Thursday, March 28, 2013

Afton Locke is Here!!

We have a very special guest today.
 Welcome Afton Locke!
Thank you for hosting me today. I’m excited to discuss writing my first series and my recent release, Rose, Exposed, a multicultural historical erotic romance set in the 1930s.

This post is part of the official Rose, Exposed Blog Tour (3/26 - 4/09).                

The grand prize for the tour is vintage-style rose earrings for pierced ears (U.S. shipping address only).

To be eligible, COMMENT on this post. Comment should include the historical time period and geographical setting (when and where) you’d most like to see in a romance.

The tour winner will be announced at on April 11th.


Writing My First Series

When I set out to write Plucking the Pearl, the prequel to Rose, Exposed, I never dreamed the book would lead to a series. Oyster Island is a small town where everyone knows everyone, so it’s the perfect series setting. I have the fourth book in mind as the grand finale. If I have second thoughts about ending the series after that, or if readers demand it, maybe I’ll extend it. Everything is flexible in writing.

Series writing has a lot of advantages. For historicals, especially, it’s great to be able to reuse a lot of the research. As a writer, I enjoy revisiting old characters as much as readers do. When we first read a book, we’re busy trying to get to know the characters and picture them in our minds. That can distract from the story. Readers also enjoy seeing how the characters’ relationships play out. After the romance is resolved, the hard work in a relationship really begins. The promise of love conquers all that we get from a romance novel is stronger when we see it last over time.

I’ve found writing a series has its share of challenges too. As a traveler and seat-of-the-pants writer, I enjoy a change of scenery. Writing about the same place again and again can lack the excitement of going somewhere new. To overcome that, I strive to highlight different parts of the locale in each book. The first book spent a lot of time in the oyster house while this book focuses on the beautiful waterfront.

Another challenge is the temptation to slip into multiple points of view in subsequent books. I want to get into the heads of my previous heroes and heroines in addition to the current ones. I also have to remind myself to be careful who I show in a bad light because that person might become a hero or heroine in a future book. Let’s just say I have a lot of redeeming to do for the fourth book.

Luckily, keeping track of all the little details isn’t a problem for me. I put my books through a very rigorous editing process, which includes tracking everything. All I have to do is go back and look at my notes.


I can’t wait to finish this series and start a new one!

Rose, Exposed
Publisher:  Ellora's Cave Publishing

Release Date:  27 March 2013

eBook ISBN #:  978-14199-45205

Stay tuned for reviews and more:


 (I love creating trailers for all my books!)



When Leroy Johnson gets promoted at the new oyster plant on Pearl Point, all he cares about is working hard. When he meets the flirtatious artist Rose Wainwright, however, nothing matters except getting her to the altar and into bed. Healing from a recent loss, he’s not about to let her go too.

Because Rose’s strict, social-climbing father doesn’t approve of dark-skinned Leroy, they court in secret anyplace they can find. Although Leroy’s raw passion can convince her to do almost anything, why can’t he understand she needs freedom, not marriage?

Her father wants her to be white, but Leroy wants her to be black. Playing both sides of the fence leaves this young biracial beauty exposed in more ways than one.


Excerpt (explicit)

Rose, Exposed - Copyright © AFTON LOCKE, 2013 - All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.


“You’re so…dark,” she exclaimed. Instead of the disdain he expected, he heard fascination.


Come on, lady. Don’t tell me you’ve never seen a colored man before.


“Yes, I’m dark,” he agreed as he politely removed her hand, “which is why it’s not a good idea for us to sit alone together in this car. Someone might come along and jump to the wrong conclusion.”


A conclusion that could get him beat up or worse with the Klan close by on Oyster Island.


But before he could stop her, she clasped both sides of his face and pressed her sweet mouth to his. Aw, hell. A man only had so much self-control, and she’d just shattered his. Unable to stop himself, he plundered her delicate mouth. Her lips reminded him of rose petals, and he sucked the sweetness out of them as if he were a bee. The more he tasted, the more he wanted.


