printed copy

Blood Secret

Sharon Page

ISBN 9780758250957
Publish Date 3/27/2012
Format Trade Paperback
Categories Aphrodisia , Romance Erotica
List Price: $14.00

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Games Of Passion

Lucy Drake is prepared to do all she must to save her family, even if that means giving herself as a sexual plaything to the Duke of Greystone. Desperate to keep her ability to shape-shift into dragon form a secret, she willingly enters an unfamiliar world of carnal ecstasy with the one man who is sworn to destroy all of her kind…

The Duke of Greystone will do whatever he must to discover the Drake family secret and uncover the whereabouts of his missing nephew. A vampire highly skilled in the ways of erotic pleasure and adept with games of dark seduction, he will prevail upon his sexual expertise to ensure Lucy’s complete surrender…

Praise for the Novels of Sharon Page

“Wickedly sensual and exquisitely drawn. Historical erotic romance doesn't get any better than this.” —Kate Douglas, author of Wolf Tales

“Sinfully delicious. Sharon Page is a pure pleasure to read.” —Sunny, New York Times bestselling author


Chapter One

The Proposition

The Home of the Duke of Greystone

London, March 1818

The Duke of Greystone gave her an appraising smile, the devil personified, then he tipped his tumbler and drained his drink. Lady Lucy Drake held her breath for the time it took His Grace to set down the glass.

What was he going to say?

Surely, it would be yes. The duke was a notorious rake and libertine. He was called a thorough and absolute rogue. How could he possibly turn down the chance to debauch a maiden?

But instead of giving her an answer, the duke slowly, gracefully rose from his wing chair. Groaning, he gave a sinuous stretch, one that made his muscles flex and ripple beneath his coat. Then he turned his back to her and took his glass to the decanter. He did not look at her. He filled the tumbler half full with a dark liquid—perhaps port—and threw that back in one swallow. Then he filled it again.

While she waited.

While her heart thundered.

Lucy tapped her foot in fury. For heaven’s sake, she was offering him the only thing she had left of value: her innocence. She was going to surrender her very future. If he said yes, she would be ruined and considered a scandalous wanton. She would be destined to remain unmarried forever. She would never have a husband. Or children. She would never, ever have love. If Father had been alive, he would have suffered despair and a broken heart over what she was about to do.

Yet the blasted Duke of Greystone did not even have the decency to give her an answer.

She cleared her throat.

He sipped his liquor—she could smell a strong metallic aroma—and walked to one of the windows. Sumptuous curtains of sapphire blue framed the floor-to-ceiling windows. This room, his drawing room, was massive and luxuriously decadent. Watered blue silk covered the walls, elegant Grecian chaises were placed here and there, and gilt glimmered everywhere.

The duke continued to drink. His long, graceful gloved fingers were wrapped around the cut-glass tumbler. Her nose detected a blend of delectable scents on him. Sandalwood, citrusy bergamot, the crisp bite of shaving powder. He was partly en dishabille: coatless, with his collar open, his cravat dangling over shirt and waistcoat. His unfashionably long, golden hair brushed his shoulders. He was wearing black leather gloves, trousers, and polished black boots as reflective as a mirror. He was utterly gorgeous and he looked thoroughly... bad.

Obviously, he knew it. He wore arrogance the way some gentlemen wore cologne: liberally applied and rather overwhelming. Lucy rolled her eyes. If her siblings’ lives did not depend on the success of this plan, she would turn and stalk out of the duke’s residence right now. This man might be astoundingly handsome, rich as Croesus, and reputed to be wickedly intelligent, but in her opinion he was an utter boor.

She was inured to a handsome face: a chiseled jaw, the light shadow of a beard, a strong aristocratic nose, and long lashes did nothing for her. True, her breathing was faster, her palms damp in her gloves, and she could feel perspiration beneath her hair....

But that was because she knew the weight of her responsibility. It was nothing to do with the careless way he lounged, and how muscular his legs looked in his trousers.

Boor. Most definitely.

After all, he must know how nerve-racking it was to make this proposition. Finally, after several more infuriating minutes of foot tapping, Lucy cleared her throat again. She added a gentle reminder, forcing her voice to softly prod, “Your Grace?”

He drew a cheroot out of a pocket in his waistcoat and paced to his well-polished walnut desk, where he struck a match and lit his cheroot. A shake of his hand extinguished the flame and he puffed circles of rich-scented smoke into the air.

This was outside of enough. “Your Grace,” she snapped. “Are you considering my proposal or have you drifted off into a drunken stupor?”

She could see his profile—admittedly remarkable. His cheekbones were sculpted ridges, his forehead broad and noble. He possessed a perfect, straight nose. The lashes framing his unusual silver-green eyes made her want to grind her molars in envy.

Remember, Lucy, you know better than to let a gentleman’s appearance turn you into a giddy, careless girl. She knew the most gorgeous man could prove to be the most dangerous. A man could look like an angel, but be willing to kill you. Even after he’d said he loved you.

Her courage quavered.

From where she stood, she saw His Grace’s lips twitch. Then lift in a smile.

