“Women either ran from Lord Ravenscar or ran to him.”
A Wild Lords and Innocent Ladies story
Alan Rothwell, Marquess of Ravenscar, is furious when unconventional heiress Lily Wallace refuses him purchase of her property. He can’t even win her over with his infamous charm. But when fever seizes him and they’re trapped together, horrified, Alan realizes Lily’s attentions will compromise them both! His solution: take Lily as his betrothed before desire consumes them completely…
Amazon Purchase Link: Lord Ravenscar’s Inconvenient Betrothal (Wild Lords and Innocent Ladies)
Read an Excerpt:
This scene takes place after a confrontation between Ravenscar and his grandmother, Lady Jezebel Ravenscar, surrounding the discussion of his and Lily’s forced betrothal. Lily follows him down to the lake outside Ravenscar Hall, determined to smooth the family’s troubled waters.
Lily sat down on the other end of the bench, but Lord Ravenscar didn’t look up, his gaze fixed on the willow branches draped picturesquely over a low stone wall. Beyond the cavern of the trees around them everything glistened as the sunlight cast a sweet glaze over the damp grass and reeds. It was a perfect, restful setting, except for the man radiating fury by her side.
‘Did you know your grandmother’s sister is named Rahab?’ she asked the willows.
Ravenscar’s scowl didn’t lessen and he showed no signs of listening.
‘After the harlot of Jericho,’ she prompted.
‘I dare say if your great-grandfather had had another daughter he would have named her Athalia or Delilah or some other sinner’s name. At least those are pretty names. Rahab is horrid. Your grandmother told me her mother called them Belle and Ray when their father wasn’t present but then she became Jezebel again when she was married off to your grandfather when she was only sixteen to his forty one.’
‘Is this chatter ever going to end or shall I go elsewhere?’
‘I am done.’ Lily sighed, folded her hands in her lap and waited.
‘So you expect me to feel sorry for her?’
‘Yes. You are should be stricken by remorse that you have been too insensitive to perceive her life was one of miserable domination by a brutish fiend and you will go down on bended knee and beg forgiveness for your callousness.’
A muscle tightened in his cheek and she relaxed a little. Strange how she was beginning to recognize the subtle signs of his moods.
He shifted. ‘Knee bending isn’t a strength of mine. I am afraid I’ve exhausted my chivalric impulses rescuing a very ungrateful damsel from her own folly.’
‘I wasn’t in distress. Besides, I did some rescuing of my own. You would most likely have fallen off your horse into a muddy ditch and drowned. All you did was complicate matters.’
‘Well, matters are about to be simplified. Marriage has a way of cutting things down to size.’
‘That need not be the case. Whatever your grandmother says, we may yet avoid a scandal. Neither of us wishes to be trapped in a marriage of form. You want your freedom and I want a family, which you admitted you have no interest in.’
‘You have been spending too much time with lawyers, Lily, you are beginning to sound like one. You can throw as many clauses and subclauses at this, but the basic facts cannot be avoided. We were two days together, alone. In my experience scandals of these proportions are impossible to bury and I won’t have the ruin of a young woman added to my list of sins. So I suggest you accept your fate with equanimity. You needn’t worry I will make any unpleasant demands on you or your fortune. I never intended to marry, but if it can’t be helped, it can’t. At least you are an intelligent woman and I think if we establish the ground rules, there is no reason we can’t make the best of this.’
She didn’t answer. In his own way Alan was generous and honest, but he wanted nothing to do with her dreams and she had no power to change him.
‘Nothing to say, Lily? You were talkative enough before. I should be gratified you aren’t arguing, but I worry most when you are silent. It makes me want to check over my shoulder for the descending axe, or, in your case, a mace.’
‘When I do next wield a mace, I won’t do it behind your back, Lord Ravenscar.’
He smiled, demolishing her defences further.
‘I almost hope you do, I would like the opportunity to disarm you. Disrobe you, too, but that will have to wait a few weeks, unfortunately.’