She opened, giving him access to her even sweeter tongue. His penis strained, hard and now wet, against his undershorts. Hell, even his balls must be twice their normal size. Taking a big breath, he pulled away from her.


“We can’t do this. You’re white.”


She looked down at her upturned palms. “Then I really do look white?”


Leroy frowned. “Aren’t you?”


For the first time, her smile disappeared, making him shiver in his wet clothes. “The truth is, I don’t know what I am. I suppose that’s why I took this foolish drive.”


She must be biracial then, he realized, and not forbidden after all. The thought made him want to dance on the hood of the car. She still looked white, though. If he didn’t have the time to court a girl his own color, he sure didn’t have any for a complicated one like this.


“Kiss me again,” she demanded.


Without waiting for him to answer, she locked her hot, damp mouth on his again and tugged hard on his shoulders. Before he knew it, he was on top of her on the front seat. He wished her dress weren’t so thin when two round breasts pushed against his chest and long, slender legs shifted restlessly under his. Dizzy with the scent of rain and her, he froze.


At that moment, nothing mattered except finding out if her cunt was as sweet and yielding as her mouth. He didn’t care if the entire Klan showed up, knocked on the window and caught him thrusting between her legs on this slippery leather seat. It had been too damn long since he’d had a woman. He needed to stop this while he still could.


“Do you know what you’re asking for?” Lust had turned his voice into a husky croak.


She laughed and touched his face again. “I don’t know. What am I asking for?”


This girl was crazier than he’d first thought. What if someone less honorable than himself had stopped instead? She could’ve been raped.


“A whole lot of trouble.” He sat up. “Look, this is not the time or the place. Now let’s get you home.”


The sooner he could be rid of her—before she derailed him from his job, family, and everything else that mattered—the better.



WIPs Coming Soon

Rose, Exposed is the sequel to Plucking the Pearl, an interracial historical erotic romance.

I have two more books planned for the Oyster Harbor series. Next up for romance are Sadie and Henry.


In addition to interracial/multicultural historicals, I also plan to keep writing erotic contemporaries.

Can an older woman find love with a hot male stripper? My current WIP, Two Hours to Entice, will answer that question.


Where readers can find me


I will be attending EC’s RomantiCon Oct 10-13, 2013 in Canton, Ohio -

Don’t miss the book signing on Oct 13th.

I’m also hosting a Fabulous Fusion workshop with Koko Brown and Eve Vaughn to celebrate interracial erotic romance for EC’s Fusion line.





Newsletter - The Love Chronicle:



Congratulations on your upcoming release, Afton!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone~


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Liz Crowe "Mutual Release"

My very special guest today is a fresh, strong voice in erotic romance that more and more readers are discovering and loving everyday. Liz Crowe isn’t like anyone else in erotic romance. She stands alone, with a writing style and voice that is real, approachable and recognizable in our own lives. Pick up one of her books and you’ll realize you’ve met these people. Liz’s characters are the stronger sides of ourselves, the handsome guy down the street, the woman who manages your favorite pub. Liz Crowe’s characters are the grittier and more glamorous reflection of us. I hope you’ll enjoy her as much as I do, and if you haven’t read a Liz Crowe book—what are you waiting for! : )

The book Liz is introducing to us April 4th is “Mutual Release”, its published by Tri-Destiny as part of their Sizzlin' Books line. Evan and Julie's story is Book 7 in the highly popular Stewart Realty series.

Here’s the Blurb:

Can two dark souls ever make a light?

As president of her own distribution company, Julie Dawson has all she ever wanted -- money, power, and respect. But her carefully crafted façade conceals a  torment of abuse and helplessness.  After years remaining emotionally aloof, she is finally independent, but alone. Because she refuses to rely on anyone but herself ever again. 

Evan Adams is no stranger to success, or personal demons. The horrific trauma that destroyed his twin sister, and tore his family apart, forced him to craft a new life from the ashes of the old. He's content enough, focusing ahead and not dwelling on his murky past. But something important is missing. He knows what that thing is but refuses to acknowledge it.

