Read Regency Mistresses: A Practical Mistress\The Wanton Bride Online

Authors: Mary Brendan

Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Genre Fiction, #Historical, #Romance, #Historical Fiction, #Historical Romance, #Regency

Regency Mistresses: A Practical Mistress\The Wanton Bride (35 page)

BOOK: Regency Mistresses: A Practical Mistress\The Wanton Bride
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‘I don’t want your gratitude, Emily,’ Mark said hoarsely.

‘I know you do not. Despite your angry words, I know you have given your aid freely, and would do so again.’ She paused, thinking back over those years she had known Mark Hunter. For most of their acquaintance she had treated him coldly because of the incident surrounding her brother’s imprisonment. In her heart she had known that her loyalty to Tarquin was extreme and unappreciated. Tarquin had been wild and out of control, and Mark had been right to rein him in. Difficult as it was to now eat humble pie, she must do it for her conscience’s sake.

‘I don’t simply owe you my gratitude; I owe you an apology too.’ She sensed smouldering eyes warming her. ‘I know that when you had Tarquin sent to the Fleet you were being cruel to be kind. His incarceration
stopped him gambling, and losing what little assets he had left. I was wrong to put the blame for it on you. I was wrong to be insolent to you.’ Emily slanted a nervous peek at him through a web of long, inky lashes. ‘Tarquin is lucky indeed you are still his friend, and that you have done so much recently to help him.’

‘I didn’t do it for him.’

Emily took a step closer to gauge his expression.

‘I did it for you; surely you realised that?’ he said gruffly.

Emily searched blue eyes that were devoid of irony, that seemed soulful, and intent on analysing her reaction to his words.

‘Because you want to sleep with me?’ Emily whispered.

‘Because I love you, Emily Beaumont.’ In a low, velvety voice he added, ‘And, naturally, I want to prove that to you in bed.’ He came purposefully closer. ‘Actually, I’d like to prove it to you now.’

Hands that were lightly vibrating were raised to tenderly cup her bashful face and turn it up to his.

‘You love me, even though you know that I lay willingly with Nicholas?’ Emily asked in a small voice.

‘I can’t pretend I like knowing it,’ Mark admitted with raw tenderness. ‘I admit too that, since you
told me, I’ve acted like a sulky youth over it.’ His manner was endearingly self-conscious. ‘I’ve always abhorred hypocrites, yet now I’ve acted as one.’ His thumbs swept soft arcs on the satin skin of her jaw. ‘I owe you an apology. It’s not your fault that you were seduced by Devlin’s lies and promises. You were young and sincere and understandably vulnerable to a master of deceit.’ Mark paused. ‘I don’t like knowing that you gave him a precious part of yourself, or that you wanted to marry him. But perhaps you don’t like knowing that, in my youth, I loved Barbara Emerson, and wanted her for my wife.’

Emily gazed at him with eyes that had spontaneously filled with prickling tears. ‘I don’t like knowing it at all. I don’t like the rumours that you will wed. I don’t like it that she is still your mistress.’ She ended her admission on a shrill note of indignation that made Mark wryly smile.

‘She isn’t … not any more …’ he soothed. ‘I have seen Barbara today and told her that it is finished between us.’ Mark was prevented from adding that he’d had no intention of asking Barbara to marry him since he turned twenty-one.

Emily suddenly flung her arms about his neck, hugging him chokingly tight. ‘I thought you still
loved her. I thought you hoped to marry her, and would hate me for depriving you of the woman you truly wanted as your wife.’

‘You’re the woman I truly want as my wife, Emily,’ Mark told her gravely. His lips skimmed the silky blonde hair at her brow. ‘We both have loved and wanted to marry people who we now know would have ultimately made us unhappy. We must be thankful that those affairs are behind us and we are free to concentrate on our future together.’ He tilted up her chin with a single digit. ‘Do you agree?’

Chapter Eighteen

‘I
do agree.’

‘And Stephen Bond?’

‘Stephen is a nice man, but I do not love him. In fact, I had a letter telling him so to post, but was distracted when Riley abducted me.’ Emily gave him an adoring smile. ‘I love you, Mark … so very much, and would be greatly honoured to be your wife.’ She paused, raised a hand to tenderly cup his angular chin. ‘I love you so much more than ever I loved Nicholas …’

‘Prove it,’ Mark demanded, his voice gruff with need.

Emily immediately complied. She went on tiptoe to press her soft warm lips against his. But he wanted more wooing than a coy salute. Gamely she
teased him with little nipping kisses until, satisfied, he allowed her tongue to slip into his mouth to tangle with his.

With a guttural sound rasping in his throat, Mark lifted her up so their faces were level and he could fully enjoy her sweet seduction. From instinct, her legs immediately separated, wound about his thighs to clasp him possessively to her. Mark forgot about flirtatious games; he wanted her … His mouth stroked back and forth on soft, willing lips, plundered with savage sensuality until the kiss was so deep their faces were still.

Easily carrying his sensual prize, he strode swiftly to the nearest wall.

