DISGRACE and DESIRE by Sarah Mallory
pub. UK Dec 2010.
"Beautifully tortured heroes and heroines that go against the grain, fast-moving drama that is both intriguing and riveting, and chemistry between our lovers that either has you screaming in exasperation or breathlessly sitting in awe – DISGRACE AND DESIRE has it all. Yet another amazing story from the fantastically talented Sarah Mallory." (romance junkies). Read the full review at
They call her the Wanton Widow...Breathtakingly beautiful Lady Eloise Allyngham scandalises and seduces the ton in equal measure. With all of London falling at her feet, wagers abound over who will capture the fast, flirtatious, disgraceful Lady Eloise - and her fortune...Dashing Major Jack Clifton has vowed to watch over his late comrade's wife, but her beauty fires his blood, and her behaviour intrigues him even further. Only the lady is not what she seems, and Jack must discover the secret she fiercely hides if he is to protect her... (scroll down to read an extract)
Eloise moved around the room, bestowing her smiles freely but never stopping, nor would she promise to dance with any of the gentlemen who begged for that honour. Her eyes constantly ranged over the room, but it was not an acquaintance she was seeking. It was a dark-haired stranger she had seen but once.
Suddenly he was beside her.
'Will you dance, my lady?'
'Sir, we have not been introduced.'
'Does that matter?'
A little bubble of laughter welled up. All at once she felt quite reckless. She held out her hand.
'No, it does not matter one jot.'
He led her to join the set that was forming.
'I thought you would never escape your guard dog.'
'Mr Mortimer is my very good friend. He defends me from unwelcome attentions.'
'Oh? Am I to understand, then, that my attentions are not unwelcome?'
Eloise hesitated. This encounter was moving a little too fast and for once she was not in control. She said cautiously, 'I think you would be presumptuous to infer so much.'
His smile grew and he leaned a little closer.
'Yet you refused to stand up with the last four gentlemen who solicited your hand.'
'Ah, but I have danced with them all before. I like the novelty of a new partner.' She smiled as the dance parted them, pleased to see the gleam of interest in his eyes.
'And does my dancing please you, my lady?' he asked as soon as they joined hands again.
'For the moment,' she responded airily.
'I agree,' he said, his eyes glinting. 'I can think of much more pleasant things to do for the remainder of the evening.'
She blushed hotly and was relieved that they parted again and she was not obliged to answer.
Eloise began to wonder if she had been wise to dance with this stranger: she was disturbed by his effect upon her. Goodness, he had only to smile and she found herself behaving like a giddy schoolgirl! She must end this now, before the intoxication became too great. When the music drew to a close she gave a little curtsey and stepped away. Her partner followed.
'I know I have not been in town for a while,' he said, 'But it is still customary to stand up for two dances, I believe.'
She put up her chin.
'I will not pander to your vanity sir. One dance is sufficient for you, until we have been introduced.'
She flicked open her fan and with a little smile she walked away from him.
Alex was waiting for her.
'Our host tells me Lord Berrow has sent his apologies for tonight. He is gone out of Town. However, Parham expects to see him at Renwick's soirée tomorrow.'
'How very tiresome,' said Eloise. 'If we had known we need not have come.' She tucked her hand in his arm. 'Let us go now.'
'Are you sure? You will disappoint any number of gentlemen if you leave now: they all hope to stand up with you at least once.'
Eloise shrugged. If she could not dance with her dark stranger she did not want to dance with anyone.
'There will be other nights.'
She concentrated on disposing her diaphanous stole across her shoulders rather than meet Alex's intent gaze.
'What has occurred Elle? I mislike that glitter in your eyes. Did your last partner say anything to upset you?'
She dismissed his concern with a wave of one gloved hand.
'No, no, nothing like that. He was a diversion, nothing more.'
'He was very taken with you.'
'Did you think so?' she asked him, a little too eagerly.
'Does it matter to you that he should?'
Eloise looked away,
'No, of course not. But it is very flattering.' She tried for a lighter note. 'He was very amusing.'
Alex looked back across the room to where the tall stranger was standing against the wall, watching them.
'I think,' he said slowly, 'that he could be very dangerous.'
© Sarah Mallory
Thursday, 29 March 2012
Friday, 23 March 2012
The drawing room of Knightscote Lodge was considered by many to be the ideal room for a cold winter's night, the beamed ceiling and polished oak panelling being declared perfect by the romantically minded. Certainly with a cheerful blaze in the huge fireplace and the golden glow of the candles, the room looked warm and welcoming. However, its present occupant was sunk low in his armchair, his booted feet resting on the hearth as he stared moodily into the fire, a half-filled wineglass held casually between the long, lean fingers of one hand.
It had started to snow earlier in the day and now it was swirling against the tiny diamond panes of the windows, driven by the howling wind. Sir Lawrence Daunton raised his head as a particularly fierce gust rattled the casements. It occurred to him that if the blizzard continued no-one would be able to get along the lane for days.
He muttered the word aloud as he drained his glass.
