Read Her Gilded Prison (Daughters of Sin Book 1) Online

Authors: Beverley Oakley

Tags: #Nineteenth century country estate, #duty versus honor, #succession fears, #passionate taboo relationship, #older woman younger man, #nineteenth century taboo, #Regency romantic intrigue

Her Gilded Prison (Daughters of Sin Book 1)

BOOK: Her Gilded Prison (Daughters of Sin Book 1)
8.13Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Her Gilded Prison

Daughters of Sin, Volume 1

Beverley Oakley

Published by Beverley Oakley, 2016.

This is a work of fiction. Similarities to real people, places, or events are entirely coincidental.

HER GILDED PRISON

First edition. January 12, 2016.

Copyright © 2016 Beverley Oakley.

Written by Beverley Oakley.

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Table of Contents

Title Page

Copyright Page

Her Gilded Prison

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Connect with Beverley

Sign up for Beverley Oakley's Mailing List

Further Reading: Dangerous Gentlemen

Also By Beverley Oakley

About the Author

Her Gilded Prison

Book 1 in the
Daughters of Sin
series

––––––––

She was determined to secure the succession. He was in it for the pleasure. Falling in love was not part of the arrangement.

––––––––

W
hen dashing twenty-five year old Stephen Cranbourne arrives at the estate he will one day inherit, it’s expected he will make a match with his beautiful second cousin, Araminta.

But while proud, fiery Araminta and her shy, plain sister, Hetty, parade their very different charms before him, it’s their mother, Sybil, a lonely and discarded wife, who evokes first his sympathy and then stokes his lustful fires.

As Stephen introduces Sybil to every pleasure she’s been deprived of, the couple risks more than being condemned in society’s eyes. But with treachery afoot from unexpected quarters, Stephen must balance the risk to his future against the taboo relationship that has begun to consume him.

––––––––

N
ote:
This sizzling Regency romance features an intense, taboo relationship between an older woman and a younger man.

Chapter One

––––––––

T
he three men were on their knees, heads craned forward, eyes fixed with prurient interest on the amorous adventure playing out on the gossamer web before them.

“He’s launching in, for God’s sake! Dipping his wick—if you could only see it! Look at him.” The young Earl of Barston’s breath was hot on Stephen’s arm, his gaze rapt as he asked in an excited whisper, “She’ll kill him for it?”

Stephen’s host, Sir Archie Ledger, laughed coarsely. “You say he knows his reward is death?” The young baronet jostled his companions for a better look and his eyes bulged with excitement. He twisted his head to dart a glance at his wife who sat calmly embroidering at the far end of the drawing room, before adding under his breath, “The fuck of eternal damnation, eh? I reckon that’s what I got.”

It was no secret Sir Archie had been pressured into marriage following an indiscretion with the lovely but sharp-tongued Miss Julia Preston.

Lady Julia raised her head at the commotion and her voice cut like scissors into the schoolboy game Stephen was orchestrating. “I say, gentlemen, what’s more interesting than paying some attention to the ladies? Mr. Cranbourne, I want you to please take a seat by me and tell me all about your new benefactor.”

The three young men huddled closer, eyes still fixed on the spider’s web just below the escritoire. “Take cover, gentlemen, here she comes.” Sir Archie’s tone soured. “No, it’s no good. She’s found us. Story of my life. Fun’s over.”

Stephen, still on his knees, blinked to see first Lady Julia’s well-turned ankle and then, as she bent down, her lovely face. As her lively green eyes locked with his he wondered at Archie’s discontent. She was a diamond of the first water.

“What is so fascinating, gentlemen?” Her intimate murmur sounded as if it were just for him. Her gaze was certainly focused on him as her mouth curved in a secret, knowing smile.

Stephen sucked in a breath and found he was quite unable to answer. Since he’d come back from war he was unused to mixing in such elite company, though he remembered  frequenting  houses  like  this  when  he  was  a  boy  before  his  mother’s decline.

Just when he assumed she’d solicit her husband for information, she brushed his hand with hers, the smile that was just for him still in place.

