Cinderella and the Lady

(Lesbian Cinderalla fairy tale. for $3.99 Re-release of 2012 title)

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Synopsis: The sudden death of Ellie’s father leaves her with an uncertain future. Her stepmother, Geraldine and step-sister Mina treat her like a servant. The seductive Countess Tremaine wants to save Ellie from her life of drudgery, but all for a price- her innocence. She feels all hope is lost until she meets a lady who makes all her wishes come true.

Lady Kristina, the Duke of Perrault’s daughter has returned home after five years abroad. She’s expected to marry, but her attraction to women stops her from carrying out her parents’ wishes. One night she meets a shy servant girl and becomes obsessed. She’ll do whatever she can to gain the trust of this mysterious woman and claim her for her own.

With the countess pressuring Ellie into accepting her unscrupulous offer, and her stepmother growing more unstable, she turns to Kristina for support. But then her whole world comes crashing down when she learns the truth behind Kristina’s identity and the lies Geraldine has kept from her.

As Ellie falls victim to those dark forces set on ruining her, Kristina fights to save Ellie’s heart before she loses her forever.

 

Excerpt:

Her fingers twitched with the urge to caress Elle’s mouth or cheek. If she was more forward, she would have stolen a kiss, but this wasn’t like Leena, who welcomed her touch, or the bored Finnish wives and widows who liked experimenting in the bedroom.

By the time she finished her story, Elle wrapped her arms around her legs and tucked her chin on top of her knees, her attention never waning, watching her the entire time. Earlier, she had taken off her jacket and unbuttoned the top of her blouse to cool off. She wanted to lie on her side and ask Elle to join her, but every time she moved in closer, the young girl became wary and tense. She didn’t want to frighten the poor thing, but wanted to ease the tension between them.

The next step was arranging another meeting to see if they were as compatible as she thought they were. If so, she would then announce who she was really was and offer Elle employment in her parents’ house.

Her throat had become dry from her talking, and she bemoaned the fact she didn’t have anything to quench her thirst.

“Forgive me. I need a moment to rest my voice.” She cleared her throat.

Elle dug in her basket and produced an apple. She held it out in an offering. “Here, take this. It should soothe your parched throat.”

She smiled in thanks and took the fruit, deliberately gliding her fingers over the ridges of Elle’s knuckles. She took a big bite and moaned from the sweet juices filling her mouth.

“It’s wonderful.” She saluted with the half-eaten apple and spread her legs, rotating her ankles to alleviate the stiffness there.

“Apples are my favorite fruit,” Elle smiled at August, who dozed in her lap. She scratched between his ears, and he yawned. “The best kind of pie to make is apple. The smell of cinnamon fills the kitchen, and it sticks in your hair and in your skin. My mother loved to…um.” She shut her mouth and turned away to look off to the side.

She stopped chewing, waiting for Elle to tell her about her mother. She didn’t, and that made her all the more intrigued.

“Forgive me for prying, but you don’t see your mother often or is she…?” She waved her hand around for Elle to carry on.

Elle stared at the ocean. “My mother was killed in an accident when I was a child. Things weren’t the same at home after she died.”

A pang of sympathy came over her as Elle’s voice grew childlike while she spoke about her mother gone too soon. She took Elle’s hand, brushing her thumb on the inside of her wrist. Elle didn’t flinch or pull away.

The sound of the crashing waves and caws of seagulls filled the lull between them. It wasn’t until August climbed off her lap and sniffed around that Elle took her hand back and fiddled with the basket, examining it as if something special was hidden inside.

She threw her half-eaten apple away and rubbed her palms together to erase the stickiness coating her fingers. A square wooden board near the corner of the blanket caught her eye. She picked it up, trying to read the strange lettering drawn there.

Something like a grunt came from Elle. She glanced up. Elle’s face had lost her color.

“What’s wrong?” She reached for Elle’s arm.

