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The Girl Who Seduced an Earl – Book 1

The Girl Who Seduced an Earl Book 1

She is the one woman in England who refuses to seduce the earl…

The son of a duke, Dorian Waverley, holder of the courtesy title Earl of Haydon, buys a brothel to infuriate his abusive father. Tormented by memories of horrific events, Dorian uses inventive sensual games to forget his past.

His problem—instead of having nights of pleasure, he ends up with nights of severe frustration, due to a clever, stubborn courtesan named Emma Taylor.

The Girl Who Seduced an Earl Book 2

Coming in late August 2018: The Girl Who Seduced an Earl – Book 2!

Forced to become a courtesan to support her sister, Emma was promised the brothel for her own. She refuses to be controlled by any man, even a gorgeous earl. To protect her own dangerous secrets, she must drive Dorian away.

In the cat-and-mouse game of seduction and denial, Emma is winning. Until Dorian pulls out a secret weapon.

“The Girl Who Seduced an Earl” is serialized, with episodes appearing regularly. It is a big, sexy romance with a mystery. I always wanted to try a serialized story, so this was my chance. Going with a slightly longer book let me add lots of sensual scenes and of mystery.

Read Sharon’s personal message on the writing of this book here.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

London
April, 1818

Nothing irritated twenty-four-year-old Dorian Waverley, the Earl of Haydon, like spending a king’s ransom to organize an orgy, then leaving the event unsatisfied.

Despite being alone, without servants or protection, he sauntered down King Street, swinging his walking stick. Though he had downed a half-bottle of brandy, his gait was even and smooth, revealing no unsteadiness. While he appeared nonchalant and careless, he flicked his gaze constantly over narrow, dark alleys that could easily hide a thief.

It would be a pleasure to be targeted for robbery. He sorely needed something to drive his fists into, something to work off his frustration. That was what the orgy was supposed to do.

Tonight’s event had cost him two thousand pounds and involved six of the most voluptuous and skilled courtesans in London’s most notorious and expensive brothel. He had been the only male participant. He’d had a dozen lush, alluring breasts at his disposal. Six pretty mouths and six cunning minds well able to invent the most seductive positions to entice a man.

But he’d been…as insane as it seemed, he’d been bored. Too bored to carry out any of those positions. Too disinterested to do anything but down his brandy, pay the bill, and leave.

Hades, what was wrong with him?

Admittedly, pleasure was not the only thing he had to keep his memories at bay. Gaming and drinking worked also.

Gaming had the added reward of irritating his father. But so did the vast amounts of money he spent at brothels. Drinking didn’t do much for him except give him a pounding head and ruin good boots when he cast up his accounts.

There was no point in going home now, even if it was close to two o’clock in the morning. Without sex to exhaust him, he had no hope of a dreamless sleep.

He turned off on a narrow lane. At No. 10, Dorian mounted the steps, rapped on the door. A small panel slid away from a square iron grille set in the thick oak. The doorman’s face appeared. A round, blue, blood-shot eye peered suspiciously at him, then the servant swiftly stepped back, yanked open the door, and sketched a deep bow. “Good evening, milord.”

“Good evening, Montjoy.” To the muscular doorman, Dorian handed over his walking stick and hat. “Who is here this evening? I’ve come to annoy my father with more staggering losses.”

Montjoy let a flicker of a smile show before returning to stone-faced servant. “Mr. Tate, Sir Augustus Neville, and Lord Wrenshire, milord. They’d ’elp ye, I wager.”

“Indeed. They’ve accommodated me before.”

Montjoy bowed, and Dorian headed into the smoke-filled card room. If he wanted, he could easily win tonight. But his losses and his mounting debts made blood vessels throb in his father’s temples.

His father’s abuse had tormented his mother until she had ultimately taken her own life. In return, he tormented his father.