Good God, he thought he’d imagined it before. Now, with Sir Archie still on his haunches to her right, reluctantly in the process of rising, Stephen was quite clearly being conveyed a secret message. Lady Julia admired him. He forced himself to breathe evenly as his cock sprang to attention. He could not rise now, for God’s sake. He must keep them watching at least a few seconds longer.

“She’s going to devour him.” The urgency in his voice that had nothing to do with the mating spiders.

“Nothing happening.” Archie sounded bored as he groaned and gripped the table leg to heave himself up. Stephen had wondered at a match between the spindly-legged, chinless baronet and the ravishing debutante conducted in such haste the season before. He’d not thought about the lovely Miss Julia again until news spread that the couple had been blessed with twin boys within a barely timely eight and a half months of their nuptials.

Now Lady Julia looked as dewy fresh and desirable as she had when Stephen had admired her in the ballroom as a young man experienced in battle but completely unprepared for London society. His mother had left him little of the vast fortune she’d frittered away through drink and gambling but enough to at least deport himself like the gentleman he’d been born.

He managed. Just.

“No, nothing happening,” muttered Barston, rising unsteadily. “I’ll wager a thousand monkeys you’re all hot air, Cranbourne.”

Lady Julia, who’d straightened, bent at the waist to peer again at the scene that had so  excited  the  gentlemen.  “Oh,  my  goodness,  the  spider  jumped!”  she  squeaked, twisting round so suddenly she tripped over her husband’s arm and fell full length upon Stephen.

For a second he just lay beneath her, eyes wide with shock as her soft curves molded his hard—very hard—contours, not all of them his bones.

“Get up, Julia. Cranbourne, do you accept the wager?” Archie, who sounded as if these were everyday occurrences, took his wife’s elbow and hauled her to her feet. But not before Julia had slanted a knowing and very provocative look at Stephen.

“What? Er, yes,” Stephen mumbled, paying only half a mind. He rarely gambled these days. He had only to recall his wretched, fatherless youth and the antics of his feckless, beloved, wager-mad mama.

“Good fellow!” A hearty handshake followed as Stephen rose. He took refuge behind the back of the Egyptian sofa and forced a strained smile at his hosts.

“I do love an unusual wager.” Lady Julia adopted a pose of rare solidarity beside her  husband.  “So  this  big,  bold,  female  spider—obviously  a  prime  article  in  the arachnid world—has just suffered the amorous attentions of her tiny, boring, timid, ineffectual husband.” Her knowing smile broadened and her words were heavy with emphasis  as  she  enunciated  each  one.  It  was impossible  to  miss her  meaning  and Stephen could only wonder that Archie didn’t bristle at the obvious allusion to their own marital situation. She stroked Archie’s arm while asking Stephen in silky tones, “You’re the celebrated man of science in the room, Mr. Cranbourne. Please explain in...explicit terms...the courting rituals of the spider world.”

Stephen flicked a glance at Archie. Fortunately he appeared to be his usual good- humored self—and just as keen for information as his wife.

He cleared his throat. “The male spider will court the female and...and then after he...”

“Impregnates her?” Lady Julia supplied with an inquiring smile.

“That’s correct, yes, the female will devour him.” Stephen let out his breath in a low whistle as his erection finally subsided. God, he hoped Archie hadn’t noticed. Lady Julia was a diamond of the first water but she was dangerous and Stephen wasn’t in a position to alienate the few advantageous connections he’d made since his unexpected elevation in the world.

“Nonsense!”  Archie  let  out  a  guffaw.  “The  male  of  every  species  is  infinitely superior in every respect and I’ll wager the insect world is no exception. Cranbourne, if this pretty boy spider is still safely in his love lair, gazing raptly at his lady love in two hours, then I’ve won the wager.”

Stephen quirked an eyebrow, the fog which clouded his brain finally clearing. He’d not  realized  what  he’d  agreed  to.  Honesty  and  fair  play  won  over  though  the temptation to take advantage of Sir Archie was great. “I’m happy to call off the wager, old chap. It was foolishly done in the heat of the moment, for one can’t bet against the laws of nature. The study of spiders was my childhood hobby. As sure as the sun rises in the east this puny male will have been devoured by his mate by two a.m.”