Elle motioned with her chin at the slate Kristina held. “That’s my slate.”

“I can see it’s a slate. What are you using it for?”

“To…practice my penmanship and to read better.”

Aha! That’s why she reacted the way she did. She must be ashamed by her lack of schooling.

“Oh? That’s admirable. Not many women in your situation continue their education.” She held out the slate for Elle to take. “But why do it alone? Isn’t there a tutor nearby you can go to for lessons?”

Elle grabbed the slate and set the book on top of it. She tried to catch the title of the book, but it was dropped into the basket and covered.

“I can’t afford no money for a teacher,” Elle said in a tight voice while tugging on the frayed hem of her dress.

“It’s better if you leave out the word, no, as in, I can’t afford to pay for a teacher,” she corrected.

“Either way I say it doesn’t matter. I do the best with what I have.” Elle stuck out her chin.

That’s the spirit, my darling girl. Speak your mind! She wanted to cheer.

Elle suddenly dropped her head down, and her shoulders sagged.

“Are you all right?” She set her hand on Elle’s shoulder, keeping it there for a moment then sliding it down her arm.

Elle nibbled on her bottom lip. “I apologize, my lady. I shouldn’t have spoken so rudely. I should know better than to show my temper in such a way.”

She tilted Elle’s chin up. Her eyes showed bleak remorse. Kristina’s chest stung. This poor girl needed some coddling. She wanted to be the one to give that to her.

“Now, listen to me. You have nothing to be ashamed of. You’re hardworking, like most of the people in this town not born into privilege. Many can’t read or don’t care to learn. But you, my precious girl, have taken the step in the right direction.” She tugged on one of Elle’s curls.

Elle wiped her cheek and laughed softly when August swiped her chin with his paw. She pulled him into an embrace and kissed his nose.

“Even your kitty thinks the same way I do,” she joked, and Elle laughed again.

“Thank you.” Elle dropped August. “You’re a nice lady.”

“I should like to think so.” Her stomach did a little flip at the compliment.

Elle gave her a small smile and rose to leave.

“You’re leaving?” Moving to her feet, she wanted to keep talking to her new friend.

“It’s getting late, and I have to make dinner.” Elle moved the basket aside and lifted the blanket.

The sun wasn’t as high as it had been before, and the ocean had grown calm. She hugged her waist, feeling a slight chill in the air. She had enjoyed her conversation with Elle and wished she could prolong it. The odds of them spending more time together was small. She could only imagine how that would go over with the townspeople. The gossip about the duke’s daughter befriending a lowly servant girl would be unrelentless.

She kicked a pebble away and tapped her fingers on her hip. There had to be a way— aha!

Lifting her hands to her mouth, her joy mounted at the amazing idea that would allow her and Elle to remain in contact.

“Are you feeling well, miss? Your eyes have gone all glassy like,” Elle asked.

She stepped forward and smiled. “I have a marvelous idea. I can tutor you in your studies.”

Elle stared at her disbelief. “Why would you want to do such a thing? Don’t you have better things to do, like shop?”

She laughed. Elle’s question didn’t come out as defensive, but the opposite, with an open and innocent tone to it. She understood why Elle thought the way she did. Most women of quality who had a fortune at their disposal spent their days at leisure.

“You’re very intuitive. I do enjoy shopping just like any woman, but every so often I shake things up and do something out of the ordinary.” She beamed, delighted with her reasoning.

Elle didn’t seem to agree. Her forehead burrowed and strain lines appeared around her mouth. “I don’t know what in-tu-itive means, but I won’t be a charity case to make you feel good about yourself.” She turned away and lifted August, who chewed on a broken piece of shell.

She twisted her hands, feeling rotten for making Elle upset. I must fix this before she rushes away.

Elle held August in her arms. “I spoke badly just now and shouldn’t have. I keep forgetting my station.”

