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Bound and Determined #2.5
Releasing Sept 22nd, 2015
Five years ago, Miss Sarah Swilp had been deeply in love with Jonathan Perry, the second son of an earl. But when Jonathan inherited his aunt’s lands and money, he turned cold, demanding Sarah’s maidenhood and uttering those unforgettably cruel words: “You do know I won’t marry you.” She refused, of course, and that spoiled everything. Now, just as she’s agreed to a marriage of convenience, Jonathan reappears—and after Sarah gets one look at his lean, hard body, the embers of desire burst back into flame.
Over time, Jonathan has learned quite a bit about the art of pleasure—though nothing has ever given him so much joy as the husky timbre of Sarah’s laugh. It had hurt to leave her, but what other choice did he have? Perhaps he’d been too afraid of ending up like his brother, targeted by a woman seeking a title. Seeing her again, Jonathan can’t help wondering what might have been if only Sarah had surrendered to red-hot lust. Fortunately, judging by the wicked look in her eyes, it may not be too late to find out.
Sarah’s Surrender is intended for mature audiences.
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Mr. Meyers had been right. She did have no choice. She’d been so foolish to pretend she did, to hope that a knight might show up at the last moment and save her.
She took one step down, ignoring the urge to see if Jonathan was still watching her.
Mr. Meyers was not so bad. He had all his teeth. He wasn’t mean, or at least she didn’t think he was. These things were hard to tell from public appearance. Papa had taught her that.
And he wanted to marry her. She wasn’t quite sure why, although she rather thought he liked the fact that she had no choice, that she would be forced to always be grateful to him. And he thought she was obedient. Papa was always telling his friends how good she was at doing whatever was demanded. If only he knew the truth—but perhaps it was best that he didn’t.
She hadn’t liked the look Mr. Meyers got on his face at Papa’s words, but what choice did she have?
And he liked her breasts. There was no mistaking that.
Another step. Keep ignoring Jonathan. Perhaps he wasn’t even there anymore. No, don’t think about him.
Think only of Mr. Meyers.
How did you tell a man you were now willing to marry him?
She braced her shoulders. You just did it. It was no different than most of life. You just did it.
How many things had she done just because there was no choice?
Too many to even begin to count.
She should be well practiced by now. It should not be this hard.
Only it was.
She’d had dreams, so many dreams. And none of them had included marrying a man her papa’s age, a man who clearly would never regard her as a person, let alone someone special.
Perhaps she was misjudging him. He must hold her in some esteem if he wanted to marry her.
Three more steps down.
She could do this.
There was no choice.
She hurried down the remaining steps and without giving herself time to think positioned herself a few feet from Mr. Meyers.
She felt his eyes fall upon her, felt the icy flicker as his gaze swept up the green gown and stopped at her chest.
Pulling a deep breath in, she let her breasts swell against the bodice.
He licked his lips, glanced once at her face, and then turned and walked away.
A cold knot formed in her belly.
She made to follow him, her feet sliding over the smooth parquet of the floor. If she hurried a little through the crowd she could get in front of him, give him another chance to speak to her. Stepping quickly about one couple and then another, she bypassed a group of matrons and came to stand just in front of the card room door. Mr. Meyers was a friend of her papa’s; there was not a chance he was not heading to the card room.
A large potted palm stood to the left of the door and she positioned herself in front of it, hoping her dress blended well with the deep shade of the leaves.
She pasted a pleasant smile on her face as she saw Mr. Meyers approach.
He paused, his gaze skimming over her again. His lips tensed. “Did you wish to speak to me, Miss Swilp?”
Why ever would you think that? The answer died before it even left her lips. “Yes.”
“I rather thought so, but as you can see I am busy.” He nodded to the door to her right.
Cards. Men always wanted to gamble. “I do understand, but I only need a moment.”
“I imagine you’ve reconsidered. Your father made it very clear that you would.”
He had? Yes, she supposed he had. Papa would not feel any need to speak to her before making such a decision. “Yes, I rather think I have.” There was nothing else she could say.
“Good.” He stepped toward the card room.
“But . . .”
“Yes, Miss Swilp?”
“Don’t we need to speak? Shouldn’t we actually—”
“I am busy and I do not care to discuss such things in public. I will call on you tomorrow—no, the morning after—and let you know my plans. I will tell you how I have decided to proceed.” He took another step forward.
“But you still do wish to marry me?” Her hands rose to cover her mouth.
He stopped and turned, his heels squeaking on the floor. “We will talk the day after tomorrow.”
“But I need to know.”
His eyes raked over her without warmth. “But I owe you nothing. You said no to me.”
“Yes, but . . .” Life could not be so cruel.
“I will marry you, Miss Swilp, but I have no need to discuss it now. A wife must learn to let her husband be. I would have thought your father had taught you better.”
An image of her mother cowering before her father and his anger, her head bent and hand shaking, filled Sarah’s mind. “Yes, he did. I do apologize.”
“That is better. It is good that you understand now.” He turned and walked into the card room without another word.
She should have felt relief. Mr. Meyers still wanted her. She would not have to go crying to Papa that all was ruined. She would not have to face her mother and the knowledge of what would happen. Instead, her stomach curdled like sour milk when the tea was poured.
Lifting her head she turned back toward the ballroom. Jonathan stood there, his gaze upon her. What had he seen, heard? Hopefully nothing. Surely nothing. He was too far away.
She took a step back, feeling the fronds of the palm brush her shoulder blades. Her head drooped forward. If possible, she would have stepped behind the plant and hidden there for the rest of the evening. Why was it always so hard?
She felt tears form in the corners of her eyes.
No. This was not she. She did what must be done. She did not fret about it; she simply did it. She turned away from Jonathan. Even if he was back, he no longer mattered in her life.
It was only a day and a half until it would all be settled, until she would be engaged to Mr. Meyers.
Only a day and a half.
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Lavinia Kent is a former two-term president of the Washington Romance Writers and a four-time Romance Writers of America Golden Heart nominee. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her family and an ever-changing menagerie of pets.