Read The Seduction of Sebastian St. James Online

Authors: Rachel van Dyken

Tags: #historical romance, #regency romance, #Humorous, #Rachel Van Dyken, #The Ugly Duckling Debutante, #kindle romance, #Fiction, #Romance, #Astraea Press, #London, #Historical Fiction, #Regency London, #Sensual romance, #Under 3.00 Kindle

The Seduction of Sebastian St. James (2 page)

BOOK: The Seduction of Sebastian St. James
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Sara let out the breath she had been mindlessly holding. “So he’s an arrogant rake?” Nicholas gave her a warning look. “Well, why doesn’t he just stay in his townhome? He is a duke, and a wealthy one at that.”

“You are correct, but you’re forgetting that his sister and her cousins are staying there for the Season. It wouldn’t be appropriate for him to be in a house full of unmarried ladies. It would be more comfortable for him to stay here instead of a house full of green girls. His grandmother is chaperoning them for the Season.” Nicholas knelt next to Sara. “And I haven’t seen him in years. It would be nice to have him near. Don’t we have enough space to accommodate ten families if we desired?”

It was true, Sara thought. Renwick House was one of the larger mansions in Mayfair, bigger than the duke’s own home, which was almost blinding to look at it was so massive. And Nicholas hadn’t seen his friend in so long…

Yes, it would probably be best for Sebastian to stay with them. But what of her cousin? She was to arrive any minute. She was also coming to town for the Season. Her cousin was two years past a marriageable age and while not desperate, needed to secure a husband before her return to the country estate.

Her cousin Emma was of good birth and breeding. Honestly she just didn’t want the infamous rake to gain wind of the scandal that had taken place with her dear cousin. Even Nicholas wasn’t aware of the girl’s sordid past. Although she loathed keeping things from her husband, this was one secret that wasn’t hers to tell. It would be up to Emma whom she would deem worthy of her tragic tale.

Sara had been wondering for months how the girl had faired after such an ordeal. Hopefully the emotional scars did not run too deep. Obviously she felt ready for marriage or she would not have asked for Sara to chaperone.

Resting her head on her hands, she sighed as her husband continued with reasons why the duke must stay with them.

“Sara, he’s looking for a wife, not a mistress,” Nicholas argued.

She had only caught the last part and nodded.

The mention of a mistress sent Sara’s blood to boil. Nicholas took note and grinned wildly before he said, “Do you trust me?”

“No.” She crossed her arms and scowled.

“Liar,” he whispered in her ear. The air around her face tensed as he trailed hot kisses down her neck. “I’ve missed you.” He moaned into her hair before kissing her ear, alternating between licking and biting. She closed her eyes in ecstasy.

His mouth soon found hers. Minutes later she was splayed across him, absolutely wrung with pleasure. Drat the man and his seduction abilities.

“Fine,” she mumbled as she fixed the front of her dress. “He can stay.”

“Ahem.”

Both Sara and Nicholas turned toward the door, scurrying to straighten their wrinkled clothing.

 

****

 

Sara was too focused on her own embarrassment to take in the man who had interrupted them, until the maid walked in and promptly dropped the refreshments on the floor. With a blush, she fell to her knees and began cleaning up the mess. Sara watched utterly puzzled as the maid frantically stacked the china onto her tray. Within minutes she had finished, albeit loudly as china moved around the tray, and with a squeal scurried out of the room.

Sebastian had been turned toward the exiting maid, and then his gaze was back on Sara.

Her mouth dropped open.

Nicholas leaned in. “It’s not polite to stare, m’dear.”

Her eyes widened in shock. Next to her husband, the man standing before her was the most beautiful creature she had ever laid eyes on.

A warning label should come with such men. Not that it would have kept her away from Nicholas, but
still
.

From his rakishly charming smile to his haunting blue eyes, the man was a force to be reckoned with. His dimples ran deep connecting with a firm jaw line and aristocratic nose. His eyes, while clearly blue, were so large it was almost uncomfortable to look at him directly.

As if reading her thoughts, the golden-haired Adonis smiled, making Sara immediately close her eyes and shake her head. His perfectly straight teeth and dimples added to the already devastating effect.

