That’s the quandary my hero, Richard Craven, faces in my latest Regency romance, INVITATION TO PASSION releasing soon. He’s one of those men who genuinely loves women, so much so, he seems to fall in and out of love constantly.
When he compromises his best friend, Lady Madeline, he is forced to marry her, and though she is special, he’s scared of his feelings. What if he states he loves her, and then he falls out of love with her, as he has with every woman before her? The last thing he wants to do is hurt her. So, he tries to keep his feelings locked away until he’s sure he can love her truly, madly, deeply.
How will he recognize if it’s true, everlasting love? Can we even know that?
Give Richard some advice and win a copy of his story, Invitation to Passion.
Richard moved back to his seat. “That’s my girl. Are you feeling up to discussing our situation?”
“I’m quite composed now, thank you.”
He nodded. “Good.” Sitting forward in his chair, he leaned his elbows on his knees and cupped his chin in his hands. Earnestly he spoke. “I will try to make the next few days as painless as possible for you. The wedding will take place here at Hascombe, in two days’ time.”
“Rufus thinks that is best.”
“My brother is probably happy to see me wed and off his hands. Now he can have Rheda all to himself.”
Richard sighed. “That’s a bit mean, Mads. Rufus loves you and is only thinking of your reputation.”
“You must think me very ungrateful.”
“Not at all. You forget I know you very well. I’ve watched you grow into a beautiful young woman.” He heard her breath catch.
He chuckled. “I remember telling you many years ago that one day I’d have to protect you from the males of the species. I just didn’t think it would be me.”
A gorgeous flush raced up her décolleté, but a frown clouded her lovely features.
“Hmmm, that leads me onto a question.” He watched her fidget. This couldn’t be good.
“Go on. You know you can always ask me anything. Nothing will change our friendship. I won’t let it,” he added sternly.
“That’s part of the problem. Friendship. I am rather curious about how our relationship will be after we marry.”
“I suspect it will be much the same as it is now.”
Her pinkish flush turned into a full on blush. “Umm, I’m not sure you fully understand my concern. We will be husband and wife…Will you expect us to behave as such?”
Richard let a wolfish smile envelop his lips. “Are you referring to the fact that you will have to share my bed? I’m sure I’ll cope, Mads. I have had a bit of experience in this area.”
She raised an eyebrow. “A bit?”
He had to laugh at her affronted response. That’s what he loved about his relationship with Maddy. They had always been able to talk about anything. His laughter died away. He hoped their marriage would not change that. “I know you. You’re not one to hide your thoughts from me. What is it you’re really concerned about?”
Her eyes became pleading. “I want children. I want a lot of children.”
Richard shrugged. “I still do not grasp the problem.”
“You won’t expect the marriage to be in name only then.”
“Bloody hell. Where on earth did you get that idea? I suspect we will live as most husbands and wives do.”
She sat up straighter and looked him in the eye. “I don’t want to be bedded out of obligation or duty-”
“You think I’d bed you because you’re an obligation? A beautiful woman like you? Come now, Maddy. You know me better than that.” She remained silent. Where in God’s name would she have got this absurd notion from? “You’re very desirable. Bedding you will be no obligation. It will be my pleasure. Our mutual pleasure.”
“Mother and Rheda have already told me I’ll have nothing to worry about on my wedding night. That I should leave everything to you and that no doubt I’ll enjoy your attentions.” She wrung her hands. “But you mentioned that our marriage will be like most other marriages. What if I don’t please you?”
“Please me? As in the bedroom?”
She nodded seriously.
“I taught you how to shoot and ride astride. You’re better than most men I know. You’re a fast learner. How can you not please me when you’ll have the best teacher?” he hoped his teasing tone would allay her fears.
“I know your heart belongs to another. What if… what if you grow tired of bedding me?” She raised a hand at his sound of outrage. “Promise me one thing.”
“Mads, you are being silly.”
“I know your reputation, Richard. You have enjoyed a lot of women. I don’t see how I’ll hold a man of your—appetites—interested when I don’t own your heart. Promise me that when you no longer enjoy my bed that you’ll tell me. I couldn’t bear to hear from anyone else that you’ve taken a mistress. The one thing I’ve treasured most in our friendship is the fact you’ve never lied to me, or hidden the truth from me—even if the subject was unpleasant. Rufus would most likely want to skin you alive if he knew some of the things I’ve asked, and you’ve answered, with no hesitation. Being stuck in the country, growing up alone, I can’t tell you what your honesty meant to me. It gave me the world even if I couldn’t see it, or be a part of it.”
“I’ll show you the world if you’ll let me.”
She drew in a quick breath. “Swear to me that we will always be honest with each other, no matter how difficult our lives become.”
Richard was about to vehemently deny that he would ever take a lover but he couldn’t. He thought about the women he’d had relationships with and how those intense feelings had never lasted. He wanted to promise that he’d never take a mistress or another lover, but he’d never once lied to Maddy and he refused to start their marriage on lies. He didn’t know if he’d be strong enough to honor his word.
Don’t forget the fabulous release party prize of KAGI Designer Pink Drop Earrings.