Published by Harlequin on May 22nd 2018
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo
She saved his life…
Now he can’t resist her!
In this Wild Lords and Innocent Ladies story, Lord Stanton’s stay on the island of Illiakos is shrouded in memories of fever and his mysterious nurse. Years later, an Illiakan royal visit to Stanton Hall reveals the princess’s chaperone, Christina James, is the woman who saved his life! Alexander is a master of control, but Christina makes him long to unleash the sinful side he’s buried…and unlock her passionate nature, too!
This is from a scene where Lord Stanton finds himself alone with Christina by a secluded stream in a forest on his estate…
Lord Stanton took her hands, cupped them as if she was a child, and dipped them into the stream. The water was icy, it pinched at her skin and then eased as she kept them under the surface, the water shimmering as it rushed over them. She watched his hands raise hers, large and strong.
It was so cold it burned her lips and stung her throat. This time she actively held her breath, afraid to release the pure, sweet sensation of being filled, possessed.
He raised her hand, turning it, and the drops of water ran down, seeping into the fabric of her sleeve. His thumb smoothed the moisture along the base of her wrist, but the chill of the breeze on her damp skin only made the heat of the pulse beneath inescapable. She touched her tongue to her lips, licking the cool remnants of moisture, remembering the taste of the water, the taste of his lips.
His hand tightened on hers.
‘Don’t do that.’
‘Do what?’ It was only a breath because she knew precisely what she was doing. No, precisely what she wanted. What she had wished for – Alex.
He looked away. ‘We should return. However magical this corner seems, this is still the real world. The King and Princess will wonder what has happened to their handmaiden.’
‘The King might employ me, but I belong to no one. If I chose, I could leave at any moment.’
‘You could, but you won’t,’ he said dismissively; his voice icier than the water.
She turned away, knowing he was probably right. She walked around the edge of the clearing, where the ferns rose high in the shade of the tree trunks, the sunlight glistening on the grass like scattered coins.
‘What are you doing? Have you lost something?’ Lord Stanton’s voice lost its ice and he sounded curious and a little amused.
She shook her head.
‘No, I am making a magic circle.’
‘Like in the fairy tales. A magic circle.’
‘What does it do?’
‘It doesn’t do anything, or rather one does things in it.’
‘Whatever one wants. Because what happens inside a magic circle stays in the magic circle. For example, you can discover the future, but once you step outside, you forget.’
She continued her circuit and he moved into the centre of the clearing by the tree stump and stood with his hands on his hips, watching her.
‘Convenient. What would you do in your magic circle, Chrissie?’ He lingered on her name and she took a step towards him, and another. His hands fisted as if she was an approaching threat, but there was such heat in his narrowed eyes she couldn’t stop. Two steps from him he reached for her, but she raised her hand and ran the tips of her fingers down his cheek.
‘Tomorrow I must return to Illiakos with Princess Ariadne. What I would do in this magic circle is ask you to show me what it is I know can…happen, so I can take that with me. I want to feel it. That is what I would do.’
He caught her hand against his cheek, holding it against the warmth of his skin and the prickle of stubble while his other hand grasped her nape, pulling her towards him with a groan that ended shuddering against her lips. She was too shaken to find her balance and she just sagged against him, her hands instinctively grasping his shoulders, her breath a startled gasp against his mouth a second before it closed on hers.
One lucky reader will win signed copies of the whole trilogy –
Lord Hunter’s Cinderella Heiress,
Lord Ravenscar’s Inconvenient Betrothal,
Lord Stanton’s Last Mistress.
This prize is open internationally.
For a chance to win comment with the answer to this question…
Who are your favourite fictional hero and heroine?
~~Reviewed by Monique~~
Alexander, Lord Stanton, had been wounded near the Mediterranean island of Illiakos, where he was tended to by a mysterious veiled woman. He didn’t know her name, he hadn’t seen her face, yet years later he still remembered her with fondness. Christina James had been taken in by King Darius of Illiakos, and eventually, Christina became governess and companion to his daughter Princess Ariadne. Christina, like every woman on the island, had been charmed by Lord Stanton’s good looks, and nearly accepted his rash offer, but Christina couldn’t abandon those she saw as her family and her duty. Alexander is a diplomat, and securing Illiakos is crucial for Britain, and King Darius is off to England with Ariadne and Christina. And the man Christina never dared hope she would see again is standing right before her.
This is one of those stories that grabs you and doesn’t let go until the very last word: I read it in one sitting because it would have been impossible to stop, so lost was I in the absolute splendour that is LORD STANTON’S LAST MISTRESS. Lara Temple’s grasp of the Regency era is such that I felt transported in time; her glorious, eloquent prose conveys every detail in shimmering colour, every emotion is evoked with such clarity that I think I experienced every little moment. Never have I read such mesmerising descriptions of tears, the meanings behind some woodcarvings, the lushness of the greenery, the depth of grand passion and inescapable love, the apprehension of the unknown, the scars of the past. The dialogues are just as enthralling: the remarkably complex characters are endlessly fascinating and utterly alive, and their backstories are simply enthralling.
There is little physical action per se in LORD STANTON’S LAST MISTRESS, and it is never static because the tempest takes place within Alex and Christina, and this is as intricate a story as you will ever find, as is the passion and attraction to each other that is as inevitable as that little tremor that provokes an avalanche, as the electricity in the air before a storm. Colours feature prominently in the narrative and the dialogues, and that thrilled me no end because, like Christina, colours also define how I perceive the world, and this was simply marvellous. LORD STANTON’S LAST MISTRESS is a dazzling and riveting character study, the brilliant anatomy of a love story, a tale of letting go of the past and embracing the present and the future and a delight for all the senses. Be still my heart, what a marvellous story!
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.