Lord of Temptation(Lost Lords of Pembrook,Book 2)(58) by Lorraine Heath
Sitting in a chair near said window, Anne knew it was ridiculous to waste her time wondering if Tristan would show. She hadn’t liked watching him trot off with Lady Hermione—especially as he would have been trotting with her if her family hadn’t approved Chetwyn escorting her to the park. For all she knew, perhaps he would be slipping into Lady Hermione’s bedchamber tonight. She didn’t want to acknowledge the queasiness that thought caused, but there it was—taunting her.
She wanted to shout out that he was hers, but he wasn’t of course. She was little more than a passing fancy. Convenient on the ship. Convenient now with the dratted tree growing outside her window. She should have had the gardener chop it down when she returned home late this afternoon. That would certainly send a message to Tristan that his attentions weren’t wanted.
But when she heard a faint scraping and saw a booted foot appearing over the window ledge, her gladness mocked her. Blast it! Why did she have to be so thrilled that he’d come to her?
He grinned right before he pulled her from the chair and covered her mouth with his, plowing his hands into her hair. She was vaguely aware of pins pinging as they hit the floor. Mostly she was lost in the sensations that his kiss invoked. Why did he have to be so skilled at causing her body to hum with so little effort?
But she wanted more than the physical. She wanted to mean something special to him. He was beginning to touch her heart and that terrified her. She broke free of the kiss and stepped away from him. “I suppose you’ll be climbing into Lady Hermione’s window next.”
“Doubtful. She doesn’t have a tree growing outside her window.”
With a fury she’d not expected ripping through her, she pounded her balled fist into his shoulder. He snatched her wrist and jerked her to him, holding her near, their bodies pressed together. “Jealous, Princess?”
Tenderness touched his eyes and he skimmed his fingers along her cheek. “She could have stairs leading to her window, and I’d still not go through it.”
She despised the relief that swamped her. There was no hope for her to have anything with him beyond this—a few nights of secreted lovemaking. He was not a man to be tied to shore. And she was not a woman who could go long unanchored.
She’d learned that lesson well enough after Walter’s passing. She’d been too lost with no mooring.
Suddenly Tristan was kissing her once again, scattering her thoughts before they refocused on the sensations he elicited with such ease. She could almost imagine that she would have this for the remainder of her life. He dragged his heated mouth along her throat.
“I hated seeing you with him.”
She knew of whom he spoke: Chetwyn. She dropped back her head, giving him easier access to the tender flesh. “He arranged the outing with Father. I couldn’t very well say no.”
“Say no next time,” he demanded.
She heard herself murmuring her agreement to do just that. She thought he could have asked for her soul, and at that precise moment she’d have not argued before handing it over. When he was nibbling at the sensitive spot below her ear, he robbed her of strength, of will, of purpose. She felt buttons loosening, air cooling her dampened skin, and somehow it was enough to bring her round. Wrenching free of his hold, she stepped away.
“We can’t do this. My father is still in residence, in his bedchamber, just down the hall. He wasn’t feeling well this evening.”
Mischief in his eyes, he took a step toward her. “We can be very quiet.”
Oh, he was alluring. Temptation in human form. She forced herself to skitter over to the sofa. “No, I can’t. I could never relax. I could never stop thinking that he might burst through the door at any moment. That somehow he would know.” She shook her head briskly and crossed her arms over her chest. “You should probably go.”
He glanced around, before bringing his gaze back to her. “I was disappointed this afternoon. I was very much looking forward to enjoying the park with you.”
She sank on the arm of a chair. “I was disappointed as well. Since we’ve met nothing we’ve done seems to lean toward the normal. I suppose you could stay and we could visit for a bit, as long as we didn’t laugh or speak in loud tones.”
“We can kiss quietly.”
She released a bitter laugh. “But that will lead to other things, you know it will. I am beginning to feel very much like a trollop.”
Stepping nearer, he skimmed his rough knuckles over her cheek. “I don’t treat you as I would a trollop. You must know that.”
“But neither do you treat me as someone you were courting.”
He swung away, toward the window, and it took every bit of pride she could muster not to call him back. She knew the words would strike at the heart of the differences between them. He wanted only now. She wanted forever.
He came to an abrupt halt. “I don’t want to go, dammit. All day, I’ve thought of nothing save being here with you tonight. Even when Hermione was rhapsodizing on about bows on a bonnet”—he faced her—“all my thoughts were on you. I’m not ready to leave.”
It was obvious he hated admitting that. She wondered if it was so terribly wrong of her to be so glad. “I noticed you had chess pieces in your quarters, so I assume you play. It’s a rather quiet game that wouldn’t get us noticed.”
“With a slight change to the rules.”
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