Published by Entangled Publishing on June 5th 2017
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In 1814 London, England, a lady is defined as a demure, delicate flower. Miss Francine Annesley is not that lady. If men were like plants, she would have a garden of admirers to choose from instead of the thorn in her side since childhood, Julian Beckwith. But she would make an even worse nun than she does a lady, which will be her fate if she can't dig up a husband before the Season ends. However, Julian is not an option.
With only ten short days left in the Season, Francine doesn't have time to waste on petty squabbles or knee-weakening kisses, even if Julian's offer to fulfill her every wish rouses her curiosity. It seems men are more complicated than plants. Too bad love bloomed at the most inconvenient of times...
“Before you launch another harebrained scheme, ask me. At least while I’m in London.”
His proposal took me aback. I stared at him, mouth agape, as I tried to discern whether or not he meant the offer. I shifted my arms to cross them in front of my chest, but he stood too near. I couldn’t cross them without brushing his chest. The thought of touching him sent odd tingles over my skin.
“Why?” I asked finally. “So you can stop me?”
“Hardly.” He emitted an odd sound. I couldn’t decide if it was closer to a snort or a chuckle. He shook his head ruefully. “I doubt I can stop you once your mind is made up.”
I matched his smile. He had that right.
But…could I still trust him? This was Julian, the boy I’d known from birth. We’d embarked on more escapades than I could count, but never before as adults. Much had changed in the ten years since we’d lived adjacent to each other.
And my freedom was about to be cropped short.
On a whim, I said, “Kiss me.”
It was madness. He’d never do it.
He flinched. “Are you mad?”
“Hardly. If you want to fulfill my requests, then kiss me. Otherwise I’ll have to turn elsewhere.”
I didn’t mean it. I was the staid one of my friends, the voice of reason. Despite the way Mary flouted convention, I never stepped a toe out of line of my own volition. Maybe I should start.
He scraped a hand over his mouth. My pulse beat faster. To my astonishment, he considered the request. My head spun. How far would he take his offer?
You can follow the Ladies of Passion series on Goodreads.