Bishop Foakes cast his nephew an admonishing look from under bushy eyebrows. Lord knows the boys had caused Sheffie grief. Not that Sheffie had paid any attention, packing the twins off to the continent and the far east rather than sewing them up in a couple of solid marriage contracts. He was lucky that the boys returned safe and sound. Well, time to get on with the ceremony. It had a tendency to ride backwards and look like a ship listing in a storm. And that feeling made her want to run from the chapel. Her life seemed to stretch ahead of her, gray and fruitless, marked by anguish and embarrassment as her husband dallied with other women.
Ah well. It would probably be taken as a romantic gesture by those in the chapel, and Lord knows they needed to emphasize romance in order to get through this particular wedding without scandal. The bishop turned his attention to his nephew.
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My goodness, Patrick has sarcastic-seeming eyebrows, floating half up his forehead as they do, Richard thought to himself. It makes the boy seem satirical even as he stands in a holy place. Suddenly all the lies her father had asked her to tell about his whereabouts reverberated in her mind, ugly specters of a marriage in shreds and tatters, run — and ruined — by falsehoods.
She looked up at Patrick, her eyes asking an agonized, unspoken question. And his eyes smiled at her: those lovely black, black eyes with small crinkles at the corners from the sun. Well, at least Patrick seemed to be marrying into a good family, Richard thought. Brides should be meek and small. Yes, small and meek, that was the best sort of bride. Richard frowned. No, surely not. She looked a wee, refined creature, not capable of swearing in any language.
Patrick turned Sophie to face him. He felt very pleased with himself. The whole transaction felt right. He had had the same feeling when he purchased a Baltimore clipper from that new American company. Sure enough, the ship had weathered a hurricane off the shore of Trinidad and was on her fifth voyage now. Sophie looked up at him, her blue eyes so dark as to look almost black. For a moment Patrick was startled by the enormous reserve he glimpsed them.
He drew her up against his body and lowered his head. Sophie rested passively against his chest, her lips cool and unresponsive. Oh hell, Patrick thought to himself.
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He slid his large hands up her back and drew her sharply against him, his lips demanding. As they drew apart, husband and wife looked at each other for a moment. Sophie was only aware of the wanton way she had pressed against Patrick. Had anyone been able to see her knees buckle? There was a little rustle in the chapel. Members of the ton were used to couples who turned briskly and trotted down the aisle together to the sound of trumpets, couples who wasted little time looking at each other. Penelope shot her friend a look of near-hatred. She was a stout dowager of fifty-some and Penelope would eat her hat if Lord Prestlefield had ever looked at Sarah the way in which Patrick Foakes just looked at his new wife.
Sarah cast her another long-suffering look. No woman in her right mind would turn him down for a younger brother, no matter how rich Foakes is.
Midnight Pleasures (Pleasures, #2) by Eloisa James
Wealth and titles had nothing to do with this…this air of sensuality that breathed from Patrick Foakes. Penelope twisted about to watch the newlyweds leave. The great doors to the chapel stood open and the Foakes were standing at the top of the marble steps with their back to the chapel. A ray of lazy sunshine caught them there, turned Sophie into a slim golden flame and Patrick into a dusky winter god next to her summer glow.
As Penelope watched, Patrick bent over to kiss his bride again. A muscle clenched in his jaw. The arms imprisoning her grew tighter until she feared he might break her in two. Breathless, she gazed down at him, all bravado gone as she prayed that her death would be swift, painless. She wondered if her Aunt Eugenia had survived the attack. Her father was an austere, cruel man, one who loved and lived for the heat of battle, the clash of swords, the bloody smell of victory.
He shook her until her head snapped back. Dread uncoiled deep within her. Now that she knew who he was, death in any form would have been a blessing. She knew her father would avenge her, not because of any great love for his youngest daughter, but because it would give him just cause for another war.
Reyes drew in a deep breath, his rage dwindling as he grew increasingly aware of the slim female form pressing against his. Lifting his head, he sniffed her skin, his senses filling with the flowery scent of her perfume, the acrid stink of her fear. Her hair was not red and not brown, but something in between, reminding him of the rich earthy color of autumn leaves. Her eyes were the green of new grass, her skin a soft golden brown. She squirmed beneath his regard, making him acutely aware of her full breasts, of the fact that her body was cradled between his thighs.
He could have taken her there and then. It was his right. No one would dare dispute it. He had wrought the victory. It was his right to claim whatever or whoever he wished. But he did not want her writhing beneath him in fright, only in ecstasy. Nay, far better to seduce her slowly and gently on a bed of soft furs by candlelight. It amazed him that he wanted her at all knowing that it had been her father who had butchered his. Putting the woman away from him, he took a deep breath. His men, drunk with the wine of victory, gathered up the last of the spoils and fell in behind him, eager to return home to bed their wives and boast of their victory.
From story to story, the creatures can be cursed or evil -- the good guys or the bad guys. When the former Lord Reyes tried to break the curse, he was killed by Lord Montiori, and now his son, Alexandar Reyes, has vowed vengeance on all Montiori. During an attack on one of the Montiori keeps, Reyes stumbles across the perfect means of revenge in Lady Shanara, Montiori's youngest daughter.
Learning that the rumors of the curse are true, Lady Shanara is more determined than ever to escape her captor. Reyes is a handsome man, and even Shanara admits that his feud with her father is justified, but she knows her father will never give himself up to save her.
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