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Authors: Shirl Anders

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Owning Arabella

BOOK: Owning Arabella
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Owning Arabella
Regency [4]
Shirl Anders
Allure Books (2010)
Regency Book 4

Against her will, Arabella is gambled by her stepfather in a card game and won by the fiercely scarred Lord Darth Peregrine.
A man who believes that no woman could desire him.

Lord Peregrine holds Arabella captive to his sexual desires. He is the lord and master and she is naked to his control. In the end Lord Peregrine saves Arabella's young brother ... and he saves himself. This story is an erotic regency romance with Gothic appeal and a happily-ever-after.  

Favorite Lines:
Punishment! Darth had said punishment! Arabella squealed again as Darth hauled her to one of the bedposts. There he lifted her wrists high over her head as she wiggled and fought his hold. But he took the thinnest belt and wrapped both of her wrists, pulling them higher to bind the belt around the bedpost. Bringing even her heels off the ground. She was hung helplessly naked and heaving from the exertion of trying to escape him.

"God, you are beautiful," he uttered, swiping a broad hand across his scarred mouth as if he had not meant to say it.

Owning Arabella
By Shirl Anders
The ownership of Arabella is gambled by her terrible stepfather in a card game and won by the fiercely scarred Lord Darth Peregrine. A man who believes that no woman could desire him. Except perhaps a woman that he owns, who fate has decreed that he possesses completely and his own dark urgings cannot deny.
Read an exciting excerpt:
"I am a healer and I can cook or work at any labor. I would work very hard for my release," Arabella stated, lifting her chin.
At her statement, the indomitable Earl merely stood and looked down at her. Evil incarnate. The entire motion making Arabella want to turn and flee, but even she with her less than worldly ways realized there was nowhere she could hope to escape a powerful Lord such as Darth was.
"That is accommodating, Arabella, but not helpful to me. I have more intimate duties in mind for you and incidentally there is no clause stated in these papers for release. Tis lifetime enslavement."
Arabella stumbled backward at the word . . . At the intentions.
Darth's hand snaked forward, grabbing the edge of the linen between Arabella's breasts. "I told you not to step backward again," he uttered, pulling Arabella and the linen closer. Darth realized that he had to prove his dominance early on if he hoped to mold Arabella.
And, he did.
With each moment he was close to her, he found himself more determined . . . if not crazed
"You are afraid of me?" he asked flatly looking down at her.
Arabella jerked her gaze away from Darth's impaling gray eyes. "Of you, not your scar." Arabella wondered with feverish thoughts why she had thought to clarify. Perhaps it was some inner self preservation which read Darth's diabolical intentions and she sought to soften the blow upon herself.
Darth was staggered at Arabella's response. It was true that she was afraid, he could see it. He expected it. However, she did not seem in anyway appalled by his visage. And that excited him." That is proper, Arabella. It is just the way I would have it in fact." Darth pulled Arabella closer still, taking her chin firmly in his wide hand, pressing upward, until she had no choice but to look at him. "Are you a virgin, Arabella?"
Arabella's eyes widened at the implication as trembling fear coursed her belly and both of Darth's hands tighten around what they were holding, as if anticipating her flight. She would not tell him! If he intended rape, well then, he would have to live with the consequences. Because it would be rape. She would fight him with all her power, so he knew it for what it was.
Sweet Mary
, she had no hope of winning against his strength, if that were his intentions, and why else would he ask her?
"I cannot abide stubbornness from my property, Arabella. Tell me at once or I will be forced to punish you!"
Arabella was petrified, yet she would not let Darth see her fear as she stared up at him with defiance. "Rape me if you will, you
Oh my God
, why had she said that? Darth flinched. Arabella knew her last word had hit its mark and she was surprised that she did not feel more satisfaction at hurting him as he was intent on ravishing her.
Darth pulled once forcefully with the hand that held the edge of the bed linen between her breasts, ripping it away without warning. Arabella was so stunned, she did not even scream as he grabbed up both of her wrists and placed them together in one of his broad hands. Clamping his fingers around them tightly he began to pull her along behind him. "Rape, Arabella? There will never be rape between us. You will be willing, I can assure you!"
Darth pulled her to a dresser, where he opened a drawer and rifled through its contents with his free hand. Arabella finally found her wits and thought to escape him, twisting her wrists and panting with the effort, until he squeezed his hand even more. He was strong as seen in his powerful body stretched tautly beneath the silk of his white shirt.
