Midnight Pleasures with a Scoundrel(Scoundrels of St. James,Book 4)(29) by Lorraine Heath
Selfishly, to her everlasting guilt, Rockberry seemed insignificant when compared with what she might have if she turned her focus away from the vile man. James’s heated mouth trailed along the curve of her jaw, then journeyed over her throat, leaving a damp mist in its wake. Her pelisse fell away from her shoulders, baring them to him. Without hesitation, he began to nibble on the exposed skin. His teeth gently nipped her collarbone, before his tongue tenderly apologized.
Squirming on his lap, she pressed her legs together, relishing the tiny tremors of pleasure that seemed to originate there and spread outward. She’d never experienced anything like this. It was as though by touching her in one place, he had the ability to create that touch over her entire body. Everything wanted to curl into itself, tighten and expand. His harsh breathing echoed through the confines of the carriage as his large hands traveled over her. She felt the hardness of him bulging against her hip. His raspy groans filled her ears before he returned his mouth to hers with a hunger that exceeded her own. She had no doubt that he desired her, that he was hers to command, that she was his to treasure.
The carriage came to a halt, and he released a low groan as he tore his mouth from hers and pressed his forehead against hers. She knew she should have moved off him, was certain he knew he should have pushed her away.
But instead they clung to each other, as though they were both drowning in a tumultuous sea. Even when the footman opened the door, James didn’t loosen his hold.
“Give us a moment,” he ground out hoarsely.
The door immediately closed, blocking out the world that required chaperones and propriety, enclosing them in their own world where behavior was dictated by them.
“It’s been the most magical night of my life,” she whispered, her heart pounding so hard that she was certain he could hear it. “I don’t want it to end, not here, not like this.”
He drew back, and in the shadowy confines of the carriage, she felt more than saw his gaze wandering over her face as though he was searching for an explanation of her words. “What are you saying, Eleanor?”
“I want to stay the night with you.”
He knew it was a terribly bad idea, even as he ushered her into his lodging house and up the stairs to his rooms. But he wanted her too desperately, and even if he was compromising his integrity, he didn’t give a damn. He’d have a talk with Sir David and make everything right in the morning, work things out to the satisfaction of Scotland Yard and Lord Rockberry. The hood of Eleanor’s pelisse hid her face. Swindler was not in the habit of bringing young misses to his lodgings, although his landlady was accustomed to him keeping late hours. She seldom stirred from her bed when he arrived home. Tonight, thank God, was no exception. With his key, he quickly unlocked the door to his apartment and ushered Eleanor into the room. Barely taking the time to close and lock the door behind him, he pulled her into his arms. God help him, he’d never wanted a woman so desperately, had never wanted to feel her body pressed against his, had never wanted to drink so passionately from her mouth. She’d only just entered the room, and already her rose scent was taking up residence, mingling with the more earthly scented cologne he used so sparingly.
Her mouth eagerly opening to his, she intertwined her arms around him like a rose seeking out its place on a trellis. No coyness, no doubts, simply need and desire spurring her on. He banished his own doubts that he was ruining her. If she was so willing to give him tonight, she could quite possibly give him more. Where they would take this was a discussion for another time. For now, all that mattered was that everything that had been building inside him since he first kissed her in Cremorne Gardens was about to be brought to fruition. If he could just hold on, just hold his own needs in check. He wouldn’t allow her first time to be tainted by his inability—
His mind came to a staggering stop, as did the kiss. He always gave ladies his attention, but tonight he wanted to give her more than he’d ever given to anyone, because she meant more to him than anyone else ever had. With nimble fingers that had never served him well as a pickpocket, he quickly loosened the fastenings on her pelisse. In the darkness, he heard the whisper of it pooling at her feet.
Tearing off his gloves, he tossed them toward a nearby chair, but based on the thud, they’d landed on the parquet. The faintest light from the street eased shyly into the room, silhouetting them, providing no details. Now, he thought, now with the darkness providing its own haven, he should explain to her how he’d come to be in her life. He should tell her that he’d see to Rockberry, that he would ensure the man paid for whatever he’d done to Elisabeth. He would be her champion. Even as he considered that now was the time to reveal all, he wanted nothing to detract from this moment. Later he would tell her everything, after he’d spoken with Sir David, once he’d set things into motion.
But tonight was just for them. He didn’t want Elisabeth or Rockberry or Sir David invading this moment, becoming part of this memory. Just as that night at Cremorne Gardens when she’d not wanted to discuss the past, so now he selfishly and greedily wanted this moment to focus on the present, on them, on what they could share with each other. Gently, he cradled her cheek. “It’s not too late if you’ve changed your mind.”
He’d very likely expire on the spot, but he had never forced a woman, and he wasn’t about to start now, especially with her.
He could see her sweet smile. “I haven’t. Have you?”
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