It was the first rule of friendship among gentlemen: Never, ever lay a hand on your best friend’s sister.
Don’t do it. Don’t even think about it.
Not. One. Finger.
Sebastian Ives, Lord Byrne, had never been one for following rules. But promises? He took those seriously indeed. His friendship with Henry Clayton had been the anchor in his turbulent youth, too valuable to risk. So he’d made a vow to himself, and he’d steadfastly held to it—as best he could, anyhow—for years.
Eleven long years.
More than four thousand days of wrestling the temptation to take Mary Clayton in his arms and…
Well, from there the specifics varied.
Suffice it to say, aside from the casual contact necessitated by social convention, he’d never touched her—with one exception. After Henry’s funeral, he’d held her for hours as she wept. That didn’t count, surely.
But today, Sebastian found himself tempted to break his promise. No, “break” was too weak a word. He wanted to bundle his principles, snap them in two, and grind them to sand beneath his boot.
Damn, she looked lovely in her wedding gown.
Not only lovely, but inexplicably alone.
“Where the devil is your groom?”
“I’m not certain,” she said.
He paced the floor of the chapel’s tiny annex, averting his gaze from the slope of her neck and the gentle curl of auburn hair that adorned it. “How dare he keep you waiting, the bastard.”
“Mr. Perry’s not a bastard. He’s the … Read More »