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Authors: Sophia Nash

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Lord Will & Her Grace

BOOK: Lord Will & Her Grace
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Lord Will & Her Grace

by

Sophia Nash

 

 

 

LORD WILL & HER GRACE

Smashwords Edition

Copyright 2012 by Sophia Nash

 

All rights reserved. No part of this text may
be used or reproduced, downloaded, transmitted, or decompiled in
any manner whatsoever, whether electronic or mechanical, without
written permission of the author, except in the case of brief
quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. The scanning,
uploading, and distribution of this book via the internet or any
other means without the permission of the author is illegal. Please
purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not
participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted
materials.

 

* * *

 

This is a work of fiction. With the exception
of real historical figures and events that may be mentioned, all
names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the
author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to
actual events, locales, organizations or persons, living or dead,
is entirely coincidental. For further information, email
[email protected]

 

* * *

 

Cover art: ‘Full Dresses for May 1808.’
Engraved and colored for Le Beau Monde or Literary &
Fashionable Magazine. From the author’s private collection.

 

 

 

To

 

Marie-Solange Charlotte Leglise Nash
Howard,

my beautiful mother, who taught

me a thing or three about

French (and American) rakes

Chapter One

 

 

AH, violets on soft flesh. Heavenly. A
dizzying sensation long familiar yet always irresistible swept
through William Barclay, younger son of the sixth Marquis of
Granville. The lady nestling in beside him sighed softly and the
bedclothes rustled and settled into place.

Oh, he was glad Miss Wynn—or was it Winter—
had come to him after all. Abigails and governesses were his
evening dessert of choice. They were not as vulgar as the rest of
the serving class and not as jaded as the widows.

William breathed in more of her heady scent
and stroked the back of her neck, twining downy tendrils in his
fingers as he nipped her earlobe.

She giggled and lay still.

William smiled in the heavy darkness. He
adored the innocent ones—or rather the ones who chose to play the
virgin. It was amazing the little jewels of femininity one could
find in the wilds of Yorkshire, far from the practiced coquettes of
France, his mother's homeland.

He grasped her hand and kissed it before
placing it around his back. "Ah,
ma petite chérie
, I'm so
glad you changed your mind," he whispered into her ear. "I shall
have to make sure you don't regret it."

He unbuttoned her night rail's front line of
closures with expert dexterity and kissed her, coaxing her to
soften her locked lips.

She moaned and opened beneath him like a
tight rosebud unfurling in summer's heat.

He trailed kisses down her neck to the large
swell of her bosom. She was better endowed than he remembered. No
matter. He liked them all, small or large. Well, maybe he did
prefer petite packages of femininity. But, an occasional foray into
more padded fortresses could be quite satisfying too.

Long minutes passed and her breaths
quickened.

A slow course of desire flowed in his veins.
In the foggy sensual haze, a distant clock chimed four times.

She plucked at his back now, in mock
nervousness, he was sure. "
Ma chérie
, have no fear. I won't
rush you. I must have time to enjoy this glorious feast." He moved
her hand to his derriere to feel her touch on his nakedness.

Another giggle escaped her lips.

Again he smiled and wished a candle burned so
he could look into the abigail's lovely violet eyes that
complemented her violet scent. William deftly rearranged her
nightclothes for better access. He tasted her breasts, paying each
of them their rightful share of attention, teasing them to
tightened perfection as his hands worked their magic on her
generous lower curves. Her corsets had hidden well her ample
charms.

She tensed then relaxed while he massaged her
hips and dared to trace the warm skin of her abdomen.

Settling one leg between hers, he kissed her
soft lips many more minutes until she seemed to almost purr. She
was all pliant softness and smoldering desire.

She was ripe.

He sighed as he knew what would come next,
surprise and delight mixed with a tinge of fear at his size
usually. He moved her hand to the front of his body and urged her
to touch him.

She gasped.

"
Mon petit chou
, it's all right, I
promise I shan't hurt you." Another shaky giggle. Ah, thank God she
wasn't naive. He didn't deflower innocents, only imaginary virgins.
He contemplated prolonging the pleasurable first course of this
seduction or gorging on the main feast itself. She was very good,
playing the shy maiden to the letter.

The sound of a knock on his door filtered
through his mind. Then the noise of many quick steps in the hallway
followed. In a thrice he bounded out of the warm bed and belted his
velvet dressing gown as the door to his chamber banged open with a
force that exercised the hinges to the utmost.

A portly gentleman with his nightcap askew
stormed into the room, a gaggle of people with candlesticks held
high illuminated his passage. "What are you about, Lord Will?"

A female shriek came from behind the enraged
gentleman.

"Hush, Margaret. We'll have no more witnesses
to this atrocious display." The older man grabbed a candlestick
from a servant, strode to the bed, and flung back the covers.

