A marriage contract, nothing more…until darkly handsome Evan Channing and demure Lydia Blatchford meet. Yet the rules are simple for an arrangement such as theirs. There should be no misunderstanding, no illusions of anything more.
Lydia Blatchford wants the kind of love and romance she reads in books. Fortunately, she didn’t specify which book. And her darkly handsome groom has just the right one: the Kama Sutra.
London, June 1885
She wasn’t quite the perfect English rose but she’d do.
Evan Channing stood next to the fireplace in Lord Blatchford’s parlor and studied his fiancée as she sat on the settee talking to his mother. Lydia Blatchford wore blue tonight, bringing out the color of her pale eyes. She looked beautiful, yet untouchable, in her fashionable silk gown. The low-cut bodice revealed the smooth white skin of her shoulders and a hint of cleavage. The lines of the gown showed off her firm breasts and small waist, and the bustle emphasized her rounded hips.
When she looked up, he smiled at his intended across the room. Her lips curved slightly in answer and a blush stole up her face, adding color to her porcelain complexion before she turned away. Tonight her dark blonde hair had been curled into a fashionable upswept hairstyle, softening her appearance. When he’d met her before, her long mane had been pulled back into a bun. He wasn’t sure the curls suited her, but of course, he’d prefer to see her hair down, spread around her on his bed. His pulse raced at the thought she’d soon be his.
He could hardly wait to peel off her layers of clothing, revealing the woman underneath, her smooth skin and generous curves. Taller and larger boned than most women, she’d fit perfectly against his own lanky frame. Perhaps he’d find an opportunity to steal a kiss tonight. Surely that was allowed to an engaged couple.
Evan started and turned to see Lydia’s brother Harry standing beside him. “Sorry.”
Harry raised a blond eyebrow. “You should be. If you weren’t already betrothed to my sister I’d have to call you out for the way you were undressing her with your eyes.”
Evan’s face grew warm and he tugged at his tight collar. “I’m glad it’s all settled, but let me tell you, once a man is determined to marry, the waiting becomes devilish hard.”
Harry laughed, his blue eyes twinkling. “I can only imagine.”
“Your turn will come,” Evan assured him.
“I know,” Harry grumbled. “Obligation to future generations, carry on the family name, all that rot.”
Evan chuckled and clapped the other man on the shoulder. “Buck up, you’ve time yet to sow a few more wild oats.”
“Not if Mama has anything to say about it. I’ll be expected to dance attendance on Phoebe when she makes her come out next spring.”
“Ah, yes,” Evan replied, glancing at Harry’s younger sister who truly was the perfect English rose. Small and petite, with flaxen hair, a rosy complexion, vivid blue eyes and a flirtatious manner. “I expect you’ll be busy warding off hoards of beaus.”
“Don’t I know it,” Harry replied in a gloomy tone. “The sooner we get that one married, the better.”
Evan said nothing, just thanked his lucky stars he was marrying Lydia instead. He had no use for silly young chits who thought the world revolved around them just because they were pretty. Females like her were far too much trouble.
No, he much preferred a serious, intelligent, sensible girl. Like Lydia. He’d expected her to kick up a fuss about marrying a merchant, especially one with the taint of Indian blood. But so far as he knew, she hadn’t. He was a lucky man.
Disclaimer: This is a short 30 page romantic short story with bonus material** It is not a full-length novel. Contains scenes of Victorians breaking society’s rules, marital sex and ancient wisdom from the Kama Sutra.
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