He had unselfishly intended to give her a bursting climax this way, before he joined with her in yet another one—as he had done the other night—but his wife made him forget that idea. Tearing her mouth from his heated kiss, she slid her fingers into the sides of his hair and whispered brokenly, "It's lonely this way, without you deep inside of me—"
With a shattered groan, Jordan gave her what they both wanted. Still lying on his side, he wrapped his arms around her, pulled her to him, and entered her with one sure, powerful thrust. Alexandra pressed her hips hard against his pulsing thighs, and with his hands cupping her bottom, Jordan joined with her in the most selfless act of lovemaking of his life. Driving slowly, rhythmically into her, he sought only to give her pleasure with each deep thrust, while she, in the same desperate need to please him, matched his movements.
I love you, he thought with each thrust of his body; I love you, his heart shouted with each thunderous beat; I love you, his soul cried out as Alexandra's spasms clenched him tightly. I love you. The words exploded in his being as he drove into her one last time and poured his life, his future, and all the disillusionment of his past into her tender keeping.
And when it was over, he held her in his arms, filled with a joy that was almost past bearing as he gazed at the white clouds floating in the powder blue sky. All of them had shapes and meaning to him now. All his life had shape and meaning to him now.
When Alexandra surfaced to reality an eternity later, she found herself lying on her side, stretched full length against his naked body. Jordan's hand was splayed across her bare back, his other hand still wrapped in her hair, holding her face pressed to his chest. With an effort, Alexandra lifted her head, opened her languorous blue eyes and gazed at him, then she flushed at the knowing look in those hooded grey eyes, and the faint, satisfied smile touching the corner of his lips. She had behaved like a shocking wanton and she had done it in broad daylight! Suddenly overwhelmed by his ability to overcome all of her defenses, she drew back and said lamely, "I'm hungry."
"When I'm stronger," he promised teasingly, deliberately misunderstanding what she was hungry for.
"For food!" she gasped.
"Oh, that," he said dismissively, but he obligingly rolled to his feet and politely turned his back, allowing her privacy while they both put on their clothes. "You have grass in your hair," he chuckled, brushing the few blades from her glorious tangle of mahogany tresses.
Instead of answering him with a smile or a quip, Alexandra bit her lip, her gaze sliding away from his as she began to unpack the picnic dinner.
Finally understanding her unspoken need to be alone for a few minutes, Jordan strolled down to the bank of the stream where he remained for several minutes, his foot propped upon a boulder. The flowers on the hill, he suddenly noticed with dazzling clarity, were indeed white—a joyous, cheery carpet of white against dark green.
When he returned, Alexandra was holding a crystal decanter of wine. "Would you like a glass of wine?" she asked with the extreme courtesy that only very uneasy people employ. "It—it's the special kind you drink—I can tell from this decanter."
Crouching down, Jordan took the glass from her outstretched hand, but he put it aside and gazed directly into her eyes. "Alex," he said gently, "there is nothing immoral, nothing shameful, and nothing wrong about what just happened between us here."
Alexandra swallowed and glanced uneasily about them. "But it's broad daylight."
"I left instructions at the stables that we wished to be private here this afternoon."
Color flared in her cheeks. "No doubt everyone knew why."
Lowering himself into a sitting position, he put his arm reassuringly around her shoulders and grinned at her upturned face. "No doubt they did," he agreed without a trace of her own embarrassment. "It is, after all, how heirs are made."
To Jordan's astonishment, a stunned look crossed Alexandra's face and she suddenly buried her face against his chest, her slim shoulders rocking with mirth. "Did I say something funny?" he asked, tipping his chin down, trying to see her face.
Her laughing voice was muffled by his shirt. "No. I—I was thinking of something Mary Ellen told me long ago—about how babies are made. It was so outlandish, I couldn't believe her."
"What did she tell you?" Jordan asked.
She raised her laughing face to his and managed to gasp, "The truth!"
Their laughter rang out across the valley, startling birds in the trees overhead.
"Did you have enough port, or would you like more?" Alexandra asked when they had finished eating.
Jordan reached behind him and picked up the empty glass he'd inadvertently tipped over in the grass. "No," he said with a lazy, white smile, "but I like having you wait on me like this."
Alexandra managed to hold his gaze as she quietly and shyly admitted the truth: "I like doing it."
In the carriage on the way home, Alexandra could not tear her thoughts from the stormy passion of their lovemaking or the quiet tenderness that stayed with them afterward while they ate. "Touch me," he had told her. "I like it when you touch me." Did Jordan mean he wanted her to touch him when they weren't making love, the way a few wives amongst the ton often touched their husbands' sleeve when they spoke to them. The idea of voluntarily touching him was vibrantly appealing, and yet she cringed at the idea that such an action might be construed as clinging or childish.
She gave him a short, speculative sideways glance through her lashes, and wondered what he would do if she—very casually—rested her head against his shoulder. She could always pretend to be half-asleep, she decided. Having ventured that far in her imagination, she decided to try it and see what happened. With the well-sprung carriage swaying gently beneath her, and her heart beating a little faster within her, Alexandra partially closed her eyes and leaned her head lightly against his shoulder. It was the first time she had ever voluntarily touched him in affection, and she instantly knew from the way Jordan swiftly turned his head to look at her, that he was surprised by her gesture. She could not tell, however, what he thought of it.
"Sleepy?" he asked.
Alexandra opened her mouth, intending to save face by saying yes, at the precise moment Jordan lifted his arm and put it around her shoulders. "No," she said instead.
She felt the slight stiffening of his body as he registered that she had just indirectly told him she wanted to be close to him, and her heart pounded as she wondered what he would do next.