Read An Excerpt

by Michelle Marcos

Genre: Historical Romance

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Serena closed the door to her bedroom, and leaned her back against it. The nerve of that man! It was bad enough that she had to suffer more of this wretched country. But to do so in the intimate company of an impertinent and overbearing servant was more than she was willing to endure. She had to think of a way out of this predicament. Overwhelmed, she let her head fall back against the door.

The knock on the other side nearly tore a scream out of her.

“Who is it?”

“I’d tell ye, but ye’d probably forget the name.”

Slayter! She turned to face the door, annoyance robbing her of the composure in her voice. “What do you want?”

“I’d like to come in.”

“I don’t want a protector. I thought I’d made myself perfectly clear.”

“Aye. That ye did.”

She puzzled over the uncertain victory. “Very well, then. Good day.”

“But what ye want and what ye’re going to get are two very different things, Miss Marsh.”

“I will not have you giving me orders. Leave the environs of my rooms immediately.”

The handle on the door shook as he tested it. “Ye’ll open the door.”

“I beg your pardon?”

“Miss Marsh, I’m warning ye. I must inspect yer rooms. Let me in or I shall break down this door.”

Fury exploded inside her. She wasn’t about to yell at him from inside her room like a cowering ninny. She wanted to yell at him face-to-face.

She turned the key in the lock and flung open the door. “How dare you speak to me in so impudent a manner! I will not—”

The words died in her mouth as he shouldered his way past her into the bedroom. Her mouth fell open, appalled at his insolence. She crossed her arms at her chest. “I hate to seem discourteous, but…actually, I don’t. Get out!”

“By God, yer mouth alone is enough to keep assassins at bay.”

She pursed her lips. “It is highly improper for a lady to entertain gentlemen unchaperoned.”

“Miss Marsh, ye’re no’ entertaining me. If ye want to entertain me, ye’ll have to do a damn sight more than strut round like a pernickitie dowager queen.”

“Oh, hurry up and do what you must,” she huffed. “There are important things that require my attention.”

He suppressed a smile, and began an examination of her rooms. “Such as?”

“I’m planning my next column for the Town Crier.” She arched an eyebrow. “I don’t know if you know this, but I am a writer of some note. Have you heard of the Rage Page?”

He cocked his head. “That’s yers, then?”

She was pleasantly astonished. “You’ve heard of it?”

His green eyes shone. “No.”

She rolled her eyes. “That hardly surprises me.”

Serena walked over to her bed and sat down. His back was turned, and she stole a lingering glance at him. His black-clad figure dominated the room, filling its space. He had a most imposing physique, and briefly she wondered what such a man looked like without such second-rate clothes on. 

He strode over to her, his booted feet pounding upon the floor, and knelt right in front of her. She inched backwards on the mattress, uncomfortable with his nearness. He got down on all fours and looked under the bed.

“Do ye entertain in here?” he asked.

“I beg your pardon?”

He straightened, and put a large hand on the mattress on either side of her. “Are ye in the habit of receiving gentlemen in yer rooms?” Black eyebrows flew up. “It’s best that ye tell me now.”

“Certainly not!” she responded. “What sort of a lady would I be?”

“Not the Scottish kind, to be sure.”

Her chin jutted in affronted pride. “Mr. Slayter, since we’ve met, you’ve insinuated that I was a virago, a busybody, and now a lightskirt. Do you have any more calumnies to launch at me?

His eyes sparkled in amusement. “No. That should do for now.” Suddenly, he leaned forward, his face only inches from her own, imprisoning her upon the bed. “But I’m still waiting for m’answer. Do ye have a secret lover?”