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Authors: Sunny Andrews

Midnight Masquerade

BOOK: Midnight Masquerade
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Midnight Masquerade
 
Sunny Andrews

 

Prologue

 

May 15, 1816

Van Allendale’s Secret Garden Masque
rade

London, England

 

With her eyes open wide in carnal shock, she stood
alone in the
dark unfamiliar garden.
Inwardly questioning
her decision to sneak into the e
xclusive
party
, she pondered if she should turn around while she still could
. She was out of her depths;
completely ignorant of
the world she had just
s
nuck
into,
y
et each
sensation that assaulted her virgin senses made her wickedly want more.

Feeling her cheeks grow hot with blush, she reached up and touched them with her fingertips as
the telltale sounds of
erotic m
oans
came
out of the shadows
. With scattered lanterns artfully placed t
hroughout the fragrant gardens
, there were ample spots for
lovers
to seek
their pleasures under the stars
. Some
quite hidden, others not at all-
the voyeuristic surroundings carried all the way up to the
elaborate mansion
where the music floated out the open balcony doors
.

Twenty-one years old, Amelia
h
ad never witness
ed
or dreamt of such
a thing a place in all her life, she thought the rumors were grossly exaggerated, only to be thoroughly proven wrong.
Innocent and unmarried, she came from an elite family
of the Ton,
if she were caught
at such a risqué event
it would ruin her rep
utation
,
and
her family’s
good
name.
There was a bloody good reason she had never been to the likes of a foray like this; it just wasn’t done by her pedigree.

Even with the threat of total ruin, she pressed on
more determined than ever
to explore what this place
and
see what the night had in store for her.
She could feel the flush
deepening
across her cheeks as she
saw
naked flesh
and heard the
laughter of those seeking their pleasures
all around her. Biting her lip
,
she giggled to herself in anticipation of the night ahead of her. Curious as a cat, she pressed on in absolute awe
of the
hedonistic
world she had crossed into
.

From the darkly lit gardens
the music soothed her pounding heart as she slowly walked through the fragrant garden.
Trying to conce
al her shock from
witnessing
strangers
copulating in public, she moved past
the moving bushes
and others not so decently concealed,
slightly
aroused
from the sight
of
such an erotic display.
She might be a virgin but she
was no longer a young maiden
, she was a woman on a mission.
Her trip ton
ight was purely for observation
, to learn, to see what had been hidden from her, out of her grasp
.

The last
sibling in
her family to get married, she was quite
over
being so blasted innocent.
In the short
time
since
she had
arrived
, she had seen more skin and sex than she bargained
for.
Never in her wildest dreams did she imagine such uninhibited acts being done for all to see.
She
,
of course had seen the
erotic books on sex and positions,
and knew
all about what happened between a man and woman. What she lacked was actual
physical
experience, and now here she was, surrounded by
all the
flesh and blood
examples a lady could ask for.

Determined t
o learn and experience more,
even if aroused and embarrassed,
Amelia
pressed on.
After all
,
t
hat had been the main catalyst for coming to such an erotic, secret
party tonight,
to experience what lay between a man and woman,
that
,
and there was someone she hoped to meet in anonymity tonight.
Was he
even
here?

Van Allendale’s Secret Garden Masque
rade
was an annual event that was something of l
ore to her and her circle.
The exclusive invites were almost impossible to get your hands on, especially for someone
young and unmarried
like her.
Yet, here she was, having brothers both rich in power
,
and the art of spying had often played in her favor, tonight was no exception.

The youngest of
her
family, and only sister to
the Duke of Montrose
and the Earl of Devonshire
, she was used to
being surrounded each night by
circles of
innocent young ladies
and powerful circles of London’s upper crust
.

Her older brothers had done their best to keep her protected, and in doing so she had become extremely bored with London.
She had been rigorously protected and shielded due to her age and her title. She was an unwed, extremely wealthy and highly sought after woman
who refused to settle for anything less than a love match
. Her brothers and father had kept her suitors at bay for years
. With the death of her beloved parents happening
well over a year ago
,
the only family she had left
was
her two
older
brothers.

Although she loved
them
dearly, it was their
overdramatic protective
nature that
drove her to sneak out of her family house and walk through the gates of this home.
Recently she had found their tactics
preventing her from experiencin
g the excitement of a man’s embrace and kiss
.
Which was total bollocks since both of them had seen their share of sex and passion well before they settled down and married.

