EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT: Seduce Me at Sunrise by Lisa KleypasTuesday, May 6, 2008 4:12
Kev Merripen, a Gypsy with mysterious origins, is in love with Winnifred Hathaway, a former invalid who now wants to live fully and without reserve. But Win is being pursued by the handsome doctor who helped her to get well. In this scene, Merripen interrupts a rendezvous right outside a glittering ballroom. . .
Together, Julian Harrow and Win stared at the intruder.It was Merripen, of course, huge and dark and aggressive as he strode toward them.Win’s jaw sagged in disbelief. Merripen had followed her out here? She felt like a hunted creature. For heaven’s sake, was there no place she could evade his outrageous stalking?“Go . . . away,” she said, enunciating each word with scornful precision. “You are not my chaperon.”
“You should be with your chaperon,” Merripen snapped. “Not here with him.”
Win had never found it so difficult to master her emotions. She shoved them back, closing them behind an expressionless face. But she could feel the temper seething impatiently inside her. Her voice shook only a little as she turned to Julian. “Would you be so kind as to leave us, Dr. Harrow? There is something I must settle with Merripen.”
Julian glanced from Merripen’s set face to hers. “I’m not sure I should,” he said slowly.
“He’s been plaguing me all evening,” Win said. “I’m the only one who can put a stop to it. Please allow me a moment with him.”
“Very well.” Julian stood from the bench. “Where shall I wait for you?”
“Back in the drawing-room,” Win replied, grateful that there was no argument from Julian. Clearly he respected her, and her abilities, enough to allow her to manage the situation. “Thank you, Dr. Harrow.”
She was barely aware of Julian’s departure, she was so focused on Merripen. She stood and went to him with a furious scowl. “You are driving me mad,” she exclaimed. “I want you to stop this, Kev! Do you have any idea how ridiculous you’re being? How badly you’ve behaved tonight?”
“I’ve behaved badly?” he thundered. “You were about to let yourself be compromised.”
“Perhaps I want to be compromised.”
“That’s too bad,” he said, reaching out to grip her upper arm, preparing to haul her from the conservatory. “Because I’m going to make certain you stay safe.”
“Don’t touch me!” Win wrenched free of him, incensed. “I’ve been safe for years. Tucked safely in bed, watching everyone around me enjoying their lives. I’ve had enough safety to last a lifetime, Kev. And if that’s what you want, for me to continue to be alone and unloved, then you can go to the devil.”
“You were never alone,” he said harshly. “You’ve never been unloved.”
“I want to be loved as a woman. Not as a child, or a sister, or an invalid—”
“That’s not how I—”
“Perhaps you’re not even capable of such love.” In her blazing frustration, Win experienced something she had never felt before. The desire to hurt someone. “You don’t have it in you.”
Merripen moved through a shaft of moonlight that had slipped through the conservatory glass, and Win felt a little shock as she saw his murderous expression. In just a few words she managed to cut him deeply, enough to open a vein of dark and furious feeling. She fell back a step, alarmed as he seized her in a brutal grip.
He jerked her upward. “All the fires of hell could burn for a thousand years and it wouldn’t equal what I feel for you in one minute of the day. I love you so much there is no pleasure in it. Nothing but torment. Because if I could dilute what I feel for you to the millionth part, it would still be enough to kill you. And even if it drives me mad, I would rather see you live in the arms of that cold, soulless bastard than die in mine.”
Before she could begin to comprehend what he’d said, and all the implications, he took her mouth with savage hunger. For a full minute, perhaps two, she couldn’t even move, could only stand there helplessly, falling apart, every rational thought dissolving.
© Lisa Kleypas. All rights reserved