“Sara, are you unwell?” Nicholas asked, concern lacing his voice. “Here, why don’t you sit down?”

She shook her head, then glanced between the two men, mumbling under her breath, “I don’t even want to know. I truly don’t.” It was impossible to imagine what the two men had done to the ladies of the
ton
in their day.

Sebastian and Nicholas grinned at one another then embraced.

“Both of you were launched into society at the same time?” she asked.

Nicholas nodded while Sebastian winked. And though she didn’t think it possible, his dimples became more pronounced, making it blasted hard not to smile back.

Sara took a steadying breath and smiled for the first time at Sebastian. “Your grace, words cannot even begin to describe how interesting I feel the next couple of weeks will be.”

“My sentiments exactly,” he murmured, kissing her outstretched hand.

“Now if you’ll excuse me, gentlemen, I’m going to go make sure our maid is still breathing. Good day.” She curtsied and floated out of the room.

Sebastian was still staring at her disappearing figure when Nicholas cleared his throat.

“Catching a cold, my friend?” Sebastian teased.

Nicholas shook his head in warning at Sebastian’s obvious interest in his wife.

Sebastian grinned. “I was just taking in the beauty of the only woman who was brave enough to shackle you.”

Nicholas grunted. “Be that as it may, I would like you to keep your appreciation of my wife’s many charms to yourself, if it’s not too much to ask.”

Sebastian chuckled. He’d always liked Nicholas. Correction, he loved Nicholas. They were like brothers. It still pained Sebastian that he hadn’t been in the country when Nicholas had been going through such a rough time in his life. The guilt, although small, still ate at him when he thought of not being able to offer the support Nicholas had so obviously needed.

Sara was apparently the balm he had needed to his soul, and for that reason, Sebastian would always be grateful. Because the woman had brought back the man he had always admired, brought him back straight from the grave.

“So,” Nicholas said, walking over to the liquor cabinet. “You need a wife?”

Sebastian took a seat on the nearest chair, trying his best not to laugh at his friend’s bluntness. “You could say that.” He had been searching for a future duchess for many weeks now, but no woman in his acquaintance even held a candle to the beauty of Nicholas’s wife, or to her spirit. It was going to be deuced hard to find a woman who would hold Sebastian’s attention.

As if reading his thoughts, Nicholas interjected, “You can’t have my wife, so I would greatly appreciate you wiping that ridiculous grin off of your ducal face before I lose my patience. Considering, she is firmly out of your grasp, to your utter sadness, I can see.” Nicholas shook his head. “I believe I am more than capable of helping you find a woman who caters to your…needs.”

“They’re so young,” Sebastian groaned, ignoring Nicholas’s warning speech. “And boring, and although I am painfully aware I do not need to continue to complain, have you seen what I’m up against out there? Vultures, all of them. Say, why don’t you and Sara just pick one?”

“Just pick one?” Nicholas repeated slowly, raising his eyes heavenward. “You are aware we are not out shopping for horseflesh but attempting to find you a future duchess? Do keep that in mind, old friend.”

“It’s the only thing on my mind,” Sebastian said, greedily taking the glass of brandy from Nicholas’s hand.

Lifting his eyes, he scanned his old friend. Nature had been good to Nicholas. Then again nature had been good to both of them. Each of them were in their early thirties, but neither of them looked a day over twenty-five.

In his rakish days, Nicholas had had many of the mamas of the
ton
hiding their daughters from his penetrating gaze. Some said that a look from Nicholas would cause even married women to sway. His appearance was positively sinful. Everything about him was dark, from his hair to his black as night brows. The only light on his face seemed to come from the icy blue of his eyes. It was assumed that associating with Nicholas would cause any woman to sin or worse, send them to Hell. Sebastian never had that issue with women. While women were captivated and a bit frightened of Nicholas, they were mesmerized by Sebastian.

While Nicholas had been labeled as sinful, Sebastian had been labeled as beautiful.

Far too beautiful, if you asked him.

In fact if another woman called him beautiful, he was going to inflict pain on someone, or something. It was blasted hard being a beautiful man, not that it hadn’t given him some pleasure in his earlier years.

