Her Quicksilver Lover: Even Gods Fall In Love Book 6
Love knows no bounds, and keeps no secrets.
Joanna Spencer is doing more than just serving tea at the Pantheon Club. She’s secretly collecting society gossip and evidence of foreign spy activity for her father’s journal articles.
Instead, she finds the club’s walls shield Roman gods in human form. One of which she must keep at arm’s length at all costs—the club’s alluring, enigmatic owner, Amidei, Comte d’Argento. Otherwise known as Mercury.
Joanna catches Amidei’s attention long before she drops and shatters an expensive tea caddy. He knows she’s spying, but he never suspected she’d be his nemesis in human form—or that she would stir his strongest protective instincts.
Those instincts will be tested to the limit when an enemy strikes from an unexpected corner, threatening their lives. And Amidei will have to face every last one of his fears to protect the woman he has come to love.
The lady she had served looked up. “The black tea is almost empty. Bring us more, if you please.”
Joanna bobbed an ungraceful curtsey. She’d never been good at those. She took the highly polished wooden caddy in both hands and left the room. She would have to hurry, or Lady Gaynor would complain about the service in this place.
Gentle female chatter followed her from the room. Someone was coming down the stairs leading to the upper floors, but she did not look up to discover who owned the heels clicking on the marble. She strode across the landing, intent on reaching the jib door on the other side. Her arms still ached from the weight of the heavy tray, but she would have to carry more before the day was done. Maybe she should practice with her father’s print trays.
She glanced up.
Lord d’Argento was perfection in male form. From his highly polished shoes to the top of his delicately wigged head, there was not a thread out of place, nor a spot marring his lavender waistcoat and rich green coat and breeches. The linen and lace at his neck sported a single jewelled solitaire, today in green. Probably an emerald, but worn so casually it was easy to forget exactly how much a stone that size and that brilliance would cost. She’d never seen him so close before, and the sheer magetism of his presence made her falter.
His emerald pin flashed in the light as he turned to her when she fell.
Pain lanced through her foot, up her calf, as she teetered, then skidded, scrambling to keep her balance. Her feet went from under her and she cried out in alarm. Anxious to save the tea, she clutched it as she slipped and tumbled right into his arms.
A shower of black leaves, followed in short order by green ones, flew through the air like rice at a wedding, then the gleam of the highly polished glass mixing bowl, and the crystal lids to the tea containers. The sickening sound of shattering glass mingled with alarmed cries, and then his arms were around Joanna and she was safe.
Only, of course, she was not. Lord d’Argento was not a safe man. He grunted as he fielded her weight, compounded by the velocity of her body landing in his arms. She’d fully expected him to step back to save himself—after all, what gentleman would not?
His sinewy power astonished her. Effortlessly he lifted her out of the way of the mess and roared, the sound louder because her ear was pressed to his chest. “Lightfoot!”
The factotum burst out of the men’s salon, consternation creasing his brow and anger lighting his eyes. “I knew this girl was trouble. Put her down, my lord, and we’ll send her off directly.”
Joanna had lost her glasses. No doubt the shattering glass included them. She had another pair at home, but she felt exposed without them, as if her fall had torn the clothes from her back. The comte gazed down at her, his pale silver eyes seeming to strip the disguise from her body.
He turned abruptly, still with her in his arms, and bore her back upstairs. Her body heated, and a vibrant thrumming hummed through her. She had felt nothing like it before and didn’t know what to make of it. Had she broken something? Her head, maybe?
Her father had ordered her to investigate the owner of the Pantheon Club. Discreetly, he’d said. Well, that had gone to hell in a handcart.
Upstairs lay more public rooms. Above that were the comte’s private rooms, and the guest bedrooms. For this was not only a club, it hosted guests, male and female. No wonder this place was gaining notoriety.
“My lord, I’m sure I can walk,” she protested.
He said nothing, only tightened his grip on her. Joanna barely stopped herself squirming. Upstairs, a maid hovered. The comte spared her a glance. “Clear up that mess, would you? And don’t let anyone use the stairs until then. That landing is lethal.” He murmured something, perhaps to himself. “I should probably have carpet put down.” He glanced down at her. “What do you think?”
“Me?” She was startled enough that the remains of her dazed shock left her. Pain thrummed through her leg. “My lord, it was my clumsiness—”
“It was nothing of the kind,” he said impatiently.
She frowned. Something else had changed. Oh, now she had it. His voice did not have the trace of an accent, where usually an Italian lilt decorated his words. Nothing except clear English. But how could she comment on that? Was he, after all, a charlatan, as some people had suggested?
He shouldered his way through a door and into a stunning drawing room, the pale blue upholstery startling in its brocaded glory. He laid her on a sofa, and in a few efficient movements, had her shoes off.
When she tried to scramble up, he pressed her shoulders, forcing her to remain where she was. “Stay there.”