Lord of Wicked Intentions(Lost Lords of Pembrook,Book 3)(34) by Lorraine Heath
He wanted her now, dammit. He didn’t understand this pulling he felt to be with her. It was her specifically, not just lust. Or perhaps it was lust for her. He knew no other woman would satisfy this craving, and it was a craving. He thought of her constantly. Once he had her, all these ludicrous longings would melt away like fog before the sun. If she knew the stranglehold she had over him, she could demand so much.
That she didn’t demand at all was partly responsible for his obsession.
Her eyes fluttered open and his chest tightened so swiftly and so painfully that it was almost as though he still wore his jacket, waistcoat, and cravat, but he’d removed them as soon as he’d arrived. Not finding her about, he’d gone to his second bedchamber, the one into which servants were allowed to enter, the one where his valet saw to his needs, and ordered a bath be drawn. He’d fought to distract himself from what he wanted—to look in on her, to gaze at her. It seemed wrong. When had something being wrong ever stopped him before?
“You’re back,” she murmured in her smoky voice that spoke of secrets shared. She smiled softly, so softly, so innocently. Then her eyes widened. Fully awake now, she scrambled back, sitting up, pulling the covers over her until they were tucked beneath her chin.
He much preferred her alarm to her innocence. His chest began to loosen.
“Is it to be now?” she asked, breathing harshly, her knuckles turning white as she clutched the sheets.
“No, I just wanted to make certain that you were all right.”
Her brow furrowed. “Why wouldn’t I be?”
He didn’t want to admit the complete truth, so he negligently lifted a shoulder. “I didn’t know if you had difficulty sleeping.”
She shook her head. “Not usually, no, but then I don’t expect to awaken to company.”
With a sardonic twist of his lips, he leaned against the bedpost. “But then you’ve never before been a mistress.”
“Is this another law of mistresses? That you can spy on me at any time?”
“I can visit you at any time.”
“I should have some hours of the day that are mine and mine alone.”
This was why he’d come. He liked her cheekiness, telling him what she should have. She wasn’t afraid of him at least, but as she still had a death grip on the covers, neither was she completely comfortable with him. “Carve out two hours during the day when I’m not to disturb you, tell me when they are. But at night, you’re mine.”
Holding his gaze in challenge, she angled her chin. “Fifteen minutes every hour on the hour until I have two complete hours.”
She almost made him grin. “So I’m popping in and out? No, sweetheart. A hundred and twenty consecutive minutes.”
She pouted. He’d not seen her with such a mulish expression. It seemed out of character for her. Even when she’d realized what an arse her brother was, she’d not pouted at his treatment of her. Been devastated by it, but not pouted.
“I don’t know. I’m being stubborn. I don’t need two hours alone. I suspect I’ll have too many as it is. I’m not certain how I’ll fill them.”
“By preparing for my arrival.”
“As I suspect you’ll mostly want me with my clothes off, I don’t see how that will take much time.”
He narrowed his eyes. “What do you know about how I’ll want you? Your brother swore you were a virgin.”
He didn’t think she could turn any redder. “He told you that?”
She was horrified, not that he could blame her. “He told all of us.”
“Oh, dear God.” She buried her face in her hands. At least she was no longer clutching the sheets. They floated down. The cotton of the borrowed nightgown was not provocative and yet he was intrigued by what was hidden behind those twelve buttons. He imagined slowly releasing them, pulling aside the cloth, pressing kisses over her flesh.
She lifted her head, peered at him over her fingertips. “Can you stop referring to him as my brother? I think he more closely resembles the devil. What else did he tell you?”
“That you were well read and played the pianoforte.” He studied the blue velvet canopy. “I didn’t pay a lot of attention as I wasn’t really there for you.”
She dropped her hands into her lap, obviously not aware that the sheet no longer covered her. He imagined her sitting there without the nightdress. He had a good idea regarding the size of her perky breasts. “Why were you there?”
He wondered why his gaze didn’t linger on her chest, why he was compelled to gaze into her eyes. The pale light prevented him from being able to fully appreciate the shade, and yet he couldn’t look away. “I’ve made my fortune by taking advantage of other men’s weaknesses. I was there to explore opportunities.”
“Instead, you discovered a weak woman to be exploited.”
“I don’t consider you weak.”
She seemed truly surprised. He was quite astonished himself with the realization regarding how he viewed her: certainly not meek. “You are in an unfortunate circumstance, but hardly weak. If you were, you’d be curled in a corner weeping about your lack of options and the road before you. Instead you’re going to make the most of the situation, give your bro—” She arched a brow, gave him a pointed look, and again almost had him smiling. “Wortham cause for regret. You’re a survivor, Eve. I think you’ll do quite well for yourself once you’re rid of me.”
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