She wanted to correct Elle, but there was some truth to her statement. “That may be the case but I’m not going to obsess about it like you are. Can’t we pretend we’re equals?”

Elle placed August in her basket as her answer.

She nibbled her bottom lip. Think! She stalled Elle by bending down and crooning to the cat. He responded by licking her fingers.

“At least your cat likes me.” Her lips slipped into a small pout.

A blush colored Elle’s cheeks. “I like you also.” She ran her palm down August’s back.

Her hand landed on Elle’s, and she halted her movements. “Before you say no, please hear me out. I want to tutor you not because you’re a charity case but because I want to be your friend. I know of a place where we can be alone and uninterrupted. I’m allowed access to the duke’s land as his guest. There’s a vacant gamekeeper’s cottage on the edge of his property near the river. We can use it as a schoolroom.”

“What about the Lady Kristina or Lord Simon? Won’t they question why you’re spending time with a servant?”

“They don’t have to know. They’re fine with me going off by myself. As long as I’m back in time for dinner, no one will find it odd. We can meet for an hour or two each day.”

“I can’t. My duties take up a lot of my time.” Elle took August back.

She huffed, annoyed. “Really? I guess your duties today weren’t too pressing.”

Elle gave her a sheepish smile and brushed away a piece of her hair falling over her eye. “My mistress can be generous when it suits her.”

Undaunted, she wouldn’t budge without getting what she wanted. “I’ll work around your schedule. When are you free next?”

Elle stared at the sky, and her cheeks bulged out she blew out air. “In three days, on Sunday. After morning Mass, my mistress visits with friends then takes a long nap before supper. I guess I can get away for a few hours.”

“Shall we say around three o’clock on Sunday afternoon, then?”

“Are you certain I won’t get in trouble being on the duke’s property?”

The nervous look Elle shot her way had Kristina longing to comfort her. Now was not the time, but soon enough she would. Instead, she smiled brightly. “Trust me. There’s no reason to worry. I’ll take care of everything.”

“I’ll try.”

Elle’s begrudging acceptance was good enough for now. She conceded, ecstatic she had gotten her way.

“I really must go before I get into trouble. Thank you for keeping me company.” Elle curtsied and grabbed her clogs.

What ghastly shoes. She eyed the footwear with disdain. They were the color of mud, with unidentifiable stains.

“They might be ugly, but they don’t pinch my feet and are serviceable.” Elle lifted a clog in the air.

She shouldn’t tease about her hideous shoes, not wanting to say or do anything else that might offend. “I imagine they are. I actually prefer my riding boots.” She waved in the general direction of where they lay. “Slippers are not the most effective for walking long distances. Dancing can be a trial. Some gentleman always ends up treading on my poor toes.”

“I’ve never been dancing.”

“Never? How can that be?” she asked, taken aback.

Elle shrugged. “No time, really.”

“I must teach you to dance, then. A woman cannot go through life not knowing how to dance.” She pointed a finger in the air to push her point home.

Elle’s lips twitched. “I’ll keep that in mind.” She gathered the rest of her things and climbed to the top of the short incline.

“Don’t forget, three o’clock Sunday near the river where it runs across Perrault’s property. You won’t be able to miss the small white building in need of a new coat of paint.”

Elle stared down at her from above. “I’ll be able to find it. Goodbye.” With a wave, she disappeared from view.

She didn’t follow Elle. There was no way she could be sneaky about it with her horse. For now she’d allow her secrets, but soon enough she would learn all of them and introduce her skittish friend to a whole new world that had been denied her.

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The Lady and the Vixen

(Lesbian Victorian Romance for $3.99. Re-release of 2013 title)

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After eight years, Lucy Endcott has finally returned to London to visit her dying father, a cold disciplinarian who never approved of his eldest daughter. Lucy is a respected widow, residing in the countryside away from the wicked excess the city has to offer and her unscrupulous ex-lover, the Marchioness Irena de Macey.

