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LA DÉESSE NOIRE: THE BLACK GODDESS
BY MARIANA GABRIELLE
Sired by a British peer, born of a paramour to Indian royalty, Kali Matai has been destined from birth to enthrall England’s most powerful noblemen—though she hadn’t counted on becoming their pawn. Finding herself under the control of ruthless men, who will not be moved by her legendary allure, she has no choice but to use her beauty toward their malicious and clandestine ends.
When those she holds most dear are placed in peril by backroom political dealings, she enlists some of the most formidable lords in England to thwart her enemies. But even with the help of the prominent gentlemen she has captivated, securing Kali’s freedom, her family, and the man she loves, will require her protectors stop at nothing to fulfill her desires.
LA DÉESSE NOIRE: THE BLACK GODDESS
BY MARIANA GABRIELLE
“Miss Shaheen, I am enchanted.”
When Kali rose from her curtsey, Lord Fitzmarten bent over her hand, not kissing it with a sloppy, slobbering mouth, nor stroking her fingers or tickling her palm or turning and licking her wrist, as some men had done. Rather, he simply supported her fingertips on the back of his hand and bowed properly without touching his lips to her kid glove.
She found her breathing shallowed even more than her tightly strung corset demanded, setting her breasts heaving in her mulberry silk charmeuse evening dress. The décolletage had been scooped low both back and front, baring more of her shoulders and hugging more of her curves than even the most risqué aristocratic ball gown. Yet, he kept his eyes on her face, treating her like a respected lady of the ton, not the courtesan-for-sale they both knew her to be. For Kali, it was exhilarating.
In the final stages of her training, Mayuri had begun allowing her to occasionally perform in the kotha, but not in clients’ beds, introducing her to men without fielding offers for her favors. No Masala Rajah customer she had met displayed manners any better than a pig. Fat, short, ugly, disagreeable drunkards, gluttons, lechers, and fools. Perhaps, she thought, upon her introduction to Lord Fitzmarten, Mayuri had purposely shown her the worst sort of man, just to keep her expectations low.
This gentleman, on the other hand, was terribly attractive, even to a woman who had studied every aspect of the male form nearly since birth. She estimated he was five or six years older than she, with dark hair and eyes, pale skin, and a physique rivaling the most flattering effigies of Nakula, the most handsome man in Hindu mythology. An authentic smile highlighted a humorous, probably mischievous, temperament Kali suspected would be anything but boring. The way he looked at her eyes, not the rest of her body, warmed her heart. The timbre of his voice warmed the rest of her.
The perfectly tailored black velvet jacket and breeches, Pomona green waistcoat and dancing pumps, and matching emerald cravat pin holding in place the starched waterfall knot, were more suitable to a formal occasion than meeting one’s new mistress, so he had likely stopped here on his way to less salacious entertainments. Why that should make Kali’s stomach drop, she had no idea, since it was her lot in life to be conveniently sandwiched between his more important social engagements.
“Delighted, I’m sure, my lord. I hope I have not kept you waiting.”
Mayuri beamed at Kali’s perfect timing. Lord Fitzmarten had arrived precisely on time at eight o’clock; it was now exactly twelve minutes after.
“I believe I have been waiting a lifetime for you, my dear, though only a moment or two this evening.”
Kali swallowed a nervous giggle. Though this was their first formal introduction, it seemed he had been waiting everywhere she went the past few months. Peeking through the side door of the kotha, before Madame Falodiya shooed her away. ‘Losing his way’ in the halls outside the training rooms. At the back gate waiting for his carriage, she leaving on foot to go to the dressmaker.
Then, Mayuri had insisted she was too young to receive his attentions. Even though she was nearly fully trained, even though she knew thousands of ways they might please each other, even though he might have made an offer Madame Falodiya would never have refused, he had chosen to wait until she was old enough to choose him on her own.
“I do hope you will feel free to call me Fitz, as my friends do. It only makes sense, if we are to be so closely acquainted.”
“As you wish, Fitz. I hope we may find ourselves close friends.”
Kali blushed as Mayuri looked on. She would interrupt the flirting should Kali feel in any way threatened, but not one minute sooner. Kali’s eyelashes brushed over her warming cheeks, trying to hide brief glances at his thick, wavy black hair, eyes black and fiery as peppercorns, firm jaw and supple lips stretched into a smile when he caught her watching.
Mariana Gabrielle is a pseudonym of Mari Christie, a professional writer, editor, and designer with more than twenty years’ experience. Published in dozens of nonfiction and poetry periodicals since 1989, she began writing mainstream historical fiction in 2009 and Regency romance in 2012. In all genres, she creates deeply scarred characters in uncommon circumstances who overcome self-imposed barriers to reach their full potential. She is a member of the Bluestocking Belles and the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. Her first Regency romance, Royal Regard, was released in November 2014.
Links to Mariana’s website, blog, books, etc.
The book is currently available for pre-order at:
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1Fc31m3
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/1K1vMGq
All Romance Ebooks: http://bit.ly/1DeYx8O
Website and Blog: http://www.MarianaGabrielle.com
Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/marianagabrielle
**SPECIAL GIVEAWAY**: Mariana is giving away an E-copy of Royal Regard (now) or La Déesse Noire: The Black Goddess (June 10 delivery) to one lucky reader (choice of format) who comments on her *Author Peek* Interview or Karen’s Killer Book Bench blogs. Don’t miss the chance to read this book! Thanks, Mariana, for sharing your story with us!