Incomparable [The Improper Ladies 2] (Siren Publishing Menage & More)
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by Emma Wildes
Description: [Menage & More: Erotic Menage a Trois Romance, F/M/F] One beautiful Englishwoman in peril, a volatile political atmosphere, and the oh-so-wicked aristocrat who offers to save her at all costs... Lara Moore is neck deep in trouble. So deep she can fairly feel the noose tighten around her throat, but rescue in the form of one infamously charming nobleman is far from appealing. For one thing, he wants compensation in the form of sexual submission. Second, he is far too clever to fool. The devilishly handsome Comte Roussel isn't interested in being the one who pays, unless he collects back full measure. Anton Garcin is privileged, wealthy, powerful, and thwarted at every turn in his pursuit of the beauteous Lady Edgerton. When he finally has her cornered, he isn't above using coercion to ensure seduction, but the results are not exactly as he expects. His government thinks the lady is dangerous. He discovers it is all too true... [Erotic Regency Menage a Trois Romance. Warning: Contains graphic sexual content and adult language.]
eBook Publisher: Siren-BookStrand, Inc./Menage & More, 2009 2009
eBookwise Release Date: May 2010
25 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [127 KB]
Reading time: 75-105 min.
"5 ANGELS: Incomparable is a hot erotic read wrapped in an intriguing plot. Anton is delicious with all the smoothness expected from a famed French lover. Lara is strong, curious, and a perfect match for this dashing hero. The ménage a trois with a friend's wife is tastefully introduced and executed. Instead of detracting from the romance, it reaffirms the couple's connection. Emma Wildes never fails to bring a fresh, well written story with enough twists and turns to satisfy both historical romance and erotic fans." -- Fallen Angel Reviews
"5 STARS: It is hard to imagine a story that is so rich in the intricacies of plot could also contain scores of decadently erotic and arousing scenes, but Incomparable has it all. I was almost immediately seduced by Anton's character and sensual confidence. His keen intelligence and studied observation of human nature and a woman's body made him irresistible to me, so I identified with Lara's avoidance of Anton for fear that she would be unable to resist him...Be forewarned there is one male/female/female sexual encounter, which is as expertly written as every other erotic scene in the book. I've read this book twice more already. If you've ever enjoyed an historical novel, you'll love Incomparable! -- Karen Hass, Just Erotic Romance Reviews
"4.5 KISSES: Emma Wildes really turned up the heat in Incomparable. Lara is delightful with her quick wit and enjoyment in teasing Anton. Watching her embrace her sexuality was liberating as well as highly sensual. Anton's sophistication and desire to protect Lara add exponentially to his appeal and witnessing him having his fantasies fulfilled was both exhilarating and satisfying. Their connection was tangible and their compatibility enviable. I also really appreciated the sweet ending it was absolutely perfect! Incomparable is set in a time when ladies could be wicked and gentlemen were rogues and Ms. Wildes has captured both characteristics beautifully. I highly recommend reading this book." -- TwoLips Reviews
"4.5 BLUE RIBBONS: Emma Wildes's Incomparable is the second book in her Improper Ladies series. Lara's involvement in the spying ring starts this story off with a pulse pounding plot and doesn't let up until the very end. Anton is a take charge kind of guy and it's a good thing because Lara's spunky personality and determined nature definitely what she needs in a man. Lara has never fully experienced the pleasure of lovemaking until Anton blackmails her into his bed and his heart. There is a ménage scene that is a bit unorthodox but rather than detract from the storyline, it adds a special element to the relationship between Lara and Anton and will have readers viewing their friends in a different light. Ms. Wildes is a talented writer who delivers storylines full of passion and heart." -- Romance Junkies
"4.5 CHERRIES: I liked this novella because unlike many historicals, this one not only held my attention, but made me feel a part of the story. The scenes were rich with descriptions and lush with details. Although Anton came across as a rogue, he thought with his heart which increased his sexiness. I also liked that Lara was independent yet yielded to Anton. She never lost her independent streak, which I found refreshing. If you want a sweeping historical, lush with sex and handsome characters, then Incomparable is the novella for you." -- Tiger Lily, Whipped Cream Romance Reviews
* * * *
"Our own charming Leon a spy. Can you believe it, Countess?" Madame Vichy flicked her fan shut, her small dark eyes bright, leaning forward. "Why, everyone is so very shocked, the ballroom is abuzz. He is such a gentleman, such a loyal subject of France...or so we all thought."