It was Christmas Eve and when he had ridden down to his hunting lodge on the edge of Exmoor a few days' earlier he had two objects in mind. The first was to avoid all company during the festive season; the other was to get very, very drunk. With the second of these worthy aims in mind, he reached for the bottle standing on the table at his elbow. It was empty and he was making his way to the servants' quarters in search of another when he heard a loud hammering at the door. Lawrence stopped.
'Who the hell can that be?'
With great deliberation he put down the empty bottle and picked up a lantern. His footsteps rang on the flagstones as he walked to the door. It took him a moment to wrestle with the locks and the catch but at last he flung the door open.
A blast of icy air took his breath away.
As did the vision standing in the shelter of the porch.
Before him was a young woman enveloped in a powder-blue velvet travelling cloak. The hood was edged in white fur that framed a pale, delicate face with a straight nose, generous mouth and a pair of blue-grey eyes fringed with dark lashes.
All this Lawrence took in immediately, but even as he blinked to see if the vision would disappear, she stepped quickly into the hall, saying, 'Do not keep me standing in the snow! Pray tell your mistress that Mrs Westerhill would like to see her. Immediately.' This last word she added a little sharply, for Lawrence was still staring at her. She continued, 'And my groom is outside with the horses. Perhaps before you shut the door you could direct him to the stables.'
Lawrence blinked. A gust of wind sent another flurry of snow into the hall where it fell gently onto the dark flags and dissolved.
'Yes. Excuse me.' Quickly he stepped outside, pulling the door closed behind him, and ran across to where the hapless groom was holding the reins of two horses. A few words of instruction and Lawrence hurried back into the house. The hall was empty, but a trail of wet footprints led off towards the drawing room, where he found the lady warming her hands by the fire. She had discarded her cloak to reveal a high-necked gown of deep blue wool, unrelieved by any ornament save a small edging of white lace at her throat and wrists. The severity of the gown was alleviated by her abundant honey-brown hair, which fell in soft ringlets to her shoulders.
'Well? Have you told Mrs Anstey that I am here?'
She straightened, fixing him with a frowning look.
'This is Knightshill Hall?'
'Alas no,' he replied. 'This is Knightscote Lodge. Knightshill is on the Stoke Pero road.'
'Oh heavens. Then this is not Mrs Anstey's House.'
'No. You must have missed the turning.'
Lawrence watched as her small white teeth momentarily gripped a bottom lip that was as full and red as a ripe cherry. Her eyes travelled about the room and for the first time she seemed aware of its untidy state.
'Is there a mistress in this house?'
Lawrence's eyes danced. 'Not at the moment.'
'Then perhaps you would inform your master…' she trailed off as she looked up and read the merriment in his face. 'Oh heavens.' Her hands came up to her mouth and her eyes with those ridiculously long lashes stared at him in horror. 'Oh, pray do not tell me you are master here.'
'Very well,' he said promptly, 'I won't.'
Her eyes twinkled but she said severely, 'Pray do not be absurd. If you are the master, then tell me your name.'
'You do not know?'
She shook her head.
'I must appear dreadfully ignorant, sir, but I do not venture abroad often: we keep very much to ourselves.'
'I am Daunton,' he announced, watching her closely. 'Lawrence Daunton.'
Immediately the humour left her face and she retreated a step.
He grinned, saying with some satisfaction. 'So you do know me.'
© Sarah Mallory
Thursday, 22 March 2012
Wednesday, 21 March 2012
SNOWBOUND WITH THE NOTORIOUS RAKE
by Sarah Mallory
pub. Nov 2011 "One Snowy Regency Christmas" (with Christine Merrill) and Dec 2011 (North America)
M&B / Harlequin Historical
"....With a charming heroine, a devilishly roguish hero, dramatic twists and turns aplenty and an enchanting romantic story, Snowbound with the Notorious Rake is another outstanding Regency romance from a writer who continues to affirm her position as one of the genre’s most gifted authors!" (Cataromance) - read the whole review here
Trapped by a blizzard with notorious rogue Sir Lawrence Daunton, schoolteacher Rose Westerhill must remain indifferent to his practised charms. But as the temperature outside drops, Rose finds the wicked rake's sizzling seduction impossible to resist. For one stolen Christmas night she abandons her principles - and her body! - to his expert ministrations...
Click on one of the book covers to read an extract.....
I was on holiday in beautiful Exmoor National Park when my editor rang me, out of the blue, and asked if I would like to write a Christmas story. The timing could not have been better, my head was full of snowy stories! It was in fact a glorious September, but I had been inspired by a painting I had seen by a local artist, Maurice Bishop. We had been enjoying a meal at the historic Ship Inn in Porlock and seen a copy of this picture on their wall. I fell in love with it instantly, and my mind immediately started making up stories - who is the man in the picture? Who is waiting for him at the inn? Maurice has given me permission to display a copy of his painting, Journey's End, below, and I am very grateful to him. I am sure you will see just why I was so inspired.
Journey's End by Maurice Bishop.You can see more of Maurice's work at www.mauricebishop.co.uk .
I do hope you enjoy "Snowbound", it is a lovely heart-warming tale set in one of the loveliest areas of England.
Tuesday, 20 March 2012
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