Lord of Wicked Intentions(Lost Lords of Pembrook,Book 3)(51) by Lorraine Heath
The words came out on a whisper of air. She didn’t know why it mattered if he took a wife, but suddenly it did. Would he bring his lady here, teach her how to defend herself, show her his apartments? Would he allow her to put up draperies?
He shifted his gaze up to her eyes, and she saw the resignation and the truth there before he spoke.
A simple word that left no doubt, that allowed no space for the unexpected.
“What if she wins your heart?”
“She would first have to find it.”
His mouth covered hers, with purpose, his tongue impatient to dance with hers. The intensity had her swaying, reaching up to wrap her arms around him for balance, to keep her knees from buckling and carrying her to the floor.
He grabbed her wrists before her hands grazed his shoulders, brought her arms back, shackled them in one firm grip, all the while continuing to plunder her mouth, to somehow keep her near even as he sought to put some distance between them.
Why would a man as sensual as he was, with such voracious kisses that threatened to devour her, have such an aversion to her holding him? How could he remain so aware of every small movement she made when she was lost in the frenzy of his coercing her to respond in kind, to deepen, to explore, to savor?
In the farthest recesses of her mind, she remembered that she was standing in front of an uncurtained window and that surely they must be providing entertainment for those arriving and leaving, but she didn’t care. She. Did. Not. Care.
The realization slammed into her with frightening resolve. She wanted this kiss. His kiss. She wanted his mouth on hers. She wanted the taste of him, the rasp of his bristled jaw against her soft skin, the echo of his groans surrounding her.
Or was she the one moaning and sighing?
When had she begun to anticipate his kissing her? When had she begun to anticipate being in his presence? When had she decided that she desperately wanted to unravel the mystery of him?
He had no heart. He was not kind. He would never marry.
He was the absolute worst person for whom she should develop any sort of feelings, and yet there they were. Only seedlings now, but they would grow, and then where would she be? A woman broken in body and spirit.
Only she didn’t think he’d break her. He was taking too much care not to, not rushing her, not forcing her before she was ready.
He tore his mouth from hers and, breathing harshly, he studied her as though she confounded him. Slowly, so very slowly, he released his hold on her, one finger unfurling at a time. His gaze slid over to the hallway, and he looked as though he were measuring how many steps it might take to get her there and beyond—to his bedchamber.
“Not here,” she said quietly. She didn’t know why it mattered, but it did. She didn’t want him to take her in a place of sin and vice and debauchery.
His gaze came back and landed softly on her, the icy blue not quite so frigid. “No, not here.”
They left then, with him escorting her down the stairs and along the corridors until they reached the back door, the one through which they’d entered what seemed an eternity ago.
“Was it all that you imagined?” he asked as he shoved open the door.
“I thought it rather dull and plain, actually. I don’t know why I expected more excitement.”
She walked down the steps to the carriage waiting in the mews for them. A footman opened the door. Rafe handed her up, but didn’t follow her inside.
“The driver will see you home safely,” he said.
“You’re not coming?” She wondered why she was disappointed.
“I have some things to which I must attend.”
“When will you return to the residence?”
“I’m not sure.”
After shutting the door, he walked to the steps and stood there, watching the carriage, watching her. She could see him clearly through the window.
The carriage rocked and was off. It turned and she lost sight of Rafe. She didn’t know if she’d ever seen anyone who looked so alone.
The clock on the mantel was veering toward eleven when she awoke. She never slept in this late. She supposed that was what happened when one entertained gentlemen at all hours of the night.
She climbed out of bed, rang for her maid, walked to the window, and drew back the draperies, not surprised to discover it was a dreary overcast day. Although it hardly matched her mood. One of these nights he would come to her and they would do more than talk. It was the terms to which she’d agreed. She would honor them. She might not have much left to her but she had her word.
The door opened and she glanced over her shoulder at her maid. The air in the room didn’t take on an energetic charge, seem to shrink in size, or become more alive with her entry.
“I shall want fresh linens on the bed today.”
Lila seemed surprised. “Yes, miss. We put on fresh linens every day.”
Of course they did.
Lila went to the wardrobe and retrieved the mourning dress in which Evelyn had arrived that fateful night. It seemed an eternity had passed. Suddenly Evelyn despised the thing.
“No, the newer one. I have an errand to run. I’ll want you to accompany me, and we’ll need three strapping footmen to come with us.”
“I shall want to meet with cook. I need to look over the menu for tonight’s dinner. I want it to be something special.”
The maid blinked, and Evelyn realized that she didn’t need to reveal her entire schedule to the girl, especially as she’d only just determined that she was taking the day and night in hand as much as possible.
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