A male voice coolly broke into her thoughts. “Going somewhere?”
Faith’s hands turned numb. The shoes fell to the floor with a crash of hard leather against equally hard wood. She clapped her palm over her mouth, stifling all but a single cry. He watched her, one brow raised in the throbbing silence while they waited for someone to take an interest. Nobody came.
Her heart drummed so hard she feared it would burst from her chest. She had to fight to breathe.
The man before her still wore the severely tailored clothes she’d seen him in earlier. However, he’d smudged the shirt and pulled a bunch of threads from his silk waistcoat. The silver embroidery glistened in the light from the candles she’d left burning, the flames guttering because she hadn’t trimmed the wicks.
Reaching out blindly, she found the corner of her chest of drawers and used it to steady herself. “Where did you come from?”
“The maid didn’t latch the window properly.”
“But I’m on the second floor!” she cried, horrified by the danger he’d faced by climbing up here.
He grinned, but she saw no mirth in his expression. “I can manage to clamber up, even in these clothes.” He gave his coat a disdainful flick.
“Why did you come?”
“Because, my dear, I decided I could not do without my precious wife for another moment. If you wish it, we will sleep, but we’ll do it together.”
“You can’t mean it!” But when she studied his powerful form she felt a ridiculous urge to throw herself at him. She’d let him close his arms around her and take the weight of the burden she’d carried for so long.
No, he had no reason to do that. She’d traduced him, stolen from him.
“Naturally I do.” He took a step towards her. She held her ground, gripping the piece of furniture hard. He touched her hand, unpeeled her fingers. She couldn’t repress her shiver at the contact. He stopped but did not let go. “A shudder of repulsion?”
She wouldn’t do it to him, lie that way. Not now. “No. It happens when you touch me. I don’t know why.”
“Then let me show you.” He tugged on her hand and she took a step, then another. Before she could retreat, he snaked his arm around her and released her hand, only to band that arm around her upper back. Instinctively she turned her head up but as she opened her mouth to protest, he kissed her.
He gave no quarter. His embrace had no stage of politeness or tentativeness. He took her as if starving, as if he knew how she liked a man to kiss her.
She kissed him back. He didn’t leave her much choice. Hauling her so close a feather couldn’t pass between them, he opened his mouth over hers, worked her lips open with his, and plunged his tongue inside, tasting with a wild abandon she could accept or match.
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