It was true. One of the guests had arrived and announced that Leon Medes, a respected banker and youngest son of a wealthy nobleman, had been arrested earlier that day. He was apparently charged with espionage against his own country, and the entire mansion hummed with whispers.
"Many people are not as they seem," Lara Moore, Countess Edgerton, murmured, moving her fan languidly. "Goodness but it is warm in here. Please excuse me. I must get some air."
Edging through the throng and gaining the open terrace doors, she slipped outside. Her hands shook and her stomach felt as if someone had knotted it into a tight ball. Taking a deep breath, she fought to regain her composure.
Above her, the sky was a black velvet blanket sprinkled with tiny diamonds, the summer air like fine wine, warm and smooth. Walking over to the balustrade, she leaned against it for support and reminded herself sharply that falling apart at this particular moment was the last thing she needed to do.
"Are you quite well, Lady Edgerton?"
The sound of the familiar, smooth male voice made her straighten and turn to summon a polite smile with supreme effort. A few paces away, she saw a man in impeccable evening clothes, the diamond winking in his snowy cravat a match for the glittering stars above. His eyes were very dark, as was his hair, and that coupled with the insufficient light gave him an almost supernatural air. Lara said, "Good evening, Monsieur de Comte. I was not aware you were in attendance. I...yes, I am well enough. It is just a bit warm in the ballroom."
Of all people, she thought with an inward frisson of dismay.
Anton Garcin, Comte de Roussel, smiled, his teeth gleaming white. "Ah, yes, the excitement over Medes' arrest has raised the temperature inside, hasn't it? How unfortunate for his family. I imagine he will be hanged quickly. The emperor is not fond of spies. As an Englishwoman living in Paris, you must have mixed feelings. After all, he was passing information to your government."
She fought a shiver that fingered her spine, yet Lara somehow kept her smile in place. "We were not well-acquainted, but it does seem a shame."
"I am sure you think it a very great shame."
There was something in his voice she didn't like; a lilt of subtle sarcasm.
"Whenever someone loses their life, even if they deem it a worthy cause, it is a tragedy."
"Now, Countess, you must do better than that." As he stepped closer, he arched a brow, the words said softly. "Even out here in the shadows, I can see the panic in your eyes. And I think,"--reaching out, he grasped her arm,--"yes, as I suspected, your pulse is racing."
All Lara could do was stare up at him, his long fingers firm and unrelenting around her wrist. Roussel was one of those too attractive men she always avoided--tall, dark, and athletic, the impressive lineage of his aristocratic family exceeded only by his vast fortune.
In her experience, the handsome comte always had a willing female on his arm, and the facile charm of his smile could summon more at any moment.
It did her reputation as a cool, aloof widow no favors to be seen in the company of a known womanizer. She had made it a point to keep their previous social encounters brief and polite, always finding an excuse to end their conversation. He had pursued her for a while after her arrival in Paris, but then seemed to understand she did not wish further acquaintance.
"M...monsieur," she stammered. "I appreciate your concern, but I think perhaps I should go back inside."
He made no move to let her go and the masculine scent of his cologne mingled with the fragrance of the roses in the gardens below the terrace. "You do not appreciate my concern at all, I venture to guess. Tell me, Lady Edgerton, what will you now do with the paper you were supposed to give to Leon Medes this evening?"
Lara felt the blood drain from her face, but she said sharply, "Comte, I do not know what you are talking about and I would appreciate it if you would release me."