While Nicholas walked around with his devilishly dark features, Sebastian had always strolled around with a glowing effect to his features. Add in his dimples and all around joyful attitude and voila, a perfect recipe for young debutantes and forward mamas.

It obviously had never occurred to any of the females in Sebastian’s acquaintance how blatantly rude they were being when they literally could not find the strength to tear their eyes away. In fact, many women thought he wanted to be called beautiful, but as a man, the last thing he wanted to be labeled with was the same word he used to seduce women.

Sebastian took a long sip of brandy and sighed.

The sigh was not lost on Nicholas, who right away started pouring him another drink.

"You do realize it’s not as if I have to marry for a purpose other than presenting an heir," Sebastian complained mostly to himself, although Nicholas gave him a head nod to acknowledge he was listening to the lamentation pouring forth from Sebastian’s lips. "Furthermore, I don't see why every single debutante has to be so stupid."

"Here, here,” Nicholas said, lifting his glass. "I do understand."

"Spare me." Sebastian shook his head in protest. "At least you have a beautiful wife to dote on whose voice doesn't shriek the way some girls do."

Sebastian felt a sudden headache coming on. What he needed was an arranged marriage where he could get an heir and also have a mistress on the side, but those days, as he told Nicholas, were well behind him. And although he would die before admitting it, he did want to get married. Call it curiosity or maybe insanity, but he felt it was time to settle down and actually have a family, a real family. He owed his parents at least that much.

Sebastian watched Nicholas as he went and looked out the window. The poor man probably had a terrible time keeping his hands off his wife. What would it be like to have a companion you both lusted after and loved? His mind was incapable of imagining it.

A maid entered, carrying a note. Nicholas offered an apology before stepping out of the room, leaving Sebastian alone with his thoughts.

Sighing, he leaned his head back against the chair, all the while swirling the amber liquid around his glass. It wasn’t that he considered himself an unhappy man. Indeed he felt content and overall satisfied with his life. Women often commented on his optimistic demeanor, thinking it a ruse to get them into bed. But to Sebastian it had always seemed that most men wasted valuable time being upset or angry when they had it within their capabilities to fix their situation in the first place. Was life not meant to be lived to the fullest?

Most of his existence had been less than charmed. In fact, if anyone had anything to be bitter about, it was Sebastian. He had inherited his title at the early age of one and seven.

Both of his parents had died in a carriage accident, leaving his grandmother to finish raising him on her own. If one could call bossing the staff around on how to treat the Duke of Tempest raising.

He did love his grandmother. It wasn’t her fault his parents had died, nor was it his, as she had reminded him that fateful day.


Sebastian, my boy, you could not help what happened
,” she had said, petting his yellow curls. “It is in the Lord’s hands, dear boy. Bad things happen, and we must trust in Him.”

He still had trouble processing his grandmother’s wise words. He knew them to be astute, but that didn’t make them easy for him to put into practice. In fact, she had a horrible time dealing with him. It was no wonder she was constantly bossing everyone around trying to gain some semblance of control over her defiant grandson.

But he had been mourning. Men struggle trying to understand why things happen the way they do. Adolescents who are not yet fully grown have an even more difficult time, especially when it’s their fault the people they loved the most in the world had to perish. He took another sip of brandy as a melancholy fog rested on his broad shoulders.

 
He hadn’t thought about his childhood in a long while. He must have drunk more brandy than he originally imagined. Then again, Nicholas was good at refilling his glass when he was brooding. Something Sebastian was hardly ever guilty of.

Maybe his grandmother could shed some light on his marriage situation. After all she was the one breathing hot coals down his neck about reformation and forgiveness. It wasn’t even as if he had lived such a terribly rakish life. In fact he was known as the angel duke by quite a few of the gentry. It wasn’t necessarily his heavenly and joyous demeanor, though it did seem to help. No, in truth he had been given the title after rescuing a small girl from near death. It also didn’t hurt that people had a hard time attaching any sort of scandal to his name. Oh he had done his fair share of taking mistresses and sowing wild outs across the continent, he was just remarkably talented at keeping people quiet, giving more credence to his reputation that no woman could seduce him.

BOOK: The Seduction of Sebastian St. James
6.62Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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