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Midnight Surrender

#1 In a small town, young Daisy endures a life of suffering under the tyranny of her stepfamily and the neglect of her father. Her once loving home now a prison, she and her mother are forced to serve her father's new wife and daughters. When a proposal arrives from a wealthy but disfigured nobleman, her father, eager to protect his other daughters, condemns Daisy to a seemingly bleak fate. #arranged marriage

JasmineJosef · Fantasy
Not enough ratings
88 Chs

A Veil of Thorns - Chapter 10

The rain continued to pour outside, its steady rhythm providing a soothing background noise as Daisy and her mother lay in the large bed they shared. Helena had fallen asleep quickly, her gentle snores barely audible over the sound of raindrops against the window panes. But despite her exhaustion, Daisy found herself unable to succumb to sleep.

Her thoughts were a whirlwind, dominated by the memory of her encounter with Lord Blackthorne. She could still feel the ghost of his lips on her neck, the gentle pressure and heat they had left behind, and the sensation left a tinge of frustration. She squirmed beneath the covers, feeling an unfamiliar warmth and tingling sensation spread across her body.

It began at her neck, spread down her chest, and settled between her legs, causing her breath to hitch. Her body ached in ways she had never experienced before, leaving her restless and confused about what to do about it. When she closed her eyes, he became more clear in her head, and her thoughts found a path to explore her curiosity.

She was back in the study with him, trapped between him and the table, and his lips were on her neck again. She did not fear him in her fantasies and allowed him to explore further. In her mind, she imagined him trailing kisses down her collarbone while his hands roamed over the curves of her body. She imagined his arms pulling her closer, his chest pressed against hers, their bodies entwined as his lips found hers.

As if he had truly kissed her, her body jolted, awakening her from the fantasy. What was wrong with her? What was she thinking?

She turned, trying to push away those fantasies and sleep, when his whispers began to haunt her. He had invited her to join him tonight. What did he think she was? She couldn't figure him out, and although his invitation made her all the more suspicious, she couldn't deny that it was tempting.

Daisy knew that she shouldn't go; it would make her appear too eager and too easy, and as the minutes ticked by, her resolve wavered. She turned her head to glance at her sleeping mother, who lay peacefully beside her, oblivious to the turmoil raging within her daughter's heart.

A part of Daisy knew that she should remain in bed, stay safe and protected within the confines of her mother's presence. Yet, the other part of her wanted to throw caution to the wind and explore the unknown depths of desire and curiosity that Lord Blackthorne seemed to awaken within her.

Explore or stay safe?

She weighed her options, but ultimately, what made her stay in bed was her desire to maintain her dignity and self-respect. She couldn't simply give in to Lord Blackthorne's whims and risk appearing too eager or too easy. No, she would stay put and face whatever the next day brought.

The following morning, Daisy awoke at the crack of dawn, her body still used to getting up early because of her responsibilities as a maid for her stepfamily. Beside her, Helena slept on, clearly enjoying the rare opportunity to sleep in and Daisy decided to do the same, but after tossing and turning for some time, unable to fall back asleep or find any comfort in staying in bed, Daisy decided it was time to get up.

She carefully slid out of bed, trying not to disturb her mother, and retrieved the dress she had worn the night before. The fabric still held the faint scent of the evening, a mix of candlelight and perfume that reminded her of Lord Blackthorne.

Once dressed, she gently shook her mother's shoulder, hoping to rouse her. She was anxious that her mother would want to be woken up. "Mother, would you like to get up?"

Helena stirred, rubbing her eyes and yawning. "Oh, Daisy, let's sleep a bit longer, dear. It's not often we get the chance to rest like this."

Daisy hesitated for a moment before nodding, understanding her mother's desire for a little more sleep. "Alright, Mother. Rest well." With that, she made her way to the door.

The mansion was eerily quiet and dimly lit as she wandered the long corridors, the only sound accompanying her footsteps being the persistent rain against the windows. As she walked, she felt drawn to the sound of the rain, the steady rhythm of the droplets against the glass soothing her racing thoughts.

Eventually, Daisy found a glass door that led outside. Curious, she opened it just enough to reach out and let the raindrops fall onto her fingertips. The cold droplets provided a stark contrast to the warmth she had experienced the previous night.

As she stood there, lost in thought, she felt a sudden tingle down her spine, as if someone was watching her. She turned her head and found herself face to face with Lord Blackthorne.

"Good morning, Daisy," he greeted.

Daisy tried to suppress her surprise as she took in his appearance, finding it difficult to tear her eyes away from him. Lord Blackthorne stood before her dressed more casually than she had ever seen him, in a simple white linen shirt and dark trousers. The fabric of the shirt draped effortlessly over his lean, yet powerful frame, hinting at a deceptive strength that lay just beneath the surface. His broad shoulders and lean torso gave him an almost predatory grace, like a panther poised to strike.

