Excerpt from Calamity Claresta, a regency romance by Irene Estep. To lure Drake Lockwood--new Earl of Norwood and newly arrived from America--into the parson's mousetrap, Claresa strikes a bargain she cannot possibly fulfill. ..."highly recommended to anyone who enjoys a romantic tale laced with humor and suspense." -Knowbetter.com
Robed in his dressing gown, he leaned against the door frame and asked, “Having trouble sleeping, Claresta?”
"Y-Yes. I am a bit restless tonight."
"Perhaps you took too much fresh air today." She was perplexed about his meaning until he said, "You and Dr. Adams spent a long time admiring the gardens. I shouldn’t think there was that much to see as LeClair has just set out a few bulbs and seedlings thus far."
Claresta’s gaze shot up to meet Drake’s. Her heart began to thrum inside her chest. Did a glimmer of jealousy shine behind that cold steely look of his? The thought made her almost giddy. She’d never before found possessiveness a worthwhile trait in a man. Did being betrothed change one’s outlook on such matters?
"What did you two talk about?"
His tone was beginning to prickle her senses with irritation, but Claresta saw no reason not to tell him. In fact, it was along the lines of what she’d wished to discuss with him anyway. "“We were discussing expectations of a new bride." Her forthrightness didn’t seem to shock Drake as much as she’d expected. He stepped closer and skimmed her cheek with the back of his hand, then he lifted her chin until their eyes met.
"I do hope he left some of the more intimate instruction for your future husband."
"Dr. Adams had several patients to see before sundown. I’m afraid he did not have the time to go into the particulars of how one becomes with child."
Drake threw back his head and laughed. "I must send thanks to the sick and infirm of the district."
Claresta slapped his hand away. "That is disgusting."
He pulled her to him and brushed his lips gently across hers. Claresta thought she could not pull away from him should her life depend upon it.
"Do you find it so disgusting, my love, that I wish to be the one to introduce my wife to the proceedings of the marriage bed? Do you?" he whispered against her lips when she did not answer.
"N-no, my lord." Her legs had become jelly, and she had to cling to the lapels of his dressing gown for stability.
"Good,” he said. “Should I start your first lesson tonight, love, or would you rather wait until our wedding night."
"D-Do you not think it always best one is prepared to know what is expected?"
"Precisely. And you will inform me of your expectations as well."
"Did you think only the man gets to have a say in these matters?"
"Well, Nan told me a little. She never mentioned exactly how the man took part, but she said all a woman needed do was lie still and think of England."
He chuckled. “Do either, if you think you can, Claresta.”
Calamity Claresta is available from www.awe-struck.net