Instead of complying, he moved even closer, looming over her and she had to tilt her head back to look up into his face. Without warning, he slid one long-fingered hand into her low-cut bodice, his touch deft as he explored her breasts, ignoring her gasp of outrage. He found the piece of vellum with ease, and pulled it free. "An unoriginal storage place," he said dryly, "but absolutely delightful. I will keep this."
Her mind whirled, a sudden dizzying sense of her own danger making her feel almost weak as she watched him slip the note into his pocket. "I--"
"You, what?" he asked pleasantly. "Please don't try to tell me that was your list for the dressmakers or a thank you missive penned for a gift. I know you are an intelligent woman. That is one of the many things I admire about you. You must realize I have suspected for quite some time that you were aiding Medes and his colleagues. You came to France for just that purpose. And were an excellent choice if I may say so. A beautiful, young widow, cultured and well educated, charming but distant. I imagine you haven't taken a lover during your sojourn here because of your covert activities. It would be unfortunate if someone got close enough to grow suspicious, would it not?"
During his speech, Lara felt the noose being adjusted around her neck. Being caught was always a possibility. She had known that when she embarked on this mission. It was a stark reality now.
He went on relentlessly, "And I fear I am not the only one. Jacques Lacroux is speculating openly now that Medes is in custody, and your name has come up. Surely you know how dangerous he is?"
Lacroux. Fighting the urge to swallow, she asked quietly, "What will you do?" Comte de Roussel was powerful and well regarded by Bonaparte, and as far as she knew, a loyal Frenchman.
The man holding her smiled then, that infamous seductive smile that usually made every woman in sight melt. "My carriage is waiting. We will go inside and make our excuses to our hostess, saying you are unwell, and that I am escorting you home."
At twenty-four, she was not an innocent young girl anymore and the look in his eyes was unmistakable. She had seen men look at her with that same gleam often enough to recognize it. "But I take it I will not be going home, after all, will I, monsieur?" she asked coolly. "It is easy enough to guess the price of your silence. Tell me, how are you better than Lacroux?"
In the shadowed light, she thought the comte's mouth tightened a fraction, but he merely said, "Perhaps you should consider, madame, that being under my protection will make you infinitely less vulnerable. I am Roussel and I have a great deal of influence."
Gazing up into his starkly handsome face, she knew without a doubt he was perfectly correct. However, she disliked being coerced and he was giving her absolutely no choice.
How many women would rather hang than sleep with a darkly attractive man?
"You could have any woman in France," she said without inflection. "Why are you doing this?"
"My motives are...complicated. Shall we go?"
* * * *
The woman sitting across from him was a little flushed, but otherwise she wore her typical expression of serene self-possession. Long dark hair, so glossy and thick, was gathered in an intricate, heavy knot at her nape, her fashionable blue gown designed to show off the opulence of her breasts and narrowness of her slender waist. Her features were delicately lovely--ebony brows gracefully arched above long-lashed dark blue eyes, her cheekbones were high, and her mouth was pink and invitingly soft.
Everything about Lara Moore was intensely feminine and infinitely alluring. She would be passionate in bed, Anton mused as he overtly studied her. He knew women and under that cool exterior, there was hidden fire. He hardened simply thinking about the night ahead, his groin tightening.
He was very tired of wanting her and being thwarted in all the avenues of proper pursuit.
The carriage rocked, going around a corner, and minutes later, they alighted, the entire journey having been made without a word. The Hotel de Roussel was well lit, an enormous grand residence with many wings. Escorting her up the steps and inside, he saw her take in the delicately hand-painted ceilings in the vast main hall, her gaze traveling over the mosaic floor to the huge curving double staircase. Her mouth curved. "Do tell me," Lady Edgerton said with cynical amusement, "that you do not live here all alone."
"I have a set of apartments, as do other members of my family, but most of my relatives are currently at our country chateau to avoid the summer heat. Please, I'll have one of the servants take you upstairs."
"Where no doubt you'll be joining me." There was a glimmer of resentment in her tone, her beautiful eyes veiled by those lush lashes.
