gown she’d just spent half the evening donning.

The push and pull inside him was like a gong. Had to have her. Couldn’t have her. Shouldn’t. Wouldn’t. Needed to. Longed. Damn it, when had this mission become so complicated? The first moment he’d ever laid eyes on the dazzling, complex goddess that was Daisy Vanreid. That was precisely when.

Don’t forget that you can pre-order if you haven’t already or read it free in Kindle Unlimited on release day! Until next time, don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.

XO,

Scarlett

Restless Rake is here!

Julian and Clara’s story is officially live!

His dark reputation precedes him, but she thinks he’s the perfect candidate for a marriage of convenience. And while she has no intention of remaining his wife, he isn’t planning on letting her go.

Are you in the mood for a notorious earl who meets his match in a feisty American heiress and loses his heart along the way? Read it free in Kindle Unlimited, or get your e-book or paperback right here.

Now, how about another snippet for the road?

Suddenly, the brougham felt very small. His cologne teased her senses. Her gaze settled on his muscled thigh, brushing against her skirts. A reckless urge to touch him struck her. He was her husband. She could press her palm to him, absorb his heat through the fabric of his trousers. Such a foreign notion, the liberty to do as she wished. But no, she would not touch him. She had no desire to touch him. It must be the newness of her status that prompted her wayward compulsions.

Clara turned to the window. The gathering of well-wishers still stood in a half-circle, watching their departure with grim expressions. She waved one last time as the brougham lurched into motion. It was done. She’d gained her freedom.

“‘O mistress mine where are you roaming’?”

The soft, low words skittered over her skin, leaving a trail of goose bumps in their wake. She looked away from the family and friends growing smaller and farther away with each clop of the horses’ hooves. The earl watched her, his eyes probing, his expression unreadable as he removed his gloves. She hadn’t expected him to recite Shakespeare, but then he seemed to have an innate skill for surprising her.

She wouldn’t speak the next line to him. O stay and hear, your true love’s coming. Clara swallowed, collecting her jumbled emotions, tamping down the unwanted warmth that threatened to steal over her. “Soon enough, I’ll be roaming to Virginia.”

“Newly wed and already prepared to flee, little dove? I can’t be as bad as all that, can I?” He took her hand in his, bringing it to his lips for a kiss that was hot as a brand, even through her glove.

She would have tugged her hand from his grasp but he held fast. “Your reputation precedes you, my lord.”

He grinned, his touch sliding to her wrist. He caught her glove with his teeth, and removed it in one fluid motion. “Call me Julian. I’m your husband now, after all.”

Julian. It suited him. A strong name, equal parts bold and leonine. Becoming more familiar with him than necessary would not be wise. She’d already allowed him far too many liberties.

“Not truly,” she insisted. He must not be allowed to forget the nature of their union. “Ours is a temporary joining, my lord.”

“It needn’t be.” His bare fingers tangled with hers. “You could remain my countess, little dove.”

The contact and the solemnity with which he undermined all her intentions jolted her. “I have no wish to be your countess.”

But her breathless tone belied her words. Even she had to admit to herself that she was not entirely immune to him, for here she sat, watching as he took the tip of her index finger and gave her a wicked little nip. And the thoughts swirling through her mind had nothing to do with boarding a vessel bound for her homeland and everything to do with the debauched things he would do to her body if she but allowed him.

Want more? Don’t forget to clickety click, dear readers.

And as always, thank you so much to all of you for your support. You make this crazy job of mine worth every minute!

Till next time, don’t behave.

XO,

Scarlett

Another sneak peek of Restless Rake

Are you looking for another snippet from Restless Rake? As the countdown to February 6th and release day continues, I’m back with another excerpt for you:

It didn’t take him long to locate Clara. She leaned against the faded damask in the main hall, looking as if she held up the entire weight of the wall with her small shoulders. How young she appeared suddenly. How defeated. Her eyes had been closed, but they flew open when she heard him approach.

“Clara.” An odd sensation settled heavily upon his chest. Surely not remorse?

“What do you want, Lord Ravenscroft?” Resignation underscored her words.

She was asking about more than just this moment in the hall. She didn’t merely wonder why he’d followed her. She wondered why he’d married her. Why he’d allowed her to believe he’d load her aboard the first Virginia-bound vessel she could find after they wed. Why he’d never once corrected her when she reminded him their marriage would be in name only. Why he had her dowry in his coffers but no intention of letting her go.

It was simple.

He wanted her.

From the moment she’d appeared in his study wearing that monstrosity of a hat, blustering and offering herself to him like a feast for a starved man, he’d been drawn to her. She was a beauty, but it was more than that. She was innocent, sharp-witted, brave to a fault. She smelled of summer and her body was meant for sin. Meant for him. But Clara Whitney was not the sort of lady he could have. At least, not if he’d been entirely truthful with her.

And so, he hadn’t bothered to disillusion her. He’d made clear to her that he desired her. His intention to seduce her had never been a secret. The rest, however, had been facilitated by his silence. He wouldn’t regret his actions now, but neither did he like the defeated wariness in her expression.

He closed the last of the distance between them. “Need you ask, little dove? I want you.”

When he would have stroked her cheek, she flinched away from his touch. “You cannot have me.”

Stubborn woman. Julian braced a hand on the wall above her head, trapping her. “I already have you.”

Want more? Don’t forget to one-click it now if you haven’t already!

In the mean time, I put together a little collection of my inspirations for this book on Pinterest right here. Check it out if you want to see some beautiful Victorian fashion and an insidious looking Victorian medical instrument used to drill into the skull.

