Today I am so pleased to welcome Megan Mulry to Joyfully Jay. Megan has come to share an excerpt from her latest release, Bound with Passion. She has also brought along a fabulous tour-wide giveaway! Please join me in giving Megan a big welcome!
Both men laughed, and then James stood up to pour them all drinks. With his back still turned, he asked, “If you’re really able to tell us anything, Georgie, have you ever . . . you know . . . been with anyone?”
Georgie smiled at his back and then looked at Trevor to see what he thought, if it was just a silly question. But his lips were quirked and he seemed genuinely interested.
“Fine,” he admitted. “I’ve also wondered.”
“Really?” He shrugged adorably. “I mean, I haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about it. But you know, you’re fabulous and my closest friend and you deserve to have a bit of fun like the rest of us.”
“I’m so flattered you two have taken an interest in my physical needs.”
“Oh, never mind.” James obviously sensed her sarcasm. He crossed the room and handed them each a glass of whiskey. “I shouldn’t be so crass, but I always think of you as one of the boys, so I figured I might as well ask what I’d feel comfortable asking . . . one of the boys.”
Georgie loved that idea. Why shouldn’t she tell them about her rather blasé attitude toward her sexual activities? It was nothing more than a physical appetite she satisfied when the need arose, akin to eating or drinking. “Well, when you put it that way, as long as I’m one of the boys and all, I’ll tell you.”
“Ooh, exotic stories from faraway lands!” Trevor settled more comfortably into his corner of the sofa. “Well, I was in Egypt first. Lots of British expatriates and French soldiers and a lot of mayhem actually. I’ll tell you more about it, of course. But to get the point, once you went behind the veil—pulled back the curtain, what have you— Egypt and Arabia were quite fantastic places as far as the sex was concerned.”
James perked up. “Really?”
“Yes. Well, in some ways it was all very physical and matter-of-fact. When I was first there, for example, I met a slightly older British woman—a widow I think, but maybe an adventuress traveling under the guise of widowhood—who took me to a bathhouse, for women only of course. And oh, how the women take care of one another’s bodies, so tender and thorough. In an almost reverential fashion, they take hot baths, massage each other with splendid oils and fragrant extracts, and all that sort of thing, quite relaxing and luxurious. And trust me, there was nothing platonic about it. But I’m not really one for all that lounging, as you can imagine.” James and Trevor both smiled knowingly at the preposterous idea of her sitting still for longer than a few moments at a time. “So, after I had set up my own establishment, well, I guess you could say I pursued my own desires.” She sighed at the memories.
“Really?” Trevor teased. “So you were quite the belle of the . . . Bedouins?”
“Well, beau was more like it. All those men loved to treat me like their little British lad, to be played with, and used, you know, in all the ways men play with lads.”
“What?” Trevor nearly spit out his drink. “I beg your pardon?”
James’s eyes gleamed with anticipation. “Pray tell!”
“Well, I mean, you certainly didn’t think I was allowed to attend the horse breeding establishments and sales, or visit the inner sanctums of the sheikhs while I was the upstanding Lady Georgiana Cambury, did you?” She leapt up from the sofa and struck a mannish pose, one trousered leg cast arrogantly in front of the other. “George Camden at your service.” With that, she sketched a perfectly masculine bow.
James bellowed out a laugh. “You passed yourself off as a chap? I adore you!”
She nodded and smiled and stood up a little straighter, feeling immediately comfortable in the confident, manly position. “Of course it was awkward at first. I felt so . . . oh, I don’t know, like an impostor I suppose. But when I gave myself over to it, really let it wash over me, it was quite wonderful. It was perhaps the most comfortable I’ve ever felt in my own skin. Not only for the places I could finally go without raising the eyes of the matrons in the British social clubs in Cairo, but the actual feeling of it, of walking with my arms swinging and my legs strong. Keeping my chin up and looking out at the world instead of that mincing female business of always avoiding eye contact and staring at my feet.”
Trevor was still smiling after her revelation, but he obviously had other questions bubbling to the surface.
“What else?” Georgie wanted to take all comers.
“Well, you were never a very mincing female to begin with, Georgie, so I don’t see how it was that much of a change.”
“Really, Lord Mayson?” She raised a haughty brow and spoke in her deeper masculine tone. “You don’t think it would be that much of a change for you to put on a dress and walk down Bond Street? You don’t think you would feel powerfully aware of how people looked at you, how confining and distracting all the fabric and petticoats and delicate shoes would feel against your skin?”
He flushed. “Well, when you put it that way, I’m powerfully interested.”
Lady Georgiana Elizabeth Cambury has been a “wild romping girl” all her life: dressing in trousers, riding astride, and doing just fine, thank you very much. Her father’s exceedingly generous bequest—and her mother’s liberal views of the world—have ensured that Georgie will never be a slave to the barbarous institutions of marriage or motherhood. Or so she thinks.
When she returns from five years in North Africa to boring Derbyshire for a brief, obligatory family visit, she finds herself in the midst of a legal snarl involving Mr. James Rushford and Lord Trevor Mayson—neighbors, lovers, and her two closest friends. Mayson’s father has declared that he must marry or forfeit his vast inheritance, so Georgie blithely offers to walk down the aisle, in name only. Problem solved.
But try as she might, Georgie cannot ignore the passion that quickly blazes between all three of them. When her marriage of convenience turns into something much deeper, Georgie must decide if she is willing to give up the independence she has fought so hard to achieve—or if love is worth the ultimate surrender.
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