When a chance encounter brings these two strong-willed but damaged people together , what seems like a long, erotic journey through hell could lead them to a match made in heaven.

A coming of age novel about trust...on the long road to love.

Want more Mutual Release? Here’s an extended excerpt:

Monday dawned bright, clear, and cold, even for an October morning. Evan ran his usual route around the west side of his newly adopted town, relishing how strong he felt and looking forward to his workday – the one where he had a tight grip on his own destiny for a change. After a long hot shower, two huge cups of coffee, and an apple, he grabbed his presentation thumb drive and laptop and headed out.
One of the things he’d inherited from his father was a love of classic English cars. He had sold two of the three Jags, kept his favorite and bought an MG Spyder, not giving a shit at how much it cost to keep the damn thing running properly. As he sped in his sports car across Interstate 96 on his way to the far-flung Northern Detroit suburbs to sweet talk, finagle, and wow the big-time distributor, he was on top of his own personal mountain. Nothing would spoil the day. He refused to allow it.
He pulled into a visitor’s parking spot, tucked his Ray-Bans over the visor, and smoothed his hair before jumping out and striding to the glass front doors. “Dawson” was etched in the glass, nothing more or less, as if it were a boutique law firm or ad agency. Nothing out front indicated that it was one of the most successful craft beer and domestic wine distribution companies in the Midwest.
Tucking away a shiver of intimidation, he pushed the door open and saw a small shrine to Michigan craft beer. The front receiving area was full of faux six packs, cases, kegs, and displays representing every brand, including some that were nationally known. A single desk sat near another set of doors. Through its clear glass he could see a bustling group of people, men and women, all dressed in top-notch suits, getting ready to go out on their sales day. The place oozed professionalism, even a bit of snootiness that surprised him.
But he shook it off, walked up to the stunningly attractive blond woman at the front desk. She sat frowning at a large computer screen. He stood for a few seconds, thinking she would acknowledge him. Finally he had to clear his throat to make her look away from whatever had her mesmerized.
“Oh, hello. Sorry about that.” Her smile made her already gorgeous face light up and left him slightly breathless. Looking back, he figured he must have looked like a complete ass as he stood there, unable to form coherent words, his brain awash in sensations he had not allowed himself to experience in a damn long time. She arched one perfect eyebrow. He gulped, knowing he should say something.
“Uh, so, I have an appointment?” He winced at the upturning of his sentence as if he were asking her a question. Clearing his throat, he started over, pasted on his best “Evan Adams, Charmer” smile and held out a hand. “Evan Adams, owner of Big House Brewing in Ann Arbor, here to see Mr. Dawson. I’m a little early.”
She tilted her head, then shook his hand matter-of-factly. But he had to stop himself from stumbling backwards at the thoughts coiling up in his lizard brain at her touch. His mouth dried out and an odd yet familiar roaring sound fired up between his ears. She frowned. “You okay, there, Evan?” Her lips caressed his name, making him repress a shiver.
“Yeah, sorry. So, anyway, I’ll just sit… over here… until Mr. Dawson is ready. You know, since I’m, uh, early.” He winced, marveling at the depth of his dorkiness. She put her elbows on the desk, eyeing him closely. He observed that she seemed a little overdressed for a receptionist but figured this place must have a strict dress code.
“Sit here,” she said, patting the seat nearest her desk. “Keep me company for a while.”
“Um, sure,” he said, flushing red to the tips of his ears, then moving closer to her while trying to look cool, casual, not ready to jump up and escape.
She smiled. “So, tell me about your company. You know, while we wait for Mr. Dawson.”
