Lord of Wicked Intentions(Lost Lords of Pembrook,Book 3)(61) by Lorraine Heath
“To the Christmas affair? Yes, I sent my regrets.”
“To the ball we’re having this week.”
“I did. While I appreciate it, I won’t be able to attend that either.”
“It would mean a great deal to Mary if you would.”
“And to me. To have us all in the residence, as we once were.”
Only Rafe wasn’t as he once had been, and because of that, he said, “I’m sorry, but business will keep me away.”
Sebastian merely nodded, and Rafe began studying the pieces in the case. He wanted to find something that matched the shade of Eve’s eyes, when he had risen over her and was gazing down on her face. Passion deepened the violet. He wanted to be able to show her what he saw when he looked into her eyes. It wasn’t like him to have such fanciful thoughts. As with the chocolate, giving her jewelry would be a mistake, would make her think that he cared for her in a way that he didn’t.
He was providing her with necessities. He didn’t need to provide her with frivolities. He should leave now, before he did something to make a fool of himself.
The curtains to the back room parted, and a man with a shiny pate ringed with white hair stepped out and smiled. “Good day, sir. I shall be with you in a moment. Here you are, Your Grace. I think your duchess is going to be most pleased with this.” He set a velvet box on the counter, and opened it to reveal a necklace with green stones interlaced with diamonds. A jolt went through Rafe at the realization that he and his brother were both seeking to acquire necklaces that matched a lady’s eyes.
“What do you think, Rafe?” Sebastian asked. “Will Mary like it?”
“I suspect she’d be pleased if you chained daisies together to put about her neck.”
The clerk drew himself up. “I daresay, she will not find another piece in all of London as much to her liking as this.”
“My brother’s a cynic, Mr. Cobb, so don’t take offense.”
Rafe grimaced as the clerk jerked around to look at him. “My apologies, my lord. I didn’t realize—”
“No apologies needed.”
“Lord Rafe is correct, though,” Sebastian said. “The duchess would be happy with daisies. But I know she will be happier with this.” Rafe thought if his brother still possessed two eyes he might have winked. “Add this to my account please.”
“Yes, Your Grace. Without delay.”
Sebastian slipped it into his pocket, turned to leave, and halted to hold Rafe’s gaze. “I have it on good authority that a gentleman can never go wrong purchasing a lady pearls.”
“You didn’t purchase pearls.”
“Not this time, no, but I have on other occasions. I’ll let Mary know that you’ve sent your regrets.”
Rafe thought if the clerk weren’t standing there, Sebastian might have said far more. Instead, he walked from the shop without another word spoken.
The clerk bustled over to stand before Rafe. “So, my lord, how might I be of service this afternoon?”
Rafe hesitated but a moment before saying, “Show me what you have in pearls.”
Evening was approaching. He would be here soon. Or so she thought. Hoped.
She wanted to be waiting on the terrace, but a misty rain had settled in so she sat in a chair near the window in her small sitting room, not certain when she had begun to think of it as hers. She still didn’t truly believe he was going to give her the residence. She could only hope that it would be a long time before she found out. Although a part of her worried that now he’d had her, he’d be done with her. Anyone could lie beneath him as he slaked his lust. What difference did it make if it was her?
He didn’t care for her enough to linger beyond the mating.
“You didn’t wear the red.”
Coming up out of the chair, facing the doorway, she despised the joy that nearly consumed her because he was here. She was surprised by how tired he appeared, as though he hadn’t slept. She wondered if he’d had to deal with trouble at his club. What did he do there all day, all night?
“No, I thought in order to hold your interest that it would be best if I weren’t predictable.” The pale yellow had arrived that afternoon and so she’d decided to go with it.
“The last thing I would consider you to be is predictable.”
“More so than you. I wasn’t certain when to expect you.”
He walked over to the fireplace. Shouldn’t he come to her, kiss her, take her in his arms—
“I wasn’t going to come until midnight, but I couldn’t force myself to stay away that long.”
A small thrill of happiness went through her. “I’m glad.” She wondered how he would react if she confessed to missing him. Would a mistress say such a thing? Had her mother? She’d told Evelyn often enough that she missed the earl, but had she ever told him? She hated that she didn’t know exactly how she was to behave. On the other hand, he’d never had a mistress before so he probably didn’t know how a mistress should behave either. If she made a mistake, he wouldn’t know, would he? She knew only that she wanted to matter, and she suspected that she didn’t.
“Shall I ring for dinner?”
“No.” His voice contained a tightness, and she realized then that his knuckles were turning white where he gripped the mantel. “I want to have you now, before we dine.”
Copyright © 2015 by Read Best Books Free Online