Eva de Clare had been told that every English lady looked forward to her wedding day. But she was pretty certain that was a lie. In her case, her wedding day was fast winning out over her worst nightmare.
Standing in her father’s study was her betrothed—a man who’d been blackmailing her family for at least two years that she knew of. Somehow, he’d managed to wheedle his way down to this—her hand in marriage.
Lord Belfinch stared down his nose first at her, and then her father. His thick brown hair was cropped close to his head and his face was as cleanly shaven as a sheep shorn too close to the skin, revealing pockmarks along his jaw line. Thin purple veins were visible at the plump parts of his cheeks, creating a map to his bulbous nose. Sharp, black eyes bore into her as he assessed her with a sneer of his yellowed teeth.
This man who made her physically ill was to be her husband. Her father might as well have sentenced her to death, for she wasn’t only ill from looking at him, although he was extremely unpleasant, but rather because there was no blood pumping through his veins. Nay, a man that evil had to be filled with tar.
Eva tried to hold in her shudder. She wished her sister, Jacqueline, was here to talk sense into their father. More than anything, she wished her mother was here to hide her in the woods on one of their wilderness adventures. A gust of wind banged against the closed shutters, as though her mother spoke to her from beyond the grave, or maybe tried to scare away the vile beast about to force her into marriage…