Lord of Wicked Intentions(Lost Lords of Pembrook,Book 3)(21) by Lorraine Heath
But she provided one anyway. “Yes. A mare. I called her Snowy, because she is so white. She’s at the country estate. I don’t suppose I shall ever see her now.”
“Do you want her?”
She stared at him.
“If you want her, all you have to do is tell me, and I shall obtain her for you.”
“I don’t want to be further in your debt.”
“In our arrangement there is no depth of debt. You give me what I require. Whatever items you want, you may have. Do you wish to have the horse?”
She wished to be free of him. In the light of morning, her decision to stay seemed rash. “Geoffrey would never give her up. She’s a thoroughbred, incredibly valuable.”
“Trust me, Eve, Wortham provides no obstacle to anything you want.”
She tiptoed her fingers over the jewels. Was she really contemplating asking for something? Once she started down this road, he would well and truly own her. “There is a portrait of my father, in the study of the London residence. I would rather have it than the horse.”
“You shall have both.” The chair scraped over the floor as he pushed it back and stood. “We shall delay your reading to me as we’ve spent what little time I had available with conversation and I must go to my club for a bit. This afternoon we’ll see to your wardrobe.”
He began heading for the door, came to a stop beside her chair, tugged on his waistcoat as though it had grown too small while he’d eaten. “Last night I told you that you will never want for anything that is within my power to purchase. Do not hesitate to ask me for items that you want. Because I promise I will not hesitate to take what I require of you.”
As he strode from the room, those words continued to echo through her head, her heart, her soul.
The table was too blasted long, but even with the great distance separating them, he’d seen the joy light her eyes when her gaze fell on the jewelry. He could only imagine how bright they’d been when she’d first been given them. She’d have not expected them. She seemed not to expect anything.
Mistresses were supposed to be demanding, by God. She should be demanding things of him. She shouldn’t make him urge her to accept things; she shouldn’t make him want to stop off at a jeweler’s to find a set of stones that more accurately resembled her eye color. The sapphires were close, but a shade too blue, a little lacking in violet. Amethyst perhaps. No, that would not have enough blue. Pity he didn’t have the power to create stones.
He shook off the thought. What was this mooning about?
His carriage came to a halt in front of Easton House, his oldest brother’s residence. After alighting, he marched up the steps. He’d not been here in some time. Still, he knew Keswick and his lady were already in London for the Season that would soon be upon them. The door opened before he could knock.
“Thomas,” he said succinctly, addressing the butler.
“Lord Rafe, it has been a while. If I may say, you’re looking fit.”
“You may say. Is the duchess about? I need a word with her.”
“I’ll let her know of your arrival.”
While he waited, Rafe wandered over to a portrait of Sebastian and Tristan when they were boys. Uncanny how alike they looked, although Tristan did have a bit of the devil in his eye. Their uncle had destroyed most of the family portraits. There were none of Rafe as a boy, none of him with his brothers. It was for the best. No need for reminders of what had been stolen from them.
Hearing the light footsteps, he turned as Mary glided toward him, her red hair piled perfectly on her head, her green eyes dancing, the smile on her face so large that he was amazed her jaw managed to stay hinged. Before he could move away, she’d grabbed his hands, pulled him down, rose up on her toes, and pressed a kiss to his cheek. Were he any other man, he would find her need for closeness charming. As it was he suffered through it because he would not do anything to hurt her.
If not for her, they’d all be dead. She had helped them escape from the tower in which their uncle had imprisoned them. She was two years older than he. He’d never known a braver girl or woman.
Although Eve was certainly showing backbone. He’d not truly expected her to be in his residence that morning. He’d thought she’d try to slip away in the darkness. He’d stayed up all night, sitting in the shadows at the end of the hallway, watching. He still didn’t know if he would have let her go or forced her to remain.
“It’s so good to see you,” Mary said, squeezing his shoulders, his upper arms, his hands as though she were trying to assure herself that he did in fact exist.
It was with a great deal of guilt that he stepped beyond her reach. “I can’t stay. I just have a question—”
“I won’t answer it if you won’t at least sit with me in the parlor for a bit and enjoy some tea.”
“I fear I don’t have time.”
“Suit yourself. It was lovely to see you, Rafe.” She spun on her heel and began walking away. He’d forgotten what a stubborn wench she could be.
“One cup,” he ground out.
She pivoted back around, her eyes filled with teasing and victory. He remembered when he’d first seen her again, after his brothers had returned. She’d been engaged to someone else. She’d not looked this happy. He supposed Keswick was good for her. He knew he was good to her. What man wouldn’t be?
She reached for him again, as though she would entwine her arm around his, but he managed to gracefully sidestep by leading the way into the parlor. This had been his home when he was a boy and the family would come to London. He should have been comfortable in these surroundings. Instead he simply wanted to leave.
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