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Gabriels redemption, p.22
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       Gabriels Redemption, p.22

         Part #3 of Gabriels Inferno series by Sylvain Reynard  
Page 22

 

  “Good. ” Paul grinned. “Can we stop touching each other now?”

  Gabriel dropped his hand as if it were on fire. “Absolutely. ”

  Chapter Seventeen

  Later that afternoon, Julia and Gabriel checked into the Randolph Hotel. They were supposed to meet Katherine and Paul for dinner. But Paul said that he needed to speak to Professor Picton alone and, apologizing, asked the Emersons if they’d mind canceling their dinner plans. So the Emersons were left to dine alone.

  After a quiet meal in the Randolph’s elegant dining room, they went upstairs to their suite.

  “Are you glad the conference is over?” Gabriel held the door open for his wife.

  “Very glad. ” Immediately, Julia took off her suit jacket, draping it over a chair. She sat on the edge of the bed and kicked off her high heels.

  She retrieved a square of chocolate from atop one of the pillows and unwrapped it, popping the sweet into her mouth. “They didn’t give us chocolates at Magdalen College. ”

  She gazed fondly in the direction of the en-suite. “’I’m kind of in love with the heated towel rack in the bathroom. We need one of those in Cambridge. ”

  Gabriel laughed. “I’ll see what I can do. ”

  “But I wouldn’t trade our nights at Magdalen for anything. If we come back to Oxford, I hope we can stay there again. ”

  “Of course. ” He kissed the top of her head. “Magdalen is a special place, but the accommodations are a bit Spartan for my tastes. I think if we split our time between here and there, we’d be doing well. ”

  “I had hoped I’d see a Narnian ghost during our visit. ”

  “You won’t find one outside Magdalen. Although I’m told that the actor who played Inspector Morse haunts the bar downstairs. We could go and take a look. ”

  “I think I’ve had enough of people for one day. I need a hot bath, a hot towel, and an early night. ”

  “Do you feel differently now?” He extended his hand to cup her cheek.

  “About?”

  “About grad school. ” He shrugged. “About anything. ”

  “I worked hard on the paper, but I was also lucky. The audience didn’t bring their pitchforks. ”

  “They weren’t pushovers. I know that crowd. They don’t suffer fools. ”

  “I noticed that based on the way they turned on Christa during the question period. I’ve never seen that happen before. ” Julia shuddered.

  “I’ve seen it. And worse. ”

  “I wonder where she went. ”

  Gabriel snorted. “Apparently, Pacciani escorted her from the building. I suppose Katherine really did put the fear of God in him. He was furious. ”

  Julia looked up at her husband curiously. “Don’t you think it’s strange that Paul didn’t want to have dinner with us? He seemed to be looking forward to it earlier. ”

  Gabriel traced a light finger down her nose. “Maybe Katherine isn’t happy with his dissertation and he wanted to smooth things over without an audience. ”

  “Maybe. ”

  “You still haven’t answered my question. Do you feel differently about grad school now? Or are you still enthusiastic about your program?”

  She put her hand over his, pressing his palm against her cheek. “It was an intimidating experience. But I’m glad I did it. I’d like to do it again. ”

  “Good, because I think you’re gifted, Julianne, and I want to do everything in my power to help you succeed. ”

  She closed her eyes tightly. “Thank you, Gabriel. That means a lot. ”

  “You can always talk to me. If something is troubling you, I’ll listen. I promise. ” He slid his hand to the back of her neck.

  “I just want us to be happy. ”

  “I want that too. So if you’re ever unhappy, tell me. ”

  She pressed her lips to his wrist.

  “I wonder what Beatrice’s husband thought of Dante’s attentions. You have to admit, that part of the story is sad. Beatrice is married, but she has this poet following her around and writing sonnets about her. ”

  Gabriel’s grip on her tightened. “I married you. I love you. We have what Dante and Beatrice never had. ” He kissed her again. “I need to go out. But I’ll be back. ”

  “Will you be gone long?”

  “I don’t know. But in the meantime, I have a gift. ” He pulled a box out of his pocket and placed it in her hand.

  Julia read the label. Cartier.

  She looked up at him wide-eyed.

  He opened the box and she saw a beautiful white gold watch shining against folds of creamy silk.

  “This is in recognition of a job well done. You’re going to have lots of opportunities to present your research, and you need a reliable watch. ”

  He removed it from the box and turned it over, showing her the inscription on the back.

  To My Beloved,

  With admiration and pride

  Gabriel

  “A Timex is a reliable watch. This is something else entirely. ” Julia almost laughed.

  “Something entirely deserved, I assure you. ”

  She touched the engraving in awe.

  “How did you know?”

  “How did I know what?” He clasped the watch around her wrist. It fit perfectly.

  “How did you know I’d do a good job?”

  “Because I have faith in you. ” He kissed her slowly. Then, with a determined look, he exited their suite.

