Once and Always
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Across the vast ocean sailed Victoria Seaton, a free-spirited American beauty left suddenly orphaned and alone. Eager to claim her long-lost heritage, she was amazed at the formal elegance of Wakefield, the sumptuous English estate of her distant cousin...the notorious Lord Jason Fielding. Sought after at plays, operas, and balls by London's most fashionable ladies, Jason remained a mystery to Victoria. Bewildered by his arrogant demeanor, yet drawn to his panther-like grace, she came to sense the searingly painful memories that smoldered in the depths of his jade-green eyes.
Unable to resist her spitfire charm, Jason gathered her at last into his powerful arms, ravishing her lips with his kisses, arousing in her a sweet, insistent hunger. Wed in desire, they were enfolded in a fierce, consuming joy, free at last from the past's cruel grasp. Then, in a moment of blinding anguish, Victoria discovered the shocking treachery that lay at the heart of their love...a love she had dreamed would triumph...Once And Always.
she was from the very beginning. And he—he was exactly what his foster mother had called him as a child: the spawn of the devil. Shrugging into his robe, Jason took a velvet box from a drawer and went back into Victoria’s room. He stood beside her bed, watching her sleep. “Victoria,” he whispered. She flinched in her slumber at the sound of his voice and he ached with remorse. How vulnerable and hurt she looked; how incredibly beautiful she was with her hair spilling over the pillows and
Victoria said with a twinkle. “I liked sabers,” Caroline confessed. “My brother Richard used to let me be his fencing partner. All it takes is a good arm.” “And a steady eye,” added Victoria. Lord Collingwood chuckled. “I used to pretend I was a knight of old and joust with the grooms. I did quite well in the lists—but then, the grooms were undoubtedly reluctant to knock a fledgling earl off his horse, so I probably wasn’t as good as I thought I was at the time.” “Did you play tug-of-war in
discovered that.” “Then why didn’t he arrive in America before you left for England?” “There probably wasn’t quite enough time. I would guess he arrived within a week or two of my departure.” Caroline slanted Victoria a thoughtful, hesitant look. “Victoria, have you told the Duke of Atherton you are certain Andrew is coming for you?” “Yes, but he doesn’t believe me. And because he doesn’t, he’s determined I must have this season.” “But doesn’t it seem odd that he wants you and Lord Fielding
windows across the room from her, thumbing through a periodical. By the time Jason finally strolled into the library, Victoria was so unstrung she nearly jumped to her feet when she saw him. “What are you reading?” he inquired casually, stopping in front of her and shoving his hands into the pockets of his tight tan trousers. “A volume of Shelley’s,” she said after a long, embarrassing moment during which she couldn’t remember the particular poet’s name. “Victoria,” he began, and for the
scowling at her. Victoria lifted her eyes to Jason’s and saw the humiliation he was hiding behind a mask of cynical indifference. “I’m only frightened, my lord. Please take my hand.” He hesitated, searching her eyes, and relief slowly replaced the iron grimness on his features. His hand touched hers, then closed reassuringly around her fingers. “Now, may I proceed?” whispered the archbishop indignantly. Jason’s lips twitched. “Please do.” As the archbishop began reading the long service,