After avoiding his duty for five years, American Alexander Rhodes is backed into a corner. He must travel to England and inherit the title Baron de Greaves. Only his new home isn’t empty. The widow he’s meant to care for isn’t the old lady he had imagined, but a beautiful young woman.
Widowed baroness Catherine has been waiting five years to meet the new baron, but when the arrogant man arrives, she is shocked. He’s nothing like she imagined. Surely, he can’t be trusted to care for Wembley Manor, can he?
When passion flares, they decide to embark on a brief, erotic affair. It's kismet, but it can’t last. With the dangers of Alex’s past closing in on them, can he prove to Catherine that theirs is a love worth fighting for?
“I prefer a more straightforward approach to this game.”
Her cheeks heated. “I don’t know what game we’re playing,” she admitted, still not looking up. “I’ve never…”
She couldn’t finish. Why should she be embarrassed about not having much experience when it was all but expected of from women of substance? He probably considered that she was some sort of idiot, especially since she had been married before. Still, she felt like a fool.
He sat on the edge of her desk, and she tried awfully hard not to look at his thighs or other parts. Good heavens, he had to know this was improper. Yet, considering what they were speaking about… Suddenly, his hand stretched into her vision. He touched her cheek, and to her surprise, she didn’t flinch.
“It’s a game of your own making, darling,” he said softly. “You make the rules.”
The endearment affected her more than she expected.
“I’ve no idea how to,” she whispered as she looked at him.
“It’s easy. You can have anything you want,” he said, his voice husky. “If only you would ask for it.”
She closed her eyes, letting herself be taken by the moment. “I could barely put it to words,” she said.
“I bet you could if you tried,” he countered, leaning down to her, speaking into her ear. “I bet you could say all kinds of things.”
The implication that she might give life to the ideas she had often dreamt about but never dared saying out loud, was almost too much. She opened her eyes and looked at him, expecting him to have a teasing smile on his face. But what she saw instead was a seriousness that, truth be told, frightened her.
“It would only be for a short while,” she said softly, finally finding her courage. This was it. They would set their terms here and now. “It could not go beyond these walls. Beyond this snow.”
“I won’t take anything you won’t willingly give,” he said.
“And I’m not well-versed,” she said quickly before her bravery left her. “I … I cannot begin to tell you how extremely ill-prepared I am for this.”
His neck worked to swallow as he nodded silently.
It was odd, but suddenly Catherine felt as if she had the upper hand of the situation, which of course she did. He had said as much, but the look on his face made her consider if perhaps he were on the edge. The edge of what, who knew. “But you were right to say last night that neither one of us are fools. I won’t… We can’t take it outside of this place.”
“No.” His voice was darker than before. “We won’t.”
“Then,” she said. “How do we start?”