She yanked again, screeching, "Let me go!" But he did not budge. He was like a sturdy oak tree, immovable to her smaller frame and she saw, with alarm, the two belts he pulled from his drawer. One was a two-inch leather strap and the other was a much thinner trouser tie.
Darth had said punishment! Arabella squealed again, but it did her no good as Darth hauled her to one of the bedposts at the end of the huge four-post bed. There he lifted her wrists high over her head as she wiggled and fought his hold. But he took the thinnest belt and wrapped both of her wrists, pulling them higher to bind the belt around the bedpost securely. Bringing even her heels off the ground. She was hung helpless and naked, heaving from the exertion of trying to escape him.
, you are beautiful," he uttered, swiping a broad hand across his scarred mouth as if he had not meant to say it.
End of Excerpt
Copyright © 2000 by Shirl Anders
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the author. The only exception is by a reviewer, who may quote short excerpts in a review.
Chapter One
Arabella tried desperately not to fall asleep. She convinced herself continually that her anxiety was too powerful to allow the occurrence of sinking eyelids. Yet in the end, her worries drained her into a fitful slumber, so she was surprised by the harsh hands shaking her shoulders, accompanied by the overpowering smell of sour wine.
"Get up." These stern words were slurred hotly into Arabella's ears. The sound so close, she jerked fully awake in alarm. Anxious, she forced her eyes closed, but the hands on her shoulders tightened with cruelty and she was yanked from beneath the warm bed covers.
"No, leave me be," she cried with an accompanying shudder that was not born from the chill of standing barefoot in only her threadbare nightgown.
"You will do as I say!" Victor Crom ordered in a harsh voice.
It was then Arabella saw the treacherous knife Victor held in his bony left hand. She watched in horror as he stumbled back to the trundle bed, where Nicholas lay so innocent in his sleep. She felt the sheer terror of Victor's intent seize her heart and she moaned, unable to will her limbs to move from their frozen state. He could not harm Nicholas . . . he could not! Her heart skipped beats as she watched Victor sliding the knife's blade just above the contours of Nicholas' exposed throat. Nicholas was too young, only ten-years of age, not knowing or understanding the danger that they had been thrown into since their mother's untimely death.
Arabella shuttered, watching in horror as their very own stepfather muttered, "So easy it would be, Arabella. Do you see how easily I could end your sweet brother's innocence?" Victor gazed at her with eyes hard as glass, belaying his drunken condition, and Arabella knew he could . . . No, she knew he would do it without hesitation.
"Answer me, Bond's maid," he hissed, as he lifted his cropped chin higher, spitting out the words, "Tell me that you understand that you could do nothing to stop me!"
"I could do nothing!" Arabella cried helplessly. Fear for her brother's life kept her rigid, but inborn defiance lifted her diminutive chin. She already recognized that her stepfather wanted some grievous deed from her and he was using Nicholas as the threat. He had used this method before. Images flashed in her mind of other times aboard the ship. The same ship they had sailed from Jamaica to these shores of England. She knew more than anyone what vileness Victor was capable of.
If she had known of anyone, or even had the smallest hope of somewhere to flee to, she would have grabbed Nicholas up and run screaming from the room. But there was no one, no place, only this deplorably evil man who held her and her brother's life in the balance. Gulping back her fear with sheer determination, Arabella looked squarely at her stepfather.
"What is it you want? Why do you call me Bond's maid, Step papa?" Arabella used the endearment hoping despairingly to remind Victor of some semblance of decency.
Victor moved so quickly then that Arabella stumbled backward, before he caught her roughly. She yelped in surprise that he could move so fast in his inebriated condition. He spun her around jerking her smaller body, to land facing backward against his chest, then he placed the long thin knife to her breast.
"Because that is what you are! I have the papers in my pocket to prove it. They mention quite clearly that Arabella Ormonde is my bonded slave!"
Arabella hardly heard any of Victor's words. She was terror stricken by the position that he held her in, and her scattering thoughts only caught, "my bonded," and then horribly, "slave."
Sweet Mary, what was he going to do?
"This is the way of it, my sweet little Stepdaughter. I have finally found a value for you and now you are going to do exactly as I say." Victor's grip tightened around Arabella's waist as the tip of his treacherous knife pricked the material at her breast. "I will tell you, Arabella, what will happen if you do not follow my instructions completely. I will cut your brother's throat and toss his little boy's body into the sea!"
