Scarred and bitter, all former soldier Kieran Thomson wants is a wife, a beautiful bride he can control and manipulate. And use for really hot sex. He isn’t supposed to fall for her. He isn’t supposed to actually care about her. He just wants to lock her up in a gilded cage and use her for his own pleasure. But when she finds a way past his barriers with her sensual touch, Kieran realizes he must either set her free or let her into his heart.
Despite being ignored and shunned by her family, Josephine Richmond is willing to protect them at any cost. Even if it means marrying a man she’s only just met. They say he’s a beast, scarred inside and out. She knows she should be afraid, she knows she should hate him for trapping her, but she can’t. Unable to resist her attraction to her husband, Josephine’s determined to make the marriage work. Especially when she has her own secret scars that only Kieran seems able to heal.
Be Warned: forced seduction
Looking down at the petrified Josephine, Kieran rationally understood why she was nervous, but he didn’t care. Not one tiny bit.
The woman was an adult, after all. She wasn’t being forced—maybe ‘manipulated’ was the word—into the marriage. To hold back the feeling of pity creeping into his conscience, he remembered the look on her face when she saw his scars at their one meeting before the wedding. The repulsed reaction was just like all those women before her who trembled at his disfiguration, and reminded him that like those vapid bimbos, she was as superficial as them.
It was the main reason he felt little guilt in picking her purely based on looks. She’d been stunning as a sixteen-year-old girl and now six years later, she’d grown into her body and was absolutely beautiful. Her figure was something out of a 1950s pinup: smooth curves and dips, filling out in all the right places. Unbelievably fuckable.
Her skin was porcelain smooth with a few freckles across the bridge of her nose that looked a bit out a place on her alabaster skin yet gave her something unique. But it was her mouth that really killed him: luscious and pink, with a distinct curve along the upper lip that he wanted to lick. They looked permanently swollen and ever since their brief meeting to discuss the prenuptial agreement, he’d spend many a night imagining those lips wrapped around his hard cock. At least that hadn’t been damaged by the landmine.
Josephine’s innocence practically radiated off of her. Her father had informed Kieran that she’d attended a strict boarding school before returning home and now attended college through an online-learning program. Considering her father’s social standing, her isolation seemed suspect, but Kieran didn’t let himself dwell on it too much.
Kieran watched her lips now as she began to speak the words that committed her to the marriage. Committed her to him.
“I-I-I do.” The tremor in her voice was audible.
It was now time to kiss the bride, he heard the priest inform them, and he waited for the moment of revulsion to cross Josephine’s face as she turned to face him, just as it had two weeks ago. But all he saw was slight trepidation as she looked up into his eyes. Her gaze didn’t even wander across his face and onto the scars. She remained looking up at Kieran, focusing intently on his own hazel eyes. Why wasn’t she recoiling?
Irritated by the feelings of confusion her stoic stare caused in him, he wrapped one arm around her waist, whilst grasping the other behind her neck, and firmly pulled her flush against him. Leaning down, he smashed his lips against her perfect mouth. He stiffened as he felt her small hands grasp his biceps.
Kieran expected her to subtly try and push him off her, but inside she melted into his arms. Not only was she not pushing him away, she seemed to be willingly letting him draw her small, soft body against his own. She didn’t even stiffen in his grasp. Her hips pressed against him and as he pulled away from her mouth, he heard a faint sigh escape from her lush lips.
Almost as if she’d enjoyed it.
Aware of their location, he willed himself to step back. He released his wife from his grasp but moved to grasp her hand and turned to walk out of the church. Kieran glanced over at her, amazed to see that a flush had spread across her cheeks and neck. As if she’d relished his touch. No, it was impossible to think that she was anything but repulsed by him. After all, he was a monster.
Nothing more than a beast.