The Many Sins of Lord Cameron, p.1Jennifer Ashley
Table of Contents
“Jennifer Ashley just gets better and better! With a smart, intriguing heroine and a sinfully sexy hero, The Many Sins of Lord Cameron is impossible to put down. I loved it!”
—Elizabeth Hoyt, New York Times bestselling author
LADY ISABELLA’S SCANDALOUS MARRIAGE
“I adore this novel: It’s heartrending, funny, honest, and true. I want to know the hero—no, I want to marry the hero!”
—Eloisa James, New York Times bestselling author
“Skillfully nuanced characterization and an abundance of steamy sensuality give Ashley’s latest impeccably crafted historical its irresistible literary flavor.”
“Readers rejoice! The Mackenzie brothers return as Ashley works her magic to create a unique love story brimming over with depth of emotion, unforgettable characters, sizzling passion, mystery, and a story that reaches out and grabs your heart. Brava!”
—RT Book Reviews (Top Pick)
“A heartfelt, emotional historical romance with danger and intrigue around every corner . . . A great read!”
“A wonderful novel filled with sweet, tender love that has long been denied, fiery passion, and a good dash of witty humor . . . For a rollicking good time, sexy Highland heroes, and touching romances, you just can’t beat Jennifer Ashley’s novels!”
—Night Owl Romance
“You can’t help but fall in love with the Mackenzie brothers.”
—Loves Romances and More
“I really think this series is a must read for all historical romance fans.”
“I’m a big fan of Jennifer Ashley’s, whose characters are always fantastic and well written . . . The cat and mouse game between Mac and Isabella is deliciously fun.”
—All About Romance
“Since this is the first book I’d ever read by Ashley, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The buzz about The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie made me think I wouldn’t be disappointed, however, and I was right.”
“Ms. Ashley is a superb author who can bring sensuality and passion to life with her characters and pour the emotion off the pages.”
—Fiction Vixen Book Reviews
“Isabella is a heroine strong enough to make tough choices even with a broken heart. Mac is a hero willing to admit his mistakes, who determines to become worthy of his heroine’s love once more. While he is at it, he may melt some readers’ hearts as well.”
—A Romance Review
“Ms. Ashley did not let me down amid her story of a second chance at love.”
—The Good, The Bad and The Unread
“I’ve always loved a marriage-in-trouble story and this is a slightly different take on a favorite trope.”
THE MADNESS OF LORD IAN MACKENZIE
“Ever-versatile Ashley begins her new Victorian Highland Pleasures series with a deliciously dark and delectably sexy story of love and romantic redemption that will captivate readers with its complex characters and suspenseful plot.”
“Ashley’s enthralling and poignant romance . . . touches readers on many levels. Brava!”
—RT Book Reviews
“Mysterious, heartfelt, sensitive, and sensual . . . Two big thumbs up.”
—Publishers Weekly, “Beyond Her Book”
“A story of mystery and intrigue with two wonderful, bright characters you’ll love . . . I look forward to more from Jennifer Ashley, an extremely gifted author.”
“Brimming with mystery, suspense, an intriguing plot, villains, romance, a tormented hero, and a feisty heroine, this book is a winner. I recommend The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie to anyone looking for a great read.”
“Wow! All I can say is The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie is one of the best books I have ever read. [It] gets the highest recommendation that I can give. It is a truly wonderful book.”
—Once Upon A Romance
“When you’re reading a book that is a step or two—or six or seven—above the norm, you know it almost immediately. Such is the case with The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie. The characters here are so complex and so real that I was fascinated by their journey . . . [and] this story is as flat-out romantic as any I’ve read in a while . . . This is a series I am certainly looking forward to following.”
—All About Romance
“A unique twist on the troubled hero . . . Fresh and interesting.”
—Night Owl Romance
“A welcome addition to the genre.”
“Intriguing . . . Unique . . . Terrific.”
—Midwest Book Review
Berkley Sensation Titles by Jennifer Ashley
THE MADNESS OF LORD IAN MACKENZIE
LADY ISABELLA’S SCANDALOUS MARRIAGE
THE MANY SINS OF LORD CAMERON
THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.
