Nine Months to Redeem Him

By: Jennie Lucas

She was gone. I was alone in the flickering shadows of the study. I was turning to leave as well when I heard a low voice, spoken from the depths of the darkness.

“Come forward.”

Jumping, I looked around me more carefully. A large sheepdog was sitting on a Turkish rug in front of the fire. He was huge and furry, and panting noisily, his tongue hanging out. He tilted his head at me.

I stared back in consternation.

Was I having some kind of breakdown, as my friend Kristin had predicted? I had seen enough funny pet videos online to know that animals could be trained to talk.

“Um.” Feeling foolish, I licked my lips. “Did you say something?”

“Did I stutter?” The dog’s mouth didn’t move. So it wasn’t the dog talking. But now I wished it had been. Animal voices were preferable to ghostly ones. Shivering, I looked around me.

“Do you require some kind of instruction, Miss Maywood?” The voice turned acid. “An engraved invitation, perhaps? Come forward, I said. I want to see you.”

It was then I realized the deep voice didn’t come from beyond the grave, but from the depths of the high-backed leather chair in front of the fire. Oh. Cheeks hot, I walked toward it. The dog gave me a pitying glance, tempered by the faint wag of his tail. Giving the dog a weak smile, I turned to face my new employer.

And froze.

Edward St. Cyr was neither elderly nor infirm. No.

The man who sat in the high-backed chair was handsome, powerful. His muscled body was partially immobilized, but he somehow radiated strength, even danger. Like a fierce tiger—caged...

“You are too kind,” the man said sardonically.

“You are Edward St. Cyr?” I whispered, unable to look away. I swallowed. “My new employer?”

“That,” he said coldly, “should be obvious.”

His face was hard-edged, rugged, too much so for conventional masculine beauty. There was nothing pretty about him. His jawline was square, and his aquiline nose slightly off-kilter at top, as if it had once been broken. His shoulders were broad, barely contained by the oversized chair, his right arm hung in an elastic brace in a sling. His left leg was held out stiffly, extended from his body, the heel resting on a stool. He looked like a fighter, a bouncer, maybe even a thug.

Until you looked at his eyes. An improbable blue against his olive-toned skin, they were the color of a midnight ocean swept with moonlight. Tortured eyes with unfathomable depths, blue as an ancient glacier newly risen above an arctic sea.

Even more trapped than his body, I thought suddenly. His soul.

Then his expression shuttered, turning sardonic and flat, reflecting only the glowing embers of the fire. Now his blue eyes seemed only ruthless and cynical. Had I imagined the emotion I’d seen? Then my lips parted.

“Wait,” I breathed. “I know you. Don’t I?”

“We met once, at your sister’s party last June.” His cruel, sensual lips curved. “I’m so pleased you remember.”

“Madison is my stepsister,” I corrected automatically. I came closer to the chair, in the flickering light of the fire. “You were so rude...”

His eyes met mine. “But was I wrong?”

My cheeks burned. I’d been working as Madison’s new assistant, so had been obligated to attend her posh, catered party. There’d been a DJ and waiters, and a hundred industry types—actors, directors, wealthy would-be producers. Normally I would have wanted to run and hide. But this time, I’d been excited to bring my new boyfriend. I’d been so proud to introduce Jason to Madison. Then, later, I’d found myself watching the two of them, across the room.

A sardonic British voice had spoken behind me. “He’s going to dump you for her.”

Top Books