He smothered her objection with a hungry, wildly exciting kiss. Temporarily robbed of the anger that had fortified her resistance, Alexandra's traitorous body lost its rigidity, and the scream of warning issued by her mind was stifled by her pounding heart and the shocking pleasure of being held again in the strong arms of the husband she had believed dead. A large masculine hand curved round her nape, long fingers stroking and soothing, while his other hand slid up and down her back, moving her closer and tighter to his full length.
His warm lips moving on hers, the sensation of his hardening body pressing against hers—it was all so achingly, poignantly, vibrantly familiar to her, because she had lived it in her dreams a thousand times. Knowing she was playing with fire, she let him kiss her, permitting herself—just this once—the forbidden, fleeting joy of his mouth and hands and body. But she did not respond, dared not respond.
Pulling his mouth from hers, Jordan brushed a warm kiss against her temple. "Kiss me," he whispered, his breath sending vibrant warmth spilling through her veins. "Kiss me," he coaxed hotly, trailing his mouth across her cheek, brushing insistent kisses along the sensitive curve of her neck and ear. His hands slid into her heavy hair, tilting her face up to his and his eyes held hers, teasing, challenging. "Forgotten how to do it?"
Alex would have died rather than let him believe he'd been the only man to kiss her on the lips in the last fifteen months, and she could see he'd already sensed that was true.
"No," she said shakily. His parted lips came down on hers again, in another long, searching kiss. "Kiss me, princess," he urged hoarsely, kissing her temple, her ear, her cheek. "I want to see if it's as good as I remembered it."
The achingly poignant discovery that he, too, had dwelt on their few kisses was more than Alexandra could withstand. With a silent moan of despair, she turned her head and met his lips with her own while her hands crept up his chest Jordan's mouth slanted fiercely over hers, and this time her lips yielded to his rough, tender kiss, parting beneath the sensual pressure and, at that moment, his tongue slid between them, invading her mouth and taking possession of her.
Lost in a stormy sea of desire, confusion, and yearning, Alexandra felt his hand splay across her lower spine, forcing her closer to him, but instead of resisting she slid her hands up over his shoulders, unwittingly molding her melting body to the hardening contours of his. A shudder racked his muscular body as she fitted herself to him and Jordan's arms tightened, crushing her to him, while his hand lifted, cupping her breast, his thumb brushing back and form across her sensitized nipple while his tongue plunged into her mouth and withdrew, then plunged again and again in a wildly exciting, ever-increasing rhythm that drove her half mad with forbidden yearnings. The endless, drugging kiss, the provocative warmth of his hands moving ceaselessly over her back, then possessively cupping her breasts, the taut strength of his legs and thighs pressing intimately against hers worked their pagan magic on Alexandra; she kissed him back with all the helpless ardor she had felt so long ago, only this time her shy uncertainty was overwhelmed by the desire to clasp him to her, to pretend for a little while that he was all the things she had wanted him to be.
Jordan knew only that the woman in his arms was responding to his kiss with more ardor than ever before, and the effect was devastating on his starved body. When her tongue darted out to touch his lips, he crushed her to him, drawing her tongue into his mouth, while desire surged through his bloodstream like wildfire, pounding in his loins. Fighting back the wild urge to lay her down on the carpet and take her then and there, he dragged his lips from hers and drew a long, unsteady breath, slowly expelling it. Evidently, his wife had learned a great deal about kissing while he was rotting in prison, he realized grimly.
Surfacing slowly from the mists of desire, Alexandra stared into his hypnotic eyes, dazedly watching their color and mood change from the smoky darkness of passion to their usual enigmatic light silver, while she felt reality slowly return. Her hand still lay curved around his neck and it finally dawned on her that, beneath her fingers, his skin was fiery hot. Make me burn, he had coaxed…
Pride and satisfaction drifted through her as she realized she apparently had done exactly that, and her soft lips curved into an unconsciously provocative smile. Jordan's eyes narrowed on that satisfied smile, then lifted to her knowing blue eyes. His jaw tightened and he dropped his arms, stepping back from her.
"My compliments," he said curtly, and Alexandra watched his mercurial mood take an obvious, abrupt, bewildering turn for the worse. "You've learned a great deal in the past year."
A year ago, her sluggish mind reminded her, he had thought her a naive, pitiful nuisance. Fixing a bright, artificial smile on her face, she said lightly, "A year ago you found me excruciatingly naive. Now you're complaining because I'm not. There's simply no pleasing you."
To Alex's mortification, Jordan didn't deny he'd found her naive. "We can discuss how you can 'please' me when we're in bed tonight, after I return from White's. In the meantime," he continued in the implacable, authoritative tone of one issuing an edict, "I want a few things understood: First of all, an annulment is out of the question. So is divorce. Secondly, there will be no more mock duels, no more parading around in those trousers you are wearing, no racing in the parks, and no public appearances made by you with any man but me. Is that clear? You will not go out in company with any man but me."
Outrage exploded in Alexandra's brain. "Who do you think you are!" she demanded, her color rising with indignation. He hadn't changed one bit in two years. He still wanted to lock her away out of sight. No doubt he still had every intention of packing her off to Devon as well.
"I know who I am, Alexandra," he snapped cryptically. "I do not know who you are, however. Not anymore."
"I'm certain you do not," she bit out, wisely controlling the urge to warn him in advance that she intended to defy him. "You thought you married a complaisant, adoring female who would rush to do your tiniest bidding, didn't you?"
"Something like that," he admitted tightly.
"You didn't get one."
Alexandra tossed her head and turned, pointedly refusing to curtsy to him. "You are wrong, your grace," she said, and started for the door.
"My name," he informed her bitingly, "is Jordan."
Alexandra stopped and half turned, her delicate brows arched in feigned surprise, her color gloriously high. Once, she had longed to have him ask her to use his given name, now she took greater pleasure in refusing. "I'm aware of that," she said and with calm defiance she added, "your grace." Having thus clearly informed him that she did not wish for the intimacy of using his given name, she turned and walked across the room, feeling his eyes boring holes through her shoulder blades, praying that her shaking knees would not buckle with the nervousness she was struggling to hide.