Lord Robert Cresthaven took one look at the stunning Miss Clarissa Townsend and knew that she was destined to be his wife. The fact she doesn’t see her own self-worth makes him want to show her exactly how desirable she is. When they’re caught in a compromising position, things don’t go according to plan and his beautiful Clarissa is locked away.
Clarissa may not have fought for anything in her life, but she refuses to be sold to Madame Giselle or the disgusting Mr. Peterson. Just because she’s crippled, and now ruined, doesn’t mean that she can’t have the husband and family she’s always dreamt of. Escaping her family was easy enough, but convincing Lord Cresthaven that she loves him might be the hardest thing she’ll ever have to do. Because kissing Lord Cresthaven was the most wonderful thing she’d ever experienced, and Clarissa wants so much more from the handsome lord.
**NOTE: This novella has been recovered, expanded, and re-edited. It was originally released in 2014 under the same title but has been adapted for inclusion in the Ladies of the Night series and has new scenes.
New Orleans, 1895
“Tell me you want this, Clarissa. Want me.”
“Forget about propriety. Forget about what your parents will think, what society will think. What do you want?”
“I want you to kiss me,” she admitted softly.
There was a flash of relief in his eyes, as if he’d doubted her response. When his head lowered to hers, her fingers tightened on his shoulders. She’d never been kissed before and it seemed right that her first kiss should come from Robert. His mouth molded to hers. The press of his lips against hers had warmth spreading through her belly. Her blood heated in her veins as his kiss became bolder. She mimicked him and slightly parted her lips. When his tongue slipped between them, she stifled a gasp. Clarissa had never known that a man would do such a thing, but as his tongue stroked hers, she found herself melting into his embrace.
Robert seemed reluctant to pull away. “If we don’t stop, I’ll forget where we are.”
It was at that moment Clarissa realized just how dangerous he was. She’d forgotten they were in the library at someone else’s home. Forgotten about the ball and her parents. Forgotten that she shouldn’t let a man kiss her. And she’d definitely forgotten that she shouldn’t want him to do so much more.
She tried to take a step back but he held her tight.
“Let me call on you tomorrow,” he said. “We’ll go for a drive.”
“You haven’t met my parents before. They aren’t going to let you take off with me. Besides, I’d need a chaperone.”
His hand cupped her cheek. “I want you to myself.”
“It isn’t a good idea for us to be alone again.”
“Why? Because I might kiss you again? I will, you know. Now that I’ve had a taste of you, I want more.”
“You shouldn’t say things like that.”
“I want to see you again, Clarissa. I meant what I said before. Let me take care of you.”
“I won’t be your mistress.”
He smiled. “I don’t recall asking you to be.”