Lord of Temptation(Lost Lords of Pembrook,Book 2)(15) by Lorraine Heath
“Did you now?” In two long strides, he was near enough that his breath mingled with hers and she had to tilt her head back to continue to gaze into his icy blue eyes. He rested his curled fingers in the curve of her cheek, his thumb stroking her lower lip.
Her tongue slipped out on its own accord to lick where he touched and she could have sworn she tasted the saltiness of his skin. His eyes darkened. He had such incredibly long lashes. Their ebony shade made the blue of his eyes seem that much fairer, like the sky on a bright summer day.
He leaned in.
She held her breath.
His gaze dropped to her lips.
He lifted his eyes to hers.
She waited, waited . . .
He came nearer. Her eyes began closing—
“The moment is of my choosing, Princess. And this isn’t it. Sleep well.”
Grinning, he tweaked her nose, spun on his heel, and strode from the room.
If she could have drawn in a breath past her fury, she’d have shrieked at him. Martha rushed in. “Oh, dear God, what did he do?”
“Nothing.” He tweaked my nose! She wasn’t about to admit that. Didn’t he want to kiss her? Had he changed his mind? She dropped onto the edge of the bed and stared at the closed door. She popped back up. “He told me to sleep well. I’ll show him. I shall accomplish that with remarkable success.”
As they prepared for bed, they were both surprised to find warm water in the basin. Obviously the captain had someone prepare the room before they came down. The bedding was crisp, freshly laundered, but when Anne climbed onto the bed, the spicy scent of Crimson Jack rose around her.
Martha blew out the lamp and crawled in beside her, but they had enough room between them that they didn’t touch. Anne didn’t want to consider that the bed had been specially designed to accommodate for the captain’s size and a woman lying in his arms.
“I think my brother might have been mistaken,” Martha whispered. “I think this captain might be a very dangerous man.”
“If he were dangerous, he’d have locked that door, and he—not you—would be in this bed with me.”
In the darkness, Anne listened to the creaking of the ship. But she didn’t sleep. Instead, she wondered why he could so easily resist kissing her. And why she wished he’d just get it over with.
Standing at the helm, Tristan gripped the wheel so tightly that his hands were beginning to ache. Walking away from her without tasting those succulent red lips had been one of the hardest things he’d ever done. When he touched his knuckles to her cheek, skimmed his thumb over that pouting bottom lip, inhaled her scent . . .
When her breath hitched and her eyes began to close . . .
One kiss. That was all he’d demanded in payment. Stupid fool. He’d never in his life made a bargain in which he came out at the short end. He should have demanded one kiss every day. Instead he had only one for the entire journey. He had to make her want it so badly that she would willingly give him more. Because once he had his kiss, she had to initiate the next one. Unfortunately his wooing was on a schedule. He had to claim his kiss before they reached Scutari because once she visited with her fiancé, her love for him would be renewed and she would return to considering a kiss to Tristan as nothing more than a payment.
With any luck, the winds would die and their arrival at their destination would be delayed. Perhaps he’d take a wrong turn, go down around the Cape of Good Hope, then across the Indian Ocean to tropical islands. Perhaps he could even convince her to embrace local customs and strut about in very little clothing. That thought brought a smile. She could very well be in little clothing now as she snuggled in his bed.
His sheets, his cabin would smell of her when she left. No woman had ever been inside his domain. His men thought he was a bit mad to make this journey with two women in tow, but those who remained were being paid well enough for their services not to grumble.
The unrelenting fog curled around him in the same manner as he wanted to curl around her—all encompassing, leaving nothing untouched. He wondered how far she would allow him to take the kiss. Not nearly as far as he wanted to take it, he was certain.
Would her fiancé be returning with them? That was a disappointing thought that hadn’t occurred to him before. Not that it mattered. He didn’t want her for any longer than the voyage. As with all things in his life, the constancy of something bored him. He needed new adventures, new women, new challenges. But conquering her would be his greatest triumph.
He would taunt her with that kiss until she was willing to give him everything.
Anne awoke to a gentle rocking and sunlight peering through mullioned windows. She was on the ship, on her way to Walter at last—and yet it was not visions of him that had filled her dreams. Rather it was one very dark blue-eyed devil whose nearness caused her skin to tingle with the need to be touched. She’d never experienced this sort of longing, wasn’t quite certain what to make of it. He wasn’t like anyone she’d ever met before. He was a curiosity. That was all. If she but touched his bristly jaw, felt his lips pressed to hers, then her interest in him would be satisfied.
Obviously her father was correct: it was time to leave her mourning behind. During the Season she was bound to meet someone who appealed with equal fervor. She was a young woman with needs. She’d been lonely for far too long. That’s all these strange yearnings signified: that she was not only receptive to a man’s attentions but in need of them.
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