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“Carnally Ever After…is a fantastic tale of forbidden love and uncontrollable desire.”
4 1/2 lips, TwoLips Reviews
“Don’t miss CARNALLY EVER AFTER. It is a romantic interlude like none I have read before!”
4 bookmarks, Wild on Books
Jilted bride Lady Louisa Bennett seeks a quiet chapel and instead finds the subject of her secret fantasies: best man Alistair de Roche, Earl of Holyfield.
Knowing the wedding will be rescheduled, Alistair tries to ignore his lust for the voluptuous beauty. But temptation proves impossible to resist, and the two indulge in a single afternoon of carnal bliss.
But once is not enough and soon, Alistair and Louisa are caught in a love affair that threatens their families’ plans and their own hearts.
St. Paul’s Cathedral, June 1816
“Just like the bloody man!” Alistair de Roche, Earl of Holyfield, sank into the rear pew of the Morning Chapel and loosened his cravat. Behind him, the shuffling footsteps and grumbling whispers of the guests echoed as they exited the cavernous cathedral. Thwarted in their hopes of witnessing the wedding of the Season, the rumormongers would have to find their amusement elsewhere.
No doubt in ripping the unfortunate bride to shreds with vicious speculation as to the reason her intended had failed to appear at the altar.
“Isn’t it just?”
Alistair nearly fell off the narrow bench. Though he could discern only the outline of a figure in the far corner of the dimly-lit niche, he recognized her voice instantly. Lady Louisa Bennett’s husky yet dulcet tones were unmistakable, with the capacity to make him hot and uncomfortable.
Never mind that she was his best friend’s betrothed.
His best friend’s jilted betrothed.
He opened his mouth, attempting to frame a suitable response to her question, and then, finding nothing to say, closed it. After taking a deep breath, he tried again. “Grenville is a trifle unreliable.”
An understatement, surely.
Lady Louisa emerged from the shadowy recesses into the light streaming through a stained glass window set high in the wall. A rustle of silk and satin accompanied her movement. Bathed in the multicolored glow with her dark hair arranged in artful curls about her face and her large, round eyes glaring at him, she looked every inch a vengeful angel.
An angel with a form so lush, she could tempt the devil into an alliance with the other side. Grenville was an idiot.
She crossed her arms beneath her breasts, forcing the ivory mounds upward until they threatened to spill forth from her bodice. Although the neckline of Louisa’s gown might have been demure on most women, on her, it bordered on indecency.
Alistair’s fingers flexed. He had no business thinking about her breasts, in or out of her dress. Although now, he could think of nothing else.
Out of her dress held the greater appeal.
“Why did he not come?” she demanded.
A reasonable question. Alistair was the best man and it was his duty to see the groom to the altar. A duty he’d failed miserably.
He shrugged to cover his unease. “I’m sure he was unavoidably detained by some sort of emergency.”
Provided an emergency included sleeping off a night of debauchery. This was Grenville’s typical reason for missing appointments, even one as important as his wedding. Alistair knew that if his friend’s father found him, he’d be enlisted to search London’s best brothels and slimiest hells for Grenville. Alistair had skulked away from the rest of the wedding party when no one was looking precisely to avoid that thankless—and likely protracted—task.
She closed her eyes, dark, expressive eyes he knew to be the color of rich chocolate. Her plush, upper lip crumpled in on the lower one. She shook her head. “I doubt it.”Damnation! Did she know more about Grenville’s proclivities than he thought?
“He didn’t come because I’m fat.”
Alistair blinked, dumbfounded. The words were spoken with such flat conviction and self-loathing, he felt them like a fist. Fat? Louisa? No, surely not.
Voluptuous, ample, and yes, perhaps a trifle plump. Though her dressmakers seemed to do everything possible to disguise Louisa’s generous proportions beneath modest, billowy gowns, their efforts were wholly ineffectual, a fact for which Alistair was not certain whether to thank or curse his Maker.
He grimaced owing to the increasingly snug fit of his breeches. She honed in on his expression.
“You admit, then, I am right. No man wishes to bed a fat girl, especially for the rest of his life.” Her voice cracked.
He wanted, quite inappropriately, to laugh. All it would take to disabuse her of her foolish misapprehension would be to lay her hand on his breeches where his nascent erection strained to escape his fall. The idea thickened his cock even further.
He daren’t stand up now, though he would like to go and comfort her. Instead, he shook his head vehemently against her words.
“That is not true.”
Her lips pursed in exasperation. He fancied nibbling at them with his teeth.
“What is not true?” she demanded. “That men do not want fat girls, or that I am fat?”
Alistair ran his fingers through his hair, knowing he made it stand up on end. “Both. Neither. Christ!” He was doing a bloody poor job of explaining himself. If only his prick would stop sapping energy from his brain, he might be able to form a cogent sentence.
She spread her arms and executed a pirouette. “What man would want me?” The fabric of her skirt caught as she spun, accentuating the plump, perfect arc of her arse beneath it.
Before he could think better of it, he was on his feet. The click of his Hessians against the marble echoed loudly in the now-empty church.
They were alone.
He reached her in four long strides. She turned away as he approached, but he wanted—needed—her to look at him. He grasped her shoulders and brought her about to face him. Wide, startled eyes, glistening with unshed tears, met his. She gasped in surprise.
He hauled her closer, until their bodies touched, and then released her shoulders. She seemed too astonished to pull away. Good. He cupped her arse, the object of so many of his lurid fantasies, and pressed her tight against him.
Her wide eyes grew wider.
“Me,” he grated out on a hoarse whisper. The heady scent of her—citrus, cloves, and woman—assailed his nostrils. “Me.”
Her nose wrinkled and she sniffled. “You?”The weight of her buttocks filled his hands even more completely and pleasurably than he had ever imagined. He nodded. “Yes. Since the moment Grenville introduced us.”
She stared up at him, her lips parted, her breath coming in short puffs. Her pupils, already dilated to accommodate the dim light in the chapel, increased in diameter, nearly engulfing her rich brown irises in blackness. Her breasts seemed to surge forward with anticipation and he imagined her nipples puckering and hardening beneath the layers of silk, linen, and cotton.
After a long, thick pause, her mouth curved upward, her eyes sparking with challenge. “Prove it is so.”