Ah, the holidays. What better time of year for romance, whispered sweet nothings, and the exchange of trinkets that show your sweetie how much they mean to you? But if you haven’t yet found your match made in heaven, not to worry! Anthony, the charming rake from New York Times bestselling author Sabrina Jeffries’ LET SLEEPING ROGUES LIE, is here to provide some helpful hints on just how to snag the bad boy. Keep reading for an excerpt from LET SLEEPING ROGUES LIE, part of Jeffries’ delectable “School for Heiresses” series!
Anthony gaped at Miss Prescott, unsure what to make of her proposal. What the bloody devil was a rakehell lesson, anyway?
“You suggest that I let the fox into the henhouse to corrupt our girls?” Mrs. Harris retorted.
Oh, for God’s sake— “I don’t ‘corrupt’ children. Why should I, with plenty of already corrupted grown women to choose from? Virginal schoolgirls with pistol-packing papas and childish insecurities are far too much trouble. I prefer women who know what they want and aren’t ashamed to take it.” He scowled down at Miss Prescott.
“Which is why I’d have nothing of use to teach your pupils.”
“Surely the techniques of seduction are the same for any woman,” the petite teacher persisted. “You’re rumored to have enjoyed the . . . er . . . favors of several widows.
You must have used some tricks to entice them, the sort a less scrupulous man might use to seduce an innocent.”
Miss Prescott flashed him a guileless smile that made her creamy skin glow. “Unless you’re claiming that women fall into your arms simply because of your dashing air.”
“It’s as good a reason as any,” he shot back, annoyed by the teacher’s clear immunity to his “air.” “I have no idea why women choose me for a lover. Perhaps you should ask them.”
“Give me a list, and I will.” When he blinked, the woman cast her employer a quick glance, and added in a warning tone, “Though such an investigation could considerably lengthen the process of getting your niece enrolled here.”
Was the woman trying to help him circumvent her employer? If so, it must be for reasons of her own. He’d met enough teachers in his endless trek through London’s schools to know they were all eager to escape their miserable existence.
And yet . . .
She seemed different. For one thing, she was far prettier. For another, she dressed like someone who actually enjoyed what she did. No gray woolens for Miss Prescott. Her cheery gown of yellow spotted muslin complemented her fair coloring and skimmed her petite form in all the right places.
Some might deem Mrs. Harris the more beautiful of the two because of her exotic red hair and blue eyes, but the widow’s stiffness put him off. He found Miss Prescott’s open and honest manner more appealing. She reminded him of a country dairymaid, with her honey gold curls and apple cheeks.
Except for those unusual amber eyes. Cat’s eyes. Temptress eyes. Yet remarkably, eyes that assessed him as one might a fascinating sculpture, without flirtation or censure. Women never looked at him like that. It made him wonder if she really was trying to help him and Tessa.
Not that it would do any good, given the absurdity of her proposal. “I wouldn’t know how to give these lessons. I’m not conscious of using any ‘tricks.’ ”
Miss Prescott let out the unfettered laugh of someone who’d never been coached by a society mother. “Forgive me, but didn’t you once say ‘where there’s a widow, there’s a way’? That implies a certain polished skill with women.”
He tensed. The idiotic comment he’d made to his friends while foxed had dogged him for years. How clever of her to use it to make him sound like a calculated seducer. Granted, he was no saint, but he wasn’t like his friend, the Marquess of Stoneville, bedding women just to prove he could. Perhaps she was more critical of his character than she let on. Perhaps she was like everyone else.
Deliberately, he let his gaze linger on her pretty mouth.
“Touché. Although, for the sake of my pride, I hope you’ll admit that some of my talent with women comes from my natural charms.”
The chit didn’t so much as blush. “Certainly. If you will admit that some men are better at attracting a female and keeping her interest than others, regardless of looks. Just as some women are better at attracting men.”
She faced the wary Mrs. Harris. “Our young ladies know how to attract men. But if they could hear how men entice women—especially from a man who excels at it—they might learn to recognize when men who court them aren’t sincere.”
“Men like me, you mean,” he drawled, still unsure what to make of her. “Do you think me insincere?”
“Actually, my lord, you’re rather famous for shocking people with your honest and outrageous opinions.” She arched an eyebrow. “Though I suspect you’re more circumspect with women you wish to seduce.”
He stared at her. “That depends on the woman.”
“Exactly,” she said. “And that alone would be a good lesson for our girls—how a rakehell can tailor his seductions to particular women.”
His eyes narrowed. So that’s what she meant by rakehell lessons.