printed copy

Blood Fire

Sharon Page

ISBN 9780758278296
Publish Date 10/30/2012
Format Trade Paperback
Categories Aphrodisia , Romance Erotica
Currently out of stock

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Innocence Lost

It was a night of exquisite rapture that changed Lady Octavia Grenville’s life forever. Not only did she long for sexual pleasure—but as a succubus she needed it to survive. Now she is intent upon learning to control her powers and searching for the child she was forced to give up, a quest that takes her into the arms of the rake who ruined her…

Passion Found

Matthew, the Earl of Sutcliffe, is not the man Octavia once knew. He is now a vampire, but one doomed to die in a fortnight unless he can win a woman’s love. The only one he desires is Octavia, but she wants him merely as a sexual plaything, a source of erotic delight. Somehow he must expose his own heart in order to find hers…

Praise for the Novels of Sharon Page

“Scorching love scenes to make you sweat and an intriguing plot to hold it all together.” —Hannah Howell, New York Times bestselling author

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

WARNING! THIS IS A REALLY HOT BOOK (Sexually Explicit)

Chapter One

A Lady’s Erotic Quest

London, March 1821

“I want the delicious, delectable, and thoroughly handsome Lord Sutcliffe,” Lady Octavia Grenville said in a whisper. “And I want him exactly as he is shown in my book: without a stitch of clothing.”

Leaving her best friend, Eliza, staring at her in shock, Octavia slipped out of her bed and crouched on the floor. She held her finger to her lips as Eliza began to protest. Eliza frowned, but rolled onto her stomach on the bed.

Octavia took one last glance at her closed bedroom door. The door was safely locked, key in the keyhole. No one could interrupt or come in. Taking a deep breath, for it was hard for her to move so quickly, she drew out a large, leather-bound book from beneath the bed. A piece of satin ribbon stuck out from the top.

She hauled the heavy book onto her comforter; then she sat on the edge of her bed. Her legs shook from just that little bit of exertion, and her arms were weak and tired. Her heart struggled to beat, but she was not going to give in and rest.

She wasn’t going to just close her eyes and let herself die. She had too many things to do first.

She flipped open the book to the place she had marked. On the page, there was a colored print of a young man. A young, naked man. The picture depicted him lying on his side on a disordered bed. Sprawled on a counterpane of dark blue, he grinned toward the viewer. The artist had rendered rugged, sensual lines that bracketed his beautiful mouth. And dimples— beautifully depicted dimples that made her heart ache each time she looked at his smile. Dark chocolate-brown hair fell rakishly over his brow. As for his magnificent body...

Octavia let her gaze move down his body, and her heartbeats sped up. Her pulse was strong and thundering, not unsteady. Her skin went warm, instead of being chilled and covered in goose bumps. She felt weak and achy, but in a good way.

Lord Sutcliffe’s body was like nothing Octavia had ever seen. Of course, as a delicately reared young miss, she had never seen a real, live, in-the-flesh, undressed man.

Her upbringing had been rather unusual. She drew the illustrations for Father’s books and stories on his travels, which sometimes required her to depict the male body in very little clothing. But the gentleman in this erotic picture made every painting, statute, and real male pale in comparison.

He had the most spectacular muscles. Enough to make her drool. He had slender hips and long legs. The artist had drawn all of him. Even his male part—the privy part—and it stuck up straight along his abdomen, pointing at his navel.

She glanced to Eliza. Her friend’s cheeks were bright scarlet. Octavia waved airily at the picture. “That is what I want,” she said matter-of-factly. “Before I die, that is what I want.”

Eliza’s blush vanished in an instant, and she went pale. “Stop speaking of dying. You are not going to die, Tavie. You are going to get better.”

Octavia sighed. She had been afraid for a long time—afraid of dying, of losing the rest of her life, of never having love or a husband, children, and household of her own.

But fear eventually wore you out. You couldn’t feel it anymore. You were simply too drained.

