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Abandoned by her father and her fiancé, Nicole Waltham is forced to seek employment with Lady Scott when she has nowhere else to go. Against her better judgement, she becomes embroiled in a scheme of marriage by Lady Scott and her nephew.
Notorious rake Lord Brandon Montagu needs a bride in order to collect his inheritance but is determined to remain independent, not letting marriage complicate his lifestyle. Once married, he cannot let this spirited, courageous woman know she has captured his heart. If his past has taught him anything, it is love does not last.
Love blossoms between the reluctant lovers, but betrayal follows close on its heels. Her heart broken, Nicole flees to France into the middle of the French Revolution. Brandon must rescue the woman who is too hard to forget. Will he succeed, or will the guillotine claim both their lives?
“I am yours in name, nothing more.” She turned away, trying to shrug off his hand. He removed it from her shoulder, and she stood and faced him. She wanted to say more, but the lump in her throat prevented her speaking.
“Very well, madam! Listen to what I have to say. You will not be indiscreet under my roof or with my friends.” His voice sounded as sharp as flint.
“Perhaps you have a list, so I will know who your friends are.” Nicole glared at him through narrowed eyes.
“No doubt you dislike me, and what I represent. You will agree I have not treated you badly. I have given you my name, and although it may not mean much to you, it means a great deal to me.”
“You…you, sir, come into my chamber accusing me of things you know I have not done. You speak of your name as if it were akin to the Holy Grail. If you thought so much of your name, your father would not have put that ridiculous clause in the will, and I would not be here. You offered marriage because you must, not from any tender feeling for me. Never fear, my lord, I will live up to my end of the bargain. When a year is up, hold on to your hat because I’ll beat Woodrose’s record getting out of your sight.” Her eyes flashed as she snapped her fingers in his face.
He grabbed her hand and held it in a vise-like grip. “You push me too far.” He continued to hold her hand, staring daggers at her.
She tossed her head and stared back defiantly, adding fuel to the fire.
He dropped her hand as if it were a hot poker and strode to the door. “I bid you goodnight, madam.” He pivoted and slammed the hallway door on his way out of the room.
She heard his footsteps retreating toward his bedchamber.
Nicole raced to the adjoining door. She waited until she heard him enter his own room and noisily turned the key in the lock. She stomped back to her chair and picked up her book. Too cross to read, she sat turning the pages and staring at the adjoining door.
The door rattled, then splintered inward. Lord Montagu strode into her room. Nicole stood and picked up a figurine of two owls cast in brass and held it behind her back. Lord Montagu came at her in a rush. He grabbed her by the shoulders and brought his lips down hard on hers, sucking the life and the will out of her. At last, he let her go and stood back looking at her. He swayed a little, held up his hand, and pointed a finger at her.
“You will surrender the rights of a husband this very night.”
“Sir, have you gone insane or are you merely drunk? I most certainly will not yield to you. We had a deal, and that was not part of it.”
“Deal be hanged. We’ll see if you’re made of ice or flesh and blood. I have the right to beat you.” He hiccupped. “And I have the right to share your bed. I demand that right.”
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