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Authors: One Starlit Night

Carolyn Jewel (13 page)

BOOK: Carolyn Jewel
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“I as well.”

“Every bloody moment of the last ten years and, God willing, every moment of the rest of my life.” He brought out his handkerchief and cleaned away the dirt on her forehead.

“Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.” He removed her thick gardening gloves one at a time, and shoved them into his coat pocket. “Please. Hear me out. You’re right, too. All along you’ve been right. We can’t change the past, but we don’t need to. Everything we need to know about each other we discovered that day at Wordless. If you don’t believe me, I’ll prove it to you again.”

“Prove what?”

“That we are still in love. Despite what happened. Because of what happened. Will you let me show you?”

She tugged on her hand, and he tightened his fingers. “Here?”

“In private, if you don’t mind.” Her hand clasped in his, he dashed across the lawn to the back door. Inside, they caught their breath, and then headed upstairs, an urgent journey to his room.

Northword closed the door to his room as softly as he could. His fingers were tight around Portia’s hand, and he didn’t let go even after he turned the key in the lock. Arm straight down, he interlaced his fingers with hers. The palm of his other hand slapped on the wall above her shoulder, taking his weight while he leaned in and kissed her.

Eventually, they left off the frantic kissing and set themselves to an equally frantic removal of each other’s clothes. It took some time to remove the layers, to untie knots and unfasten buttons. But they were still young and healthy and far, far wiser about such things than they’d once been.

When she stood in just her shift, he touched her gently, from cheek, to throat, to her collar bone. Her breath hitched when his fingers reached the top swell of her breast. “You see?” he murmured. “That’s not changed. The way I react to you. Or you to me.”

His palm dropped down, too, touching her breast, curving over her, and with that, the world narrowed to him and Portia and that was precisely right. He allowed himself a smug smile. Again, he brushed just the tip of his finger over her. “Is that good?”

“Yes. Damn you, yes.”

“Think how it would feel if you were naked.” God, he loved to see her face when she was in passion.

“Beast.”

Her name was a sigh on his breath. He kissed her, one hand cupping the back of her neck, the other fully curved over her breast, molding her there so that he could push her breast higher. His tongue flicked out and followed the seam of her lips, and she opened her mouth and for him, it was like falling under her spell all over again.

He pulled away and cupped her face in his hands. She wrapped her fingers around his wrists, but that was all. They stayed like that, touching each other, settling into the familiarity of the contact and this time, there was a sense of the world coming right.

His torso pressed against her as he leaned in and kissed her ear. “I love you, Portia Temple.”

He wanted her now and afterward, and that was that. He wanted her in his life, this amazingly lovely creature who kissed with such delicate fever. Portia, who had inhabited his dreams for a decade. Portia, who had become a woman he admired and respected. He drew back before he completely lost control.

“How can you?”

“Because you are brave and strong and when I am with you, I want to see you laugh and smile. Because you would never, ever, ever put milk in my tea and tell me it’s good for my health.”

She gasped, and her fingers tightened around him. “She makes Magnus drink it that way, too.” They laughed together at that and then she draped an arm around the back of his neck, and set the other around his naked waist, fingers angled downward. “She did the same to me once, but I poured it all in the slop bowl. She nearly came to tears. Poor Magnus.”

“Poor me. You’re not naked yet.” He let go of her hand and fumbled at her shift while he kissed her, open mouthed, tongue involved. She kissed him back because Portia never did anything half way. Her shift dropped to the floor with the rest of their clothes.

If Satan himself demanded his soul for this, he’d gladly hand it over.

“I want you in my arms. I want us skin to skin. I want to make you spend and call on God and me. I want your mouth on me, your hands, your thighs around me. I want your eyes glazed with passion for me.” He took a step toward her. “I want to hear us both groan when I am inside you.”

Northword leaned against her, his cock hard and him halfway to coming because, God save him, Portia’s body was soft and curved, and he was going to make love to her until they were witless fools, and she had no choice but to agree they belonged together. She pushed up to kiss him again, and she was so very, very good at setting fire to his blood.

