One of five women who endured horrific trials to win the hand of Nicholas Cavendish, Lady Joanna Nethercutt suffered greatly throughout the ordeal, ultimately losing to Victoria Hamilton. She swiftly finds herself sold by her own father, who’s determined she’ll be of use to him yet. For a year, she’s “trained” in preparation for marriage to Victoria’s brother, with whom she’ll be expected to produce heirs that will one day strengthen and continue the very society responsible for all of Joanna’s torment.
In the space of a breath, Theodore Hamilton is thrust into a secret society he knew nothing about, and married to a woman who seems terrified of his very existence. Suddenly, his carefree yet honorable life is filled with secrets and shadows, allies and enemies, leaving Theodore unsure who to trust…starting with his broken bride. His lure to the delicate beauty is tempered by external influence, lies and manipulation from all sides.
In this breathless conclusion to the Dark Sovereignty series, Theodore must decide where his loyalties lie, and race to destroy the evil men responsible for the immeasurable suffering of everyone he holds dear—including the wife he never wanted, but can’t possibly live without.
“As you know, your sister had a baby just over a month ago, and Rose takes up most of her time at the moment. I’ll be returning home to them as soon as possible.”
“So you can abuse them like you did Joanna?”
“I’m sorry?” Nicholas genuinely looks surprised, and I can’t help but think of him as a fantastic actor. “The only thing I’ve ever done to Lady Joanna is to brand her, and that was beyond my control. I’ve not seen her in over a year. In fact, the second I saw she was here, I came to check on her. I’m amazed to find she’s married to you.”
I snort a laugh at the utter stupidity of his declaration. We all know the truth, so there’s no point in lying about it anymore.
“Do I really look like a fool?” I snarl at him through gritted teeth.
“Do I need to answer that?” Nicholas retorts, and my anger flares enough that I ball a fist and prepare to send it flying into his smug rapist face. At that moment, William and Tamara appear, and Joanna grabs hold of my hand before I have a chance to make a show of myself.
“Please,” she whimpers with a cry of desperation.
“Ok.” I turn to her as William comes and stands steadfast beside his brother while Tamara stands next to her husband.
“Theo, please. Listen to them,” Tamara implores.
“Stay out of this,” I bark and focus my attention on Nicholas. “Isn’t it enough you have taken my sister and brainwashed her? And now you’ve wound your claws around Tamara as well. I may have lost them, but I’ll not let you take Joanna. You’ve done enough damage to her. I’ve seen the scars and heard the screams when she’s sleeping. You’re sick individuals…both of you.”
“Is he nuts?” William exclaims.
“Not now.” Nicholas holds his hand up to his brother.
“He must be if he thinks we did that to Joanna. It was his father who bought her.”
“William,” Nicholas replies tersely.
“Ok. Time for me to do that shut up thing.” Earl Lullington folds his arms across his chest.
“Thank you.” Nicholas breathes a sigh of relief. “Theodore, I don’t know what you’ve been told, but I’ve never hurt Joanna, save for the brand. If you just ask her, I’m sure she’ll confirm it.”
I feel Joanna press closer in behind me.
“Please, Joanna. Victoria desperately misses her brother. She’s suffered so much. Now’s the time we all need to pull together and support not only her but also help you to deal with whatever you’ve been through. What I’m trying to do, at the moment, is change the society and make certain there’ll be no more sales, and no more demanding of women. This must end. I have a daughter…a beautiful little girl, and I want her to grow up free.” Nicholas tries to step closer to us to plead with Joanna, but I hold a hand out to ensure he keeps his distance.
“Enough. Joanna doesn’t need to confirm anything to you. I know exactly what you are.”
“Let her speak.” Nicholas orders with a menacing tone that has several passers-by immediately scatter from the hallway we’re standing in. The chandelier lights even seem to shudder with fear.
“He did it.” Joanna sobs from behind my back