He was going to stop right there and leave her bothered and breathless. But when there was barely an inch between them, the pull grew too strong. Her scent was too beguiling, the sound of her breath too arousing. The prickles of desire he’d meant to spark within her suddenly ignited within him, sending a warm claw of need to the very tips of his toes. And the finger he’d been trailing along her cheek—just to torture her, he told himself—suddenly became a hand that cupped the back of her head as his lips took hers in an explosion of anger and desire.
She gasped against his mouth, and he took advantage of her parted lips by sliding his tongue between them. She was stiff in his arms, but it seemed more to do with surprise than anything else, and so Anthony pressed his suit further by allowing one of his hands to slide down her back and cup the gentle curve of her derriere.
“This is madness,” he whispered against her ear. But he made no move to let her go.
Her reply was an incoherent, confused moan, and her body became slightly more pliant in his arms, allowing him to mold her even closer to his form. He knew he should stop, knew he damned well shouldn’t have started, but his blood was racing with need, and she felt so…so…
He groaned, his lips leaving hers to taste the slightly salty skin of her neck. There was something about her that suited him like no woman ever had before, as if his body had discovered something his mind utterly refused to consider.
Something about her was…right.
She felt right. She smelled right. She tasted right. And he knew that if he stripped off all of her clothes and took her there on the carpet on the floor of his study, she would fit underneath him, fit around him—just right.
It occurred to Anthony that when she wasn’t arguing with him, Kate Sheffield might bloody well be the finest woman in England.
Her arms, which had been imprisoned in his embrace, slowly edged up, until her hands were hesitantly resting on his back. And then her lips moved. It was a tiny thing, actually, a movement barely felt on the thin skin of his forehead, but she was definitely kissing him back.
A low, triumphant growl emerged from Anthony’s mouth as he moved his mouth back to hers, kissing her fiercely, daring her to continue what she’d begun. “Oh, Kate,” he moaned, nudging her back until she was leaning against the edge of the desk. “God, you taste so good.”
“Bridgerton?” Her voice was tremulous, the word more of a question than anything else.
“Don’t say anything,” he whispered. “Whatever you do, don’t say anything.”
“Not a word,” he interrupted, pressing a finger to her lips. The last thing he wanted was for her to ruin this perfectly good moment by opening her mouth and arguing.
“But I—” She planted her hands on his chest and wrenched herself away, leaving him off balance and panting.
Anthony let out a curse, and not a mild one.
Kate scurried away, not all the way across the room, but over to a tall wingback chair, far enough away so that she was not in arms’ reach. She gripped the stiff back of the chair, then darted around it, thinking that it might be a good idea to have a nice solid piece of furniture between them.
The viscount didn’t look to be in the best of tempers.
“Why did you do that?” she said, her voice so low it was almost a whisper.
He shrugged, suddenly looking a little less angry and a little more uncaring. “Because I wanted to.”
Kate just gaped at him for a moment, unable to believe that he could have such a simple answer to what was, despite its simple phrasing, such a complicated question. Finally, she blurted out, “But you can’t have.”
He smiled. Slowly. “But I did.”
“But you don’t like me!”
“True,” he allowed.
“And I don’t like you.”
“So you’ve been telling me,” he said smoothly. “I’ll have to take your word for it, since it wasn’t particularly apparent a few seconds ago.”
Kate felt her cheeks flush with shame. She had responded to his wicked kiss, and she hated herself for it, almost as much as she hated him for initiating the intimacy.
But he didn’t have to taunt her. That was the act of a cad. She gripped the back of the chair until her knuckles turned white, no longer certain if she was using it as a defense against Bridgerton or as a means to stop herself from lunging forward to strangle him.
“I am not going to let you marry Edwina,” she said in a very low voice.
“No,” he murmured, moving slowly forward until he was just on the other side of the chair. “I didn’t think you were.”
Her chin lifted a notch. “And I am certainly not going to marry you.”
He planted his hands on the armrests and leaned forward until his face was only a few inches from hers. “I don’t recall asking.”
Kate lurched backward. “But you just kissed me!”
He laughed. “If I offered marriage to every woman I’d kissed, I’d have been thrown into jail for bigamy long ago.”
Kate could feel herself begin to shake, and she held on to the back of the chair for dear life. “You, sir,” she nearly spat out, “have no honor.”
His eyes blazed and one of his hands shot out to grip her chin. He held her that way for several seconds, forcing her to meet his gaze. “That,” he said in a deadly voice, “is not true, and were you a man, I’d call you out for it.”
Kate remained still for what seemed like a very long time, her eyes locked on his, the skin on her cheek burning where his powerful fingers held her motionless. Finally she did the one thing she’d sworn she would never do with this man.
***P/S: Copyright -->Novel12__Com