She Tempts the Duke(Lost Lords of Pembrook,Book 1)(79) by Lorraine Heath
“If I spend most of the morning in bed, and a good part of the afternoon riding, I must catch up with business in the evenings.”
She drew a heart on her paper, blackened it in. “I know. It’s just that many couples, after they marry, take a wedding trip.”
“We did. We took a trip from London to here.”
She scowled at him, then realized he was not being deliberately obtuse. “No, they go somewhere that they can be alone.”
“We’re alone here.”
She bit back a growl. “Without responsibilities, so they can concentrate on each other.”
He leaned back in his chair, one corner of his mouth curving up ever so slightly. “Have an itch for me to take you again?”
She did, but not when he put it like that. She scoffed. “You’re impossible.”
He patted his thigh. “Come here. I can take you here.”
She set aside her secretary and rose. “That’s exactly what I desire. An uncomfortable tumble behind your desk.”
“It won’t be uncomfortable.”
“I’m going to take a bath.” She’d taken two steps—
She stopped when everything inside her urged her to trudge on. His footsteps echoed toward her. They halted and his arms came around her, drawing her near. He kissed the back of her neck. “I need only a little while longer and I’ll come to your bed.”
“And have me?”
“Yes, unless you’d rather I not.”
At least he was giving her the choice. There was something to be said for that, she supposed. Not all men would. “I’d rather you make love to me.”
“All right,” he said quietly and touched his lips to her nape again.
“Say it,” she urged softly.
“Because you don’t love me?”
“No, because it’s too damned poetic and I loathe poetry.”
She turned in his arms. “Do you love me?”
“Do you me?”
She studied him as understanding dawned. “You can’t say the word. You can’t say love.”
“I care for you,” he said irritably. “You must know that.”
“Would you have asked for my hand in marriage if not for the scandal?”
“No, I’d have never subjected you to a life with me.”
“Why do you think a life with you would be so horrid?”
Moving away from her, he began to pace. “Because I know what I am. Harsh. Determined. Focused on one thing: Pembrook. You want poetry, and gentle words, and softness. There is no softness in my life. Except for the bed. And you in it makes it softer.” He stopped pacing and scowled at her. “Why the deuce are you smiling?”
“For someone who claims not to like poetry, you can be quite poetic. I’ll be waiting for you to come have me.”
She turned on her heel and marched from the room. For the life of her, she didn’t know why her spirits were suddenly lifted. Perhaps because while he may not say it, she knew that she did mean a great deal to him.
Sebastian stepped into his wife’s bedchamber to find her still bathing. She’d not seen him enter because she was hidden behind a screen, a fire blazing on the other side of her casting her in silhouette. She obviously hadn’t heard the door because she was singing . . . no, humming . . . no, singing. She didn’t know all the words, he realized. She sung the ones she did, hummed the ones she didn’t.
“ ‘Be it ever so humble . . .’ ”
She had the voice of a lark at break of day. He glanced over to find her maid sitting in a nearby chair, staring at him, her embroidery abandoned on her lap. He placed his finger to his lips and, with a nod of his head toward the door, signaled for her to leave. She rose, dipped a quick curtsy, and quietly quit the room.
On bare feet, Sebastian padded over and carefully eased down to the edge of the foot of the bed. Mesmerized, he watched as Mary raised her arms. Through her humming, which was softer than her singing, he heard droplets dripping into the water, envisioned them rolling along her flesh, dampening it as they went. He’d considered having one of the rooms transformed into a bathing chamber, but he decided he much preferred the view offered by a bath before the fire. Strange how he found even her shadow alluring.
Perhaps part of it was because she didn’t realize she was being watched. He’d never realized that a voyeur lurked inside him, but it was having a jolly good time, appreciating everything before him.
He hated the thought that he might have denied her—no matter how unintentional—something she wanted: a wedding trip. He’d spent so much time away from Pembrook, from England, that it had never occurred to him not to hasten here as soon as he could. Had Fitzwilliam planned to take her somewhere? He despised the thought of that man giving her something that Sebastian hadn’t. He’d been so concerned with saving her reputation that he’d given no thoughts to her heart’s desires. She had some. That he knew. After she’d left the library he’d glanced at the paper she’d left on her secretary. It was a boring list of tasks to be done but sprinkled throughout were small hearts. Whimsical. She wanted love and, regretfully, he didn’t know if he could give it to her.
She lifted an elegant leg out of the water, pointed her toes toward the ceiling, and his mouth went dry as all previous thoughts scattered. Good Lord, she was limber. He could take her with her legs braced on his shoulders. He watched the sensuous movements as she skimmed her hands from heel to thigh. Perhaps even to hip. Or maybe she stopped someplace in between, a haven he was anticipating visiting once again.
Copyright © 2015 by Read Best Books Free Online