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Viscount In Her Bedroom
by Gayle Callen
Book 3 of the "Sisters of Willow Pond" trilogy
(The books do not have to be read in order.)
carefree life of
elegant balls and beautiful frocks ended when her father died, leaving
her penniless. With no hope of securing a proper marriage, the
vivacious young miss accepts a position as a companion to an elderly
viscountess. But temptation in a most unexpected guise awaits Louisa in
the dowager's home...
Once, Simon Wade was London's most eligible bachelor and most able
seducer. But a tragic accident forced him into seclusion, away from
prying eyes and questions. He thought he'd never again experience the
tender touch of a beautiful woman. But wshile he yearns to hold the
enchanting Louisa and taste the intoxicating nectar of her kisss, he
will accept no woman's pity.
Louisa never desired a man the way she burns for Simon. And now her
chance at happiness may rest in her ability to convince the stubborn
viscount that her passion is real...and her love is true.
"The conclusion to the Sisters of Willow Pond trilogy is a masterful,
emotional love story that revolves around the impact blindness can have
on a family, from physical limitations to emotional fallout. With
sensitivity and compassion, Callen crafts a beautiful story with
(The following is the property of the
author and Avon Books, and cannot be
copied or reprinted without permission.)
(Story set-up: Louisa Shelby has
come to work as a
companion to Lady Wade, grandmother to Viscount Simon Wade. Simon was
when he was thrown from his horse six months before. They knew each
other in London,
and Simon heard
rumors of Louisa’s fast reputation with men. Louisa wants to
sister, Georgie, become a success after a disastrous first Season.)
Enfield, England, 1845
night, Louisa couldn't sleep. Even Mr. Dickens's novel held no allure.
thoughts were scattered and restless, and after midnight, she finally
dressing gown. She would go down to the kitchen for some warm milk. She
have rung for a maid, but even back home, she'd hated to awaken a
servant in the middle of the night. She couldn't do it here, when she
barely more than a servant herself.
held a candle before her as she walked, and the manor stretched away
shadows like a cave. She could hear the faint creaks of an old house
and she was comforted by the sounds.
entered the dining room, meaning to pass through on her way to the
she was even halfway down the table, the kitchen door ahead of her
opened. She gave
a start and froze, but in the gloom, the candlelight reflected off the
hair of Lord Wade.
was alone. To her surprise he moved confidently, straight toward the
was about to call out a warning, but he turned before his cane even hit
chair, and came around the table.
backed against the
wall and remained quiet, feeling like she was intruding on the man's
knew he didn't like to be stared at. And she was stunned at how easily
held her breath as he passed, then grimaced when he paused.
Shelby?" he said.
her breath out, she softly answered, "Yes, my lord?"
turned to face her, and as was her usual habit, she drank in the beauty
face, the way his dimples etched deep shadows in his cheeks by
frowned. "You have a distinctive perfume. We seem to keep running into
each other in the night. Were you following me?"
my lord. I couldn't sleep, and I came down for milk. I didn't mean to
you—I would have just let you walk on by—"
me ignorant and foolish," he said, an edge to his voice.
twisting my words," she said firmly. "You're walking down here alone.
It is obvious you want no one to know. It wasn't my place to intrude."
don't care who knows."
mindful of her place in this household, she couldn't help her
you don't care, then why don't you walk alone by day?"
ironic smile touched his face. "Because they'll want to help me, to
me to make sure I don't hurt myself. But I don't need
help—and neither does
protested far too
not just concern about people helping you," she said, feeling bolder.
cocked an eyebrow. "Reading my mind now?"
don't want them to see you looking unsure, or looking lost."
you don't want people coming on you unawares when you can't see them.
very much what people think about you."
took a step closer to her and raised a hand, passing it slowly before
watched in surprise and curiosity. When he neared the heat of her
almost called out a warning. But he leaned toward it and blew out the
she was so startled, a small gasp escaped her. She knew she shouldn't
betrayed herself, because a reaction must be what he wanted. Her eyes,
unaccustomed to the dark, could not see him.
out?" he asked.
whispered, as if things were too intimate in the dark with him.
she remained still, knowing he was before her—or was he?
he spoke, he was behind her, and she jumped.
is my world, Miss Shelby," he
was her turn to feel his breath, and it bathed her neck with a heat so
foreign. She didn't know what he meant to do; he might as well have
stranger—or one of the relatives of her last employer, who
had always kept
trying to come upon her alone.
it was strangely thrilling to be sharing the darkness with Lord Wade.
now you don't know where I am," he continued.
he was on her
right side, a solid presence.
I'll do. This
is what I live with every day. You'll have to pardon me if my behavior
suit your expectations."
lifted her chin. "Why aren't you telling this to your family? They want
share your feelings. Instead you pretend that things haven't changed,
all in an
attempt to keep them from being hurt. But it's all right to make a
not a stranger."
was in front of her again, closer this time. Though she wore but a
and dressing gown, her skin buzzed with awareness, and surely the folds
gown seemed to move, as if something brushed against it near her feet.
breath was coming far too fast, but it wasn't in fear.
licked her lips. "I'm almost a stranger. We had only conversed a few
still remember what you look like."
was startled, intrigued, flattered. "Of all the women who gathered
you everywhere you went, how could you remember me?"
have red hair, blue eyes, and the whitest skin that shows every blush."
was blushing now—she was hot with it. She kept expecting him
to touch her; she
admitted to herself that she wanted him to. The expectation was
made a sound she could not place. "And there were always admirers
around you, too," he said.
eyes were adjusting; faint moonlight shone through the tall windows,
could see the outline of him dark before her, too close, as she'd known
A shadow man. She closed her eyes to be one with him in the darkness
knew she had not
moved since he'd begun to tease her. He thought he could hear her heart
pounding; he could definitely hear the sound of her breath, moving
and out of her lungs. He imagined her breasts rising and falling with
couldn't be wearing much. If he could see, he might be able to tell if
nipples were erect, if her lips were parted. Surely she was
desire; she wasn't afraid of him.
she? Was he misunderstanding this whole confrontation? He knew he
angry with her, with her assumptions that she understood him. Instead
powerfully aroused. Did she not feel the same? It was agonizing not to
to tell, not to read her expressions. He had never known until he was
much his sight really told him about a person's thoughts.
you knew I had gentlemen around me," she said, "then you were aware
of me—as if you were an admirer, too."
she was trying to be bold, but her voice trembled. For a moment, she
like a woman who knew how to lead on a man.
himself she was not new to this flirtation. He could kiss her, and he
be the first.
something held him back, and it wasn't fear of rejection, or fear of
foolish. Not with this woman who so bravely stood alone in the night
she allow this to happen? What did she hope to gain with a blind man?
played along with it, knowing it was dangerous, but just not to which
them. "Every man was your admirer," he said. "Wasn't that what
slowly reached forward, and his fingers touched her trembling stomach.
a moment, he imagined he could feel the softness of it, covered so
so barely, in the silk of her nightclothes. No plain cotton for Louisa
she backed up so suddenly that he could hear her hit the wall.
must go," she whispered.
you can't see."
eyes have adjusted to the moonlight."
some of the corridors have no windows."
didn't ask him to escort her—just as he wouldn't have asked
in her place.
still a small fire in the kitchen," he said. "I'll light your candle.
Hand it to me."
his palm out, and she set the heavy candleholder in it. There was no
on her part. The moonlight really must be helping her.
again they were on unequal ground.
here," he said.
been right earlier; he didn't want her to watch him. When he brought
back out to her, she took it from him, said good-night, and hurried
left alone with his frustration.
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