Book 3 in the Billingham Bastard Series
When Caleb Talbot looked across the room toward the beautiful blond woman standing with his brother and sister-in-law, he felt many things. They hadn’t known each other very long, but already Marah Farnsworth brought out a desire so powerful it nearly took him to his knees. Beyond that, he was racked by guilt over acting on that desire just a few days prior in an encounter that still melted his bones and haunted his restless dreams.
More troubling, seeing her brought out a flutter of something more. Something deeper, more seductive than pleasure and infinitely more terrifying. Emotions he had scoffed at in his friends and acquaintances when they described falling in love with some chit.
The one thing he did not feel, as she turned toward him and cast a quick smile in his direction, was happiness. These unwanted and unexpected feelings had come at the most inopportune time. The worst time of his life, truly.
Because Caleb was not who he had always thought he was. It had been only a few days since he found proof that he was a bastard, a child born of some kind of indiscretion on his mother’s part, not of his father’s loins, but some stranger. Worse, his brother had known and hidden that fact from him for years.
And the truth of all these things rocked him whenever it passed through his mind . . . as it had been passing through his mind on a constant stream for days.
He clenched the glass in his hand until he swore he could feel the delicate stemware creak beneath his palm. And of course, in that troubled moment, Marah came toward him. He watched her move, float really, for women like her seemed to glide weightlessly rather than walk.
“Caleb?” she whispered as she reached his side and looked up at him with impossibly wide and blue eyes that were currently filled with kindness and understanding. Her voice was like music, soothing him.
He shook his head and forced a tight smile down at her. “Marah.”
She hesitated for a moment and then her hand reached out to touch his arm. She meant the brush of her fingers as a comfort, but sparks exploded within him, overpowering him with a desire to grab her, tug her against him, kiss her until everything else faded, all the pain dissipated.
But he didn’t. He had allowed himself to drown in her once, to confess the dark rage and pain that bubbled within him. He had taken comfort in her body and could offer her no more than that. And she deserved more. More than he could give, at least at the moment.