Guard your heart. Passion comes with a price.
Lost in grief, Prentice Hyde, the much sought after Marquess of Wycroft, salves his broken heart at the Sapphire Club. He wants love, but finding it presents problems of disloyalty to his dead wife.
Widow Desiree Huntington appears at the Sapphire Club, sees Prentice in action, and presents him with a request so seductive, he finds it difficult to refuse.
As their arrangement progresses, Prentice takes Desiree to the heights of sexual endurance and enjoyment, mires her in passion, and sees a way out of the loneliness that is his life.
But Desiree wants all Prentice has to offer—but his heart.
historical erotica, historical romance, sapphire club,
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Prentice & Desiree
Book Two Sapphire Club series
Desiree’s quarry skirted the periphery of the ballroom. She’d feigned
indisposition to escape her mother’s cloying grasp and hidden
near the terrace doors until her assignation wended his way through the
marriage-minded mothers and their desperate daughters.
“He’s mine,” she silently told each one. “I will claim the
hand of the Earl of Cheshire.”
In anticipation of his momentary arrival, she smoothed imaginary
wrinkles from her gown, as he smiled and flirted, kissed hands, and
chatted with mothers worried about how firmly their daughters sat on the
While Desiree’s parents had betrothed her to Jonathan Greeley, they
had neither consulted Desiree nor asked her opinion of the match. He was
fine enough—rich, handsome, and several years—but not too many—older
than she, but at eighteen, she wasn’t as marriage-minded as she ought to
be, or so said her mother at every opportunity.
Her sense of adventure kept her searching for something more than
needlework, watercolors, and handling the household accounts, much to
her mother’s consternation. The woman insisted upon daily visits to the
milliner, the dressmaker, the shoemaker. Desiree had more hats, dresses,
and shoes than any woman of her acquaintance.
“You must go to your husband in clothes befitting your station. You are
a lady of good breeding.”
Earlier in the evening, when the Earl of Cheshire asked her to dance,
her heart nearly sank into her pretty kid shoes. She marked the steps of
her well-rehearsed quadrille, and the earl flirted shamelessly, the mere
intensity of his gaze enough to entrance her even an hour later. When
they came together, he’d made the dance an intimate experience, one that
hadn’t escaped her vigilant mother.
“No lady should dance so closely to a young man. Why, I wouldn’t dance
that close to your father. Where has decency gone?”
She’d reasoned that explained her lack of siblings.
The earl’s flirtations weren’t lost on her. She was, given the opportunity, of
a like mind. Two years at the estimable Mrs. Petrie’s School for Young Ladies
in Bath had served to enhance more than her education as to the use of globes.
Her real instruction came after hours, during the randy conversations
with her fellow students. She’d learned the ways of the world—that
which transpires between men and women—taught by the girls whose
maidenheads hindered the lives they wished to lead.
The school’s drawing classes often served to educate during those
long nights, as Ruby Lake drew, from memory, or so she assured, detailed
images of the male member and its many uses.
“This belongs to none other than the Earl of Cheshire,” Ruby told her
rapt audience. “One day, I’ll marry him and experience it—again.”
Ruby related details of her encounter with the earl, and the girls nearly
expired from envy. All but Desiree. That night, she made it her purpose
to wrangle the lascivious earl and, through any means necessary, make
him her own. Every woman of her age would envy her for having taken the
plum prize on the marriage mart.
Though the drawings of the earl’s cock—Ruby insisted they refer to it
as such—frightened her, due to its sheer size, she’d grown so enamored
by it that she filched the drawings and kept them as part of her most
treasured possessions. That, and her father’s not so secret collection of
erotic drawings that turned her mind from embroidery to anything carnal.
That very afternoon, Desiree had, while under strict instruction to nap
in preparation for the ball, taken the drawings from their secure hideyhole
and traced over them with her finger. The implied intimacy shook
her, made her feel things she didn’t understand. The interminable heat
remained long after she tucked the drawings away.
Should luck find her, as well as a not so full moon, she’d proceed with
her plan to discover for herself whether the Earl of Cheshire was indeed
thusly endowed, or if his fabled member, as with so many things in life,
was a mere figment of a naughty girl’s imagination.
Waiting for him just inside the large French doors unnerved her, given
that her overprotective mother cast a rather long shadow. She had spies
everywhere and seemed capable of being in more than one place at a time.
I should have told him to meet me in the orangery.
From behind the Corinthian column, she spied on him. He moved with
such grace—without doubt all the men in the room envied him his God-given
She placed her hand over her heart, which beat faster than it should. He
was a god himself, blessed with hair the color of sunlight, skin bronzed by
hours on horseback, his tall muscular body—oh, my. She took her fan from
her reticule and whipped it to purpose.
As he spoke to Emily Hargrave, Desiree’s heart thudded. They spoke
briefly, he smiled, she giggled. Another vacuous daughter of nobility.
He nodded to other girls, kissed the hands of no less than a dozen, and
the moment she stepped out from behind the sheltering column, he stood
before her, his smile as bright as the sun on a clear summer morning. “Good
evening, again, Miss Fairholme. Might you care to join me on the terrace?”
He winked and offered his arm. Oh, he played the part of deceiver well,
given she had arranged the assignation by way of a promissory missive.
Shameful, yes, but she had competition to consider.
She gave the room one last glance and took his arm. “Yes, I would,”
she said with a lilt in her voice. No reason to sound scared, despite her
The earl guided her through the French doors, out onto the terrace.
“The music is so loud,” she said, taking matters into her own hands. “You
might find the garden to your liking.” She grabbed his hand and scampered
down the wide stone steps. “Oh, look. I’d love to see the orangery, wouldn’t you?”
She dashed across the manicured lawn, toward the orangery at the
edge of the property.
“Your parents might miss you.”
“I’ll worry about that later.”