Lord of Temptation(Lost Lords of Pembrook,Book 2)(89) by Lorraine Heath
She had loved Walter. She truly had. But what she felt for Tristan went beyond anything she’d ever experienced.
As his mouth moved expertly over hers, she heard the distant lowing of a whale. It didn’t sound quite as lonely as it had before. Perhaps because now her heart and soul were filled to overflowing with love for this man who held her as though she were his anchor, his mooring.
He lifted her into his arms, and she nestled her head into the crook of his shoulder. The curious had been at the reception her father had held for her following the marriage ceremony. While there was some tension in the air—she wasn’t certain if her brothers would ever fully embrace Tristan—she’d been too happy to give it much credence.
The Duke of Keswick had been the one to raise his glass in a toast to them. “To my brother and the lovely lady who brought him home.”
It had seemed simple enough, but she suspected there were undercurrents in his words. Tristan had returned home two years ago, but she knew he had still been adrift. They’d both lost their moorings, had been floundering about with no tether.
But now her life again had purpose, her feet were sturdy on the path. She, too, was home.
Once locked inside the cabin, they took their time removing each other’s clothes, building the anticipation when they would once again come together after what had seemed ages. He had new scars: a small one above his left brow, a tiny one on his chin. Gifts from her brothers, no doubt. She gently touched the faint, fading bruising on his ribs.
“You shouldn’t have let them beat you,” she said.
“I didn’t think you’d much like it if I tore into them. Besides I deserved it.” He cupped her face. “I’d hurt you, Anne. I’ll never hurt you again.”
His mouth covered hers, and she couldn’t help but think that she would have this taste, this heat, this passion for the remainder of her life. Anytime she wanted it. He would be there. Yet even knowing she would have no lonely nights without him, she was greedy for tonight.
It was she who deepened the kiss. She who stroked. She who led them to the bed.
When his weight came down on her, she curled around him, held him near. Happy. So gloriously happy. Had she truly thought she could live the remainder of her life without this, without him?
What a silly goose.
“Hmm?” he murmured as he swirled his tongue over the shell of her ear.
She hadn’t realized she’d spoken aloud. “I was just thinking what a silly goose I was to think I could be content with anyone other than you.”
Lifting himself up, he gazed down into her eyes and she couldn’t help but remember that first night. His crystal blue eyes held a tenderness now that they hadn’t then. Oh, there was still the deviltry in them, there always would be. She knew that it was a lingering piece from his youth—something in him that his uncle had failed to destroy, something that lashings couldn’t dim, something that Society couldn’t tame. She wished he’d suffered none of the hardships that had plagued his life, but she also knew they had brought him to her. This remarkable man, whom she loved so deeply.
“I’m glad you came to your senses,” he said.
“Me? My senses?” She laughed. “You sold your ship.”
“Glad I came to my senses as well. Dear God, but I love you, Anne. I would have had a wretched lonely life if you hadn’t married me.”
“How could I refuse to marry you when I love you so desperately? I love everything that comprises you—the sea captain and the lord. They’re so intertwined. You may think they’re different aspects to you, but they’re not. Even when I knew you only as a captain, I always thought there was a certain nobility in you, in your deportment. When I discovered you were a lord, I could still see the courageous and commanding sea captain. And always, there was the wicked man you were.”
“Wicked in a good way?”
Her grin widened. “Definitely in a good way. Be wicked now, my love.”
“Only if you’ll join me in the wickedness.”
She did. Wholeheartedly. Touching, stroking, tasting.
They explored each other as though it were their first coupling, as though they’d arrived on an uncharted island and were carefully making their way around it. Yet laced throughout was the familiarity that they had traveled here before.
When he joined his body to hers, she wanted to cry out with the wonder of it. He was hers, absolutely, completely. And she was his.
When the pleasure soared through her, she did cry out—his name—and she heard her name forced through clenched teeth. Their voices mingled, become one just as their bodies had.
Rolling to the side, he brought her up against him, tucked her in close.
“I’m not lost anymore, Anne,” he said quietly. “After fourteen years of wandering, I’ve finally found home. You are my safe harbor.”
“And you are mine, my love.”
She didn’t delude herself into thinking that their life would be without storms, but they would weather them, because they would have each other.
Off the Yorkshire Coast
Some Years Later
“Mummy, look! I’m steering the Princess all by myself!”
Anne glanced up from the two-year-old daughter on her lap to the six-year-old one standing at the helm, her father protectively behind her, his legs braced, his hands covering hers. The sturdy yacht, its sails filled with wind, sliced through the open water without a care. At least once a week Tristan brought the family out on the sea.
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