Now that she couldn’t feel anymore, Octavia had decided that if she was going to die, she was going to experience a few things first. For a start, she was not going to die a virgin.

“I am going to die, Eliza,” she said. “I am certain of it. The physician is, too.”

She had come to terms with dying. But the people she loved had not. “I know Father believes I am going to die. He has tried every cure they can think of.” Octavia shuddered as she remembered the bloodletting and the noxious concoctions she had drunk. Father had even brought in men who were not doctors, who sold quackery. Of course nothing had worked. “Father is fighting it, but deep down in his heart, he believes it is going to happen. I can see despair in his eyes, no matter how much he tries to hide it. I know that if my father has given up hope, I am done for.”

“But why on earth would you want to do... things”—Eliza glanced nervously to the closed bedroom door—“with Lord Sutcliffe?”

“I don’t think I have enough time to find a husband before I go.” She gave Eliza a buoying smile. “So it will have to be a love affair. Perhaps one that will only last one night. In that night, I intend to experience everything.”

“Tavie, you can’t ruin yourself with Sutcliffe. Your father despises him.”

Octavia felt her cheeks heat. “I’m not going to ask Father’s permission, for heaven’s sake. I don’t want him to ever know about it.”

“You think Sutcliffe would keep it a secret?”

“Sutcliffe will not know who I am.”

“How are you going to do that? How could he not know who you are when you are”—Eliza gave a strangled sound— “naked with him.”

Imagining that brought a pleasant rush of warmth through Octavia’s body. An ache followed it—one that throbbed between her legs. It agitated her as much as an unreachable itch. “I have a plan, but since I am not supposed to go outdoors, you are going to have to help me.”

“Help you plot your own ruin? How can I call myself your friend if I do that?”

“I can’t ask anyone else. Anyway, when I am dead and gone, how will you feel if you deny me this last wish?”

“Stop that!” Eliza cried. She nibbled her fingernails. Octavia heard the crisp sound of them snapping beneath her teeth.

“I don’t know when I’m going to die, Eliza. Please help me with this.” She met her friend’s troubled gaze with a pleading one. “You will feel terrible when I’ve gone and you know you didn’t help me.”

Eliza chewed through another nail. “What do you want me to do?”

“Help me put together a costume, of course. And hire a hackney for me—so I can sneak outside and go to the masquerade two nights from tonight.”

“What masquerade?”

“The one held by the Duke of Glencairn—”

“You are not going there! It’s not a respectable event!” Eliza cried. “Everyone knows the duke holds that for his shockingly scandalous friends, and the only females there are demireps and courtesans.”

“I can hardly interview gentlemen for the position of bed partner during the afternoon stroll in Hyde Park.”

Blushing fiercely, Eliza pursed her lips. She looked up to the heavens, her raven curls bouncing, and as though she’d been given divine help, she asked, “How do you know the Earl of Sutcliffe will be there?”

“I invited him,” Octavia said, and it was hard not to be smug at her cleverness.

“What?”

“I forged an invitation—Father has some correspondence from Glencairn, so I used my artistic skills to fake one.”

For years she had drawn and painted pictures to go with Father’s books of his travels. Her years of painstaking work had come in handy for forging. “So will you help me, Lizzie? I could go without a disguise. I could even walk across London to get there.”

The Duke of Glencairn did not have his scandalous parties at his home, a massive ducal residence on Park Lane. He had acquired a house on the fringes of Mayfair for his bacchanalias.

Glencairn had been a patron for some of her father’s travels. But despite His Grace’s generosity, Octavia had always disliked the duke, since he was so heartless toward his wife. The duchess was young and pretty, but the duke’s infidelities had seemed to sap away all her vitality and strength. The duchess was always pale and unhappy.

Octavia wondered what it was like to live with heartbreak every single day. She knew what pain was: She’d felt it dearly when her mother had died. But eventually that hadn’t hurt so much. Marriage to an unfaithful man must be a living hell.

But she was willing to use the duke to get the one thing she wanted so desperately: Lord Sutcliffe.

