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Two Wicked Nights ( The Northumberland Nine Series Book 2)

Two Wicked Nights ( The Northumberland Nine Series Book 2)

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Will two wicked nights lead to everlasting love or heartache?

Bernadette Marsden has made it her duty to protect her family. But as one of the infamous Northumberland Nine, she secretly wishes her life could be more. She craves adventure and love.

Lord Tiberius Alexander, Earl of Chester, is a gentleman to the bone. But Bernadette has a way of testing his good intentions. Though he is her loyal friend, he can't fight the feeling they should be more.

One kiss opens the door to deeper desires, but Chesters family suspects they are too close and trap Bernadette in a scandal to force her to marry another man. Chester hides her away and for two wicked nights they indulge their passions. But they can't run forever. In the light of day, Bernadette must choose between the future of her eight sisters and the yearnings of her heart.

Can Chester thwart his powerful family and save Bernadette or will their two nights together end in bittersweet memories?

Read A Sample

August 8, 1825

The day before the house party begins.

"Now, move your mouth lower and blow.”

Bernadette Marsden raised a brow at Lord Chester. “Are you sure this is how it’s done?”

“You asked me and now I’m showing you. Just do it.”

Bernie sighed. “This seems unsanitary.”

Chester chuckled. “That’s amusing coming from a girl who will kiss a goat.”

“My goats are clean. I wouldn’t kiss Farmer Trenton’s goats.”

“You shouldn’t kiss anything of Farmer Trenton’s. I’ve seen his wife wield a butcher knife with great skill.” 

Bernie snorted and returned to her task. She pressed her lips to her thumbs and blew gently on the thin blade of grass, producing an airy whistle. She grinned in surprise at Chester. “Tommy will have to eat his hat!”

“He’s twelve, and he has a crush on you. Why don’t you let him have this since he’ll never have you?”

Bernie tossed the blade of grass aside. “Fine.”

“Very mature of you.”

Bernie glared at him, but then she got distracted by the glimmer of sunlight on his hair, shining through the leaves of the large old oak they were sitting under. Chester had an unusual shade of light brown hair that could appear blond or brown depending on the time of day. 

“You’re very pretty,” Bernie said.

His blue eyes sharpened on her, glimmering like an expertly cut diamond.

“I beg your pardon, did you just say I’m pretty?”

Bernie grinned. She could see a flush crawling up his neck.

“Don’t act as though I’ve offended your manly pride. Men can be pretty.”

He rolled his eyes.

Bernie continued to study him, even though it was obvious he was avoiding her stare. She took mercy on him and looked back toward Selbourne Castle, the home of the Duke of Selbourne. They had a clear view of both their homes and Castle Selbourne from here atop the hill. She would make the castle her home for two weeks while attending a house party in her and her sisters’ honor, a gift of her dear friend, the duchess. Bernie would be paraded before eligible gentlemen in hopes of securing a proposal.

It sounded utterly ridiculous, but it was the most important event of her life.

As one of nine daughters, with no son to inherit her father’s meager estate, all of them must marry. 

“Don’t say such things to the men at the party. I know you are familiar with most of them, but this is different. You must see them not as friends but as more.”

“I’m going to embarrass myself, aren’t I?”

“I’ll be there to help you.”

Bernie twisted to face him. “Why is that? You aren’t going to marry any of us, but Violet showed me the guest list, and it is evenly matched male to female.”

He shrugged in answer.

Bernie scowled. The pressure bore down on her, the troubling thoughts she’d pushed to the back of her mind surging forward.

One of them simply must marry—preferably Anne, in all due haste. There simply wasn’t time anymore, not after what Anne had revealed to her.

Pregnant. Both Anne and mother, who hadn’t borne a child in seventeen years. Are the Marsdens cursed? 

Worse still, Anne had refused to reveal the name of the man who compromised her. She was the most responsible of them all, the eldest, and now she was pregnant.

How was Bernie supposed to be charming with the gentlemen when her family’s fate was in her hands?

“You’re woolgathering. I’m sure it will be fine.” Chester interrupted her thoughts.

“It’s not fine,” Bernie muttered.

He touched her chin with a fingertip and turned her face toward him.

Her heart tripped over itself, stupidly. It was only Chester.

His eyes held hers and the tightness in her chest eased. His gaze was steady and it anchored her.

“All of you are gorgeous. They won’t be able to resist you.”

She swallowed.

“Which is why I must be there to protect all of you.” He dropped his hand and Bernie looked down. They sat side by side, legs stretched out toward their homes. They had been neighbors all their lives, and Chester had taken it upon himself to be their protector, their de facto big brother. 

Why are his thighs so large? 

Bernie lost her train of thought.

She tore her gaze away, but in her head she pictured his muscled legs, the tightness of his riding breeches hugging to every dip and swell. From the corner of her vision she saw him lean back onto his elbows, and she just couldn’t stop herself from glancing at the apex of his limbs and the manly bulge there.

Again she forced herself to look away. What am I doing?

She’d known him all her life, bickered with him, patted his shoulder as he knelt at the fresh grave of his favorite hound. He’d taught her to swim and witnessed her nearly break her neck balancing on the back of his horse. They had a whole lifetime of experiences together, and yet, there was something about him that was different.

He seemed so much more…manly right now. She blushed. She was losing her mind. Chester was Chester and he would always be just Chester. He was as good and reliable as the elderly oak that shaded them. He would always be there, guarding her, scolding her, or simply just being him, the most loyal, truest friend she’d ever known.

Wouldn’t he?

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