[Siren Classic: Erotic Historical Romance]
After being kidnapped, shrewd business woman Tess McLeod awakens in a brothel room ready to be sold at a "virgin auction." She refuses to comply with the brothel, especially when that leaves her inheritance, McLeod Shipping, in the hands of her abductor and late father’s business partner, "Mad" Jack Anderson.
To avoid a scandal, Duke William Knightly of Devenleigh, the head of Riverlark Shipping, follows his frivolous, carefree brothers to the brothel auction to take them home. He doesn’t plan to make a purchase, but when Tess is brought to the dais, his conscience tells him to save her. But it's only after he pays for her that he discovers the mysterious woman is a threat to everything he knows, including his heart.
A Siren Erotic Romance
4 HEARTS: "Tess McLeod is trying to keep McLeod Shipping out of the hands of "Mad" Jack Anderson, her late father's business partner. Anderson wants Tess out of his way, so he kidnaps her and sells her to a brothel. Duke William Knightly became the head of Riverlark Shipping at an early age and doesn't know how to have fun. William, trying to keep his younger brothers out of trouble, sees Tess and wants to save her from that way of life. What follows is a great love story with a little added murder and mayhem. Tess and William couldn't be more different than night and day. The author pens a great story about how two headstrong people fall in love. From beginning to end, the story made me keep thinking what next? It was difficult to stop reading about the great characters when it came time to put the book away for the night. Knightly Seduction is the first book I have read by Tracy L. Ranson but will not be the last. I look forward to reading more from her and hope to see William's brothers in stories of their own." -- Retta Lee, The Romance Studio
William watched as two whores brought out the next girl. His fists curled at his sides while his heart pounded at the barbarity of the situation. The girl couldn’t have been more than twenty years old. She possessed long, blonde streaked hair kissed golden by the sun. A tight red corset wrapped around her upper body, hugging feminine curves. Flimsy material composing her dress softly clung to the delicate curves of her thighs. Desire and lust nipped at him, but he pushed the unbidden motion away. He had to do something for this poor creature.
The whores seated the girl in the chair. The girl’s vacant stare remained glassy as if they’d given her a potion to make her docile. A red haze clouded his vision while the thunder of blood roared in his ears. How dare they treat an innocent young woman in this fashion?
A hand went up into the crowd. “Ten pounds.”
Mrs. Blakely turned to the crowd. “Any other bidders?”
“Twenty!” came one shout.
“Thirty!” was another.
“Thirty measly pounds for this girl’s innocence? Come, gentlemen, surely a night of first passion and introduction to womanhood is worth more than that!”
“How do we know she’s a virgin?” called one of the bidders.
“She was personally checked by me, gentlemen,” Mrs. Blakely announced as she patted her abundant bosom. “I guarantee she is snow-white pure. Now, do I hear bids for more than thirty pounds?” She walked around the girl, lifted up a bit of the filmy gown, and exposed the poor creature’s slim, well-defined ankles. “How would any of you like those wrapped around your waist—or your ears, for that matter?”
Bidding grew fierce as the price climbed higher and higher, adding to his tension. William stared into the innocent face. Her amber-colored eyes silently begged him to do something to help her out of this dire situation. His lips pulled taught. He never abandoned anyone who required his aid. He raised his hand. “I bid two hundred pounds.”
Collective gasps rumbled through the crowd and put a halt to the proceedings. Mrs. Blakely spun around to meet his gaze. “Did I hear you correctly, good sir?”
He nodded. “I’ll pay two hundred pounds for the girl.” All eyes turned to him, most filled with jealousy. Some of the men he knew, and the fact they had participated on the auction appalled him. He did so only to save the last girl.
Mrs. Blakely patted her thick bosom with her kerchief again. “Do I hear any other bids?” Silence abounded as no other offers came. If they had, he would have given more. “Nothing?” She looked to the crowd. Apparently, she wanted an even greater amount for the girl. She sighed after a moment and looked at him. “Sold!” Her scarlet lips spread into a crooked smile. “I have designated a room for your use. One of my girls will show you there so you may take your prize.”
“I’ll take her to my country estate where I can enjoy my prize in privacy.” William cringed the moment the words left his mouth. He had no intention of taking the girl at all. Besides, rumors circulated that Madame Blakely had holes in each of the rooms where she could watch her girls work. He wouldn’t give her the pleasure of finding him to be more of a gentleman than a rake.
“No, my lord, the girl doesn’t leave this establishment.”
William extracted his bill fold and withdrew the two hundred pounds. Folding the money, he waved the pile under her nose. “If you wish to be paid you will. I want the girl dressed properly when I leave here with her.”
Mrs. Blakely stiffened at his order and lifted her chin. “Very well, but I would like her brought back in the morning. I intend to make a pretty penny off this piece’s quim.”
William handed her the bills. “I think not. The girl will be given her choice of what she wishes to do. If she pleases me, then I may make her my permanent mistress,” he said, lying. He already possessed a mistress named Riverlark Shipping.
