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A Courtesan's Desires
by Killarney Sheffield
Release: March 30, 2012
Editor: Nancy Bell
Line editor: Valerie Haley
Cover Designer: Delilah K. Stephans
Warning: Contains some sensual content.
For a Hutterite girl the journey to England should be exciting but for Rachel Sholis it turns out to be a nightmare. Alone and afraid in a strange land, she is forced to become her moral opposite. A courtesan isn't supposed to fall in love with her benefactor. Is her freedom and that of her family written in his blood? Is it possible for a courtesan to love and be loved in return?
His head turned towards her and he opened his eyes. He smiled when he spied her there. “Does sleep elude you, mistress?”
“Only when you occupy my bed.” She smiled lest he think she meant it as an insult.
He rolled onto his side and bunched the pillow up under his head. “Hmm...perhaps you are not tired enough yet to slumber.” A mischievous grin rode his lips. “Mayhap you need more strenuous exercise? We could practice a few more times if you would like.”
“You could, perform again...so soon?” she asked, aghast he should suggest it and even more surprised he would want to. Mr. John never came to her bed more than once in a day, and sometimes not for a week or more.
A hearty chuckle rose from his breast, his eyes dancing with laughter. “That I can. I need only a short rest in between. Shall I prove it to you?”
“No!” She bit her lip and looked down at the sheet.
“Then I shall not bother you further tonight.”
Shunning his attentions when he was paying her to be his whenever he desired it made her feel a little guilty. At the same time she was relieved he would let her be for the rest of the night for it was difficult to stay unaffected by his caresses.
“What is it you would like to do on the morrow, Rachel?”
She glanced at him. “Why do you ask?”
He blinked and the corner of his lips twitched. “I would like to do something with you tomorrow, anything you chose.”
“Surely you have important matters to attend to, my lord.”
“No.” He reached out and brushed a stray lock of hair back from her face. “I have the day free.”
Curiosity made her wonder what it was he did all day long. “What is it you do?”
“I am head officer of the Pinkertons.”
He dropped his hand to her thigh, the action unsettling and she plied him with further questions to take her mind from it. “What are the Pinkertons?”
He smiled. “Not what, who. They are a group of men who investigate things like robberies and deaths among other wrongdoings.”
Rachel froze, her heart thudding so hard against her breastbone she was sure he could hear it. Wrongdoings. What if he found out she had come on a ship without the proper paperwork? If he found out about her past he would shun her, or perhaps even return her to Newgate.
“Is something wrong, Rachel?”
She returned his gaze and forced a smile to her lips. “No, my lord. I am just tired I guess.”
“Then lie down and sleep.” He flipped back the covers and patted the feather mattress beside him.
Smothering a groan she eased down beside him, careful not to touch him with any part of her body and rolled onto her side facing the window. Despite her attempts he flipped the covers back over them and pulled her close. His arm slid across hers to rest in the indent of her hip. It was warm and comforting to lie there, held in his strong embrace. She wondered if this is how it was with a husband and wife sometimes. Had her mother lain like this with her father or had they only sought closeness in order to produce children? Regret ate at her that she would never marry and experience this for more than the term of her contract. It would be nice to go to sleep and wake in in the arms of one you loved. It would never be for her, not for long time anyway.
“What are you thinking?” His breath tickled her ear.
“What makes you think I am thinking anything?”
He chuckled softly. “You were not sleeping because your breathing is shallow and your body stiff. It stands to reason if you are not dreaming then you are awake and thinking.”
“I was just thinking...” she trailed off and bit her lip, unwilling to admit her feelings.
“I was thinking this is...nice.”
“Just lying here, like this.”
Against her better judgment she nodded.
“I am glad.”
His answer baffled her. “Why is it you care about what I am thinking and how I feel?”
“Should I not?”
She shrugged. “I was taught a man would not. It would be bothersome for a protector to consider what I want, think or need.”
“Rest assured, Rachel, you could never be a burden to me. To some men perhaps you may be nothing more than a body to use as they desire, but you will never be only that to me.”
“But you attained my services for just that, did you not?”
He was silent for a moment. “Initially yes, but it was wrong of me to think that way. You are a lovely, desirable woman. I cannot deny I crave your body, but you are so much more than that and I wish to know all of you, not just the outside.”
“Oh.” She smiled to herself. It pleased and frightened her at the same time to know he held her in his esteem. To let him get to know her would be freeing, but to reveal things that should be left hidden would put her existence in danger.
“Should I hold you longer or leave you be?”
This time she turned her head and smiled at him. “Hold me...please.”
He smiled. “You wish is my command, mistress.”
She returned her head to the pillow and closed her eyes. If she had anything, she would give it to stay here in his arms, like this...forever.
“So what?” she murmured feeling relaxed and sleepy.
“You still have not told me where you would like to go on the morrow.”
“Umm.” She thought about it for a minute. “Nowhere.”
“Nowhere? That sounds dull. Whatever shall we do all day? I do not think I could satisfy you in bed all day, mistress.”
Rachel could not help but smile at his teasing tone. An idea came to her. “I shall entertain you.”
“Sounds delightful. In what way may I ask?”
She grinned and cast him a cheeky wink. “I shall teach you to cook, my lord.”
Both his eyebrows jumped to attention. “Cook? A most unsuitable occupation for a man of my ilk do you not think?”
“You said you wanted to get to know me and I love to cook.”
He contemplated that for a moment. “A day of cooking it is then. I hope Mrs. Warren allows us in her kitchen.”
About the Author:
I’m the mother of five, married 15 yrs to a retired dairy farmer and currently reside in Alberta on a beef farm. When I am not writing I like showing my thoroughbred stallion (nicknamed Love Monkey), gardening, camping, listening to my ipod (favorite song- 1985) and even playing a little guitar hero with the kids (sadly I am still on easy level).
An interesting fact about me…well there’s lots but the one that relates most to writing is the fact that my husband and I knew each other for five months before we got married. Perhaps this is why I love Historical Romance. Marriages often began with two virtual strangers.
Most memorable moments…auditioning for a spot on the Royal Lipizzaner Tour and getting to ride one of those gorgeous horses, and the acceptance email from Lea.
Pet peeves… ornery computers and people who pronounce my name wrong.
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Customer Reviews:Writer in a Garret (Saturday, 27 October 2012)
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