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374 pages, Mass Market Paperback
First published August 28, 2012
Love is composed of a single soul, inhabiting two bodies.
His embrace is all she's ever wanted.
" You're like a gift," he said, his voice rough. "All wrapped up for someone else. A man can't look at you, but think of loosing those bows, one by one."
I'm not a smoothly spoken man. If i put my wants into words, i'd have you blushing so hard your frock would turn a deeper shade of pink."
"Am i causing you pain?" she asked.
"Always. Every time you're near."
She turned her face away to hide her wounded reaction. "I'm sorry."
"Not what i meant." He souded drunk. With his healthy hand, he nudged her jaw until she faced him. "You're too beautiful. It hurts."
"Katie, i want you. I can't make it poetry. I can't make it sound anything other than crude, because it is. I want you in my bed. I want you under me, holding me. I want to bury my cock so deep inside of you."
...."Whatever soul i had, Katie, i think i placed it in your keeping twenty years ago. And now, it's as if.... every time we kiss you give a little piece of it back."
"I don't know that I can give you the tenderness you deserve."~Sigh~ This should have been a slam dunk for me. All the elements were there . . .
✔ an author whose work I adore. . . but it just didn't come together in a way that made sense to me.
✔ a brooding, working-class hero
✔ a smart heroine
✔ tragic backstories
“I hope you don’t take Thorne’s crude manners to heart, Miss Taylor.”
“Who, me?” She forced a little laugh. “Oh, I’m more sensible than that. Why should I take to heart the words of a heartless man?” She ran a fingertip around the teacup’s rim, thoughtful. “But kindly do me a favor, Mr. Fosbury.”
“Whatever you ask, Miss Taylor.”
“The next time I’m tempted to extend an olive branch of friendship to Corporal Thorne . . . ?” She arched one brow and gave him a playful smile. “Remind me to whack him over the head with it instead.”
Her worst fears had been realized. She was alone. Not just tonight, but forever. Her own relations had abandoned her years ago. No one wanted her now. She would die alone. Living in some cramped pensioner’s apartment like Miss Paringham’s, drinking thrice-washed tea and chewing on her own bitterness.
And when she lifted her head, she was guaranteed to find a friendly face, unless . . .
Unless it was him.
“Corporal Thorne,” she whispered.
On another day, Kate could have laughed at the irony. Of all the men to come to her rescue, it would be this one.
“You never liked me,” Kate whispered. “I knew it. You always made it clear, in small, unspoken ways, that any kindness you showed me was begrudged.”
“Very well. You are correct. I never liked you.”
“May I ask on what basis was I so reviled? I was appropriately grateful for every small thing I was given. I didn’t cause mischief. I never complained. I minded my lessons and earned high marks.”
“Precisely. You showed no humility. You behaved as though you had as much claim to joy as any other girl at Margate. Always singing. Always smiling.”
The idea was so absurd, Kate couldn’t help but laugh. “You disliked me because I smiled too much? Should I have been melancholy and brooding?”
Chilling, those words. But effective. The cart swiftly rolled away.
She burst into tears. Right there in the street, for God’s sake. Her lovely face screwed up. She bent forward until her forehead met his chest, and then she heaved a loud, wrenching sob.
Then a second. And a third.