The Pleasure Palace: Celestine
With weeks left until her marriage, Celestine accepts one last dance with the devil. A devil she once loved, a dance of passion and lust, a waltz with Gabriel. They will dance for the joy of now, and the wonder of what could have been. A slow dance until the music ends.
Known to society as the Countess Murderer, for the murder of her husband, Celestine determines to place a name on the true killer before she leaves London for a new life in France. To clear her name she will need the assistance of the man she loved, and lost, the hell-master Gabriel Warren. Gabriel demands a high price, her complete submission, and his every desire satisfied. He will not hear the word ‘non’ pass from her lips. He will never forgive her for leaving him, and marrying his cousin, but he will take all he can, and dance with the beautiful countess until their music ends.
Length: Full Novel
Word Count: 80,780
Genre: Dark Fantasy/Regency Period
Available formats: PDF, RTF, Epub, HTML, Mobipocket (.prc)
© Cover Art by Jenny Dixon, February 2015
New Concepts Publishing
Lake Park, GA 31636
This is a work of fiction. All characters, events, and places are of the author's imagination and not to be confused with fact. Any resemblance to living persons or events is merely coincidence.
Cherie perched on the side of the worktable. “Gabriel. We have a woman.”
“We have several, Cherie. Pick one, and go away. As you can see, I am working.”
Cherie lifted a phial containing pink liquid from the holder, held it to the lamp, and shook it. “All you’ll accomplish is blowing us to kingdom come. Again.”
He snatched away the phial. “Do not touch, and do not shake anything in here. I did not blow us anywhere. Someone, who should not be in my laboratory, switched the bottles. Go away.”
“She requests employment.”
“Ah.” Gabriel snapped his goggles into place. “Michael and I manage the hell. The brothel is your purview. See to it.”
Cherie left the table and strolled the large, cluttered room, touching this and that as she moved along. “I cannot tell you her appearance for she wears thick widow’s weeds. She requests for the attendance of Sir Gabriel Warren, and there are few who dare to use your title. When asked would not give her name. She speaks, as I do, with a thick French accent. Her voice is low, husky for a female, and caused me to think of melted chocolate.”
Gabriel took her arm, and turned her to face him. “What?”
“I informed her it was Sunday, the hell was closed, and you did not accept unknown visitors. She told me to ask you if you remembered Aphrodite’s Folly.”
“Holy Mother of God!”
Cherie smiled. “Non. I do not think she is the mother of Jesus. I believe she may be a long ago, not so forgotten, lover.”
“Bloody hell.” Gabriel turned, and headed for the doorway.
Cherie stopped him, pulled off the goggles, and handed him his smoking jacket. “You have grease on your shirt.”
Gabriel growled as he shoved his arms into the jacket.
“Who is she?” Cherie asked.
“A female idiot.”
“Oh?” She buttoned his jacket. “All your females are idiots, Gabe. It cannot be any other way. Which idiot is this who makes your face red, and your eyes bulge?”
“Mind your own business, for a change.”
He left the workshop, and slammed the door. A second later, he opened it.
“Where the hell is she?”
“She waits in your study.”
Countess Celestine Warren removed her cloak, veil, and bonnet, dropped them over the back of a chair, and smiled up to the painting over the mantle. A surprise to see it again, the younger, happier version of her, and hanging in Gabriel’s study. It would have suited had he burned the thing. Mayhaps it was a reminder not to be a fool.
She wagged her finger at the painting. “Bon jour, Celestine. You were not so bright after all. Such a stupid little girl you were.”
“What the bloody hell are you doing here?” Gabriel closed the door, crossed the room, and pulled the drapes. “Are you out of your mind?”
He’d changed little, a touch of premature grey at the temples, and muscle to his once too lean physique. For the first time in eight horrid years, she felt a slight flutter in her chest.
“Hello Gabriel.” She bobbed a curtsey and bit back a smile. He had a right to be furious with her, and it was not his fault if he was even more magnificent when enraged. “It is fine to see you, as well, and I should add congratulations for your title, Sir Warren.”