As promised, here's another short excerpt from The Scarred Heir
He stood abruptly. “We will finish this discussion upstairs.” If Dodson hadn’t gotten rid of her uncle, he might yet have no other choice, but he would not have this discussion here, in public, where someone might overhear.
Minutes later he ushered her into a blessedly empty sitting room. Dropping her pelisse and reticule into a chair, she crossed to her room and checked inside. He did the same for his room, noting that his trunk sat open beside the bed. Neither servant was present.
Sarah stood in the center of the room, her features pale. Uncertainty hung over her like a cloud. He tried, unsuccessfully, to steel himself. She had to see that marrying him was wrong for now. He had no idea what the future might bring, but at this time it was the wrong choice.
Large blue eyes watched him as he crossed the carpet toward her. He meant to stop before her, far enough away so he couldn’t touch her, but he couldn’t resist the lost look in her eyes. Before he knew it, he was holding her, enjoying the soft curves pressed close, the sweet smell of flowers in her hair.
She trembled and pressed her face into his shirtfront, sliding her hands beneath his coat and around his waist.
“Why?” The question was whisper soft.
“Because I can’t. I cannot allow you to make such a choice out of fear.”
She raised her head. “It wouldn’t be fear. I understand what I’m asking.”
“Do you?” His lips quirked. “Have you thought about all the possibilities? What if we find your father alive? You will have taken the step unnecessarily.”
She sighed. “Perhaps, but if my uncle were to have forced me to it, I would still be married, and whether my father was alive or not wouldn’t matter.”
He sighed. “You are right, but your uncle will not force you—and neither will I.”
She huffed and stepped back. “You wouldn’t be forcing me—”
The door opened and Dodson entered, followed by Annie. Sarah gasped in horror at the sight of the maid’s face. There was a large bruise marring her features and her lip was swollen.
“Annie. Oh Annie, what happened?”
“I tol’ him I didn’t know where you was, an’ he hit me. Said he didn’t believe me.”
Sarah hurried over to the maid and took her in her arms.
Dodson looked at Max. “I started packing. The uncle said he’d be back with a magistrate. I figured you didn’t still want ta be here.”
“Heavens no,” Sarah interrupted. She looked at Annie. “Come, I’ll help you finish my packing.”
Thirty minutes later they were pulling away from the Pulteney and Sarah began to relax. She was thankful her order from Mme. Marchand had arrived and they were able to pack it as well. Yet she wouldn’t have quibbled at leaving it behind had it been necessary.
While she and Annie packed, she’d replayed the conversation over luncheon in her head. She remembered the moment she realized she wanted to marry him. It was the same moment he’d admitted he would be nothing more than a fortune hunter. It was also the moment she realized she’d fallen in love.
She turned her face to the window, sightlessly watching the streets of London roll by. For now, she’d have to let him have his way. His promise to take her to France was driving him at the moment. Maybe when they reached Calderbrooke, before the information from the solicitor arrived, she’d talk to him again.
Regardless, she’d bring him around. He cared for her. His refusal to consider marrying her for financial reasons told her that. But her dowry was substantial. Would that make her off-limits to him forever?