A week to be wicked, p.21
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       A Week to Be Wicked, p.21
 

         Part #2 of Spindle Cove series by Tessa Dare
Page 21

 

  “Do you like it?” He tweaked her nipple. “Answer. ”

  A low moan eased from her throat. He was right. Giving voice to the pleasure made it that much sweeter, sharper. Real.

  “Yes. God, yes. This is how to drive a man wild, pet. ” His hand shaped and molded her breast as he trailed kisses over her elongated throat, sipping and licking at her skin. “Once I’ve made you sigh, all I can think is how to make you moan. Then whimper. Then cry out in helpless ecstasy. ”

  He shifted over her, redistributing his weight. He was so hard all over, pressing against her soft flesh. His muscled chest flattened her breasts. His knee wedged her thighs apart. And then that hard, eagerly thrusting organ she’d brazenly observed and admired last night . . . he pressed it against her sex.

  Pleasure rocketed through her. Intense. Consuming. Like nothing she’d ever known.

  She moaned, deep and lustily. Because she wanted more. More of his hardness, his heat. More of this enticing friction rubbing her through that cool, smooth linen.

  He gave her just what she craved. He set a rhythm, slow and steady, rocking against her as he kissed her throat and nuzzled her linen-sheathed breasts.

  “Yes?” he prompted, sucking her earlobe into his mouth.

  “Yes. ”

  “More?”

  “More. ”

  “Tell me with your hands now. Hold fast to me. Move with me. ”

  She clung to him, shameless, sliding her hands around his shoulders. Her arousal only climbed as she felt the flex and strain of his muscles beneath her palms. He was laboring so hard, and for her. All for her. She loved feeling the strength in his body as he moved over her, rubbed against her. Again and again and again.

  Soon, he had her moaning with every delicious stroke. The louder she called to him, the more resounding his response. The mattress joined the erotic symphony, creaking in time with his strong, rhythmic thrusts. He quickened his tempo, and the bedpost added thumping percussion as it knocked against the wall.

  “Yes, Min. This is how it should be. ” Raw need edged his voice. “Never settle for less. Be fearless. Wild and loud and lovely. God, you’re so lovely. ”

  It was dark, and she knew he could scarcely see her. But it didn’t matter. She felt lovely. Beneath her touch, his fevered skin slid hot and beautiful. Together, they’d made this stunning, gorgeous pleasure.

  She chased the sensation, tilting her hips and riding his thrusts as they came faster, stronger.

  Then something changed. Suddenly, the pleasure was chasing her. Hunting her down with ruthless intensity. She couldn’t hide from it, couldn’t escape.

  Her eyes flew open, wide and unfocused in the shadowy dark. “Colin. ”

  “Yes. ” He stroked on, relentless. “Yes, call my name. Louder. ”

  “Colin, I—” Her voice caught on a fearful gasp. “I can’t . . . ”

  “Don’t fight it. All’s as it should be. It’s perfect. ” As he surged on and on, his brow dropped to her shoulder. “You’re perfect. ”

  Here it came, the pleasure. Swirling, taunting. Pulling at her from the inside. Dragging her into some dark, strange place. She grasped him tighter, pressing her nails into the flesh of his shoulder.

  Don’t let me go.

  He kissed her cheek, her lips. “Come for me, darling. Come for yourself. ”

  At last, she surrendered to it. She heard herself cry out as the bliss finally caught her, lifted her. Pulled her to fragments. Wrung her limp. Left her gasping for breath and changed inside.

  And still he moved on, pumping his hips at a tortured, frantic pace. He framed her face in his hands, then drove his fingers back to twist in her hair. The delicious pull sent pleasure rushing through her again.

  He held her still and tight, grinding his hardness against her. “Sorry,” he groaned. “Too good. Can’t stop. ”

  With a growl, he shuddered and jerked in her embrace. Then slumped heavy atop her, panting into the curve of her neck.

  Her fingers relaxed their grip on his shoulders. Her hands trembled. She didn’t know how to touch him. A bead of sweat trickled along her collarbone. She wasn’t sure if it was hers or his.

  What did this all mean? It wasn’t really copulation, much less lovemaking. But it was real in some way. She didn’t know how to think of him now. Much less how to look at him, speak to him in the morning. How did she think of herself, after she’d moaned and sighed his name? Was she ruined? Was she a wanton?

  He rolled to the side, one hand still tangled in her hair. His chest rose and fell with a heavy sigh. “Good Lord, woman. ”

  Woman. She was a woman.

  “You are forever catching me by surprise. I begin as your tutor, teaching the lesson. And then somehow . . . minutes later, I’m spilling like a schoolboy. ” He gave a husky, intimate chuckle.

  And what seemed like seconds after that, he was snoring.

  Chapter Thirteen

  “Jesus. ” Wincing at the too-bright morning, Colin speared a hand through his hair. “I can’t believe this happened. I never do this. Never. ”

  Minerva rolled over sleepily, rubbing her eyes. “What is it?”

  “Get dressed, and quickly. We’ve overslept. ”

  Thus began a mad, mutual dash to wash and dress and pack up all their things. The haste was convenient, in some ways. It postponed any discussion of last night.

  It did not, however, erase his memories. Her every sound, every motion aroused him. The way she tugged her hairbrush through that love-tangled jumble of dark curls. The way her breasts jounced as she hopped on one foot, struggling to jam the other into her half-boot. When she reached out and clutched his shoulder to balance, Colin thought he might unman himself yet again. He hadn’t been exaggerating last night. She made him randy as a youth, and twice as stupid.

