In Lavinia Kent’s scorching new eBook original novella, two wounded hearts find that only the sweet release of temptations long denied can heal the pain of past sins.
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.
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.
Now that was quite the gown.
Or perhaps he should say quite the green.Jonathan Perry stared across the room at the dress and the girl who was trying to fade into the palms. He wasn’t normally taken with fashion, but this was hard to miss. He’d noticed the girl earlier in the evening, had been both strangely drawn to her and at the same time put off by her lifelessness, but until this moment he had not seen her clearly—and now he saw her very clearly. He couldn’t think of ever having seen anything quite that bright a green—well, perhaps a fly settling on a pile of dung. They sometimes shone with unbelievable color in nearly the same manner.
He was about to turn away when the lady shifted slightly and something about the movement drew him. It was reminiscent somehow, that must be why he kept looking at her. He pursed his lips and stepped forward.
It couldn’t be.
By God, it was.
But a far different girl than he’d left behind those years ago. Then she’d been bright and shining. She’d never been classically beautiful, but she’d shone with such a light that one forgot that within seconds. He could remember thinking that there was never anything as glorious as Sarah when she laughed, the deep husky timbre filling the room, even the house, her curls a mad cascade about her shoulders.
This woman did not have that quality. It was hard to imagine her ever laughing, not with those tight lips that seemed almost frozen on her face. Even as she pushed them up into a smile they hardly seemed to move.
And she was so, so . . . so faded.
He could blame some of it on the gown, it was hard to imagine any woman standing up to that color, but it was more than that. Her skin was so pallid—as if she had stayed locked in the basement from the moment he left until this very day.
And her eyes. It should have been impossible to see them from across the room, but even from here he could see how lifeless they seemed. No, that wasn’t quite right. They had life, just not a life that anyone would want. They spoke of wounds deep and painful.
Then those eyes came up and met his, for a second they flashed with remembered fire, but then her cheeks lost any color that they still contained—and she turned and scuttled off.
What had happened to the Sarah that he’d he known? How had she become this timid mouse?
It had hurt to leave her five years ago, but she’d given him no choice. She’d refused to take a chance on him, had refused to take the risk—and he’d been equally unwilling. And then her final words had left him with no hope and so he had gone. He stared after her, remembering how she’d left him feeling.
Well, looking at her now, it was clear that in not taking that chance she’d lost much—not that he would take credit for whatever had happened to her these past years. She had taken responsibility for her life and he had left her to it. No, he took no blame.
And he would feel no pity for her.
He lifted his chin and stared across the room, waiting for her to turn back, waiting for her eyes to find him again.