When Lucy finds out her youngest brother has gambled away his inheritance at the Pythos Club, she enters the den of iniquity in order to save him. Inside the club she meets the owner’s alluring daughter, Tisha McGrath, who is more than willing to help her brother…for a price.

Tisha longs to introduce Lucy to those secret passions she’s kept hidden away for so long. But dark secrets and transgressions from the past connect their families in shocking ways. Both women will work together to resolve this scandal before it unravels further but Irena is waiting for the right moment to strike, and Lucy may have no other choice but to give into Irena’s demands in order to save the ones she loves from utter ruin.

 

Excerpt:

“You’re trembling. Why? I’m not here to blackmail you or make fun of you.” Tisha squeezed Lucy’s hand. “You look like you need someone to talk to, and I’m willing to offer you that.”

“Why? We just met a few minutes ago. I don’t know you at all. Why would I trust you about my father’s illness and Colby’s guilt over it?” She shut her mouth. She couldn’t believe she’d divulged such a private matter to a stranger!

“You could always blame the alcohol you drank for your slip- up or how upset you were at seeing an acquaintance you hadn’t been expecting,” Tisha murmured.

She shook her head, not comprehending. “What do you mean? I don’t know anyone here. Why would I? I would never associate with anyone here.”

Tisha rolled her eyes and finally released Lucy’s hand. Lucy still felt the phantom touch seeping through her gloves. Tisha stretched back, resting on her elbows. She kicked up her leg and dangled her slipper off her toe.

She started to stand. “I’m feeling much better now. I should go see—”

“Irena, better known as the Marchioness of Macey, and make sure she doesn’t seek you out before you find your brothers?” Tisha rocking her leg, and her slipper landed on the floor.

She curled her fingers in her palms and glared at the audacious woman. “What are you implying? Just come out and say what you mean.”

Tisha sat up and pressed her palm on the cushion, moving her arm behind Lucy. Her face was far too near.

“I’m good at observing people and figuring out how they’re feeling or what they’re thinking, based on their movements and posture. Before I rescued you from that drunken ass, I saw the way you reacted to the marchioness and she to you.” Tisha’s mouth touched Lucy’s ear, and she shuddered. She dug her fingers deeper in her palms and inhaled deeply.

“You’re asking if Irena and I know one another? Yes. We did. Once.” She glanced at Tisha from the corner of her eye for her reaction.

“Irena has been a guest at Pythos for many years. She came here with her husband before he died. She’s now good friends with my brother, Aidan, which I find surprising. She prefers the company of women.”

“Yes? She enjoys female companionship as most women do.” Lucy became more confused by the second. “I’m not following you.”

Tisha twined a stray strand of hair around her finger. “I really don’t think you’re so innocent, seeing as you’ve been married and have known Irena, perhaps on an intimate level. I don’t mean to shock you, but the marchioness, with her husband’s permission, enjoyed the female companionship we provide.” She ran her tongue across her bottom lip. “The girls would tell me stories after her visits. The woman has quite the appetite, and I don’t mean for the selection of foods we offer.”

Lucy sat as straight as if a hot poker had landed on her back. A shrill whistle echoed in her ears. Tisha couldn’t be implying such a thing, unless she had accepted Irena’s company in the same manner. Had Lucy’s reaction to her former friend given her away?

“Irena and I lived across the street from one another and were friends growing up. After we both married, we lost touch. I was just shocked to see her here, that’s all. For you to imply such a thing is dis—”

Tisha laughed and bumped Lucy’s shoulder with her own. “You’re not a good liar. Your flushed face and heavy breathing tells me otherwise. Either you’re nervous because of our conversation, or I’ve caught you in a lie. Again, you don’t have to worry about me snitching on you. I’m good at keeping secrets.”

“I-I don’t have any secrets,” she whispered.