Her reason for coming tonight was not to find a husband at such a risqué party, but
to learn
how to properly flirt without titled lords and ladies watching her every move,
and perhaps spy on a man who had caught her eye long ago
.

The
Secret Garden Masque
rade
was an event that had been happening for centuries, held in secret
location
, one had to be invited in order to gain access to the
well-guarded
location.
Amelia
however had found her way in without an issue, having spies for brothers certain
ly helped
her navigate the security
. She knew all of the
tricks of the trade; employing a few of them tonight she had walked in without question.
Procuring
an invitation un
der the alias of a fictional widow had been rather easy for her.
Pre
tending to be someone else provided her with protection, and allowed her to break free of her social status
of being an unwed, virgin heiress
.

London operated on the order of class, being of the
Ton
assured you
were of high social
status and title
and wealth
. Her family was at the top of the food chain so to speak, h
e
r eldest brother was a duke,
and he
and
his new wife Helena were notoriously famous.
Amelia’s other brother was also well know
n
, and well-loved and titled. Surrounded by them and their wives, there were eyes on her at all times, except
for tonight. Tonight was hers, no one knew she was an heiress, no one knew she was a duke’s sister, no one new she was an unmarried virgin. Tonight was hers for the making.

In this town, ruled by tradi
tion and the
Ton,
there were many hedonistic
events
that were frowned upon in the stuffy upper crust of London society.
Yet, those events stil
l occurred, perhaps a little
more mysterious and secretive, they still occurre
d if you knew the right people to help you gain access.
Having a nasty habit of eavesdropping, she had heard about scandalous parties over the years, and tonight she was experiencing her first one in real life.

It was true
that
masque balls had been occurring since the dawn of time, yet this exclusive event had a much more sensual appetite, one that brought men and women of power
to its doorstep
.
Operating o
n the
strict
premise that every guest
don
an elaborate costume and
mask to conceal their identity,
it had become the event of the year for those seeking an alternate carnal dalliance or entertainment not present in
their typical tonnish balls.
Guests were
free to do as they please without judgment or consequences
as long as their masks stay on at all times. With that simple rule, a
ll rules of society
were
check
ed at the door with your cloak as well as many layers of clothes.

All around her
,
a world she had never known existed
unfolded
as she passed
couples in romantic embraces on her way to the ballroom.
Still so far away, she quietly walked closer to the house
taking in all there was to experience along the way
.

The
evening
air
was
uncommonly warm for May, g
rateful
to be
wearing a gown that
was sleeveless
,
her shoulders were bare to the sweet breeze. Donning the most provocative gown she owned
,
she felt confident
,
even if it wasn’t overly revealing, it was
skintight
and accentuated her breasts
,
which were one of her best
assets
.
A beautiful mask of silver and white adorned her face, concealing her identity securely.

Ho
lding a cool flute of champagne, she gracefully crossed the lush gardens as the bright moon flooded down upon her
,
lighting her path to the great mansion.
The hanging lanterns
helping guide her,
the entire ambiance of the venue w
as that of mystery and romance.

She had never felt more alive in her life, for once she was stepping away from her comfort zone and into the unknown. She came to learn, to soak in a world of erotica she knew existed but had never stepped foot into, until now.

Feeling her skirt
suddenly
snag on som
ething, she came to a halt
in the back corner of the garden. Reaching down, she grabbed a handful of her whimsical
white
feathered skirt
and pulled, annoyed with her own carelessness. Her skirt refused to budge, looking over her shoulder, she saw a
polished
black
leather boot standing upon the hem of her ri
diculously expensive gown, pinning it to the ground.

“Why
,
I think I caught myself a fallen angel, most lost
,
and most enchanting
.”

His voice
.

S
he recognized it immediately as she looked up from the tall black
Hessian
boot and foll
owed it north to reveal the
rest of the
commanding
man standing directly behind her
, incredibly close
. Dressed in all black, the blonde god of a man
stood with his arms
crossed,
and
a
soul-melting
smile upon his handsome face.
He may have donned a black domino mask, but she knew him instantly.

BOOK: Midnight Masquerade
5.72Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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