Arabella moaned as if physically wounded and Victor hitched her upward more tightly against him. "No one knows him!" Victor hissed. "No one will ever take the time to question why a sudden and tragic death would befall a nameless boy of unknown origins." Victor's voice cracked with harshness as he wove his wicked tale. "And, there will be no one to come forward to claim that they ever knew the dark-haired twit. Do you understand me completely?"
Arabella knew better than anyone that there was no one who cared for her or Nicholas' fate. Not here in this strange cold-hearted England. They were in fact, and had been, completely at their stepfather's mercy since their mother's death. A man who now held a knife to her throat.
"Yes," she choked, for she had little choice. But still she fought her tears of hopelessness. She would not let him see her cry. "What do you want?" she asked with her voice sounding shrill, even to her ears.
"I demand that you keep quiet and keep your wits about you, girl. Do as I tell you and Nicholas will remain unharmed."
Victor loosened his hold on her as he spoke, but Arabella did not move. "You promise not to hurt Nicholas? Do y-you swear?" she asked with a pleading voice, knowing that she would do anything to keep her brother safe, and Victor Crom knew this as well.
"Tis a vow between us." Victor sneered. "A vow on your sweet Mamma's head. I will treat him as good as silver and gold, if you follow my orders without shirking."
"What must I do?" Arabella tried to gather strength around her with the knowledge that the only person in the world she cared about would be safe with her actions.
"I have at this moment, in a private room down the hall of this fine inn, a very large amount of money wagered on a game of cards." Victor lowered the knife, speaking with relish. "The amount to be won will buy us a castle! And I
hold the winning hand. I am sure of it." Then the knife disappeared into the folds of Victor's worn brocade vest as he stepped around to face her. "But that crafty Lord Peregrine has raised the ante. Higher than my means! That, my little Bond's maid, is where you come in." Victor clasped his lanky hand to Arabella's shoulder making her cringe. "You will be my ante! Surely worth the increased price?"
Arabella gasped in horror as the implication stole over her. "You will wager me as a slave?"
"Yes! I have always admired that quick wit of yours and as I've said, I have the papers right here in my pocket to prove my claim."
Arabella knew that Victor did have the papers he claimed to have. Victor Crom had proven to be a villainous slave trader in Jamaica and not the proper English gentlemen that he had deceive her mother into believing he was. Arabella struggled beneath the reality of the situation, recognizing with a manner of numbness that she had no choice.
Victor rubbed a skeleton hand to his clipped chin, looking keenly at her face. "With your dark hair and those unusual eyes of yours, no one will doubt that your origin is not at least half native." Then he snickered to himself, obviously well pleased with his sorted plan as Arabella sought desperately to dissuade him. "But slavery is nearly illegal here in England, Step papa, not like our home in Jamaica." Arabella watched Victor closely, praying he would see some kind of reason.
"Come now!" Victor ordered, then he abruptly grabbed her arm, pulling her toward the door. "Bond's maid or slave, it makes no difference. One look at you and the Gent's will lose their wits either way, just for the possibility of having you."
"My clothes!" Arabella cried with Victor's hand already finding the knob.
Victor turned looking down at her sheer night gown. "No, this will do. They will lose their senses."
"Oh please, Step papa, no! Not like this. I will do what you say, but please let me dress. I will be quick," Arabella pleaded. The distress over her scanty clothing driving all further worries of impending slavery from her thoughts.
"No, girl, do I need to slice a piece of little Nicholas first for good measure?" Victor asked threatening, as he began searching for the knife inside his vest.
"No! Oh no!" Arabella cried.
"Now cease looking so terrified, girl." Victor gave her a severe shake. "Gather your wits and just pretend that you are one of those heathen island friends of yours. They were always cheeky and would have looked at his Lordship like a proper lusty slave. You will act as if going to his Lordship is a pleasant matter. And I warn you now, girl, Lord Peregrine is not an easy man to look at. His visage is blighted. So prepare yourself." Victor shook her again. "I will have no squeals of fright from you!"
Victor's hands pressed painfully into her arms, until she yelped, "Yes!"
"Good now. You know, Arabella, I will be wining this hand and everything will be for naught. In no time at all, you will be back snug in your bed thinking this was all just a dream."
Victor stopped before a heavy maple door, in the upstairs hallway of the Inn at Griswold, and Arabella never had time or a thought to ask what would happen if her miserable lost.
BOOK: Owning Arabella
3.34Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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