  Christa Peterson sat on the large bed in her hotel room, waiting. She’d managed to find a sexy black basque that laced up the back, and she wore it with gartered stockings and very high heels.

  Champagne cooled in a silver container in the corner, provocative music floated through the air, and a series of sensual accessories (including handcuffs) lay on the table next to the bed.

  She checked the very expensive watch she’d worn since she’d lost her virginity, resisting the urge to think back to the words Giuseppe had said to her the night before. His ascription had been too close to the mark.

  Instead, she focused on what was about to happen. She was finally going to have her heart’s desire—Professor Gabriel O. Emerson in her arms, her bed, her body.

  At last.

  Men never said no to her. And despite Gabriel’s attachment to his plain and mousy little wife, he was a man. They’d fuck a few times and go their separate ways. She’d have the satisfaction of knowing her success rate at seduction was one hundred percent.

  A knock echoed through the room.

  Trying to hide her enthusiasm, Christa straightened the seams of her stockings and walked toward the door.

  Chapter Eighteen

  You were wonderful,” Gabriel whispered, lazily running the backs of his fingers up and down her spine.

  She hugged the pillow, hiding her face. She was lying on her stomach, her back gloriously exposed.

  He eyed her bashfulness with concern before leaning over to kiss the slope of her shoulder.

  “Darling?”

  “Thank you. ” Julia shifted a little, her eyes meeting his.

  “How did you feel about that position?” Gabriel pressed his palm flat just above her backside, resting over two dimples.

  “I enjoyed it. ”

  “But?”

  “No qualifications. ”

  “Then why are you shy?”

  She shrugged.

  Gabriel rolled her to her side. “You’re safe. I promise, you’re safe in my arms and in my bed. Always. ”

  He placed a finger to her chin, lifting it.

  “Talk to me. ”

  She avoided his eyes. “I don’t want to bring old issues up, but sometimes I worry. ”

  “About what?”

  “I worry I’m not adventurous enough for you. ”

  Gabriel would have laughed had she not looked so serious. He forced himself to look grave.

  “That’s a remarkable worry after the past few hours. ” His palm rested on the curve of her backside, but he resisted the urge to squeeze.

  She blew a lock of hair away from her mouth. “I didn’t get a chance to tell you this, but Christa cornered me just before lunch. ”

  Gabriel’s eyes flashed. “I don’t want to hear that name while we’re in bed. ”

  Julia nuzzled against the fine hair of his chest. “I’m sorry. ”

  “What did she say?”

  “She said you deserved someone adventurous. ”

  “Don’t listen to her poisonous bullshit. ”

  “I told her you deserved love and that’s what I gave you. ”

  “That’s certainly true. ” His hand slid up her spine to her neck, where he began massaging her gently. “So why are you worrying?”

  “Because I want to keep you. ”

  Gabriel chuckled in spite of himself. “I’m afraid we’re in a competition, then, darling, because I want to do my damnedest to keep you. ”

  “Good. ” She snuggled closer in his arms.

  “There are some adventures I experienced before you that I don’t wish to repeat. ”

  Julia thought of Professor Pain and winced.

  Gabriel’s index finger traced the curve of her neck, up and down and up and down, whisper soft. “Other adventures I’d be willing to explore, if you felt the same way. Our bed is for pleasure. My utmost concern is to please you and to find my pleasure with you, not at your expense. You don’t need to worry that I’ll abandon you if you say no to me. You can always say no. Understand?”

  “Yes. ” She breathed deeply.

  “So if I were to suggest something . . . new, and you were to decide you didn’t want to try it, that’s fine. ”

  “Really?” Her large eyes searched his.

  The edges of his lips turned up. “I might attempt to seduce you and change your mind. But I can think of few things more unpleasant than bedding an unwilling woman. ”

  He stroked his thumb across the curve of her cheek.

  “And in your case, I can think of nothing more painful than looking into your eyes and seeing discomfort or regret. ”

  He brought their mouths together and they were both momentarily lost in the sweetness of their embrace.

  “Do you still feel shy?” He pulled back so he could see her expression.

  “No. ” She pressed her legs together. “But I’m wondering what kind of sexual adventures you have in mind. ”

  “Trust me, Julianne, and I’ll show you. ” He rolled her to her back before pinning her arms above her head and whispering his lips against her throat.

  The next morning, the Emersons slept late despite their intention to awake early and visit the Ashmolean Museum. Gabriel left the bed first, kissing Julia before walking to the en-suite.

  After he’d showered and shaved, he entered the bedroom, clad only in his glasses and a towel. Julia was still asleep.

  He gazed on her with no little satisfaction. She’d been absolutely shattered the night before, the result of an exceptional series of orgasms. His chest swelled with pride.

  For Gabriel, it had been a night spent initiating her into activities she’d never done before. He couldn’t help the primal possessiveness he felt at being the one to teach her—at being the one to share her pleasure. But his possessiveness was tempered with tenderness, as he recognized how much Julia had come to trust him.

 
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