Sensual Regency Romance
A huge welcome today to The St Nicholas’ Day Wager, by Em Taylor, a seasonal Regency Romance. This author writes hugely romantic and sensual reads and never fails to deliver. I hope that you enjoy reading the excerpt as much as I did! Tina ❤
In Regency times, the Feast of St Nicholas, which falls on December 6th signified the start of the the Christmas season. For the poor, this propbably did not mean much as they still had to work for a living. For the rich, it was another excuse to party and attend balls and functions, drink and make merry. So not much change there either.
The St Nicholas Day Wager begins just before midnight strikes the beginning of St Nicholas’ Day in 1818. It’s a night that will change the lives of the Viscount Eastden and Lady Gabriella forever.
As the clock in White’s hallway chimes midnight on St Nicholas’ Day morning, Lord Nicholas, Viscount Eastden makes a stupid wager. Somewhat foxed, he agrees to a wager which states that he can marry the spinster sister of the Earl of Thornwich by Christmas eve. If Thornwich wins the wager and Eastden fails in his quest to marry her, he will get ten thousand pounds and vice versa. Having grown up on neighbouring estates, Nicholas can’t figure out why a nice girl like Gabriella failed for so many seasons on the marriage mart. Gabriella appreciates the viscount’s honesty when he explains the wager. Knowing the dire straits of her family’s finances and her brother’s addiction to gambling, it seems that marriage to Nick may be the only option. But can she overcome his cruel words from their childhood when he taunted her about the strawberry birthmark on her face which blights her appearance? After such a rocky start, can the Spirit of Christmas find its way into the lives of Nick, Gabriella and their families or will injury and grievances from the past keep hem apart forever?
Nick has been injured by thugs in the street and although he is staying at his own rooms in Brook Street, a kindly friend brought his back to his parents house where his betrothed, Gabriella, is staying. She is supposed to be being chaperoned by her maid while Nick’s father sees to his mother who is understandably upset that her son has been attacked. Nick has a badly sprained and bruised knee, injured ribs and a cut to the head.
“Gah!” Nick roared as Gabriella lifted his knee gently, holding it until her maid placed a pillow under it and then let it down slowly. The pain was so intense it made him want to cast up his accounts there and then. But he would not show himself up in front of her.
I am sorry,” she whispered, “but it does need to be elevated.” She placed cold, wet cloths over the knee he was sure was twice the size it was supposed to be.
“Shall I take the dirty water down to the kitchen, my lady?” asked the maid, scowling into the large bowl of water he assumed to be somewhat bloody given the state of his head.
“Yes please, Molly. I shall use the bowl on the side there but please bring up some more cold water.”
Yes, my lady.” Molly bobbed a curtsey as Gabriella placed a hand on either side of his face and pushed his face into her bosom so she could inspect the wound at the crown of his head. His body reacted instantly. The poor girl was clearly not thinking about the situation she was currently in as she ran a damp cloth over the head wound. He sucked in a breath at a sharp sting and placed his hands on her waist. It wasn’t that the head wound itself was sore, but he was already nauseated from the pain in his knee. Damn, she had luscious breasts. Every part of his being, and one part in particular, wanted him to stick out his tongue and lick the skin just under his lips.
Thank heavens for the fischu. It seemed to taunt him and remind him of his need to be honourable at this moment. Meanwhile the throbbing in his knee reminded him he could hardly tumble the girl even if he wanted to. And the new ache in his groin told him he desperately wanted to.
“It has nearly stopped bleeding,” she remarked as another sting made him suck in a breath, filled with her scent of lavender. Involuntarily his hands moved higher. His manhood was straining at the fall of his breeches and she still had no idea what kind of predicament she was in. He brushed the knuckles of his thumbs along the underside of her breast and she gasped. Was it a gasp of pleasure or one of outrage, he was not sure. He moved his thumbs again.
“My lord,” her voice was husky. More desire than protest then. He smiled against her décolletage and pursed his lips, dropping a kiss to the one bit of spare skin her fischu did not cover. She stepped away, biting her lip. “My lord, that is wholly inappropriate,” she said, the censure in her voice somewhat lacking.
“Did you like it though, Gabby?” he asked.
Her throat worked as she swallowed and looked anywhere but at him. “My lord, we are not yet married.”
“No, we are not. But I asked if you liked it. Did you?”
Her cheeks were crimson, almost hiding the strawberry birthmark. She nodded slowly.
“Me too.” He grinned.
My lord!” she chastised.
“Oh don’t ‘my lord’ me, Gabby. You were the one who stuck my face in your bosom. I just…took advantage of it.”
“I did and I am sorry.”
“I am not sorry. It took my mind off the pain in this blasted knee.”
“Well I am afraid my bosom will no longer be acting as a distraction for you, Nicholas.”
“Oh my darling Gabby, even from here it is a delightful distraction.”
About the AuthorEm was born and brought up in the Central Belt of Scotland and still lives there. She was told as a child she had an over active imagination–as if that is a bad thing. She’s traded her dreams of owning her own island, just like George in the Famous Five to hoping to meet her own Mr Darcy one day. But her imagination remains the same.