The Lady Is Trouble by Tracy Sumner
Series: League of Lords, Book 1
Release Date (Print & Ebook): February 17, 2020
Subgenre: Historical (MF) Romance
In the first in Tracy Sumner’s sizzling League of Lords historical series, mysticism in Victorian England is the setting for a captivating love affair . . .
He’s a viscount with a dark past who yearns for the one woman he can’t have. She’s rebellious, spurned by society and determined to change his mind.
What’s a rebellious woman to do when the man she’s meant for doesn’t believe in love?
After three years of waiting for Julian Alexander to realize they are destined to be together, Lady Piper Scott takes matters into her own hands. Because her gift as a healer has never done anything but distance her from the most principled man in England. A meaningless diversion as a medium, all done to gain a certain wandering viscount’s attention, backfires. As most endeavors have for a woman known in the ton as Scandalous Scott.
What’s a reluctant viscount to do when the woman he can’t have becomes the woman he can’t live without?
Julian Alexander, Lord Beauchamp, battled his way from the lowliest slum to assume his title. He carries not only a turbulent past, but a mystical psychic gift that separates him from society. Honorable to his core, he is committed to protecting a community of outcasts with abilities like his own. He has no time, no place, for love. Or repeatedly rescuing the most outrageous, beguiling woman he’s ever known. Even if she needs his protection most—and he desires her above all others.
Seduction, intrigue and desire lead to an explosive passion…
Julian vowed to shield Piper from the deadly foes seeking to possess her powerful gift. Although he needs her help in controlling his own, the mix could be deadly. Soon what was once a simple agreement to work together becomes enchantingly complex as they surrender to a timeless love…
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Praise for Tracy Sumner’s novels
“Delicious and amusing…witty dialogue, sparkling humor and a snappy narrative. A must read!”
—The Best Reviews
“Terrific dialogue…and hot loves scenes. If you haven’t read Tracy Sumner before, Tides of Passion is a good place to start.”
—All About Romance
“A powerful relationship novel that explores the heartache and triumph of love.”
“The battle of the sexes heats up the pages of this fun and fresh romance by talented new writer Tracy Sumner.”
—New York Times bestselling author Susan Wiggs
Also by Tracy:
Tides of Love
Tides of Passion
Tides of Desire
To Desire a Scoundrel
To Seduce a Rogue
Julian backed down the stairs, three to be precise, until the dining room, with a modest lean of his body, came into view. He’d been headed up at a swift trot, the better to end a negotiation he had no chance in hell of winning.
Her soft laughter had slowed his progress.
He grasped the railing as if his life depended on staying connected to the pitted wood. Thankfully, the visions were muted and manageable, while the riot in his brain was not.
He had agreed to be her partner. Piper Scott’s partner.
Was he bloody cracked?
Balanced on the tip of his boot in the event he had to spring into action to avoid being caught observing, he recorded Piper’s interaction with the inn’s owner, Warren McAlister. A conversation about gardens and what bloomed best in sun versus shade. How much water did this plant require and which ones could go without. She was buoyant, vibrating with youth and loveliness. So petite, and this Julian had failed to recall, her head barely reached the man’s chest.
She sounded genuinely interested in horticulture, gesturing enthusiastically as she absorbed the advice of a man enthusiastic himself. A man, by the by, whom Julian had never seen rise above a bland smile in two years of frequent stops at his establishment. The exchange made him question how much he actually knew about the woman currently soaking up all the oxygen and sunlight in the dining room below. If he drew a breath, he imagined he’d catch the trace of lilacs radiating from her skin, stronger even than the scent of his breakfast sausage.
He stood there, suspended, and watched her captivate.
Asinine fool, he resolved and continued up the staircase. How could he have forgotten this?
Piper Scott loved to set people on their ears.
Maybe it barely registered, the vibration she projected, tilting the world around her while he tried to retreat to the background. Hard for the tallest man in the room to do. Especially one with a moniker or two, as Piper had so agreeably pointed out. Beauchamp the Lion. He cursed as he slapped his bedchamber door open. What foolishness from a group of people with nothing better to do. With nothing more to worry about.
While he had the entire world on his shoulders. Or so it felt some days.
He scooped his soot-stained clothing from the carpet and into his battered valise. This bag he kept at the inn, stocked with a fresh change of clothing, allowing him to leave Harbingdon or London at a moment’s notice and rest at the midpoint. It was his favorite bag, one he’d retained from what he considered his other life. Too battered for a viscount, surely, which is likely why he felt affection for it. At one time, a boy, nearly a man, had run from an affluent but brutal existence at the hands of his father and disappeared in the bowels of London’s mean streets with nothing but that valise in his hand.
