by Beverley Oakley
The Beautiful, Brazen Brightwell Series, book 2
Sweet, pretty Thea Brightwell endures a dull and quiet life of servitude as unpaid companion to her rich, crotchety Aunt Brightwell. However an invitation to visit Bath in the company of her bold and beautiful Brightwell cousins who have made spectacular rags-to-riches marriages opens up a world of possibilities. When Thea’s well-meaning but not-too-bright Cousin Bertram notices the gleam in the eye of Thea’s secret admirer, wealthy, handsome Mr Sylvester Grayling, he’s aware the charming rogue requires a potential bride with a dowry before he’ll show interest that may be misconstrued. But what if Mr Grayling were told that the damsel he covets were destined for her deathbed within six months?
Warning: A sweet start with a steamy end.
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Publish Date: March 20, 2015
Heat Rating: Sizzling Romance
Read an Excerpt
ROGUE’S KISS is a tale of mistaken identity with unexpected results and it follows the adventures of Thea Brightwell the shy cousin of the Brazen Brightwells.
If you’ve read RAKE’S HONOUR, Book One in The Beautiful Brazen Brightwells series, you’ll remember clever, cunning Fanny and her beautiful but feckless sister, Antoinette who romped from rags to riches through a London season.
Well, they’ve now snared a handsome viscount and a fabulously wealthy earl respectively however their poor, pretty and very sweet cousin Thea is living as the unpaid companion to her rich, crotchety Aunt Brightwell, condemned to a life of servitude.
ROGUE’S KISS begins when Thea pays a visit to her bold, beautiful Brightwell cousins and, finds unexpectedly, her life changed overnight.
Surprisingly this is due to the machinations of her Cousin Branwell, a well-meaning fellow with a great sense of his own importance but not too bright. He decides to take matters into his own hands with a plan to launch Thea into aristocratic circles, having noticed the gleam in the eye of the charming but rakish Mr Sylvester Grayling. Bertram knows the worthy (but roguish) Grayling requires a damsel with a dowry before he’ll show interest that may be misconstrued. However what if the fellow were told that the lovely damsel he can’t take his eyes off were destined for her deathbed within four months? Who knows what kind of offer Grayling might make his lovely cousin, then?
Here is an extract. It takes place during the ball at which Thea catches the eye – and, in turn, falls for – handsome rogue, Mr Sylvester Grayling.
Sylvester stared after Miss Brightwell in genuine bemusement. The scorching looks the young lady had sent him could not have been misconstrued. Could she have been playing games?
“Charming chit, ain’t she?” Bertram Brightwell’s bluff laugh cut into his musings and he turned to raise an eyebrow at the young man who was accompanied by his beautiful sister, the youngest, blonde – not to mention, scandalous – Miss Antoinette who’d snared an earl and whose supposed antics behind closed doors titillated society.
“More of a charming enigma,” Sylvester responded.
“Pray enlarge?” He saw that Miss Antoinette’s blue eyes danced with mischief. Although she’d recently given birth to Lord Quamby’s heir she was as flirtatious as he imagined she must have been before she’d become his countess. He knew he was staring but the stories he’d heard about her were incredible; that the earl gave her complete licence to seek out pleasure discreetly as her reward for silence regarding his own peccadilloes. Dangerous ones, he understood, that courted the death penalty.
Before he had a chance to respond Bertram said, suddenly somnolent, “No telling what a gel will do if she’s only got four months to live.”
It tumbled from Antoinette’s lips as an expletive and Sylvester’s own as a gasp of dismay. “Four months?”
Miss Antoinette looked shocked. “What are you saying Bertram?” she demanded.
Bertram sighed heavily. “I overheard Dr Horne telling Cousin Thea the terrible news several months ago. Don’t you wonder why she looks so sad and won’t dance? Her heart cannot be exposed to sudden shocks although…” He looked contemplative, “I did also hear the doctor say that gentle pleasures and mild, controlled excitement might well prolong her life.” He cleared his throat, adding, “That is, by a couple of months or so, only.”
Sylvester shook his head, his horror echoing Miss Antoinette’s who clearly had not been privy to the news of her lovely cousin’s imminent demise. “Poor young woman,” he murmured. “So lovely and so…”
“Doomed,” Bertram supplied with a sigh. “Still…” He brightened, “she is to be commended on her stoic acceptance of her miserable lot. Her aunt has brought her to Bath to take the waters but sadly is so concerned for her niece’s health she will allow Miss Brightwell no pleasure whatsoever.”
“She would not allow me to even dance with her,” Sylvester recalled, the rejection taking on a different hue. “Is she… so reduced in health?”
“Oh, Miss Brightwell would dance a jig if she were allowed. She simply craves something that will draw her out of the unhappy final few months she’s been allotted.” He shrugged. “But what chance is there of that?”