He relaxed and launched into the tale, thankful to have a reason to talk and not sound like the world’s oldest high school geek trying to flirt with the prom queen. She asked a lot of questions, kept him talking. And after about a half hour, he was laughing with her at his tale of trying to empty a brewing vessel full of wet grains and dumping about ten pounds of the stuff all over himself.
At one point she brushed her hair back, and his breath caught in his throat at the glimpse of her long neck and the small indent between her collarbones. He had no idea what that was, that soft spot that seemed to pulse with her heartbeat. But he wanted to put his tongue there very, very badly. Allowing his eyes to flicker over her profile, the striking angles of her face, he gulped, looked away.
Getting a grip, he pulled a business card from his portfolio and handed it to her. “I’d love to talk with you more,” he said, trying to ease his voice down from its high-pitched nervous whine to a sexier, more natural tone. “But since I don’t even know your name…” He looked at the nameplate on the desk. It was blank.
She leaned back, propped her high heels on the desk in a strange move that had him instantly on edge and practically panting with horniness.
“Uh, so,” he glanced at his watch, his nerves dancing up and down his spine once more, “if you are interested, maybe we could, you know, go out. Have a beer? Keep chatting?” He closed his eyes, unable to bear his own flop sweat another minute. “Never mind.” He slumped back in his seat. Where the "Master Dom" Evan Adams had hidden he did not know, but damned if the guy was staying there and leaving this ridiculous, stuttering loser in his place.
The silence spun out about a minute longer than was truly polite. He finally looked up at her. She was staring at him over the tops of her shoes, her head tilted to the side as if wondering why the hell he was even cluttering up her space. Finally, the doors to his left opened and a tall, good-looking guy in a suit stood there, surprise clear on his face. “Julie,” he said. “We’ve been looking all over for you. Your nine o’clock appointment isn’t here yet but…”
The woman held up a hand, silencing the man but keeping her eyes pinned on Evan’s. His heart sped up and that familiar, yet nearly forgotten, roaring sound started up in his ears once more.
Julie Dawson. J. Dawson. The person he’d been communicating with through his… or her… secretary.
Holy. Fucking. Shit.
He stood, furious that she’d sat there and let him babble on like a bloody idiot for nearly forty-five minutes. “Well, that was fun,” he said, staring her down, or attempting to. But his skin was both on fire and cold at once. Something about the woman made him have to hang on to his laptop case tight, just to keep from stepping close and kissing those full red lips so hard she would be his in an instant. “Or not. Thanks for your time.”
“No, no, don’t go,” she said, getting to her feet in one fluid, sexy move. She was over six feet tall in her shoes, curvy, womanly, and sending out the sort of signals he had not intercepted in a long time – too long, if the way he was overreacting was any indication. “Really, I want to know why you think my company would be in any way interested in yours.”
He processed her barb, clenched his jaw, and poured out the reasons behind why Dawson would benefit from jumping on his bandwagon now, in the early days, so they could grow the brand in a key market together. She listened, standing behind the stupid receptionist’s desk, her assistant wildly typing notes on his tablet.
Finally, she held up a hand again. “How very… creative.” She walked around to the front of the desk, giving him an eye-popping full view of her. She was like sex on two perfect female legs, the exact body type he craved – full breasts and hips, cinched in but not obnoxiously small waist, long hair, and legs that went on and on… and on. “And, um, Evan?”
He jumped back, hearing his name again.
“Yeah, my eyes are up here. But never mind. I’m used to being ogled, and by way more successful brewery owners than you.” She held his business card between thumb and forefinger, as if it were made of dog shit. “Tell you what, why don’t you let me ponder your… proposal. And assume that your eye-fucking session won’t happen again.”
She turned from him and walked away without a word. Her assistant shrugged and followed her back in, leaving Evan breathless, furious, and never more aware of his neglected libido.
Liz Crowe Bio:

