In Bed with the Devil(Scoundrels of St. James,Book 1)(43) by Lorraine Heath
He was a contradiction. Was he a scoundrel? Or was he not?
She no longer knew. More disturbing than that was the fact that she no longer cared.
Exhaustion claimed her the moment she walked into her bedchamber. Her bed called to her like a siren’s song. It was all she could do to remain patient while Jenny helped her out of her clothing. She wanted to simply rip it off and fall into bed. Dealing with Claybourne was always tiring—and exhilarating. Which only served to make it more tiring.
She had to keep her wits about her at all times, although this morning they’d seemed to settle into a kind of companionship. Perhaps they would become friends and when he married Frannie and they moved more frequently within Catherine’s circle of
acquaintances, the blasted earl would at last accept her invitations. Or at least his wife would.
Catherine had been drawn to him that first night—that first ball. But what she felt now ran more deeply. She wanted to know everything about him. Once she knew everything, perhaps she’d no longer be intrigued.
She crawled into bed, yawned, and told Jenny, “Wake me at two.”
She needed to pick up the invitations. And even though Winnie would be appalled, Catherine was determined to send one to Claybourne. If for no other reason than to irritate him. He wouldn’t come to the ball, so what was the harm?
Winnie would never know, and it would give Catherine a sense of satisfaction.
Before she was even finished contemplating Claybourne’s reaction, she was asleep. It seemed as though only seconds passed before someone was gently shaking her shoulder.
“My lady? My lady?”
She squinted. “What time is it?”
Groaning, she threw back the covers.
“A package arrived,” Jenny said. “I put it on your secretary.”
“Yes, my lady. From Lord’s.”
“Lord’s?” The shop specialized in the finest of accessories. But Catherine hadn’t purchased anything there of late.
Her curiosity piqued, she padded in bare feet across the room to her secretary where she spied the oblong package. She unwrapped it to reveal a gorgeous hand-painted floral glove box. Inside, lying on the puffed satin, was an exquisite pair of cream colored kidskin gloves.
“Is something amiss, my lady?”
Only then did Catherine realize that tears dampened her eyes. How silly. She never wept.
“Was there no note?” she asked.
“No, my lady. The gent who delivered it said simply that the package was for Lady Catherine Mabry.”
Of course, there’d be no note, because if there was, she’d have to burn it. The gloves were from Claybourne. Her injured hand was too sore, but she couldn’t resist having Jenny help her tug the glove onto her uninjured one. It was a perfect fit.
Oh, dear Lord, she wished he hadn’t done this. It was so much easier to deal with him when she believed he was the devil, so much harder when she realized he was a man who could easily win her heart.
“You’ve lost your knack. She spied you following her around.”
Luke had decided that he needed a word with Jim, before he picked Catherine up for their nightly ritual. Now he was pacing in Jim’s lodging. When had it grown so small?
He barely had the room to stretch his legs. Ever since Catherine had left his bed that morning, he’d felt like a ravenous beast on the prowl—with no clear understanding of what it was he was seeking.
Whatever had possessed him to ask if she wanted a kiss? For more than a year, he’d been fiercely loyal to Frannie, not taken the least bit of interest in another woman.
Whatever madness had claimed him? What was he thinking to tempt himself and
Catherine with the promise of a kiss? He’d been disappointed. Well, and truly, disappointed when she’d shaken her head. Then he’d gone to Lord’s and purchased her new gloves like some besotted fool.
No, he chastised himself. He was simply replacing the pair that had been destroyed when they’d been attacked, replaced the one that now rested in a drawer in the bureau in his bedchamber. The one that he’d held and studied that morning after returning to his residence, thinking about how close she’d come to having her life ended with the slash of a blade.
Pain shot through his head. He had to stop thinking about that encounter in the alley.
Why was it that it troubled him so? She was nothing to him except a means to an end.
“She didn’t see me,” Jim insisted, lounging in his chair by the fire as though nothing were amiss.
“All the running around she did earlier in the week? She did it to befuddle you, to make certain you were following her.”
“If she spied someone following her, it was not me. She saw someone else.”
Jim sounded so certain of himself. Not that Luke could blame him. He’d always been the best, the very best. So good in fact, that he’d managed to carry out his duties at Scotland Yard during the evening while pursuing Catherine during the day. He’d merely claimed to be following up with some witnesses to a burglary.
“Why would someone be following her?” Luke asked.
“Maybe it’s the bloke she wants killed.”
The thought of her being in danger caused Luke to break out in a sweat. “Did you see someone following her?”
“I wasn’t looking for anyone else. I was concentrating on her and making certain she didn’t spy me.”
Copyright © 2015 by Read Best Books Free Online