“Everything is set up perfectly, Eliza. There’s nothing to worry about. Nothing can go wrong.”

Eliza bit off a bit of her thumbnail. “All right, I will help you. But I don’t know what you are going to do afterward when you become healthy, but you are ruined. You will get better, you know. So you will have to marry Sutcliffe.”

Octavia didn’t argue, but she wouldn’t get better. There was no reason to fear a forced marriage with a man known as the worst rake in London. It was reputed the Earl of Sutcliffe had indulged in the wickedest things on his travels: bacchanalias, opium dens, brothels where the pleasures involved punishment and pain. It was said Sutcliffe had learned how to make a woman reach pleasure by just speaking to her.

Octavia had never known pleasure. But she’d heard about it, and she wanted to know what it was like.

Her father had adventured around the world; so had the Earl of Sutcliffe. She had never gone anywhere, or done anything exciting. And now that she was dying, she wanted to live as much as she could.

In two nights, she was going to have an adventure of her own. She knew she was never going to get well. She knew the doctor believed she was so weak that she could die any day now.

She had one night—one night in which to fit a lifetime of pleasure.

Someone had forged him an invitation to Glencairn’s orgy.

Matthew Winthrop, the Earl of Sutcliffe, studied the crowd packed into the duke’s ballroom. Sexual acts were being performed around him with enthusiastic abandon, but he felt nothing. He was dead inside.

His younger brother’s death had killed him.

It was strange. Six months had passed since Gregory’s death. It had been half a year since his brother had been transformed into a vampire, and he been forced to hunt down his brother, forced to stop Gregory from attacking innocent maidens for their blood.

Damn.

Matthew shook his head as if throwing off the memories. But he couldn’t escape them. He held an empty glass. He’d long since drained the liquor in it. He wanted to be deadened to the pain and grief, but he didn’t deserve any escape, did he?

To his right, a young viscount had pressed a giggling courtesan against the wall, pushed up her skirts, and was now thrusting into her. The young lad’s hips pounded with the speed of a panicked rabbit. The girl was drinking port above the lord’s bowed head and flashed her eyes at other, more rugged and experienced men.

He used to love an event like this. It felt empty, cold, and soulless now.

Just like he had condemned Gregory to be.

In the Carpathian Mountains, Matthew had accidentally unleashed a powerful and ancient female vampire, known as Esmeralda. Beautiful and alluring, Esmeralda had hunted his brother, seduced Gregory, and turned him into a vampire.

When he had found Gregory, he had done what was necessary. A stake to the heart at first, then he had carried out all the other acts that were supposed to prevent a vampire from rising: He had sawed off his brother’s head and stuffed the mouth with garlic. He had tried to tell himself he was just doing it to a corpse and that his brother was gone, but he felt Gregory’s eyes staring at him as he did the work. The local villagers had insisted his brother would walk the earth as an undead demon unless he did exactly as they asked.

After traveling the world, he’d grown used to discovering strange and brutal customs. Still, he hadn’t been prepared to discover vampires were real, and to learn what he had to do to destroy his brother.

He wanted to go back and retrieve his brother’s body. He wanted to bury Gregory on English soil. His brother deserved to be home.

He also had to return to hunt and destroy Emeralda. He had gone to the Royal Society for the Investigation of Mysterious Phenomena looking for help. With vampire slayers, he was going to mount an expedition and find the female vampire—

“You look glum, milord.” Giggling, a woman sashayed up to him. She pressed her chest against him and wriggled her breasts. “Let us find a spot where we can fuck.”

He gently pushed her back. “No, thank you,” he said, coolly polite.

She laughed at that—a drunken laugh close to a screech. But then the young Duke of Sandhurst cupped her bosom from behind, and she spun and fell into the duke’s arms. “I’ll take you up on your offer, my bountiful wench.”

Laughing, they left Matthew; he was part of the crowd, yet completely isolated and alone.

