Good morning! It’s release day! Surrender is now live on Amazon (and will be coming to other platforms soon, and the buy links will get added to this pinned post).
As with every authors’ books, word of mouth is key. The rights to this book were returned only after I waived a year’s worth of royalties (and allowed Ellora’s Cave to continue to sell the book and collect royalties for the rest of 2016; a clause in the agreement prohibited me from saying anything to stop my readers from buying their version of the book while it was still on sale). While a re-release is unlikely to recoup the money I lost to Ellora’s Cave, I’d like this book to reach new readers and have some kind of life post-EC. If you’re inclined, it would be so helpful if you’d let a reader or two (who won’t be turned off by historical erotic romance with polyamory/menage) about this book’s re-release. Obviously, this is not expected at all, and no hard feelings if book recs aren’t something you usually do.
Read on for buy links and an excerpt:
Deaf since infancy and condemned to spinsterhood by her father’s will, Honoria has one last chance to experience the carnal passion she’s read about in scandalous novels. She enlists an unlikely man to be her companion for five days and nights of wicked pleasures and fulfilled fantasies, never dreaming that her desire could become something far more complicated.
Esau isn’t a man acquainted with the finer things in life. Common and proud, he’d rather work on the docks than bed a rich woman for money. But Honoria is unlike any woman he’s ever known, and the only one who’s ever stirred him to tenderness—something he never dreamed he could feel.
But another man has fallen in love with Honoria. Her interpreter, Jude, is torn between responsibility and the secret desire he harbors for her. Though he’s tormented by the knowledge that Honoria takes another man into her bed every night, Jude knows that his true feelings could destroy her happiness.
Faced with an impossible choice, Honoria won’t let her future be decided for her again. And despite their differences, both men must learn to share Honoria’s heart…or risk losing her completely.
CW: Contains audist language and discussion of child sexual abuse.
Previously released as Silent Surrender.
Excerpt after the jump.
He’d only just settled into the hot water, a hiss escaping his lips, when the door opened. At first, he did not recognize the girl who’d slipped through the doorway. She wore a nightgown, pristine white muslin that glowed in the firelight. Her face glowed, too, like the pale milky glass in a streetlight. Small, dark eyes glittered from between two curtains of chestnut hair that hung, wavy from her braids, to her waist.
She came forward slowly, and he waited, motionless. It occurred to him to stand and leave, to collect up his clothes and never come back. He might joke about this over a pint, but deep down, he would always be unsettled that a woman had invited him into her home and asked politely if he would he fuck her.
But the memory of her slender body in his arms, fragile as a china doll even through her clothes, kept him where he sat.
She knelt beside the bath, the firelight illuminating her body inside her nightgown. The rosy points of her nipples stood out dark against the muslin, jerking upward with every ragged breath, though she appeared otherwise calm. Her eyes met his, and she searched his gaze with an intensity that discomfited him. He’d never in his life been so shaken, that he could recall. Not even as a child in the workhouse. Back then, and now, at the docks, he’d been able to stand before any man or woman, regardless of station, look them in the eye and make it clear that he was no man to be crossed.
This woman, Honoria, didn’t deserve to be frightened of him, and so he did not glower. Truthfully, he wasn’t sure it would have worked on a woman as bold as she was. For all her timidity as she trailed her fingers through water, studiously avoiding his thigh, she had come up to him in view of God and everyone at the docks and handed him that scrap of paper. She’d known what she was doing, and that she wanted him for the job.
That struck him with a new sense of responsibility, and made him doubt even more that he should stay.
She dropped her gaze, still playing at fanning her fingers through the too-hot bath. Slowly, the circles she made widened to brush his skin beneath the water, from knee to hip, and her breath hitched. Transfixed by the sight of her own hand touching him, she did not see him studying her, or, thankfully, the way he held his own breath as she laid her soft palm across his skin. The water made a ghost of her touch, and she lowered her head. A tremor shook her shoulders, and he feared for a moment she might be crying, but when she lifted her head, she was composed. She went to the little stand and lifted the soap, asking wordlessly, with eyebrows raised, if she could wash him. He nodded, only slightly unsure he answered the question she asked. Kneeling again, she plunged the soap into the water and brought it to his shoulder, moving it over the broad expanse of his back in circles.
