Lord of Temptation(Lost Lords of Pembrook,Book 2)(50) by Lorraine Heath
He took the snifter she offered, glad to see that she had one of her own. Brandy would serve much better for seduction than a fire.
He wondered if she read his mind, because a wariness touched her voice when she asked, “Would you care to sit?”
She sat on one end of the small sofa, drawing her feet beneath her, while he sat on the other, stretching out his legs. She looked young and innocent, cupping the snifter with both hands, watching him over the rim. “My brother informs me that you gave Lady Hermione cause for hope that your interest in her went beyond the ballroom.”
Damnation! It could be Lady Hermione more than this being her father’s residence that had Anne hesitant to welcome him into her bed. “I didn’t.”
“But you are in the habit of leaving women . . .” Her voice trailed off into an unasked question.
At every port. “Yes.”
“So this between us is—”
“I don’t know what it is.”
“Or how long it will last?”
“Does it matter?”
“I’m not sure.” She sipped on the brandy.
“Your brother warned you away from me.”
“Yes. He believes you to be barbaric. I told him he was wrong, that you were a perfect gentleman on the ship.”
Tristan couldn’t hide his surprise. “You told him you were on my ship?”
She nodded. “He guessed. He wasn’t happy, and I shall no doubt be brought to task by my father in the morning.”
“What exactly did you tell your brother?”
“Only that you were the captain of the ship. Certainly nothing about the intimacy that we shared.” She gave him a shy smile. “I’m not certain if he would have killed you or dragged you to the altar.”
“I suppose it goes without saying that neither option appeals.”
“And yet you said it.” Her voice had an acerbic edge to it. She furrowed her brow. “Have you no plans to ever take a wife?”
He wished a fire on the grate was producing writhing flames into which he could stare contemplatively rather than into her eyes. But she deserved him holding her gaze. “Surely you weren’t foolish enough to see me as the marrying sort?”
“No.” She sipped her brandy, then licked lips that he wanted to once again kiss. She studied the contents of her snifter as though she could read the answer there. “It was one of the things that made you safe for a night’s indiscretions. You would never demand or desire anything more of me than a quick romp.”
“It was hardly quick.” He set aside his snifter and slid across the cushions until her eyes widened with alarm. He skimmed his fingers along her throat, felt the fluttering of her pulse against his skin. “And I’m still safe. I’m a blackguard to the core. I’ve never claimed otherwise. All I want from you is passion and pleasure. To give. To receive. You don’t want me for a husband any more than I want you for a wife. But you can’t deny there is an attraction between us, like the moon to the tides.”
“And which am I?” she asked on a breathy sigh. Before he could respond, she answered, “The moon, of course. I stay put in London Society while you come and go where the sea takes you.”
“Yet here I am, with you pulling me toward you. Let me come nearer, Anne.”
It was a bad idea. An awfully bad idea. Anne could think of a thousand reasons to say no, but she didn’t object when he took her snifter, finished off its contents, and set it aside. She didn’t snatch free her braid when he took hold of it and slowly unraveled the strands. She didn’t move back, only swayed forward when he cradled her face with one hand, her nape with the other, and covered her mouth with his. Lovely, so lovely. Molten heat flowed through her as his thumb stroked the underside of her chin and his mouth worked its magic. She could taste the brandy on his tongue, more intoxicating there than in the glass.
She maneuvered herself around until she was in his lap, straining to get as close to him as she could. She shoved his jacket off his shoulders, worked it free of his arms, never breaking the kiss. The familiarity astounded her. It was as though she had been with him forever, as though the days separating them had never occurred. She dispensed with his cravat next, then began working on the buttons of his waistcoat while he nimbly freed those on her nightdress. She felt the air cool her flesh, then he was warming it again, trailing his mouth along her throat before dipping into the valley between her breasts. She dropped back her head, relishing the rasp of his rough tongue as it circled a nipple.
“Yes,” she breathed, then he was drawing it into his mouth, tugging and suckling. The pleasure coursed through her, pooling between her thighs. She was acutely aware of the straining bulge against his trousers.
Suddenly he was standing, she was in his arms, and he was carrying her to the bed. “You’ll be the death of me,” he growled.
She stifled her laughter. It seemed wrong, here in her father’s house, to take joy in such wicked pleasures, but she couldn’t have sent Tristan away now if her life depended on it. He laid her on the bed and whipped off her nightdress. She felt no need to cover herself from his heated gaze. The appreciation that lit his eyes only served to warm her further. She watched as he hastily removed his own clothes. In this larger bedchamber, he shouldn’t have looked as powerful as he had on the ship, he shouldn’t have caused the room to seem dwarfed. But he did.
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