He looked over the large, drunken, half-naked group. For a fleeting moment he wished he could forget grief. He wanted to laugh and enjoy pleasure. But he would never forgive himself— he should have taken better care of his younger brother, and hell, in the end he had been the one to destroy Gregory.

He couldn’t feel joy or pleasure anymore. He was empty and cold. And no woman, no matter how tempting, would change that.

In fact, he would not have come here if it had not been for that fake invitation.

Who had sent it and why?

A threesome sank to the floor in front of him. The buxom woman in the middle did not even lose her grip on the two men’s cocks as she lowered. She was in a costume that consisted of a short tulle skirt that barely covered her arse. She wore nothing underneath, and it allowed the men easy access as they sandwiched her from either side. Soon she was writhing in pleasure, and the men were both staring at her and taking care not to look at each other.

Matthew gave a short laugh and moved through the crowd. Sex was everywhere. The smell of it hung in the air like a miasma.

He had brought the two invitations with him. The real one he had surrendered to a servant at the door. He drew the fake one out of a pocket in his costume.

Without the authentic one at its side, it was hard to tell this one was the fake. Gilt rimmed the edges of them both. The wording was quite similar on the two. But on the first one he had received, a week before the second, Glencairn had scrawled a personal note.

Glencairn wouldn’t bother to send him a second invitation. And, while the ducal crest on the second card was almost a perfect copy, there were some small flaws. It was a forgery.

Who was desperate to get him to attend an orgy?

She was in trouble.

Octavia surveyed the glittering crowd that filled the small ballroom of the duke’s house. Where was Sutcliffe? That was one flaw with her scheme. This was a masquerade, though it seemed the idea was to wear as little as possible, at least for the female guests. All the gentlemen were masked.

Even a small strip of a black mask around a man’s eyes changed his appearance to an astonishing degree.

Octavia stared at dozens of men, trying to distinguish features disguised by the various masks, but she was certain she had not seen the Earl of Sutcliffe.

He was a notorious libertine. Surely he would have taken the bait of the invitation. Most of the women here were almost naked. Some wore only their corsets and stockings, along with heeled slippers. Their private parts, bottoms, nipples were entirely on display. Other women wore gauzy, fanciful costumes.

Octavia sipped champagne from a flute given to her by a footman—a footman who had been bare-chested and wore only breeches and boots. Nervously, she looked around.

She saw two fairies with jewel-rimmed gossamer wings. Brightly colored satin skirts barely covered their derrieres.

In polite society, it was shocking to show one’s ankles. Here, it seemed shocking not to reveal one’s legs or breasts. One woman wore only veils in the style of Salome. Another was also dressed as a harem girl, wearing a sparkling jeweled top over which her full breasts jiggled. Her stomach was bare, and a large ruby flashed in her navel.

To think Eliza had been shocked by her costume. It made Octavia smile to remember the way her friend’s jaw had dropped when she’d emerged from behind the screen in her bedchamber. She wore a draped Grecian style dress with no underpinnings beneath. Her breasts moved freely beneath the clinging, silky fabric, and the skirt fit tightly to her hips and legs, outlining their shape. She had needed an easy costume, and one she could readily hide with a cape. Her arms and shoulders were bare, and the flowing skirt was slit, revealing her legs.

She felt deliciously shocking.

She had braided her blond hair in an elegant Grecian style, and her gold mask covered her face from her hair to the top of her lip. The excitement of wearing the costume and then sneaking out of her house had made her feel stronger. She’d felt the way she had before she became sick—happy and excited.

It had been all the more thrilling when she’d thought of what was going to happen. When she’d imagined what she would say and how bold she would be with Sutcliffe.

Yet now, she couldn’t find her quarry, and she stood on tiptoe to take another look around the crowd—

“You are unique, my dear. Unlike every other woman in this room, you are mostly covered up.”

The deep, masculine voice rippled over her shoulder at the exact same moment fingertips brushed down the length of her spine. The silk of her dress was so thin it felt as if the man touched her bare skin. Octavia jerked around, gasping.

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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