“Grey’s Lady is the story of a wealthy New York merchant price, Grey Sexton, who falls for a poor but beautiful seductress, Beth McConnell. Yet, for all their social and economical differences, at their most basic level, Beth and Grey are very similar. This story explores how these similarities threaten to tear them apart before love can overcome the fear of being vulnerable.
Both Beth and Grey suffered isolation and emotional neglect in childhood. Grey grew up as a privileged only son, heir to Sexton Shipping, one of the fledgling nation’s largest mercantile fleets. Grey’s father was a stern businessman who did not understand his daydreaming son and held him at a distance. A child in this position might take solace in a closer relationship with his mother. However, Grey’s mother was chronically ill and unable to bear his childish energy. She kept to her chambers and died while he was still quite young. Later at age nineteen, Grey engaged in an emotionally scarring experience with a slightly older woman, something that is not covered in Grey’s Lady. All of these backstory issues and more are explored in more depth in the sequel, White Lace and Promises, which is scheduled for release Dec. 26, 2011.
In contrast, the focus of Grey’s Lady is on the immediate interaction between two wounded and self-protective people who feel an overpowering attraction to each other but who do not want to admit it to themselves or the other.
I will let my character, Beth, tell her story in her own words:
Why should men always have the power of choice when it comes to love? Is it right that we women have no choice but to sit and wait for a man decide to honor us with his declarations–usually uttered in the form of a demand? And all we as women may do is say “yes” or “no” and hope we have made a wise choice. The man still has the power to break his promises and it will be our good name and heart that bears the damage.
My mother fell into an adulterous affaire with an unknown man and as a result I was created. Her husband put her out of their house. I would have been born in the almshouse if not for the kindness of her employer. After my mother’s death, I would have gone to the foundling home without my kindly benefactress. My unknown father also had his power of choice, the choice to abandon me. How fair is it that men have all the power of choice?
Oh, you ask what about the gentlemen? Ha! The gentlemen. They are the very worst.
A gentleman once declared passionate love for me. He said this so ardently, his beautiful brown eyes shone with sincerity. I was young. I was naïve. I believed him. I trusted him and gave my heart wholly into his keeping. And as went my heart, eventually so went my virtue.
Do you what happened next? Surely, I don’t have to tell you. You know how these maudlin stories go. He married someone else. A lady. Someone of his own class. His took his power of choice. He became a respectable family man and I was left being a soiled dove. I had a good cry over it. I may have drank a little too much at his wedding celebration. What a pitiful little fool I was. But I did not wallow in my self-pity for long. So men have needs and desires? Well, I also have needs. I also have desires. Why should men have all the power of choice? Why should they have all the enjoyment in life?
I take my own power of choice now. I chose whom, when and for how long and I select only the most handsome, wealthy, and powerful of gentlemen.
Yes, I know you are asking do I not fear discovery? This is a worry and I take it seriously. Truly I do. I live with my half-brother and his family now. He is very protective and very touchy about matters of honor. Our mother was not faithful to his father. Now he takes such matters so seriously. Too seriously. If he had his way, I would stay home all the time, working in the backroom of his cobbler shop with one eye on the children. But honestly, though I love my nieces and my half-siblings, life there is dreary. It’s all work, work and more work. Everything is shabby, everything seems to stay gritty and grimy no matter how hard I work to keep things clean. There are always more shoes to repair. I swear my eyes shall go crossed trying to sew by candlelight night after night. I never get enough sleep or time to myself. If I couldn’t go out and seek my adventures, I should go mad. I have my mother’s wild blood in me and my desires can run so high I fear they shall consume me.
I could marry a nice man and he would carry me away from all of this. I would have my own cozy home and hearth. My benefactress has introduced me to a nice young minister and to a nice young but struggling legal clerk and a nice young medical student who trembled all over and went pale when I said good morning to him. I have no interest in nice young men. It’s the wealthy, powerful, arrogant gentlemen who fascinate me. I know they will never desire me for a wife but they shall burn for me. They shall remember me.
