Saxon Drewe has just met a woman who looks like an angel. Her innocence and purity is treasure of the sort a mercenary man like him can't resist capturing and corrupting. So what if there are dark rumors about her family and gossip about strange happenings in the house where she lives? Saxon too has relations he's been trying to forget and a past from which he can never get far enough.
He's paid ten thousand pounds for her virginity, but Alexandria has so much more to give the man of her dreams. She may look fragile but there is nothing delicate about her determination, or her sexual curiosity. She's waited a long time for the right kiss and this dark prince is just the man to awaken her wildest desires.
When men trespass against all warnings, they ought to be prepared for anything. But apparently banishment from the Garden of Eden taught them nothing.
As the horses pulled them away from Spendlove's house, she stared at this strange man, so many questions burning to be let out that she didn't know where to begin. Finally she selected the most important one.
"Who are you?"
"Don't you remember my name?"
"Yes, but it doesn't tell me anything about who you are, even if you think it should."
For a long moment he merely stared out at the passing trees and lamps. Then he looked at her and replied, "I am your master now. I own you. You are my mistress, and your only purpose each day is to please me."
She glared. "Like a slave?"
"Like a mistress. I will train you to be the best mistress a man can own. Until I grow bored and then I will pass you on."
Her heart stilled. "Pass me on?"
"For a price." He turned his head again to look out of the carriage window. "This is the beginning of your life, Alexandria. This is what you were meant to be. You will forget everything that has gone before. I am your creator."
"Awfully full of yourself, aren't you?"
His head snapped back again to look at her, those eyes white hot with silent rage. Had no one ever put him in his place before? If he thought he knew what anger was, the man was in for a surprise.
"And if I refuse to be your plaything?"
Slowly he raised his knuckles to the roof of the carriage and knocked upon it. The horses came to a sharp halt, harness creaking, nostrils snorting. "Then you can leave now."
Alexandria gathered the collar of his coat up to her chin, keeping herself and the cat warm.
"Go," he said again softly. "You are free to leave. If that is what you want."
Her reply leapt out on a torn breath, "But you paid ten thousand pounds!"
He said nothing, just shrugged. His eyes gleamed across the carriage with that odd, smothered amusement she had noted before.
"Besides, I have nowhere to go and no clothes!"
"Then go back to Spendlove."
"No! I won't go back to that pig," she snapped, holding a purring Pyewacket tighter under the warm coat. "And I have no family left here." Or anywhere this side of the world that she was aware of.
His watchful eyes studied her face in the amber glow of lamplight.
Suddenly she exclaimed, "Are you going to rape me?"
His reply was much calmer than her question. "No."
"But you're going to...do things."
"I am going to fuck you, Alexandria, yes. I am going to fuck you many times, in many ways. But it will never be without your consent."
"But you just did... that to me in there," she pointed over her shoulder, "with your tongue...and I didn't give you permission."
"Did you not?" he replied carefully. "I rather thought you did."
"I had no choice but to bend over!"
"Because you said you would leave the room and I'd never see you again if I didn't."
His lips twitched. "So you chose to bend over and show your cunt to me. Your choice."
Confused, Alexandria sank back against the leather seat. Had it been her choice? She couldn't be sure. All she'd known at the time was that she didn't want to go with any of the other men there. Nor had she wanted him to disappear again. She was drawn to his face, his scent, his eyes, his hair. Even his wicked lips.
"You could go home to your aunts’ house," he murmured. "It is yours now, is it not?"
She tugged his coat tighter around her naked body. "How could I face that house after everything that happened? I won't go back there. Not yet."
"So now you have another choice. To stay with me and be well looked after. To be fed and clothed and kept warm, or to go into the world alone with your name in ruins thanks to your aunts. It's a very unpleasant world out there, Alexandria, when you are alone in it."
She thought of what foul Spendlove had said about her servicing sailors in the street. She sniffed, huddling deeper into the warmth of the pear thief's coat collar. "Put that way you don't make it sound like much of a choice."
"Well? What is it to be?"
"Fine, " she muttered, sullen.
"I'll stay with you, for pity's sake. Besides, you paid for me. I wouldn't want to cheat you out of your purchase."
The man called Saxon Drewe reached up again, rapping on the roof of the carriage with his gloved knuckles. The horses pulled forward and the wheels churned over gravel.
Thus her decision was made and her life irrevocably changed. Or, as he would have it, her life was begun again.