Midnight Pleasures with a Scoundrel(Scoundrels of St. James,Book 4)(76) by Lorraine Heath
Then it was their turn—hers and James’s—to profess their love, to make their promises. For better or worse. For richer, for poorer. In sickness and in health. She would have it no other way. She would stand by this man until she drew her last breath, knowing that he would always stand beside her as well.
As the vicar pronounced them man and wife, the sun coming in through the stained-glass windows seemed to shine a little brighter, and Emma imagined it was Elisabeth smiling down on them.
Eleanor and Sir David left for London shortly after the ceremony ended, leaving the cottage for Emma and James. Now, after having locked up, he stood in the doorway of the bedchamber and watched as she, sitting on the edge of the window, glided her brush through her hair.
“Did you know I was watching that night when you brushed your hair in the window at your lodgings?” he asked.
With a mischievous smile, she peered over at him. “I thought I could sense you there, but I wasn’t certain. Eleanor said for our plan to work that I needed to seduce you. I didn’t know where to begin.”
He’d discarded his jacket, waistcoat, and neckcloth earlier. He strode over to her and took the brush from her hand. “I fell for you so quickly and so hard I made it far too easy for you to seduce me. I stood outside your window like a besotted lad and imagined doing this.” He dragged the brush through her hair, relishing the silkiness of the strands going through his fingers. He would have a lifetime of this.
“I sat in that window and imagined you doing it as well.”
“I love your hair,” he said. “I love your eyes. I love everything about you.”
Rising from the window, she wrapped her arms around his neck. “I love everything about you as well. And I’ve missed you terribly these past few months.”
She and Eleanor had returned to their home to begin preparing for their wedding, and although Swindler had come to visit and they’d come to London on occasion, Swindler had not been able to secure a moment alone with Emma for anything more intimate than a kiss. Tossing the brush aside, he took her in his arms and lowered his mouth to hers. All the restraint he’d been exhibiting stormed through him, reminding him of that first night he’d been here when the wind howled and the rain had pounded. Passion poured from her into him, heating his desire. He wondered if it would always be like this—powerful and strong. Her rose scent wafted around him. Her bare feet crept onto his. So much about her was familiar, so much was endearing.
Ending the kiss, he gazed deeply into her eyes, saw them heavy-lidded and smoldering. Her lips were damp and swollen. While her gown covered her body, it could not hide that her nipples had hardened. Bending down, through the cloth, he took one in his mouth, biting down gently. She moaned softly, arching back, digging her fingers into his shoulders. It had been too long, too too long. He wanted her now with a ferocity that was almost overwhelming. At the same time, he wanted to savor each moment. She was his wife, his love. Tonight should be special for her, for them. Tonight was the first night of their married life. Easing past her, he opened the window slightly to allow in the cool spring breeze. The curtains billowed slightly.
Lifting her into his arms, he carried her—laughing and joyous—to the bed and laid her down upon it. While he quickly divested himself of his remaining clothing, she eased provocatively out of her gown. She released a small scream as he leaped onto the bed and tucked her beneath him, absorbing the softness of her skin melding with his.
“I’ve missed this, missed you,” he growled as he began to explore her with his hands and mouth, once again learning all the subtle nuances of her body, glorying in the curves and softness that made her so unique, made her special to him.
Emma ran her hands over him, savoring the firmness of his corded muscles, the length of his limbs. She skimmed her fingers over his marred back and wondered if her eyes would always sting when she encountered the reminder of how cruel his childhood had been.
“What was your father’s name?” she suddenly asked.
He lifted his head from the valley between her breasts where he’d been giving her his undivided attention. Holding her gaze, he said, “Geoffrey Harrison.”
She combed her fingers into his dark hair. It was shorter than usual, trimmed for the occasion. “We’ll name our first son after him.”
He grinned at her. “I’d like that.”
“Perhaps it’ll happen tonight. I want to give you children.”
Winking at her, he returned his mouth to her breast, eliciting pleasure with the wicked things he did. As often as they’d been together in the beginning, she thought there should have been nothing new to learn, and yet each time they came together, the familiarity brought something new with it. A heightened awareness, more daring touches. Swindler used his hands, fingers, and mouth to explore every inch of Emma as though rediscovering old territory and finding that it had changed slightly, but he was just as pleased with the new landscape as he’d been with the old. She’d added back some of the weight she’d lost after she first left London. Her hips were a little more round, her breasts a little fuller. He took his time, watching as he gently reshaped her breasts, before dipping his head down, his mouth lingering to taste, taunt, and tease.
From this moment on, every night, he would have this remarkable woman in his bed. He would go to sleep surrounded by her sweet scent, and she would drift off with his arms around her.
He would watch her body change as their children came into the world. He would relish everything about her, just as he relished it now.
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