“We all have secrets. Some more than others.” Tisha curved her arm around Lucy’s shoulder. “There, there now, I don’t mean to make you upset. I went too far. It’s obvious Irena means something to you, and, from my point of view, she must have hurt you horribly. She’s the type of person who would stomp on another to get what she wants.”

“Why are you telling me this and asking me all these questions? Is this your idea of a cruel joke?” Lucy’s voice broke, and she lifted the mask to wipe the sweat from under her eyes.

“Here, take it.” Tisha produced another handkerchief.

No longer caring if Tisha knew what she looked like, she took off the mask and patted her face.

“Better now?” Tisha ran her palm down Lucy’s back.

She nodded, and her shoulders slumped. She was exhausted. All she wanted was to go to bed. First she had to find her brothers. But for some reason she kept herself from running from the room like before. Perhaps it was because Tisha hummed in her ear. Instead of irritating, it soothed her.

“I’m so tired. It’s been such a long day.”

“There’s no need for you to leave yet. Here, rest your cheek on my shoulder.” Tisha ran her fingers on the side of Lucy’s face. She nestled comfortably against Tisha, who only a moment ago frightened her with her insightfulness. It had been so long since she had confided her darkest fears and secrets to someone. And that someone, whom she once gave her heart to, waited outside, possibly searching for her. Never again would she trust anyone like she had Irena. But a small part of her wanted to reveal what lay hidden in her heart.

“I don’t know what’s come over me. It must be the stress of dealing with my father’s illness and being back home, surrounded by so many memories.” She twisted the handkerchief and shut her eyes. I could fall asleep right now and—

Tisha laid her palm on the side of Lucy’s neck. Lucy opened her eyes and lifted her head. Tisha smiled tenderly and placed a soft kiss on Lucy’s mouth. She gasped and moved back, but Tisha curved her arm around Lucy’s waist, restraining her.

“I can help you forget your burdens for a while if you’ll let me. No one will ever have to know,” Tisha whispered and kissed the tip of Lucy’s nose.

She didn’t struggle or stop Tisha when she lowered her on the chaise. She dropped her arms to her sides and stared up at the woman who ran her fingers across Lucy’s cheek and then her lips. She became lost in the spell of Tisha’s touch and the likelihood of what was to come.

“You don’t have to do anything at all. Let me take care of you.” Tisha’s lips met the middle of Lucy’s chin. Her tongue came out and flicked the skin. Lucy moaned.

“How does that feel?” She moved up to Lucy’s mouth.

“Strange,” she croaked, and before she cleared her throat, Tisha’s mouth came down on hers.

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The Countess’s Mistress (Pirates of Flaundia #3)


(Formerly titled Christmas with the Countess’s Bride in 2013. Lesbian Historical Romance for $3.99)

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Mrs. Julia Whitney, a widow of two years, blames herself for her husband’s suicide. She hides a dark secret that could ruin her good family’s name, which has become the target of cruel gossip because her sister has been locked away in an asylum for the criminally insane. She has no one to turn to for comfort, even though Isaiah, her former childhood friend, and father’s protégé wants to marry her.

Things become complicated when she makes the acquaintance of Katherine, the Countess Guetall, who happens to be the cousin of the man Julia’s sister attacked and kidnapped. Kat holds no ill will, and extends an olive branch in the hopes she and the timid widow can become friends.

Kat’s affection heals Julia’s broken heart, and soon they embark on a secret love affair. When Isaiah learns of the affair, he resorts to blackmail and threats to claim Julia as his own. Julia may have no other choice but to comply with Isaiah’s wicked plan even if it means sacrificing herself in order to protect those she loves.

 

Excerpt:

Sunlight cascaded on Julia, giving her the perfect light to read. She sat under a tree, quite comfortable, even with a slight nip in the air. Bright colored leaves blanketed the ground, and birds chirped in the tree branches over her head. For the last hour or so she had pored over the notes and invitations to tea and various social functions from many names she didn’t recognize. Most addressed to her mother and made no mention of her. She should have been insulted, but she guessed it was to be expected. She had never been adept at forming new friendships, and had relied on David and Maria for companionship. But now with them both gone from her life, she would have to search elsewhere for company, or turn to Isaiah for companionship.