With blue watered silk at her back and Mark’s hard powerful body keeping her effortlessly in place, Emily loosened her cloak. With her face still upturned to his and her mouth greedily taking the onslaught of his lips, she felt for her buttons. Unsteady fingers slowly loosened her bodice by touch alone. Mark raised his head, his eyes glowing with desire as he watched her small moving fingers. Deliberately Emily opened her chemise until the sides flapped away from her alabaster skin like small lapels. With her feverish gaze still meshed with his, she pulled down the soft cotton until it framed and
supported her naked breasts, raising them close to his mouth.

Mark’s eyes swooped to adore the lush, milky flesh offered up to him. His mouth slowly descended to take her invitingly slack lips in a slow, rewarding kiss that made her squirm delightedly.

Emily arched her back, rotated her hips faster against the rigid heat at his pelvis, wordlessly begging for him to soothe the aching need building within her feminine core.

With his body supporting hers, he used both hands to take his gift. Long, avaricious fingers began to reverentially stroke, pamper, shape the quivering flesh he was preparing to feast on. First one, then the other, blood-red nub thickened, stiffened beneath his skilful tongue as it leisurely trailed torment. When her aching flesh was almost unbearably hot and swollen Emily fought to contain the sob of pleasure tightening her throat. In delirium her head was thrown back, twisted from side to side in wordless denial, but the groan burst from her.

Mark covered her panting mouth with his to stop the feral sound from increasing in volume.

‘Hush …’ he whispered against her bruised lips, his tone throaty and amused. ‘That was loud enough to bring old Cedric running, and he’s deaf as a post.’

Emily tensed, then, in chagrin, her eyes screwed tight shut. The haze of sensuality drugging her was ebbing away and fiery embarrassment taking its place. She was a guest in an aristocrat’s mansion, yet was acting like a dockside harlot. With a subdued shriek of shame she struggled to find her feet and her dignity. She pushed at Mark’s shoulders, wriggled this way and that to try to make him set her down.

Emily’s writhing now drew a guttural noise from Mark. Her attempt to recover her modesty was having the reverse effect to the one intended. His arms tightened about her, subduing her protests whilst his mouth relentlessly pursued hers.

‘Oh … let me go, Mark,’ Emily pleaded in anguish as his lips cornered hers. ‘Do you suppose they heard? What must your brother think of me? Do you think they understood what we … that is … do you think they
know
what we’re doing?’ She turned to him, grasped his lean, angular jaw, then rushed her soft palms up and down on abrasive skin to hurry his reassurance.

Mark tore his eyes from the delectable sight of her nude bosom heaving just inches from his hungry mouth.

‘What do
you
think of me?’ Emily wailed softly. His desire had harshly tautened his features and she
craved some tender affection from him. Did Mark think she had just proved herself a hussy rather than a fitting wife?

He looked deep into her stormy eyes; touched his lips to hers in a lightly teasing kiss. ‘I’ll show you what I think of you.’ But instead of a renewed seduction, he gently lowered her to the ground. His hands drew together her chemise, her gaping bodice, and painstakingly refastened them. He then slipped a hand to his pocket and withdrew a jeweller’s box. Carefully he prised open the lid and turned towards her his gift. A huge rose-cut diamond caught candle flame and sparked fire. ‘I brought this with me this morning. I didn’t have a chance to give it to you.’

Emily’s sharply indrawn breath caught in her throat. For a moment she was so mesmerised by the magnificent betrothal ring that she forgot to be concerned about his expertise in deftly fastening a lady’s undergarments.

Whilst Emily gazed upon her beautiful gift, Mark gazed upon his. Her dress was crumpled, her blonde locks were tousled and her mouth was beestung from their loving. Humbly he gave thanks for his good fortune that this woman was his.

‘It’s wonderful,’ Emily at last managed to gasp.

‘I wasn’t sure whether you would prefer a different stone. I wasn’t sure what Devlin got you.’

Emily looked into his eyes. ‘A sapphire, and I gave it back without regret,’ she said huskily. ‘This is the most splendid gem I have ever seen.’ She gazed up into his eyes. ‘You’ll never get it back.’

Mark drew forth the platinum shank from its satin nest and slid it on to her betrothal finger. ‘I’d best marry you then … it cost a small fortune.’ He placed a light reverential kiss on her scarlet lips. ‘If you are still unsure what I think of you, Emily Beaumont, let me tell you in words,’ he said huskily. ‘I love and respect you utterly. I want us to be married by special licence tomorrow.’ He smiled ruefully, ‘And I would have told you that even had I not yet sampled what sweet advantages are to be had from taking a wanton bride …’

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Mills & Boon, an imprint of Harlequin (UK) Limited,
Eton House, 18-24 Paradise Road, Richmond, Surrey TW9 1SR

REGENCY MISTRESSES © Harlequin Books S.A. 2011

The publisher acknowledges the copyright holder of the individual works as follows:

A Practical Mistress
© Mary Brendan 2006
The Wanton Bride
© Mary Brendan 2006

ISBN: 978-1-408-93888-1

BOOK: Regency Mistresses: A Practical Mistress\The Wanton Bride
3.02Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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