In Victorian London of 1879, a new device for the treatment of hysteria has just arrived from France. Dr. Julius Christopher plans to use the invention for his own salacious scheme. Can Dr. Nicholas Ramsay prevent his beloved, the virginal debutante Helena Phillips, from being the next patient?
The Doctor and The Debutante
Nicholas Ramsay, renouncing his aristocratic heritage and dark past, has chosen a career as a doctor. He arrives in London ready to embark upon his practice and find a suitable wife.
Helena Phillips, born into scandal and disgrace, is making her London debut. To atone for the circumstances of her birth, she must find a titled husband—no less than an earl will do.
A Dangerous Passion
Nicholas and Helena’s chance encounter during the Season leads to a dangerous attraction—and forbidden explorations. A taste of passion leaves Helena longing for more, and her lovesick wretchedness is confused for hysteria, a mysterious ailment afflicting many Victorian women.
A Devious Scheme
Dr. Julius Christopher’s new electro-mechanical vibrating machine for the treatment of hysteria is the perfect device to test his radical theory of female sexuality. To fully explore his hypothesis, he requires a virgin and seeks to ensnare Helena for his experiment.
Can He Save Her?
Nicholas is determined to rescue Helena from the clutches of Dr. Christopher. But to prove he is worthy of Helena’s hand, Nicholas must reconcile with his past, embrace his future, and show her pleasure is more profound when coupled with love.
The Pleasure Device was previously published in 2013. It has been reedited with minor revisions and has a new cover.
Series description: The Harwell Heirs
Victorian aristocracy has very strict rules concerning marital connections and familial obligations. But the Harwell heirs—Helena, Sophia, and Arthur—discover love doesn’t always follow the rules. Scandalous affairs force these scions of society to choose between duty and desire, deference and destiny.
Book 1: The Pleasure Device
Book 2: Disobedience By Design
Book 3: Where Destiny Plays
Copyright ©Regina Kammer
As she strode toward the wingback Helena thought the empty bedroom was oddly humid, the windows peculiarly cast in a dissipating haze of steam. Then she felt a presence. A man’s presence. She stopped short.
“Hello?” she called out meekly.
It was him. Her heart leapt to her throat.
“Nicholas?” she croaked gleefully.
She watched as he ran to the door and locked it.
“Whatever are you doing?”
“Locking the door.” He grabbed her hands. “Helena, you should not be in here.”
“Because you’re in here?” she asked plainly.
“Well, yes.” He raked his hand through his hair nervously. “And what are you doing on the third floor anyway?” he scolded.
“I went to the ladies retiring room on the first floor and then I decided to explore,” she began defensively. “There were so many people going up and down the stairs I thought there was nothing wrong with it. I was just looking for a little respite before I was expected back at the ballroom.”
He shook his head. “I apologize. Of course your reasons are un-censurable. But darling, I don’t want anyone to find you in such a compromising position.” He exhaled, his expression twisted, trying to think what to say. “You see, the third floor is where guests go to have illicit love affairs.”
“Oh.” She should have been completely scandalized by such a notion, but she was far more enthralled that such things happened at formal occasions.
Nicholas led her to a window as if to consider how he could manage her escape, but seemed to realize how foolish that was.
In the pale moonlight, she gazed from his worried expression down to his untucked shirt bunching where his braces met his trousers. His half-dressed appearance suggested a recent adventure of sorts. “Then did you just have one?”
“One what?” he asked distractedly, reconsidering the window.
“An illicit love affair.” She relished saying the words aloud. She could never talk like that in front of anyone but Nicholas.
He glanced down at his state of dishabille, then regarded her apologetically. “Helena, please believe me,” he implored. “I came here as innocently as you did, to find some peace away from the crowds.” He looked away, abashed. “But I found someone here, someone I knew, someone I liked.” He brought her hands to his lips and kissed them as he gazed at her. “It was base and contemptible. I hope I have not lost esteem in your eyes.”
“Was it wonderful?” she asked eagerly.
Nicholas was taken aback by her response. “I—I suppose it was, rather.”
“Oh, how romantic!” She wandered over to the wingback and flopped down into it, his gloves falling from the arm to her lap. “I wish I could do something so wicked,” she lamented, smoothing and straightening the kid leather. It simply was not fair that others could be so free.
He knelt at her side. “Helena, you should never have to do such a horrid thing! Your husband…” He faltered. “Trust me, your husband will worship you. You will find all the love and romance you’ll ever need with him.”
Your husband… Helena didn’t even know who he was going to be. Tears welled in her eyes. How could she possibly love a man she did not even know? Meeting Nicholas in third floor bedrooms sounded like a much preferable life. The tears were insistent. She wiped her cheeks, staining her gloves.
Nicholas jumped up. “Darling, what is wrong?” He pulled her out of the chair and led her to the bed. “Sit with me. Talk to me. Tell me what is bothering you.”
She sniffled as she sat on the mattress. “Do you have a handkerchief?”
“No,” he responded brusquely. He slipped off his braces and offered the hem of his shirt. “Please, use this,” he said gently.
She wiped her eyes and her nose, pulling the shirt up as she did so, revealing his torso little by little until she had completely forgotten about her tears and was simply staring at his stomach. She had never seen a man unclothed before and the sight was affecting her in an unexpectedly physical way. “May I touch you?” she asked quietly, unable to quell the awe in her voice.
“Yes,” he said with a yearning quiver.