An Original Short: A Duchess in the Dark by Kate McKinley
I’m doing something new and fun today. As a part of a tour with Forever Romance, I’m hosting an original piece by Kate McKinley, Forever’s first historical erotica author.
From Forever Romance, explaining the tour and the original piece:
We have something we call “Historical Hookups” where 5 historical authors is given a set of criteria (each author in this case chose something different—venue, heroine’s hair color, hero is a rake, etc) and they then each write an original piece (around 800 words) all using the same criteria.
A DUCHESS IN THE DARK by Kate McKinley
The criteria we gave each author:
Hair color: Reddish-brown hair, the color of mahogany
Social status: Dishonored heiress
Family situation: It’s complicated
Hero’s archétype: Rake
Scene takes place in: The cloak room
Lady Meagan Fairchild slipped into the empty cloakroom and closed the door firmly behind her. She only had minutes to spare before someone took notice and realized she was gone.
She patted down each coat, reaching inside the pockets; blindly searching for a small slip of sealed parchment.
At length, after unearthing various notes, receipts, and one curiously half-eaten apricot, she finally came upon his coat and the small, folded note within.
She brushed a finger over the red wax seal, and a rush of relief washed over her. It was a note, written in her own hand, to her brother’s best friend, Stephen Blythe. One might call it a love note—but the thought was entirely too humiliating to contemplate.
She’d written it months ago, before her father had been called out on allegations that his marriage to her mother was illegal. Evidently, her mother had used a false name on the marriage certificate, making it invalid, and Meagan, and her brother, John, illegitimate.
A scandal had immediately erupted. Mother had moved out, Father had taken a mistress, and John had fled to the continent to avoid the whole mess, leaving Meagan to weather the storm alone.
And in a misguided attempt to cheer her, her best friend had stolen the note from Meagan’s desk and given it to Stephen that very night. Thankfully, he’d put the note in his pocket before reading it.
Suddenly the door to the cloakroom opened, then immediately clicked closed. Her heart hammered as she slowly turned around to face…
He leaned against the doorframe, arms crossed over his chest, looking far too handsome for his own good. He had dark, reddish-brown hair and high, defined cheekbones that framed a pair of chocolate-brown eyes that gazed at her with startling intensity. And those lips…full and pressed into a hard line, they were dangerously tempting.
“Meagan.” His voice was deep, rough.
She swallowed. Over the years, she’d spent countless nights imagining his lips gliding across her skin, his strong, skilled hands exploring her body…
But those girlish fantasies seemed like a lifetime ago, before her life had been turned upside down.
The cloakroom was small, and his lean, muscular frame was close. The smell of his expensive cologne curled around her and she drew in a deep, involuntary breath.
He glanced down at the note in her hand, and belatedly, she shoved it into her bodice. “W-what are you doing in here?”
His lips twisted up into a wicked grin. “I left something of great importance in my coat pocket.” He leaned in close, his voice barely a whisper. “And I came to retrieve it.”
Panic knotted in her chest as she moved to brush past him. “Then I shall leave you to it.”
His hand darted out and caught her wrist, halting her.
Before she could utter a word, he leaned in and brushed his lips across her collarbone, then up the column of her neck. Shocked by the sensation, she sucked in a breath and tried to pull away, but he held her fast.
He took the lobe of her ear between his teeth and nipped gently. “You are so damn beautiful it hurts.”
Her eyes fluttered closed at his words.
The ton saw him as London’s most notorious rake, but she knew better. He was gentle, kind, and deliciously protective. After the scandal broke, he’d offered to kill anyone who looked at her sideways.
Leaning down, he pressed his mouth to hers. She melted into the sensation of his lips, the feel of his tongue as it swept into her mouth. He’d never kissed her this way before. In the past, it’d been chaste, brotherly kisses on the cheek or hand—nothing like this exquisite exploration. He tasted delicious, like brandy and pure, male wickedness.
Mouths still connected, he shoved her up against the nearest wall, pinning her there with the lower half of his body. Heat rushed through her, pooled between her thighs, pulling her deeper under his spell.
With a growl, he dipped his hand inside her bodice. His touch seared her as his palm cradled her breast, his thumb brushing gently across her nipple. “Please forgive me, Meagan.”
She couldn’t respond, couldn’t think clearly.
Her body hungered for more. More of what, she didn’t exactly know, but her body demanded it with a fervor that was both frightening and exhilarating.
Everything faded—the scandal, the fear, it all bled into the background, freeing her for one, precious moment. Right now, all that mattered was him, this.
Then just as quickly as it had all begun, he pulled away. Cold air washed over her, and she nearly whimpered at the loss of his warmth.
When she glanced up, he was holding the note between his fingers. He slipped it into his jacket pocket and flashed her a devilish grin.
Then he was gone.
The first novella in Kate McKinley’s erotic By Invitation Only series.
Miss Daphne Hayward is on the hunt for a safe, honorable husband and she has set her sights on the perfect target. She plans a full-scale seduction that will bring him to his knees, and have him begging for her hand in marriage. But when she mistakenly slips into another man’s bed, the passions that quickly ignite threaten to send her well-laid plans up in smoke.
Ashton Fitzgerald, Duke of Claymore has never been for want of a willing woman in his bed and his rakish ways have become legend in boudoirs and dark corners all across London. But not even Ashton can account for the powerful desire that surges through him when a mysterious woman pays him a clandestine midnight visit. As dawn breaks, his goddess flees before he can learn her identity. Now Ashton will stop at nothing to unmask the identity of the woman who bewitched him body and soul and make her his . . . forever.
Bio: Kate McKinley writes Regency and Fantasy Romance. When she’s not staring at her screen, dreaming up delicious heroes, she’s a wife, mother and part-time assistant.
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