EXCERPT: Sunrise with a Notorious Lord by Alexandra HawkinsTuesday, January 10, 2012 13:00
If you like sinful heroes who fall hard for that perfect woman who pushes all his buttons, you should be reading Alexandra Hawkins‘ Lords of Vice series. The Notorious Lord is Vane, Earl of Vanewright, and he’s as sinful as they come, as Isabel is about find out once she engages him in a game she soon discovers can’t be won.
Vane has never been quite this fascinated with a woman before, he doesn’t know what hits him until it’s too late. Isabel finally acknowledges feelings for the man, even though he’s supposed to be someone else’s.
But fire and passion keep flaring between them, and they become lost in each other – until secrets begin to unravel the dream that almost comes true.
Christopher Courtland, Earl of Vanewright—known around London as “Vane”—is the very picture of a rich, handsome ladies’ man. Why shackle himself to just one lady when he’s free to sample them all? In spite of his own mother’s attempts at matchmaking, Vane has sworn to stay single. Until he has a chance run-in with Miss Isabel Thorne…
A modest and refined beauty, Isabel is a lot more brazen than she appears. When a pickpocket tries to make away with Vane’s bejeweled snuffbox, Isabel attempts to thwart his escape…and manages to steal Vane’s heart. But the harder he tries to seduce the sharp-tongued, strong-willed Isabel, the more she resists. Now it’s up to this tried-and-true bachelor to find a new way to play the game…or risk losing the one woman who’s ever captured his heart.
Enjoy the teaser of their banter, just to whet your appetite for more sin….
“Merciful heavens, what happened to you?”
Isabel smiled wanly at their housekeeper as Lord Vanewright carried her over the threshold and into the small front hall. “Good afternoon, Mrs. Allen. It appears you were correct when you warned us that shopping on Bond Street was fraught with peril and unsavory characters.”
Delia focused on what mattered most to her. “Oh, Mrs. Allen, you should have seen the lovely evening dress we found! I vow I shall perish if it is sold before we have the opportunity to return to the shop.” She gave her sister a side glance, disgusted that Isabel had ruined the afternoon by tangling with a pickpocket.
Isabel sighed. There was no point in reminding Delia that they could not really afford the expensive dress. Such details mattered little to her sister. Isabel started when the earl murmured in her ear, “Shall I carry you to your bedchamber?”
A wordless exclamation was uttered by the housekeeper. Surprised by the brazen suggestion, Isabel turned her face toward Lord Vanewright’s, resulting in her nose brushing against his chin. “No you shall not! The drawing room will suffice, my lord.”
Trailing after the trio, the housekeeper said, “Miss Thorne, forgive my impudence, but who is this gentleman? And why is he carrying you about town as if he has the right to put his hands on you.”
“Not a word from you,” she warned him sternly. With her arms wrapped about his shoulders, she could feel his body quaking with laughter. “Mrs. Allen, allow me to present Lord Vanewright. My lord, this is our housekeeper, Mrs. Allen. She is looking after us during our brief stay in London.”
“Mrs. Allen, would you mind opening the door to the drawing room? Miss Thorne had a terrible fright with a pickpocket and I want to see her settled comfortably before the surgeon arrives.”
“The surgeon?” Isabel echoed, struggling in the earl’s arms to be released.
Mrs. Allen stepped around the couple and opened the door. “A pickpocket? In a dressmaker’s shop you say? Is no place safe, I ask you?”
“Isabel stumbled into the thief and rescued Lord Vanewright’s snuffbox,” Delia explained as she retrieved a pillow from a chair and placed it on the sofa.
Isabel marveled that the earl was not winded by his efforts. He carried her to the sofa with an ease that suggested he appreciated the outdoors and had a casual familiarity with manual labor. She was almost disappointed when he lowered her onto the sofa.
“When did you have time to summon a surgeon?” she demanded, annoyed by the unexpected expense.
“I ordered my coachman to fetch him.” His look was inscrutable as it rested on her grim features. “Are you in pain?”
“As I have told you over and over again, I am fine,” she said through clenched teeth. “Ow! Stop that.” She slapped his hand away when he deliberately probed her wrapped ankle to prove that she was lying to him—again.
“Uh-huh,” he said, his tone suspiciously flat. He glanced at the housekeeper. “Mrs. Allen, would be so kind as to fetch a shallow basin of warm water for Miss Thorne’s ankle and a pot of tea to settle her nerves.”
Eyes blazing, Isabel glared at the presumptuous man. “See here, Lord Vanewright. You have no right to bully me or my staff!” Before she said something that she would come to regret, Isabel cleared her throat. “Yes, Mrs. Allen, I believe a cup of strong tea would benefit us all.”
Rudeness was clearly not the way to get rid of the man. From the sparkling glint in his eyes, the earl was having too much fun baiting her.
“Nothing else to say, Miss Thorne?” he asked, sitting down in the chair to her left even though no one had invited the arrogant man to remain.
“Not at this time,” Isabel said haughtily. “I am saving my strength for the surgeon.”