Read an Excerpt
Helpless, naked, splayed and bound, Emily concentrated on her breathing. In. Out.
She told herself to think about anything but what would happen next.
Her nerves were ragged, as if they’d been dragged across the wicked edge of the blade that glinted on the wall in front of her. Determinedly, she closed her eyes to block the image.
It didn’t help.
He’d left her here on purpose, to think, to change her mind. Over the past year, she’d learned he acted only with deliberate intent.
She’d been a fool to leave…and a bigger one to return.
The fact he hadn’t sent her away when he’d set eyes on her two hours ago had shocked her. It had shocked him as well, she’d seen it in the steely depths of his grey eyes, the colour so dark and intense it reminded her of the North Sea during a brewing storm… Emily’s hand had frozen on the door knocker, the brass heavy and cold beneath the bite of England’s chilly autumn evening. It’d taken her a full five minutes, her back teeth chattering, to actually knock.
It’d taken his housekeeper at least that long again to answer.
“Agnes,” Emily said breathlessly.
“Dear me.” Agnes pressed her fingertips to the base of her throat. “You look half froze.”
“I’m here to see the master.”
Agnes swallowed deeply. She’d been kind to Emily, but that was before Emily had run away six months ago, sneaking out in the middle of the night with no word to anyone.
Emily watched indecision chase across the younger woman’s face. Duty and kindness collided, leaving a frown burrowed between Agnes’s brows. Evidently obligation to Sir Sterling trumped her feelings for Emily. “Wait here.” With that, Agnes closed the door.
Emily tucked her hands inside her pockets and huddled deeper into her coat, trying to keep out the vicious, humidity-laden wind. She waited. She paced. And she waited some more.
It was a test, she knew.
This time, she wouldn’t fail.