Between the Devil and Desire(Scoundrels of St. James,Book 2)(49) by Lorraine Heath
Suddenly he broke away and heaved himself to his feet, leaving her bereft, reaching for him before she even realized what she was doing.
Breathing heavily, his back to her, he said, “I’ll prepare a proposal for you, outlining what I intend to do with your money. You can discuss it with Beckwith in order to be assured your best interests will be served.”
Gaping, she stared at him in stunned disbelief. The kiss that had left her trembling from head to toe meant nothing to him. He could play his mouth wildly over hers and then get up and calmly discuss her finances? What a fool she’d been to give in to temptation, only to have it thrown in her face. Tears stung her eyes as she fought desperately for composure and some hint as to how to make a graceful departure from his presence.
Abruptly he spun around and was leaning over her, his arms braced on the couch, hemming her in, his eyes smoldering with passion barely controlled. “I cautioned you that I was not a man who would settle for only a kiss, so be forewarned, I will collect what I am owed. I’ll hold to my promise and not go to your bed, but by God, you will come to mine. I’ll leave the choosing of the moment up to you, but choose a moment you will.”
With a force that tipped the couch, he shoved away and headed for the door. “I’m going to my club,” he threw out, as though she’d asked about his intentions.
But she hadn’t the strength to form words. She could barely stay sitting upright. Her entire body felt weak. Tremors cascaded through her as she gasped for breath. All she’d wanted was a kiss and he’d delivered a great deal more.
She squeezed her eyes shut, his velvety threat echoing through her mind. Oh, the arrogance of the man. She’d never go to his bed. Never.
But even as she thought the words, she feared they were a lie.
Jack stormed into his club, a man with a purpose. He’d thought leaving the duchess would be enough to tamp his desire. He’d been wrong. Even now, it was roaring through him with an ungodly vengeance, refusing to be ignored.
For the first time in his life, he wanted more than he’d ever had. He wanted to hear a woman’s cries as she gave herself over to pleasure. He wanted to be the one who brought the cries rising out of her throat. He wanted to touch her in ways that pleased her. He wanted to taste her. Start with her mouth and work his way down to her toes.
He made his way to the room where the girls worked. Standing in the doorway, he scanned the crowd until he caught sight of Prudence lounging on a man’s lap.
He knew how intense his gaze could be, how he could force a person to feel it and gain his attention. Finally, she looked over at him. He jerked his head in the direction of the offices. She gave him a quick nod before turning back to her customer to smooth any feathers that might be ruffled by her unexpected departure.
Jack barreled through his establishment, ignoring those around him. Something in his face must have shown that he wanted them to disregard him as well, because no one approached or vied for his attention.
Jack shoved open the door that led to the offices, walked by Frannie’s without peering in, and strode into his own, closing and locking the door in his wake. He went to the wall and took down an oil painting of a woman sitting beneath a tree. Removing a key from his waistcoat pocket, he inserted it into the lock and opened his safe. He gathered the required coins and dropped them into a velvet pouch. After closing the safe door, removing the key, and returning the painting to its place, he unlocked his office door.
Tossing the pouch onto a desk corner for easy reach, he sat, opened a drawer, removed a condom, and slipped it into his pocket. Tonight he just needed a quick romp. His desk would suffice. He’d have Pru back to her customer before she was truly missed. Reaching behind him, he grabbed a bottle of whiskey, poured some into a glass, and downed it in one long swallow.
He’d never felt the need this badly. It was almost barbaric. He couldn’t seem to get the vision of Olivia out of his mind. The innocence in her request: I forbid you to only kiss me.
Yet there had been no innocence in her response.
What had possessed him to accept her challenge? It would have been far better to have rebuffed her, to have walked away, to have not tasted her, to have not known the sweet echo of her sighs and moans as pleasure took hold. It had required every ounce of willpower he possessed to go no further than a kiss. He’d desperately wanted to loosen her buttons and remove that hideous nightgown. He’d wanted to bare her skin to his hands and his mouth. He’d wanted to pull her beneath him, grind himself against her—
It was lust—just lust, and nothing more. But even as he thought the words, he feared they were a lie.
He stood, grabbed the pouch, and walked out into the hallway, to the door that led outside. They would go to his room, his bed, for a longer, more satisfying encounter. He’d bury himself so deeply within her—
The footsteps he heard were not the ones that of late caused his heart to pick up its tempo. He watched as Pru approached in her sensual attire. But she didn’t entice him as Olivia did in her ghastly black dresses.
Pru slipped her arm through his and pressed her breast—much larger than Olivia’s—suggestively against his arm. “’ello, love. It’s been a long while since ye called for me. Are we goin’ to your room?”
He’d always felt nothing with her. With every woman he’d paid for, he’d always felt nothing beyond the physical. He’d always though the was incapable of feeling more, that something inside him was broken and held his emotions imprisoned at a distance. But suddenly what she could give him was not enough.
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