Lord of Temptation(Lost Lords of Pembrook,Book 2)(52) by Lorraine Heath
He said the word with a longing that tore at her heart. She understood the history, the traditions, the legacy attached to an ancestral home. She had grown up being taught to appreciate those who had come before her, those who had paved the way for her family.
“I was a child when tragedy struck you,” she said quietly. “I barely remember anything that I might have been told. What happened to your father?”
“He died when his horse unseated him, but none of us ever believed it was an accident. His skull was crushed. Uncle said he fell on a rock. We always believed Uncle David bashed his head in. Then after Father’s funeral, when all the guests had departed, Uncle locked us in the tower.”
“Died in childbirth.”
“You must have been so afraid being all alone.”
“It was winter. Bitingly cold. We had no light, no blankets. No moon filled the heavens that night.”
She realized he didn’t acknowledge her statement. Rather, he focused on everything that had been going on around him instead of what was happening within him. “How old were you?”
“Perhaps another reason prompted him to put you in the tower.” She couldn’t imagine anyone setting out to murder young boys.
“Mary heard him plotting our deaths. She lived on an adjoining estate. She’d come to see Sebastian. They were close.”
She thought of the lovely woman she’d seen dancing with Keswick. She couldn’t have been much younger than they. “She helped you escape?”
“I remember vaguely hearing that something had happened to the lords of Pembrook. I suppose I was about nine at the time.”
“What tale did you hear? That we were eaten by wolves, died of the pox, or were stolen by gypsies?”
She skimmed her fingers through his hair, hating the thought of anyone hurting him, and knowing that so many had. “Wolves. My brothers relished telling me the gory details. I remember having nightmares about it. So you went to the sea.”
“Sebastian thought we should all separate. Rafe was only ten so we left him at a workhouse. I went to the sea. Sebastian went to the army. We were supposed to return ten years later to reclaim our heritage, but war kept him away. The sea did the same for me. But eventually we met up and the Lords of Pembrook returned to Society—much to Society’s chagrin.”
Again, he made it sound as though he’d endured little more than a sniveling nose. She cradled his firm jaw, realizing that he must have shaved between the time he left the ball and the moment he stepped through her window. She couldn’t imagine her brothers climbing trees and scrambling through windows. “Only because you’re quite different from everyone else. They’re not quite certain what to make of you.”
“You give them far too much credit. They despise us.”
“Not you so much as perhaps the adventurous lives you’ve lived.”
“I, for one, could have done without the adventures, thank you very much.”
She was familiar enough with his back to know how awful some of them might have been.
“Now enough of this maudlin talk,” he said as he eased over her, nudging her opening with his hard shaft. “I want you once more before I leave.”
She couldn’t deny him any more than she could deny herself. She lifted her hips to receive his offering and as he sank into her, she wondered if a time would come when she would ever not yearn for this joining with him.
After he made love to her, lethargy settled in and Tristan fell asleep still nestled inside her with one of her legs draped over his hip. He didn’t think he’d moved for the remainder of the night, because she was still within the circle of his arms when he awakened. It bothered him to realize how comforting it felt. He wasn’t a man accustomed to comfort. Comforts, yes. A good bed, a sturdy ship, well-tailored clothes. But comfort, bestowed by another, was foreign. Yet he couldn’t deny the joy it brought him to find her near enough that with only a slight adjustment of his body he could be buried deeply within her once again. A lovely way to greet the day.
“Tristan?” She nudged him. “Tristan, I hear the lark. You must go.”
Forcing his eyes open, he greeted her concerned expression with a grin. “Twenty more minutes.”
“No. The sun will be up at any moment. I can hear carts jangling about in the street.”
“If we were to stay here all day—”
“No!” She shoved on him. “Please, hurry. I shouldn’t have let you stay. We can’t do this again.”
“But it was so worth it.” He planted a quick kiss on her mouth before rolling out of bed. He gathered up his trousers and put them on before grabbing his shirt and drawing it over his head. He peered over at her, sitting up in bed, clutching the sheets to her chest, her hair a tangled mess that fell around her. She looked decidedly improper this morning. He sat in a chair and began tugging on a boot.
“Come with me.”
Her eyes widened. “What?”
“Come with me. To the ship. We’ll set sail by noon and travel the world. I’ll show you water so clear that you can see the fish swimming along the bottom. I’ll show you islands that have not been touched by modernization and life slows to a crawl. I’ll take you to hidden coves where you can bask naked in the sunlight.”
She drew up her knees and pressed her chin to them. “How long will this idyllic journey take?”
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