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Four of London's most notorious rakes are bored. They face another London Season and the usual games of dodging hopeful mamas and eager daughters. To escape the routine, they decide to place a little wager, but the result will not be at all what they are anticipating.
(55 pages) Sensual
As overheard by a waiter at White's while replenishing the drinks of London's four most notorious rakes...
"I daresay we need to liven this season up, gentlemen. What say you all to a little wager to test our much touted skills?"
"What have you in mind, Simon?"
"I'm sure you've all laid eyes upon Lord Convy's fetching little niece from the country? Ah, I can see by the gleams in your eyes that you have. I wager one of us can bag the little chit before she is even given a chance to wear out the soles of her finest dancing slippers."
"I say Geoffrey has the best chance at her. What woman can resist--"
"No! I'll take your wager, Simon, and any of you who interferes will taste the tip of my sword."
"Whoa there, Ackerly, no need for such dramatics. She's all yours. My good man! Yes, you. Bring the betting book 'round, we've a wager to record. One Lord Ackerly to seduce one delightful Miss Angelique Deveraux..."
* * * *
"Estella, is the lemonade always so--tepid at these affairs?" Angelique Deveraux grimaced down at the pale yellow liquid filling the crystal goblet she held. "You would think the drinks could be chilled."
"My dear, dear Angel, no one comes for the refreshments. They come to these affairs to be seen and to be--"
"Captured by ravenous wolves on the prowl." Sebastian Culver, Estella's new husband, swooped up behind his blushing wife. After a polite nod toward Angel, he dragged Estella out onto the dance floor where they proceeded to shock all spectators by dancing much too close for propriety's sake.
Angel sighed at the display and took another sip of her drink. Sebastian and Estella were still the talk of the town. Their whirlwind love affair and subsequent marriage had captured the hearts of even London's most cynical. Angel had fantasized about just such a courtship a time or two only to recall she was a nobody and beneath the notice of almost everybody, including the one person she wished most to notice her.
Aware of a slight change in the air about her, Angel set her lemonade aside and craned her neck to see what had caused all present to swirl to a halt and hold a collective breath. Ah, well that explained it.
The Rakes had arrived.