Portrait of Passion (Idyllwild #1)
Book one in the Idyllwild series. What's a Viscount to do when a mysterious lady with a secret past and a reputation frayed around the edges suddenly appears in London? Especially when she's in hot pursuit of his naive young cousin, setting the gossips' tongues wagging, stirring his family into pandemonium and driving him mad with her irreverent ways? If the Viscount in question is Simon Easton, the answer is quite simple. Seduce the beguiling lady. But Miss Beatrice Morgan isn't your average tarnished lady. She lives a slapdash life wandering the globe like a gypsy, painting fantastical portraits of Duchesses as sirens and landscapes featuring a crumbling old fountain, all the while harboring a secret desire to return to Idyllwild, the only home she's ever known. What Simon does not know is that Beatrice just might be willing to sacrifice her honor, her virtue, her very heart to reclaim Idyllwild.
“Have you ever painted a self-portrait?” Hastings asked as Easton walked up beside
her with her hat.
She held out her hand but instead of the hat, he placed three hairpins in her palm.
She met his eyes briefly before she looked up at Hastings. “No, I prefer to capture
faces I find interesting. I have been looking upon my own for far too long to find it of any
“But if you could capture that moment when your hair fell back only to be picked up
by the wind…what a painting that would be,” Bertie exclaimed.
Bea laughed at his foolishness. “I have no idea how I looked at that moment. How
could I possibly paint it?”
“I can describe it,” Easton said quietly. Three pairs of eyes swung in his direction.
There was a beat of absolute silence.
“But surely you were too far away,” Hastings pointed out. “And her horse was flying.
You could not have seen the expression on her face.”
“I can describe it,” he said again. Bea turned and looked away from him, from all
of them, to gather her hair into a loose bun at the base of her neck. She took her time
securing it with the hairpins. She needed a few moments to gather her wits. The way
he had said it, so sure, as if he had the image captured in his mind. And perhaps he
did. She closed her eyes and there he was, sitting on his horse, his eyes intent, his jaw
hard, his face a picture of—what? She wondered. Desire she had recognized but there
had been more. Shock? Restraint? Contempt? Perhaps some combination? She didn’t
know. She told herself she didn’t want to know.
With her hair confined to her bun and her wits restored to some semblance of
normalcy, Bea turned back to address the gentlemen. “I for one would certainly enjoy a
lemon ice right about now.”
“By all means, Miss Morgan.” Hastings threw out his arm, motioning her to precede
him. The little group walked along the path, leading their horses along with them.
Bea smiled and laughed at the comments exchanged between Bertie and Hastings
as they recounted the more memorable moments of the race. She was mindful of a
quiet Easton following behind them. She reached one hand behind her to massage the
cramped muscles of her lower back. She imagined she could feel his gaze, hot and
hard, following the movement. She dropped her arm to her side self-consciously. Then
a mischievous urge to provoke him rose up in her. Rarely one to avoid such urges, she
exaggerated the swing of her hips. She couldn’t be sure but she thought she heard him
utter a curse, low and hard.
She looked back over her shoulder to find him stopped cold. He whipped his gaze
up from her swaying bottom to her eyes. She laughed softly before asking, “My lord,
is there a problem? You seem to be lagging behind. Is the walk too much for you?
“I don’t know,” she answered before honesty compelled her to say, “No, that isn’t
He continued walking quietly beside her. He has the patience of a saint, Bea thought. It
“I think you are a man who needs to be shocked,” she finally admitted.
“I see.” He seemed to ponder her words. At least she thought he must be pondering
her words. He walked on beside her, looking straight ahead, no discernible expression
upon his handsome face. Say something, she felt like shrieking.
“Oh for goodness sake!” She threw up her hands, startling Lancelot, who bumped
into her. She stumbled and would have fallen into the quiet, annoyingly patient man
beside her had he not reached up with his free hand to grasp her firmly by the shoulder.
Unfortunately, in an attempt to catch her balance, Bea shifted ever so slightly toward
him. His hand glanced off her shoulder and fell to land on her breast. And as if that
weren’t quite shocking enough, for both of them, he had been about to grab her
shoulder to steady her, so when his hand landed, it didn’t just rest there. It grabbed. His
hand squeezed her breast, not hard enough to hurt, but certainly hard enough that she
felt it clear through the layers of her thick velvet riding habit, stays and chemise.
Bea froze. Easton froze. His hand froze upon her breast. True, he was no longer
squeezing. But he did not remove his hand. Her gaze shot up to his face. My God, his
eyes. They were hot, hot and dark, and boring into hers. And before she could stop
herself, she leaned ever so slightly forward, fitting herself more firmly into the palm of
his hand. Glorious, she thought with a sigh. The warmth of his hand upon her breast,
the warmth of his eyes upon her face was simply glorious.
Easton blinked once, twice, and then she watched in fascination as his eyelids
fluttered closed. He took a deep breath, held it for a moment, let it out slowly so that
it caressed her face. His eyes opened. There was the smallest of smiles pulling at the
corners of his lips as he gently, oh so gently, squeezed the flesh that still rested in the
palm of his hand.
Bea found herself starved for air. She dragged in a quick breath, filling her lungs
and forcing her breast hard against his hand. She held herself still, not daring to move
for fear that he would lift his hand from her. Her eyelids grew heavy but she was afraid
to break the connection, afraid if she closed her eyes he would remove his hand. She
imagined that she held it there with her gaze. She felt nearly faint with the pleasure of
his hand upon her, and that smile teasing his lips.