And psst. Don’t forget that Her Reformed Rake is up for pre-order. There’s a sexy spy duke, a marriage of convenience, a fierce American heiress, and a whole lot of sizzle awaiting you.

In the interest of fairness, I will also direct you to my compilation of hot men with beards. You’re welcome.

Another sneak peek of Restless Rake

What happens when a wild American heiress hell-bent on returning to her homeland strikes a bargain with the most notorious earl in London? A wicked carriage ride, many persuasive kisses, and oodles of temptation. Here’s another snippet from Restless Rake, releasing February 6, 2018 and available for pre-order now:

“Perhaps I was remiss in my efforts.” He allowed his gaze to dip to her lips. “Next time I shall use my tongue.”

Her eyes flew open wide. He’d shocked her again. Such an innocent, his future countess. But just as quickly, she schooled her features into unaffected elegance once more. “For what purpose, Lord Ravenscroft? I’m sure you’ve already wielded your tongue upon me with your verbal prowess on each occasion of our meeting. Sometimes with manners, but usually without.”

Ah, she wanted to play the game? He hoped to hell that Lady Bella wasn’t about to swoop down upon them and put an end to their invigorating tête-à-tête, for he was enjoying himself immensely. “Sweet, innocent darling, you cannot think I meant to use my tongue for something as boring as speaking.”

She swallowed. “My lord, this conversation is quickly becoming improper.”

“If you wanted proper, you sought out the wrong earl, little dove,” he reminded her with a touch more bitterness than he intended. “Proper is for clergymen and maiden aunts. Proper is dull as hell. Improper, however, is infinitely more rewarding. Do you want to know what I’d do to you with my tongue?”

She did. Her expression, her sparkling, intelligent gaze, all clamored with curiosity. “Perhaps you ought to bite your tongue, my lord,” she suggested airily, refusing to give in to that inquisitiveness. “That seems to be the wisest course of action for all concerned.”

“Wisdom and desire so rarely go hand in hand,” he returned, smiling at her rejoinder before bemusement overtook him.

I hope you enjoyed this sneak peek of Julian and Clara’s story. Happy New Year, and thank you so much to each and every one of you for being so kind, supportive, and all-around wonderful to me and my little books in 2017! I’m incredibly grateful for you all!

XO,

Scarlett

 

A sneak peek of Restless Rake

We’re getting closer to the release date of Restless Rake! Book 5 in the Heart’s Temptation series, Restless Rake is the story of the notorious Earl of Ravenscroft and Clara Whitney, who find it increasingly impossible to resist each other after they agree to a marriage in name only. It releases February 6th but is available for pre-order now. (Stay tuned for more details on the release of Her Reformed Rake, which will be available for pre-order soon as well, not to mention the fabulous new series I have in the works that will start releasing this summer! See? Aren’t you glad you stopped by? I’m telling you all my secrets.) And now, without further preamble, I give you a sneak peek of Restless Rake

***

A lone woman hurried along the street, head down, dressed in the first stare of fashion though she clearly sought to be unnoticed, a large hat tilted to conceal her face. He recognized that form, even though he’d held those lush curves in his arms but once. She turned and he saw her face.

Damn it all to hell, she was a troublesome one.

He instructed his driver to stop and alighted, closing the distance between them with easy strides. “Miss Whitney, can it be you?” he kept his voice carefully low and intimate as he drew alongside her, touching her elbow lightly.

“Lord in heaven,” she exclaimed in her airy drawl. Surprise mingled with alarm on her beautiful, expressive face. “You gave me a fright, sir.”

What the devil was she thinking, sneaking away from her home with no chaperone, in the midst of the day? Did she truly believe no one would see and recognize her, that she wouldn’t ruin herself? That there wouldn’t be hell to pay? The girl’s temerity knew no bounds. She was either slow-witted or possessed of tremendous audacity. Though, to be fair, she had stolen her way into his study at midnight and proposed to him—that alone suggested audacity of a most unbecoming and tremendous sort. The sort he quite admired, in fact.

But none of that meant that he was going to allow her to ruin his plans to wallow in her dowry and thoroughly debauch her after she’d become his countess.

“Come,” he said in his most authoritative tone. Clearly, she needed his aid before she committed any more egregious sins. And wasn’t that a laugh, the Earl of Ravenscroft looking after a lady’s reputation? “Into the carriage with you.”

“I can’t go anywhere with you.” Her eyes were wide and bluer than the clearest country sky.

“You can and you will.” He cast a glance around the busy street. It was only a matter of time before they were both recognized. “For your sake, little dove, get into the carriage. I’ll take you safely back home.”

“I’m safe enough.” She cast a pointed look toward her reticule, which bulged in most peculiar fashion. “I carry a pistol with me always. I’ve done this many times before.”

Damnation. He had no doubt that she had, the minx. Perhaps she was as much of a cutthroat at heart as her dear papa. “Into the carriage. You cannot run about the streets of London unchaperoned. Mr. Whitney was most firm in his stipulations.”

She frowned at him, her eyes sparkling with mulish heat and her chin tilting in the air. “What business is it of yours whether I run about the streets? I’m my own person, my lord.”

“Of course you are, little dove, but you are also to be my wife. You’re under my protection now.” As he said the words, he couldn’t resist touching the tip of her stubborn chin.

***

Don’t forget, you can one-click Restless Rake now. I’ll be back with more excerpts and information about Her Reformed Rake and my top-secret new series in the upcoming weeks. Until then, happy reading!