Excerpt from The Wicked Bargain by Gina Danna

TheWickedBargain-GDanna-LG_2From The Wicked Bargain –

London 1816

Haunted by a past as a sex slave, nobleman Ethan Warth returns to England as a male courtesan for rich matrons and runs a brothel for wealthy lords. Arabella Covington appears on his door, trained in the medical arts but unable to practice because of her gender. He hires her to care for his ladies but her inquisitive nature and beauty make him desire to teach her the world of seduction.

Ethan, however, never counted on falling in love…


“Am I interrupting something?” A sultry male voice asked from across the room.

Arabella’s heart jumped, thudding harder as she pulled her hand back up. Thankfully, her back faced the door. She heard his bare feet padding across the floor to her. Quickly she dropped the book on the table below her and picked up the translation of Galen’s book of medical thesis. She pasted a bland look on her face and tried to force her body to relax against the mayhem of passion, heat, and desire stirring within it.

Turning toward him she tried to present a bored soul. “No your lord, I was just looking for a book to read.”

He laughed as he stood before her in a black silk dressing robe. His chest was exposed at the neck and the garment wasn’t long enough to cover his bare wrists or his naked feet. His eyes viewed her with candor, sparkling, and a half-cocked smile on his face. “Can’t sleep?”

Her face flooded with heat. Turning away to take a seat in the arm-backed chair with the Galen text she replied, “No, I took a long nap this afternoon.”

He chuckled and walked to the table where the other volumes sat. On top was the book she had been engrossed in when he arrived. She tensed, focusing harder on the line in the book in front of her she still hadn’t read. Almost rejoicing when he moved past the table to the sideboard, she burrowed deeper in the chair.

“Here,” he prodded, handing her a glass of red wine.

She peered up at him.

He sat across from her. The robe gaped at his chest as he sat and she found herself staring at his defined muscles. She blinked to break her view and delved back into the book.

He sat there quietly, drinking the wine. She felt his eyes on her. Why was he down here? With a sinister thought, she couldn’t resist the urge to say, “You just left your company to come here for a glass of wine?”

He smiled that dazzling, devilish grin of his, his dimples on display and mischievous all at once. “No, she had to leave.”

“Really? Enough rutting for tonight?” The moment the words left her mouth, she almost choked. Her body was still too hungry, needy, and it wrapped her sensibilities up.

Ethan laughed. “Sweeting, I can never have enough. I love what I do.”

Her body wanted more than his eyes on her. That thought made electric sparks travel through her. Whatever was wrong with her?

“Have you no morals?” she blurted, wondering where hers might go if she stayed here, alone with him.

One eyebrow lifted. Silence filled the space.

Setting her wine glass down on the side table, she slammed the book shut and rose to replace it. The man aggravated her. Then she heard the silk robe swish as he stood. Refusing to turn, she scanned the book titles before her on the shelf but she knew he stood behind her. His body radiated heat that wrapped around her.

“Ari,” he said quietly, almost a whisper. “Don’t be mad at me. I do what I must to survive.” That seductive voice caressed her ears. Her heart skipped a beat. “Just like you do or you wouldn’t be here, with me.”

The air grew dense and she couldn’t breathe. Desperately, she struggled to calm her erratic nerves.

“Why did you leave your home?”

What was she to tell him? The truth? Or what he wanted to hear?

“I needed to.” Close enough. “I had nowhere else to go but here,” she stated flatly.

“What of your aunt?”

She swung around, her nerves fraying as he stood right before her. Way too close for comfort.

“My aunt was not in a position to help me outside giving me a letter for you and your address. My cousin, he—” her heart thudded. “I just needed to leave and I can never return there.” All her options of surviving at Ethan’s narrowed if he continued to be this close to her.

He stood silently, his gaze slowly rising to her night cap.

“Why do you wear that preposterous thing?” His hand reached up and pulled it off her head. Her mussed braid fell over her shoulder. Her breathing hitched and her body froze, unable to move from those mesmerizing eyes of his and the lilt of his smile as it spread across his face.

Gina_033_2Author bio

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Gina Danna has spent the better part of her life reading. History has been her love and she spent numerous hours devouring historical romance stories, dreaming of writing one of her own. Years later, after receiving undergraduate and graduate degrees in History, writing academic research papers and writing for museum programs and events, she finally found the time to write her own stories of historical romantic fiction.

Now, under the supervision of her three dogs and three cats, she writes amid a library of research books, with her only true break away is to spend time with her other life long dream – her Arabian horse – with him, her muse can play.

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