As BINGO was called before it got to be my turn, I decided to use this post to announce my latest release. It’s been a few months, but Straitlaced hit cyber shelves last Friday and I’m super duper excited to bring an erotic historical to my readers. I turned up the heat for this one. Not only is the heroine an anti-heroine, but the hero is not the typical titled, rich lord. Declan and AnnMarie are two strong characters, ones I was excited to bring to life, and I hope everyone enjoys seeing them rise above their shared struggles.
AnnMarie Sommers was born into a life of privilege. Married to a duke at a young age, she was prepared to step into the role of dutiful wife and mother…until an unfortunate accident makes her a widow. Left nearly destitute by her dead husband’s family, she takes the little money she has saved and creates Fall From Grace, an elegant bordello where society’s ton comes out to play, a place where she can give into her wilder impulses under the guise of the bordello’s infamous madam, Lady Grace.
Declan Raddison was raised by the streets of London. Orphaned and left to fend for himself, the only way he could survive was by being the quickest and the strongest. He fought and clawed his way from a childhood spent pick-pocketing to amassing a king’s fortune on the Exchange. By day, he is a proper businessman, but at night he allows his darker desires to run free. Visiting Fall From Grace with a nobleman at his side, he is unprepared for a vision in white, an angel who is more suited for the drawing room than a wicked bordello. When he finds out that she is the notorious madam, Lady Grace, he will stop at nothing to possess her even if it leads to his own downfall.
Excerpt from Robin Danner’s Straitlaced:
The door opened and a figure, garbed in white, entered the room. The scent of gardenias came with her. Unsure whether it was the fragrance of the woman herself or the flowers filling the room, Declan took an appreciative sniff. Awareness made his body tingle.
Something about the woman, even though he couldn’t see her face, caught his attention and held it.
“Earl Reed, it’s a pleasure to see you again.” She came forward to greet Tom, her footsteps making no sound on the carpeted flooring.
Her emphasis on the word pleasure wasn’t lost on Declan. He jerked to attention, irrational jealousy holding him in its grip. He didn’t know her, but he wanted her. An indefinable air of surety and self-confidence emanated from the woman. Alluring…addictive.
Declan shifted closer to Tom, anxious to know more.
The woman chose a small settee and sat, arranging her skirts about her. The material fell away from her legs, showing a goodly amount of pale thigh and dimpled knee. “So, my lord, what is it you wish for you and your friend?”
Tom’s amused gaze went to Declan. “Surprise us.”
The woman turned her face toward him as well. A swath of white silk hid the lower half of her face, but her amethyst eyes glowed with challenge. The same eyes he’d seen in the painting.
“And does your friend have a preference?”
“Female, definitely female,” Tom answered.
A slim, dark eyebrow moved into a perfect arch. “Ménage?”
“No,” Declan answered before Tom could do so. Although he wasn’t averse to multiple partners, tonight he had only one woman in his sights.
“I see.” The woman hummed beneath her breath. “He seems a strapping sort. Genevieve has returned from Paris and may be up for the challenge. She is quite experienced in…” Her gaze dropped to his crotch. “Oral pleasure.”
The faceless Genevieve may once have taken his fancy. But not tonight.
He shifted closer to the madam, longing to see more of the body beneath the layers of white silk. “What does she look like, this Genevieve?”
Brief surprise flickered in her gaze. “She’s quite lovely, our most popular entertainer.”
Entertainer? Interesting term. “Is she slender?”
The eyebrows lowered mutinously. “Most would say so.”
“Then no.” He gave a firm shake of his head. “She will not do at all.”
He’d caught her off guard. He could tell by the way she cleared her throat and the brief flash of color across the bridge of her nose. “Is rondelet more to your liking?”
“You devil,” Tom remarked with a light laugh, obviously catching on to Declan’s ploy.
The woman stood and approached him. She was of average height, the top of her head nearly reaching his chin.
She eyed him, as if she couldn’t tell if he was teasing or serious. “I run a fine establishment. My girls are known far and wide to be the best at what they do. We can cater to any fantasy, no matter how dark, provided that everyone is willing and unharmed. Suppose you tell me what you would like?”
He’d unnerved her. Her eyes widened, the amethyst color sparking like jewels, before she quickly recovered. “Impossible.”
“Nothing is impossible,” he countered. “Money is no object.”
She lifted her chin to meet his gaze. “I’m not for sale.”
He allowed his lips to curve the tiniest bit. “Everyone has their price.”
“Declan!” Tom called out, clearly believing he’d gone too far.
The madam held out her hand to silence the earl. “No, I’m curious.” She crossed her arms across her ample chest. “What price do you believe is fair?”
“Five hundred pounds.” He would willingly pay more.
An astute businesswoman would realize the amount could easily feed and clothe a small family for a year. It was probably more than she made in a month or two.
A calculating intensity shone from her amazing eyes. “Five hundred pounds for an hour or two in bed with me?”
“A night,” he countered. “The entire night.”
“You’re very persuasive.” She lifted her hand and touched his cravat. “But I’m still not for sale.”
“A thousand pounds.” The offer fell from his lips before he could stop it.
She’d half turned away but pivoted back to face him. “You’re willing to part with a small fortune for one night?”
“Yes.” One night. This night. The need to have her consumed him.
“Declan, don’t be ridiculous,” Tom lectured.
He ignored his friend, keeping his gaze locked with the madam’s and waiting for her to make a decision.
“One thousand pounds?”
He nodded. “I’ll draw up a bank note for you immediately.”
Intrigue filled her expression but strangely no avarice. “Then, my dear sir, we have a deal.”