Pride & Passion: Regency Historical Romance
Scorned, left destitute by her late husband's will, the lovely widow has no where to turn. Unless it is to the new visount. She must throw herself on Lord Ogden's mercy. Pride and need wars in her. She once rejected the gentleman's offer for her hand. And married his cousin. She made the mistake of choosing security over the soldier's love.
Lord Ogden, formerly Major Vincent Crawford, finds himself still in thrall to her beauty. Betrayed by his cousin, spurned by the lady, he is bitter over the past. Yet honor demands that he provide for his cousin's widow. He fully intends to do just that.
Then Lady Ogden makes another mistake. She wakens the fury of the man who had once desperately loved her.
Warning: 18+ ----triggers---Standalone
He regarded her in stony silence. His lips were tightly compressed. The control he exerted over himself was patent. She did not allow her gaze to drop, but she could not stop the way her hands twisted in her lap. Behind her, she heard the loud ticking away of the mantel clock. Her heart beat time more rapidly than the clock. It seemed a lifetime before he spoke and his grating reply astonished her.
“If you had delivered an heir, by law you would have been granted tenure at Delincourt and a stipend.”
Lady Ogden felt the sudden, tight constriction under her breastbone. It was a dulled pain now but still capable of hurt. She would not deign to let him see how his words wounded. “I failed in my duty.”
“Is there any chance you might be breeding?”
A flush sprang into her cheeks. She tightened her clasped fingers until her knuckles turned white. She couldn’t imagine what conceivable business it could be of his – but of course! In a flash, she understood. He’d still be the heir presumptive if she was with child, and not entitled to the chair in which he was now sitting. For a wild moment, she thought of lying, of saying that there was a chance of it, if only to gain some time in hopes of making another way for herself; but she could not sacrifice her honor, after all. It was the only thing left to her besides her tattered pride. Her husband had not lain with her in the several weeks before the accident, and as for the last time... She lifted her chin. “None, my lord.”
“Then there is nothing to be done for you.”
The viscount’s flat statement fell harshly on her ears. Whatever fragile hope she had nourished withered. In dull despair, she looked at his angered, set face. The slow tick of the clock sounded unbearably loud. Some odd quality gathered in his expression, suddenly frightening her. His hard gaze bored into her own. He spoke slowly, very deliberately. “Unless, my lady, you were brought to bed of a child within the year of your mourning.”
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