To Kiss a Lord

Lord Robert Cresthaven took one look at the stunning Miss Clarissa Townsend and knew that she was destined to be his wife. The fact she doesn’t see her own self-worth makes him want to show her exactly how desirable she is. When they’re caught in a compromising position, things don’t go according to plan and his beautiful Clarissa is locked away.

Clarissa may not have fought for anything in her life, but she refuses to be sold to Madame Giselle or the disgusting Mr. Peterson. Just because she’s crippled, and now ruined, doesn’t mean that she can’t have the husband and family she’s always dreamt of. Escaping her family was easy enough, but convincing Lord Cresthaven that she loves him might be the hardest thing she’ll ever have to do. Because kissing Lord Cresthaven was the most wonderful thing she’d ever experienced, and Clarissa wants so much more from the handsome lord.

**NOTE: This novella has been recovered, expanded, and re-edited. It was originally released in 2014 under the same title but has been adapted for inclusion in the Ladies of the Night series and has new scenes.

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Excerpt

Copyright 2019, Jessica Coulter Smith

New Orleans, 1895

Clarissa backed into the corner, her leg throbbing in agony, the limb barely holding her weight. She’d seen that look in men’s eyes before, just never directed her way. Lust. Want. Need. Desire. They pulsed in the handsome lord’s eyes. Why he was paying her any attention she didn’t understand. He was part of a large group of visiting lords from England, none of them set to inherit, but they’d been on everyone’s invitation list it seemed.  This wasn’t the first time she’d seen Lord Cresthaven, but she was fairly certain it was the first time he’d noticed her.

No one ever noticed her, unless it was to show pity. Clarissa might not be able to dance, and had dismal prospects for a decent marriage, but she wasn’t pathetic. Regardless of what the other marriageable women her age thought, she wanted the same thing as them – a husband and family of her own. It just wasn’t likely she’d ever have one, not unless one was purchased for her.

“Please, my lord. I don’t want any trouble.” Her voice trembled and she wasn’t certain if it was from the fear of being caught alone with him in the library, or the warmth spreading through her at his nearness. She’d been around attractive men before, but none had ever affected her this way.

“Who said anything about trouble? I merely wish to get to know you better, Miss Townsend.”

She swallowed hard, knowing exactly how he wanted to get to know her. It wouldn’t be the first time a man had propositioned her, saying they would be doing her a favor, since it was clearly obvious no one would want a lame wife. They seemed to think she would be good enough to dally with, but not marry. It hurt, their rejection, and embarrassed her that the men in her world thought so little of her. Was that really her only option for the future? Being someone’s mistress, or even worse, a… No, she couldn’t even think of that word, much less associate it with herself.

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