Lord of Temptation(Lost Lords of Pembrook,Book 2)(79) by Lorraine Heath
She dropped her head back. Sweet sighs echoed around them, and then she was crying out—
Her body spasmed around him and fierce pleasure ripped through him, tearing asunder his world, leaving him sated and devastated as she collapsed on top of him. He didn’t know where he found the strength to wrap his arms around her and hold her tightly against him. Selfish bastard that he was, he never wanted her to leave.
But as he heard her drift off to sleep, he knew the minutes were ticking away and soon, very soon, she would no longer be in his life.
Never again would he hold her, know the joy of her.
He had traversed his path for too long to detour from it now. Sadly, it was a path that didn’t include her.
Wrapped in Tristan’s arms, Anne stood in the darkened shadows of the garden. She didn’t know why she’d thought he would sail in a direction that would take them away from England instead of toward it. She might not have objected. When she was with him, lost in the haze of pleasure, she seemed to have little common sense.
But it was here with her now. She had a thousand things to say to him. But only a few truly mattered.
“No more, no more midnight trysts. The window to my bedchamber will be locked. I will never again set foot on your ship. But if you attend a ball, you may ask me to dance.”
“I may just do that. And we still haven’t had our ride through Hyde Park.”
“No, we haven’t.”
Leaning back she looked up into his face. She wished she could wait for the dawn to light it but the longer she dallied, the greater the chance of her family discovering that she had been quite improper. “Good night, Tristan.”
Before he could say anything, she spun away from him and raced up the garden path. She didn’t want to acknowledge the disappointment that swamped her because he didn’t snatch her back into his arms.
Anne very much remembered the joy that had spiraled through her when Walter had asked for her hand in marriage. When Chetwyn asked, what she felt was a sense of stepping onto a path that wasn’t quite steady. But sitting in the parlor with him on bended knee in front of her, wariness in his eyes as though he expected rejection, what could she say other than, “Yes, of course, it will be my honor to become your wife.”
Honor? Good God. It sounded so dreadfully trite and dull.
He pressed her hands to his warm lips, lips that would soon be pressed to other parts of her. It would be pleasant, she was sure of it, and she would be happy.
“You have made me the most joyous man in all of London today.”
“I couldn’t be more delighted myself.”
Delighted? What was wrong with her? She would never be lonely again. It had been only two days since she last saw Tristan and her thoughts were constantly turning to him. The sooner she moved on to becoming a wife, the sooner she would have other matters to distract her.
She heard the front door slam and saw Jameson barreling past the parlor doorway. “Something’s up there,” she said.
A man just proposed to you, and you’re sidetracked by your brother’s arrival home? She gave her attention back to Chetwyn. “I’m sorry. That was rude of me.”
“No, don’t apologize. He did seem to be in a bit of a bother, didn’t he? Shall we share our good news with your family? Perhaps that will improve his mood.”
“Yes, by all means.” Smile, she ordered herself. This is what you wanted.
She knew he had spoken to her father already because it was her father who had come to her bedchamber a half hour earlier to inform her that the Marquess of Chetwyn wished to speak with her. She’d suspected of what he wished to speak so she’d changed into a pale lilac gown, one she’d been saving for a special occasion.
He helped her to her feet, wound her arm about his, and patted her hand where it rested in the crook of his elbow. “I shouldn’t like to wait too long,” he said.
“I see no reason why we should. I should think that Society would understand that a woman who has spent two years in mourning would be anxious to get on with her life.”
“My thoughts exactly.” They turned down the hallway. “I know there are things that must be tended to. A wedding gown, a trousseau, of course. Perhaps you could let me know tomorrow what date would work well for you.”
“I’ll visit Sarah this afternoon. As she’s gone through a wedding, she can help me determine a time frame.”
Could their conversation be any less rife with excitement? They reached her father’s study and she heard loud voices coming from within.
“Jameson seems to be in top form,” Chetwyn said quietly.
“Perhaps we should wait—”
“I think not. My family can use some good news.”
The servant opened the door. They walked in. Jameson, pacing about, came to an abrupt halt. Her father was sitting behind his desk, scowling. Her other brothers were standing about looking none too happy.
“Is everything all right?” Anne asked. A silly question because obviously something was amiss. Jameson looked as though he wanted to put his fist through a wall—or worse, into someone’s face.
She wasn’t certain now was the proper time to share her news.
“Hardly,” Jameson barked. “It’s that scapegrace, Lord Tristan.”
Anne’s heart pounded so hard against her ribs that she was surprised it didn’t knock Chetwyn aside. He did, however, separate himself from her. “What of him?” she asked.
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