A few top buttons were left undone, allowing her a glimpse of his chiseled collarbones and a hint of a defined chest. The sleeves of his shirt were rolled up to his elbows, showcasing his toned forearms and strong, elegant hands. Hands that seemed to possess a quiet strength and authority, as if they could command the world around him with just a gesture.

Then there was that skin. It made him look unalive, as if touching him would feel like touching steel. But she knew that wasn't what his lips on her neck felt like.

"Good morning, my Lord," she replied, looking into his eyes. They were softer this morning, as if a veil of calmness had descended upon them, making them appear almost languid.

The hall where they were standing was more intimate, a secluded space branching off from the grander corridors. Lord Blackthorne leaned against the wall, his eyes fixed on her. Daisy waited nervously for him to ask why she hadn't met him last night and prepared a lie in her head.

"Did you sleep well?" he asked.

"I did, my Lord. The sound of the rain was soothing. How about you?" It was too late when she realized what she asked and bit her lip.

His eyes glistened, knowing she fell into his trap, but he kept his face straight. "I was waiting for someone," he said.

Daisy's gaze faltered, realizing that she had unintentionally walked right into his trap. She swallowed hard, trying to steady her nerves, and averted her eyes from his piercing gaze. She leaned back against the rim of the door.

"I hope you didn't wait too long," she began, forcing her gaze up. She looked into his golden eyes and said, "I never agreed to meet with you, My Lord."

Lord Blackthorne narrowed his eyes, the intensity in them returning, but Daisy refused to allow herself to be intimidated. Then a small smile tugged at the corner of his mouth. "You're right, you didn't agree to meet me. But I couldn't help but hope that curiosity might get the better of you."

It worried her that he seemed to know about her curiosity. She had almost met him last night. It had been a struggle to make a decision.

"I must admit, your refusal only piqued my curiosity even more. I find your defiance... intriguing." He added.

Defiance?

"I don't know what you mean, my Lord. I simply chose not to attend a meeting that was, with all due respect, rather inappropriate."

Lord Blackthorne raised an eyebrow, a hint of amusement in his eyes. "Inappropriate? Miss Daisy, I never explicitly mentioned the nature of our meeting. Perhaps it is your imagination that has taken you to such conclusions. I simply wished to have a conversation with you, to get to know you better, beyond the formalities we usually encounter."

Daisy felt her cheeks burn with embarrassment, but she quickly turned her embarrassment into indignation. "My Lord, the very idea of a young lady meeting privately with a gentleman late at night is not proper, regardless of the nature of the meeting."

Did he say her imagination?!

"I am well aware of what is considered appropriate, and a late-night rendezvous is not. It seems you are the one with the active imagination, to assume I would so willingly disregard propriety." She spoke agitatedly, forgetting formalities and politeness. He made her blood boil.

Lord Blackthorne smiled, seemingly amused by her assertiveness. "You would not?" He asked.

What did he mean?

"I see no reason to worry unless you assume I invited you for something untoward. What if I simply wished to share an innocent secret or discuss a matter of importance, away from prying ears? Must you always assume the worst of people?" There was a teasing lilt in his voice.

She almost laughed as her anger grew, fueled by his inciting responses. Did he think she was foolish? Innocent secret, he says? There was nothing innocent about him or his invitation. Yes, she thought he invited her for something untoward!

"My Lord, you cannot deny that the circumstances of your invitation were unusual and suggestive. A gentleman of your standing should know better than to place a young lady in such a position."

"Perhaps, Miss Daisy, it is your own perception of the situation that makes it so. If you insist on seeing shadows where there are none, how can you be certain of what is truly in front of you?"

Her frustration reached its peak, and she struggled to maintain her composure in the face of his infuriating wit. Her hands clenched into fists at the side of her body while he remained calm.

"My Lord…" she began, wanting to tell him that she did see shadows and they were right in front of her, but she didn't even know what those shadows were, so she bit back her words.

Lord Blackthorne watched her curiously, waiting for her response, but she just glared at him. Then suddenly he chuckled.

"Miss Daisy," he said, his laughter subsiding, "I apologize if my words have upset you. You are right, I should have been more mindful of the impropriety of my invitation."

He paused for a moment, his eyes softening as he continued, "However, I must admit that I find you fascinating and wish to know you on a more personal level. Unfortunately, the confines of societal expectations and appropriateness often stand in the way of truly getting to know someone."

Daisy looked at him skeptically, trying to gauge his sincerity. It was hard to trust his intentions, given their previous exchanges, but there was a gentleness in his eyes that made her consider his words more carefully. Did he really just mean to know her? Did she misunderstand him?

For a moment, they stood in silence, the tension between them slowly dissipating.

"Daisy," he then called, his voice soothing as the rain falling outside. "Would you care to join me for breakfast? A more appropriate setting to have some time alone while everyone is asleep." There was a subtle teasing tone in his words again.

She regarded him for a long moment, wondering what he wanted from her. "Yes," she replied.

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A/N

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