She gasped. There was no other way to describe the sharp intake of air that her body forced upon her at his words. She should have just laughed at his absurd response to her absurd suggestion. After all, she had wanted to infuse a little humour into the situation. But his voice had lost the rasping edge of the fever and regained the sultry sensation of rough velvet dragging over her nerves. It shoved her back against a mental wall and stripped her.
She stood. This marked the end of the unevenness in their power play his illness had introduced. He was no longer a patient but a clever, experienced, rake; he was back in control of himself and she had better do the same if she was to remain in control of her fate.
‘Running away again, Lily?’
‘I’m standing, not running.’
‘You’re contemplating it.’
His voice as smooth as heated syrup and his gaze black as burning coals and hot as Hades. She knew it was a taunt, aimed at the precise opposite result.
‘Are you daring me?’
‘You seem to thrive on dares; it’s hard to resist tossing them your way.’
Heiress Lily Wallace and Alan Rothwell, Marquess Ravenscar, strike sparks off each other right from their first meeting. Lily’s unconventional upbringing has made her bolder and more outspoken than the society ladies Alan is used to. She’s no pushover to his good looks and charm. Though he has sworn never to marry, he unwittingly compromises Lily when he falls seriously ill with fever, and she cares for him, alone, for two days.
“Rakehell Raven” immediately tries to bulldoze Lily into marriage, but only under his terms. He secretly carries guilt from a past incident, one that affected him so greatly, that he swore he’d never have a family. Unknown to Alan, Lily is also carrying guilt, but her desire is to embrace having a family. Marriage to Alan will put an end to her dreams. Still, she won’t be bullied into marriage – she’ll make her own decision.
Alan and Lily have a fierce physical attraction, but even Alan is surprised by how much he wants to marry her. No one else has ever intrigued, yet, infuriated him this way. Lily spent a lifetime watching her father be unfaithful to her mother, and has to weigh her options. She realizes that she somehow has fallen in love with this complex man. Can she take a chance on a rake and live a life without children?
I love Lily’s strength and how she was no pushover. She is intelligent, forthright, and honest. Unlike Alan, who served bravely as a soldier, yet chooses to run and hide from his past, she elects to embrace the future with open arms. Though Alan is slower to realize his love for what it is, his eventual capitulation is very rewarding. LORD RAVENSCAR’S INCONVENIENT BETROTHAL isn’t a soft or sweet romance, it’s bold and earthy, and very satisfying. Lara Temple has written an absorbing and passionate story of two people carrying the baggage of their pasts, and finding the way to be free of it with each other. I greatly enjoyed, and recommend, this well written adversaries to lovers tale. ~Rose
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Author Bio –
Lara Temple writes strong, sexy regency romances about complex individuals who give no quarter but do so with plenty of passion. Her fifth book with Harlequin Mills & Boon, ‘Lord Ravenscar’s Inconvenient Betrothal,’ will be published in March 2018, and is the second in her Wild Lords series. Her four previous books are: Lord Hunter’s Cinderella Heiress, The Duke’s Unexpected Bride, The Reluctant Viscount, and Lord Crayle’s Secret World.
When she was fifteen Lara found a very grubby copy of Georgette Heyer’s Faro’s Daughter in an equally grubby book store. Several blissful hours later she emerged, blinking, into the light of day completely in love with Regency Romance but it took three decades of various fascinating but completely unrelated careers in finance and high tech before she returned to her first love.
Lara lives with her husband and two children who are very good about her taking over the kitchen table for her writing (so she can look out over the garden and dream). She loves to travel (especially to places steeped in history) and read as many books as possible. She recently went looking for that crowded little bookstore but couldn’t quite remember around what corner it was…hopefully it is still there and another girl is in the corner by the window, reading and dreaming…
Social Media Links –
Facebook: www.facebook.com/laratemple1 Twitter: https://twitter.com/laratemple1 Website: www.laratemple.com Amazon author page: http://amzn.to/2mWin9R Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/LaraTemple 7