Today I am so pleased to welcome Annabelle Greene to Joyfully Jay. Annabelle has come to share an exclusive excerpt from her latest release, The Soldier and the Spy. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Hello everyone! Thanks very much to Joyfully Jay for letting me have another guest slot. I’m here to share a special excerpt from my second m/m Regency romance, The Soldier and the Spy, which is being released on April 20.
In this excerpt, grumpy soldier Captain Benjamin Frakes is taking the unacceptably forward August Weatherby for a midnight encounter in his bedroom. He’s sure that one night together will help him exorcise any feelings he has for August… I’m sure you can predict how that’s going to turn out!
“My goodness. Still awake at this hour?” Weatherby’s voice washed over Benjamin like holy water, chasing away ghosts. “Men of a certain age should have more care for themselves.”
The man’s self-possession was something to marvel at. Benjamin’s heart rose in his chest, full of wild thoughts he had no business harbouring. “Young men should be careful to hold their tongues.”
“My tongue is always unacceptably loose.” Weatherby’s voice lowered as he approached. “It needs to be kept occupied.”
He leaned closer. For a long, thrilling moment, Benjamin was sure that he was going to be kissed.
I don’t kiss. His own words hovered on the tip of his tongue. For the first time in a very, very long time, he hoped that his own foolish defences would be coaxed into nonexistence by Weatherby’s willing lips.
“Well?” Weatherby’s murmur was too knowing for comfort. “Are we going or not?”
“I decide if we go.”
“Of course.” Weatherby delicately looked from side to side. “But will we be staying here?”
“No. I—no.” Benjamin resisted the urge to frown, any chance of the conversational upper hand already blowing away in the wind. “Shut up and follow me.”
He turned on his heel and walked, Weatherby hurrying behind him. Muffled footsteps, dripping wax and faint but persistent sounds of the bustling street outside were the only noises to penetrate the long, picture-lined sanctum.
“There are many men’s portraits here.”
Of course Weatherby felt the urge to talk. The man would feel loquacious at a funeral. “Yes.”
“Were all of these men…”
“Not all of them. Some of them were allies, or gave money, or were simply kind. There’s space enough for everyone.” Benjamin walked faster. “I’m not going to waste time giving names and titles.”
“No need.” The smug note in Weatherby’s voice stopped Benjamin in his tracks. “I know exactly who this dashing young man is.”
Oh, bollocks. “Come on. Keep up.”
“No. I’m going to linger under this particularly handsome buck.” Weatherby smiled as Benjamin turned. “This exceedingly recognisable buck.”
He should have removed it. He should have burned it. Benjamin walked back to the portrait that Weatherby stood beside, steeling himself to look at what lay on the canvas.
“You should wear your old uniform.” Weatherby’s tone had no hint of mockery. “Red becomes you.”
Benjamin, a sigh in his throat, looked upon his younger self.
Had he ever truly been like that? So young, so carefree, leaning against a tree that the painter had improvised in his studio using a besom broom and a large bucket? Hartley next to him, preening over his lavishly embroidered jacket—oh, how Lambert had laughed at all of them, sniggering in the corner, while Caddonfell had coolly instructed the artist in the exact manner of heroism he expected him to conjure.
“These are your friends. Why haven’t I met them here?” Weatherby leaned forward; Benjamin realised with a jolt of discomfort that he was reading the names written underneath. “His Grace Edward Stanhope, Duke of Caddonfell—goodness, I’m sure I’ve heard of him. Not William Hartley, though, or—”
“Stop.” Benjamin gripped the back of Weatherby’s shirt, pulling him away. Taking him in hand felt scandalously good. “Now.”
“I thought soldiers were supposed to be patient.”
“Remember why you’re here, damn it.”
“I’m forgetful.” Weatherby’s voice was a soft, intimate purr. Benjamin bit his lip as the man’s hand slid underneath his shirt, finding the taut muscles that bordered his hips. “Remind me what I’ve asked for. What I’ve begged for.”
A beholden man finds himself falling for the war hero he’s destined to double-cross.
Three hundred pounds for one night of protection. It’s a job offer, but it’s also a ruse. Captain Benjamin Frakes, war hero and de facto head of the Society of Beasts—a club for gentlemen who prefer gentlemen—is tempted to turn it down. But August Weatherby, the sexy, brazen stranger making the offer, has captivated him completely.
August is hardly the flush flirt he claims to be, however. An indebted man, desperate to save his infirm sister, August makes an ideal pawn for a lord eager to bring down the Society of Beasts once and for all. But August’s charge to find evidence against Frakes is at odds with his own virgin desire to entice the captain into showing him the true meaning of pleasure.
As August’s infiltration pushes him deeper into the beguiling world of delights behind the Society’s closed doors, he and Frakes discover new ways to push the boundaries of their own cravings. But with mounting pressure to complete his devious mission, August finds himself torn between the man his heart yearns for and the sister whose life depends on his betrayal.
Society of Beasts
Book 1: The Vicar and the Rake
Book 2: The Soldier and the Spy
Annabelle Greene writes hot, heartwarming historical romances with plenty of humor.When she isn’t crafting the perfect HEA, she’s making pasta or walking along Italy’s beautiful Adriatic coast.