Lord of Temptation(Lost Lords of Pembrook,Book 2)(61) by Lorraine Heath
“I’m not certain they enjoy them so much as tolerate them.” As though understanding what he was truly asking, she added, “Chetwyn seems to enjoy them but then he’s hunting for a wife.”
“Will he make a good husband?”
She hesitated, and he knew she was trying to decide whether to stick to their rules of one question per piece, but then she said, “Yes, I believe he will.”
She boldly moved out her queen. He ignored it for a pawn. That was the piece’s purpose after all. To provide fodder, distraction, sacrifice. “Why?”
Anne wasn’t certain what she’d expected to accomplish when she suggested this game. She knew she wasn’t ready for him to leave. Perhaps she’d hoped to learn more about the mysterious particulars that surrounded him. But his latest question flummoxed her. To compare Chetwyn to Tristan was to compare an unfolding blossom to a raging storm. In both there was beauty, power, something to be appreciated. But they were hardly the same. She had tasted a storm. Could she be content with a rose?
She cleared her throat. “He’s kind.”
Reaching across, he trailed his finger over her hand where it rested in her lap. “Many men are kind.”
“He’s generous.” Then she realized—
“I’m comfortable with him. I never have to measure my words.”
“Or your actions.”
“A lady must always measure her actions.” She balled her hand into a fist, moved it beyond his touch because she was growing warm. “I don’t always measure them with you.”
“Do you regret that?”
She hated the stupid game, the questions it was eliciting. She wished she’d never suggested it. She shook her head. “No, I would not take back a single moment but neither would I boast about it. I should hope that you wouldn’t either.”
“Your secrets are safe with me.”
“As yours are with me.” She moved her queen. “Have you a secret you wish to share?”
“I didn’t notice you capturing a piece.”
“Tristan, you don’t have to take the rules of the game so literally.”
“Well, then there is something I want to share, but you must never tell.”
“I won’t. I’ve already promised. You can trust me.”
Leaning across the board, he cupped her face with one hand and steadied himself with the other. He stroked her chin, circled his thumb around her mouth. “No one knows this, not even my brothers.”
Gazing into his eyes, she could see the seriousness there. “Tell me.”
He pressed his cheek to hers. She heard him breathing in her scent. His lips toyed with her lobe, before he whispered, “I am very, very skilled at chess. Checkmate.”
“What? No!” Shoving him back, she stared at the board. He’d somehow managed to move his bishop into position while leaning toward her. He had her.
“My boon,” he said. “Meet me in the mews tomorrow at midnight. We’re going to the ship.”
“I’m not sailing—”
“It’ll stay moored. You, however, shall journey into the land of pleasure.”
She contemplated not living up to her end of the bargain. He’d obviously cheated, because she didn’t lose at chess, ever, but she couldn’t determine how he’d managed to do it. By distracting her, she supposed.
Wearing her pelisse with the hood raised over her head, she slipped out into the night. It was far easier than she’d anticipated, but she’d taken no more than a half-dozen steps when Tristan was beside her.
“I thought we were going to meet in the mews,” she whispered.
“I couldn’t wait to be near you again.”
Oh, he was such a flirtatious devil, and yet he sounded incredibly sincere. Her weak heart chose to believe in the sincerity. Before she knew it they were in an enclosed carriage traveling through the streets. He sat beside her, his hand wrapped around hers. The intimacy of it astounded her. Chetwyn had done the same and yet this, somehow, seemed more profound, not nearly as casual. Perhaps because she knew what awaited her on his ship.
She was rather surprised that he wasn’t devouring her within the quiet confines of the carriage, yet neither could she deny the mounting anticipation.
“Will you attend other balls this Season?” she asked.
“Only if you’re there.”
“You’re so flirtatious.”
“I’ve never said anything to you that I didn’t mean.”
She looked over at him, lost in the shadows. They’d not lit the lantern inside the carriage, which made their clandestine meeting seem even more forbidding. “I suppose, being with you now that I can no longer deny we’re lovers. Have you had many?”
She sensed a stillness in him. If possible, he’d gone even quieter. Finally, he said, “I believe you’re my first.”
“Lover?” she scoffed. “Now I know you lie.”
With the hand not holding hers, he cradled her face and she was immensely grateful for the shadows now. She didn’t want him to see how his words sliced.
“I’ve been with women, Anne. I’ve never denied that. But the trysts with each of them were few, and there was never this undeniable yearning that no other woman would do. If you had decided not to come with me tonight, I’d have not sought solace with another because I’ve no doubt the encounter would have been lacking simply because she wasn’t you. The words sound trite when spoken. And false. But for whatever reason, you are the only one who appeals to me at this moment.”
Copyright © 2015 by Read Best Books Free Online