When her dissolute husband insists that Lady Annabel Peters bed one of his villainous cohorts to repay a gambling debt, she is scandalized. But she is forced to agree because he controls every aspect of her life.
A physically and emotionally crippled war hero, James Drake has retreated from society. At the request of his brother, he manipulates events so he can interrogate Annabel, a woman he thinks may be part of a ring of thieves.
Neither of them count on an instant and overwhelming attraction. James may now believe Annabel but she suspects her husband plans to kill her. As one of her husband’s friends, James is not to be trusted.
Yet how can she escape a man who has the ability to control her with a gentle kiss?
Maneuvering Peters into having his wife pay his debts had been easy. He had counted on the bastard to care more about money than his personal relationships. Of course, James had no intention of compromising her. He only wanted her alone for questioning. Hopefully, she would be forthcoming, and he wouldn’t have to resort to intimidation.
He led her to the library. Three of the four walls were lined with shelves, crammed with books. It smelled of old, musty paper, but it was the only room in the house, other than the bedroom, that contained furniture.
“Take a seat.” He pointed to his old, leather couch, then carried the oil lamp from the stone mantelpiece and put it on the small table next to her. She clamped her arms around her body. Her large, oval eyes stared at the light, mesmerized by the small dancing flame. She reminded him of the refugees he’d seen when he served in the Crimea, giving the impression of a woman whose world had collapsed around her. Something in his chest twisted. He wondered if she was more a victim than he had assumed.
In the flicker of lamplight her eyes looked dark, but every now and then he caught a glimpse of a lighter shade. Were they blue or green? Wisps of hair, the colour of honey, escaped their pins and trailed down her neck beckoning him to trace the strands with his lips.
Damn, he might have become an animal, but there were limits to his depravity. He would not coerce a woman into his bed, wouldn’t touch her, kiss her, and he certainly wouldn’t make love to her. He needed her cooperation and honesty and couldn’t be distracted by a pretty face with sad eyes.
After being thrown out of England for refusing to drink tea, Marlow Kelly made her way to Canada where she discovered her love of storytelling. Encouraged by her husband, she put her ideas to paper. Her need to write about strong women in crisis drives her stories.
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