Book: The Art of Temptation (1889)

London, Venice and Paris, 1889. A sexy historical romance about the opening of the infamous cabaret, the Moulin Rouge.


With the proper motivation, even the innocent can learn The Art of Temptation.


After seven failed seasons, Valerie Hempstead decides to take her fate into her own hands, and a tour of the continent is just the thing. Accompanied by her French female cousin, and the girl’s childhood companions–all of whom live fast and for the moment, Valerie is about to discover more about life than she anticipated.

Travis Elijah Colin Wade, the son of no one in particular, has just been handed a vast amount of money and a large country estate and, of all things, a bloody title. However, he’s not at all pleased about leaving his care-free, bachelor-about-town days behind. Determined to spend some of his money and relax before assuming his duties for Queen and country, Travis goes abroad. Little does he know that he is about to be utterly swept away by the seduction of innocent surrender.



One couple drew each other into an intimate embrace. Valerie stood immobile, staring at the scene, until she suddenly found herself being led by her elbow behind one of the white barriers.

Trying to evade his hold she spoke. “Er, I don’t think—”

Shhh— Don’t speak. It will be all right,” he said and closed the curtain behind them.

The man took her empty glass and set it on a small table. He positioned them between the candle’s flame and the fabric.

She cast her gaze upon the sheet next to them and noticed how clear and perfect their silhouette was upon the surfacetwo dark figures crisply outlined against a field of white. With an inhaled breath that could have been shock, she realized how close he stood. He was tall and towered over her by at least a full head and shoulders. For the first time in her life, she felt petite. She should run, she thought distantly, but that insistent finger of his reappeared to rest under her chin, tilting her face to his, causing Valerie to look beyond the gold mask into the eyes of her captor.

Come here, my sweet kitten. Let me hear you purr.” He moved closer, now loosely holding her masked face between his hands.

Praying to God that he would be dissuaded from whatever it was he was about to do to her, Valerie swallowed and half-succeeded in twisting away from him again, but his hands wouldn’t permit a complete rotation.

“You mistake me, sir. I am here with some friends. I had no idea what this party was about,” she said, her voice higher than normal and her pounding heart nearly audible. Much to her embarrassment, he seemed to snuggle his body even closer to hers and her head turned back to him of its own volition.

So, you’ve never attended a Shadow Party before?” he whispered.

Valerie shook her head almost imperceptibly as his face inched nearer to hers.

Her senses heightened, whether by the champagne or the heady sensation the man’s proximity was causing, she didn’t know. Nevertheless, he did smell wonderfully masculine. His gentle touch had been quite foreign to her, and yet she welcomed it; hand to elbow, finger to chin, palm to cheek, body to body, whatever the combination, it was wonderful.

And very dangerous.



This was on my computer’s desktop while I wrote TAoT:

Thou shalt not steal

For inspiration only


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