by Madelynne Ellis
A long time ago, back before wi-fi, in the days when I had an office, a friend suggested I write an erotic novel for Black Lace, so I sent off for the guidelines and after having laughed myself silly at them, proceeded to write.
Quite a bit later, after so many rewrites I lost count and several trees worth of shredded paper, A Gentleman's Wager was born. Leastways, I sent it to Black Lace, thoroughly expecting to get a form rejection letter. I mean, they weren't really going to want a Georgian historical set in Yorkshire featuring a bisexual rakehell competing with a woman for the man of her dreams, or were they?
I got a postcard confirming the receipt then nothing...
I got pregnant... time drifted on... I started writing another book set in Saqqara, Egypt. I pretty much forgot about the novel sitting at the bottom of the Black Lace slush pile...
'Hello, this is Kerri Sharp the editor for Black Lace Books, can I speak to ---.'
Me (currently dripping wet, and clinging to a towel having just got out of the bath): OMG!
KS: I have A Gentleman's Wager in front of me. Is it still available?
Me: Meep! Yes.
KS: I'd like to commission it. How much of it is written?
Me: All of it.
KS: Great. I'll send you a contract.
Now, there may actually have been slightly more of a conversation than that, but I think this gets across the pertinent points, and it's frankly all that I remember, as I thought I was about to have a baby there and then. Naturally, the first thing I did was phone Mr Madelynne and start gushing.
Anyway, a few dramas later, A Gentleman's Wager was indeed published, and it came with a lovely note from Kerri Sharp, which reads: Think this reads really well. Like a lavish BBC costume drama.
Although I actually prefer the description later ascribed to it by a manager of Waterstones book store. "Jane Austen with bumming!'
And so, after years of being out of print, A Gentleman's Wager is being reprinted with a lovely new cover on 7th Feb UK & 1st April US. Just in time for the long awaited sequel (but that's another story ;-))
I'll leave you with a teaser:
[Vaughan] leant close to her as he spoke, so that she could feel the warmth of his breath and watch his mouth descend. He grazed her bottom lip and held it. The taste of him released her memory and she answered his kiss, while her arms moved to pull him closer. She clawed at him urgently, then slipped her hands under his coat as he drew her deep into his kiss. Nobody had ever kissed her the way Vaughan did. He made her lips burn with a heat that washed straight to her cunt.
He grasped her shoulders and thrust her against the blackened oak panelling with enough force to make a thump. She didn’t notice the pain, feeling only a rush of desire and vertigo, like a foretaste of orgasm. His teeth met her neck and nipped the delicate skin, while he loosened her stays enough for him to slide his fingers between fabric and flesh. Her nipples sprang to attention, then stiffened a little more as he teased her.
Bella hooked her thumbs into his waistband and tugged him closer. All her instincts craved penetration. She was ready for him now, but he was holding himself back. To her surprise, he suddenly sank gracefully to his knees. He lifted the hem of her skirt, bunched up the swathes of velvet and hoisted it to her waist. He brushed his cheek against her stockings, pressed a kiss to the skin above her garter then cupped her buttocks. His hands were hot against her cool cheeks, and warmed the soft skin as he pulled her forwards. She felt his tongue on her labia and the desire for penetration grew stronger. He dabbed at her clitoris with the tip of his tongue, teasing but never quite delivering. Even now, he toyed with her.
‘A gentleman should use his tongue fairly in the presence of a lady,’ she said.
He snorted, and pulled back long enough to give her a reproving glance. ‘A lady has two essential attributes: modesty and underwear.’
Bella almost kneed him on the chin. She’d never known a man who could swing her between desire and anger with such ease, and she wasn’t sure she appreciated the ability in him. How dare he! Yet the lapping of his tongue at her sensitive bud sapped the anger from her, taking away all her desire to hurt him.
'Do you like that, my nightingale?’
Bella shook her head, stifling the purrs that rose in her throat. She didn’t want him to know how much she was enjoying this. He didn’t deserve that.
‘You’re a harlot,’ he said. ‘Perhaps I should use you like one. I could throw your skirt over your face, ride you hard against the stone and leave you a crown for you trouble.’
‘Bastard,’ she hissed. ‘Do it then.’
Vaughan laughed and returned to his feet. ‘Maybe I will.’
Bella’s heart skittered over several beats. She whimpered as he began to massage her, fingers moving slickly in her wetness. If he entered her now, he would slide into her all at once. She tugged at the buttons on his waistband, then touched the head of his cock. She needed him now, this instant, inside her.
Vaughan stepped back and Bella’s eyes snapped open in surprise. ‘Vaughan,’ she sighed. He turned his back on her and she watched in disbelief as he strode to the door. ‘My lord?’ In the doorway he stopped and glanced over his shoulder from beneath his dark eyelashes. Bella reached out a hand, desire for him still coursing through her veins. He shook his head, watched her expression change from ecstasy to anguish, then blew her a kiss and left.
Alone and a hair’s breadth from orgasm, Bella slumped to the floor, devastated. She couldn’t believe he’d walked out on her. Blinking back tears of shame, she reached down with one trembling hand to give herself the relief he had denied her.
Buy at Amazon UK | Amazon US | Audible.com
PS. Add a comment for the chance to win a copy.
Friday, February 1, 2008
by Madelynne Ellis