Surrender to the Devil(Scoundrels of St. James,Book 3)(59) by Lorraine Heath
“Do you draw every woman you bed?”
He glanced up then, looking as though something significant had dawned on him. “No, actually. You’re the first I’ve ever cared about remembering.”
His words delighted her, made it more difficult not to move when she wanted to crawl into his lap and kiss him soundly. “How much longer must I remain still?”
“Just a few more moments. Then I’ll show you what I’ve done.”
“You won’t show anyone else, will you?”
“Absolutely not. These go into my private collection.”
“You’ve given me one night. I didn’t intend to spend most of it sleeping.”
She wanted to smile or laugh, but she fought to stay completely still. She’d never known anyone who made her feel quite so appreciated. Certainly, Feagan’s lads appreciated what she did, but they didn’t make her toes curl when they looked at her.
“Can you do a self-portrait?” she asked.
“No. Why would I care for that?”
“So you could give it to me.”
He grinned. “I’m sure we could find something around here that would suffice.”
“All the paintings around here are so large that it would make it difficult to place it in a private collection.”
He winked at her, and her entire body threatened to curl into a ball of pleasure.
“We’ll find something.”
She was surprised by the drawings when he finally returned to bed to show her. They sat back against a mound of pillows while he revealed them one by one.
Her feet, one crossed over the other.
“You rub your feet together while you sleep,” he said.
“Probably a habit. They were always cold when I was younger. Coal was a rarity at Feagan’s.”
“If they get cold before you leave my bed, simply press them against me. That should warm them.”
The sheet draped over her back, one bare shoulder exposed.
“You have lovely shoulders,” he said. He leaned over and kissed one.
“You’re a very good artist.”
“I’ve had a lot of practice. My efforts will never be on display in a museum, but they relax me.”
“And you needed to relax after what we did earlier?”
He began wrapping her hair around his finger. “No, I was fairly melting into the bed.”
Her hand curled beneath her chin.
“That’s my favorite,” he said. “A bit innocent, a bit sultry. I wonder what you were dreaming.”
“About you, probably.”
“Probably? Don’t you remember?”
“I seldom remember my dreams.”
He gave her a funny look before tossing his papers to the floor and pulling her beneath him. “One night, you said, but the night’s not yet over.”
As his mouth blanketed hers, she sighed. No, no, it’s not.
Frannie had planned to leave at dawn, but just before the sun began easing over the horizon, he was making love to her again and he didn’t rush it. They both knew it would be the last time, the final time, and they savored every touch, every stroke, every kiss. When she did finally leave his bed, breakfast had been readied.
They’d gotten dressed and walked down to the breakfast dining room together. He was telling her about his adventures in learning to ride a camel. She was laughing so hard that she couldn’t eat. She loved his smile and the joy that lit his eyes. She loved—
“Your Grace, I’m sorry to disturb you, but an Inspector Swindler from Scotland Yard is here,” the butler announced.
Frannie felt her stomach knot up. Her magical world was about to clash with reality.
“Send him in,” Sterling said, just before he reached out and squeezed her hand. “It’ll be all right.”
She nodded, rising to her feet as he did. Jim strode into the room and came to an abrupt halt as his gaze fell on her. She saw the disappointment sweep over his face. She suspected it didn’t take a genius to determine what had happened here. Was it evident in her blush, which she had no ability to control?
“Inspector, would you care to join us for breakfast?” Sterling asked.
“No. I just…we were worried about you, Frannie. We didn’t know—”
“I left a note on Jack’s desk.” All she’d said was that she was going to see after Greystone, but still, it had given her whereabouts. There’d been no cause for worry. Well, except for the part where she’d promised to return yesterday.
Jim nodded. “You’re all right, then?”
“Yes, I’m very well. Thank you.”
“Sorry to have disturbed your morning.” He spun on his heel and strode out.
“Jim!” Tossing down her napkin, she rushed out after him.
“Frannie!” Sterling called after her but she ignored him.
She ran down the hallway, catching up with Jim in the foyer, grabbing his arm. “Jim.”
He spun around. She could see the concern and hurt in his green eyes. And anger, too, as though he didn’t know what exactly to feel any more than she did. “He won’t marry you, Frannie.”
“I’m well aware of that.”
“I would.” He dropped his gaze to the floor as though he couldn’t bear to see whatever her eyes might reveal. She was acutely aware of him struggling to get his emotions in check. She wanted to reach out and touch him, comfort him, but she was fairly certain he wouldn’t welcome either at that moment. He lifted his eyes to hers, and all the love he’d ever felt for her was there. “Even if his babe is growing in your belly, I’ll marry you.”
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