"No doubt," Anton agreed smoothly. Giving instructions to one of the footmen, he also ordered wine to be brought to his bedroom, and anything else the lady might require.
A young maid came to take his guest upstairs and he watched her go before heading down the hall to his study. Once there, he took out the note she had been carrying, breaking the seal and seeing it was a list of names, all wealthy men who contributed money to the republican cause. Carefully burning the slip, he waited until he saw it curl and crisp in the hearth, before he left the room.
"Little fool," he muttered to himself as he climbed the stairs. There wasn't a man on the list who didn't have a great deal to lose, and by virtue of just possessing it, she was in grave danger. Not to mention that Lacroux was a vicious man, an agent of the emperor who had an enmity for all women, his aberrant interest in the lovely countess remarked more than once in the high circles of society. If it had been Lacroux and not himself who had caught her with the list, she would be on trial in days.
Anton looked forward to showing her that perhaps it was better to occupy his bed rather than risk her very lovely neck by dabbling in espionage.
It wasn't often--well, perhaps never--that he'd had an unwilling woman in his bed, he thought in amusement as he entered his bedroom and closed the door behind him. The countess was seated in a chair by one of the windows that faced the gardens, a glass of cool wine in her slim hand, her face bland.
"This room is not what I expected, Monsieur de Comte," she said caustically. "Given your reputation, I thought somehow there would be mirrors and red velvet hangings, like an expensive bordello."
He glanced around at the spare interior, the space large, the furnishings plain and simple, as he liked them. "The bed is huge and comfortable," he pointed out mildly, tugging his stickpin from his cravat. "I just sleep here. I cannot imagine needing a jumble of fancy furniture. And I believe my reputation, Countess, is a bit exaggerated."
"I suppose I am going to find out. Shall I take off my clothes?" It was impossible to miss the sarcasm in her tone.
"It's best that way in my opinion," he responded, a little amused at her hostility. "I will be happy to help."
"I'm sure." She took a small sip from her wine glass, her gaze steady as she watched him discard his cravat. "Does it not bother you that I am here under duress when there are literally dozens of Parisian belles who would gladly warm your sheets?"
"Ever since your arrival in Paris, you have avoided me, cherie, have you not? Even when I exerted myself to charm you, you immediately walked away. At first, I was puzzled, but then I decided it was because you were a little bit afraid you might find me ...irresistible, shall we say? I am uncertain of your level of resistance, even now. The truth is, I am making it easy for you to have what you secretly desire."
He must have struck a chord, for two spots of color came up into her cheeks. "You are very arrogant, monsieur."
"And you are very beautiful, madame." Shrugging out of his jacket, Anton smiled lazily, his fingers going to unfasten his shirt. That movement seemed to fascinate his lovely guest for she continued to stare, her glass suspended in her fingers.
When he pulled it off and tossed it on the floor, she convulsively set aside her wine and stood. Presenting her back, she said curtly, "You will have to undo my dress, but I can do the rest."
His erection was already rigid, bulging in his tightly fitted trousers, stretching the confining cloth. Obliging her request, he unfastened her gown, smoothing his hands over her pale shoulders as he pushed it off and it pooled around her feet. He pulled the pins from her hair immediately, letting the silken strands drift over his hands, the heavy mass falling to her waist in ebony waves.
Urging her to turn around, he said, "Allow me," and tugged the tie loose on her chemise, letting it fall open, his gaze going to the enticing exposed flesh there, her breasts visible. They were firm and high, the nipples, a tantalizing coral color.
Reaching between that open cloth, he cupped them both with his hands, savoring the luscious weight of her flesh, rubbing his thumbs over the soft crests. "How long has it been, Countess, since you've lain with a man?" He watched her expression as he stood there and fondled her, gauging her reaction.
Like a lush, young maiden from some naughty fairytale, with her tumbled dark tresses and creamy skin, to his surprise she answered easily, "Since my husband's death, several years."
"Do you miss it?" He already had his answer, her nipples puckering under his gentle ministrations, turning into enticing small hard buds in his palms.
