Bonded Heart by Jane Jackson
I was really touched by the book and spent two nights reading it till 1am. It is a compelling romance set in nineteenth-century Cornwall. I like the happy ending. If you like 'Pride and Prejudice', I bet you would love this one. And it is much easier to read and understand.
Roz Trevaskis was boin into a respectable family but was abandoned by her un-married mother. Her grandparents gave her good education, even though it was useless for her to work at the Three Mackerel Inn as a waitress. Due to her alcoholic mother, she got to know the justice and fell in love with him.
She could feel herself trembling and didn’t dare look up. Could he hear the drumbeat of her heart? What did he want? What did she want?
With gentle hands he cupped her face and tilted it up.
She looked into his face. It was all hard planes and shadows. She saw the furrow between his dark brows and longed to smooth it away. No good could come of this. And yet – And yet –
Was she mad? Had living with her mother taught her nothing? Was she not witness every day to the disastrous repercussions of intemperate behaviour and emotional indulgence? Branoc Casvellan was different. He was a man. Men could behave as they wished.
Lowering his head he brushed her cheek with his lips. Her breath hitched on a sound that was half gasp, half sigh. Her eyes closed and heat surged through her body. It meant nothing: a token of thanks, a gesture of gratitude in exceptional circumstances.
Now he would move away. He must, for she could not. But he remained, his breath quickening, standing so close she could feel warmth radiating from him as she inhaled his scent.
Uttering a sound from deep in his throat, he rested his forehead against hers. Unable to stop herself, her eyes still closed, she raised her chin a fraction. She heard his in-drawn breath then his mouth sought hers, covered it. His lips were warm, the kiss tender. But beneath it she sensed more powerful emotions held in check by an iron control. She swayed, and to steady herself rested her hands on the front of his shoulders, feeling the heat of his skin through the fine fabric and the play of muscle as he moved.
Cradling her head, he circled her waist with his other arm, drawing her against him. As her body fit to his, his tongue gently parted her lips, igniting a yearing so profound, so hopeless, that tears slid between her lashes and down her temples. His mouth moved from hers to press kisses to her cheek, her eyelids. He lifted his head. “No,” he murmured hoarsely. “Please…don’t cry. I didn’t mean – I would not have you fear… Dear God.”
His breath hissed as he dropped his hands to her shoulders, his fingers strong, hurting as he deliberately moved her back, away from him. Suddenly she felt cold, so cold.
“I am not my father,” he said through gritted teeth.
Her head jerked up and she looked directly into his eyes. “No one who knows you would ever think that.” Her voice was a ragged whisper as she dashed the tears away with the fingers of one hand and the heel of the other. It would be easier, more comfortable, to let him take full responsibility for what had occurred. But it would not be honest.
“Do not reproach yourself.” She felt suddenly shy, but her sense of fairness demanded the truth. “I don’t. Nor can I regret.”
He laid one strong hand gently along her cheek, wiping it dry with his thumb. “While under my roof you’ll come to no harm.”
Her gaze never left his as he drew the shawl around her.
She moistened her lips with the tip of her tongue and, tasting him, felt a deep liquid pull at her core. “Had I thought otherwise I would not have stayed.” She saw surprise in the quick lift of his brows.
“I offered you a lot of money.”
“You did,” she acknowledged. “It would have grieved me to turn it down. Though as I didn’t, that claim is meaningless.”
“Why did you stay?” he asked quietly. ”You were kind to Tom. And though my mother does not deserve your forebearance, you have shown it just the same.”
“Are those your only reasons?” She could say yes. That was what she should say. He would accept it at face value, and the last few minutes could be disregarded as if they had never happened.
“No.” She hugged the shawl closer.
Surely it was obvious? “You needed me.”