This is a classic story of who is to blame-the earl or the countess. Both have a ground to stand on. The earl thinks his wife betrayed him and she likewise. The problem herein is whose sin is greater. Who will be the first to apologize and come down from the moral horse? I did enjoy the book although there were some typos which slipped away from both the editor’s and writer’s eyes. I look forward to reading more books from this author, although I cannot find them on this site.
The Worth Series, 1
Betrayed by his wife five years earlier, Edward Powell, the Earl of Canton is furious. Penelope Powell is out to hurt him once more. Only this time, he won’t stand for it and he intends to teach her a lesson for her wicked deeds.
Penelope is shocked to learn that her husband has come to Scotland to confront her, although not nearly as surprised as he is. For five long years, Penelope has kept a secret, a child, from Edward and knowing her husband, he won’t soon forgive her for such treachery.
Now reunited in London, Edward demands that Penelope be a perfect example of what a lady should be, while he extracts a more intimate revenge in the bedroom. Will Penelope be able to meet Edward’s demands? Or will she lose herself to him just as she did all those years ago?
“Punishment,” he repeated the word as if it hadn’t occurred to him. “Punishment indeed.”
Electricity seemed to snap between them, filling the room with such heat that Penelope felt the hairs on the back of her neck stand on end while she grew uncomfortably warm all over.
Edward looked at her and walked slowly towards her, like a lion stalking its prey. Silently she chastised herself, Penelope watched as a feeling of self-preservation suddenly came over her. She wanted to take a step back, but something familiar told her not to move. It hit her in that secret part of her heart that Edward had opened on their wedding night when he had commanded her to kiss him. An old familiar feeling came over her then as he came towards her, the long forgotten invisible hook that held her to him, a vague wanting feeling to please him and take whatever he had to give and even though she couldn’t explain it, couldn’t put it into words, she knew he needed her to not retreat.
He stopped in front of her, taller and more imposing than ever and still she did not waver. The look in his eyes was smoldering and she allowed herself to lower her gaze, only to see him bend into her peripheral vision, his mouth at her ear.
“I should punish you, a thousand times over for what you’ve done,” he whispered in a tone that made her tremble. She closed her eyes, ignoring the sensation of his breath on her collar. Good heavens, did he remember how he could make her squirm when he touched his mouth to her neck? “I wouldn’t be thought poorly by anyone. I would be completely within my rights.”
She nodded, unable to speak.
“Speak,” he all but barked, making her flinch.
“I-I don’t know what to say,” she whispered, eyes clenched shut.
“Say I would be justified.”
“You would be justified,” she repeated.
“Say that I have been wronged.”
“You have been wronged.”
“Say that I own you to do with as I wish.”
She steadied her breathing and opened her eyes, desperate to see if his face held the same sudden passion she heard in his voice. His eyes were wide and she thought he rather looked like he was staring at a ghost.
“You own me to do with as you wish,” she said so softly and in a tone so submissive that he seemed to shake.
And so, he did. His mouth fell to hers, harsh and at the same time, yearning. She was a fool to think there was anything besides revenge behind his motive, but then it felt like home. He kissed her mouth, her chin and neck as tears rolled down her cheek, but she wasn’t crying out of pain or sadness. It was relief. His mouth had been the breath she hadn’t realized she had been starved for. It was as if she had been living in a fog for the past five years and he had just shocked her back into life.
He moved her back until his hips pinned her to the wall. His thigh shoved roughly between her legs, so that she couldn’t move. One hand went to her bodice, fingers splayed beneath the roundness of her breast. A noise escaped her mouth and she blushed at how wanton it sounded.
Penelope arched against the wall, pressing her chest out in a desperate attempt to be touched. She needn’t bother, though. Edward’s hands were desperate and rough. He pulled at the sturdy fabric of her bodice, yanking it down crudely as his mouth fell to the tip of her breast. Penelope gasped as he sucked, his teeth grazing her nipple. The threat that he might bite her only seemed to heighten her sudden need for him.
Penelope grabbed at the back of his coat as she kissed his hair, pulling him against her breast. A growl seemed to escape him as she did and his one arm dropped, settling around her waist as the other grabbed at the hem of her skirts below. His fingers dug into her lower back, as if he meant to hold her with one hand as the other moved its way up between the seam of her legs, searching for the opening in her drawers.
Penelope bit her lip and looked towards the ceiling as his mouth continued its assault on her. This was madness. She had to stop, had to put some distance between them before he realized that she had ached for him for five long years. Before he discovered just how much she wanted this.
Without warning, Edward’s finger slipped firmly into her, causing Penelope to pant and shiver with desire. She felt herself tighten around his finger as he held himself deep within her.
“Bloody hell,” he whispered roughly as he looked at her. “Tight as the day I first felt you.”
Penelope shut her eyes tightly, desperate not to hear his words. She didn’t want to remember how gentle he had been, how kind he once was to her. Not now when all she wanted was to be in his arms, used by his body.
Edward nipped at her jaw as he began to move his hand, gently pulling out and pushing back in until she was liquid, melting in his very hands. He was building her up, forcing her towards an edge she hadn’t experienced with him in years and she was torn. She didn’t want him to know that he still held such power over her and yet it was all she wanted in that moment.
“Look at you,” he whispered, though her eyes were firmly closed. “So close.”
She didn’t want to speak to him, not now, but his hand stilled.
“Open your eyes,” he commanded, his voice suddenly stern.
Convincing herself that she was desperate for him to continue and nothing more, she opened her eyes and looked at him.
Will he be able to find away out of his hurt to reach her out… I confess, being sick I postponed for a time my reading of this book. Through the blurb, I expected this book to be full of angst while I need comfort reads when I do not feel too well. But as the release date is getting closer, I could not put it off any longer. And an angsty read this book is, but a moving tale it is too. Both lash out at the other, their past pain in their every word, they appear unable to let go of the hurt, Edward feeling he is the wronged party while Penelope plays the penitent culprit. When they are both the maker of their own misery. Edward by falling in love, felt betrayed by Penelope’s choice but never did he let her explain the why, the reasons behind her actions. He sent her away, and since never contacted her. Penelope is guilty of many things but she tried to talk to Edward of her reservations but he always brushed it aside, never truly listening to what she had to say. Then at the first dent in their young marriage, he banished her from his life. As a young bride all alone, his harsh treatment and unwilling ear to listen to her were not a good omen of his benevolence toward her when he has been able for one slight to erase her from his life. She did wrong by him in hiding her child from her father, but she was lost, suffering from the blow of their breakup and afraid of his reactions. If he has been more open, they would have avoided years of estrangement. And Edward, while the wronged party, by the end, Penelope is as much if not even more a victim of his ire. If he had been less proud and more supportive, he would have saved them the pain of their years apart. I felt for them both but was mostly upset at Edward for being blind of his own fault and always taking his hurt out on her, when he should have been groveling for his ill treatment of his young wife. 4.5 stars for this emotional and sensual read. I must say I was surprised at the end by the hero’s sister, Catherine, from a resilient strong wise woman, she turned into a mean petty irrational being because the man inheriting her late husband’s title has different manners. I am not sure I will be interested in her story if she stays such a harpie.