Excerpt from The Earl's Intimate Error
a Short Story

Miss Prudence Canton loves her quiet life in the
country, caring for her ailing father and their
beloved horses. She's become adept at fending off
the advances of gentlemen until a bold stranger
arrives. Lord Woodleigh seems to be just as shallow
and roguish as so many others, but for one
passionate moment she lets down her guard.

Papa--with a gun--discovers them and assumes the
worst. Now Woodleigh must pay for those stolen
kisses by finding a husband for Prudence before
word of her "ruin" gets out. But matchmaking proves
more difficult than he expects. What he thought was
just a lustful lapse in judgment is turning out to be
much, much more than expected.
The Earl's Intimate Error
   It was unbelievable, impossible, outrageous, and even somewhat offensive. The bedraggled
creature he’d allowed to take his horse—his horse, for God’s sake—was a female?
Incomprehensible and infuriating.
   “Oh, he’s marvelous!” the dripping wench rattled, pink-cheeked and grinning.
   She hopped nimbly down from Vesuvius and shook out her chestnut hair. Thick waves of
weather-dampened ringlets spilled over her shoulders. Where the devil was the cap she’d been
wearing? That’s what had fooled him, no doubt. The hussy had all that glorious hair hidden when
he’d first seen her. Plus, she’d been dry then.
   The rain, however, had started up while she’d been riding and had wetted her clothing.
Thoroughly. Leaving little doubt as to the gender of the person inside. By God, she had bosoms!
Nice round, womanly ones. Hellfire, how had he missed those?
   Lord Woodleigh gritted his teeth. Just what sort of stable did this Canton fellow keep? Female
stable hands? What folly.
   Then again, Woodleigh rethought the man’s innovation as the wench bent gracefully at the
middle to grab up a cloth and began rubbing Vesuvius’s slick coat. He was reminded he’d sent his
mistress off packing with another man nearly two months ago. This female’s fluid motions—and
tight, wet apparel—were nothing short of tortuous for a celibate man.
   Perhaps she handled more than just horseflesh for her master. Now that would be a
convenient sort of employee, indeed.
   He allowed himself to appreciate the view as she ran the cloth over his animal’s long legs. Yes,
a very useful and convenient employee. Did she serve her master exclusively, he wondered, or
was she the type who welcomed good English coin from anyone? He was, after all, on holiday and
looking for whatever might provide distraction from the unpleasant task that awaited him back in
London.
   As the girl worked over Vesuvius, he had to admit he was more than a little bit jealous of the
horse.
   “He was an excellent ride,” the girl said over her shoulder as she worked. “Powerful, but a very
smooth gait.”
   “I’m glad you approve,” Woodleigh replied. “Not everyone appreciates a powerful mount.”
   “Oh, I do. Most definitely.”
   “He can be somewhat of a challenge, though.”
   “Yes, I could see that in him. He wouldn’t take my commands at first.”
   Woodleigh chuckled. Indeed, he’d never known the animal to take commands from anyone
easily. Generally the thoroughbred misbehaved for all but himself, but under this young woman’s
soothing touch the beast was as docile as a plow horse. Woodleigh could well understand it,
though. He’d be in no hurry to escape her capable, busy hands if it were his own body they
traveled over with such purpose and assurance.
   “But I kept him in hand, sir. Wouldn’t give him his head until he had earned it,” she continued.
   Woodleigh choked just a bit. Damn, but did the girl hear herself speaking? Surely she was not
completely oblivious to how her words might be perceived. Indeed, she must be purposely toying
with him. And he liked it.
   “I saw you blew him out at the end,” Woodleigh commented, wondering just how far she would
go with this.
   “I tried, sir, but he’s not finished yet, I’m afraid. Quite the stamina, this one.”
   “I keep myself fit. Er, that is…I keep my horses well fit.”
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Available Feb. 26, 2014