She’d been searching for William and found the duke. And how she found him.
A magnificent undressed chest hit her line of vision. No lady would keep looking, but she couldn’t close her eyes. Sweat beads from the tips of his black tresses, now wet and mussed, traversed his temples to his strong neck, chest, trickling to a muscled abdomen, and…dear Lord. She sucked in her breath. The warm buzzing in her ears heightened, as did the rush of blood in her head. This…this was…an onslaught on her senses. No amount of ancient texts she’d read or sensual paintings she’d studied or her time outside of England had prepared her for the sight of a real, vibrant, half-naked man.
Liar. I have seen countless laborers and servants toiling undressed.
She huffed. All right, this man then. She was breathless at the sight of Saxton. And whyever was he standing in their stables in such an indecent state?
“You want something, miss?” William’s voice broke through her mindless state.
Drat. She had frozen. They had stopped their work and had been looking at her for a while. Worse, she only stared at Aetius. And he knew it. She could tell by the faint amused arc of his lips. How mortifying. She didn’t even realize William was present. The traitor. That sliced through her mortification, making it fuel her fury. William didn’t help her enough, but here he conferred with the enemy, like two old friends. She would skin him alive at the first opportunity. The duke, that is, for charming one of her closest confidantes.
“I’ll be cleaning the water troughs now,” William said and passed Dina as he bowed to Saxton. She saw William’s dimple, deep as that water trough. She would skin him alive, too.
Saxton didn’t even attempt to dress. No, the rogue simply stood there with the mucker, smelling horrendously of horse refuse, hay, and horses. He folded both his palms over the end of the wooden stick and tilted his head, as if studying her. She ordered her tongue to say something, anything, excuse herself. But no, her tongue lay heavy and dry in her mouth, her throat immobile, refusing to even swallow.
“Pardon my state of undress, but now I am too dirty,” she heard him say.
“You can dress and just buy another shirt.” His words somehow loosened her tongue. They both locked gazes through the charged distance between them. She waited, as if her heartbeats waited, too.
He rested the mucker against a wall and picked up his shirt. Then those black eyes looked straight into hers while he stretched those magnificent arms through the sleeves of the white garment. Every ridge of his chest rippled, compelling her to watch their play. The shirt hung loose, enough for modesty’s sake, but there was nothing modest about it. Dina could see every muscle and his navel straight through it. And she wanted to keep looking.
She turned her back, closing her eyes.
“So you watch while I don’t have my attire on, but turn away when I put it back on?”
“I don’t want you to be uncomfortable. I will leave you to it,” she said lamely.
“Oh no, these are your stables. I’m done.”
She heard his boots stomping one by one, coming closer. Her throat stuck in her lungs. He stood within an inch of her back. Her shoulders, her spine, her skin under her own garments tingled from his body’s heat. And then he spoke, his words caressing her nape with warm flickering breaths. She was going to evaporate on the spot.
Copyright © 2021 by Royaline Sing. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce, distribute, or transmit in any form or by any means.
Aetius White, the Duke of Saxton, couldn’t save his father, but he’ll be damned if he won’t save the man’s dream. He’ll acquire a Triple Crown-winning horse at any cost, even marriage. Luckily, the lovely lady in mind loves challenges as much as he. Certainly he can win her heart without losing his own…
Hell will freeze over before Miss Dina Campbell agrees to marry a horse-mad man who wants her dowry of a prize stallion, no matter what her father wants. The duke may be handsome, but he’ll have to prove he is a suitable match for her before she’ll even consider the offer. And there’s no way this love-averse man will ever succeed with the wager that she has planned…
Romance Historical [Entangled: Amara, On Sale: April 19, 2021, e-Book, ISBN: 9781649371393 / eISBN: 9781649371393]
About Royaline Sing
As my first fiction work, I’ve a notebook length movie script, featuring my favorite stars. I was probably ten. It hasn’t seen the light of the day (And it won’t).
But story telling lingered. Though I have a software engineering job, the creative world teased from afar. So one day, I finally put the pen to the paper (or my fingers to the keyboard?) and started writing.
Now, I write through the noise of my lovely two kids, a very supportive (but sweetly clueless) husband and a bank job where numbers rule.
Born and brought up in India, I’m a huge fan of Bollywood romantic movies and the music. I also like all things Marvel! I love to travel and so many destinations are on my bucket list. (hint: some pictures here give the clues!)
I am currently writing Historical Romances, with heroines setting their own norms and coming to toes with heroes worth loving.
I am represented by the wonderful Sara Megibow at KT literary Agency.