"I am flesh and blood." She swallowed, her heavy-lidded gaze focused on where his tanned fingers molded and stroked her mounded fullness.
"It will be my honor," he said truthfully, "to be the one to remind you of the joys of the flesh."
"I am sure no one could do it better," she murmured cynically. "Women do nothing but whisper about you and your...prowess. You are the most celebrated lover in France, my lord. It becomes tedious conversation if you want the truth."
"Aren't you very curious to know if they are right?" He felt the evidence of arousal in the heaviness of her breasts with triumph. He'd spoke the truth earlier. He had always known Lara Moore wasn't indifferent to him. At least after realizing her insurgent activities, he knew why she didn't dare let him get close.
Tilting her head back, she gave him a challenging stare. "You have made it clear I have no choice but to be here."
"I would never force you, which you know, so the truth is, you had a choice. You just made the correct one." Anton swept her up in his arms, laying her on the bed and stripped off her chemise, also removing her shoes and stockings.
Once she was nude, he studied her body with undisguised, thorough inspection, taking in everything from the top of her dark shining head to the delicate arch of her instep. Her breasts, slightly flushed and erect from his handling were full but not overblown, her stomach flat, her legs long and slim.
She was, in a word, exquisite. "You are even perfect here," he said, skimming a finger over the dark pubic hair at the juncture of her thighs, his gaze salacious. "A trim equal triangle, so small and inviting, the hair soft and perfumed with your scent." His fingers dipped lower, slipping between her legs, finding the warmth of her cleft, feeling the betraying moisture of beginning sexual arousal. "You are already damp, my sweet. Do not tell me you don't wish to be here."
Superimposed on the white linens, the English countess he had desired for the past year looked at him with eyes that held both a glimpse of magnificent fury...and unmistakable need.
"Perhaps we should proceed then if I am so eager," she said sardonically. "Let me pay my debt of silence like a Marseilles whore, by spreading my legs and giving you what you want badly enough to stoop to blackmail."
She didn't wish to want him. He knew that already. So with unruffled calm, he merely replied, "Very well."
As he removed his breeches, he was well aware of her gaze, fixed on his rigid erection where it rose hard against his stomach, the pulse at the distended tip matching the pounding of his heart. The sight of her finally lying in his bed had a predictable effect on his body, his hunger for her raw and amazingly intense.
He rarely exerted himself over women, and had certainly never wanted one for so long and with such determination. She was right, actually, he could snap his fingers and have a dozen lovely ladies come at his bidding, but somehow he had become obsessed with this cool, distant young woman.
When he remembered his reaction to the realization of what she was doing, he knew it had gone a little past obsession. She was undoubtedly the most stunning woman he'd ever known, but that couldn't account for his horror over the possible consequences if she were ever caught and tried as a spy. Lacroux didn't help matters. The man was not normal and he had fixated on Lara Moore.
Anton had determined he would not only have her, but protect her.
All tumbled raven hair and enticing curves, Lara lay quietly, her dark blue stare focused on his blatantly swollen and erect cock. She murmured, "Are you a masterful lover, Comte, or is it just your magnificent size that impresses all those fawning women?"
"You think I am...particularly large?"
"Yes," she admitted a little breathlessly, watching him lean over the bed.
Anton laughed, aware that women thought he was well endowed. He asked softly, "Does it intrigue you? Are you anxious to feel this,"--he touched the tip of his engorged penis with a forefinger-- "inside you, Countess? Here, let me join you and I will oblige you in every way possible."
She said nothing, but neither offered any resistance when he lay down on the bed and pulled her into his arms. She felt like paradise, so soft and smooth, with the scent of violets drifting from her skin.
Not immediately kissing her lips, he instead skimmed his mouth along her jaw to the sensitive spot behind her ear, breathing in her essence, testing the exquisite texture of her graceful neck, nibbling on the softness of her earlobes. He kissed her perfect downy brows, the slim length of her nose, the tip of her chin, until she moved slightly, restlessly, and he knew she offered her mouth.