It now showed its age in a very inelegant way.
Perhaps they both did.
He slumped to the bed, dropped his head to his hands, and tried to massage away the ache. He wasn’t sleeping well. Controlling the visions was getting harder as they matured along with him. Images that had once made little sense now rang clearly, twisting his mind and his body into knot after knot. He was damned sick of looking into lives and being repulsed by what he witnessed. Repulsed and unable to expunge.
In actuality, he did need Piper.
She was buoyant, effervescent. Nothing, not even being a healer and pursued because of it, weighed her down. How did she manage that? His gift brought him low, scantly off the ground—his promise to protect the League even lower.
A ragged laugh tore from him as he imagined what she’d been up to in the past month. Fear mixed with fury inside him, but he still laughed.
Good God, she had guts.
A part of him, never to be revealed, envied her daring, her joie de vivre. Her bloody lack of concern even as someone, usually him, stayed close behind, sweeping up the mess. Strangely enough, at one time, freshly installed at her grandfather’s estate and not sure of his direction, Julian had wished to be more like her. Outspoken, animated, vivacious. But his objectivity held steady even in light of his wish that it not.
He pressed his palm to his chest. Through layers, he could feel his uneven heartbeat kicking. Shit.
Touching Piper Scott still made his pulse race.
Her body had filled out, curves deepening, on the verge of voluptuous for such a small frame. She should have looked drab in a borrowed dress, the bodice too tight, the hem already sporting a muddy border, when instead she looked nonchalantly enchanting.
God above did a title do anything but solicit magnificence, women thrown by eager mamas at your feet like rose petals. Very little were luminous without effort. Piper’s deep green eyes haunted him, reminding him of the emerald earbob he’d pinched from the gaming hell the first week after he’d run away, when food was so scarce his belly ached. An impulsive decision he’d taken a sound beating for because, unlike Finn, he’d never made a good thief.
Outside of those wondrous, glittering eyes, her mouth had always been her most arresting feature. Much too large for her face, he had been correct in assuming she would grow into it.
The enormously distressing element of this accounting, which was making his head pound and his cock stiffen, was the fact that Piper would crawl all over him if he let her. Sink inside him and grasp his heart, his body, his mind, all in one effortless, dazzling swoop.
He knew this. Had always known it.
She’d quite truthfully told him about her attraction, and once, at his weakest, he’d been unable to deny his own.
How was he to handle occupying her sparkling world again, when she would, without curbing any impulse, block him as he struggled to curb every one of his?
A forced distance between them was required because he was more dangerous to her than their enemies. Her grandfather had made him promise because he recognized the danger. It was written in the pages of his chronology, laid out rather brashly for those who chose to heed its warning.
An unforeseen merging of gifts can be catastrophic.
Of late, Julian had trouble leaving the otherworld once he entered, and he had no idea if someone going in with him would also have difficulty leaving. But he feared it was so, as her grandfather had feared. She’s not yours, he’d whispered in Julian’s ear with almost his last breath.
Piper had proven the combined power, crossing into the otherworld this morning when she grasped his hand. For one moment, he had known she was there with him. And he’d never been more terrified in his life.
The grave possibilities when their gifts converged were inescapable, it seemed.
So he would stay away.
No matter how fervently he desired her.
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About Tracy Sumner:
Tracy’s storytelling career began when she picked up a copy of LaVyrle Spencer’s Vows on a college beach trip. A journalism degree and a thousand romance novels later, she decided to try her hand at writing a southern version of the perfect love story. With a great deal of luck and more than a bit of perseverance, she sold her first novel to Kensington Publishing.
When not writing sensual stories featuring complex characters and lush settings, Tracy can be found reading romance, snowboarding, watching college football and figuring out how she can get to 100 countries before she kicks (which is a more difficult endeavor than it used to be with her eleven-year-old son in tow). She lives in the deep south, but after spending a few years in NYC, considers herself a New Yorker at heart.
Tracy has been awarded the National Reader’s Choice, the Write Touch and the Beacon – with finalist nominations in the HOLT Medallion, Heart of Romance, Rising Stars and Reader’s Choice. Her books have been translated into German, Dutch, Portuguese and Spanish. She loves hearing from readers about why she tends to pit her hero and heroine against each other and that great novel she simply must order in five seconds on her Kindle.