Saving Lady Ilsa
Bradford Stratton needs a wife. It isn’t a tragic problem until one considers his disposition. He’d rather spend his days—and nights—with his young lover Frederick. But his father’s gently put request that he marry is nothing short of an order, and Bradford won’t settle for a silly bit of fluff. When he sees the beautiful Norwegian seamstress, he makes his decision on the spot. He has to have her, even as he knows claiming her could destroy his relationship with Frederick.
Ilsa Bergstrom has endured all the abuse she can take from her late sister’s cruel husband. But a thirty-year-old childless woman in London’s rough Whitechapel has few options for surviving on her own, and after a horrific night of abuse at the hands of three men, she’ll never choose whoring as one of them. Yet when handsome nobleman Bradford Stratton makes a scandalous proposition, she accepts without hesitation. Bradford proves to be a gentle and generous lover, but Ilsa knows when something seems too good to be true, it usually is.
“I highly recommend this wonderful love story of erotic, steamy passion…”
⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Monica, Happily Ever After Reviews
“…a sweet and sensual story of caring and acceptance.”
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Pam, Romance Writers Reviews
“I enjoyed Saving Lady Ilsa as a story in another time with wonderful characters and yummy sex twosomes and threesomes.”
⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Michel, The Romance Studio
“Saving Lady Ilsa is a rare treat. Kauffman spins a somewhat traditional, “Cinderella-ish” storyline by populating her world with flesh-and-blood characters who seize readers’ interest and refuse to let go all the way to the end.”
The carriage shifted under Buckles’ returned weight. “Where to, Mr. Stratton?”
“Circle the street once. Miss Kilgard will have the opportunity to disembark if she chooses.”
The reins snapped and the horses’ hooves sang out a clatter across cobblestone. Seated across from him, Ilsa placed a hand to the padded leather seat to brace herself, then dragged her fingers over it in a languid caress, admiring the fine leatherwork.
“The young woman in the shop—your daughter?” he asked, even though he knew the answer.
Ilsa crossed her hands in her lap, fingers knotting tightly, and glanced out the window into the darkness. Again, her lashes fell in that slow, erotic sweep. She shook her head. “Dietrich’s wife.”
The whispered response, so filled with pain, confirmed what Bradford suspected. Something unseemly was afoot.
“You are not married to the tailor?” He hoped she heard the genuine confusion in his question, and didn’t take his question as an insult.
“Mr. Kilgard was my sister’s husband. She died without bearing a child, but he kept me on as her replacement in the shop. Soon I was the replacement in her bed as well, even though I refused to marry him. Then Katrin came along and happily took my place in his bed. As desperate as he is for a son, he happily tossed me aside.” She paused over a sigh. “You might as well call me by my true name. Ilsa Bergstrom.”
“Yet you do not bear him that child either, Miss Bergstrom.”
”No. I did not.” She stared out into the darkness as she answered. The slender cords of her neck worked as though the words were difficult, but she was loath to let her voice tremble over them.
“So the replacement finds herself replaced.”
“Comin’ round again, sir,” Buckles called in. The carriage slowed.
“Simply put, Miss Bergstrom,” he said in Norwegian, “I am in need of a wife.”
She swept a sidelong glance at him, then did a double take. His use of Norwegian revealed he’d understood the filth the tailor had spat at her.
“I want you in my bed, Ilsa.”
Her eyes widened, in them something akin to panic.
“My situation is unusual. I will explain more later, but for now I will tell you that you will be treated with kindness and respect in my home, and if you agree to my offer, you will be provided for quite well.”
The carriage came to a stop.
“But neither will I lie to you. I want you in my bed, I want your legs spread wide and your body agreeable to my demands. You will avail yourself to me whenever it pleases me, and it will please me often.”
A mixture of anger and aghast filled her face. “I have many faults, Mr. Stratton. But I am no whore.”
“That is precisely why I am making this offer to you, Miss Bergstrom.” He relaxed against the seat and regarded her with a half-smile. “You will never have to return to Kilgard.”
Her green eyes flicked to the handle of the carriage door. Outside, one of the horses snorted impatiently.
Her chest rose and fell, her bosom straining against her plain woolen dress. When she spoke, her voice was hardly a whisper. “Drive on, then.”
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