THE MANY SINS OF LORD CAMERON
A Berkley Sensation Book / published by arrangement with the author
Berkley Sensation mass-market edition / August 2011
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions. For information, address: The Berkley Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.
ISBN : 978-1-101-51750-5
Berkley Sensation Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.
BERKLEY® SENSATION and the “B” design are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
Thanks go to my editor, Kate Seaver, for her ongoing support for this series. Also, thanks to the many readers who have told me how much they adore the Mackenzie brothers! Thank you! For more information on the brothers and the series, please see the Mackenzies’ page at my website:
SCOTLAND, SEPTEMBER 1882
I saw Mrs. Chase slide that letter into Lord Cameron’s pocket. She did it almost under my nose. Bloody woman.
Ainsley Douglas sank to her knees in her ball dress and thrust her arms deep into Lord Cameron Mackenzie’s armoire.
Why did it have to be Cameron Mackenzie, of all people? Did Mrs. Chase know? Ainsley’s heart thrummed before she calmed it down. No, Phyllida Chase could not know. No one did. Cameron must not have told her, because the tale would have come ’round to Ainsley again with breathtaking speed, society gossip being what it was. Therefore, it stood to reason that Cameron had kept the story to himself.
Ainsley felt only marginally better. The queen’s letter hadn’t been in the pockets of any of the coats in the dressing room. In the armoire, Ainsley found shirts neatly folded, collars stacked in collar boxes, cravats carefully separated with tissue paper. Rich cambric and silk and softest lawn, costly fabrics for a rich man.
She pawed hastily through the garments, but nowhere did she find the letter tucked carelessly into a pocket or fallen between the shirts on the shelf. The valet had likely gone through his master’s pockets and taken away any stray paper to return it to Lord Cameron or put it somewhere for safekeeping. Or Cameron had already found it, thought it female silliness, and burned it. Ainsley prayed fast and hard that he’d simply burned it.
Not that such a thing would completely solve Ainsley’s dilemma. Phyllida, blast the woman, had more of the queen’s letters stashed away somewhere. Ainsley’s assignment: Retrieve them at all costs.
The immediate cost was to Ainsley’s dove gray ball dress, the first new gown she’d had in years that wasn’t mourning black. Not to mention the cost to her knees, her back, and her sanity.
Sanity was further disturbed by the sound of the door opening behind her.
Ainsley backed swiftly out of the wardrobe and turned around, fully expecting Cameron’s rather frightening Romany valet to be glaring down at her. Instead, the door blocked whoever had pushed it open, giving Ainsley a few more seconds to panic.
Hide. Where? The door to the dressing room lay across the length of the chamber, the armoire behind her too full for a young woman in a ball dress. Under the bed? No, she’d never dash across the carpet and wriggle beneath it in time.
The window with its full seat was two steps away. Ainsley dove for it, stuffed her skirts beneath her and jerked the curtains closed.
Just in time. Through the crack in the drapes, she saw Lord Cameron himself back into the room with Phyllida Chase, former maid of honor to the queen, hanging around his neck.
The sudden burn in Ainsley’s heart took her by surprise. She’d known for weeks that Phyllida had stuck her claws into Cameron Mackenzie. Why should Ainsley mind? Phyllida was the sort of woman Lord Cameron preferred: lovely, experienced, uninterested in her husband. Likewise Cameron was the sort Phyllida liked: rich, handsome, not looking for a deep attachment. They suited each other well. What business was it of Ainsley’s?
Even so, a lump formed in her throat as Lord Cameron shut the door with one hand and slid the other to the small of Phyllida’s back. She wound her arms around him, while Cameron leaned down and pressed leisurely kisses to her neck.
There was desire in that embrace, unashamed, unmistakable desire. Once, long ago, Ainsley had felt Cameron Mackenzie’s desire. She remembered rippling heat softening her body, the point of fire of his kiss. Years had passed, but she still remembered the imprint of his mouth on her lips, on her skin—his hands so skilled.
