Sandra Owens is now on tour with ABG Reads Book Tours with her book, The Letter . Please visit her tour page for more blog stop and a chance to win a copy of the book!
by Sandra Owens
Genre: Historical Romance, Regency
Publication: March 2013
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Reliving that night, telling her the sordid details, had left him raw and angry. He rubbed his palm over his chest. All these years he had blamed her for the almost unbearable pain in his heart. Seeing that night through new eyes took the shame from her and put it on him.
He had failed her, but the word didn’t seem right. One failed to show up on time for an appointment, one failed to repay a loan, one failed to wind a clock. To put the woman you loved, that you should have protected at all costs, in the hands of a monster was worlds beyond a failure, it was dastardly, and it was unforgivable.
Yet, after hearing how she had been humiliated and debased, then thrown out like the garbage, she’d absolved him. I forgive you. There, all better, everyone can go their merry way now. He wasn’t sure he could accept her forgiveness.
As she read, he studied her profile, marveling at how much healthier she looked with only a few days of adequate food and rest. There was color in her cheeks again, and the dry, cracked lips were now pink and soft.
How many times had he kissed that mouth? He should have counted so he would know. He jerked his gaze from her lips to her hair. Even though she still kept it in the tight knot low on her neck, it was now clean and sleek, a shimmering golden-honey. The muslin day dress was an improvement over her black rag but far from the height of fashion. He would have to do something about that.
Today, she smelled of vanilla.
As unobtrusively as possible, he pushed his feet against the floor and slid his chair away. How far did he need to go before he couldn’t smell her? What would their life have been like had they married? Would they have still been happy eleven years later? He wanted to think so, had once believed nothing could mar their joy, so great was their love for each other. Could they find that again?
Michael reared up from his chair and moved to sit behind his desk. He leveled his gaze on the letter in her hands, and off her hair, her cheeks, her pink lips. There was nothing more to find, except perhaps a long lost son. She must be nearing Leo’s claim that Michael might have sired Jamie. He waited for her to make some sound, some exclamation telling him she had reached that part, and was it too much to hope she knew the truth and would tell him? That truth being Jamie belonged to him? Please God.
She held the last page, her gaze at the bottom of the blasted thing and still not a word. It didn’t seem as if her eyes were moving. Had she come to the end? Why didn’t she say something? Was it possible for one to climb out of one’s skin? If no one ever had, he thought he might be the first to bloody try it. He suddenly realized that one leg was bouncing like an agitated tiger wanting out of his cage. He clamped a hand down on his knee.
Without one devil of a word, she stood, handed him the letter and turned to leave. Stunned, he stared at the thing. She had nothing to say? She was halfway across the room when he reacted, shooting out of his chair, the pages scattering over his desk.
“Oh no you don’t,” he roared.
She cringed and at the fear in her eyes, rational thought ceased. Why was she afraid of him? Hadn’t he proved to her by now he wouldn’t hurt her? Christ Almighty, he wasn’t Leo!
Later, he would ask himself what possessed him to kiss her. Later, he would remember roaring at her. Christ, had he actually roared at a woman taught to be afraid of men? All of that would come later. Now, rationality had abandoned him.