Microbrewery owner, best-selling author, beer blogger and journalist, mom of three teenagers, and soccer fan, Liz lives in the great middle west, in a Major College Town.  Years of experience in sales and fund raising, plus an eight-year stint as an ex-pat trailing spouse plus making her way in a world of men (i.e. the beer industry) has prepped her for life as erotic romance author.  When she isn't sweating inventory and sales figures for the brewery, she can be found writing, editing or sweating promotional efforts for her latest publications.  Her ground breaking romance sub genre: “Romance for Real Life” has gained thousands of fans and followers, interested less in the “HEA” and more in the “WHA” (“What Happens After?”)

Her beer blog is nationally recognized for its insider yet outsider views on the craft beer industry. Her books are set in the not-so-common worlds of breweries, on the soccer pitch and in high powered real estate offices.  Don’t ask her for anything “like” a Budweiser or risk painful injury.

Mutual Release is available for pre-order on ARe:


Is There An Editor in the House?

I read an interesting conversation on a loop the other day. They were discussing the decline in publisher website sales. I’ve noticed this too. While I haven’t had a new release from one of my publishers in almost two years, I noticed the decline back then.
With the Kindle and Nook, most are waiting for the books to become available on third party vendor sites. I’m guilty of this if I can’t figure out which version is for Kindle. Plus I can click the Amazon link and the cost is applied to my Amazon charge card. So for me it’s simple.
The conversation also talked about the money you could make from self-publishing as oppose of through a publisher. I’m on the fence with this one. I do both. I’m more successful with a publisher.
Why? I’m not sure. With my self-published books I only sell about 10-15 a month – all six combined. With my backlist of 25 books with various publishers I sell a ton more.
Here’s another issue – editing. I NEED AN EDITOR. I won’t deny I need one. The six books I self-published were edited with a publishing house. Sure, I checked them again and added some words, but they had a few rounds of professional editing.
Writers will be slammed if their books aren’t edited properly. Readers can be harsh and rightly so. If you pay good money for a book you expect it to be clean of errors. It drives me crazy when I’m pulled from the story because of a misspelled word. I once read a book where the author transposed the word from to form. It happened consistently throughout the book…it drove me nuts. Sadly, this wasn’t a self-pubbed book. This was from a publisher. So I guess there could be argument for the other side. LOL
Would I rather be self-publishing? Absolutely. Bigger royalties.
I don’t make enough in the self-publishing world to pay for an editor. So for now I continue to submit to publishers. I can’t help it…I need those editors.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

D'Ann Lindun "Desert Heat"

If you love westerns and romance with a bit of suspense you’ll love today’s guest author D’Ann Lindun. D’Ann writes for Crimson Romance and she has this to share with us today.

Meet D’Ann Lindun…

Have you ever gone on a scavenger hunt? It’s a lot of fun. One time, about fifteen years ago, my sister and I hosted a party where the scavenger hunt was part of the night’s events. We each had teams of six women who had to go all over town (it’s a tiny resort village) and find certain items. I don’t remember what the prize was, exactly, but it was a huge hit. We talked about it for years.

In my book, Desert Heat, Mallory James is on a scavenger hunt of sorts…more of a treasure hunt. Her missing father has died and she has traveled to Mesa, Arizona to try and find the father she’s searched for all her life.
A petite, graying blond with dark gray eyes, the coroner, didn’t look like Mallory’s idea of a person who dealt with dead bodies, but she hadn’t met too many coroners either.  The doctor’s handshake was firm and quick.  “Miss James.  It’s nice to meet you.  I’m sorry to tell you that your father’s remains are not ready.  We’re backlogged and there’s no way we can get to him until the end of the week.”
 “Oh no.”  She had hoped to have this over and done with quickly.  “Do you have any idea of what happened to him yet?”
 “Probably heart failure, but like I said on the phone, I’m not sure.  Something’s bothering me, but I don’t want to comment on it yet.  I’ll call you when I have a definitive answer and his body is ready to be released.  We have some paperwork you need to fill out.  If you’ll follow me?”
Mallory followed the coroner into a second room, an ordinary office with dark paneling.  After she signed a few papers, Dr. Anson handed over Skeeter’s clothes, a folded paper and a small vial.  “You can take these now.  We found these items sewn inside his pant leg.”
Mallory took the stack with trembling hands.  She glanced at the paper.  “What is this?”
The doctor shrugged.  “Some kind of map.  And the little jar has gold dust in it.”
 “Gold dust?  Are you serious?”  Mallory shoved her glasses back up her nose. 
Mallory held the little plastic tube up to the light and examined the particles inside.  Flakes of gold glittered.  “I wonder what this is worth?”
 “Probably not much,” the doctor said.  “I doubt there’s enough there to even take to an assayer.  But I recognize for what it is.”
 “Why on earth would Skeeter carry around a minuscule amount of gold?”  Mallory rolled it around in her palm.  The glass warmed in her grip.  Had he found one of the lost mines?  Her heart skipped a beat.   

