Amid the horrors of war, Lieutenant Heath Wetherill has found comfort in the arms of his commanding officer, Lord Charles Langdon. But now, the war has ended, and the two men must return to their civilian lives as upstanding members of the British nobility. There’s no room for their torrid, illicit affair in stodgy old Mother England, especially not with Charles’s wife waiting for him.
But Lady Isabella isn’t a conventional ton wife, and theirs isn’t a conventional ton marriage. Maybe there’s hope for a happy ending, after all.
Somewhere in the English Channel, August 1815
The war was over. Napoleon was banished, peace restored. And he was on his way home.
For the first time in years, Lieutenant Heath Wetherill of the 12th Light Dragoons had a reason to be happy. And yet, he was miserable.
Because going home meant the end of his year-long affair with Lord Charles Langdon, Earl of Kettlesing and captain of his regiment. An affair they’d never intended to begin, but which had sustained them both through the horrors of battle and the otherwise dreary routine of regimental life. But now they were bound for England, their commissions sold, their lives as cavalry officers at an end.
And that would bring the end of the association that had come to mean everything to Heath. Charles was married, and Heath soon would be if his family had anything to say about it. In fact, he anticipated a line of debutantes would await him in the foyer, right behind his parents, when he arrived at the ancestral home. He might be second in line for the title, but that didn’t mean he wouldn’t be expected to produce legitimate offspring, just in case his older brother continued to fail at the task of fathering an heir.
Heath braced his arms against the ship’s railings and stared into the unfathomable depths of the churning, gray-green ocean waters below. A thousand times he had expected to die. Each night, as he drifted off to sleep in the safety of Charles’ embrace, he’d known the joy couldn’t last. Known that the very next day, one or both of them could be killed in the line of duty.
Somehow, that thought had never bothered him. Heath accepted the hazards of military service the same way he accepted the blueness of the sky or the bitterness of absinthe—without question or complaint. He took each day as it came and gave no thought to tomorrow.
But now, he knew what tomorrow held. Death would almost be preferable to certainty.
He pushed away from the railing. He was many things, but he was not a coward. And he would find a way to live the life he’d somehow managed to survive long enough to face.
But first, he would have one last night with Charles.
His captain. His friend. His lover.
* * * * *
Heath slipped into Charles’ cabin just as the sun sank beneath the rim of the horizon, leaving streaks of pink, orange, and gold to fade across the darkening deep blue sky.
Charles stretched out on the narrow bunk, clad only in tight breeches that accentuated the muscular curves of his calves and thighs. Propped against a bevy of pillows, he held a book in one hand and a glass of fine French brandy in the other.
When Heath closed the door, Charles turned his dark blond head and smiled. “I thought perhaps you wouldn’t come.” He set the glass on the small table beside him and swung his legs over the edge of the bunk as he sat up.
“How could I not?” Heath closed the brief space between them in three long strides and knelt between his lover’s legs. “I want you tonight more than ever.” He placed his hands on Charles’ hard thighs, aching to feel skin beneath his palms instead of fabric. “And I intend to come as often as possible.”
Charles laughed, but only briefly. Heath could see Charles’ cock hardening and lengthening through the tight breeches. Nothing made Charles more serious than lust. He fucked with more deadly concentration than he exuded in battle.