Published by Scarlett Scott on May 9th 2017
Not the average ladyLady Helen Harrington is a spinster by choice. She hasn’t any desire to entangle herself in romantic nonsense. Instead, she prefers to spend her time championing the causes nearest to her heart through writing articles for the London Beacon. When a ruthless American tycoon suddenly buys the struggling paper with plans to turn it into a business journal, Lady Helen isn’t about to stand idly by or put down her pen. Even if the ruthless tycoon in question happens to be the most maddeningly handsome man she’s ever met in her life.
Not the average manLevi Storm built his empire the hard way, spending years working his way out of the slums where he grew up. He won’t allow a spoiled aristocrat like Lady Helen to interfere with his plans to further his brand with the newspaper he’s just acquired. It doesn’t matter how lovely she is or how persuasive her arguments or how perfectly she fits in his arms.
One sweet scandalWhen scandal looms and Helen discovers a shocking secret about Levi, she does what she must to protect herself. But Levi isn’t the sort of man who admits defeat, and he’s not ready to give up on the plucky Lady Helen, especially when he discovers that she has secrets of her own…
Everything sounded as if it were very far away, carried to her on a lush summer breeze. Maybe she should not have consumed quite so much champagne. She’d lost count of how many flutes she’d drained over the course of the ball. Good heavens, had it been more than five? A fresh wave of dizziness assailed her and she stumbled against his powerful, lean frame. He smelled divine, she thought fuzzily.
“Come,” he ordered, ushering her hastily away.
She collected her thoughts enough to protest. “Where are you taking me?”
He couldn’t simply escort her out of the ballroom and into a private room. Propriety certainly didn’t allow such a thing. She ought not to allow such a thing. Would not if it weren’t for the spinning of her head. As it stood, she was ineffectual as a fly at the moment.
“Hush.” He steered her around a tittering countess and a footman bearing a tray of champagne flutes.
“My lady, hush.”
“Someone will see.”
“No one will notice. Everyone here is either far too inebriated or preoccupied.”
Casting a quick look about, he led her from the ballroom, down the hall, and into another chamber. As the door closed at their backs, stifling the cacophony of sound from the ballroom beyond, Helen realized they were in Jesse’s study. Alone. Still dizzied, she clutched Mr. Storm’s arm. “We are in our host’s private study. We cannot be here together.”
“Jesse won’t mind,” he assured her, guiding her to an overstuffed chair and easing her into it. He sank to his knees before her, his expression for once unguarded. “Are you unwell, my lady?”
He was concerned. A strange, new warmth stole over her. The world came back into crisp focus but her heart hammered furiously against her breast. She still felt off-kilter, almost as though she were out of her own skin, almost as if she were giddy.
Oh dear. He was before her like a knight of old, so striking and elegant, so unlike the arrogant stranger who had unceremoniously removed her from his offices the day they’d met. This Mr. Storm was different. Or maybe she was different. Or the night was different. Or she was hopelessly, thoroughly in her cups. She didn’t know which.
“I am fine,” she forced herself to say. “I daresay I sampled too much of the champagne this evening and that is all.”
“You don’t seem fine, my lady.” He frowned. His hands bracketed her skirts, near enough to her that he almost touched her, and the thought of those big hands of his on her made her quite weak. “Can I fetch you something? Some water, perhaps? Some ice?”
She licked lips that had suddenly gone dry. “There is nothing I need other than for you to return me to the ball. This is quite scandalous, sir. If someone should come upon us, it would cause us no end of trouble.”
“No one will come upon us. I’ve locked the door.”
His casual pronouncement did wicked things to her body that she was sure had everything to do with the blasted champagne. The door was locked. No one could disturb them or happen upon them. They were free to do what they chose.
Yes, she was in her cups alright, she had to be. There was no other reason for her to lean forward, set her palms upon Mr. Storm’s shoulders, and press her mouth to his. No other reason save for the fact that she had been thinking about him all day, about how he had touched and kissed her, how he had made her feel, how he had wanted her in his bed. She kissed him just for the feeling of his mouth upon hers once more, because she couldn’t help herself, because she couldn’t not.
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