Read Ruined by Moonlight Online
Authors: Emma Wildes
PRAISE FOR THE NOVELS
OF EMMA WILDES
“A luxurious and sensual read. Both deliciously wicked and tenderly romantic.…I didn’t want it to end!”
New York Times
bestselling author Celeste Bradley
“A stylish blend of dangerous intrigue and scorching desire that is bound to captivate fans of Amanda Quick and Nicole Jordan.”
“This wickedly exciting romance will draw you in and take hold of your heart.”
bestselling author Elizabeth Boyle
“Regency fans will thrill to this superbly sensual tale…deliciously erotic…a spectacular and skillfully handled story that stands head and shoulders above the average historical romance.”
“Wickedly delicious and daring…a page-turner that captures the era, the mores, and the scandalous behavior that lurks beneath the surface.”
stars, top pick)
“[A] gem of an author…keep[s] readers riveted to each scandalous scene—and everything in between.”
“A historical gem.”
“Of all the authors I’ve read, I believe Emma Wildes to be my hands-down favorite.”
—Just Erotic Romance Reviews (5 stars)
“A truly rare and remarkable talent.”
“Emma Wildes is a rising star who writes incredible historical romance.”
—Fallen Angel Reviews
“Ms. Wildes has penned an excellent novel that is sure to be a favorite for many years to come…deserves no less than a perfect 10!”
—Romance Reviews Today
“[A] delightful, delicious, and sexy tale that readers will adore.”
—Goodreads (JERR Gold Star Award)
“Inventive and well-written, with fabulous love scenes and characters worth reading about.”
—All About Romance
Also by Emma Wildes
Ladies in Waiting
One Whisper Away
The Notorious Bachelors
Our Wicked Mistake
His Sinful Secret
My Lord Scandal
Seducing the Highlander
Lessons from a Scarlet Lady
An Indecent Proposition
A WHISPERS OF SCANDAL NOVEL
A SIGNET ECLIPSE BOOK
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First published by Signet Eclipse, an imprint of New American Library,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
First Printing, September 2012
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Copyright © Katherine Smith, 2012
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
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For Dr. Jeffrey Dikis and his lovely wife.
The process of publishing a novel involves many people on different levels, and while it might start with the author, it certainly is not my creation alone. I would like to thank my agent, Barbara Poelle; my editor, Kerry Donovan; and all the other people behind the scenes including the copy editor, the art department for such a fabulous cover, and all those involved in making this book the best it could be.
he first impression was of jeweled colors: sapphire, brilliant ruby, golden topaz…
Lady Elena Morrow’s eyes fluttered open and she suppressed a small moan. Her head ached, her mouth was dry, and she came to the startling conclusion she had absolutely no idea where she was.
Stone walls rose all around her and the faint colored illumination came from several stained-glass windows set in arched niches high above where she lay on what appeared to be a bed, though she was on top of the coverlet, not under it, and she shivered slightly, as she was clad only in her lacy chemise.
In a surge of panic she sat up, which proved to be a mistake, as the room spun and nausea caused her eyes to close again as she struggled to remember just how she might have gotten into this strange room. Bracing herself on the softness of the mattress with one hand, she pushed the fall of loose hair away from her face and took a deep breath.
Her last memory was of the theater. The performance, the music, the glittering crowd…she’d worn a new
gown of aquamarine silk…Slowly she opened her eyes again to survey her unfamiliar surroundings.
It was at that moment she realized she wasn’t alone.
How she hadn’t noticed before was bewildering, but she was hardly clearheaded, and as she glanced over she wondered for a moment if she was hallucinating.
The man sprawled carelessly on the bed next to her was half-nude, wearing a pair of doeskin breeches and nothing else. It was so shocking she blinked, her gaze traveling over the muscled contours of his bare shoulders and the flat plane of his stomach, finally shifting back up to his face. He had glossy dark hair, disheveled against the white linen of the pillow, and in profile his features were clean and masculine: straight nose, high cheekbones, downy ebony brows, a mouth that was parted just slightly in sleep, his tall body relaxed and taking up a good deal of the bed.
The one they shared.
The situation registered and she scrambled to her knees in scandalized horror, more confused than ever.
A strange place, and, worse, an unfamiliar man. What in the name of heaven could be going on?
Doing her best to stay calm, Elena tried to think, incredulously recognizing the infamously handsome features of Randolph Raine, Lord Andrews. It wasn’t as if they actually knew each other—he hadn’t even asked to be introduced to her this season, and if he had done so her mother would have probably fainted dead away—but it was impossible to be part of the beau monde and not know of him.
He was the reigning rake of the
, his reputation more wicked than sin itself, his name a byword for seduction and forbidden pleasure.
What is he doing half-naked in the same bed with me?
The infamous viscount stirred then, as if her horrified gaze touched his psyche in some way even through his sleep, and he took in a long sighing breath before moving one arm above his head in a careless arch. Even in repose he looked dangerous, with an almost beautiful cast to his features and all that tousled raven hair.…
Yes, that was his nickname, wasn’t it? Not that her mother or aunts would even mention him in front of her, but still tidbits had sifted through to her awareness.
. She’d seen it in the society papers. A titillating and amusing nickname, but at the moment all she could think about was his notoriety.
There was no doubt in her mind he was about to open his eyes. She hadn’t the slightest notion of what might have prompted her current fantastical circumstances, but Elena was suddenly reminded that she wore only a thin, semitransparent shift, and upon the first swift perusal of the room, there was nothing to use to cover herself. The bed linens might have been an option had he not been on top of them, but given his height and solidly muscled body she doubted she could shift him even one inch.
What is this place
, she had to wonder with frantic assessment, as her eyes scanned the room and she found not even a stray blanket or other furniture besides the ornate bed; a screen in the corner that hopefully concealed the necessary; and a small table that held a carafe, two glasses, and a lamp.
With a true sense of urgency she wondered what had happened to her clothes, because the viscount was waking up and…
Sure enough his eyes opened, the thick fringe of his lashes lifting. He stared at the stained-glass window for
a moment and then with a sweeping glance surveyed the entire room, arrested when he saw her kneeling there next to him. He muttered, “What the devil?”
She’d had exactly the same reaction and a part of her was relieved he seemed as startled as she was, but another part was more puzzled than ever.