Julia Burns can’t remember a day in her life when she didn’t have to work. So the ad in the paper sounds perfect to her – even if she does have to marry a complete stranger.
Nicholas Steele isn’t used to being around people since the accident that left him disfigured. Having a permanent house guest isn’t his idea of fun, however, the press would have a field day if they found he and his new wife weren’t residing together.
On paper, their ‘fake’ marriage fits both their needs, giving Nicholas a wife and Julia the security she’s always dreamed of having. In reality, every moment Nicholas and Julia spend together brings them closer to falling for each other.
The thin sliver of moonlight that filled the room showed her a large shape beneath the covers and the dark hair gave her cause to believe the man was the same one she saw earlier in the library.
He thrashed against the blankets and then let out a bloodcurdling scream.
Julia rushed over, doing the only thing that she could think to do. She slid behind him and cradled the man’s head to her breastbone. “Shh, it’s alright,” she whispered, stroking her hand over his hair. It felt much softer than she imagined it would.
“Wha? Who?” The man sat up and, in a flash, pinned himself on top her. “Who the fuck are you?”
Julia couldn’t see his face in the dark but she didn’t need any light to know he was scowling at her. With her hands held high above her head and his hard, heavy body crushing her to the mattress, thighs pinning her legs where they were, a foul taste rose into her mouth. This man was just like her foster father. The feel of his body against hers evoked dread.
“Answer me!” he bellowed from above her.
“J-J-Julia B-Burns,” she stuttered through tears.
“And what the fuck are you doing in my bedroom?”
Attempting to swallow down the horrid tasting acid that rose up into her mouth like waves proved to be an exercise in futility. “I-I heard…” What had she heard?
“Well?” he demanded.
“Please, I…I need to get up.”
Only when she began dry heaving did he released her arms and move his weight from on top of her. Julia curled into herself, wracking with sobs. Her chest felt tight, stomach roiled. Memories of the past assaulted her, combined with the events of moments ago.
What possessed her to come in here? She should have just left the man alone.
“Go back to your room, Miss Burns,” he deadpanned. “We have a busy day tomorrow.”
Scrambling to her feet, Julia fled from his room and jumped back into bed. Only once she pulled the covers up to her chin in her own room did Julia realize that she just came face to face with her future husband.
Her soft, lush body pressed against his. Lips plump and rose-petal pink opened slightly in…anticipation?
He didn’t have another second to consider what she might be feeling. Julia lunged at him, her intent clear from the moment her lips met with his. Stunned by the ferocity of her passion, filling his body with a need so powerful he didn’t know if he could contain it, Nicholas remained stiff and unmoving beneath her sweet and ceaseless attack.
Part of him wondered if this was forced. That she might be attempting to prove she had some shred of virtue within the seemingly sweet exterior she wore. Most women wouldn’t keep insisting though, the way she was. Julia’s hand remained on his cheek, gentle, tenderly caressing his scarred flesh. No other woman had done such a thing since the accident.
When he parted his lips, granting her access, Nicholas hadn’t been prepared for the sheer erotic torment that this woman in control a kiss could provide. His every nerve shook, tilting the balance of power in her favour. Her tongue mating with his was utter torture to his hands, planted firmly at his sides. The need to fill his palms with her breasts rose to the height of desperation itself.
“I can’t stop myself from wanting you, Julia,” he murmured between a succession of feather light kisses up to the shell of her ear.
She made him ache for her in a way he was unaccustomed to feeling, as if Julia and only Julia would be enough to grant him what he needed. In the short time he’d come to know her, she had become his everything.
“Nicholas,” she said on a sigh, baring her throat to him. “Don’t stop.”
Her words spurred him on, sent a rush of unknown sensations flooding his system and overpowering his mind. Slightly harder than he meant to, Nicholas grasped the bounty of her breasts in his hands.
He couldn’t tell if he moaned, or if it was Julia. Perhaps they both did. And he couldn’t tell which felt more sensuous; the stiff peaks of her nipples as they grazed his palms through her dress or the tantalizing taste of her flesh.
Nicholas feasted on her neck, gliding ever closer to the mounds in his hands. Just the image of his mouth on her breasts had his cock hardening almost painfully, straining against his tuxedo trousers.
The dress, though gorgeous on her, was now a nuisance. Before going any further, he needed to remove this barrier. “Turn around,” his gruff voice – one which he didn’t quite recognize – demanded of her.
Julia didn’t flinch or hesitate. She simply spun in his arms and hung her chin down to her chest, holding her hair out of the way while he made quick work of the laces with fumbling fingers.
When was the last time he needed a woman the way he needed Julia?
Had he always felt this frantic for sex?
Or was this something else entirely?
10 fun facts:
Well, this should be interesting! I don’t find myself all that exciting or fun, but I suppose I shall let you be the judge of that!
1. I’m British. I have what is considered a ScIrish accent – a cross between Scottish and Irish. A lot of the time, I need to repeat myself, or speak realllly slowly to begin with. And forget trying to speak to those automated things on the phone. I hope I never get trapped in a voice activated lift (Google Burnistoun Lift and have a good laugh at those poor blokes!)
2. I loathe cold. My husband is South African and feels the same. Hopefully when he retires, we can move somewhere nice and lovely and hot!
3. I am Type 1 (insulin dependent) Diabetic – while this isn’t exactly a fun fact, it’s interesting because I have to find ways around the usual sugar-packed treats I enjoy eating. I can make a to-die-for chocolate cake with whole wheat flour and no added sugar, and you’d never ever know 😉
4. I’ve been lucky enough to travel to a few places; Spain, Portugal, Norway, Sweden, all of the UK, Canada, and the US, to name a few. I’ve even lived in Ibiza (Spain’s Balearic Islands), and the Republic of Ireland.
5. Though I’m British, I prefer coffee to tea. Lovely strong coffee, and lots of it!
6. My mobile phone is so basic, it doesn’t even have a camera. Technology scares me! I’m new to computers and often have minor meltdowns when I think I’ve broken something.
7. I am so shy in person that, if I ever met my favourite fitness model/competitor/athlete Rudi Strydom (who is just as lovely on the inside as he is the outside), I would puke. I would literally puke. And then hide in a corner shaking. Don’t get me started on going to an author signing event (pfft, like that will ever happen!). They would have to give hazmat suits out at the door so no one gets rained on when I accidentally throw up from sheer nervousness.
8. When someone seeks me out to tell me how much they love one of my books, I cry. I break down and sob and when I’m finished, I wonder if they read what I wrote, or if aliens somehow swapped my book for something amazing and made them read that instead.
9. I have a massive crush on everything South African. Blame my husband! I love Springboks Rugby, Arno Carstens, Cliff Simon, Wilbur Smith…and I love the accent. Man oh man, an Afrikaans accent is like smooth dark chocolate for my ears! (Okay, I’m weird, we know lol!)
10. I am a bona-fide sci-fi nerd. I love every single sci-fi show I can get my hands on. I got my husband, a self-confessed action only watcher, totally hooked on Stargate SG-1. Then Battlestar Galactica. And Firefly. And loads more 😉 I think it helps that there were so many South Africans in Stargate SG-1 (Cliff Simon, Suanne Braun, etc). Of course, it could be because those shows are AWESOME!
Well there you have it. Ten things you never wanted to know about Danielle Taylor and now you’ll never get those last few minutes of your life back. I’m sorry! I’m so so sorry!
Danielle Taylor is the author of the Captive Hearts Series and the WattPad sensation Falling for You, which broke 100,000 reads in less than a week. She’s shy to a fault, loves coffee, dark chocolate, and reading.
(Available as e-books and paperbacks)