Was she really guilty of murder or was it a tragic accident?
Orphaned during the French Revolution, Isabel Boudreux finds
herself living with her mother’s childhood friend in England.
Isolated and alone, she falls victim to jealousy and abuse. When
she sees her chance to escape, she becomes mixed up with her
Brandon Thorpe has every reason to despise Isabel. Finding her
on a cliff covered in blood, he knows Isabel killed his sister’s
fiancee. Intent on punishing her, he forces her to become his
mistress in exchange for his help.
Walking the blurred line between love and hate, the warring
couple find themselves captivated by each other, and discover
they are helpless to stop the passion consuming them.
Can their love survive the battle raging around them?
Isabel’s own eyes dropped to inspect the maroon-colored patches of blood
staining the bodice of her gown. She tried to turn away from Brandon, but his
hands remained firmly attached to her shoulders and held her in place.
“What could have happened between Dalton and you that he is dead and you’re in
such a state?” His voice was soft, almost dumbfounded. A long silence lapsed, and
when she refused to answer him, his body visibly stiffened. “In a matter of hours,
Dalton Hereford will be missed. How is Catherine supposed to react to finding she
no longer has a fiance?” He hurled the question at her like a poisoned dagger. His
arms fell away from her and he pivoted away from her. Brandon marched toward
the doors. Whirling around on his boot heel, his blazing eyes locked onto hers. “I
will hear the tale from you when I return, or I will pound it out of you,” he promised,
his wolfish features deadly serious. “I wouldn’t advise you attempt trying to escape.
There is no way off of this ship. My crew is loyal and have been informed of your
circumstances. You’ll find no favor with any of them.”
Brandon turned back around, his arms extended, his large hands reaching for the
door latch. The fragile control she’d pretended shattered into oblivion, the events
of the night reaching their culmination, stealing any pride or vanity from her. Flying
across the cabin, she seized one of Brandon’s muscular arms and begged for
mercy. “What will you tell your mother? Please, you must tell me, Brandon,” she
cried as he turned to face her with cold, unresponsive eyes.
“If Dalton’s body isn’t discovered, I will spare Catherine the news of his tragic death
and allow her to believe he’s run off with you.” Brandon’s words were flat and
lacking any hint of sentiment. “It will be of benefit to Catherine if his body is never
found. She is young, and in time, she will forget about Dalton. Your name will
become a curse on her lips every day for the rest of her life.”
Isabel’s shook her head, her mouth falling open in anguish as she slid to her
knees. Wrapping her arms around the corded muscles of his thighs, she hugged
his legs tightly and pressed her bowed head into the unyielding line of his body. A
flood of tears poured forth from her, striking and splattering on the polished
surface of his leather boots. Isabel sobbed uncontrollably, her inner torment
suddenly released in a wild torrent of weeping. Burying her face deeper into his
legs, she was completely bereft and powerless to cease the agony escaping from
her as she clung to him for dear life.
Without warning, Brandon bent down and lifted Isabel up from the floor. He cupped
her chin within his hands, compelling her to meet eyes with him. Smoldering flames
danced inside of his golden gaze. Feeling drugged by his closeness, she could not
resist his hypnotic glare. A dark longing was cast over Isabel, and in the
extraordinary atmosphere, she did not shrink away from him.
“No one can know you still live. You must die along with Dalton,” Brandon breathed
into her face quietly, his eyes gleaming like yellow glass in the darkness.
Blinking furiously to clear her senses, Isabel stared up into the rough angles of his
“You are far too lovely to be destroyed,” Brandon confessed, touching her as if
she meant something to him. The dim light of the cabin faded and ceased to exist.
Something unfamiliar and vague wrapped around Isabel. It mesmerized her, calling
to her, speaking to her of desire.
Brandon placed his hands over her shoulders, his fingers brushing against her
black silken hair, and lightly traced a stray curl on the side of her face. Isabel felt
flushed. The tragic events leading her into Brandon’s embrace fled from her
thoughts as the world took on a dreamlike quality. He pulled her into his wide
chest, his body commanding and dynamic. Brandon’s head dipped down and his
firm, sensual lips covered Isabel’s, kissing her deeply, hungrily.
The sensation of his kiss was unlike anything Isabel had ever known, making her
tremble. Brandon’s strong arms encircled her and supported her, holding her
close, her body melding into the sculpted lines of his. Her heart pounded, fast,
furious. The tenderness of his kiss set her ablaze with the yearning for more.
Impassioned delirium snaked through every part of her. Somewhere in the back of
her mind, she knew it was wrong to allow him to kiss her, but carnal heat flooded
her reason. She knew she should be fighting him, yet she was unable to move
from him. Through his clothes, she could feel the raw and rugged power of his
body, could taste the danger on his lips.
Without warning, he lifted his head and abruptly ended their kiss. For a fleeting
moment, the chilled arrogance vanished from his handsome features, replaced by
a fiercely glowing expression, but it died almost immediately, leaving behind a
wooden stare in its place. Brandon released Isabel and lightly pushed her away as
if repulsed by her. He turned away, locking the door behind him.
|The Raven and the Rogue
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