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Excerpt of The Earl, a Girl, and a Promise by Kate Rothwell

Purchase


Author Self-Published
November 2013
On Sale: November 7, 2013
Featuring: Paul Danton, the Earl of Latterly; Emma O'Cluney; Johnny Smith, the true earl.
280 pages
ISBN: 1493672959
EAN: 9781493672950
Kindle: B00GMPYH0G
e-Book
Add to Wish List

Romance, Historical

Also by Kate Rothwell:

The Earl, a Girl, and a Promise, November 2013
e-Book
Thank You, Mrs. M, July 2009
e-Book
Somebody To Love, November 2004
Paperback
Somebody Wonderful, July 2004
Paperback

Excerpt of The Earl, a Girl, and a Promise by Kate Rothwell

"Chapter One

New York 1886

Paul had traveled to New York to settle a family matter and his own life, but everything changed—and not for the better— after the naked woman ran into him. He’d just downed a mouthful of brandy to ward off the early spring chill and boost his courage when the flash of dark hair and pale skin raced out the side door, and the unexpected object hurtled into him.

The silver flask clinked on the cobblestones of the alley as he raised his hand to protect himself. His palm met the warm, soft skin of a round, very bare shoulder. Astonishment, rather than their collision, pitched him backward onto the filthy stones. In the dim gaslight from the nearby street, he looked up to see the woman leaning over him, hands on knees. Bare knees. Her breasts heaved as she panted. Even in the shadows, he made out the curves of her unclothed breasts and the delicate shape of nipples. He blinked. A sensation of warmth that had nothing to do with the brandy—something inside him that had lain dormant, something entirely unwelcome—began to stir.

It was an odd moment to be reminded of his lack of experience, but as he stared up at her, he realized he had never seen a live woman entirely without clothes.

Not surprising, considering his upbringing. But after he left Winsforth, he’d met women. He’d even had what the Winsforth rector called congress of the unmentionable sort— but those few women in his past had not been completely naked. Without clothes. Nothing on their bodies.

He cleared his throat. “I say, are you all right?”

“Good heavens, what a relief,” the woman gasped. “You’re English. You’re Johnny’s friend. Did I hurt you?”

“No.”

He reached for the emptied flask and slipped it into his waistcoat pocket, then clambered to his feet. “Johnny? I’m afraid I—”

“First things first, now that you’ve come to my rescue, and thank you for that. May I borrow your coat?” she interrupted. She peered up at him in the dim light, and he made out a heart-shaped face surrounded by masses of dark hair. He determinedly kept his eyes above her neck as he unbuttoned his coat. He watched her eyes. Luminous, dark eyes that appeared amused and strangely unperturbed by her… unclothed condition.

He took off the heavy wool coat and handed it to her, wondering when he should tell her the only Johnny he knew was across the ocean and a junior member of parliament. Very soon he’d mention the fact. When he felt less befuddled.

“Thank you.” She sighed. “It’s lovely and warm from you.”

He shivered at her words but not with cold. Unfortunately, his coat was large enough to cover her from neck to midcalf.

Unfortunately? No doubt about it—the almost forgotten sensation called desire uncoiled through his body.

She put her ear to the heavy wooden side door of the club and listened. “No, that’s him yapping,” she murmured. “He’s French or something.”

After a moment, she pushed past him and limped across the cobblestones to the edge of the alleyway, where she looked out at the considerably busier street. Even now, close to midnight, hacks and dray carts rolled past.

Leaning against the rough brick wall, she lifted her foot and examined her toe. The soft light of the lamp picked out the curve of her limb. No, her leg dammit. No need to be mealymouthed here.

Paul hadn’t much use for decorum under normal circumstances, but at least he knew the rules. This situation most definitely called for some rules.

“I have a carriage that way.” He waved at the other end of the alley where he’d told the coachman, Brinley, to wait for him. “Allow me to offer you a ride if you need it.”

“Yeah, Mrs. Malloy won’t be missing me for a few minutes. I lost my costume, what there was of it, when a bald man grabbed at me. He was disgustingly drunk.” She hobbled slowly back to him.

Paul knew he should bid her a polite farewell and send her off in his carriage or a hack—and never expect to see her or the coat again—but he was intrigued. “What did you do?”

“I gave him a kick and took off, but I didn’t mean to run outside in this state. I thought that door led to a back corridor. Oh dear.” She laughed, an earthy, mischievous chuckle that made the corners of his mouth twitch with shared amusement, although he had no idea what was so funny. “They’ll wonder why I left rather precipitously, although I suppose they’ll think I drank too much champagne.”

What kind of a whore used words like precipitously? He shoved his hands into his pockets. “I say, will you be in trouble because you were rude to the man?”

She shook her head. “Naw. Mrs. Malloy knew I wouldn’t do more than put on a show. That’s why Johnny said he’d send you, after all. I don’t want to get pressured to do more.”

“I beg your pardon?”

She gave her foot one last rub and limped over to his side. Her head came just to his shoulder. “The deal was I’m entertainment. Not a regular girl. Dancing only.”

She undulated under the coat and struck a pose. He caught a whiff of flowers and wine. She stumbled slightly. “Ha, and I read this in a magazine serial—the young lady careened into a gent, just like you and me. But she didn’t topple him like a tree. Ow. Do you mind if I use you as a crutch? I hurt my foot on the drunkard’s shins and on a brick or something just now. I think my toe’s broken. Ow. I’m not sure about the ankle.”

“Yes. Of course.” He offered his arm as if escorting her to a dance. "

Excerpt from The Earl, a Girl, and a Promise by Kate Rothwell
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