Lust, an unfathomable need, came from deep inside him, and it was everything he’d missed every damned time he’d had sexual relations. It wasn’t that he hadn’t loved his wife, he had. Or that he hadn’t enjoyed other lovers who came to his bed. He had. But not like this. Never. The missing part of his soul clicked into place with her, and he was whole as he had not been since the day his father had engineered their split.

Every shiver of Portia’s body, every soft sound to fall on his ears mattered to him because it was her in his arms. Failing to please her would rip him to pieces. He pushed away from her and grabbed her hand while he walked backward to the bed, bringing her along. No half measures. No caution.

Portia laughed and gave him a push. The backs of his legs hit the bed, and he sat on the mattress, splayed out to catch his balance. She stepped between his spread legs and he touched her naked backside or just stared at her breasts.

He drew her to him, hands sliding along her waist, up her back, fingers dancing down the dip of her spine. He took her mouth and she answered with a taking of her own. He cupped her bottom and brought her up until she had her knees on the mattress on either side of his hips. She gripped the top of his shoulders until she had her balance and when she did, he pulled the pins from her hair and kept going until her hair, dark, dark red, curled around his fingers.

“I adore your hair, every curl.”

“I’m glad you like brunettes.”

“My darling, you are deluded.” He took some of her hair in his hand. Light from the window nearest her reflected off her hair, turning even the shadows a rich, dark red. “Your hair is red, and I adore every lock on your head.” He slid his fingers beneath her chin and brought her face back to his. “I want you again. I want inside you now.” He leaned forward and nipped her lower lip. “Anything you want, if you’ll let me do that.”

Her smile was everything he loved about Portia. Her smile was bright and bold and for him, and her smile had been living inside him for years. A part of Crispin Hope and a part of the man who had become the Viscount Northword.

“Although, I feel I ought to tell you that I am inclined to be selfish just now.” For this slice of time, he was looking not at Portia, but solely at a naked woman whose proportions pleased him inordinately. Wickedly so. He brushed her hair behind her shoulders. In ten years, she’d become a woman. “You’re still beautiful, more beautiful and desirable than ever.” He put his palm over her mound, slid a finger between, and found slick heat. “That’s lovely.” He drew in a breath. “You’re wet for me.”

“Yes.”

“Good, because I’m hard for you.” Jesus, he wanted those legs around him. He wanted his hips tucked up tight against hers. He swept the back of his hand across her shoulder then down to her breast. “Lovely. That’s a fact.”

Her nipples peaked, and he swept his fingers across her again. His belly hollowed out. Somewhere in the house, timbers creaked. Outside, rain pattered against the windows. Then harder until it beat on the roof and windows. He held his breath until he was sure the noise was just settlement and the rain, and they weren’t about to be interrupted by a furious Hob.

He leaned close, his mouth by her ear. “What I’d like to do isn’t decent at all. It’s wicked and depraved.”

She angled her body against his. “You make it sound delicious. Is it?”

He fit both his hands over her breasts, and she leaned into his palms. He looked his fill of the sight, his hands over her, the flesh he couldn’t cover, the way her mouth parted. He pressed his lips to her shoulder; a light kiss while he swept his fingers along the underside of her breast, one, then the other, and the curve of her devastated him. He brushed a finger over her nipple and saw, felt, and reacted to the way she hardened at his touch. “I want my mouth here.” His fingertip came to rest at her mons then slid down until his hand cupped her. “And here.”

Her eyes opened wide, and she tipped her head to one side, curious. Intrigued. “There?”

“Yes. Precisely there.”

She arranged herself on his bed, her hair spread out, and her body open for him. He joined her and slid his hands underneath her bottom. One thing he’d learned was that he loved the taste of a woman. He’d had a mistress before he married, a courtesan who taught him things he hadn’t worked out on his own with Portia or some other woman who could never measure up.

