No way would she let him think he was buying her. Besides, she needed to be independent of him, in case she ended up disliking how it was between them and want ed to walk away.
He grinned, triumphant delight dancing in his eyes. ‘Whatever you say, Ivy. I just want us to have this time away together.’
She did, too. It provided a relatively quick proving ground. Not like two years with Ben before finding out he would let her down when she most needed him to be there for her.
‘Had enough to eat?’ Jordan asked, and her stomach instantly clenched.
No more food.
He wanted sex with her.
‘What have you done with your sister?’ she asked, sure that he would have already ensured no further interruptions, but curious about the outcome of that meeting.
He grinned and held out his hand to help her off the kitchen stool. ‘Sent her home to Mother. Come on. I’ll show you the rest of the house. Do you want Margaret to prepare lunch or shall we have an early dinner?’
She took his hand, acutely aware of it enfolding hers as she slid off the stool, wanting to feel him touching her all over, remembering how it had been and eager to experience it again. ‘I’ve had enough to eat for now,’ she said, flicking a quick grateful glance at the housekeeper. ‘Thank you, Margaret.’
‘An early dinner then,’ Jordan swiftly instructed.
‘Give me a call when you want it,’ Margaret drily replied.
Of course she knew what they were about to do, Ivy thought. It was probably a very common scenario with Jordan and she couldn’t help wishing it wasn’t so. Needing to block out his past and concentrate entirely on the present, her mind snatched at the distraction of his sister and her problems.
‘Have you passed the blackmail business over to your mother, too?’ she asked as they walked back into the foyer.
‘No. I’ll deal with it tomorrow when Olivia is sober.’ He shot her an apologetic grimace. ‘Which means cutting our weekend together short. I’ll have to go to Palm Beach in the morning for a family meeting.’
‘I hope you can sort something out,’ she said sympathetically, thinking it would be horrible to be blackmailed by one’s own husband, a man whom Olivia had obviously trusted, however unwisely.
‘Don’t be concerned about it, Ivy. It will be sorted, one way or another,’ he said dismissively. ‘In fact, it should be a good lesson for my sister. I intend to make it one, that’s for sure,’ he added in a tone of determination that would brook no nonsense.
He led her straight to the staircase, no detouring to ‘show her the house.’ That would come later, after…
Her pulse drummed a faster beat as they mounted the stairs.
‘Olivia won’t speak to you like that again, either,’ he tagged on.
She sighed, relieving the tightness in her chest before slanting an ironic little smile at him. ‘I guess all your social set will think the same things about me, Jordan.’
He squeezed her hand hard. ‘What they think isn’t important. Only what we have together matters.’
The intensity in his voice sent a quiver of excitement down her spine. She wanted what they could have together, wanted it as much as he did. They reached his bedroom and nothing else mattered. They were both insanely lustful, kissing as though there was no tomorrow, removing clothes in urgent haste, falling on the bed in a tangle of legs and arms, reaching for each other, gripping, clinging, caressing with fierce possessiveness, passion pumping through their bodies, fuelling the need to take, to give.
Jordan muttered a curse as he remembered protection, tearing himself away long enough to grab it from a drawer in a bedside table and sheath himself. A weird stab of sadness went through Ivy’s heart. No baby with Jordan. That would never happen. It wasn’t what this relationship was about. But she had accepted that, hadn’t she? And she accepted him now with an intense shaft of pleasure as he came back to her and thrust deeply, driving to the edge of her pulsing womb.
Wild excitement coursed through her with each repeat ed plunge, the rhythm of it rolling through her in euphoric waves, cresting in marvellous peaks, finally carrying her to an explosion of utter ecstasy and a flood of sweetly lulling peace. Yes, she thought blissfully. It was worth any hurt later to have this with Jordan now.
She lay with her head resting over the strong beat of his heart, smiling as she listened to its pace gradually lessen to a quiet, steady thump. Peace for him, too, after the long waiting, she thought, and was glad she had surrendered to his patient pursuit. His hands start ed gliding over the curves of her back and her skin tingled with pleasure. He picked up her plait, removed the rubber band that kept it fastened, and slowly unwound the skeins of her hair, fluffing it out with his fingers when it was freed of its constriction.
‘With your hair and skin, you could have posed for Botticelli’s Birth of Venus,’ he murmured. ‘It’s a wonderful painting, displayed in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. We could go on to Italy after the cruise and…’
‘I don’t think so,’ Ivy stirred enough to protest. ‘We’ll be away for a month as it is.’ She lifted her head to give him a teasing look. ‘And you haven’t even shown me all the paintings in this house yet.’
He laughed, raking her hair out on either side of her face. ‘You outshine them all, but when I summon up the energy and the inclination I’ll give you a tour.’
‘Mmmh…I’m not in any hurry.’
‘Good, because I don’t want to hurry anything this time.’
He kept every kiss and caress deliciously sensual. They moved around each other in a long, languorous dance of gliding, nestling, touching, feeling—a glorious sexual wallowing that simmered with excitement without blazing into imperative need.
He spoke seductively of the fantastic sights they would see and the pleasures they would share in Europe: the amazing array of statues in Prague, the magnificent Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna—‘I’ll dance you around the gold ballroom’—the vineyards climbing the hills in the Wachau Valley—‘We’ll go wine-tasting’—the amazing amount of castles along the Rhine, the totally eye-popping quantity of gold decorating the cathedral at the Melk monastery.
‘You’ve seen it all before,’ Ivy commented ruefully at one point.
‘Not since I was in my teens. My parents took Olivia and me on a world tour as part of our education.’
Not with another woman then, Ivy thought with a rush of relief. It was ridiculous wanting something exclusive to herself, knowing how very experienced he was, yet she instantly felt happier in her anticipation of their travels together.