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Cocky Viscount.png
A jilted bride, a scarred hero, and the consequences of a single passionate encounter

What happens when a lady breaks the rules? Felicity Brightley is the most genteel of ladies. Raised to marry the Earl of Westerley, she’s never failed to follow the dictates of society. Doing so, she’d been promised, ensured lifelong security and happiness. When her future is shattered, however, she decides it’s time she tests those rules—perhaps make up a few of her own.

Viscount Manningham-Tissinton (Mantis) isn’t looking for a wife—especially not a lady considered a diamond of the first water. So when he stumbles upon Felicity, devastated by the betrayal at the hands of one of Manti’s closest friends, he takes it upon himself to comfort her. With a single kiss, and then another—until a storm of passion ignites between them—a storm that threatens to land them both in scandal. Because breaking the rules comes with a price.

Will that price be a lifetime of regret, or is it fate’s serendipitous design for their happily ever after? Only one way to find out…

Cocky Viscount

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Release Date: April 27, 2021
Series: Regency Cocky Gents 
Book Number: 5 in the series
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A jilted bride, a scarred hero, and the consequences of a single passionate encounter

 

“This was my first story from this series and I absolutely loved it! Can't wait to go back and check out the other stories from this series!” —Michelle, Goodreads Reviewer

 

Excerpt

 

Mantis froze. Comforting distraught women was not something with which he had any experience. 

 

“Please?” Her eyes, which were almost the color of the Mediterranean, implored him. She was fragile and beautiful and she needed… “Hold me?” 

 

Tears rolled down her perfect complexion, one of them catching on the scratch carved out by the branch of thorns. 

 

How could he deny such a request? Damn it, none of this was her fault. He would sit with her, allow her a good cry, and then search out her maid. He moved toward the chaise, and as he lowered himself, tiny hands locked onto his with a surprisingly vice-like grip. 

 

“I’ll stay.” Even knowing her and Westerley’s fathers had all but trapped the earl into the betrothal, Westerley ought to have treated Lady Felicity with more care for her feelings. 

 

“Closer,” her voice choked on a sob. 

 

Mantis folded her into his arms. Carefully. “Shall I send for Lady Bethany?” Indeed, she’d want to confide in a woman—one of her friends. 

 

“Don’t leave me.” Her knuckles were white from clutching the lapels on his waistcoat. 

 

“Shhh… I won’t.” 

 

“I need…” She tilted her head back, her arms sliding around his neck. “Don’t leave me alone.” Her sweet breath teased his senses. It had just a hint of scotch, but it was mostly feminine and delicate and… Her. 

 

He’d seen the misery in her eyes while Westerley proposed to Miss Jackson. Lady Felicity’s lips had tilted upward in what she’d no doubt intended to be a smile, but he’d not been fooled. Westerley’s public declaration had shattered her. Couldn’t the blighter have waited to pledge himself to another woman in private? 

 

Over the years, in all their carousing, Mantis—as well as Blackheart, Greys, Chase, and the Spencer brothers—had watched their friend’s casual disregard for his betrothal to Lady Felicity Brightley. Westerley had acted as if it didn’t exist. They ought to have seen it coming. For all his own father’s animosity, at least Crestwood hadn’t promised Mantis to a woman who wasn’t of his own choosing. Mantis focused on these and other practical matters to distract him from the lovely curves pressing against him. 

 

He’d known Lady Felicity for nearly as long as he’d known Westerley. She had grown up right alongside the earl’s sisters. But in all that time, Lady Felicity never once lost her composure. He had never seen her cry, lose her temper, or act in any way that might be considered undignified. 

 

What was a man supposed to do in this situation? 

 

Another tremor rolled through her slender frame, followed by more silent sobs. 

 

“What can I do?” He smoothed his hands down her back and then tucked his jacket around her more securely. “More scotch?” He cringed at his bumbling attempt to console her. 

 

Curling tendrils of golden hair tickled his neck. Lavender and… citrus. He couldn’t be sure if the heady scents were from the flowers growing in the orangery or her perfume. Either way, they summoned a few ill-timed carnal urges. 

 

“Just h-h-hold m-me.” He was already holding her, so he simply tightened his arms, carefully, because… she was Lady Felicity. 

 

She burrowed into him and ended up sitting across his lap. Her mouth hovered inches from his, the heat of her breath brushing along his jaw, mingling with his. 

 

She was shivering, and she just seemed… So damned lost. 

 

He brushed her lips with his. One kiss. For comfort. 

 

“Manningham?” Need laced her voice. 

 

“My lady…” He would sooth her pride. A kiss, perhaps two. His mouth brushed hers again, this time capturing it. He had been attracted to this woman since the first time he’d gotten a glimpse of her. But one did not set one’s sights on one’s friend’s betrothed. 

 

Her lips parted beneath his and Mantis tilted his head, determined to enjoy this unexpected taste of forbidden honey. Any minute she would push at his chest. Perhaps even slap his face. Because Lady Felicity Brightley was always dignified and proper. He waited for her to pull away, even bracing himself for a well-earned slap. 

 

“More?” Her plea, damn it, sent blood flowing most inconveniently south. Because she was on his lap! And demanding more from this kiss. 

 

Oh, hell. Mantis drew back. 

 

In a move that was as inexperienced as it was desperate, her mouth clumsily sought his. Her hands dug into his hair as she held onto him. 

 

“Don’t leave me.” Mantis shifted. It was only another kiss. If this was what she required to put Westerley’s rejection behind her, then he was happy to accommodate. More than happy.