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 12

The tension in the room was palpable as Daisy studied the newcomer. He was tall and lean, with broad shoulders and a confident stride. His sharp cheekbones and watchful gaze, gave him an almost predatory air. His hair was a shade of dark brown, contrasting starkly with his fair, slightly grayish skin. Not as much as Lord Blackthorne. This man could pass as a human. A human who didn't spend much time in the sun.

Daisy was struck by her own thoughts. What did she mean by "pass as a human?" What would he be otherwise?

Lord Blackthorne's eyes narrowed slightly. "Edric," he greeted the man, his tone cool and composed. "To whom do I owe this unexpected visit?"

Edric smirked, folding his arms across his chest. "Can't I visit my dear cousin without reason?" His gaze shifted to Daisy, and he offered her a charming smile. "And who is this lovely creature?"

Daisy shuddered at the way he regarded her. Creature?

"This is Daisy," Lord Blackthorne replied tersely. "My future wife."

Edric raised an eyebrow, his gaze flicking between Daisy and Lord Blackthorne. "Well, isn't this a surprise? I must say, I never expected you to settle down, Rhain. And with such a delectable young woman, too." His eyes roamed over her in a way that made her skin crawl.

Daisy stiffened, and Lord Blackthorne's gaze darkened. "Edric, your manners leave much to be desired," he warned, his voice like ice.

Edric chuckled, the sound dark and mocking. "My apologies. I tend to speak my mind, as you well know."

Lord Blackthorne turned to Daisy, "Daisy, this is my cousin Edric. Earl of Ravenshire."

Daisy stood up and curtsied, "It is nice to meet you, My Lord."

"Charmed, Miss Daisy. And please, just call me Edric. We will be family, after all." He smiled.

Just Edric? It seemed like this family enjoyed making people uncomfortable.

"Please sit," he said, and as she sat down, she didn't miss the quick look that Edric and Lord Blackthorne exchanged.

Lord Blackthorne turned to her, "If you will excuse me for a while, Daisy. Edric and I have some matters to attend to. Please make yourself comfortable. I'll return soon."

Daisy nodded, "Of course." she smiled. Then she watched as the two men left the room.

As Daisy sat alone in the dining room, she couldn't help but feel a sense of unease. The encounter with Edric had left her feeling rattled, and she wondered what the two men were discussing in private. Lost in her thoughts, she didn't immediately notice the arrival of her stepfamily. She quickly rose from her seat and turned to them, as if she had been caught daydreaming again and happened to forget her duties. But there was no food burning and no breakfast she missed to serve. She was in Lord Blackthorne's home.

Daisy looked at Katherine, and her two stepsisters, who were not looking as neat and put together as they did yesterday. A stark contrast to Daisy's pristine appearance this morning.

Katherine's eyes widened at the sight of Daisy in her beautiful new dress. "Daisy! Where on earth did you get that dress?" she demanded, her voice dripping with envy.

Lila and Cassandra exchanged glances, their jealousy evident in their narrowed eyes.

Daisy hesitated for a moment, then replied, "Lord Blackthorne provided it for me."

Katherine scoffed, her eyes darkening. "Oh, so the mighty Lord Blackthorne has taken a liking to you, has he? And you so easily accepted his gift without a thought? How very... forward of you."


"He is to be my husband," she replied calmly, but saying it out loud, made her shudder. "It is not as though I am accepting gifts from a stranger."

Katherine stepped closer, her eyes cold and hard. "To be your husband?" She asked, raising her voice in sync with her eyebrows. "And that makes it alright, does it? To simply cast aside propriety and act like a woman of loose virtue, all in the name of being proposed to?"

"I have not cast aside propriety," Daisy retorted. "I am doing nothing more than accepting the hospitality of the man who will be my husband."

A shudder went down her spine again.

"What will you accept next?" Katherine asked. "You are already having breakfast with him alone. What else will you do alone with him next?"

Daisy couldn't believe this.

