Author's Note: Written for mm8 for Yuletide 2012.

She could entrance him with a simple glint in her eye or a crook of her finger. The feelings she stirred in the pit of his stomach were both revolting and enticing in equal turns.

All it would take to set him off would be to see her eyes sparkling in the light of a candle flame - or a thousand - and he would be enchanted by something he did not - could not - lacked the rational ability to - understand with any degree of functionality.

He loved Josette, as a fiancé betrothed to be wed to another should love their beloved. He had an obligation, as a Collins heir. It would not do to set a poor example of marital responsibility for his sister, Sarah. She needed a positive role model to show her how to be a good wife and mother one day, and Josette could be that for her. She could be a lot of things to many people, except the one thing he needed her to be to him.

Yet, he could not fight this feeling any longer if he tried, anymore than he could resist breathing or his own survival instinct. Anqelique had a hold on something primal, almost bestial, even, inside him.

And he was powerless to resist. It was futile even to try.

He could convince himself that he loved and wanted Josette as much as he wanted. That was the easy part. Yet, in his dreams, instead of the warm bounce of tender brunette curls and her embrace coupled with her gentle brown eyes, he saw cold flashes of icy blue-gray eyes and blonde curls of seduction. He sought out the seduction instead of creature comfort.

And every morning, he awoke just as early as he always had, and just as empty - both in his bed and inside his soul - as the day before.

Something would have to change. He did not know what, for he was a man ill-suited to changes of fortune in all of its forms, but something would have to. Either her or him, and he would prefer for it to be her.