She sighed in regret at the idea her only friend left in the world was Isaiah.

“I’m so lonely.” She stared at an invitation written in bold, yet feminine handwriting. The words blurred on the page and she swiped away at her eyes. Enough with the tears. Crying made her head throb and her face red and splotchy. She cleared her throat and scanned the paper on her lap. Her eyes widened as she absorbed the information on the invitation from the countess Guetall for her holiday party at the de Fleurre estate the first Saturday of December, which happened to be in less than ten days.

A leaf landed on her skirt. She flicked it away, inspecting the dull cotton fabric in repugnance. Most of her wardrobe consisted of drab-colored gowns and dresses. Her only suitable dress for the countess’s party was a buttercup-colored gown she wore at the ball her parents had hosted to introduce them to Flaundia society. It made her look pasty, unfortunately. For some reason her mother felt yellow suited Julia. It had always been the case because Ramona’s wardrobe consisted of brightly colored frocks. Also, Ramona would have pitched a fit if she dared outshine her.

But no longer! If she so choose, she would wear whatever colored gowns she wanted and Ramona wouldn’t be there to criticize or have some sort of tantrum. What a shame she couldn’t fit into any of Ramona’s dresses. Ramona was petite and curvy, unlike her own tall and lanky frame.

“I hope you haven’t received sad news. Those worry lines dotting your forehead tell me otherwise.”

She jerked upon hearing the breathless-sounding female voice. The papers almost tumbled from her lap as she stared at the woman standing over her. The glare of the sun blinded her, and she shaded her eyes to get a clearer picture of her visitor.

“I’m sorry for disturbing you, but my horse needed a rest. Please don’t mind the intrusion.” The woman knelt and held out her hand. “I’m Katherine, the countess of Guetall, but you may call me Kat.”

Her jaw dropped. Not only because this lady knelt before her, possibly staining her skirt with grass and mud, but because she was struck dumb by this beautiful, vibrant woman with a halo of hair bursting with radiant color. The heavy-lidded, dark brown eyes staring at her in friendly concern had long, thick eyelashes. Her skin tone darker than most gentile ladies, she had a swanlike neck leading into a chest hidden by a tight riding jacket. Even with the lady’s bosom covered, she found much to admire there.

“Oh, do people not shake hands in this section of the country?” the countess lowered her hand on her knee and shrugged in an apology.

She pressed her lips together and climbed to her feet. the countess joined her and continued staring at her in an acute way that made her face warm. the countess’s lips twitched, and eyes she couldn’t stop staring at lit up in amusement.

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The Princess’s Valentine (Pirates of Flaundia #2.5)

(Historical Lesbian Romance Novella (with an ex-pirate queen) for .99 cents. Previously published in 2012. Has been revised and re-edited)

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Daisy and her ex-pirate wife of one year have created a wonderful life together on an island paradise, after many years of separation and heartache. Daisy worries Chelsey has become bored and misses her life on the open seas. When she catches Chelsey in the arms of another, she runs away with a broken heart.

Chelsey made the mistake of trusting an unscrupulous individual who ended up playing a cruel joke on her. Now she must regain Daisy’s trust before their relationship is ruined forever. She’ll use abduction and seduction to claim her princess’s heart and soul again.

 

Excerpt:

“Are you willing to enter my abode, Ms. Daisy?” Chelsey twined a piece of her hair around her finger and gave her a sultry look.

She pressed her palms to her cheeks and dropped her jaw in fake shock. “I might be taking my life into my hands if I do.”

“There’s that possibility.” Chelsey held out her arm. “But I’ll be here to protect you from all harm.”

