Vanessa Kelly is an award-winning author who was named by Booklist, the review journal of the American Library Association, as one of the "New Stars of Historical Romance." Her sensual, Regency-set historical romances have been nominated for awards in a number of contests, and her second book, Sex and The Single Earl, won the prestigious Maggie Medallion for Best Historical Romance. Vanessa's next series, The Renegade Royals, is due to hit the shelves in November with an introductory novella, Lost in a Royal Kiss. Book One in the series, Secrets For Seducing a Royal Bodyguard, will release in January, 2014, and Confessions of a Royal Bridegroom will be out in April, 2014.
When not dreaming of plots for her next Regency historical novel, Vanessa also writes USA Today Bestselling contemporary romance with her husband under the pen name of V.K. Sykes. She's also a member of Rock*It Reads, a group of bestselling traditional authors who are self-publishing, and of The Jaunty Quills.
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Vivien heard the jingle of a horse’s bridle before she saw her rescuer lead the creature toward her. Despite its intimidating size, the massive, dark-coated animal followed behind him like a docile lap dog, gently puffing out its breath and stepping softly in his wake. When they reached the edge of the clearing, her rescuer let the reins drop, not bothering to tie the horse to tree or branch. He mounted with a swift, practiced smoothness. The beast danced a few steps, prompting Vivien to scuttle back, but the man easily mastered him.
“Come, my lady. Up you go,” he said, reaching down a hand.
Vivien stood rooted to the spot, wariness rushing back. “Didn’t you bring another horse? How can we ride together all the way back to London?”
The astringent note in his voice automatically raised her hackles. “I can’t possibly ride on the same horse with you. It wouldn’t be proper.” She winced at how silly that sounded, given the circumstances. But the idea of being mounted in front of him on that great beast, with only her velvet cloak and two thin layers of delicate fabric between their bodies, made her feel much too exposed and vulnerable in a way she’d been fighting against since her kidnapping.
“Since there’s no one here to see you, perhaps you could set decorum aside for now,” he responded dryly. “And if you think riding on a horse with me constitutes a scandal, imagine what the polite world would say if they discovered that you’d been held captive by a band of thugs.”
Her cheeks flamed with heat. “Well, put that way, I do see your point.” She took a deep breath, mystified at her reluctance to ride with him. She’d let him hold her, lugging her for several hundred yards through the woods, so why did this particular activity make her squirm with discomfort? Somehow it seemed so very intimate, and she didn’t even know his name.
Perhaps that was it.
“You still haven’t told me your name. I should think I deserve to know that, at least.”
His gloved hand tightened on the reins, and again the horse danced. He swiftly brought the beast under control. Silence fell again over the clearing, broken only by the nocturnal rustlings of some small creature.
“Aden St. George,” he said a moment later, his reluctance to share apparent.
Vivien brightened. “St. George? Would that be from the Earl of Thornbury’s family? My mother knows Lady Thornbury quite well.”
She had the distinct impression her reply had him grinding his teeth.
“I’m aware of that. And now that we’ve been properly introduced, would her ladyship please deign to get the hell up on my horse? We’re running out of time.”
Though it was surely too dark for him to make out her expression, she scowled anyway. “There’s no need to get huffy. I’ve had to endure quite enough tonight without rude remarks from the man who is rescuing me.”
He expelled a sigh. “Forgive me. I would simply like to proceed with that rescue, if you don’t mind. It won’t be long before you’re discovered missing, if it hasn’t happened already.”
Excerpt from SECRETS FOR SEDUCING A ROYAL BODYGUARD ©2014 by Vanessa Kelly. All rights reserved.
Genre: Historical Romance
Length: 432 pages
Publisher: Zebra (January 7, 2014)
IN MATTERS OF DESIRE, HE’S THE PERFECT TEACHER…
Accomplished spy Aden St. George prefers to stay away from the frivolous ton, especially after the way his mother was used by the Prince Regent. But his latest mission compels him to guard unconventional, vibrant Lady Vivien Shaw. Rescuing her from kidnappers was easy. Resisting her beauty is not. Duty demands he keep an eye on her—and naturally, his lips soon follow. For someone who views entanglements as a weakness, this is pure, delicious folly…
Though grateful for Aden’s help, Vivien has secrets she must keep hidden. Yet with her abductors still at large, she needs Aden’s protection almost as much as she craves his touch…
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