Portia gave herself over to his mouth on her, and he made damned sure he didn’t bring her too fast. He adored her moans, the tension in her body when she came close, the way her hands touched his head, the tilt of her pelvis toward him. She made him feel like the best lover in the world, and the proof was in the way she came.

For a fraction of time, she went completely still, and in that space he spread her nether lips and licked along the center of her sex. She came apart, holding back none of her pleasure.

“More, Crispin.” Her voice shook. “More.”

He pulled himself over her, his mouth by her ear. “You have all of me. There’s nothing more for me to give.” He touched her once and she flinched with unsatisfied passion. “You have everything.”

He moved down her body and before long, she devolved into an incoherent cry. He spread his fingers over her belly while she came back to earth and then pulled himself up enough to dip his tongue into her navel. He lifted his head, and when she was looking at him, soft-eyed with pleasure, he thought his heart would burst as past and present emotions warred in him. As they did in her, too.

Northword spread his fingers over her stomach again. He had to work to keep his voice steady and then decided the battle wasn’t worth fighting. “Portia.” Her name came in a whisper. “I wanted you to have my child. I still do. I want it enough to beg you for another chance. We were young. You’re right about that. But I wanted us. And our child.”

“I know. I know. I know.”

“Say you’ll marry me, Portia. Promise it.” He stared at her stomach, fingers sliding, but tipped his head so he could see her face, too. Eyes closed, lips edged with white. “We can have the child we make tonight. Marry me. Please. I’m a better man, a wiser man. I’d be a proper husband to you and a loving father. Magnus knows I want to marry you. He doesn’t think you will, but I don’t give a damn for his opinion.”

“Crispin.”

He took her hand and moved over her, one leg across hers. The slide of his skin over hers heated his blood, the very marrow of him, and he pushed her shoulder until she was on her back. She opened herself to him. He pulled himself over her and thrust inside.

She was hot and slick, and he got harder being inside her, and inside, her soft body barely gave. He put his forearms above her shoulders and kept still, giving her time to adjust to him. “I couldn’t bear the thought of that man touching you.” He drew back his hips and pushed forward. “Nor the thought of you touching him. Nor that you might fall in love with him.”

She put her hands on either side of his face and arched her pelvis toward him. “Hush, my love.”

He drew back and pushed slowly in again, and it was heaven. Tension sang between them and, for him, it was the certainty that he could do exactly what he wanted, what would please them both, and the fact of her woman’s body that sent him into sensual paradise. He stroked in her steadily, and before long he knew he wouldn’t last much longer.

He stopped moving and that nearly killed him, holding back all the urges of his body. He took her head between his hands, weight on his forearms. “Marry me.” He drew back his hips and pushed forward enough to make his balls go tight. He stopped moving because otherwise he couldn’t think. He had to work to marshal his thoughts.

“Marry me because I love you. Marry me because you love me. We’ll have children. Us. God, Portia, please. I want what slipped away before. I don’t want to live without you. I love you. I’ve always loved you.”

With the last of his wits, the last bit of his coherence, he waited.

She put her hands on either side of his face. “I love you, too, Crispin Hope. I always have.”

“Marry me.”

She wrapped her legs around his hips and bit his ear lobe once. “Yes, you fool. Yes. Now do this properly. The way you promised me or I shall know you’ll never be a proper husband for me.”

And so he did.

One Starlit Night - Copyright

Copyright © 2012 by Carolyn Jewel

This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locales or organizations is entirely coincidental.

All Rights Are Reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Cover design © by Courtney Milan.

Cover photography credits © Zagorodnaya | Shutterstock.com, and ©Yeko Photo Studio | Shutterstock.com

ISBN: 978-1-937823-09-2

All rights reserved. Where such permission is sufficient, the author grants the right to strip any DRM which may be applied to this work.

About Carolyn Jewel

BOOK: Carolyn Jewel
11.34Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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