Lord of Wicked Intentions(Lost Lords of Pembrook,Book 3)(65) by Lorraine Heath
Throwing his head back, he growled low, slamming into her with his final thrusts. His body was coated in a fine sheen of sweat. His eyes were closed tightly, his lips parted, his breathing harsh. While she thought it inconceivable, he’d never looked more beautiful—in a barbaric sort of way. Untamed, uncivilized. Fierce.
When he finally opened his eyes, they shone with the victory of a conqueror. He took a deep breath before slowly extricating himself from her. Her legs weak, she scrambled back. He fell onto the bed, stared at the canopy, his breathing still labored. She thought if she were allowed to place her hand on his chest that she would feel his heart pounding, fast and furiously.
One of them should say something. Instead, she remained silent, curled on her side, and simply watched him, wondering all the while what sort of musings traveled through his mind.
She was going to be the death of him. She was different from the others. He tried to convince himself that it was because of her innocence, because she was his mistress, because she was supposed to be different.
But it was her, the essence of her, not whatever label he’d given to her to make her less dangerous. It was the manner in which she trusted him, the way she opened herself up to him, the unaffected way she responded. She was honest, pure, even now.
He feared he would come to care for her. Along that path lay disaster.
Rolling his head to the side, he discovered she’d fallen asleep. As gently as possible, without disturbing her, he reached down, grabbed the blankets, and brought them slowly up over her. She released a soft sigh, and snuggled in against them.
He experienced a sharp pain in his chest as though his heart had ceased its beating. How desperately he wanted her snuggling against him, her hand furled on his chest, her breath stirring the fine hairs.
What a fool he was. He needed to stop this mooning about. She was nothing more than a convenience, a very lovely one to be sure, but the means to an end, not the end itself. She was spoiling him, however. When he was done with her, he would acquire another mistress. He discovered that he rather enjoyed the expediency and accessibility of having a woman at his beck and call. When the need struck, she was there.
The problem was, with her at least, the need seemed to strike with increasing frequency. He wasn’t spending nearly as much time at the club as he needed to. Tomorrow night, he vowed he would not return here until midnight.
He would regain control of himself, of the situation.
Because if anyone saw her, they might think she was mad, Evelyn slipped out of the residence and into the night without telling a soul—other than her lady’s maid, who’d assisted in dressing her—of her plans. The lights in the garden were not flickering, but remained dark, so it was only the moon that guided her steps to the far wall. When Rafe had left that afternoon, he’d told her he would be late so she was not expecting him until well after midnight.
The nights were usually the loneliest. During the day the air filled with the rattle of carriages and the clop of horses’ hooves. She would hear the din of people passing by, children running about in the distance and laughing. But when darkness fell, everything became quiet and she merely passed the time, like an ornament set on a mantel waiting to be taken down and admired, studied, touched.
But tonight the loneliness was worse because there were sounds. So many marvelous noises. Carriages were lined up on the street, and when she’d looked out one of the windows of a bedchamber upstairs, she saw them turning into the long drive of the residence next door. They were hosting a ball.
She could catch only glimpses of the people attending in their finery. They were too far away for her to discern any details. Bereft, she turned away from the window. She would never attend so glorious an occasion. She would never receive invitations. She would never be welcomed into proper homes. She would always be an outcast, for no matter how much she might gain in possessions, she could not change the circumstance of her birth. It would continue to overshadow every other aspect of her life.
Because these maudlin thoughts threatened to take a stranglehold, she marched to her bedchamber and rang for Lila. An hour later, within the shadows of the garden, she listened as the music wafted on the breeze. She imagined the doors that led onto the terrace were open, allowing the air to cool the guests as they waltzed over the polished floor. She was tempted to retrieve a ladder, place it against the wall, and peer over into the neighbor’s domain, but she was no longer a child who didn’t know how rude and intrusive it was to spy through holes in fences. So she merely listened and imagined it.
She could hear people talking, quiet whisperings and murmurs mingled with soft sighs. Lovers meeting for a tryst no doubt. Lovers were acceptable, mistresses were not. It hardly seemed fair, but then allowances were made when the heart was involved. The music drifted into silence. She missed it, missed it terribly. Perhaps she would hire an orchestra to play for her and Rafe one evening. He didn’t seem to care one whit how she spent his money. His concerns revolved around only what occurred in the bedchamber.
The lilting strains of a waltz floated over the wall. Swaying with the gentle music, she raised her arms as her dancing instructor had taught her, resting one hand on an imaginary tall gentleman, envisioning him placing his hand on her waist, squeezing slightly, a secret shared, that something intimate existed between them. He held her other hand and began to lead her in swirls about the garden, his eyes on hers because he was too infatuated with her to look away.
She dipped one way, twirled around, and her imaginary gentleman took form, a solid hand at her waist, a warm one holding hers. Rafe. Without missing a step, he guided her over the lawn in perfect cadence with the music. She didn’t remember dropping her hand to his shoulder. Perhaps because it was already the perfect height for him to slip beneath. Holding his gaze, she smiled softly. “I wasn’t expecting you until midnight.”
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