The Captain & The Courtesan by Juliet Chastain
Releasing: January 13th, 2012
Romance, historical regency, Juliet Chastain, romance, erotic romance, captain, courtesan, brothel, regency, historical
Heat Rating: 2
Buy at: http://www.breathlesspress.com/captain-and-courtesan
Against his conscience, Captain Edward Howland buys a night with the enchanting and mysterious masked courtesan, Lady Amelia Kentley, and their evening together becomes far more than either expected.
As her first night as a courtesan approaches, the mysterious masked noblewoman is the talk of London. Impoverished Lady Amelia Kentley, wearing a mask to hide her identity, is resigned to her fate, working in a brothel to support her child and herself. When she meets the kindly and passionate sea Captain Edward Howland, she is shocked at the powerful attraction she feels for him. She hopes that he will be her first paying lover. Dare she dream of more, of running away from her degrading situation with him?
Edward disdains paid-for sex, but he is so enchanted with the masked Lady Amelia that he cannot resist the chance to claim a night’s pleasure with her before he sets sail in the morning. They share hours of overwhelming passion, and a deep affection develops between them. By daybreak, Edward is determined to find a way to rescue her from her fate as a courtesan, but can he do so without besmirching his honor?
Before she entered the parlor in which the gentlemen waited to bid for her favors, Amelia took a glass of spirits, for she could not stop trembling. She had struggled to accept her fate, but she was resigned no longer. Since last night, when she had kissed the new captain, she had been filled with an unreasonable hope that she could not suppress. She warned her heart that a navy man would be unlikely to have the means to outbid Madame’s wealthy aristocratic clientele. And even if tonight were spent in his arms—she seemed unable to keep herself from longing for that outcome with all her heart and soul—in the morning he would sail and be gone from her life. Then she would be available to any man who could pay whatever Madame charged for her.
And yet she hoped. She hoped for one night with the new captain. And, in spite of herself, she dreamed of more.
She entered the parlor on Madame’s arm. Against the dark green walls, the huge lewd paintings in their heavy gold frames appeared to flicker in the light of the gas lamps, as did the gentlemen seated on the damask upholstered sofas and on the fine Chippendale chairs.
Madame led her to a small dais and helped her to step onto it. Amelia wore a pale green dress, cut shockingly low and of fine, almost transparent muslin. She wore no petticoat or stays beneath it, but only a thin shift and a string of fine pearls around her neck.
She counted eleven men. Her heart sank. The captain was not among them.
She took tight hold of Madame’s arm for a moment as she tried to gather her courage. She was glad of the mask, for she felt the blood drain from her face.
She had known she must not hope, but all the same she had anyway. He had awakened her heart and her body and she did not regret it, but now her life as a harlot would be all the more difficult. She looked out at the men and could only dread what lay ahead. If it had not been for her child, she would have wished herself dead.
Each man had a glass of spirits or wine in his hand, and each carried at least five hundred guineas in his waistcoat, more than five times the amount a workingman made in a year. She recognized a few of them, including an elderly man she had met socially in the past before she had been thrown onto the street. She could not help but be shocked to see him here, for she had always thought him the soul of propriety. Several others had sat with her, as had the captain, in this house and had a drink.
The door opened and two more men entered. One wore the navy coat of a seaman and her heart leaped. It was he, the newly made captain.
She almost laughed out loud in joy. And then she wanted to laugh at the irony. Until recently, she was a completely respectable woman, the granddaughter of a viscount and the widow of a baronet. Now she prayed that a man whose name she did not know, and with whom she had spent a mere half hour, would buy the right to bed her in a brothel.