Read An Excerpt
Victorian Period, England, Paranormal, Historical Romance
“I think it best that you sleep in Talent’s quarters tonight.” Poppy couldn’t look at him.
Out of the corner of her eye, she saw him nod, but he came closer anyway. When he stopped before the bed, she forced herself to face him, only to find his expression solemn. “If you wish,” Winston said, then his hands went to his shirt.
“If you are thinking of getting in this bed with me, think again.” If he did, she’d lose all sense of herself. Sometime between crying and curling up in a lonely ball upon the bed, she realized that if he could not accept who and what she was, then so be it.
He paused, and his brows lifted. A glint lit his eyes. She’d almost forgotten how Win loved a challenge. Proof, she supposed, of her exhaustion. But he’d have a fight on his hands. The glint in his eyes grew. “Do you suppose I’ve come to ravage you? ” His finely shaped lips twitched, and her face heated.
He whipped his shirt over his head and tossed it away.
Her breath left her. Not since he’d first been attacked had she seen his torso. He hadn’t allowed it. Despite his sudden reveal, she looked not at his chest, but at his face. His jaw was set and hard as he gazed at a spot on the wall.
“Go on,” he said, “look at me.”
Good God, but he’d changed. Gone was the lithe torso. In its place, a network of corded muscle reigned. He was still lean; his body would never run to pure bulk, but the definition and the strength had increased. A part of her mourned the loss of his earlier self, though this newer Win intrigued her as well. He was a study of power tempered by grace. “You’re bigger,” she said inanely.
He made a sound halfway between a grunt and a snort. And she realized that she’d missed the point of this exercise entirely. Taking a breath, she looked over the scars that marred his fine, ivory skin. It had been bad, his attack. Thick, ropey scars covered his left pectoral muscle, shoulder, and forearm, while thinner, redder slashes crisscrossed over his rippling abdomen and the swell of his biceps. He’d been so close to death.
Unable to help herself, she rose onto her knees and reached out to trace the thick slash just over his heart. His warm skin twitched at the contact, but he held still.
“You’ve healed well, Win.”
His eyes flicked to hers. “You keep saying that. Don’t.” His voice was a whip of censure.
“It is the truth,” she snapped back.
He took a step forward, the action sending her palm against his chest. “Don’t patronize me. Just look at me. Look at what I’ve become.”
White lined the livid red scars on his face as he glared at her.
“I am looking,” she said, feeling the rapid beat of his heart beneath her hand…