For the next few hours until dawn, he would lounge at a card table, throwing down the wrong cards and scratching out vowels promising to pay thousands of pounds. But he didn’t feel the usual bitter anticipation. Weariness dragged at him. He felt as unsatisfied about this form of revenge as he had in the brothel’s bedroom.

Dorian scanned the tables. Out of the shadows, the Earl of Lytton materialized, walking toward him. His friend Lytton dressed like Dorian’s father—with more care and precision than Brummell. Dorian wore a long dusty leather coat and he hadn’t bothered to retie his cravat after leaving the ill-fated orgy. His shirt collar hung open and his trousers looked as though he’d slept in them for a week. He kept his pale blond hair longish in the front and it dangled over his eyes. Women loved that, he’d discovered.

His friend lifted one black eyebrow. “The usual tonight, Haydon? Or do you want me to attempt to win?”

Dorian grinned. “The usual.” Lytton generally partnered him at whist. But since Dorian deliberately lost, he made the flamboyant wagers and paid the debts.

Lytton shrugged, raked back his coal-black hair, and said, below his breath, “One of these nights I will be able to outplay your deliberate attempts to throw the game.”

“I doubt it.” Dorian nodded to a table where Sir Augustus Neville and Lord Wrenshire waited for opponents. “Shall I offer to play Wrenshire for the thousand he won off me last night?”

Without waiting for an answer, he went. A servant followed him into the gloom. Balanced on the footman’s silver salver were Dorian’s customary bottle of port and a tumbler.

Taking the glass, Dorian filled it with liquor, pulled out one of the two empty chairs, and finished the drink before his arse hit the seat. Lytton sat across from him, grimacing. Wrenshire began to deal.

Normally it was easy to deliberately lose.

But there was something wrong tonight.

The diamonds and the hearts on his cards kept changing in front of his bleary gaze into droplets of scarlet blood. Dorian’s gut tightened. His heart started to pound.

He’d heard of men who drank so much they eventually saw demons in the shadows or believed spiders crawled over their bodies. Maybe he had finally—as his father had constantly berated he would—pickled his brain.

Lytton called the suit and threw down a card. Others followed. But Dorian couldn’t see them. Instead he could see his mother’s blank eyes. The dead eyes he had looked into when he’d been five years of age. Christ. He tried another drink. Then another. Liquor burned down his throat again and again, but…but hell, he couldn’t push the memories back.

It had never been like this. Normally he could escape—

“Blast.” Cards hit the table. Sir Augustus leaned back in his chair, running a hand through thinning blond hair. “That’s the third hand you’ve won, Haydon. A dashed unusual stroke of luck you are having tonight.”

Dorian blinked and took a good look at the cards played in the last trick. He wasn’t paying attention. He forgot to play his cards badly.

Maybe what he needed was to be drunker. But as he signaled the waiter for another bottle, the whole room wavered like curtains in the wind. He couldn’t even see straight.

This should be drunk enough. Why wasn’t it working? Why was the liquor making the memories flood faster and with more detail? The more he tried to forget, the more distinctly he heard the echo of his mother’s sobbing, the explosion of the shot—

Across the table from him, Lytton drew in a sharp breath. “Good Christ.”

A distraction. Desperate for anything, for any escape, Dorian glanced behind him, expecting to see something mildly intriguing—a bosomy courtesan in a low-cut gown, perhaps. Instead he saw himself…no, an older version of himself. Harsh, cold, arrogant. He saw that face every morning in his mirror. It was a damn cruel twist of fate that he looked exactly like his father, who now strode toward him. The only difference: his hair was white-blond, his father’s was now silver.

Games stopped. Even men with thousands of pounds on the line looked up as the duke stalked past.

Dorian finished his port by lifting the bottle to his lips. He’d been itching for a fight. Here was one coming right to him.

He never hit his father. But he enjoyed bringing his father to the point of hitting him.

The duke stopped by his chair, his face already flushing the dull red of rage. “What in blazes are you doing here, Haydon? No more gaming. I forbade it. I believe I made that very clear.”

