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Giveaway question: Have you ever fallen for the wrong guy?
Drawing in a shuddering breath, Oliver reached out and drew her hands into his. “Once your sister makes her decision,” he said, “what will you do then?”
At his question, her eyes dropped to the ground. “You know what I will do,” she replied before forcing her gaze back up. “I need to go back where I belong. There is no place for me here.” Regret shone in her blue eyes as well as the agony of disappointed hopes.
“Stay,” Oliver said before he could stop himself, knowing that he had no right to ask that of her, no right to force that decision on her. “I don’t want you to leave.”
Violet’s eyes grew wide as she stared at him. Then she swallowed, and to Oliver’s utter astonishment, her lips curled up, clearly tempted to smile. “A part of me wishes I could,” she whispered, her hands squeezing his gently. “I wish I could stay with you, but I can never–”
Tugging her into his arms, Oliver silenced her objections with a searing kiss. His hands pulled her closer, one sliding up the graceful line of her neck and up into her hair as he kissed her with a passion unmatched as it was fuelled by the desperate need to forget that their love was a doomed one.
There was no happily-ever-after for them. She belonged out at sea while he had his place here…as the future marquess. He had a duty to the realm, and he knew that she would never be happy here. Even if she stayed, their love would not survive such a strain. It would undoubtedly end in a disaster until the day she finally did choose to leave. To return where she belonged.
Lost in the moment, Oliver did not hear the man’s approach. Only when rough hands seized him from behind did he realise that they were no longer alone.
With a harsh snarl tearing from the man’s lips, Oliver was flung backward and crashed into the seating arrangement set up on the western side of the terrace. His ears rang, and his back ached from the collision. Still, Oliver was back on his feet without a moment’s hesitation, all thoughts focused on Violet. Was she all right? Who was this man and what did he–?
As Oliver rushed forward, the air was knocked from his lungs as he stared at the dark-haired man standing beside Violet. In that moment, he seemed like a messenger of doom, and Oliver could barely keep himself from sinking to the ground in despair.