Blurb: Desert Heat
Mallory James doesn’t trust men. How could she when her own father abandoned her twenty-two years ago? Now, when she receives a phone call from a man claiming to have found the body of her father in the Arizona desert, Mallory has no way to find out the truth. For closure, she flies to Phoenix to claim the body.
Mike Malone has more trouble than he knows how to cope with. An environmental group, the Salt River Protection League has gotten an injunction that prevents his guest ranch from operating. Tired of the battle, his longtime girlfriend has left him, and his friends—all depending on him for their livelihood—are getting desperate. The last thing he needs is the body of desert rat, Skeeter James, in one of his vacant cabins. And Mike really doesn’t need a beautiful woman taking his mind off business.
The minute Mallory reaches the deserted guest ranch things seem odd. Mike’s friends aren’t welcoming, and one in particular, Diana, seems to want Mallory gone. A vial of gold and half a treasure map are the only legacy Skeeter leaves. Before she can have the burial, Mallory is lured into the desert, bucked off a horse sabotaged by a thorn under his saddle blanket and stalked. Although she is falling for Mike, she can’t love a man she can’t trust. At first, Mike is skeptical of Mallory’s claims, but as incidents begin to pile up, he is forced to admit someone is trying to hurt. But how can they stop what they don’t understand?
Falling in love with romance novels the summer before sixth grade, D’Ann Lindun never thought about writing one until many years later when she took a how-to class at her local college. She was hooked! She began writing and never looked back. Romance appeals to her because there's just something so satisfying about writing a book guaranteed to have a happy ending. D’Ann’s particular favorites usually feature cowboys and the women who love them. This is probably because she draws inspiration from the area where she lives, Western Colorado, her husband of twenty-nine years and their daughter. Composites of their small farm, herd of horses, five Australian shepherds, a Queensland heeler, nine ducks and cats of every shape and color often show up in her stories!

Thank you D'Ann for being our guest today, best wishes to you!

Monday, March 18, 2013

HIS DELECTABLE COOK on the kitchen table, in the dining room, on the floor....

I am so delighted to debut my cover for my late Regency-early Victorian, HIS DELECTABLE COOK. Don't you think this is wonderful? Lickable? Tempting?
The story stars a young woman who answers an advert for a position as cook to the new earl.
Does she know he is such a rogue?
Does she anticipate that he likes to share his women with his staff and his younger brothers?
Might our little cook relish the very idea?
You must come and learn.
No date yet for this single release. But it is in the anthology, AT YOUR SERVICE, for to be released June 30!
Need a nibble?
Of course you do!
Copyright, Cerise DeLand 2013.

