So here's an excerpt from my contribution, Desire's Dilemma. To set the stage, Marcus is sure he can never marry because of an injury suffered when he was tortured as a spy for Wellington. Valanna is just as sure she will marry him. These two really have a dreadful time getting together. Here's an excerpt from when Val tries, (again!) but is rejected.
She found Marcus in his office, as she’d expected. He was sitting in his big chair, his head thrown back, his eyes closed. Both he and the moment were so perfect she stopped and admired him. He was undoubtedly the most handsome man in the world. But more than that, the sweetness and nobility of his character was revealed as he sat, relaxed for once, a slight smile on his face.
She entered as silently as she could, thanking heaven she’d worn slippers instead of half-boots. With that half dreamy smile on his face, an unsuspecting Marcus first knew of her presence when she plopped herself on his lap, drew his face close and kissed him with all the love in her heart.
“I love you so much, Marcus.”
Marcus could not have stopped himself from kissing her to save his very life. Valanna, his Val, was looking at him as if her whole world hinged upon his kiss. He turned her lovely face up to his. She was everything in the world he wanted, his dream of happiness and beauty, and although he knew he must soon reject her, he found himself incapable of doing so quite yet.
He groaned, clasped her to him with fierce strength, and kissed her with a passion that sent her senses reeling. “Val,” he whispered. “My lovely Val.”
Too astonished and delighted to do anything but kiss him again, Valanna attempted to do just that as Marcus suddenly drew back.
“No. I will not have this. No.” He surged to his feet after grabbing her shoulders to steady her, and then deposited her firmly in the chair facing the desk. Even as she reveled in his strength she sensed his determined withdrawal.
“You belong with Lance. Never with me, Valanna. Never, ever with me.”
He practically ran from the room.
She had not had a chance to tell him she knew and didn’t care about his mysterious impairment. And she feared he might never let her close enough again to tell him she didn’t care about anything in the world but him. She’d take a week with Marcus and be grateful the rest of her life, even if that was all she had.
She closed her eyes, tried to compose her features into a lady-like serenity, collected Cilly and left the house and her blasted difficult love. She had a desperate feeling he would make sure she never had a chance to be alone with him again. This was going to take every ounce of conniving femininity she had in her.
She’d use all of it, and more to secure Marcus.
She had the distinct feeling this was not going to be easy. Not in any way at all.
A wonderful New Year to one and all...and I'll see you next month.