Just as Katherine was about to deliver another biting remark, the door to the dining room opened, and Lord Blackthorne entered with Edric right behind him, his eyes taking in the scene before him. Daisy's stepfamily fell silent, their eyes widening in surprise at his sudden appearance.

"Ah, Lady Katherine, Miss Lila, Miss Cassandra," he said smoothly, a polite smile on his face. "I trust you all had a restful night?"

Katherine, caught off guard by Lord Blackthorne's arrival, cleared her throat and attempted to regain her composure. "Yes, My Lord. Thank you for your hospitality."

Lord Blackthorne nodded, his eyes flicking to Daisy for a moment before returning to Katherine. "I am glad to hear it. And speaking of hospitality, I must apologize for neglecting to provide suitable attire for you and your daughters as well. I have asked my staff to prepare an assortment of dresses for you to choose from. Please feel free to select something that suits your taste."

Katherine, unable to argue with Lord Blackthorne directly, could only offer a tight-lipped smile. "Thank you, My Lord. That is most generous of you."

He then introduced Edric, and Katherine eagerly pushed her daughters forward as if they were on display at an auction.

Edric regarded them with the same intensity as Lord Blackthorne usually regarded her, but there was a subtle difference in his gaze. Where Lord Blackthorne's eyes seemed to hold a dual hunger, Edric's seemed more singular, and she wasn't sure which one frightened her more. She also seemed to be the only one who was wary now. Her family had relaxed around him. Even Cassandra was coming around.

Lord Blackthorne led them to the drawing room while Katherine and her daughters were escorted away to change. Lord Blackthorne also sent an order to have clothes delivered to her parents.

It was strange that he had it all arranged, or perhaps the wealthy had a sortiment ready for guests.

As they settled in the drawing room, Edric leaned back in his chair, studying Daisy with an appraising gaze. "Tell me, Daisy, do you find our dear cousin Rhain to be a bit... peculiar?"

Daisy's eyes flicked toward Lord Blackthorne before returning to Edric. "I'm not sure what you mean," she replied cautiously.

Edric chuckled, "Oh, I think you do. He's not like other men, is he?"

Daisy shifted uneasily in her seat. "I suppose he is quite different from the men and people I'm accustomed to," she replied evasively. "Perhaps you can enlighten me more."

He grinned, amused but then his expression became more serious and he leaned forward in his chair. "You have a keen intuition, Daisy. I don't think you need much enlightenment."

Daisy's brow furrowed in confusion. "I'm not sure I follow," she said hesitantly.

Edric's gaze flicked towards Lord Blackthorne, then back to Daisy. "Let's just say that your senses are sharper than most." He paused and smiled as if he was going to tell her a fun secret. "I would advise you to trust that instinct and be cautious around our dear cousin." He then said playfully, but Daisy felt there was more to it.

Lord Blackthorne's lips quirked in amusement as he interjected, "Now, now, Edric. Don't scare her. She is not yet accustomed to our unusual humor." He then turned to Daisy with a gentle smile. "My cousin can be a bit dramatic at times. I apologize on his behalf."

Before the conversation could go any further, Katherine was quick to return with her daughters, not wanting to miss the chance of Edric leaving. To Daisy's surprise, she pushed Lila to sit closer to Lord Blacthorne and urged Cassandra to sit with Edric. The woman's greed was endless.

Daisy didn't miss how Lord Blackthorne rolled down his sleeves now that Lila was sitting near him, and he didn't pay her as much attention as the previous night.

Once her parents joined, Thomas was annoyed with Lila's behavior so he took things into his own hands. "I hope you and Daisy have been getting along well," he told Lord Blackthorne.

"Daisy has been a lovely companion," Lord Blackthorne replied.

"Then… shall we arrange for an engagement?"

No! Daisy stiffened.

"If you don't mind, Mr. Winters, I would prefer to bypass the engagement and proceed directly to the wedding," Lord Blackthorne replied.

The room fell silent, and Daisy's heart stopped beating.