| Note from the author:
Jarrod of Hartshorn Hill is the First of this Series.
Druesha of Hartshorn Hill is the Second of this Series.
Fallon was orphaned the day before her sixteenth birthday. The loss of her parents was a devastating blow to the only child. She was led by those around her to suffer through those first horrid days. She did not know how long she had been residing within her paternal grandmother's home until she finally became aware of her surroundings after long dwelling within the deep pool of grief.
Her grandmother was Shira Hartshorn, a distant cousin to the infamous Lord Evan Hartshorn. Fallon knew, in the back of her head, that they were related but she had never let it fill more than a passing thought. She lived quite contentedly in the quiet home of her grandmother as she grew from an awkward teenager into a lovely young woman.
She had her mother's looks and for that she was grateful. Her blonde hair shone and fell lightly upon her skin. It was as soft as spun silk. Her eyes were the deep blue of a summer sky and glittered beguilingly when she laughed. Her skin was as soft as rose petals and was the envied shade of fresh peaches. She was modest and sweet tempered. She enjoyed the life she led with her grandmother, one of reading, music and hours of needlework beside a warm fire.
Thus her life continued happily until her grandmother became ill, bedridden. Then a flurry of activity fell upon the cozy home with solicitors, doctors, well wishers and all sorts of people going in and out of the house at all hours. This sudden spurt of movement in her quiet ordered life made Fallon quite uncomfortable and she fell into a deep silence which many felt was due to mourning and fear for her grandmother but in truth it was out of anger at the disruption of her gentle life.
After her grandmother passed, a tranquil smile seemed forever planted on her face at the knowledge her ordered life would soon return to exactly that. At the cemetery, her smile grew into more of a frown as she was crowded by strangers but she breathed deeply and reminded herself that soon she would be back in her warm home, alone.
She excused herself to her chambers as soon as she arrived and quickly removed the drab mourning clothes she was adorned with. She put on one of her favorite gowns, a low cut dress of muslin in a deep blue, nearly black, patterned with tiny lilac buds, and set beside the fire, taking up the latest novel from her favorite author.
It was there Lord Hartshorn found her as he entered him chambers without knocking. She set her novel aside and looked up at him. She had noticed him hovering about the house for days now but she spoke very little to him other than small enquiries into his well being.
He was not a bad looking man, although he was quite old enough to be her father, and she sat in her chair looking up at him in an admiringly way. "May I help you, Lord Hartshorn?" She finally inquired after he stared at her chest for an indecent amount of time.
"Ah yes, my dear cousin," he replied, his eyes finally finding hers. "It seems I have become your guardian, more or less, with the passing of your grandmother."
He paused here and Fallon wondered if she was expected to reply. Finally, after a moment, she did so. "And how does that affect me, Milord?"
"Well, we will be shutting up the house in the next few days and when that is complete, you will be returning with me to Hartshorn Hill."
"Hartshorn Hill!" she cried, never in her wildest imaginings thinking she would be forced to leave her home. "But I do not wish it! I wish to stay here in my grandmother's home. Is there no way you can arrange that, Milord?"
Lord Hartshorn smiled at the innocent girl. "Dear one, it would be unseemly for one of your youth to live alone with only servants for companions. Do not fret; you will enjoy life on the Hill. It is larger than this place and you will have plenty of servants to attend to your every need."
"And how can my living with you be any more seemly, Milord? Guardian or not, you are a man and I am a woman. And to the best of my knowledge, you are unmarried!"
With this, he smiled charmingly down at the lovely young woman. "It has been arranged, dearest. You will enter the Hill not only as my charge but also as my fiancée. When a decent time of mourning has passed, you and I will be wed. It is most fitting and as our family relationship is very small, it will not be disputed. It was your grandmother's wish as it is mine. We will have a good life together."
For a girl who had spent many an hour with her nose in the romantic novels of her day to be proposed to in such a way made her heart beat fiercely with anger. "And what do I have to say of this? I am a woman of independent means; my parents left me my own legacy. I do not need nor want anything of yours, Milord."
"Your desires do not signify. In this place, you are at the mercy of any who would come upon you. You cannot be protected from fortune hunters or worse. You are a lovely girl, charming and intelligent. You must realize that this is the best for you."
She stood, chest heaving with indignation. "The best? To marry a man I barely know? Perhaps Milord does not know what is best for me at all."
Something about her made Lord Hartshorn dizzy. She was standing so close and she smelt beguilingly of violets. He could not help himself, truly he could not. He picked her up and carried her to her bed, pushing her skirts up as he went.
Tossing her to her back, he quickly pulled her undergarments down and off her thighs before she could even think to protest. He undid his breeches and was upon her in an instant, entering her with one swift deep movement that pinned her helpless form beneath him on the bed.
She gasped in surprise as he slammed into her, tearing her maidenhead and forcing her to accept him whether she wished it or not. He was much stronger than her and there was no thought in her mind to even attempt to fight him.
His lips fell upon the open expanse of skin about her neck. It tasted faintly of peaches and was as soft as the softest spun silk beneath his lips. His breath was hot upon her flesh as he took her, swiftly and without remorse, knowing he must have this one above all others.
Her breasts heaved indignantly as he thrust inside her again and again; taking her so utterly completely and continuing to plow into her tightness, intent on removing any ounce of defense she may have built against him. Her own tightly held feelings began to relax as his fingers began to explore every inch of her exposed flesh. They were gentle, not forceful, enticing her body to respond to him. She was young and inexperienced and yet there was something about Evan that was making her body respond to his foul taking of her.
A blush crept across her high cheekbones as she felt liquid passion begin to slip from between her thighs and ooze over his manhood, thick and full and pressing deeper and deeper inside her, again and again, taking her mercilessly. Her fingers reached up to his shoulders and dug deeply into the good wool of his jacket as he spilled his seed inside her and she cried out with him, having reached her own point of ecstasy.
And as she lay trembling beneath him, her mind a thunderstorm of activity over the way her body had responded to his slightest touch, he bent to her ear and whispered softly, "Well, Fallon, you shall not protest marrying me now."
She looked up at this man she barely knew but who seemed to be able to see inside her soul. Her moist lips parted in a hesitant smile as she looked up at him, "Milord, you have made sure of that."