Thankful for the chance to leave London and escape the unwelcome advances of an ardent suitor, Abigail Prescott accepts an invitation to Brydmoor Castle to paint the portrait of the reclusive Viscount Devlin and his small son. A young widow in straightened circumstances, she soon finds herself ensconced in his home and the object of his unwavering attention.
Nathan Holt vows never to marry again. He’s done his duty and has an heir. But when Abigail Prescott comes into his vicinity, the daily presence of her in his home becomes a temptation too hard to resist. Unable to deny himself any longer, he begins his seduction of her in earnest, only to find that once will never be enough.
Candles flickered in their holders, the shadows dancing on the walls and across the massive stone hearth in the Great Hall. It was late. Abigail had been restless lying in bed and decided to come downstairs. Perhaps she could add some of the finishing touches to the nearly finished portrait of Nathan and William.
“Couldn’t sleep?” The deep voice echoed in the vastness of the hall.
Abigail gasped and whirled around in time to see Nathan emerge from the shadows. “You frightened me,” she said, her own voice breathless in her ears. Warily, she watched his approach; his firm tread loud in the hush of the night.
He walked straight toward her, his eyes holding hers in a look as old as time itself. Her stomach plummeted and her skin tingled against the silky fabric of her nightgown. Since she’d seen him last, he’d removed his coat and neckcloth and his shirt was unbuttoned at the throat. He’d obviously not gone to bed yet, late as it was.
Standing before her, he took the paintbrush from her limp fingers and set it on the table next to the easel. “I couldn’t sleep either,” he said, his voice low and rough. “All I could think about was . . . this.”