Matthew O’Dallan was separated from his childhood sweetheart Iphigenia Haworth when his parents promised him to the Church. Years later, Iphigenia finds her way to his parish. Their old bond hasn’t weakened—in fact, maturity has made it in some ways stronger than ever, adding lust to their longtime affection. She remembers the old promises they made each other, and before God, she is ready to keep them. And although he knows that it’s a sin, Matthew can’t help but find in her temptation the chance for a last touch of grace.

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A Last Touch of Grace

“Maybe I am wrong,” Iphigenia said. “And if so, I’m sorry to trouble you. I don’t think I’m wrong, but I truly don’t want to—to make things worse for you. If I’m opening a wound that’s healed, tell me. If it’s not still raw and bleeding, then I know I ought to let it be.” A deep breath from her, while everything else around him was still silence. “Say it hurts you less than it hurts me, and I’ll go, Mattie.”
Behind his eyelids, wetness stung. He laughed at it. “Nobody’s called me by that name in a long time.”