Happy Wednesday! It’s time for another Book Hooks blog hop. My snippet today comes from my historical romance novella Challenge to Him. Hope you enjoy it! After you’re done, do use the links below to visit some of the other authors sharing their work today!
All the wealth in the world can’t buy willing surrender.
Andrew MacIntyre, heir to a vast empire of railroads, mines and mills, is the second or third richest man in America, and by far the most eligible bachelor among the society folk summering in Newport, Rhode Island. His mother has filled their opulent mansion with marriageable daughters of bankers and industrialists, but Andrew knows none of these callow young women can satisfy his perverse sexual needs. No respectable girl would ever consent to being bound and beaten, to serving and obeying him the way he craves. His money gives him the freedom to purchase anything except his heart’s desire—a submissive partner to share his life.
Independent, progressive and well-educated, labour activist Olivia Alcott has dedicated herself to improving the lot of the workers who toil in the factories that have made Andrew and his class so wealthy. The strike she organises triggers a confrontation between her and the handsome billionaire. Although their disparate backgrounds and values make them natural foes, something stronger draws them to one another—an intuitive recognition of complementary fantasies. Andrew offers Olivia a bargain—better working conditions for the mill staff, in return for a weekend of her unquestioning obedience. Olivia will help him deflect the attentions of the potential mates assembled by his mother, as well as providing more intimate services. Given Olivia’s origins, a more enduring relationship appears impossible—but Andrew is not the sort to give up something he wants.
“Mademoiselle Olivia!” A skinny girl raced up the street that led to the riverside mill, stirring clouds of dust. “Il vient! He is coming!”
The sputtering racket of an internal combustion engine drowned out the girl’s excited voice. The crowd parted like the Red Sea for a boxy vehicle of shiny black, with silvery headlamps like extruded eyes. The noisy Studebaker rolled to a stop in front of the strikers, who stopped in their tracks like everyone else to stare at it.
The door creaked open. A tall man unfolded himself from the somewhat cramped interior, snatched off his hat and goggles and tossed them into the vehicle. He strode towards the massed strikers, his fists clenched at his sides.
“Where is she? Where’s your damned leader?”
The newspapers generally described Andrew MacIntyre as handsome. The epithet did not do him justice. As he stormed towards her, Olivia was struck with a sense of physical power and keen intelligence. He had wavy red-gold hair, a high forehead, a square chin, a determined mouth. His eyes were hazel, deep set under brows darker than his hair. Those eyes drilled into her, fierce and compelling. The women around her shrank backwards in alarm. Olivia steeled herself, holding her ground and fighting the urge to grovel at his feet. Instead of retreating, she took a step forward, holding out her hand.
“Mr Andrew MacIntyre, I presume?” She marveled at the steadiness of her voice, the cool neutral tone.
“Damned right. And you are…?”
“Olivia Alcott.” She pulled herself up to her full height and forced herself to meet his gaze. She saw anger simmering there, but behind his irritation there was something else, something that intrigued and thrilled her. Something that she might be able to use to further her goals. Olivia Alcott recognised lust when she saw it.
He towered over her by at least a head. Though his body was hidden by his loose touring coat, his decisive, economical movements suggested he was lean and athletic. For a moment he hesitated, staring at her proffered hand. When he finally accepted it, his firm grip confirmed her impression of strength. His palm felt warm and dry against hers. She suddenly wished that she were not so sticky and disheveled. When he released her, a momentary lightness swept through her, as though she might float away.
“And can I assume that you are the instigator and cause of this illegal strike, Miss Alcott?” He seemed flustered, less confident than she would have expected. Her spirits rose.
“Instigator? Perhaps. But not the cause.”
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