I'd like to welcome author Jenna Jaxon to League of Rogues where she is going to discuss Covent Garden Ladies!
Take it away Jenna!
As I’ve said repeatedly on this tour and before, the 18th century was a wild and wicked time.
While researching Only Scandal Will Do I ran across numerous scandals and scandalous practices that people thought nothing of. There were few regulations as to what could be done or circulated. Therefore, many types of lewd materials made their way into print, from scandal sheets, to erotic books, to Harris’s List.
The last item I found fascinating. Harris’s List of Covent Garden Ladies or A Man of Pleasure’s Kalendar was a directory of working prostitutes published at Christmas by Samuel Derrick, whose pen name for the publication was Jack Harris. The directory listed names and addresses of “working girls,” a description of physical appearance of the woman (including the size of her breasts), the special services they performed and the charges (ranging from 5 shillings to 5 pounds) a gentleman could expect to pay for said services.
An excerpt from the 1788 directory notes a “Miss Johnson: The raven colored tresses of Miss J-ns-n are pleasing, and are characteristic of strength and ability in the wars of Venus. Indeed, this fair one is not afraid of work, but will undergo a great deal of labour in the action; she sings, dances, will drink a cheerful glass, and is a good companion. She has such a noble elasticity in her loins that she can cast her lover to a pleasing height, and receive him again with the utmost dexterity. Her price is one pound, one, and for her person and amorous qualifications, she is well worth the money.”
In some entries, Harris describes the women using nautical terminology: “many a man of war hath been her willing prisoner, and paid a proper ransom…she is so brave, that she is ever ready for an engagement, cares not how soon she comes to close quarters, and loves to fight yard arm and yard arm, and be briskly boarded.”
Harris’s List of Covent Garden Ladies was published each year between 1757 and 1795 and sold over a quarter of a million copies during that time.
I mentioned Harris’s List in passing only in Only Scandal Will Do, but thought it would give a bit of period color to the book and a passing salute from my hero Duncan, who, as a rake, may have been rather familiar with that list. J
A wild era indeed.
If you thought this was interesting, check out Jenna's sexy historical Only Scandal Will Do.
He has the woman of his dreams, but what price will he have to pay to win her heart?
Kidnapped and sold at auction in a London brothel, Lady Katarina Fitzwilliam squelches an undeniable attraction to the masked stranger who purchased her, pits her wits against him, and escapes him and the scandal that would ruin her life.
Unable to resist temptation in a London brothel, Duncan Ferrers, Marquess of Dalbury, purchases a fiery beauty. She claims she's a lady, but how can she be? No lady of his acquaintance in polite society is anything like her. Then he discovers she is who she says, and that this latest romp has compromised her reputation. He knows how that is. One more scandal and he'll be cast out of London society, but he needs a wife who'll provide an heir to carry on his illustrious family's name. He seeks out Katarina, intending only to scotch the scandal, but instead finds his heart ensnared. He's betting their future he'll capture her heart, but does he have what it
takes to win the wager?
WARNING: A blade-wielding heroine who crosses swords with a master of sensuality.
His touch, like fine silk drawn over her skin, sent a pang of longing through her. Could she permit someone else to be strong for her, just this once? He understood the fears she faced tonight and sought to vanquish them, as any knight errant would seek to make amends. He continued to stroke her cheek, her jaw, her chin, his touch feather light. A powerful, unreasoning desire assaulted her to feel his strong arms around her, sheltering her from the harsh world. She was hardly surprised, then, to find him gathering her against his broad chest.
“Lean your head just there, sweet.”
She could hear the strong beat of his heart, smell the clean, comforting citrus of his cologne. The fresh scent reminded her of home.
“You will be all right now,” he whispered, holding her securely to him. Safe at last. She closed her eyes and leaned into his caresses, contentment stealing through her for the first time since leaving Virginia.
With a finger beneath her chin, he lifted her face up to his. Her eyes flew open and peace fled as he pressed her mouth with a gentle kiss that stole what breath she had left. His lips--soft, warm, insistent--generated heat all the way to her toes. A sensation so overpowering she forgot everything around her, giving herself completely to the pleasures of that kiss.
Somehow his tongue slipped through her quivering lips, stroked her tongue, and caressed the depths of her mouth. She groaned, her face aflame at this unexpected intimacy. No man had ever kissed her this way, plundering where he would and denying her the will to protest. Raw power leaped from his mouth, streaked through her body, inflamed her craving even more.
Every magnificent swirl of his tongue resonated, not only in her mouth but in the deep, private places of her body as well. She moaned into his mouth, the low, guttural sound rising from some unknown reservoir of need. Pressing against him, she slid her hands up the steely hard muscles of his back evident even through his cloak and clothes.
All she wanted was his hands on her, his tongue in her. Of its own accord, her tongue thrust into him, bringing a growl of approval that encouraged her to frenzied explorations of his warm, wet mouth. He slipped a hand down and rested it on the swell of her breast, impudently nudging a finger inside the gown’s low decolletage and brushing it against her aching nipple.
Blue fire shot directly from his finger through her breast, causing Kat to gasp and arch against him. With a chuckle the man released her lips, but before she could protest, lowered his head and seized her nipple through the sheer white cloth. The gauzy fabric might as well not be there, for she could feel every lash of his circling tongue. The crest contracted into a small, tight bud. Another streak of fire leaped straight to the vulnerable core between her thighs. An unexpected bloom of heat raced through her and she moaned louder.
About the Author Jenna Jaxon:
Jenna Jaxon is a multi-published author of historical and contemporary romance. Her historical romance, She is a PAN member of Romance Writers of America as well as a member of Chesapeake Romance Writers. Her medieval romance, Time Enough to Love, is being published this year as a series of three novellas. The first book, Betrothal, released on April 19th., the first in a series of five interconnecting novels, was released in July 2012. Her contemporary works include Hog Wild, Almost Perfect, and 7 Days of Seduction.
Jenna has been reading and writing historical romance since she was a teenager. A romantic herself, she has always loved a dark side to the genre, a twist, suspense, a surprise. She tries to incorporate all of these elements into her own stories. She lives in Virginia with her family and a small menagerie of pets. When not reading or writing, she indulges her passion for the theatre, working with local theatres as a director. She often feels she is directing her characters on their own private stage.
She has equated her writing to an addiction to chocolate because once she starts she just can’t stop.