Edward reached over and plucked the book from her hand. He set it down next to the remains of their luncheon; then he took a pink rose from the vase in the center of the picnic cloth and shifted closer to his wife.

“What are you doing?” Anna hissed, although she had a very good idea.

“Me?” Edward tried to look innocent as he trailed the rose over the tops of her exposed breasts. He didn’t succeed nearly as well as his son.


One petal fell down her cleavage. He knit his brows in mock alarm. “Oh, dear.”

His long fingers delved between her breasts, searching for the petal but only pushing it farther down. He wasn’t doing a very good job finding it, his fingertips kept brushing over Anna’s nipples.

She batted at his hand halfheartedly. “Stop that. It tickles.” She squeaked as he pinched a nipple between two fingers.

Edward frowned sternly. “Shh. You’ll wake Samuel.” Her bodice gave way. “You must be very, very quiet.”

“But Mother Wren—”

“Is seeing how Fanny fares at her new post in the next county.” His breath tickled her exposed breasts. “She shan’t be home until supper.”

He took a nipple into his mouth.


Anna’s breath caught. “I think I’m breeding again.”

Edward lifted his head, his black eyes glittering. “Would you mind another child so soon?”

“I’d adore one,” she said, and then sighed happily.

Edward was taking the news of her second pregnancy much better than he had the first. From the moment Anna had told him of her first pregnancy, he’d been terribly grim. She’d done her best to comfort him at the time, but she had been resigned to the fact that he wouldn’t truly recover until she was safely delivered of their child. And indeed, Edward had sat white-faced beside her bed the entire labor. Mrs. Stucker had taken one look at the expectant father’s face and sent for brandy, which Edward had refused to touch. Five hours later, Samuel Ethan de Raaf, Viscount Herrod, was born. He was possibly the most beautiful baby in the history of the world, in his mother’s opinion. Edward had drunk nearly a third of the bottle of brandy before climbing into the big bed with his wife and newborn son and wrapping his arms around both.

Now he flipped Anna’s skirts up and settled between her bared thighs. “It’ll be a daughter this time.”

He was trailing kisses up her neck. Both of his hands covered her breasts, and his thumbs flicked her nipples.

Anna gasped. “Another boy would be nice, too, but if it is a girl, I know what I’ll name her.”

“What?” He was nibbling her ear, and Anna could feel his erection pressing against her.

He probably wasn’t listening, but she answered him anyway. “Elizabeth Rose.”

A masked avenger dressed in a harlequin’s motley protects the innocents of St. Giles at night.

When a rescue mission leaves him wounded, the kind soul who comes to his rescue is the one woman he’d never have expected…

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