He turned, crossing his arms over his broad chest. White teeth dazzled her. As well as rugged lines framing his mouth and the wink of dimples.

His golden brows lifted superciliously. “This, my dear, is your idea of a seduction? Snapping at me for my answer? You are asking me how much I’m willing to pay to debauch you. You should feel flattered that I am taking some time about this. It is a matter that requires a great deal of consideration.”

“Flattered?” Lucy gaped at him. “Are you saying I am not worth my brother’s vowels?” She had expected she would be fighting now for the courage to do what she had proposed: go to bed with him so he would forgive her brother’s massive gaming debt.

His gaze raked over her, blatantly assessing. His smile vanished and she almost expected him to stride to her and run his hand over her legs, the way gentlemen did with horses they planned to purchase. “Lady Lucy, your brother’s debts are a small price for your virginity. I wonder that you would sell yourself so cheap.”

She flamed in humiliation. It was a wonder the scorching blush on her cheeks didn’t set her hair on fire. “You have left me no choice, Your Grace. It might not be very much money to you, but it means devastation for my family.”

“You don’t like me, do you, Lady Lucy? Some men would find that appealing in a bed partner. Some men enjoy rogering an angry woman. I don’t. I like my ladies to admire me.”

Oh dear God. This was what he needed to agree? Well, she would have to fake it. She gave a simpering smile. “Of course I admire you.”

“Good God, is that hideous look on your face supposed to be a smile? I preferred your expression of extreme distaste.” He stubbed out the cheroot into a crystal dish. Three long strides brought him right in front of her. She expected he would stop a respectful distance away. But he didn’t. He moved so close, she had to retreat. For his every step forward, she took one back. Until something firm and velvety pressed against her back. A chair.

She could retreat no further. Smiling, the duke took one more step so his broad chest brushed her breasts. Her stays lifted them and the low scoop of her tight bodice let them almost spill over. She had hoped to look enticing. But now having her bare flesh brush against his satin waistcoat had her trembling with nerves.

She had to look up to meet his eyes. Foolishly, she tried to hold her breath—if she drew a deep one, it would push her breasts against his chest.

The duke literally had a wicked glint in his eye. His large green eyes sparkled at her as though reflecting the light. It fascinated her so, she suddenly realized she was gawking at his handsome face.

“If I’m going to ravish you, Lady Lucy,” he rumbled, in a lazy, drawling baritone, “I intend to take my time. It won’t take me one night to properly debauch you. I’d need at least a week.”

“What are you talking about? How could it require a week?”

“Give me seven days as my lover and I will show you.”

Seven days? She’d thought she would have this business done within just a few hours. “I cannot do that! How could I return here night after night? Someone might see me. Someone might reputation would be ruined.”

He stepped back, as though giving her space to breathe. Greystone ran his hand over his jaw, his expression thoughtful. “Given you proposed to trade your quim for your brother’s vowels, I assumed you had already accepted ruination, love.”

Quim. The word left her lips flapping in mute shock.

“You do understand what you are offering me, don’t you?” he asked.

“Yes.” Somehow, she found her voice. “But I thought it would happen tonight. I thought it would be one night. Then I could sneak home and no one would have to know.”

“I will accept your proposition, Lady Lucy, but not on those terms.”

Panic turned her voice to a high-pitched squeak. “What do you mean?”

“There are my conditions, my dear. I will tear up your brother’s vowels, forgive his debt to me of thirty thousand pounds—”

“Thirty thousand,” she cried. “He told me it was five!”

An expression of sympathy tugged at the duke’s handsome mouth. “It was thirty. And I will forgive every penny of it if you spend a fortnight with me, here, in my house, as my partner in carnal pleasure.”

Lucy had never fainted. Not once. Not even the time when her life had been in danger. But the room seemed to take flight around her now. Her brother owed this peer an absolute fortune.

She took deep breaths. She put her hand behind her and gripped the chair to steady her. Her hand curled hard enough that her fingers punctured the velvet. Unfortunately, there were times she could not quite control her unusual, remarkable strength. She must restrain it now. She could not let the duke know she was not a normal lady, at all. That she, like the rest of her family, could change her shape and transform into a dragon.

She fought to regain control while one thought whirled in her head. The duke was willing to forgo thirty thousand pounds to take her to bed.

It was a fortune. And he was willing to trade it for sex with her. Sex for a—

A fortnight. Had he truly said a fortnight? “I—I think two weeks is a bit unnecessary, Your Grace.”

Slowly, he stripped off his right glove without a word. She was so struck with shock, she couldn’t help but gape at the slide of black leather over his hand. He revealed tanned skin and long, elegant fingers.

About Sharon Page:

Sharon Page is the USA Today bestselling author of more than ten titles of erotic and sensual historical romance. She is a two time consecutive winner of the National Readers’ Choice Award and has twice received the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award. Married with two children, Sharon holds an industrial design degree and has worked for many years in a structural engineering firm. When not writing, she enjoys reading with her children, downhill skiing, and mountain biking. Sharon loves to hear from readers.

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