Masquerade by Victoria Vale
While attending a scandalous Vauxhall Gardens masquerade, Margaret finds herself in the duke’s arms. His promise of a night of pleasure is tempting, but is it worth it when Avonleah is a known rake notorious for his short attention span and avoidance of marriage?
Camden Rycroft is intrigued by the masked vixen he encounters in the Gardens. After one night with her leaves him hungry for more, his desire for her turns into a fiery obsession. Despite the scandal that could ensue from their affair, he finds himself unable to extract himself from a situation destined to end in pain. When faced with losing Margaret to a potential husband, will he rise to the occasion, or risk living without her?
Maya's ReviewWhat a fantastic book. I have to say Ms Vale has put back the sexy in my regency romance list. I haven't read a regency romance in a long time mainly because I found that most of the stories I had been reading just blended into each other and were easily forgettable. But from the first page I found the characters to be fascinating and the storyline totally sizzling. I couldn't put it down. Avonleah is OMG swoon-worthy. I loved him. He will live in my dreams for a few nights yet. Seriously, you have to read this book. Can't recommend it enough.
Excerpt 1 (Rated PG):
“I have another bit of news sure to catch your interest,” Cordelia continued between sips of lemonade. “You will never guess who’s here.”
Margaret rolled her eyes. “I am certain I won’t, so the suspense is hardly necessary.”
Cordelia’s bright blue eyes twinkled with mischief, and one of her flaxen curls brushed Margaret’s sable ones as she leaned in close to whisper.
At the mention of His Grace, the Duke of Avonleah, Margaret’s pulse began to race and her gaze darted about the room in search of the man himself. If there existed any male who personified her idea of perfection, it would be him. She certainly would not suffer from indifference if he showed interest in courting her.
“There,” Margaret whispered, inclining her head to indicate that she’d spotted him. Cordelia followed her gaze and the two sighed in unison.
Swathed in black, save for his snowy white shirt and linen, Lord Camden Rycroft, Duke of Avonleah, was a sight to behold. Raven black hair swept his nape and his brow in a whimsical tousle of unruly, yet artfully arranged locks. A strong face with aquiline nose, sturdy jaw, and full, mocking lips enchanted the eye.
Yet, for all his beauty, he possessed an inherent masculine air of strength and quiet power. No sculpture could compare to his body, broad in the shoulders and chest, tapered at the waist and hips, with powerful thighs and calves showcased to perfection in snug evening breeches. Just the sight of him filled Margaret’s mind with fantasies of snatching the pristine white cravat away from his throat and opening the front of his shirt to bare his chest and run her tongue over the bulging muscles.
“Dear God, the man is beautiful,” Cordelia murmured.
Margaret, incapable of words, nodded in agreement. As she followed his progress throughout the room with her eyes, she couldn’t help but mourn the attentions of a man she could never hope to capture. Not because of her looks. She’d been blessed with a peaches and cream complexion, complete with a rosy pink mouth, high cheekbones, and wide, doe eyes the color of chestnuts. The deep, rich hue of her sable hair only served to enhance her features and coloring. Still, it took more than a pretty face to capture the attention of His Grace, and Margaret lacked the necessary goods.
How could she tempt a man known for his rakish ways and sexual prowess while dressed in the pale, pasty pastels of a debutante? Everyone knew Avonleah preferred a bold, experienced woman, and she was hardly either.
Excerpt 2 (Adult):
“You must know how many hearts you’ve stolen just by walking into a room. Many a night, I have watched you take a lady into your arms to waltz with her and wished I could be her. To be so close to you, moving together … to know your scent and your touch …” She paused, realizing she’d said far too much.
Camden circled behind her, placing his hands upon her shoulders. His lips brushed the back of her neck and she shivered.
“I cannot deny knowing you have watched me from afar all this time does not bring me pleasure, Maggie,” he murmured, his lips tracing a path toward her ear. “When you watched me with those women, did you wonder if there was more to our association than a simple waltz would suggest?”
She nodded in response, unable to speak when he nibbled on her neck, teasing the most deliciously sensitive spot just beneath her ear.
“You wondered if any of them would accompany me home, didn’t you? You thought about what I did to them.”
She groaned as he took the shell of her ear between his teeth.
“Yes,” she sighed. “I did.”
“How did you feel when you thought about it—when you imagined all the wicked things I did to those other ladies?”
His hands worked at the buttons running down her back, sliding them loose one by one, opening her gown.
“Jealous,” she admitted.
He gripped the sleeves of her gown and pulled, lowering it to the floor to pool around her feet. His hands took her waist and he pulled her against him, his lips trailing along her shoulder.
“Did you fantasize about me, Maggie? Did you wonder what it would be like to be one of them?”
“I did,” she said, her voice low and husky. “At night, alone in my bed, I closed my eyes and tried to imagine what it was like to be with you.”
“Oh, Maggie,” he said, his voice tinged with amusement and mock horror. “Never say you were ever so naughty.”
She giggled, bit her lower lip, and leaned back against him, resting her head on his chest. “I was.”
“You touched yourself when you thought about me, didn’t you?” One of his hands slid across her stomach, lowering slowly toward the apex of her thighs. “Did you pleasure yourself to fantasies of me?”
He cupped her mons, his fingers massaging gently and drawing moisture from her core.
“Yes,” she gasped, her voice strained as he continued to tease her. “Yes, I did.”
“Show me,” he whispered, removing his hand.
She groaned in agitation, wishing for his touch again. Yet, he seemed to be waiting for her to fulfill his command.
“Show me how you pleasured yourself, Maggie,” he said, his voice a bit rougher this time—a demand she dared not refuse. Not if she wished for more of the pleasure he could give her.
Victoria Vale has written over two dozens Romance and Young Adult novels under various pseudonyms. As a lover of erotic romance, she enjoys nothing more than a sexy hero paired with a sassy heroine, flavored with a dash of spice and lots of heat. A wife and mother of three, she enjoys reading (of course), cooking, sewing … and other activities that aren’t appropriate for inclusion in a biography.
Sexy heroes ... sassy heroines ... electrifying erotic romance.
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