Lord of Temptation(Lost Lords of Pembrook,Book 2)(17) by Lorraine Heath
She jerked up her gaze to find his wicked smile aimed at her.
“Yes, well, you shall have to be content with thinking about it. A kiss involves lips, not hands.”
“Ah, you are obviously not well tutored in the art of kissing, Princess.”
She felt as though the winds had unexpectedly risen up from the bowels of hell, she grew so warm. Her throat knotted with the implication that the kiss they shared might be more than she’d thought she was agreeing to. She was grateful she’d not begun chewing. She’d no doubt choke. Best to change the course of their topic. “What are you carving?” she asked.
He chuckled darkly as though he understood her strategy, and she feared he’d continue on with his innuendoes. Instead, he said, “A toy ship for my nephew.”
“You have family?”
“You sound surprised. Did you think I’d sprung fully formed from Satan’s forehead?”
She laughed lightly. “I did on occasion suspect that might have been the case.” She couldn’t envision him with a family. “You seem more a lone wolf than part of a pack. Have you a wife then?”
“I wouldn’t be bartering for kisses if I did.”
“Yes, of course, I’m sorry. I’m having a very difficult time categorizing you.”
“As I explained that first night, where I’m concerned, you shouldn’t expect anything.”
“I suppose.” She took a bite of ham before saying, “So tell me about your family.”
“Because I suspect you know everything about mine.” He knew where she lived after all.
He grinned. “Servants will talk.”
“So you know I have a father and four brothers. What of you?”
“One older. One younger.”
“You don’t like speaking about them. Why is that?”
He placed an elbow on the table, leaned forward, and tucked behind her ear several strands of hair that had come loose and begun whipping around her face. “Because they don’t interest me as you do. I’d rather talk about you.”
Her lips tingled and she wondered if he would kiss her now. But he only perused her features as though every line and curve were a fascinating oddity. She suspected in his travels he’d encountered the most exotic of women. How plain she must be compared with them.
She drew back, needing the distance. Reaching for the orange, she began to peel it with slightly trembling fingers, hoping he wouldn’t notice that he could set her nerves to dancing with so little effort. “Have you traveled the entire world?”
“Most of it.”
“Did your brothers choose a life at sea?”
“We didn’t choose anything. Life presented opportunities and we took them.”
She separated off a section of orange and bit into it, startled by the abundance of juice that shot into her mouth, dribbled down her chin. Before she could snatch up her napkin, he was gliding his finger below her lips, wiping away the succulent nectar. Then holding her gaze, slowly, ever so slowly, he sucked on his fingers, the light blue of his eyes darkening.
Her chest ached as she fought to draw in breath. How could something so ill-mannered be so erotic? She felt as though the sun had traveled closer and was scorching her skin. She was vaguely aware of him taking the fruit from her, tearing off a section, biting it in half before offering her the remains.
“I couldn’t possibly—”
“It won’t make quite the mess, and you must admit that it’s frightfully good. And you don’t want to get scurvy.”
It was delicious, yes. She took the offering and popped it into her mouth. “I thought scurvy happened only on long voyages.”
“Who knows?” He tore off another segment, ate half, and extended what was left. It didn’t seem quite so wicked this time when she took it. “Maybe we’ll decide not to return to England. We’ll simply sail around the world.”
“Oh, that sounds lovely.” The words were out of her mouth before she realized her mistake in saying them. He’d grown still, the partially eaten orange seemingly forgotten. She released a self-conscious laugh. “I was only teasing. I have far too many responsibilities to go wherever the wind blows.”
“Who hurt you, Princess?”
“Don’t be ridiculous.”
“I sense sadness in you.”
She shook her head. She couldn’t confide in him. She barely knew him. Her heart was only just beginning to heal. She would not, could not, risk it becoming bruised again. Perhaps she would marry Walter’s brother. She would never love him, and therefore she could never again be hurt—or worse, cause hurt.
Tears pricked her eyes. She angled back her head and pointed. “What is it like to view the world from the crow’s nest? It must be marvelous to see so far, to be able to see everything.”
“You can’t see everything. You never can.”
“It’s like life then, isn’t it? Because if you could see everything, if you knew what would stretch out before you, you might say or do things that wouldn’t leave you with regrets.”
She looked to the sea, needing not to see the sympathy in his eyes. She didn’t want him to be kind. She simply wanted him to get her to Scutari so she could ask Walter for forgiveness. “Walter always wanted to sail the sea. Spoke of one day purchasing a sailboat.”
Copyright © 2015 by Read Best Books Free Online