Saturday, October 24, 2020

Bring It Back(list) – This Winter Heart by PG Forte

Posted by: PG Forte

Eight years ago, Ophelia Leonides's husband cast her off when he discovered she was not the woman he thought she was. Now destitute after the death of her father, Ophelia is forced to turn to Dario for help raising the child she never told him about. 
Dario is furious that Ophelia has returned, and refuses to believe Arthur is his son - after all, he thought his wife was barren. But to avoid gossip, he agrees to let them spend the holidays at his villa. While he cannot resist the desire he still feels for Ophelia, Dario despises himself for being hopelessly in love with a woman who can never love him back. 

But Dario is wrong: Ophelia's emotions are all too human, and she was brokenhearted when he rejected her. Unsure if she can trust the man she desperately loves, she fears for her life, her freedom and her son if anyone else learns of her true nature... 


Candlelight glimmered in the gold of his wife’s hair and Dario could not keep his gaze from straying down the length of the dining room table to where she sat, quietly chatting with her son over supper. He’d never expected to see her seated here again, presiding over his table as she used to do. Yet here she was once more, just as in seasons past.  

How many nights had he sat here reveling in the sight of her—her exquisite beauty, her ineffable grace—anticipating the night to come, when he’d have her once more in his bed... 

 “And Papa said we might go riding together sometime too,” Arthur confided in eager tones. Dario started, his attention captured by the unexpected appellation. 

 “Did he now?” There was a distinctly hesitant note in Ophelia’s voice. She shot a fearful glance in Dario’s direction. Arthur appeared not to notice his mother’s concern. “Yes, and I met his horse—Leveche—and he told me what her name means and...” 

His voice trailed off and then he, too, glanced nervously in Dario’s direction. “It is all right that I call you that, isn’t it, sir?” 

 Dario ground his teeth, uncomfortably aware of those two sets of eyes trained so anxiously on his face. Arthur’s eyes pleaded with him to say yes. What Ophelia’s eyes had to say about the matter he didn’t know, for he refused to meet them. His initial instinct was to deny the boy’s request, to insist he address him more formally; but then he reconsidered. Where was the harm in it, really? As long as he kept them here on his estate, shielded from the busybodies and the gossips, why not indulge the boy? “Certainly,” he said at last and hurriedly returned to his meal, unwilling to be drawn into any more of their conversations. He could not, however, resist taking one quick look at Ophelia’s face. The smile that curved her lips, the radiant gleam in her eyes as she gazed back at him caused his breath to hitch and his chest to grow tight. She’d always affected him like this and suddenly he wanted nothing more than to indulge himself, as well—to have his wife once more in his bed, to see if he could not give her cause to smile at him several more times before the morning broke. 

 Dario paused, shocked by the direction his own thoughts had taken. His wife? Could he even call her that anymore, knowing her for what she was? On the other hand, wasn’t that precisely how he did still think of her? Annoyed with himself, his appetite gone, Dario slammed his fork down on the table. 

 He should have divorced her long ago. Religion be damned. She’d been absolutely right to have questioned his motives this morning. He’d been lying to himself for far too long. 

 She was no one’s wife. He did not wish to bed her. 

 He groaned softly. It had been hard enough trying to pretend that was the case with her gone. Sitting here face to face, it was completely useless. No matter how many times he repeated the same empty lies, he still could not make his heart believe them. 

 Buy links are available on my website, along with the link to a free short prequel titled This Winter Night.

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