Deep flashes of red flooded up Mrs. Blakely’s thick neck and spread out over plump cheeks. “But, my lord—”
“The decision has been made. Get her ready.” William spun on his heel. He stared his brothers, their faces twisted in expressions of astonishment.
“What has gotten into you?” Gareth demanded. “We never buy the women except for seasoned ones.”
“I have my own reasons.” His shoulders stiffened. He had never given an insight to his thoughts and feelings, even to his brothers. He wasn’t about to change that now.
Edmund clapped him on the shoulder with a hearty slam. “This isn’t like you. Hell, it isn’t like you to be in a place like this. What brings you here anyway?”
“I originally came to bring the three of you home, but I decided to stay and enjoy myself.” He hated being there, even more so he’d “bought” another human being, but for her sake, he could live with his decision. There would be no telling what would have happened had someone such as Lord Warwick bought her. She would have suffered at Warwick’s hands, for he had long been rumored to be devoted follower of the Marquis de Sade. He couldn’t have lived with himself had he done nothing to save her. “That is where my reasons end.”
He looked to the chair and found the seat empty. Good. They had taken the girl up to properly dress her and to get her ready for departure.
Garrick pressed him further. “Tell us why you’ve done this.”
“Why do you need to know?’
Garrick shrugged. “Because this is not something you normally do, and since you really don’t carouse the way we do, I thought perhaps you were softening a bit.”
“I’m not becoming like any of you. I am still my own man, and what I do, I do for reasons that will only be known to me.”
“There is no reason to be an upstart about this,” Garrick countered. “We just simply want to understand your sudden change of heart.”
Before William could give his answer, the two whores brought the young girl to his side. A blue cloak clad her delicious body while a wide cowl covered her face. Her head remained bowed. “Are you ready?” She nodded. “Then let us proceed to my country estate.” He took her by the elbow and stared at his brothers. “Stay in the townhouse for tonight. I wish to be alone.”
William exited behind the girl amid the questions of his brothers, refusing to answer any of them. The sooner he got this girl safe, the better off they would be. She could spend the night in safety at Ravensdowne and go where she wished in the morning. No one would be the wiser.
The first strike caught her off guard. She held in her pain and grunted very slightly. Her pain increased with each successive strike, but she bit her lip for as long as she could. Finally, she couldn’t take it. Before she could stop herself, she yelped low in an effort to give him any sick satisfaction to his spanking of her.
William stopped. “Hopefully this will teach you never to steal again.”
He touched her raw flesh as if her skin was a newfound treasure he couldn’t help but explore. She closed her eyes. The slamming of her heart, as well as the tingling, soared through her breasts.
Without another word, William spun her around so she straddled his lap and faced him. His sexy half smile returned. “So beautiful,” he murmured as he slipped his hands under her shirt and circled her bare waist.
Pulses of desire beat at her sex and soaked her to the core. Taking his hands, she lifted them and molded them to her breasts. Her nipples had turned to taut points begging to be touched and caressed.
“Are you sure you wish me to do this?”
“More than anything else,” Tess whispered as she lowered his head and captured his lips as the hunger of passion overtook her. She cradled his head in her hands and pulled him closer. William cupped her breasts and massaged them from the base to her nipples. She moaned against his mouth and held him tighter. Suddenly, his hands left her breasts and descended on her hips, where he held her steady. He thrust upward, pushing his hard shaft against her swollen mound. She gasped as the shaft parted her damp folds and pulsated against her core.
“That’s it, little one. Climax for me,” he whispered against her ear as he ground harder.
Tess’s hips naturally found their rhythm. With his guidance, she rocked herself against his stiff cock with her juices flooding her channel. William groaned a bit as she leaned back a bit and kept her motion going. Spinning around, she rotated her hips in his lap, making sure he could see the roundness of her bottom as she pushed the abundance into his lap.
“More, Tess,” he begged in a strangled whisper. “Dear God, I want you so much.”
“Then take what you paid for,” she said in a brazen voice.
William gripped her hips hard and forced her to stop mid-motion. “What did you say?”
“I told you to take what you paid for.”
“That is enough.” His tone sounded gruff as he pushed her away.
She spun on her heel and glared at him as she drew up her breeches. “What have I done wrong? Why don’t you take me and be done with it.”
“I will take you, make no mistake. But it will be when I decide, not a moment before.” His brow lifted. “What sort of rogue do you take me for?”
“I thought perhaps—”
His features darkened. “You thought incorrectly.”
Before she could say anymore, William stormed out of his cabin and locked the door behind him. She heard the hard slams of his boot heels against the treads as he stormed to the deck. What did she do that was so wrong? Did she insult the gentlemanly barbarian in him by telling him to take what he paid for?
She slumped on the bed. Aye, she had insulted him, and he possessed every right to be angry. Had he been less than what he was, he would have taken her virginity as swiftly as possible and would have tossed her back out onto the streets, leaving to her own devices. He hadn’t. Instead, he’d kept her at his home, safe from Anderson, and had clothed and fed her. He didn’t have to do that.
Well, she would have to make amends somehow. How she wasn’t sure. His bidding would be the only thing she could do…for now.