THE POWER OF FATE
A Souls Reunited Novel #2
by Alison Steuart
Cover & Excerpt Reveal
Release Date: June 9, 2022
Cover Me Darling, LLC
Genre: Historical Romance
As the daughter of a duke, society expects me to fit into their mold of a proper young lady. No one knows I’d rather be racing my horse, Willow, through the forest trails than attend another fancy ball. I’ve always been more at ease while in the company of nature, which is why I didn’t want to leave the conservatory that fateful night.
If I had gone back to the ballroom, I would have never happened upon him. But I found him and my eyes would not let me look away. I thought I was hidden, but he knew I was there.
Now, the control I thought I had over my own destiny is gone. But I discover that my destiny was never mine to controlfate had already determined it for me.
As a captain in the Royal Navy and the future Earl of Galloway, I’ve lived an exciting life of privilege and adventure. I’ve been content traveling the world, avoiding the monotony of London society. But there are times it can’t be avoided.
I felt her presence before I could see her. I could sense her fascination, her desire. Then I saw her, and my heart raced with an excitement I have never known.
She shouldn’t have been there. As a proper lady, she should have never left the crowded ballroom. But fate puts us where we need to be and for that, I am eternally grateful.
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There is so much to this garden that I cannot see in the darkness of night. So, I decide to explore, and soon I am happily lost in the maze of paths lined with a variety of plants and trees I could only dream of visiting every day. This is where I love to be, enjoying the smell of green plants and moist soil—a place where silence has a sound. Further down the path, towering leaves drape toward me, and I stretch my arms out wide, allowing my fingertips to sweep along each one.
It is completely peaceful here, with only the fountain’s trickle sounding in the distance, and the gentle swoosh of my layered skirts as I walk along the manicured trail.
The moment seems to halt as the feeling of guilt washes through me as I wonder about Mary’s fate and her mother’s wrath. I hope my aunt wasn’t too hard on her. To follow my thoughts, an abrupt sound steals what’s left of the tranquility in my paradise.
I follow the noise out of curiosity and annoyance, finding my pace quicken and my heart rate accelerate as I search for the distinct a male voice, and perhaps another person as well. Instinct tells me I will likely find a gardener working hard to maintain this botanical masterpiece. Upon making my way to the furthest edge and stepping off the path, I pull down the colossal leaf of a philodendron, unknowing of the moment my life will change forever.
My heart pounds painfully in my chest, blood whooshing within my ears as I try not to gasp at my discovery. Presented before me, shielded in darkness, yet highlighted by the moon’s pale blue glow stands a man more masculine than I ever knew possible—naked, sinuous, spectacular in a way that makes my stomach ache. He seems herculean, tall, broad, and beautiful. His muscular form is like that of an ancient Greek statue, each muscle flawlessly carved, an extravagance for show.
My gaze cannot break free of him. I am fascinated by the harsh shadows cast across his spectacular form. The way his wide chest expands proudly across his upper body then twists and wraps around his powerful shoulders that lead into arms so defined they cannot be real. My stare floats lower. My stomach tightens and a wave of unfamiliar heat flashes through my body. His torso is sculpted into perfect squares on either side of a center line. Involuntarily, the fingers of my right hand come up to my mouth. I bite down on my lip to stop the terrible desire to touch his chiseled core. I feel the tips of my breasts pebble as I follow the line down to the dark patch of hair framing more carved muscle, directing me to the one thing I know I should not see.
By all that is holy. How is that possible? His manhood is thick and long, protruding from his body like the sturdy branch of tree. Its form is like nothing I have ever seen, its details on obvious display as the light reflects off its shiny surface. Is that even real? I wonder to myself, perplexed, and fascinated all at once. My body fires from within as he reaches down and takes the massive appendage in his hand to slowly stroke it from base to tip. I swallow the gasp threatening to escape, then squeeze my legs together as another wave of sensation ignites in my body, traveling to my most private place where heat, wetness, and a strange pleasure are forming.
His deep voice startles me out of my trance. “Ye look lovely tonight, lass.” My breath hitches in my chest at hearing the richness of his voice. Surely, he wasn’t talking to me. When I pull the leaf all the way down, I see a woman bent over the half wall of a planter. She is completely unclothed, her smooth pale skin ghostly white compared to his. She responds to his compliment, but her head is turned away from me so I cannot hear what she said. Though, her body translates the meaning as her legs spread further apart and her hips rise upward, causing her backside to move toward him in silent invitation, one that he accepts without pause.
I should leave. It is not my place to pry upon them, and it is so improper I fear I may have to pray for a month straight to release me from this sin. Not only the sin of peeping on them, or the sin of finding pleasure in simply staring at him—watching his sculpturesque body move, each muscle flexing and relaxing, bunching then stretching—but for the sin of jealousy. I don’t want him to touch her. I don’t want her to enjoy his touch. But why? I don’t know him. I don’t want to know him. Yet my body is alive with a need so intense; I could mistake it for something that is achingly familiar—as if my body is haunted by the feel of his touch.
I watch him reach forward and touch her most intimate place, her own sound of pleasure echoing around them. My teeth grind together and my jaw clenches. I want him to touch me just like that. A heavy surge of envy lands in my chest where it mingles with a confounding mixture of fear, curiosity, and shame. The voice in the back of my mind tells me to leave now, but I see her starting to move. It’s as if she wants more contact than he is already giving her, causing more desire to expand through my core. Her moans intensify as his touch becomes more aggressive. My heart races faster and sweat percolates as a strange pressure builds between my legs.
I need to run away, but I can’t. Not yet.
Without warning, he pulls his hand out from between her legs, his fingers shiny and wet, then rests it against her backside. He rubs her gently before drawing back his hand, fingers spread wide, smacking it against her just as he brings his stiff manhood to her entrance before driving it in with a ferocious force. She squeals out, and my knees become weak as an unbearable sensation takes over where the wetness is secreting from my body. I pant as I watch him thrust in and out, hard and fast, grunting and straining. The muscles of his legs and backside are taught from exertion, his body glistening with sweat.
Please…please! the voice inside my head screams. To stop? For more?
A cry escapes his partner as her head is thrown back in what is either intense pleasure or terrible pain. My hand involuntarily reaches down to put pressure between my own legs. I am desperate for release, ready to beg him to help me find it so I don’t go mad.
As if he read my mind, a fierce growl escapes him as he pulls himself out of her body, taking his hardness in hand and milks himself, allowing his essence to spew out across her naked back.
I am unable to hold in the sound that escapes me as the pressure that was building between my legs releases into a throbbing pleasure so intense, my body curls forward, my head bows, and my breath catches in my chest.
I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.
My God! What have I done?
As the sensation dissipates, the pulsating sensation continues, and I’m overly aware of what happened. Shame engulfs me as I rest my hands on my knees for support, trying to steady my breaths as my body relaxes. Tears build behind my eyes, warning me to leave.
With caution, I straighten my posture and try not to make a sound. I raise my head and almost choke on the cry that’s clogging my throat.
Between the long stems of the philodendron that I thought kept me hidden, I spot fierce eyes locking in on mine. My heart stops, the moment stunning me, not only by the fact that he knows I am here watching him, but by how devastatingly handsome he is from this angle too.
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THE ESSENCE OF FATE
A Souls Reunited Novel #1
Amazon Universal ~ https://geni.us/NFAV