     Bess Deveraux stood before her new employer, prim as a blushing bride, which she most definitely was not, and proud as the virago she wished to become. And all because the man she faced was precisely the type of master she had yearned for since she first discovered the joys her body could give her six long years ago. He embodied all the essential qualities she desired in a lord and master: He was handsome, self-possessed, filthy rich and scandal-ridden. At the moment, he was also astonished at her appearance before him. The tick in his left cheek told that tale.
     “Mrs O’Brien assures me you are qualified for my household.” Lord Taryn Wentworth sat, loose-boned, maddeningly louche, in a large leather chair examining her from across his sun-dappled library.
Betty flushed with pride at her accomplishment to jump the gauntlet of the acerbic housekeeper and appear before him as the woman’s choice for the cook’s position. The servant had riddled her with questions for hours about her previous experience and her employers.
   “She informs me you are experienced with supper parties and balls.” One long well-muscled leg across the other, Wentworth pursed his full lips together as his searing sapphire eyes assessed her chin, her throat and her bosom in the cook’s shapeless white attire.
   At his gravelly base voice, Betty refrained from shifting on her feet as her nipples peaked high and hard against the rough cotton of her new uniform. She was so right not to have donned a corset this morning. Nor worn any pantalets. After all, she had taken this position to be free of all social restraints.
   “Betty!” Mrs. O’Brien chastised her to respond to the man who had recently inherited this Mayfair house, an older pile in Dorset, an earldom and twenty thousand a year income. “Do answer his lordship.”
   Betty locked eyes with him, the rogue. “I was not aware it was a question.”
   “Careful, girl,” O’Brien growled.
   Betty caught his lordship fighting a smile. “Yes, of course. Pardon me, Went— “ No, not so familiar, Bess! “Sorry, my lord. I am very accomplished at preparing party menus. Game, beef, puddings.”
   “Red snapper?”
   Betty suppressed a chuckle at his lewd reference. How like the scoundrel to try to make her laugh. “I have it on good authority that my fish is superbly prepared. Always in a savoury sauce.”
   He rubbed his lower lip with the tip of one index finger. “How are your sweet things?”
   When properly prepared? “They melt in your mouth.”
   “Tempting,” he conceded with a tour of her body from generous breasts to tiny waist and the length of her legs. She had heard his eyes could scald and titillate. Her cunny swelled with the proof. “And what of your cakes? Do you work with chocolate?”
   “I can bake one for you, my lord.”
    Irritable and commanding this morning, are we, my lord Wentworth? Hmm. “Of course. Marzipan. Vanilla glaze. Whatever you—“
   “What do you do with strawberries? Peaches?”
   The devil. Her nipples pebbled like strawberries. Eager to have those luscious lips of his sucking them. And her peaches? She squeezed her pussy walls together. Yes. Her peaches were plump and ready to be bitten into. “Such delicacies, I offer ripe and sugared with—”
   “Ices?” he cut her off with a narrowing of his sparkling eyes and a shift in his chair.
   Uncomfortable, my lord?  This is your fault, you realize. You did ask. “Yes. Sculptured, my lord. Swans, birds and—“
   “I see,” he said though what he was looking at was her nipples peaking against the muslin uniform.    “Where did you learn to carve ice?”
   “In the house where I grew up, my dearest friend was the cook.”
   His cool façade fell from his face at hearing this tidbit. “Was your friend, the sculptress, also expert with her dishes?”
   “A fine chef, my lord. My father became enchanted with her finesse and claimed no one could make a soufflé that compared. I learned much from her.”
   “Such as?”
   Ah. You taunt me at your own risk, Wentworth. “She declared if one fed a man what he loved, he would return, hungry forevermore.”
   “Astute of her.” He, over the shock of gazing at her heart-shaped face and limpid eyes, grew more relaxed. Even jovial.
   “True, my lord.” Betty rocked back on her heels, bolder now that she had him in conversation. “She was most particular instructing me on how to prepare any organ from a large animal, most especially his brain.”
   He arched a brow at her. “For example, what?”
   “How to tenderize a big piece of meat.” She used her hands illustrating her passion to pull and draw on one specific part of a male animal.
   O’Brien cleared her throat.
   Betty clasped her hands behind her back, rising on her toes and thrusting out her heavy breasts. “I roast a succulent duck, as well. Do you like duck, my lord?”
   “I appreciate all things succulent, Betty.” He flashed a smile at her, a rueful twitch of that libertine’s mouth. One Bess had to trace and taste very soon. “Leave us, Mrs. O’Brien.”
   “My lord, I depart here in the morning for the house in Dorset as you requested,” the housekeeper bit off her words, miffed at her dismissal from this interview, “but I have not yet discussed the menu with her for tomorrow evening and with a new butler and footman—“
   “I will tell her what to serve.” Wentworth waved the woman toward the door, though his gaze locked on Betty’s. “She will inform you after I am done with her. You may go to your duties, Mrs. O’Brien.”