He relaxed his hand and she released her breath with a soft moan. He groaned in
response, deep in his throat, so that she felt it more than heard it. His fingers flexed,
kneading her aching flesh, sending an arrow of shivery heat from her breast to her
womb. Instinctively, she clenched her thighs together, trapping the delicious sensation,
Widow's Wicked Wish (Idyllwild #2)
The Countess of Palmerton has lived her life by Society rules, marrying the right man, bearing the required heir and guarding her name at all costs. And what has it gotten her? A loveless union, a cold marriage bed and a reputation for perfect propriety.
Fleeing the whispers of her husband’s scandalous demise, Olivia finds a haven at Idyllwild. Away from the gossip and glitter of London, she dares to cast a wicked wish to the winter sky.
Be careful what you wish for.
Jack Bentley has a wish of his own, one he has no intention of leaving to the fickle fates. He will marry the stubborn widow, even if it means using her awakening passion to force her to the altar.
Olivia lay in her bed listening to the sounds of the house settling, the winter wind
buffeting the tree branches outside her window, and the fire crackling in the hearth
across the room.
Her mind was filled with images of Jack Bentley, most especially the light
gleaming in his eyes as he’d wished her a good night in the dim hallway between their
two bed-chambers. He’d hesitated, his hand on the door knob, casting a speculative
look over his shoulder. For one feverish moment she’d thought he meant to invite her
into his room. Instead he’d arched one dark brow, his mouth lifting in a lopsided smile
and she’d imagined a silent dare in the gesture.
Olivia rolled to her side, pummeled the pillow beneath her head into submission
and let out a sigh of vexation. Her senses were alive with a humming sort of awareness
in her body the like of which she’d never known. Her breasts tingled, her nipples
almost painfully sensitive to the shift of her nightgown over them. A soft pulse throbbed
between her legs, intensifying as she squeezed her thighs together seeking relief.
With a huff of mingled laughter and frustration, she tossed off the covers and
scrambled from the bed only to stand beside it unsure what to do next.
She tried to imagine padding barefoot across the hall to Jack’s door and found to
her surprise that it took little effort. She could do that much, but what then?
She might knock. Or did a woman bent on seduction simply open the door and
She laughed at her fanciful imagination. What she knew about seduction wouldn’t
fill a thimble.
She knew only how to lie quietly beneath her husband, how to submit. But Jack
was not her husband and she couldn’t imagine he would welcome into his bed a shy
widow without an ounce of feminine wiles.
Not for the first time, she wished Palmerton had desired her, that he’d taken the
time to introduce her to the wonders of the marriage bed. Instead he’d come to her
solely to produce an heir, seeing to his duty much as her mother had predicted on the
eve of her wedding.
Palmerton had come to her wearing a long robe of the finest burgundy silk, tied
loosely at his waist. His chest had been bare beneath, which surprised Olivia.
Her mother had clearly said that he would wear his nightshirt when he came to
“Come, let’s get rid of your night clothes,” he’d whispered.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” Olivia had replied as she sat up. “My mother said I should…”
“Never mind,” he had interrupted, pulling her white night gown over her head.
“Mothers don’t always know.”
“Whoa, Livy,” he murmured around a huff of laughter. “Where are you running off
Olivia tilted her head, her spine curving with the motion, her belly brushing
against the tops of his thighs where the unmistakable evidence of his arousal was
hidden beneath a long, black silk robe.
“I thought,” she began only to pause and draw a shuddering breath into her
chest, causing her too sensitive nipples to strain against the fabric of her nightgown.
“That is…I hoped…”
“You hoped…” he prompted when her voice trailed away.
“Do you… Might you want to…”
She waved one hand, gesturing behind her to the door and her chamber beyond,
wishing she could see his expression.
“Are you inviting me to your bed?” Jack’s voice was little more than a raspy
whisper. His fingers clenched on her arms, tugging her closer until her breasts brushed
“If you don’t mind,” she answered, heat rushing over her. “That is…if you want…”
“I want,” he growled just before his lips found hers.
His kiss was both tender and rough, reverent and wild. He wasted no time on
gentle persuasion but simply plundered, his lips molding to hers, his tongue delving
deep to find hers, to stroke over and around, to circle and dive, invading her mouth.
Olivia moaned, shocked and not a little bit embarrassed by the desperate sound.
But if Jack found it surprising or vulgar, he gave no indication. In fact, it seemed to spur
him on. He tugged her against him and wrapped his arms around her, his hands landing
on her back, skimming down to grip her bottom and pull her flush against him.
Olivia found herself surrounded by him, pressed against him from their joined lips
to their bare toes. His scent, exotic and earthy, enveloped her. The heat of his big body
enfolded her. His member pulsed low on her belly and she rose to her toes, aligning her
hips with his, reveling in the knowledge that he wanted her.
Jack growled low in his throat, his hands squeezing her bottom, lifting her higher
still and Olivia wrapped her arms around him, her fingers digging into his muscled back
beneath the silk of his robe. Pleasure took hold of her, drawing another dark moan from
Then Jack was moving, walking her backward until she came up against the
door, their combined weight pushing it open to bang against the wall, the sound
ricocheting down the hallway.
They broke apart, stared at one another in the flickering firelight.
“Shh,” she whispered, immediately feeling ten kinds of fool for admonishing him.
“Ah, Livy,” he huffed out around a raspy chuckle, “if that’s the only noise coming
from this room tonight, I’ll not have done right by you.”
Olivia blinked in confusion. “Noise?”
About The Author
Lynne Barron always wanted to be a writer, if only she could decide what to write. Everyone told her to write what
you know. It wasn’t until she married her extremely romantic and surprisingly sensual husband that she was able
to follow that advice. Lynne lives in Florida with her husband, son and a menagerie of rescued pets.
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