“I refuse!” Lord Devlin Harman stormed across his father’s upstairs library, bristling with indignation.
“You will do it, Son, or there will be consequences.” Lord Richard Harman, Duke of Albany, rose from behind the mahogany desk.
Devlin scowled at his father. The duke was fifty-two winters and showed little sign of aging. It irked him how alike he and his father looked. With the same thick, russet hair, pale gray eyes and tall physique, their stature overshadowed most men. When Harman men walk into a chamber, all stop and stare at them. It was little wonder how his father had become the rake of Harman Manor, providing sinful pleasures to exclusive guests. As the eldest son, Devlin benefited from the life of iniquity. When he was young—wine, women and pleasure were all he cared about. However, that was his youth. He had grown tired of the decadent and corrupt society that trampled through his home, year after year.
“Why do I have to tutor this old spinster, what is her name?” Devlin tugged on the tight cravat around his neck.
“Miss Molly Cambridge,” his father replied. “Because I promised her aunt I would educate her in the ways of seduction.”
“Superb! Another manipulative courtesan.” He punctuated each word. “Just what we need around here.” Ignoring his father’s sneer, Devlin strode to the glass cabinet and poured a generous portion of whiskey. “I grow weary of scheming women exchanging pleasures for jewels or to gain a fashionable townhouse in London.”
“You have grown weary of everyone,” his father said and waved his hand. “Our friends, our home…me.”
He raised his gaze. “Not you, Father. Just this…this lifestyle.”
“Then why do you not set a wedding date? I know Lady Audrey impatiently awaits the day you honor the betrothal contract.”
“A contract you and her father made when we were children,” Devlin countered, unable to keep spite from his words.
“Have you not found her suitable? She fits in well at the manor, ever eager to give and receive pleasure.”
Shuffling to the window, his stare was pensive. “Perhaps I wish for a bride to be chaste and loyal. For her lips to touch only mine.” He turned to his father. “When I marry, I wish only to kiss my wife for the rest of my days.”
Richard scoffed. “Do not be dull, my boy. It does not suit the Harman name.”
He shook his head.
His father placed his hand on Devlin’s shoulder. “I want an heir, and you will honor the betrothal contract.” Richard loudly cleared his throat as if the matter was resolved, and sat behind the desk. There was no point in discussing anything with his father when he made that grunting noise in his throat.
“About Miss Molly.” His father wiped unseen dust off his table.
Devlin grimaced, hoping he had diverted his father’s attention from the subject.
“Do not give me that somber face, Dev. I want the lass to be the best courtesan this manor has ever seen.”
“Why do you care what happens to a spinster?”
Richard studied the back of his hands, a calm look settling in his eyes. “I used to love her aunt.” A wrinkle appeared on his forehead. “But I had a duty to marry your mother and it broke Rose’s heart.”
He shook his head.
“I regret how I treated Rose.” A look of tired sadness brushed over his features. “But I have the opportunity to make it up to her. Give her niece a chance at a better life. If you tutor her with your legendary expertise, all of society will gossip. Miss Molly will be a lady in high demand.”
“I am sorry to spoil your plans, Father. I simple refuse to tutor the spinster.”
Richard lowered his eyes, a devious smile crossing his lips. An ominous feeling burned in Devlin’s stomach along with the whiskey. He did not like it when his father grinned like that.
Opening a carved wooden box on the desk, his father pulled out a cigar and flint box. “Do you know what society is saying?”
Devlin rolled his eyes. “Do I care?”
“They say the Marquess of Wilton is dashing by far in Parisian tailored suits, but when it comes to women his eyes are as cold as ice.”
“That is not so,” Devlin scoffed. “My suits are from Italy.”
A puff of smoke came from his father’s tight mouth. “I know you have been restless as of late. This lifestyle of decadence has left you…unsatisfied. By chance, what you need is a fresh young girl. Miss Molly—”
“Is no longer fresh nor young. I questioned Joves before he left me with your summons. She is past forty winters and has the look of a maid who resides in a pig pen.”
“Our butler has a nasty disposition for a man of his station.” His father’s brow creased as he sucked on his cigar.
A knock sounded at the door and a pretty servant with curly, golden hair entered. “You called for me, Your Grace?” she asked with a slight French accent.
“Yes, Yvette, I have a need of your special talents.” Richard motioned for her to come closer.
Yvette gave him a saucy wink and hastened to his father’s side. “How may I please you?”
Pushing his oversize chair back, his father answered, “Why don't you use your imagination while you are under my desk?”
Licking her smiling, pink lips, the servant crawled under the table.
Shifting on his seat to give Yvette better access, Richard asked, “Where were we?”
Devlin swallowed the rest of his drink and placed the crystal on the desk. “I am leaving.”
Devlin turned, suppressing his contempt with indifference. “What?”
Richard’s eyes rolled upwards, his hands reaching for Yvette’s golden locks. “Slow down, my sweet, slow down.”
“Father? You were saying,” Devlin urged, strumming his fingers on the door.
“Ah, yes. Let us have an accord. A wager perhaps?”
“I wish not to discuss this subject with your penis in Yvette’s mouth. Perhaps another—”
“No, we will discuss it now.” His father gently pushed Yvette’s head away from his lap. “Stay there my lovely one. I’ll be with you in a moment.”
Doing up his breeches, Richard faced him and entwined his hands together on the desk. Devlin could almost see his father’s mind working to his own advantage.
“If Miss Molly is the chosen courtesan for the mistress auction, I will break your betrothal contract with Lady Audrey.”
Devlin’s mouth dropped open, a glimmer of hope catching in his throat. “And if the spinster cannot be tutored?”
“Then you will honor the contract and marry Lady Audrey by spring.”
“That’s blackmail!” Devlin fumed.
“Blackmail is such a harsh word. I rather think of it as a family wager with benefits.”
“Either way, you get what you want,” Devlin mused.
“Yes, but if you succeed, you will be free to marry a dreary virgin in white—as long as she is of our noble station, of course.”
Devlin snorted and strode to the door uncertain if he was better off or not.
“I need an answer, my boy.”
“I'll do it!”
© Lyn Armstrong
Tutoring Miss Molly
Author: Lyn Armstrong
Publisher: Resplendence Publishing, LLC
Genre: Erotica, Historical Regency
Desperate to help her sick aunt through another brutal winter on their meager farm, Molly Cambridge will do anything to survive. Even if it means becoming a courtesan at the scandalous Harmon Manor. To catch the eye of a wealthy benefactor, she must learn the art of carnal pleasure from a resentful Marquess. Yet her traitorous heart cannot resist the handsome tutor that harbors secrets that may destroy them both. With attempts on her life and time running short, love is a luxury a courtesan can ill afford.
Bored with the spoiled, decadent lifestyle of the infamous sex society, Lord Devlin Harman has little time for courtesans and their cunning wiles. Blackmailed into tutoring an inexperienced courtesan, he is determined to show the farm girl the error of her ways. However, a unique beauty exists beneath the mud-stained rags, causing his jaded heart to melt and his flesh to burn for her touch. If she does not become the chosen courtesan at the mistress auction, he must marry a devious aristocrat by spring. Can he let Molly be a courtesan to gain freedom from his marriage contract? Or will he sacrifice everything for a farm girl?