He shut the door behind them and then turned to her. “I shall need to find my snow spectacles.”
She shook her head in confusion. “Snow spectacles?”
“They’re of Esquimaux design. You don them when you must walk on the snow in sun. Otherwise, there’s simply too much light for your eyes. The world can be too bright.”
She must have taken his meaning, because she smiled at him. And then, as he was striding toward her, she gathered up her disheveled gown in her hands and pulled it over her head. Her hair, loose, spilled over her shoulders.
His mouth dried. Her hips were round and full. The hair that covered her mons was only a shade darker than the gold on her head. Her breasts were...oh, God. They were irresistible. Round and firm and even better than he’d ever imagined. Her hips were wide and curved, and her legs… He could imagine them wrapped around him, clutching him to her.
She sat on his bed, and as she did so, she let her limbs fall to either side of her. And if that were not invitation enough, she crooked one finger at him.
“You are the most damnable thing.” He managed only a croak. He took two faltering steps to her and then knelt at her feet. “The most damnable, adorable, scintillating thing,” he whispered again. He set his hands on her knees, and she grinned at him once more.
Confident. She was so confident. It was what he’d always hoped for from her—her trust, finally given over to him. It was the best thing he could have imagined.
Oh, very well. Second best. But his imagination was turning to reality now, and he could have the very best, too. He slid her knees apart. The rosy folds of her sex unfurled for him. It would have taken a trice to divest himself of his clothing and slide inside her warm depths. But she’d come here because she trusted him. And by God, he was going to prove her right.
So instead of slaking his lust as he desired, he leaned forward. His lips found her inner thigh. She let out a gasp, and her hand went to his shoulder, half in question.
“Trust me on this,” he said.
And she did.
He took her sex in his mouth. His tongue traced her folds, already slick with desire. He learned the contours of her, the grip of her fingers against his shoulder, the gasp of her breath as he found the nub of her pleasure. He tasted her want, her sweet feminine musk. And she opened for him, letting him take her, trusting him to bring her pleasure. He could feel when her thighs started to tremble, when her hips rose to meet him. By the time she was bucking beneath his ministrations he was hard and all too ready for her. But he brought her all the way, lashing his tongue against her until she let out a strangled cry. Her fingernails bit into his shoulders. And she came. And came. And came.
He waited until her shuddering subsided. She had fallen back on his bed, her breasts full and round above her. He knelt over her and nuzzled the side of her neck. Forced himself to take in the wild scent of her and not go mad with desire.
“Oh, God,” she said. “Evan. Lord above.”
“Was that...was that your first, or have you ever done that for yourself?”
She looked up at him, suddenly ducking her chin. “It wasn’t my first.” A slight blush touched her cheeks. “But you will be.”
“Yes.” The air was suddenly fire around him. “I will.”
He trailed his fingers down her neck, feeling almost singed with his own desire. He removed his shirt and waistcoat slowly as she watched. When he pushed down his trousers, her gaze followed. If he’d been hard before, he felt like stone when she looked at him. And when she reached out…
Even expecting her touch, the tips of her fingers against his cock sent a thrill through him. He gasped, and she looked up at him…and laughed. Oh, that laugh. As if she knew his secrets. As if she was lost to propriety. As if she held nothing back—and gave everything to him.
He pushed her onto her back. He wasn’t sure how he got on top of her, how his hands tangled with hers. But his mouth found her breasts. Her hips rose up to his. His shaft found her opening, warm and wet.
“Elaine.” It was not just her name, but a prayer.
“Evan.” Her hand trailed down his back.
She was inviting, spread before him, and he’d been waiting for this for far too long. With one thrust, he seated himself firmly inside her. And God, she felt wonderful around him—hot, tight, her passage clenching around him. It would have been perfect but for the noise she made in her throat—not quite a whimper, not quite a protest.
“Did it hurt?”
She shook her head bravely, but her fingertips bit into his arm. Yes, then, it had. But she wouldn’t admit it. He needed to relax, to give her a little time to adjust to the sensation of being filled in this way. He counted sheep in his mind—anything to distract him from the instinct that was overwhelming him.
But then she squeezed him, her muscles contracting about him. He gasped, gritted his teeth. Impossible, though, to set aside the sensation that roared through him.
She did it again. “Do you like that?”
