Tempting the Earl
by Rachael Miles GENRE: Historical Romance
Olivia Walgrave is finished with being a countess. Writing under a pen name, her controversial column for the scandal sheets provides her with some income and far more excitement than managing a country estate. Besides, in the three years since the wars have ended, her dashing husband hasn’t spent one night under their roof. So Olivia has prepared a plan, and an annulment. All she needs is his consent…
Harrison Walgrave, the Earl of Levesford, let his father coerce him into marriage, but his true devotion is to his Parliamentary career—and his secret work for the Home Office. Yet now, with freedom in his grasp, he finds he cannot so easily release his wife. Seeing her stirs a hunger no other woman has reached. A distraction now, when he is a breath away from revealing a ring of traitors, could be deadly. Still, wherever his investigations lead, the thought of Olivia lingers. It might be obsession. It might be treason. But the only way to escape the temptation is to succumb…
He walked to the window and looked out. That had not gone as well as he predicted. He decided to try a different tack. “Do you hate me?”
She looked puzzled. “Why would I hate you? You made it clear that you had no wish to be married, and you have refused to be married in every way that matters. Hating you would be foolish, for it would mean that I refused to acknowledge what you have made perfectly and repeatedly clear.”
“Then if you do not hate me, what are your feelings?” Perhaps he could gain some insight into her motivations, since he had miscalculated her thoughts at every turn so far. Not in all his years in Parliament had he felt so out of his depths.
“My feelings are my own. If we were married, I might feel obligated to share them, but we are not married nor have we ever been.”
“What if I wish to share my feelings?”
“You may do as you wish, but it does not require me to reciprocate.”
“You have grown into a hard woman, Olivia.” He realized with some sadness.
“I was always a hard woman. You simply didn’t realize it.”
“Ah, how can that be? The Olivia I remember was sweet, open, dutiful.”
She shook her head, rejecting his words. “I have long credited you with greater skills of observation than you apparently possess. I was even then a woman of many secrets. You were simply uninterested in knowing any of them.”
Rachael Miles has always loved a good romance, especially one with a bit of suspense and preferably a ghost. She is also a professor of book history and nineteenth-century literature whose students frequently find themselves reading the novels of Ann Radcliffe and other gothic tales. Rachael lives in her home state of Texas with her indulgent husband, three rescued dogs, and an ancient cat.