Copyright 2021 Laura ShipleyLily didn’t answer right away, but he heard her footsteps move closer until he knew she was right next to him. He put his hand out and brushed her shoulder. Lily let out a tiny cry before she fell into his embrace. Royce put his arms protectively around her. They clung to each other. “I have been alone for so long, dealing with this. Sometimes I feel like I am in an abyss of my own making. Fear has been the driving force in my life for so long—fear of the unknown, so I’ve been trying to accomplish all I can before it’s too late. ”She caressed his face. “You don’t have to be alone.” Lily’s voice trembled. “You have people who care about you, like Mr. Templeton, Percy,” she paused for a second, “and me. I understand that at times things may seem hopeless, but that is when you need to lean on others the most, and I know that may be difficult.” He leaned into her soft touch. How had this extraordinary woman come into his life, just when he needed her the most? Since coming home from the war, Royce had felt adrift. Lily’s presence anchored him, gave him a beacon to hold on to, and by God, he would hold her close tonight if she let him. “What did I do to deserve to have you in my life, sweet Lily?” He placed his hand over hers and kissed it. “I might ask myself the same thing. Before coming here, the last few months, I had been alone and scared. Fearful of everyone and everything. Ever since I have been here, I have found friends and the happiness that has eluded me for quite some time. I feel like I belong.” Royce tightened his grip on Lily and pulled her closer. “You will always have a place here, for as long as you wish. I ask for no promises and I give none.” On that, at least, he had to be honest. “I understand.” “I may not give you a promise, but I can give you a choice. Stay with me tonight. I will do whatever you ask—I am yours for the commanding. All I ask is that you share this room with me. I cannot bear another night without you.”
About Laura ShipleyLaura Shipley is an indie author who writes Victorian historical romance with dark, brooding heroes and strong-willed, feisty heroines. Her love of romance began the first time she “borrowed” one of the mother’s books and was hooked. While she reads all genres, paranormal romance is a close second to historical. When she is not writing, Laura enjoys spending time with her husband and children. She has never met a piece of chocolate or a glass of wine that she did not like. Her third addiction is Starbucks, and the never ending need for caffeine to keep the creative juices flowing. She prefers movies over tv, too much of a time commitment, but likes spending time outdoors including hiking and rafting. Her greatest joy is transporting readers to another time and place with her books, and to have her readers fall in love with the characters just as much as she does. Laura’s email is always open to comments or questions at email@example.com. Don’t forget to follow her on Facebook at TheLauraShipley for updates and other fun stuff.
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