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book cover of The Pleasure in Surrender

The Pleasure in Surrender

(2015)
A Novella by

After the lady of the keep bars her gates to the barbarian the king commands she wed, the half-Viking knight scales the walls of her heart...

Note: This 5700-word short story was previously published as part of the HOT HIGHLANDERS AND WILD WARRIORS anthology. It may be short in length, but it's not short in passion!


*~*~*~*~*


Excerpt:


A draft brushed her face. She'd closed the door and latched the pigskin curtain over her narrow window. A scuff of a foot had her stiffening, but she heard no more above the pounding of her heart. She wasn't alone. "Who's there?" she whispered.

"I think you know," came a deep, rumbling drawl.

She drew a deep breath and came up slowly, scooting to the far side of her bed. Her knife was on her chatelaine's belt hanging from a peg beside the door. She was weaponless. "My people?"

"Your man Geade surrendered as soon as he realized the keep was overrun. No one was harmed."

"How?"

"Does it matter? I've taken this castle. The only question now is one I want answered: Why did you bar the gates?"

Edwina shivered at his graveled voice. "I was promised time to grieve before I accepted another husband."

"Alred suspected you would grieve until you were old. Did you really think he would defy the king's orderfor you?"

She lifted her chin although she knew the gesture couldn't be seen--not unless Vikings had eyes like cats. "I expected him to honor his promise. I paid for the privilege."

"About that--he returned the gold. To me." His footsteps drew nearer her bed. "But that doesn't answer the question. Why, Edwina?"

Her mouth grew dry at the rasping texture of his deep voice. She swallowed and set her back against the wall. "I wed once for political expediency. This time, I wanted a choice."

He remained silent for a long moment. "And yet you have turned away every suitor who approached you."

"None were worthy."

"You hold yourself in such high esteem?"

"I worried for my people. Warriors don't make the best farmers."

His footsteps scraped closer.

She pressed harder against cold stone.

"I will admit, I've little experience with farming. But I understood you were competent. That I could rely on you to teach me."

He said the words slowly, and she tried to read his intentions in the inflections of his voice. Could he be telling her the truth? Would he allow her to continue as steward of her land? "Are we...negotiating?"

After a long moment, he cleared his throat. "You wed young."

"I had no choice, but Malcolm was malleable and a drunk. We came to an arrangement that suited us both. I managed the estate. He drank and caroused, spending from a generous budget. We were both satisfied."

"You managed him and the estate."

"Yes."

After a pause, he said, "I'm not malleable. Nor will I be managed."


Kindle Editions

March 2015 : USA, Australia, Canada, UK Kindle edition
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Title: The Pleasure in Surrender (an erotic historical short story)
Author(s): Delilah Devlin
Publisher:
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU