The spark that had been lit within him raged out of control. He rolled her beneath him, and his lips moved roughly along her neck, down to the neckline of that awful nightgown.

He wanted to bite the damned thing off.

“Edward!” she gasped, and all he could think was that she was his. She had said so, and who was he to deny it?

He wanted her under his dominion, in his thrall.

He shoved the hem of her nightgown up, growling with satisfaction as she parted her legs for him. He might be a brute, but as his mouth found her breast through the thin cotton of her nightgown, her fingers were digging into his shoulders hard enough to leave bruises. And the noises she was making . . .

They were the noises of a woman who wanted more.

“Please,” she begged.

“What do you want?” He looked up. Smiled like the devil.

She looked at him in confusion. “You know.”

His head moved in a slow shake. “You have to say it.” He was wearing his smalls, but when he ground himself against her, he knew she could feel the hard length of his desire. “Say it,” he demanded.

Her face colored, and he knew it wasn’t just from the passion. “I want you,” she cried. “You know it. You know it.”

“Well, then,” he drawled. “You shall have me.”

He yanked the nightgown over her head, leaving her bare in the morning light. For a moment he forgot all that had happened. His rage . . . his urgency . . . it seemed to melt in the face of her beauty. He could only gaze upon her, drinking in her perfection.

“You are so lovely,” he whispered. His kisses turned soft—still desperate, but without the anger that had been fueling him before. He tasted her skin, the salty-sweet essence of her as he traveled down her shoulder, along the planes of her chest.

He wanted all of her. He wanted to lose himself.

No, he wanted her to do so. He wanted to bring her to the excruciating brink of pleasure, and then he wanted to send her over the edge.

He wanted her to forget her very name.

He skimmed his palm along the tip of her breast, delighting as it pebbled with desire, but he did not stop there. His lips traveled to her ribs, to her belly, to the gentle jut of her hipbone.


He ignored her. He knew what he was doing. He knew she’d like it.

And he knew he’d die if he didn’t taste her.

She gasped his name again, this time with urgency. “What are you doing?”

“Shhh . . .” he crooned, using his big hands to spread her legs wider. She squirmed, settling herself closer to his face. Her body seemed to know what it wanted, even if her mind was in a quandary.

“You can’t look at me there,” she gasped.

He kissed her just below her navel, just because he knew it would shock her. “You’re beautiful.”

“Not there!”

“I disagree.” He ran his fingers through her soft thatch of hair, skimming closer to her womanhood, parting her to his intimate gaze. Then he blew softly on her tender skin.

She let out a soft shriek of pleasure.

He let one of his fingers draw a lazy circle on her skin. “Do you like it?”

“I don’t know.”

“Let me try one more thing,” he murmured, “then you can decide.”

“I don’t—oh . . .”

He smiled. Right up against her. Right where he’d licked her. “Do you like it?” he asked again.

And she whispered, “Yes.”

He licked her again, this time with a broad, hungry stroke, his body humming with satisfaction as her hips bucked off the mattress. “You need to hold still,” he purred, knowing he was tormenting her. “If you want to do this properly.”

“I can’t,” she gasped.

“I think you can.” But just to be helpful, he moved his hands to the creases between her torso and her legs, where he could increase the pressure and hold her firm.

Then he kissed her. He kissed her like he kissed her mouth, hard and deep. He drank her in, and he gloried in the shivers and shakes of her body beneath him. She was drunk on desire.

She was drunk on him. And he loved it.

“Do you want this?” he murmured, lifting his head so that he could see her face.

And also so that he could torture her. Just a little.

“Yes,” she gasped. “Yes! Don’t stop.”

He let his fingers take the place of his mouth, tickling her while he spoke maddening words. “How much do you want it?”

She didn’t answer, but she didn’t have to. He could see the confusion on her face.

“How much, Cecilia?” he asked. He kissed her again, but only briefly, only enough to flick her nub with his tongue.

“So much!” she practically screamed.

That was more like it.

He went back to work, worshipping her with his mouth.

He worshipped her so damned much.

He kissed her until she fell apart beneath him, her body rising from the bed with almost enough force to push him away. She grabbed his head with frantic fingers, clamped her legs around him like a vise.

She held him there until she was through with him, and he loved every moment. When she finally went limp, he moved above her, propping himself on his elbows as he gazed down upon her. Her eyes were closed, and she shivered in the morning air.

“Are you cold?” he whispered. She made a tiny nod, and he covered her sweat-sheened body with his own.

Her head lolled back at the contact, as if the weight of him had been the final pleasure before oblivion. He kissed along the taut column of her neck, down to the indentation of her collarbone. She tasted like desire.

Her desire.

His, too.

He reached between them to unfasten his undergarments. It seemed a sacrilege to have anything between them, even a thin layer of linen. Within seconds it joined her nightgown on the side of the bed, and he settled back down into the warm cradle of her body.

He poised at her entrance, held himself there, and then pressed forward until he was home.

He forgot everything. Nothing existed except this moment, in this bed. He moved without thought, acted with nothing but instinct. She moved to his rhythm, her hips meeting his with each thrust. The pleasure built inside, so sharp and deep it could almost be pain, and then suddenly she flinched, and with panic in her eyes she said, “Wait!”

He jerked back, and something like fear raced through his heart. “Did I hurt you?”

She shook her head. “No, but we have to stop. I—I can’t be pregnant.”

He stared at her, trying to make sense of her words.

“Remember?” She swallowed miserably. “We talked about it.”

He remembered. It had meant something completely different before, though. She’d said she didn’t want to be pregnant on the journey back to England. And she didn’t want to have a baby in New York.

What she’d really meant was she couldn’t have a baby. Couldn’t allow herself to have one. Not without a marriage license.

For a moment he thought about denying her plea. He could finish inside of her, try to create a new life.

That would make this marriage real.

But then she whispered, “Please.”

He pulled out. It went against every instinct in his body, but he did it. He rolled onto his side, away from her, and focused all of his energy on simply remembering how to breathe.

“Edward?” She touched his shoulder.

He shook her off. “I need—I need a moment.”

“Yes, of course.” She edged away from him, her nervous movements rocking the mattress until he heard her feet land on the floor.

“Is . . . Is there something I can do?” she asked hesitantly. Her eyes fell on his manhood, still jutting ruthlessly out from his body. “To help?”

He thought about that.


Her breath whispered through the silence, and he was amazed that he could hear her over the pounding of his own heart.

“I’m sorry,” she said.

“Don’t apologize,” he snapped. He didn’t want to hear it. He rolled on his back and took a deep breath. He was still hard as a rock. He’d been so close to spilling inside of her, and now . . .


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