Lady Alexandra's Lover (Sex and the Season #3) - Helen Hardt

My Dearest Amelia,

Forgive me for not having written in several weeks, but I had terrible sickness on the ship home. I miss you so, and I especially miss all the fun and frolic we shared whilst I visited you on holiday in the Americas.

I was no sooner back in our London townhome when Auntie Beatrice insisted that I begin art lessons. Amelia, I can’t draw a straight line to save my own soul. Art lessons? Truly? I dreaded the very thought. An hour several times per week listening to some old codger preach the virtues of light and dark hardly excited me, and I possess the artistic talent of a tomato. But Auntie would not be swayed. So yesterday, I began.

My instructor, rather than the foul old lech I imagined, is a young Frenchman. I nearly swooned when I saw him, Amelia, so beautiful is he. Dark hair and simmering brown eyes…and the way he looked at me… My quim started pulsing just from his gaze upon me.

“You must be Lady Prudence,” he said with a smile.

I let out a sigh. “I am.”

“It is a pleasure.” He took my hand and kissed it. “I am Christophe Bertrand.”

Oh, Amelia, he is a delicacy. How my stomach fluttered when he brushed his lips over my hand. I thought perhaps I could learn something after all. He set up two easels and placed canvases upon them. We spent the next hour learning and mixing color, until he finally turned to me.

“Forgive me, my lady, but I find I can no longer ignore your beauty.”

My cheeks heated to blazing, Amelia. I am quite sure they were redder than the crimson paint on the palette.

“Monsieur Bertrand… Our lesson…”

He took my hand and kissed it again, this time letting his lips linger just a touch longer. A surge charged straight to my cunny, and a slight moan escaped my lips.

“My lady, beauty such as yours is a rare gift. Please, if you would allow me to paint you—”

“Paint me?” I stood, aghast.

He wanted to paint me? I’d been so hoping he might want to kiss me. Truly kiss me, the way you did, Amelia, and the way Broderick and Miles did when the four of us were together. What wonderful times we had!

“Yes, my lady. Your azure eyes, your raven hair, your lips the color of the rarest ruby—you are stunning. If you would allow it, I will find some way to compensate you for your time. I’m a man of modest means, but I could make your lessons gratis.”

“My aunt is paying for the lessons,” said I.

“Perhaps if I spoke with her—”

“No!” I screamed.

Can you imagine? Prudish Auntie Beatrice allowing me to pose for this young man? It would never happen. And suddenly, Amelia, I wanted him to paint me. I wanted it more than my next breath of fresh air. More even than a kiss from him.

“Monsieur Bertrand”—I smiled coquettishly, or so I hoped—“I would be happy to pose for you. Gratis.”

“Outstanding!” His grin lit up his face. “When may we begin?”

“How about now?”

“Well, I do have some time presently,” he said. “Perhaps we could go out of doors. The afternoon sunlight would highlight your lovely fair complexion.”

“No.” I touched his arm lightly. Such sparks I felt! “You will paint me here, in the parlor.” I walked to the door and turned the key in the lock. “And you will paint me nude.”

Chapter 1

Brighton Estate, Wiltshire, England

July, 1853

“I’m going to sleep with Mr. Landon.”

Lady Sophie MacIntyre abruptly straightened her back and dropped her crocheting to the floor with a soft thud. “Excuse me?”

“There’s not a thing wrong with your hearing, Sophie dear.” Lady Alexandra MacIntyre smiled. “I said I’m going to sleep with Mr. Landon.”

Sophie picked up her crocheting and let out a sigh. “I’m not in the slightest mood for one of your jokes, Ally.”

“Who is joking?”

“For goodness’ sake. You don’t expect me to believe—”

Alexandra stood, held up a hand to stop her sister’s words, and placed her own knitting in the basket next to her. She wasn’t joking. She’d been waiting months now for Mr. Nathan Landon to propose marriage to her, and she was damned tired of his foolish trifling. “I certainly do expect you to believe it. I’ve allowed him so many liberties I’m beginning to feel like I’ve already lost my virginity. Yet nothing. No promises from him, not even a bloody ‘I love you.’”

“Have you considered,” Sophie said, “that perhaps it’s because you’ve allowed him so many liberties that