Despite his anger, the duke kept his voice at the level of a quiet murmur. Wouldn’t want to air the family linen.

Dorian leaned back in his chair and grinned. Ten years ago, when he’d turned fourteen, he’d practiced insolent grins in his looking glass until he’d learned the perfect one to make his father’s neck go scarlet. “I don’t give a bloody damn what you said.”

“You are an irresponsible idiot, my boy.”

Dorian jumped to his feet so fast his father became a blur. At the sudden movement, his gut churned. Amazing how quickly bile could rush up one’s throat but he fought for control. He wouldn’t be sick, wouldn’t show any weakness to the duke. “Given what you are, I don’t give a damn what you think of me.”

Eyes that looked like his narrowed. “And what am I, Haydon?”

His father had called him by his courtesy title ever since he’d been born. He looked down—he now stood several inches taller than his father. It was a far cry from when he had been a small, frightened boy. Never would he flinch in front of his father again. Fear was for children. The only thing he feared now was that he might lose control and actually break his father’s neck. “A sadist. A monster. You drove her to—”

“Stop this, Haydon.” The duke’s tones were soft and ice-cold in the sudden quiet that had descended on the gaming hell. “She did not take her own life. I am not the villain—”

“You are.” Dorian heard his voice bark through the unnatural stillness. All his father cared about was making him shut up. He abruptly turned away. Nothing irritated his father more than having his son turn his back. “I intend to keep losing money as long as I get the satisfaction of driving you mad.”

A hand landed on his shoulder.

Instinct kicked in and Dorian spun, grasping the wrist. He could snap it, though he wouldn’t, but he hoped his father wouldn’t know for certain what he would do.

Then he met a worried gaze and jerked his hand back. It wasn’t his father who had touched him. It was Lytton. Lines of concern crossed his friend’s forehead. “This is not the place, Haydon. Let’s have another drink.”

Not the place. He and his father had never come so close to airing the truth in public. Dorian had kept quiet all his life. Out of the breeding drummed into him. He’d kept quiet to protect his mother’s name. But he was drunk and angry and he’d almost lost control.

His damn father, when he’d turned his back, had taken the opportunity to walk away.

Lytton gripped his shoulder again and pushed him in the direction away from his father. “Why don’t you go find another distraction tonight, my friend? A brothel, perhaps—”

Dorian shook off his friend’s hand. “I came from a brothel. I hired six ladybirds for my own private orgy and here I am, unsatisfied and frustrated.”

He deliberately joined one of the tables close to his father, though his sire did not acknowledge him in any way. The other players recognized the potential powder keg in their midst—Dorian sensed their sudden tension.

Lytton joined as his partner, watching him warily. From across the table, one of the young peers gaped at him. Dorian recognized the youth as Viscount Woodley, just as he realized the lad had heard the end of his conversation.

“You hired six women? At once?” Woodley’s prominent Adam’s apple bobbed on a nervous swallow.

Dorian let a cool, humorless smile lift his lips. “Indeed. I’d wanted ten but the bed was a bit small for all of us.”

Woodley leaned toward him, blushing pink. “How much did it cost you? To have your own private orgy?”

“Too much.” He said it jokingly, but as the young man’s face fell, Dorian sighed. Obviously, the boy wanted an actual figure. “Two thousand.”

“T—two thousand?” Woodley stammered. “That’s my yearly income!”

Dorian looked toward his father who was playing whist with some of his cronies. His father grimaced and snarled.

It was strange, but his father’s rage didn’t please him. His mother had suffered, and she had died. This…didn’t feel like enough. To Woodley, he shrugged. “Sexual overindulgence doesn’t come cheap.”

Lytton groaned. “You know, Haydon, you spend enough money at a brothel in one night to buy one.”

“A peer of the realm wouldn’t own a brothel,” Woodley declared. “It would be a…a hell of a scandal.”

Dorian rubbed his jaw. This time he gave a genuine grin. “Hell, it would, wouldn’t it?”