Seduced by His Touch(11)

By: Tracy Anne Warren


Grace curtseyed. “Good day, your lordship.”

An enigmatic expression shone in his gaze, as if he might say more. Instead, he inclined his head, then turned and strode away.

“Gor, who was that?” her maid cooed in a low voice as Lord Jack departed. “’e’s a looker, ’e is, miss, and make no mistake of it. Handsome, and a gentleman, too.”

“Be that as it may, I doubt we shall see him again,” Grace said, suppressing a wistful sigh. “He merely came to hear the lecture.”

Slipping her notebook into her reticule, she moved toward the entry, relieved to see her aunt’s coach arrive.





From a sheltered area several yards distant, Jack watched Grace step into a black barouche and drive away, her aunt presumably inside.

All in all, he thought the afternoon had gone well. He and Grace had met again and talked, establishing the beginnings of what he planned to be a fairly rapid, thoroughly satisfactory courtship—assuming one could call what he was doing a “courtship.” Conquest was a far more appropriate term considering the cold-blooded nature of his arrangement with her father. Still, “Campaign Grace” was proving far less of a chore than he’d originally imagined.

As with their first encounter, he’d found her intelligent and engaging, with a quick wit and a clever tongue. Of course, it was only a matter of time before he grew bored, but for now, she was proving unexpectedly fascinating.

He would have to take care, though. She’d almost caught him out with her inquiries about his attendance at the lecture. She was right that he wasn’t the sort of man to take an interest in such a dry topic. Good thing he’d taken the precaution of skimming a few botany books.

Years ago, as a boy longing to be outside on clear spring and summer days, he’d developed a gift for memorization. His father had chosen a strict, serious-minded man to serve as tutor to him and his brothers. The only way to escape the schoolroom had been to recite that day’s lesson without flaw. After a bit of practice, Jack had taught himself how to quickly visualize anything. It was a skill he’d put to good use ever since—including his years at Eton and Oxford, where he’d moved effortlessly through his studies, leaving him more time to indulge in a variety of pleasurable pursuits. This afternoon, the ability had once again come in handy with Grace.

He smiled, thinking about her, marveling at his response.

And he was definitely having a response!

Many might find her ordinary, but the more he saw of her, the more he liked. In fact, he’d had a hard time keeping his hands off her during their hushed tête-à-tête, wanting to draw her outside into the gardens so he could steal a kiss. But he supposed it was just as well they’d been inside a lecture hall, since it was far too soon for kisses.

Which is why he’d excused himself so abruptly and left. Had he stayed, he might have pushed matters too far, too fast, and risked alarming her. He’d already gone beyond what he’d planned for their first true meeting, forgetting himself long enough to trade innuendos a more experienced woman would have recognized for what they were. Instead, Grace Danvers had blushed and looked unsure, of both herself and her reactions.

In those moments, he’d found her adorable.

And kissable.

And far too innocent.

The time would come for intimacy. And when it did, he promised she would find exquisite pleasure. He might be taking her as his wife because he must. But he would be taking her to his bed because he wanted her.

Considering his next move, Jack strode toward his lodgings, deciding a walk would do him good.





Chapter 4





Three days later, Grace accompanied her aunt to Bath’s finest perfume shop. Drawing her spectacles from her reticule, she set them on her nose and began perusing the array of glass bottles lined up for display. Beside each one stood a small white card with a description of the scent penned in crisp black ink.



Oil of Bergamot



Eau de Neroli



Essence of Frangipani





As a rule, she didn’t often wear perfume. On the rare occasions when she did, she preferred simpler, lighter scents, such as violet water or a few drops of plain vanilla rubbed on her wrists or behind her ears.

Aunt Jane, however, adored perfume. The polished walnut dressing table in her bedchamber was completely obscured by a mass of perfume bottles, skin creams and powders. She had so many, in fact, that she needed a separate cabinet to house her hair combs, brushes, feathers, and jewelry.

“What do you think of this one?” her aunt asked, drawing near with an open bottle in hand.

Leaning dutifully forward, Grace gave a delicate sniff. She wrinkled her nose and pulled away, fighting the urge to sneeze. “Too heavy for my taste,” she murmured. “What is it? Cloves, if I’m not mistaken, and cinnamon perhaps. But there’s another scent…something I cannot place.”

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