“And who will protect me from you?” she replied in a saucy tone, flipped her hair over one shoulder, and walked inside.

Not much had changed. The roses still hung on the wall, and the floor and bed were covered in petals. But now, lit candles stood on shelves, and a sumptuous meal had been laid out on a table. A small velvet box lay on a plate and next to it was a slim, wider box.

She rested her palm on her stomach. “I’m suddenly famished.”

“You didn’t eat much of your breakfast?” Chelsey drew her forward.

“I had a strawberry tart or two.” She sat in the chair Chelsey held out for her. “Those were a nice touch.”

“I thought you’d enjoy them.” Chelsey sat down next to her. “It makes me remember better times with my mum, and with you when you were all sweet and innocent.”

“I’m still sweet.” Daisy picked up a red grape and popped it into her mouth. “But no longer innocent, thanks to you.”

Chelsey sat back, silently watching as she chewed. She grew self-conscious but brave enough to speak up. “You always stare at my mouth when I eat. Is it because you’re recalling all those naughty ways I use my mouth on you?”

Chelsey cleared her throat and tapped her lip. “When I thought of us having our discussion, I didn’t think it would lead to you flirting with me.”

“When you set the room for seduction, what else should I do?” She lifted a brow and popped another grape into her mouth.

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The Prince’s Groom (Pirate of Flaundia #2)


(Gay Historical Romance for $3.99. Previously published in 2010, and revised and re-edited)

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Mr. Martin, the former first mate of an infamous pirate captain is mourning the loss of his young lover. He and Thomas de Fleurre, an exiled prince turned gentleman landowner, had a passionate affair on a tropical island paradise for a very short time. Thomas decides to end their relationship since Martin is a wanted man on the run for a twenty-year-old crime he didn’t commit.

Thomas longs for the frank speaking Martin, who not only ravaged his body, but his heart and soul. He has moved on, finding happiness in the arms of another man, but can’t stop thinking about those hot steamy nights where Martin made his every fantasy a reality.

Martin’s past comes back to haunt him as he arrives on Thomas’s doorstep to finish what they started. But then Martin must put his life on the line to save Thomas from an unstable woman who is obsessed with claiming Thomas as her own.

With a dangerous highwayman also terrorizing the land who has close ties to Martin, Thomas becomes a target in a deadly game of cat and mouse. It’s up to Martin to save Thomas and hope they can sail away on their tide of passion, where he will end up being the Prince’s groom.

 

Excerpt:

“There you are, lad. I’ve been lookin’ for you everywhere.” The older man strolled toward him with a bright grin on his face.

He looks at me as if he loves me. He clasped his hands behind his back to stop from reaching out and taking Martin in his arms. He was so wrong. Martin didn’t love him. Desired and lusted for him, yes. But loved him? No.

He remained silent as Martin cupped his cheeks and tipped his head back. He swallowed, overcome with the need to get down on his knees and worship the man’s cock. He had never experienced anything like it. He would never forget him as long as he lived.

“What are you thinking of, Your Highness?” Martin licked his lips.

He clenched his fists, wanting desperately to run his fingers through the dark goatee, spread his palms on his bald head, and press kisses on the elder man’s face. He frowned. He didn’t even know how old Martin truly was, let alone his first name.

“Please don’t call me ‘lad.’ And certainly not ‘Your Highness’. I’m very much a man and no longer a prince, and haven’t been for many years. I would have no idea how to run a country even if given the chance.” He added the last as an afterthought.

Martin released his neck and slid his hands down the younger man’s body until he seized his ass and cupped both cheeks. Thomas moaned in response. His eyes flicked shut, and he inhaled deeply, smelling the dark yeasty ale Martin had drunk earlier in the night. He barely stopped himself from placing his lips on the bushy jaw and sucking there.

“You’re in a bit of the bite, now, aren’t you?”

He snorted. Martin’s way with words always made him smile; it was one of the things he adored about him.

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