He thought of the last time he’d been with a woman. He’d had her up against the wall out back of a pub, and afterward he’d left her standing there, laughing drunkenly and asking for him to come back.
There had never been a time when he’d had to be gentle with a woman. He didn’t like hurting anyone, and he never sought to, but he’d never been particularly careful, either.
Honoria cupped water between her small hands and lifted it to sluice down his back. Some ran down her arms, sprinkling the front of her nightgown as it dripped from her elbows. The wet muslin clung to her skin, and as she leaned over him to wash the other shoulder, her tight nipples brushed across his chest. She drew back, her face close to his, hand still braced against his soapy skin. He thought for a moment that she might kiss him, even pictured kissing her himself. Vividly, he imagined smiling at her, reassuring her without words then capturing her mouth. But the moment passed and she sat back on her heels, out of reach. Slowly, she lathered the soap over his chest, her fingers inching through coarse black hair. This time, when she reached across to scoop up the water, he did kiss her, fitting his mouth over hers and winding his arms around her back. She stiffened, her hands coming up almost defensively. Then, as if remembering this was what she wanted, she relaxed, but only slightly.
Sliding an arm under her backside, he lifted her into the tub, her knees parting on either side of his legs. She pushed against his chest and forced their mouths apart, breath tearing rapidly from her throat. She reached slowly between them, down, down, close enough to his groin that his cock leapt greedily toward her hand. He couldn’t remember ever being so hard, so sure that he would burst the second she touched him.
She lifted up the soap she had dropped and climbed from the tub, her dripping nightgown folding around her legs, revealing the dark triangle between them. She knelt again, concentrating now on his arms, on scrubbing his fingernails with the little brush. His hand was so large in hers, he felt at once like a lumbering giant and the most powerful man in the world. It was a good thing she had chosen him, and not another of the men on the docks. There were men who would see her smallness and want to crush it, who would delight in ruining something so pure.
Capturing her wrist, he dunked her hand into the water then brought it to his lips, still tasting a faint trace of the soap as he sucked one fingertip into his mouth.
She heaved a shuddering sigh and closed her eyes, her face as close to pure rapture as Esau had ever seen. She trembled like a rail tie when the engine steamed through, and he took her other hand, slick with the soap, and guided it to his cock.
She shot to her feet, eyes wide, covering her mouth and nose with both hands folded in a silent prayer. “Deliver me from mortification,” he assumed, from the way she turned her back.
He rose slowly from the tub, looking all around for something to dry himself. When he found nothing, he was content to soak the fine carpet on his way to her. Her shoulders stiffened an instant before he reached her, but she permitted him to lay his hands on them. Slowly, he slid his feet closer, wet muslin sticking to his legs and stomach, catching onto his skin to draw her to him. When he held her back flush against his chest, she leaned her head on his shoulder.
This was when he would have liked to whisper something in her ear. He didn’t know what he would have whispered, if she could have heard him. He’d never had a tender way with women.
Instead, he eased her nightgown from one shoulder and bent his head to brush his lips across the skin there. His hands fell to her hips and pulled her back, tight against him as he tasted her neck and smelled the rose-scented sweetness of her hair. Her head lolled to the side and tipped against his chest, baring more of her slender throat to him, revealing the soft line of her jaw and her small, perfect ear. His mouth found that, too, sucking the lobe between his lips and worrying it lightly with his teeth. Her chest rose and he slid his hands up her body, cupping her small breasts. Her knees buckled, and he lifted her in his arms, cradled to his chest, and carried her to the bed. It was so ridiculously massive that when he sat her upon the mattress, they could see eye to eye. Unflinching, she stared back at him as she slowly drew free the ribbon at the neck of her gown.