Lord of Wicked Intentions(Lost Lords of Pembrook,Book 3)(18) by Lorraine Heath
“Why not?” she whispered.
“Because it’s what I require.” He lowered his lips to hers, and she realized that if he hadn’t manacled her wrists that her arms would have twined about him of their own accord, simply to ensure that she remained standing when her knees grew so weak.
His tongue toyed with her mouth, painting it, outlining it as though he wanted to be intimately familiar with it. Then he was urging her lips apart and delving into the depths of her mouth with an urgency that astounded her. He might not like her, but it was becoming plain enough rather quickly that he was quite fond of her mouth. He explored every inch of it, every nook, every cranny, every hidden corner. When she dared to meet the thrust of his tongue with a thrust of her own, he groaned low and pressed her against his broad chest. Through the thin linen of his shirt and the maid’s well-worn nightly attire, she could feel the thudding of his heart, sense its increase in tempo.
When she tried to break free of his hold, his hand clamped harder on her wrists, just shy of causing pain. She relaxed her shoulders, relaxed her arms. Why couldn’t she hold him? She’d held him in the rain as he’d carried her home. Had she hurt him? Was she stronger than she thought? Had it been unpleasant?
She didn’t know what to make of his rule, his demand, and she wondered if he would have many. She suspected he would. She was agreeing to allow him to do whatever he wanted with her, and yet if his kiss were any indication of the pleasures she might find with him, she thought that perhaps he was right—it would not be such an awful trade.
The kiss deepened, grew hungrier. Her sighs were now mingling with his groans. She felt guilty for enjoying the way he played with her mouth. She should be ashamed, but perhaps she was more like her mother than she realized. Her mother had not required marriage in order to lay down with the earl. And here she was coming to understand that her regrets regarding this arrangement might not outweigh the benefits.
Breaking away, he stared down at her, his icy blue eyes not quite so icy, a heat there that astounded her.
“I think you’ll do rather nicely,” he said. Releasing his hold, he walked from the room before she could gather her wits about her to reply.
She sank back into the chair, brought her legs up, and wrapped her arms tightly around them. His comment left her empty. Suddenly her brother wasn’t the only one she wanted to have regrets regarding his treatment of her.
She wanted Rafe Easton to regret having taken her as a mistress instead of a wife.
Kissing her had been a colossal error in judgment. Her lips were like silk. Her mouth, smoky with his Scotch, had tasted particularly inviting. Her sighs were as low and throaty as her voice. The sounds had sent desire shooting through him.
As a general rule he didn’t misjudge his actions, but from the moment she had walked into his life, he’d been having a time of it when it came to rational decisions.
He’d claimed her for his mistress.
He’d trotted after her into the rain like a misbegotten fool.
He’d carried her home, knowing the torment that would entail.
He’d promised to give her time instead of sinking into her molten heat tonight as he desperately wanted.
He’d kissed her.
And now he was heading to Wortham’s.
At least this time he’d had the good sense to have the carriage brought round. He tugged on his waistcoat. He hated that he had to display himself fully dressed in order to properly throw around his weight. Clothing always made him feel as though he was suffocating. He could trace his aversion back to his experiences living at the workhouse.
His arrival at Wortham’s stopped him from having to travel that particular path of memory. It was not pleasant, and he’d not thought of it in years. He’d shoved it into the back corner of his mind, just as he shoved everything upon which he did not wish to dwell. No good would come from taking it out and examining it further—other than to stir up the resentment he felt toward his brothers for abandoning him.
He stepped out of the carriage, bolted up the steps, and slammed the knocker, once, twice, thrice. The butler responded with a slowness that would have had him relieved of his post if he were in Rafe’s employ. It didn’t matter that it was half past midnight.
As soon as the door opened a crack, he barged past the butler. Eve should have done the same. She shouldn’t have allowed him to block her way. She’d been too polite by half. She might not carry the title of lady, but by God she was one. Too good for the likes of him, but that didn’t make him want her any less.
“Where’s Wortham?” he snapped.
“He’s not at ho—”
Rafe swung around and pinned the man with a hard-edged glare that he had honed to perfection during the years he had worked as a debt collector for someone on the shady side of the law. He knew it spoke of punishment and retribution. It put the fear of God into large brawny men.
The slender butler did little more than stammer, “The library, sir.”
He’d been there last night, so he had no trouble finding it. He didn’t bother to soften the stamping of his large feet. He wanted Wortham to be well aware that hell was arriving.
Rafe burst through the door. Wortham bolted to his feet. He’d been behind his desk, studying something. Ledgers perhaps, it didn’t matter.
“Changed your mind about her already, have you?” Wortham asked with a sneer. “I knew she wouldn’t measure up.”
“Your father gave her jewelry. I want it.”
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