The unwed, young daughter of the house lay in
all her glory before the visitors.
Of course
. Her freckled,
horse-like face complemented her large girth and flanks. It would
have been laughable if it had not been so tedious. At least she had
rearranged her nightclothes before her exposure.

"How dare you, my lord?" Lord Tolworth's
jowls waggled back and forth like a hound on a scent. "I'll have
you horsewhipped after the marriage ceremony."

"Marriage ceremony?" William replied, quietly
examining his fingernails.

"You are beneath contempt, you half-French
swine. I'll not like having Gallic blood in my grandchildren's
veins, but I'll see you married to my Penelope even if I have to
lock you in the larder for the night. You Frenchies have no notion
of honor."

William looked at the large girl in his bed.
He shook his head. His overindulgence in Lord Tolworth's excellent
brandy last night had cost him. How could he have mistaken this
rotund girl of six and ten for her pretty abigail?

"And what have you to say, Lady Penelope?"
William asked.

A nicker escaped her mouth as she brushed her
chestnut-colored forelock out of her eyes. "Oh, my lord, I dare not
countermand Papa."

William stubbed a desire to throttle her.
"Ah, I see." Caught as effectively as a fox in a well-guarded
henhouse.

"You've ruined her, you feckless,
hot-blooded, good for nothing slubber de Gullion."

"On my honor, Lord Tolworth, your daughter is
as pure today as the day she was born, that is—as long as she
hasn't made a habit of frequenting the bed chambers of other male
guests."

A loutish hobbledehoy of no more than eight
and ten lumbered past Lord Tolworth. He swiped at William's jaw,
but missed and almost lost his balance. "You'll meet me at dawn on
the north field to avenge my dear cousin, if you have any honor
whatsoever," said the young man whose heavy frame would challenge
his uncle's in several years.

"Actually, I don't fancy dueling gentlemen
who have yet to grow whiskers," replied William.

Lord Tolworth stepped in front of his heir.
"You'll eat grass before breakfast, if you cannot find an excuse to
avoid my challenge."

The father looked barely more of a test than
the thickheaded nephew but at least he was well past his majority.
"Oh, all right, then, if you think it really necessary. Pistols or
swords, my dear sir?" William asked with a slight smile.

"Not before the wedding," cried his corpulent
wife. "You promised!"

"Pistols, then—after the wedding," replied
the husband, halfheartedly.

Lady Tolworth swooned into her spouse's arms.
The housekeeper refused to dash away for the much needed smelling
salts lest she miss any of the vastly entertaining goings-on. She
patted her mistress's hands ineffectually.

William successfully stifled a laugh when he
noted one of Lady Tolworth's eyes half-open and spying on him. He
scratched his chin and glanced at the belligerent father. "It will
be hard to comply if I am locked in your larder, my good sir. May I
offer you my word of honor—as a gentleman, of course—that there is
no need to keep me chilled, as a good bottle of wine, before a
wedding and an affaire of honor? A watch at my door will suffice, I
assure you. Unless of course your intention is to keep me like a
well-preserved Spanish ham for a month while the banns are
read."

"We'll not be needing the banns, my lord,"
Penelope said. " 'Tis but a half day's trip to Gretna Green and
father will take us—just like he did when it was Ginny's turn."

William looked down to rearrange the folds of
his dark blue velvet dressing gown. "You are a veritable font of
information, my dear." It was fortuitous he had clothed himself in
time; otherwise he would have felt a bit more guilty facing the
premeditated inquisition. But then, he had always been lucky, if
this situation could be described as such. He looked down at the
bulging, watery eyes of the silly girl in his bed and wondered to
whom he owed eternal thanks for the warning knock on his door.

Perhaps, once again, his faithful yet
particular man, Jack Farquhar, had proved his weight in gold. Yes,
it was to be hoped the fanciful valet could next perform
miracles.

 

 

It was infernally hot in the ballroom despite
the coolness of the early spring outside. A mesmerizing display of
many-hued ball gowns swirled around Miss Sophie Somerset as she
waltzed, making her even more dizzy than her constricting corset
and the forceful embrace of her partner, Lord Coddington. She
glanced about and was happy to see some of the Count and Countess
of Hardwick's footmen opening the French windows and doors leading
outside of the glittering ballroom. If she were not so practical
she would faint from the sheer heat of it all.

Her partner's penetrating blue eyes and very
pale blond, wavy hair fascinated her. He matched her height, unlike
most of the other gentlemen whose noses tended to rest in her
décolleté. He was decidedly the most handsome gentleman she had
ever seen—a true prize among men, or at least as much of a prize as
a titled gentleman with pockets-to-let could be.

BOOK: Lord Will & Her Grace
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