Charlotte Mallory is a single mother blessed with a very vivid imagination.  Her imagination has allowed her to provide a comfortable existence for her family, despite all the barriers for a widow to succeed in Regency London.  That same imagination just might get her into trouble when it runs wild over a handsome redheaded gentleman she spies in the park.  When Richard Wilcox proves able to far surpass her most sensual dreams, will she lose everything once he discovers that hers is a Scandalous Profession?

Excerpt from Scandalous Profession


The day-to-day expenses she earned with her imagination. And no matter how she loathed the leering ass who was her publisher, the lustful stories she wrote did well enough to keep them in bread and milk and firewood. And it allowed her dreams to run wild, dreams she’d thought broken and dead when she was sixteen. Yet at twenty-one she was wise and world-weary and her dreams had simply turned naughtier.

She shook off her maudlin thoughts and bent down to retrieve the ball Andrew had tossed in her direction when she felt her bonnet being torn unceremoniously from her head with accompanying giggles. Laughing as hairpins were lost irretrievably in the grass, she chased after her silly son, her hair flying behind her.  She stopped dead when she caught sight of the tall man who’d stepped out from behind a high hedge. He wore a heavy greatcoat but it was open, and charcoal trousers encased what promised to be hard thighs. Her eyes took in the tall hat of a gentleman, the brilliant red hair, the strong chin. And the piercing blue eyes that seemed ready to consume her.

She didn’t dare breathe. The stare was broken only when he bent, retrieving her abused bonnet from the grass where Andrew had dropped it upon spotting Theo. He rose slowly and she could feel his eyes on her body, her cloak sadly swept behind her, revealing her sorry mourning dress, one of her few gowns suitable for walking in the winter. But when he reached her face, she could only feel heat in his gaze, not the disgust she’d feared. Still silent, unwilling to break the spell, she opened her mouth slightly, moistening lips suddenly turned dry.

He swallowed and she felt warmth within her flare at this simple action. He held up her headgear and in a deep voice that traveled down her spine and flooded her core, he said, “I believe this is yours, Mrs…”

She blinked for a moment and realized he required a response. Forcing her voice to work she replied, “Mallory. Mrs. Charlotte Mallory.” She took the proffered bonnet and placed it on her head, dreading the state of her hair, her flushed cheeks, her ancient dress. This time, she didn’t notice how he stared at her hands and then at her full lips that she bit while she tied the rust-colored ribbon firmly under her chin. “And your name, kind sir?”

He smiled, revealing a dimple in his left cheek and beautiful white teeth. She thought she would faint with longing, though she had never been the fainting kind. “Richard Wilcox, at your service, ma’am.”

She tried to think of something else to say and moaned internally when the words fell from her lips, “Do you make a habit of rescuing ladies’ bonnets perchance?”

But instead of running away from her crazed conversation he chuckled and she felt her knees go wobbly in response. “No, it is a very new pastime I assure you. But,” his eyes swept over her and she felt her cheeks turn pink once again at his appraisal, “it has been most enjoyable so far.” He paused for a moment and took in the sight of the two boys chasing after the ball. “You are Master Andrew’s mother, yes?”

“Yes. And you are Master Theodore’s father, I presume?” Daft woman. What other man would be with the child, she berated herself.

“Yes,” he paused again and turned back to her. “They seem to be getting along. I am very glad for it. Theo doesn’t have many other children to play with.”

“No siblings?” Or mother? Oh too much too inquisitive! She tried to reign in her curiosity.

He looked hard for a moment, a combination of regret and wistfulness and anger that she found eerily familiar. Then he sighed. “No, just Theo and myself, I’m afraid.”

She hated herself for it but her heart surged in hot happiness with the news. She was deluding herself that this man would ever even consider…but oh how she wanted him.

… She was sure she must be bright red by now, between the look of those eyes and the randy thoughts swirling in her head. Overheated and short of breath, unable to think of a word to say, she silently prayed for help.

The heavens opened up and cold rain began to fall. An answer to her prayers.