During a daring raid to rescue prisoners he was hired to free, Lord Jeoffrey Blaisdell discovers Lady Rosalind Hamilton. To secure her own release as well, she agrees to his price, though she knows she cannot pay it. When he learns of her deception, Jeoffrey offers her an alternate price for rescue...
The payment is to be reaped by Lord Jeoffrey in his bedchambers--swiftly, immediately, and all night long.
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November 13, 2009
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Excerpt from Ruling Passion by Katherine Kingston
An enormous cockroach scurried across the stone floor of the cell.
Lady Rosalind Hamilton shivered as she watched it race toward the shelter of a tiny crevice in the stone wall. She drew around her the thin blanket that failed to deliver any warmth. At least she could see the insect right now, but soon she'd only be able to locate her small roommates by sound. The thin gray light from the single, high, barred window was fading, and the guards provided no candles. A cloudy night meant thick darkness, a blackness so complete it pressed on her body and invaded her soul.
In the depths of the blackest nights, she asked herself why she didn't just accede to Sir William's demands and yield herself to him. But it was also in those soul-searing hours she remembered her father's head rolling on the floor several feet from his body. She saw again her older brother's sightless eyes and the blood soaking his clothes. Heard her mother's screams as William's men dragged her to another room. Her shrieks of pain sank gradually to despairing moans. Then, even those stopped, leaving an empty silence.
Rosalind knew she would likely die here, but better so than give the monster anything of herself. How could he think he would get anything from her but hatred?
Even his efforts to "convince" her to do his will were despicable. He'd tried to bribe her with fine clothes and jewels, exotic foods and sweets, the best accommodations in his keep. When those failed to move her, he went the other way and consigned her to the laundry rooms. She cringed remembering how the other servants, no doubt at Sir William's instigation, gave her the foulest items to wash, slopped and splashed her with rank-smelling water, and once nearly knocked her into one of the caldrons. Her scalded arm had burned for days.
The monster would not have her.
But she didn't want to die in this God-forsaken cell. She'd tried the window, standing on the rickety cot that was the only furnishing. The bars refused to yield to her tugs and pulls. Even her full weight hanging from them hadn't produced so much as a wiggle. Her fingertips were scraped raw from trying to dig around the mortar holding the bars in place. She'd investigated every square inch of the cell for weaknesses and found none. The door was solid wood, six inches thick with a tiny little window and no flaws or cracks.
Rosalind sat on the cot and prayed. It would take a miracle to free her.