Even knowing that the door wasn’t locked and they could be caught at any moment wasn’t going to stop him. For over a month, his body had been in agonizing turmoil, desperate to be with her again. Day and night he had to fight the urge to hunt her down, pin her against the wall and take her. He fought it every single day. The nights were the worst as he held her in his arms, but somehow he managed to allow himself the gift of simply holding her.

Now he didn’t care. He had to have her. There was nothing on this earth that was going to stop him from taking her again. It would take every footman in this house to tear him off her and even then he would fight to get back to her. Right now he was back with his minx from the orangery and nothing else mattered.

She clasped a hand to her mouth and screamed his name. A loud moan tore from Robert’s throat at the sound of his name ripped from her beautiful lips. While her orgasm was still tearing through her body, he stood and pushed himself in past her throbbing walls and began thrusting, knowing that he was not going to last very long.

Their eyes locked, hungrily. Robert licked the last drop of her arousal from his lips in a sensual move. Elizabeth found herself responding by pushing herself up until she was sitting up with her legs and arms wrapped around him.

Robert wasted no time in wrapping his arms around her and dropping his mouth to hers in a hungry kiss. Her hands slid up, gripping his hair in her fists as she returned his kiss.

The memory of that night did not do her justice. She was so wet and hot for him, not to mention incredibly tight. This was heaven. He could feel her starting to throb around him. He quickened his pace while his mouth moved to her throat, kissing and licking her skin, loving the way she whimpered.

She turned her head, burying her face in his shoulder as she called out his name. That and the feeling of her hot, wet and unbearably tight sheath milking his c**k was enough to drive him insane, but it was his name on her lips that was his undoing

“Minx! Oh god, Elizabeth !” he groaned loudly.

Chapter 18

Exhausted and not sure that his legs would hold him any longer, he fell back in the chair, taking her with him. He held her with one arm. With the other he reached back and opened a window to erase the scent of their lovemaking.

He leaned his head back while Elizabeth buried her face against his neck, clutching his shirt tightly in her small fists, both of them panting hard. It was several minutes before either one of them could move or talk.

Robert squeezed his eyes shut and pressed a kiss to the top of her head. He’d messed up again. Never before had he ever been tempted to finish in a woman. Hell, he’d never been in a woman without using a sheath and pulling out to guarantee no children. This was the third time he’d been inside of Elizabeth without taking any precautions.

It had been five weeks since that night in the orangery. Was she carrying his child? Would she have told him? He squeezed his eyes tighter as he pressed a kiss to her forehead. As much as he’d like to avoid this topic, he had to know. Elizabeth was a smart woman. If she were carrying their child, she would have told him. Surely she would have. Even if she hated him, she would tell him, wouldn’t she? Before anger could surface he shoved it down.

He had to at least ask even if he already knew the answer. She wasn’t carrying his child. This time probably wouldn’t be enough to get her with child either. This had been a mistake, a pleasurable one, but a mistake nonetheless. It would not, could not, happen again. He was leaving the country soon and she was heading for an estate somewhere up north. After this they would probably never see each other again. His arms tightened around her at the thought.

* * *
Elizabeth inhaled deeply, closing her eyes. She wanted to remember him this way, the way he held her, the way he touched her, the way he looked at her like she was the most precious thing on earth. All those childhood memories didn’t matter any longer. She needed to remember the man that had held her tightly and kissed her tenderly in the orangery.

When their child asked about his father, she wanted to be able to tell him kind things. Their child? She sobbed softly in the crook of his neck before she could stop herself. When had she finally accepted that she was pregnant?

She needed to tell him, she realized, but how? They’d made love, but she knew that men were able to have sex without their hearts being involved. She also knew without question that Robert hated her. She’d always known that and these foolish mistakes didn’t change anything. She also knew that he’d hate her more when she told him, because he would do the right thing.

No matter what kind of mean little boy he’d been, he was without question an honorable man now. He would marry her and, for the rest of their lives, he would resent her for trapping him in a loveless marriage. She’d be forced to live with a man that she cared deeply about and know that she’d stolen his freedom, his choice. She would hate herself. She just needed some time to figure this out.

If only she could determine how he felt about her and, if she discovered that he did truly hate her, then she would do what she had to in order to protect their child. She would tell him and live with the consequences of a loveless marriage. She just needed a little time to figure out how to tell him. She should tell him now, she realized that, but she was just…..

She was scared, terrified really.

What if Robert couldn’t force himself to do the right thing? What if his hatred for her was too strong? What if she couldn’t go through with marrying a man who didn’t love her?  There were too many “ifs” in this situation and it made her wish that she had someone that she could confide in, but there was no one.

Her mother would have a fit. She’d most likely turn her back on her for bringing shame to their family. She was ruined, unwed and pregnant. Her mother would tell her father, who would either shoot Robert or force him to marry her and that was not the way that she wanted this handled. She was sorely tempted to go to Mary at once and tell her, but that would end in the same tragic manner. Only it would probably be Anthony that shot Robert and not her father.

Perhaps it would be best to think this through and to be sure that she was carrying a child. She’d never been pregnant before and had no idea of what to expect. There was no one to ask. That last thought turned her stomach. Realizing they were still intimately connected, she carefully climbed off him. He seemed hesitant to release her, but did after a slight pause.

Without a word they both stood and fixed their clothes. Robert ran his fingers through his hair, trying to fix it even though he’d rather keep it the way it was as a reminder of having her in his arms once again.

Elizabeth cleared her throat. “I should go upstairs and freshen up before tea.”

Robert met her eyes briefly before looking away. “Elizabeth?”

“Yes?” She didn’t look up from straightening her skirts, too afraid that she’d break down and tell him before she was ready.

In a quiet, rough voice he asked, “Have your courses come since the night of the orangery.”

Intense heat flooded her cheeks. She turned away from him not in embarrassment surprisingly, but fear. If he found out, what would he do? She just stopped herself from laying her hand across her stomach. He’d taken her virginity and it was his child in her womb. Technically she now belonged to him, she realized. Fury rose up in her at the idea. She would not belong to him or any other man, she decided rebelliously. She refused to be some man’s property, having to ask and beg for everything. She didn’t want to be married to a man who didn’t love her even if she loved him.