  Damn it, man. What were you thinking? You have rules about this.

  Yes, he conceded. But he hadn’t broken those rules. He’d merely stretched them.

  Stretched them. Stroked them. Humped them. Made them moan and sob.

  He shook himself. Bloody hell. And here he had another long, dusty day of riding horseback facing him. Excellent. At least he wouldn’t need to schedule additional time for guilt and regret.

  Hopefully the grooms downstairs had already selected a horse and readied it with his tack and saddle. As travel went, renting a posting horse every twenty miles wasn’t ideal. It wasn’t doing his arse any favors, either. But to keep up with a coach’s pace, Colin really had no alternative.

  She drew aside the curtains and peeked out the window. “Oh, I see the Fontleys. They’re getting in the carriage already. Surely they wouldn’t leave without us. ”

  “Surely not. ” He joined her at the window. The Fontleys were, indeed, almost ready to depart. “They can’t do that to you. Today’s your birthday. ”

  “Don’t start. ” She cast him a chastening look through askew spectacles. Then self-consciousness flickered across her face, as if she’d felt some echo of the night before. She blushed, swallowed, and looked away.

  He had the sudden, inexplicable urge to kiss her. But that would almost certainly be a bad idea, and anyway—there wasn’t time. They hurried down the stairs with a thunder of footfalls, struggling with the trunks as they came.

  “Here we are,” Colin called, hurrying ahead of Minerva. “We’re coming! Tallyho!”

  One of the Fontleys’ footmen stood perched on the back of the coach. Colin heaved the smallest trunk up to him, for storage. Then the second.

  “Don’t forget this one,” Minerva called, dragging the third trunk behind her. The one that held Francine.

  As Colin turned to help her with it, he heard the crack of a driver’s whip. Before he even understood what was happening, the coach had rolled into motion.

  The Fontleys were driving away. Without them.

  “Wait!” Minerva calle
d. “Come back!”

  Mrs. Fontley’s head poked out the window. “And subject my children to such reprehensible characters? I will not. ” As the coach trundled away at a clip, they heard her shouting, “You are not good people!”

  Minerva turned to him, stunned and breathless. “What can she mean? Surely it wasn’t the fact that you punched that man last night. ”

  “Couldn’t be. I can’t think what we did to change their opinion, unless . . . ” His stomach rolled.

  “Unless what?”

  “Unless they somehow heard us. Last night. ”

  She paled. “Oh, sweet heaven. ” Her lip folded under her teeth. “But how could they have . . . ?”

  “They couldn’t have. ”

  “No, they couldn’t have, unless they were right next door. Unless . . . ” Her gaze met his, wide and horrified. “Unless they were the ones we heard. ”

  Colin blew out a slow breath. He turned his head and stared after the coach. “Well. Good for them. Well done, Mr. Fontley. ”

  Minerva didn’t share his amusement.

  “Oh God. ” She sat down on her one remaining trunk and dropped her head in her hands. “They must think us scheming charlatans. They know every word we said was false. Ceylon, the lepers, the stupid beetle bite. They know we’re liars. ”

  He ducked his head and scratched the back of his neck. “Let’s hope that’s what they concluded. ”

  She looked up at him. “What else would they think? That we weren’t lying? That we really are brother and—” He watched the look of abject revulsion creep across her face. “No. No. ”

  “Don’t worry,” he said hastily. “I’m sure they concluded the first. ”

  “Ugh. ” She shuddered violently. “I think I’ll be sick. ”

  “There’s no need for that, pet. We know the truth. ”

  “Do we?”

  He felt the barb in her remark. Neither of them knew exactly what they were to each other, after last night.

  But that conversation would need to wait. For the first time, Colin noticed how many people around the area were watching them. The look in their eyes wasn’t friendly. As he turned casually to face the inn, the door slammed. He heard a latch scrape shut.

  Renting a fresh horse was apparently out of the question. And he didn’t suppose any of these villagers would be offering them a ride.

  “I should have known it was a bad idea,” she whimpered. “I should have known I’d pay for it somehow. Whenever you touch me, I end up humiliated. ”

  He cleared his throat and drew near to Minerva. “We’d best leave this place. As soon as possible. Whatever the Fontleys concluded about us, it seems they shared those conclusions with everyone here. ”

  “But where will we go? How will get there?” She gestured after the long-gone carriage. Despair weakened her voice. “They took all my clothes, all my things. ”

  He crouched before her. “You still have your purse?”

  She nodded.

  “And you still have Francine. You’re sitting on her. ”

  She nodded again. “My scientific findings are in this one, too. ”

  “Then those are the most important things. Everything else is replaceable. We’ll just walk to the next town up the road, and from there we’ll start anew. All right?”

  She sniffed. “All right. ”

  He helped her to her feet, then stared at her trunk, considering how best to carry the thing. On his shoulder?

  She clutched one handle with her gloved hand and lifted. “I’ll take this side, and you take the other. It will be faster this way. ”

  His sense of chivalry rebelled, but she was right. Carrying the thing between them was really the best way.

  “Now, then,” he said, as they walked down the road that led out of town, carrying a giant lizard’s footprint. “Let’s have a smile. We’ll be back underway in no time. ”
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