Surrender to the Devil(Scoundrels of St. James,Book 3)(8) by Lorraine Heath
She’d been forcibly kissed and chastely kissed, but never had a man so gently and so determinedly urged her lips to part in order that he might gain entry. Never had she wanted to so willingly comply. He tasted of champagne, rich and flavorful. He tasted of desire.
One of his arms came around her and drew her up against him. As a woman she’d never been this close to a man. She’d never had her breasts flattened against a man’s solid chest. She’d never inhaled a masculine scent so deeply that it became part of her. She’d never had a man’s talented tongue playing with hers, and she’d certainly never slipped hers into a man’s mouth wanting to taste him fully. Everything she’d never envisioned experiencing she suddenly wanted with a desperation that should have been frightening.
But he didn’t frighten her. He enticed her into winding her arms around his neck and rising up on her toes for easier access to that which she so desperately desired. With a low groan, he shifted the angle of the kiss and delved more deeply, more thoroughly, exploring every aspect of her mouth. The heat intensified, and her body took on a languid quality as though she could melt into him. Was this passion, this all-encompassing sensation that the two of them could very easily become one?
He drew back slightly and she gazed into the deep blue of his eyes.
“As you don’t have a lover, Miss Darling, I’d like to offer my services. As I believe we’ve just proven, we’re quite compatible.”
“A re you all right?”
Traveling in the coach Luke had lent them for the journey back to Dodger’s, Frannie turned her attention away from the window where she could see little, save the rain, to look at Jack. “Of course. Why would you ask?”
“You seem particularly preoccupied.”
She was. With thoughts of Greystone’s scandalous proposal, and her even more scandalous reply. “I’ll consider your offer.”
Which meant what, exactly? Was she seriously considering it or had she simply not known what else to say? With a no, would he ever ask again? Would she ever see him again? With a yes, would she later change her mind? Would she have regrets?
After tugging free a glove, she laid her bare fingers against the cheek Greystone had stroked. The sensation was nothing compared to the sensuality he had brought to the fore. Her touch failed to elicit the incredible heat that coiled in her belly and flowed outward until she felt like molten wax. She slid her fingers over to her lips and toyed with them a moment. Again the sensation was nothing like the sweet pressure of his mouth against hers, urging her lips to willingly part…
Once Luke had kissed her and it had been as light as a butterfly landing on a rose petal. Nothing about Greystone’s kiss had been gentle, but neither had it been rough. It had been…hungry, as though he were a starving man and she alone could provide his sustenance. Where were these insane thoughts coming from? Were they a reflection of her own desires, her own cravings to once more be sampling all he had to offer?
Gazing out the window again, she asked, “Jack, have you ever taken a lover?”
“I should think it depends.”
She snapped her gaze back to him. It had seemed a simple enough question. Either he had or he hadn’t. Was there more to this lover business than she realized? “On what precisely?”
“On whether or not you consider a bought woman to be a lover.” He crossed his arms over his chest and looked up at the ceiling of the coach as though the answer to a riddle rested there. “I suppose you can’t. A lover, it seems to me should be with you willingly, with no expectations of earning a coin. So with that in mind, I’ve never taken a lover.” He lowered his gaze to her. “Seems a strange question coming from you.”
For the first time in her life, she wasn’t comfortable with him, couldn’t tell him that her heated encounter with Greystone had prompted her inquiry. Where did a woman go for answers, because she knew if she listened to her own yearnings, she’d be knocking on Greystone’s door this evening. “I’m simply curious. I’m not exactly certain what the expectations are for a lover, what the situation actually entails. Would a lover…love her lover? Would he love her?”
“Good God, Frannie, love is hardly involved at all. It’s simply a polite way of saying a gent wants what’s beneath a lady’s skirts.”
With a nod, she looked back out the window. Certainly that was all that the gentleman truly wanted. She was good enough to bed, but not to wed. He saw her as no better than a prostitute. His currency was a wicked mouth rather than coins, but dear Lord help her, she’d been almost willing to accept the terms.
“Ah, dammit, Frannie, I shouldn’t have been so crude.” Jack leaned forward, his elbows on his thighs. “Why the sudden curiosity?”
The heat of embarrassment—or was it shame?—warmed her cheeks, and she was grateful that the gloomy weather might prevent him from noticing her blush. Their childhood had forged a bond that allowed them to share the most intimate of thoughts and know they were safe from scrutiny or judgment. She darted her gaze to his, then dropped it to her hands. “I’ve had an offer.”
Gathering up her resolve, she returned her gaze to his. “Someone wants to be my lover.”
He narrowed his eyes for a heartbeat. She’d seen the look before. It often preceded his giving someone a sound thrashing. “Who’s the blackguard?”
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