Phyllida melted to Cameron with a hungry noise, and Ainsley rolled her eyes. She knew full well that Mr. Chase was still in the gardens, following the house party on a ramble, the paths lit by paper lanterns under the midnight sky. Ainsley knew this because she’d slipped away from the party as they moved from ballroom to gardens, so that she could search Lord Cameron’s chamber.
They couldn’t have let her search in peace, could they? No, the bothersome Phyllida could not stay away from her Mackenzie male and had dragged him up here for a liaison. Selfish cow.
Cameron’s coat slid to the floor. The waistcoat and shirt beneath outlined muscles hardened by years of riding and training horses. Lord Cameron moved with ease for such a big man, comfortable with his height and strength. He rode with the same grace, the horses under him responding to his slightest touch. Ladies responded to the same touch, she had reason to know.
The deep scar on his cheekbone made some say that his handsomeness was ruined, but Ainsley disagreed. The scar had never unnerved her, but his tallness had taken Ainsley’s breath away when Isabella had introduced her to him six years ago, as had the way his gloved hand swallowed her smaller one. Cameron hadn’t looked much interested in an old school friend of his sister-in-law’s, but later . . . Oh, that later.
At this moment, Cameron’s gaze was reserved for the slim, dark-haired beauty of Phyllida Chase. Ainsley happened to know that Phyllida kept her hair black with the help of a little dye, but Ainsley would never say so. She wouldn’t be that petty. If she and Isabella had a good giggle over it, what harm was there in that?
Cameron’s waistcoat came off, then his cravat and collar, giving Ainsley a fine view of his bare, damp throat.
She looked away, an ache in her chest. She wondered how long she would have to wait before attempting to slip away—surely once the couple was on the bed they’d be too engrossed in each other to notice her crawling for the door. Ainsley drew a long breath, becoming more unhappy by the minute.
When she summoned the nerve to peek back through the drape, Phyllida’s bodice was open, revealing a pretty corset over plump curves. Lord Cameron bent to kiss the bosom that welled over the corset cover, and Phyllida groaned in pleasure.
The vision came to Ainsley of Lord Cameron pressing his lips to her bosom. She remembered his breath burning her skin, his hands on her back. And his kiss. A deep, warm kiss that had awakened every single desire Ainsley had ever had. She remembered the exact pressure of the kiss, the shape and taste of his mouth, the rough of his fingertips on her skin.
She also remembered the icicle in her heart when he’d looked at her and through her the next day. Her own fault. Ainsley had been young and allowed herself to be duped, and she’d compounded the problem by insulting him.
Phyllida’s hand was under Cameron’s kilt now. He moved to let her play, and the plaid inched upward. Cameron’s strong thighs came into view, and Ainsley saw with shock that scars marked him from the back of his knees to the curve of his buttocks.
They were deep, knotted gashes, old wounds that had long since closed. Good heavens, Ainsley hadn’t seen that. She couldn’t stop the gasp that escaped her lips.
Phyllida raised her head. “Darling, did you hear something?”
“I’m certain I heard a noise. Would you be a love and check that window?”
“Damn the window. It’s probably one of the dogs.”
“Darling, please.” Her pouting tone was done to perfection. Cameron growled something, and then Ainsley heard his heavy tread.
Her heart pounded. There were two windows in the bedchamber, one on either side of his bed. The odds were two-to-one that Lord Cameron would go to the other window. Even bet, Ainsley’s youngest brother, Steven, would say. Either Cameron would jerk back the curtain and reveal Ainsley sitting there, or he would not.
Steven didn’t like even bets. Not enough variables to be interesting, he insisted. That was because Steven wasn’t the one huddled on a window seat waiting to be revealed to Lord Cameron and the woman who was blackmailing the Queen of England.
Lord Cameron’s broad brown hands grasped the edges of the drapes in front of Ainsley and parted them a few inches.
Ainsley gazed up at Cameron, meeting his topaz gaze for the first time in six years. He looked at her fully, like a lion on a veldt eyeing a gazelle, and the gazelle in her wanted to run, run, run. The defiant tomboy from Miss Pringle’s Academy, however, now a lofty lady-in-waiting, stared boldly back at him.
The Many Sins of Lord Cameron by Jennifer Ashley / Romance & Love have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes