Turner kicked the door shut. "I disagree."
"Turner, don't!" Miranda tugged her arm and tried to get back to the door to reopen it, but he blocked her way. "This is my grandparents' house. I'll not have them shamed by any improper behavior."
"I should think you'd be more concerned by their possibly hearing what I have to say to you."
She took one look at his implacable expression and shut her mouth. "Very well. Say whatever it is you came here to say."
His finger began to draw lazy circles in her palm. "I've been thinking about you, Miranda."
"Have you? That's very flattering."
He ignored her snide tone and moved closer. "Have you been thinking about me?"
Oh , dear Lord. If he only knew. "On occasion."
"Only on occasion?"
He pulled her toward him, his hand sliding sinuously along her arm. "How rarely?" he murmured.
"Almost never." But her voice was growing softer, and far less sure.
"Really?" He raised one of his brows in an incredulous expression. "I think all this Scottish food has been addling your brain. Have you been eating haggis?"
"Haggis?" she asked breathlessly. She could feel her chest growing light, as if the air itself had become something intoxicating, as if she might grow drunk, just breathing in his presence.
"Mmm-hmm. Hideous food, I think."
"It's- it's not bad." What was he talking about? And why was he looking at her that way? His eyes looked like sapphires. No, like a moonlit sky. Oh, dear. Was that her resolve flying out the window?
Turner smiled indulgently. "Your memory is quite diminished, darling. I think you need some reminding." His lips descended gently on hers, spreading fire quickly throughout her body. She sagged against him, sighing his name.
He pulled her more tightly against him, the force of his arousal pressing against her. "Can you feel what you do to me?" he whispered. "Can you?"
Miranda nodded shakily, barely aware that she was standing in the middle of her grandparents' salon.
"Only you can do that to me, Miranda," he murmured huskily. "Only you."
That remark struck a discordant chord within her, and she stiffened in his arms. Hadn't he just spent more than a month in Kent with his friend Lord Harry Whatever-his-name-was? And hadn't Olivia blithely informed her that the festivities would have included wine, whiskey, and women? Loose women. Lots of them.
"What's wrong, darling?"
His words were whispered against her skin, and a part of her wanted to melt right back against him. But she would not be seduced. Not this time. Before she could change her mind, she planted her palms against his chest and pushed. "Don't try to do this to me," she warned.
"Do what?" His face was the picture of innocence.
If Miranda had had a vase in her hands, she would have thrown it at him. Or better yet, a half-eaten scone. "Seduce me into bending to your will."
"Why not?" she repeated incredulously. "Why not? Because I…Because you…"
"Because why?" He was grinning now.
"Because- oh!" Her fists balled up at her sides, and she actually stamped her foot. Which made her even more furious. To be reduced to this- it was humiliating.
"Now, now, Miranda."
"Don't 'now, now' me, you overbearing, patronizing- "
"You're angry with me, I gather."
She narrowed her eyes. "You always were clever, Turner."
He ignored her sarcasm. "Well, here you have it- I'm sorry. I never intended to remain so long in Kent. I don't know why I did it, but I did, and I'm sorry. It was meant to be a two-day trip."
"A two-day trip that lasted nearly two months?" she scoffed. "Pardon me if I have difficulty believing you."
"I wasn't in Kent the entire time. When I returned to London, my mother said you were tending to a sick relative. It wasn't until Olivia returned that I learned otherwise."
"I don't care how long you were…wherever you were!" she yelled, crossing her arms tightly across her chest. "You shouldn't have abandoned me like that. I can understand that you needed time to think, because I know you never wanted to marry me, but good heavens, Turner, did you need seven weeks? You cannot treat a woman like that! It's rude and unconscionable and…and downright ungentlemanly!"
Was that the worst thing she could think to call him? Turner resisted the urge to smile. This wasn't going to be nearly as bad as he thought. "You're right," he said quietly.
"And furthermore- what?" She blinked.
"Don't you want to be?"
She opened her mouth, shut it, and then said, "Stop trying to confuse me."
"I'm not. I'm agreeing with you, in case you hadn't noticed." He offered her his most engaging smile. "Is my apology accepted?"
Miranda sighed. It ought to be illegal for a man to have this much charm. "Yes, fine. It's accepted. But what," she asked suspiciously, "were you doing in Kent?"
"Mostly getting drunk."
"Is that all?"
"A bit of hunting."
"And I did my best to keep Winston out of trouble when he found his way down there from Oxford. That chore kept me an extra fortnight, I'll have you know."
"Are you trying to ask me if there were women there?"
Her eyes slid away from his face. "Perhaps."
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