Katrina’s breath caught when the big door swung open and a maid skittered out, rubbing her backside with both hands. Katrina felt her eyes widen as the maid gave her a red-faced look and then disappeared down the hall.
Heavens. What had she gotten herself into?
She had dressed like a boy to spy on various men of the ton to get fodder for her articles. She had eavesdropped on ladies while recording their conversations in her notebook. But she had never gone this far before.
The fiend himself appeared in the doorway. His sun-burnished cheeks were flushed and one corner of his full lips twisted up in a smug smile.
Oh God, what did he just do to that woman?
Katrina’s heart pounded.
“Miss…Hartley, is it?” he asked, his eyes narrowing almost imperceptibly as he took in her appearance. His smile faded.
Katrina cleared her throat. Her gaze clashed with his before she reminded herself she was supposed to behave like a maid. Standing, she kept her chin and eyes down as she dropped into a curtsey.
Bram flattened himself against the door to admit her but not so much that Katrina could not pass by him without her arm brushing his broad chest. Common sense screamed at her to turn and run from this place as quickly as her feet would carry her but she tamped her terror down.
Once this initial meeting was over, she could go about her business of collecting information for her story. She could save other women from the humiliations this man foisted on ladies like the unfortunate duchess and that poor maid who had left this room like a whipped pup.
A shiver tore through Katrina when she heard the door close behind her. Heart fluttering, she felt like a fox pursued by bloodthirsty hounds as the fiend stalked up behind her.
His hands cupped her shoulders and Katrina jolted at the unexpected touch. Heat from his palms radiated through her black cotton sleeves, mingling with the furious burning of the blood in her veins as it raced from the back of her neck to her cheeks.
“What is your given name?” he asked, his mouth only inches from her ear.
“K-Kitty,” she stammered, using the nickname her father had called her before his death.
“Well, Kitty,” he purred. “You are aware why women sign on in my service, are you not?”
She swallowed. Hard. “Yes.” Really, she had only a naïve inkling.
“Good. Then there will be no mistaking my commands,” he said and gave her shoulders a little squeeze before he released her and moved behind his desk.
With grace that seemed impossible for a man his size, he sat in his chair and appraised her.
Kitty kept her eyes lowered. She didn’t dare look at him.
After what seemed like an eternity, he spoke. “You don’t seem like the women who usually come to me. Are you certain you are in the right place?”
“Yes, my lord.”
“That won’t be necessary.”
“Then what am I to call you?” She made the mistake of lifting her shocked gaze to his.A half-smile played on his lips. “You may call me…Master.”
Click here for more information about Debra's books.