Fara Bellamont has been back in society for a year after leaving Cluny Abbey, where her uncle sent her long ago. When he chooses a suitor for her for marriage, she fears that she will be forced to marry a stranger and live a miserable life.
But, Fara finds herself thrust into an adventure of a lifetime when unforeseen circumstances cause her to place her trust in a strange man for protection. His intervention not only saves her, but puts her in an even more compromising position.
Grant Hill, a trading captain, is enchanted by the young heiress not only because of her beauty, but because she is hardly conventional. Underneath her ladylike exterior lies a tigress. Grant cannot help but offer his protection as she is in need and he is far from immune from her charms.
Fara just never bargained on the passion that she feels for Grant Hill. As events unfold, she must decide whether her desires and the dictates of her heart should trump the rules of society in this exciting tale.
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Fara fought the darkness to the coming light. It was so easy to stay in the dark. It was comforting like a warm blanket. But, the light held such possibilities. She knew she must rouse, as if something significant lay there in wakefulness. She stirred and felt a pair of arms holding her. Then she heard a heartbeat beneath a rough fabric, felt a coarse texture of chest hair. It was so secure within that embrace.
When she finally realized it was a man who held her, she gasped and tried to retreat from the cord of muscles. She glanced up to be temporarily blinded by the lamplight to her left.
“Don’t move,” said a soft but deep voice.
He spoke with the assurance of authority, and she could tell he was used to ordering people around. Well, he wouldn’t order her. She lifted her heavy head and whimpered as a stab of agony sliced through her skull. Fara squeezed her eyes shut tight. It was so much easier to be left in the dark for it was as if her head was being cut with so many knives.
“I will have you more comfortable in a moment. Please do not move.”
How could she possibly move with all this pain and that large man rendering her limbs useless?
Suddenly, she felt a light cushion beneath her. The glare from the lantern came into her vision again when she opened her eyes and was then replaced by the outline of a man towering above her. She gasped and crawled away from him, but his hold on her waist hauled her back. Her head hurt so as he studied her face.
“Madame, the pain will be less if you stay still. I promise I did not bring you here to harm you in any way.”
She gradually settled back on the pillows and looked at her keeper. He was an attractive man, if one liked the rough, indignant kind. Dark layers of soft waves covered his head and ended at the nape of his neck. He was large, but slim in the right places…it spoke of years of hard physical labor.
His eyes captivated her as she studied him in such proximity. The shade of his eyes…a charcoal color; they were the most intense and unreadable eyes she’d ever seen. It was an odd, yet strikingly beautiful color for a man.
Oh, you silly girl, she thought. Really…how ridiculous for her to be wooed by only a pair of eyes. “May I ask you a question?”
“I insist you do, if you are not too unwell.” He gestured to her jaw.
Fara nodded, acknowledging the wound provided by the man named Bernard. She imagined what he referred to must indeed be a hideous sight. She looked around the room. It appeared to be a cabin of sorts. “Monsieur…how did I get here? Are we on a yacht?”
“A ship. My ship, La Voyageur,” he announced firmly with a lifted brow.
She faltered at the damning tone in his voice. It gave the impression that he was accustomed to some ridicule, but she could not fathom the reason for it. “You are a captain?”
“Mademoiselle.” She blushed.
“Ah. I knew you were too young to be saddled to one man, but thought it safer to say you were.”
“Monsieur…how long will I be here?”
He pointed to her throbbing jaw. “As soon as that is healed nicely, I will escort you to your home.”
Why, that could be days! Did he really mean to let her go, or was his intention to ask for a ransom? He had rescued her, but what if his motives were for reasons other than valor? “My uncle…he will be concerned for me. I insist you take me home now.” She realized her voice was too soft to sound commanding.
He shook his head. “I will have a message sent to him. What is his name?”
She sighed. “Michel de Bellamont.” She began to protest, “Monsieur, surely you do not intend to keep me here? That would not be right.”
“I do though. You fainted twice. I must be certain it won’t happen again. That bastard hit you. I would be surprised if you didn’t feel unwell. I will send the message to your uncle, informing him that his niece is in good hands. You will probably be better tomorrow. You may leave then if you wish.”
“All right, Monsieur. Merci.” He seemed to be concerned about her enough to care for her here. She still felt unsure about spending time alone with a complete stranger, especially a man, but she did not know how to convince him otherwise. He did not seem like the kind of man one questioned. And despite the fact that she’d thought he could be trusted, she still must be on her guard. She had no idea what he really intended.
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About the Author
At the tender age of nine, she began writing stories. Her imagination fueled a lot of her early child’s play. Even growing up, she entered writing contests and received a certificate for achieving the second round in one. She majored in Creative Writing in college because that was all she ever wanted – to be a writer. While there, she published two works in a university publication, and was a copy editor on the staff of an online student journal. After graduating from college, she sought out her dream to publish a book.
Since then, Marie has published seventeen books. Marie Lavender’s real love is writing romances, but she has also written mysteries, literary fiction and dabbled a little in paranormal stories. Most of her works have a romantic element involved in them. Upon Your Return is her first historical romance novel. Feel free to visit her website at http://marielavender.webs.com/ for further information about her books and her life. Marie is also on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Marie has published several novels under different pseudonyms:
Marie Lavender: Upon Your Return
Erica Sutherhome: Hard to Get; Memories; A Hint of Scandal; Without You; Strange Heat; Terror in the Night; Haunted; Pursuit; Perfect Game; A Touch of Dawn; Ransom; Leather and Lace
Kathryn Layne: A Misplaced Life
Heather Crouse: Express Café and Other Ramblings; Ramblings, Musings and Other Things; Soulful Ramblings and Other Worldly Things