‘Tempted by You’
As a renowned pianist, Rosalie Montgomery had the world at her feet until a tragic accident took it all away. She lost so much—her fiancé, her dreams, and her sight. But Rosalie refuses to let her blindness define her, and she becomes a sought after courtesan. When her brother goes missing, Rosalie will do anything to find him—even if it means risking her heart.
Everything to gain . . .
Thaddeus de Burgh is on the brink of becoming a great composer. Except that future depends on the success of his newest concerto, if he can ever finish it. When he hears Rosalie playing the piano, Thaddeus knows he’s found his muse. He offers to find her brother if she helps him with his music. It’s a perfect solution so long as he doesn’t fall for her.
THADDEUS DE BURGH FELT LIKE a voyeur. Technically, he wasn’t a voyeur but an eavesdropper; he had actively listened to his brother talking in hushed tones with a lady Teddy did not recognize. While he could have walked away and left his brother to his newest guest, he’d been intrigued by his brother’s change in character on seeing this woman; he was gentle and kind with her even though Nathan had been gruff and moody since Teddy’s arrival. Teddy didn’t know who she was, though he thought he’d seen her before, perhaps at a play or musicale.
While he might not know her, he had felt the weight of her grief and concern as she’d begged for Nathan’s assistance to help her find her brother.
The door between the library and music parlor was slightly ajar. Gaslights flickered orange tendrils up the walls and along the floor, giving him a clear glimpse of the lady within the music room.
The lady’s dress was of fine cornflower blue silk and scooped invitingly off her shoulders, tempting a man to trace the delicate lines of her collarbone and shoulder blades where they peeked out above the fabric at the back.
Rich, black curls piled atop her head, and a few enticing strands fell here and there down her neck, practically begging for his fingers to tuck them back beneath the bits of lace and matching blue silk ribbons woven through her locks. The line of her neck was graceful, her skin snow-white, not a freckle or beauty mark in sight. Even in profile, he could tell she was pretty, with her high cheekbones and her plump, kissable lower lip.
Who was this mysterious and fascinating creature? And what could he do to help her once his brother left for Maidstone?
The temptation to talk to her—not only to distract himself from a composition that was going nowhere, but also to find a way to help her—was a bloody siren singing in his ear at a deafening volume. Without making a sound, he slid the pocket door completely into the wall as he entered the music room.
The woman’s posture was perfect, her arms slender, elbows held aloft at the right angle as she started a series of simple scales and arpeggios with her right hand, followed in succession with the left hand as she warmed her fingers on the old family Broadwood.
He clasped the top edge of a chair and held firm as he listened to the music she all but sang with her hands as she moved away from scales and into a romantic sonata. He had never heard a more moving or passionate pianist. And she played for no one but herself. What would she sound like playing for an audience?
Her technique was flawless, her talent inarguable. Her mind seemed swept away by the music; that was clear in her body language, and in the way she moved gently in synchronization with the slow-paced larghetto. There were no sheets of music to aid her. She simply played where her heart led.
Again, he asked himself: Who was this woman? Why hadn’t he ever heard her play before now? Why hadn’t Nathan told Teddy of her natural brilliance?
He took another step closer when the chords changed to a familiar concerto. How tempted he was to sidle up next to her and place his hands on a higher octave and join in. Would she welcome him to play a piece for four hands?
She bent slightly forward, shoulders leaning close to the keys, and started a new piece. A smooth melodic cantabile, and a very picturesque tune. He could quite literally stand here all day and listen to her play. This was a piece she knew well. Sadness and joy danced around each note, as though she yearned for something long gone or out of reach. Was she thinking of her brother as she played the music? The melody diminished to a softer, quieter tone but remained as stunning as the rest of the piece had been.
He walked over to stand by her right side. The smell of lilacs teased him, the scent light and pleasant. She’d taken off her gloves to play, revealing long, delicate fingers, nails buffed short—ideal for playing the piano. Those slender fingers danced seamlessly across the keys as if she were born at the piano, as if she spent day and night pounding at the keys.
Every nerve ending in his body came alive with awareness, and his heart picked up in speed the more she played. The passion, the beauty of her music struck him speechless.
She didn’t acknowledge him, so he assumed her to be so involved with the piece that she didn’t realize he stood next to her. He couldn’t help but reach for the keys in front of him. Taking the higher register, he mimicked her melody half a beat behind. The piece was simple, yet made complex with complementary harmonies playing over and with one another. And it was incredibly beautiful, as beautiful as Beethoven’s Eroica the first time he’d heard it in concert.
She stopped suddenly with a sound of fright and fell off the side of the small round chair. She landed hard on the floor in a flounce of blue-and-white silk, the wash of color like a Mediterranean wave throwing itself onto a sand-covered shore.
“Let me help you up,” he offered, reaching for her before she uttered a word.
“You’ve caused me to have the worst palpitation!” She took an audibly deep breath as she pushed herself up from the floor.
He couldn’t finish his words when she looked up at him. She had the bluest eyes he’d ever seen. A clear, topaz blue that was easily four shades lighter than her dress. Yes, he’d seen her in passing from time to time in her brother’s company, but they’d never been properly introduced. It seemed odd to him that he hadn’t noticed her condition before.
The emptiness that met his gaze drained him of all the warmth that had infused him the moment he’d heard her playing.
In his mind he had pegged her as an undiscovered virtuoso, but that simply couldn’t be the case. In fact, such a thing was damn near impossible for someone who obviously couldn’t read sheet music, no matter how beautifully she played.
She could not see him, not even an outline of him. It was evident in her vacant, blind gaze. But the way she played . . .
She intrigued him like no other person ever had and he had a sudden desire to know everything about her. It struck him that her conundrum with her brother was the perfect reason to learn all there was to learn about this woman. This woman’s music had inspired him to a whole new level. He wanted to write his composition with the same passion she exuded in her own music. Emulate it in such a way that those listening to his music would feel as he felt listening to hers.
AUTHOR BIO: Deciding that life had far more to offer than a nine to five job, bickering children and housework of any kind (unless she’s on a deadline when everything is magically spotless), Tiffany Clare opened up her laptop to write stories she could get lost in. Tiffany writes historical romances set in the Victorian era and is currently working on her Desire Me Now series for Avon Impulse, which releases in 2015. She lives in Toronto with her husband, two kids and two dogs.
GIVEAWAY: 1 eBook of Kiss Me, Kate!
More from Tiffany Clare:
Dangerous Rogues Series
Leo & Genny, Book 1
October 30, 2012
Tristan & Charlotte, Book 2
April 30, 2013
Hayden & Jessica, Book 3
February 25, 2014
Kate & George, The Carletons, Book 0.5
November 27, 2012
September 28, 2010
The Hallaway Sisters, Book 1
February 1, 2011
The Hallaway Sisters, Book 2
May 24, 2011