Monday, 4 July 2011

New Release - A Gentleman's Harlot by Natalie Dae

Check out this great new novel from the fabulous Natalie Dae.

Blurb - 
Pearl feels trapped by society’s rules and longs to let out the wanton woman inside her. Her friend, Frances, secures them a night of work in a gentleman’s club in Whitechapel, London, where Pearl must act like a harlot and wait tables. With the threat of Jack the Ripper too close for comfort, Pearl meets Seth, who makes her feel all kinds of sexual longings.
Seth has heard rumours of Pearl hating him, but he vows to make her love him. He tells her his name is James, and when she arrives at his club to begin work, he knows he will make her his. As he teaches her the act of lovemaking, he’s also hiding two secrets. One, that he is the man she is supposed to hate, and two, that he knows who Jack the Ripper is…
Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of voyeurism, spanking and a whole lot of sauciness!


Pearl Lewis looked up from her sewing, needle poised above the small square of white fabric. “What did you just say?” She stared at Frances, one of two childhood friends who had come for afternoon tea, taking in her flushed cheeks and devilish smile. Frances’s words had held such a hint of daring, of non-conformation, that Pearl wanted her to repeat them just so she could revel in them again.
Sitting on Pearl’s left, Frances smiled and shook her riot of blonde curls back from her face, the corn colour enhanced by the sunlight streaming through the two windows behind their wing chairs. “I said, would you not just love to visit the new men’s club and become one of their women?”
Pearl tried to hide a smile. Frances’s shocking statements never failed to amuse her. She dropped her needle to her lap and covered her mouth with one hand. Her cheeks flushed at the thoughts Frances’s suggestion brought, and she closed her eyes for a moment to sift through the images. Men fondling women—Oh God, how…naughty!—women touching men there, and several people at once, all naked, all having…sex.
Pearl opened her eyes to find her other friend’s face directly in front of hers, Elizabeth’s black hair hanging rod straight as she hunkered down and placed her hands on her knees. Her dark blue eyes were hooded due to the unsightly frown she wore, and Pearl started, slapping her hand over her heart.
“Oh, you scared me, Beth! I did not expect to see you there like that.”
Elizabeth leaned closer, head tilted, the ornately carved mahogany mantelpiece behind her framing her as though she were a painting. Elizabeth regarded her with such scrutiny Pearl grew uncomfortable.
“What did you see just then?” Elizabeth asked, her voice quiet, a hint of reproach in her tone. The case clock beside the crackling fire ticked for several seconds, and her mouth formed a tight pink line that did not become her. She whispered, “With your eyes closed. What did you see?”
Pearl cleared her throat and looked away from Elizabeth to Frances, who smothered a giggle behind her long, slender fingers. Pearl tried to convey that she needed help by widening her eyes, but
Frances made much ado about continuing with her sewing, pursing her lips in concentration.
“I…I really do not think,” Pearl turned back to Elizabeth, “it is proper for me to say.”
Elizabeth widened her eyes and reared back, as though in shock that Pearl had refused to share her thoughts.
Pearl rushed on. “Oh, it is not because I do not want to share. I do, but you are so…sensitive about certain things that I would hate for you to leave here somewhat…disturbed.”
“Disturbed?” Elizabeth stood abruptly and paced up and down the cream and blue patterned rug before the fireplace, her dark green dress swishing with each step. “Whatever do you mean?” She paused, staring first at Frances and then at Pearl. “Oh! You were not thinking…you did not…?”
Pearl clamped her lips closed, nodded and looked down at her lap, picking up her sewing. “I thought things I perhaps should not have, Beth.” She jabbed the needle through the material—a handkerchief she was embroidering on each corner—and pricked her finger. “Ouch!” She jumped up, placed her sewing on the chair seat and popped her finger into her mouth. The taste of copper flooded her tongue.
“Really, Pearl! You are almost as bad as Frances.” Elizabeth paced again, throwing an appalled glance at the blonde. “I wish you two would hurry along and get married like me. Then perhaps you would not wish to discuss such a thing as being a gentleman’s harlot. Pearl, your mother and father would spin in their graves if they heard even a snippet of the conversations you two have, and it is a blessing your aunt is old and easily fooled. If she were to walk past this door she would never let you leave this house!”
Pearl chanced a peek at Frances, who eyed her from beneath lowered lashes, her lack of control obvious as her cheeks reddened and her mouth curved. Frances released a peal of laughter, throwing her head back.
Pearl giggled, unable to remain chastised. “Oh, Beth, please! Surely you know Frances was only talking. It is not as though she intends to do such a thing.” Pearl looked at Elizabeth.
She stalked back to her seat and sat with dignity and grace. “One never knows with Frances,” she muttered, lifting her reticule on to her lap and dropping her sewing inside. “And, much as I love you both, I really do not feel I can visit for afternoon tea once a week if the conversation is going to revolve around things like…that. The gentleman’s club of which you speak is situated in a terrible part of the city, so I heard. Frances, how you could even contemplate visiting such an establishment, even if it were in a respectable part of London, is beyond me.” She glared at Frances, then stood and hung her bag over her forearm. “And to think only an hour ago we were discussing the terrible murders that have been occurring,” she paused for her usual dramatic effect, “in the very same area!” Sharp lines marred her forehead. “I shall wait out in the foyer. Gerald will be here shortly to collect me.” She flounced from the room, shutting the door loudly behind her.
Pearl stared at the door, her mouth hanging slightly open. Frances’s laughter filled the room again, and Pearl turned to look at her, ready to admonish the young woman, but she failed. Her own laughter spilled, loud and hearty, and tears welled in her eyes.
“Oh, we should not laugh at her, Frances.”
Frances composed herself and adjusted the neckline of her rose-pink dress, patting it once satisfied it lay in place. “She has become so priggish since she married Gerald that I cannot stand it. I say these things to rile her, you know.”
“I am well aware of that.” Pearl smiled. She took her sewing from her seat and put it on the round occasional table between their chairs. She glanced out the window at the front lawn, spying Gerald’s coach trundling up the curved driveway. “He is here. Should I see her out?”
Frances snorted. “Oh, leave Mrs Prissy to see herself out. If she sets eyes on us any more today she is likely to explode. Besides, your aunt might have waylaid her. I hear someone talking.”

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Lily x

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