“Yes.” He shut his eyes. “No. If you do that again, Elaine, I’m going to—”
He couldn’t hold off any longer. He pulled back and then thrust inside her again. She was white-hot friction around him, clamping down on him so hard he could almost see stars. Her hips rose to his. With every thrust, he could feel her breasts—hot and large and lovely, and God, he dipped his head to taste them once more, and she pulsed around him, all heat and tenderness.
She was wet, so wet. He felt as if he were wooing her all over again, tempting her with every brush of his fingers. She was close, so close. He leaned down and pressed his lips to her nipple. It contracted under his kiss. And soon it wasn’t just her need that he courted so gently, but his own. Her hips rose to press hard against his thrusts.
He couldn’t think of anything but the slide of his body into hers, the pressure, the sensation—and then, deep in the distance, a faint roaring that filled his ears. It was bigger than just him. It was a wave that swept over him, engulfing everything as he pounded his want deep into her.
As he did, her body shuddered underneath his and she made a low, keening sound.
God, yes—she was perfect, totally perfect.
When it passed, he slumped on top of her. “God, Elaine.” He kissed her, more gently this time. She was still pulsing around him in little shocks.
It seemed impossible that he could be more aware of her, with the edge taken off his want. But when he relaxed on top of her, his hands tangling in her hair, his lips pressing breathlessly into hers once more, he felt as if he knew her as intimately as he’d ever known anyone.
And he never wanted to let go.
Elaine seemed to be floating on a dream afterward, a dream where Evan ran his hand down the side of her face, his touch as light as gossamer. It was a beautiful dream. Her whole body seemed to melt away in utter relaxation. She felt as if she’d walked fifteen miles: her whole body throbbed with the ache of past exertion, but now she had nothing to do but slip into lassitude.
His lips brushed hers, touched her forehead. His hand slid down her ribcage and then his fingers entwined with hers.
Somehow, in the months of their friendship, he had become dearer to her than anything she could have imagined. She adored his wit. She was rather impressed by the muscles of his chest, covered with curly golden-brown hair.
But most of all, in the white-columned hall earlier that evening, he’d looked at her and told her what intimacy meant to him. She had wanted to be that person for him. She’d wanted to be the one he could trust.
She wasn’t sure how long they lay in the dark, their arms around each other. There was no reason for it, except that she wanted never to let go. Hours might have passed while their breath mingled. Moon-shadows tracked across his body, lengthening as the night drifted by, until in the dark hours of morning the light dwindled to faint starlight. Sleep came and went in fits and starts—warm, comfortable dreams interspersed with the most del
icious wakings, to find him holding her, touching her. His fingers curled around her when she slept, and his arms enfolded her when she roused.
It might have been four in the morning before he finally spoke.
He pressed his forehead against hers. “In an hour or so, the servants will stir, and I shouldn’t like you to become the object of gossip. We’d best get you back.”
Back. It was only two streets away. But her house seemed to belong to another lifetime.
For just one moment, she imagined herself staying there in his arms. The consequences seemed insubstantial. The gossip wouldn’t matter so much, would it? It was easy to avoid all thought of impending reality with his arms around her. She screwed her eyes shut and burrowed against him. “Don’t want to.”
She could almost feel him smile against her cheek. “I’ll seek out your father on the morrow.” Another smile. “I suppose I mean later today. We’ll have the rest of our lives to hold each other.”
She lifted her head slowly at that. It wasn’t morning that dawned; it was a lifetime of this—not just kisses and warmth and the feel of his arms around her, but of finally, finally feeling safe. She’d come home.
“Yes.” She wondered at the words. “We’ll have that.” Certainty felt new to her, so fragile that she feared it would steal away like fog if he so much as lit a candle.
But there was no need for illumination, not in the dark gray before dawn. He helped her dress, found her cloak, and then slipped into his own clothing. It wasn’t so far back—a ten-minute walk with his arm about her for warmth. He paused when they reached her doorstep.
“You’ve a way in, I presume?”
He reached out and tipped her chin up. Nobody was about. Still, when he kissed her in the open street, it felt like a proclamation shouted to the skies. Perhaps it was her imagination that the night lifted and the sky lightened. Perhaps it was him. He lifted his head from hers and drew a line down the side of her face.