The Last Wicked Scoundrel(Scoundrels of St. James,Book 5)(12) by Lorraine Heath
Tenderly, he curled his hand below her chin and turned her face toward him until he was able to capture her gaze. “They were my favorite part of the day as well.”
She didn’t know quite what to say to that admission. After last night, she’d dared to hope that she meant something special to him, but they were so very different in rank and purpose. She considered suggesting that they go for a walk now, but she didn’t want to move away from where she was. So near to him. He smelled of sandalwood. His jaw and cheeks were smooth. He’d shaved before he came to see her. His hair curled wildly about his head, and she wondered if he ever tried to tame it, then decided he wouldn’t look like himself without the wildness.
With his thumb, he stroked her lower lip. His blue eyes darkened. She watched the muscles of his throat work as he swallowed. Leaning in, he lowered his mouth to hers. She rose up on her toes to meet him, inviting him to possess, plunder, have his way. She became lost in the sensations of his mouth playing over hers, vaguely aware of his twisting her around so they were facing each other. As she skimmed her hands up over his shoulders, his arms came around her, drawing her nearer. He was a man of nimble fingers, skilled hands that eased hurts and injuries and warded off death. He had mended her with those hands, and now with his lips he was mending her further.
Suddenly changing the angle of his mouth, he deepened the kiss, his tongue hungrily exploring, enticing her to take her own journey of discovery. He tasted of peppermint. She could well imagine him keeping the hard candies in his pocket to hand to children in order to ease their fears. Snitching one for himself every now and then.
He folded his hands around the sides of her waist and, without breaking his mouth from hers, lifted her onto the desk. Parchment crackled beneath her. She knew she should be worried that they were ruining the plans for the hospital, but she seemed unable to care about anything beyond the wondrous sensations that he was bringing to life.
Avendale had never kissed her with such enthusiasm, such resolve. She felt as though William were determined to devour her, and that it would be one of the most wondrous experiences of her life.
Hiking her skirts up over her knees, he wedged himself between her thighs. Very slowly, he lowered her back to the desk until she was sprawled over it like some wanton. On the desk! She had never known this sort of activity could occur anywhere other than the bed. It was wicked, exciting, intriguing. Surely he didn’t mean to do more than kiss her, not that she was opposed to him going further.
She’d gone so long without a caress, without being desired, without having passions stirred. She felt at once terrified and joyful while pleasure curled through her.
As he dragged his mouth along her throat, he began undoing buttons, giving himself access to more skin. He nipped at her collarbone, circled his tongue in the hollow at her throat. She plowed her fingers through his golden locks, relishing the soft curls as they wound around her fingers.
More buttons were unfastened. She sighed as he trailed his mouth and tongue along the upper swells of her breasts. Heat pooled deep within her. She wrapped her legs around his hips, taking surcease from the pressure of him against her. He moaned low, more a growl than anything as he pressed a kiss in the dip between her breasts.
God help her, but she wanted to feel his touch over all of her.
Peeling back her bodice, he began loosening the ribbons on her chemise. In the distance, someplace far far away, she thought she heard a door open.
“The count—” Her butler began and stopped.
“Winnie?” Catherine’s voice brought her crashing back to reality.
Mortified, Winnie knew the heat scorching her now had nothing to do with passion.
William calmly lifted his head. “Excuse us, but she’ll need a moment.”
A moment? Dear God, she’d need the remainder of her life to get past the humiliation of being caught sprawled over her desk with a man who was not her husband licking at her flesh. She was vaguely aware of the snick of the door closing.
Very slowly, very carefully, as though she were delicate crystal that could easily shatter, William placed his hands beneath her back and helped her sit up. Then closing his arms around her, he held her near, and she buried her face against his chest.
How could his heart beat so methodically when hers was jumping all around, bouncing off her ribs?
“You’ve done nothing wrong,” William said quietly. “Although you might instruct your butler that he needs to knock before entering.”
She nodded jerkily. “I want to die.”
“Winnie, you are not at fault here. The fault is mine for being unable to resist your charms.” He tucked his finger beneath her chin and titled her head back until he was gazing into her eyes. “Invite me to dinner.”
“Yes, you know. That meal that takes place in the evening, a few hours before bedtime.”
“Are you not at all embarrassed by being caught?”
“I’ve been caught for worst offenses, and there’s no punishment to be had here except for the abrupt ending to something that I was enjoying immensely.” He gave her a wicked smile. “I’ll promise to behave this evening if it’ll put you at ease.”
As wrong as it was, she wasn’t certain she wanted him to behave. Still, she nodded. “Yes, please join me for dinner.”
“I’ll be here at half past seven.” Leaning in, he took her mouth hotly, but swiftly, before giving her a seductive wink and grin. “Now button up.”
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