“The wager stands.” Archie grinned. “I’m willing to bet that a female is no match for a male—in any arena.” He glanced at his wife. “Don’t I prove that time and time again, dearest?”

Lady Julia’s smile for her husband was limpid but when she slid her eyes across to Stephen he read calculation in their depths. Arousal slammed through him and he lowered his head to hide the guilt that burned his cheeks. If Archie were to intercept the silent messages she was sending him, the young baronet would go wild. Particularly if he knew the effect they were having on Stephen.

Stephen had drunk more than usual yet he was not addle-witted. When he rose from his bow, his three companions were looking at him. He shrugged helplessly. Tomorrow he was to meet Lord Partington, his new benefactor. He wanted to be in top form. On the other hand, he’d need to stay to see his wager translate into a thousand pounds, an enormous sum but one that seemed neither here nor there to Archie.

Archie was now bending over again, peering at the web beneath the table. “Can’t say the housemaids are up to snuff in this place but it’s good for a lark. Nothing’s happening. Reckon the old boy’s going to turn tail and run in a sec. Now, ‘nother drink, old chap?”

“Thank you,” Stephen replied, though his bladder was full to bursting. He moved to the door. “Call of nature,” he mumbled. “Please excuse me.”

He drew in a lungful of air as he headed up the passageway to the privy. He’d have to return in the next few minutes to keep an eye on his booty though he’d much rather have gone to bed. Still, he couldn’t afford to lose the wager. It would be some time before he became the next Viscount Partington, with all that came with it.

He was just returning, issuing into the corridor and bending to adjust his breeches, when a whiff of familiar orange-water scent assailed his nostrils.

“Good Lord, I beg your pardon.” He stepped back as if stung from the connection of his forehead with Lady Julia’s pert breasts as he straightened. Half expecting an outraged slap, he was astonished by the warmth of her expression as she raised her candle.

“You are a very handsome man, Stephen.” There was no mistaking the intention, conveyed by the calculating gleam in her eye and husky whisper.

Her delicate fingers curved around his wrist and she gave a gentle tug. Obediently he followed her, not knowing what to expect.

And certainly not expecting the door of a small closet to be closed behind him, plunging them into almost total darkness save for the candle she set upon the windowsill.

“Lady Julia—”

His words were cut short by the touch of her lips, soft yet demanding as they covered his half-open mouth. Surprise coalesced into desire, fierce and potent as her deft  little  fingers  fumbled  with  the  buttons  of  his  breeches  and  closed  around  his pulsing cock.

“Oh God,” he croaked, sucking in a breath as her tongue breached the seam of his lips. He responded without hesitation, his hands roaming over her pliant, yielding body, all hard angles and soft curves. “Your husband—”

“Too busy watching the spider,” she rasped, suckling his lower lip then biting it gently, her gleaming eyes dancing wickedly before him.

“My wager,” he said, drawing away, quickly. He had go to. This was one bet he could not afford to lose.

“Oh God,” he groaned again, glancing down now at the top of her shiny blonde head. She was kneeling, both hands circling his cock, glancing up at him with those knowing eyes full of promise and mischief.

Mesmerized, he watched as she parted her lips, moistening them slowly with the tip of her tongue.

“Do you really want to beat such a hasty retreat, Mr. Cranbourne?” Her voice was husky, languid with promise.

He swallowed then made a slightly strangled noise as, slowly, she touched the tip of her tongue to his swollen member. Her eyes glinted, disappearing from view as she dipped her head to the base of his shaft.

BOOK: Her Gilded Prison (Daughters of Sin Book 1)
8.13Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

The Baron and the Bluestocking by G. G. Vandagriff
Complicated Love 2 by London, Lilah K.
Roots of Murder by Janis Harrison
Sapphire by Suzanne, Ashley
Wildwood (YA Paranormal Mystery) by Taylor, Helen Scott
Red's Untold Tale by Wendy Toliver
Slipping the Past by Jackson, D.L.
Pretty Ugly: A Novel by Kirker Butler