The kiss was languorous and long, a matter of taste and exploration, and he did nothing with his hands except hold her, letting them both concentrate on the feeling of their mouths melding together, of his tongue stroking hers, smoothing over her lips, gliding back into her mouth as he changed the angle.
Lifting his head finally, he told her, "You taste like a mixture of sweet wine and heaven, my aloof countess."
"And you are very, very good, Comte," she responded in a whisper, looking into his eyes, her parted mouth damp and invitingly pink. "You are going to make me enjoy this against my will, aren't you?"
"Yes," Anton didn't equivocate, ignoring the hint of despair in her tone. She was already pliant in his arms, and her gaze had darkened with arousal. He didn't point out that she was enjoying it already and he had barely begun to make love to her, indicating it was not going to be difficult to seduce her body, even if her mind rejected the idea of bedding him.
Reaching up a slim hand, she touched his hair, a tentative slide of her fingers into the thick strands. "How much enjoyment will I be required to experience before you promise you will not expose me?"
Since his goal was to ultimately keep her from ever participating again in her dangerous games, he murmured seductively against her mouth, "As much as you can stand, cherie."
She sighed as he moved lower and he sensed surrender in the way she arched beneath him when his mouth found her breast. Licking her nipple, he brought it to a jeweled peak, gently sucking on it as it hardened, hearing her sighs turn into soft low sounds of pleasure. He took his time, doing the same for the other breast. When he shifted, going to use his knee to part her slim thighs, she opened willingly without that subtle pressure, spreading her legs wide to allow him to settle between them. Her hands went to his shoulders and she rubbed his bunched muscles, obvious anticipation in her expression.
Beguiled and intensely aroused by her capitulation and need, Anton experimentally touched the throbbing crest of his penis to the heated and now very wet folds of her labia, rubbing those swollen, inviting lips in erotic, teasing strokes, but not penetrating.
Lara's eyes were half-closed, her beautiful breasts quivering with each erratic breath she took, her glossy hair spilled beneath her luscious body.
"I have imagined being poised on the brink of this paradise many times." He teased her hot sex with his shaft, his voice thickened and his body tense with controlled desire.
"Please." She breathed the word..
"You need this?" He rubbed again, the sensation of hard flesh against soft tissue beyond compare, the anticipation of what he was about to do enhancing his pleasure.
"Yes." The grip of her hands on the small of his back was imploring, trying to force him closer. "Do it."
"As you wish, madame."
He entered her slowly, savoring the flush of heightened color on her flawless skin, and the dreamy expression of sensual enjoyment on her lovely face. Heated, silken walls gave to his inexorable entry, her vaginal passage tight but stretching to accept him and he was unable to suppress a low sound of satisfaction, the pleasure incredibly intense. When he was almost fully embedded, he stopped, a fine sheen of perspiration covering his body. "Can you take more? Some women are smaller than others. I don't want to hurt you."
Lara lifted her hips in almost frantic invitation. "Yes, more...God, you are enormous. It feels...incredible."
Smiling in triumph, he leaned forward and kissed her, sinking in to the hilt, swallowing her low cry of carnal bliss. Whether it was her two-year abstinence or simply her innate passion, he found as he began to slide in and out that her inner muscles gripped his cock with urgency, her knees lifting and falling apart to allow him complete penetration, and she moaned breathlessly at the slick friction. Her sexual fluids coated his erection, granting him greater access and intense pleasure.
Though he was vastly experienced and sophisticated when it came to erotic love play, her sudden and impetuous climax caught him off guard. It came so quickly. Within seconds of his penetration, she convulsed around his surging thrusts, crying out, tremors racking her slender body. Her nails dug into his back, and he saw the pulse beating in her slim throat as she arched and gave a low, keening scream of unrestrained release. She tightened around him, her vagina pulsing, rippling with small spasms around his shaft, her body shaking in unabashed orgasmic release.
His unattainable English countess, Anton thought with complete satisfaction and utter carnal elation, was infinitely attained.