How do I protect myself from discovery? I limit my liaisons to one single meeting. I never meet with my gentlemen again, no matter how desperately they implore me. And they do implore me. Though I am poor, the child of adultery by an unknown man and powerless in my society, I have something gentlemen desire. I have beauty, and thanks to my mother’s wild blood, I understand their hot lusts better than the women of their class. I do gain a measure of satisfaction out of leaving them burning for more. Burning for me. No gentleman shall ever forget the one afternoon he spent with me.
Today is a special day for me. Mr. Asahel de Grijs, otherwise known as Grey to his friends, is coming to my favorite bookseller to give a lecture on privateering. He is a New York man, the owner of Sexton Shipping which has a fleet of over forty sea going vessels. He is rumored to be the wealthiest gentleman in America. I know this is not true. I know exactly who is the wealthiest man in America. But Mr. Sexton is among the top three wealthiest men in our nation. He is also politically connected and quite powerful. He would be the brightest feather in my cap. I think I shall wear my shabbiest dress because it is always more thrilling when these gentlemen cannot resist the tattered, poor little bastard girl. They are slaves to their own greed for beauty.
I don’t really deride gentlemen for their focus on beauty. I appreciate a handsome face and well-made masculine form. Well, if Mr. Sexton’s physicality matches his other attributes, then I shall be entertaining a gentleman today. In private. In his carriage. But only for today. Afterwards, he shall burn for me. He will never forget me.
Carte Blanche, Book 1
By Natasha Blackthorne
eBook ISBN: 978-0-85715-618-1
To watch the book video: http://youtu.be/fHAaAZdH5bQ
Read the First Chapter (for adults aged 18 and over only): http://dreneebagbypresentsfirstchapters.blogspot.com/2011/08/greys-lady-by-natasha-blackthorne.html?zx=523b852440718a93
Beth McConnell boldly seduces Grey Sexton, a self-controlled merchant prince from New York, she finds herself too fascinated by his ice-over-fire nature to stay away. His possessive determination to own her, body and soul, threatens to expose her secret erotic life to public shame.
“Are you hungry?” he asked, his tone front-parlour-polite.
“No.” She couldn’t possibly eat. She’d been pent up with desire like a caged cat for two weeks. Now, so close to being beneath him again, she could barely keep herself from swooning from the excitement.
“You know, for a moment there, I thought you were about to bolt.”
“That’s a relief.” He laughed without smiling and pressed something into her hand—a key. He whispered his room number. “Go up. I’ll follow shortly.”
“I haven’t much time.”
“Very shortly.” The edgy promise in his voice sent a bolt of desire twisting through her belly. Her knees melted to jelly and she wobbled.
“Careful.” His strong hands gripped her shoulders, steadying her, his face showing none of the emotion pounding through her own body. How could he remain so unaffected?
Impulse seized her and she caught hold of his lapels. “Kiss me.”
He leaned closer. Heavens, anyone could come along and catch them. Oh the risk… But her breath quickened and her nipples stiffened, straining against her stays. She closed her eyes, tilted her head up. Waited.
“How many men since me?” He laid his large hand at the base of her throat and a thrill went chasing through her. “Look me in the eye.”
Her lids fluttered open and his gaze pierced into her with such intensity she gasped. “It has only been two weeks.”
“Answer me, Beth.”
Another thrill trembled through her. Fear or anticipation? She couldn’t say. “None.”
Still holding her throat, he studied her for several long moments. She set her jaw, refusing to waver under his scrutiny.
He bent and his mouth pressed hers, hard and hasty. Passion spiralled, took her soaring to the stars. Lassitude weakened her and wetness seeped between her legs. He lifted his head. She tightened her hands on his lapels, trying to pull him back. He resisted, his eyes trained on her like a stag with a doe.
Kiss me. Just kiss me, you arrogant jackanapes.
“Now, go.” He released her, set her veil back in place and left her there.
She gaped at his departing back, watching how he moved, so tall and proud. Over-proud. Did he have any idea what a rarefied class he found himself in? She didn’t go around asking just any man to kiss her. She had very high standards and she shared herself with only a select few. She was bestowing quite an honour on him and yet he reacted as if she were the one who ought to be grateful. And to add insult to injury, he hadn’t even kissed her. Not truly.
and a bit more…