With the devil in charge … there could be hell to pay
She needs a protector… Once seduced by whispered promises of a faithless lover, Phoebe Scott is determined to make a name on the Covent Garden stage, but after three years of bit parts, she realizes she’ll never achieve her goals on her own merits. Acknowledging her success is dependent on a powerful patron, Phoebe is now resolved to find a protector to secure her future. With this goal in mind, she seeks out the best prospects at London’s most notorious brothel.
He’s avowed to celibacy… Sir Edward “Ned” Chambers has been lost and lonely since his wife’s death in childbirth. Burdened with blame, he has sworn to a life of celibacy, but after three years, he is inwardly edgy, irritable, and increasingly discontent. Perceiving the cause behind Ned’s unhappiness, as well as the obvious cure, his best friend and rake of the first order, “The Devil” DeVere, is hell-bent to return Ned to the land of the living. DeVere’s machinations result in an outrageous wager that could lead Ned to a new love… or land them all in the Tower. All bets are off in in this racy Georgian romp! (romantic comedy with mature content)
THE PRIMARY PLAYERS:
“For three years following my wife Annalee’s passing, I had lived a perfectly quiet and orderly life in Yorkshire with my daughter, Vesta, but with her 18th year coming I was obligated to think of her come out. That’s what actually brought me to London from whence began the entire madcap misadventure. I met Phoebe in highly irregular circumstances. (He blushes.) It was in a brothel ,you see. I was dragged there by DeVere, at great reluctance on my part, and Phoebe sought me out as a means of escape from another’s unwanted advances. I immediately sensed that she was as ill at ease as I was and suggested taking some air together… that was the beginning of a night that would change my life forever….”
Phoebe’s Tale :
“I had been struggling to make a name on the stage at Covent Garden Theatre, only to be passed over time and again for all but bit comedic parts. I was eking out the most meager existence by assisting the wardrobe mistress until my big break finally came, only to have the theatre close for renovation!
It was then that I realized my only chance to ever make it would lie in finding a benefactor- a wealthy and powerful gentleman protector. It was with this purpose that I sought out Viscount DeVere at Mrs. Hayes’s King’s Place, the most notorious brothel in London. And it was there I met my darling Ned. He was handsome, gallant and everything a gentleman could be, but to my dismay, had no interest in taking a mistress. When I then asked for an introduction to the devil DeVere, I felt like my appetite had been whetted for beefsteak only to be served liver instead!
“Ned and I have been best of friends since our University days until the fool up and leg-shackled, and then buried himself in the country for nigh on fifteen years! When he came back to town to arrange a house for the season, I was challenged to find a way to crack the boorishly respectable veneer he’d honed to perfection since leaving my sphere of influence. Although he would deny it, the truth is that he was bored to distraction and in desperate need of diversion. Ned sought me out knowing I’m precisely the man to answer that need. Indeed, I was then avowed to become his savior…from himself! It was the greatest of fortune to receive at this time an invitation to the decadent Feast of Venus at Madam Hayes’ King’s Place.
“Ned, you must wake up.” The frantic whisper and tickle of silky hair pleasantly penetrated the periphery of Sir Edward Chambers’ drink-induced, sexually sated, and fog-enshrouded consciousness. “Come, Neddie,” the soft voice implored. “You must wake, or there will be the devil to pay.”
Ned’s bleary eyes popped open, his attention immediately riveted to the massive bed, the heavy velvet curtains of rich crimson and gold, and the towering hand-carved posts of mahogany. He jerked upright as if doused with ice water, his gaze settling on the voluptuous, blue-eyed blonde lying amidst the tangle of luxurious linens. “Kitty?”
“No. Phoebe,” she answered. “My name. It’s Phoe-be.”
“Phoebe?” He frowned in puzzlement. His gaze darted from his thoroughly tumbled bedfellow to the opulent room. He frantically scrubbed his face and looked wildly about the room, eager to light upon something, anything, to assure himself he wasn’t going mad. The vision of his surroundings sent him scrambling to his knees, entangling him in the bed sheets, and tumbling him to the floor. Lying stunned on the thick Turkish carpet, his confused conscience absorbed the soaring twenty-foot shadow-boxed ceiling depicting classical heroes.
His heart beating apace, Ned willed himself first to breathe and then to modulate a tone verging on panic. “I was with DeVere last night. Where is DeVere?”
“DeVere is locked safely in the linen closet.” She hugged her breasts, her expression suddenly wary. “Don’t you remember anything?”
His gaze glued to the bed, Ned made a mechanical backward retreat to the center of the room where he had a clearer prospect of its crowning glory. His vision rose to the top of the headboard, to the heraldic shield seated betwixt the carved figures of a lion and a unicorn. His gaze slid with dread to the engraved scroll beneath. Dieu Et Mon Droit. God and my right, the motto of the king. His chest seized. The room began to spin. He looked to Phoebe, aware that the blood was draining from his face, and that his voice emerged as a strangled sound. “May the same God save me…for I’m going to be hung, drawn, and quartered for spending last night rutting in the King of England’s bed!” (end excerpt)
ALSO ON AUDIOBOOK !
CLICK ARROW for Audiobook Preview