2011 Golden Heart winner Máire Claremont first fell in love with Mr. Rochester, not Mr. Darcy. Drawn to his dark snark, she longed to find a tortured hero of her own… until she realized the ramifications of Mr. Rochester locking his first wife up in his attic. Discovering the errors of her ways, Máire now looks for a real-life Darcy and creates deliciously dark heroes on the page. Oh, and she wants everyone to know her name is pronounced Moira. Her parents just had to give her an Irish Gaelic name.
The Victorian era was full of majestic beauty and scandalous secrets—a time when corsets were the least of a woman’s restrictions, and men could kill or be killed in the name of honor…
Lady Mary Darrel should be the envy of London. Instead, all society believes her dead. For Mary holds a secret so dangerous, her father chose to keep her locked away…and have a grave made for her near her mother’s. Driven to the edge of desperation, Mary manages to escape the asylum, only to find that her fate yet again rests in the hands of a man…
Edward Barrons, Duke of Fairleigh, longs for some way to escape the torment of his father’s crimes. In Mary’s warrior spirit and haunted gaze—which so mirrors his own—he finally sees his path to redemption. He will stop at nothing to keep her safe, even as she seeks revenge. But will the passion they discover in each other be enough to save them from their demons?
For the first time as long as Edward could recall, he was at a loss for words. One did not usually find frightened, naked young women in Madame Yvonne’s room. Especially frightened, half-starved young women who glared with defiance etched upon every feature.
“Go.” Her pale lips parted, exposing white teeth.
“If that is what you wish.” Yet he found his boots unable to move and do her bidding. It was as if she were a snake charmer upon the dusty street playing her tune to keep him mesmerized. A strange stirring he hadn’t felt in an age kindled inside him. Not desire, but. . . interest.
“Go,” she snapped again, breaking the thrall of her gaze.
In one shaking sweep of motion, her hands tightened on the copper tub and she pulled herself from the water. She didn’t even try to cover herself but stood fiercely, her defined and lean muscles tense. She was most definitely accustomed to being naked before men. But from the anger and apprehension crackling from her, she despised every moment of it.
He should have left. Immediately. He was not one to force his company on women, especially vulnerable ones.
But nothing could make him leave, not even if the building were burning to ash around him, not when he had to know who she was and why she was here. And he did need to know. The very demand echoed in his bones.
Water sluiced her small frame and he winced at the austerity of her body. Damnation, but she hadn’t been eating enough. Delicate was one thing. . . This was emaciation and then there was the chartreuse, telltale signs of healing bruises on her forearms and ribs.
The sight filled him with anger so intense he had to close his eyes briefly and force the fury to still so that he wouldn’t frighten her.
She vaulted out of the tub and darted towards the fire.
It took him only moments to realize she was going for the poker. But before she could reach it, her bare, wet feet slipped on the marble before the grate and she plummeted forward, arms flailing as she desperately tried to catch herself.
Edward sprang across the room. His arms circled her just as her head narrowly missed the iron grating that would no doubt have left her severely unconscious or dead.
The warm water soaking her body dampened his shirt, and he could barely get a good hold on her sleek skin. He held her carefully with his hands pressed into her back, taking all her weight though her toes still skimmed the ground. She kept her hands folded protectively over her chest, not daring to touch him.
Her violet eyes widened, wounded and old for a woman of her years. “Are you going to hurt me?”
Her pulse thudded wildly, tangible beneath his fingertips. The very essence of her face that of a doe right before the hunters moved in for the final kill.
The muscles along her neck strained as she attempted to keep her head up. Before she could protest, he slid one of his hands up to her nape and cupped it carefully.
Two warring emotions brewed riotously within him. Sadness that her life had been so bleak and a sudden spark of hope. . . Perhaps she was the one who could shake him from his darkness. The one who could finally see justice done.
“No,” he whispered, his voice rough to his own ears. “No harm will come to you by me. By anyone. Not now, not ever again.”
Excerpt from LADY IN RED ©2013 by Maire Claremont. All rights reserved.
Book Depository: http://www.bookdepository.com/Lady-Red-Maire-Claremont/9780451418005
This tour is brought to you by: