Every time he pushed, his body rubbed hers in exactly the right way. She began to lift eagerly, anticipating each invasion, panting for it, sensation building on sensation until it culminated in a blinding swell of delight... and another?another?she felt him begin to withdraw and she moaned and twined her legs around his hips.

"Amelia," he gasped, "no, let me... I've got to? Shuddering, he spent helplessly inside her, while her body gripped and stroked the hard length of him.

Still locked together, Cam rolled Amelia to her side. He muttered something in Romany. Although she didn't understand a word, it sounded highly complimentary. Limp with pleasure and exhaustion, Amelia rested her head on the solid curve of his biceps, her breath catching as she felt the occasional twitch and pulse of him in the depths of her body.

Cam reached for her left hand. Taking the signet ring between his fingers, he drew it off easily and gave it to her. "Here. Although I'd rather you left it on."


Amelia's mouth fell open. She examined her hand, then the ring, and hesitantly pushed it back on the same finger. It slid over her knuckle and back again with ease. "How did you do that?"

"I helped you to relax." He ran a coaxing hand along her spine. "Put it back on, Amelia."

"I can't. That would mean I've accepted your proposal, and I haven't."

Stretching like a cat, Cam rolled her flat again, his weight partially supported on his elbows. Amelia drew in a quick breath as she felt him still firm within her. "You can't lie with me twice and then refuse to marry me." Cam lowered his head to kiss her ear. "I'll be ruined." He worked his way to the soft place behind her earlobe. "And I'll feel so cheap."

Despite the seriousness of the matter, Amelia had to bite back a smile. "I'm doing you a great favor by refusing you. You'll thank me for it someday."


"I'll thank you right now if you'll put the damned ring back on."

She shook her head.

Cam pushed a bit farther inside her, making her gasp. "What about my personal endowments? Who's going to take care of them?"

"You can take care of them"—she squirmed to the side to set the ring on the bedside table?all by yourself."

Cam moved with her obligingly. "It's much more satisfying when you're involved."

As he reached to retrieve the ring, his body shifted higher in hers. She tensed in surprise. He felt harder inside her, thicker, his desire gaining new momentum. "Cam," she protested, glancing at the closed door. She grabbed for his wrist, trying to keep his hand away from the ring. He grappled with her playfully, turning until they had completed a full revolution across the mattress and she was under him again.

He was rampantly aroused now, teasing her with slow lunges. Twisting beneath him, Amelia pushed at his dark head as he began to kiss her br**sts. "But... we just finished?

Cam lifted his head. "Roma," he said, as if by way of explanation, and settled back over her. If there was a hint of apology in his tone, there was none in the insistent rhythm of his thrusts, deep caresses that invaded and soothed, and before long her protests had melted into purring moans.

Amelia wrapped her arms around him, her legs, trying to contain all that hard male flesh, while the steady, rocking pace of his thrusts brought her to the edge of release. But he withdrew before she could reach it, and turned her over, and for an agonizing moment she thought he had decided to stop. Covering her with his body, Cam used his knees to push hers wide. He muttered in a mixture of English and Romany, enough for her to understand that he wouldn't hurt her, this would be easier for her, and she whispered yes, yes, and then he was sliding impossibly deep, his hands steadying her h*ps as she backed up instinctively.

Her head dropped, her gasps muffled against the linen-covered mattress. His hand slid to her sex, fingers spreading the furrowed silk. Pleasure shimmered through her in waves, each one stronger, higher, until she was shuddering, drowning, sighing. Cam's sudden withdrawal was a shock of unwelcome emptiness as he made his last thrust against the sheets and groaned. Stunned and disoriented, Amelia remained with her h*ps propped high, her flesh pulsing and smarting with the need to have him back inside. His hand came to her bu**ocks, rubbing in a warm circle before he pushed her back down.

"You'll have me," Cam whispered. "You'll have me, hummingbird. I'm your fate—even if you won't admit it yet."

Chapter Eighteen

After Cam had gone, Amelia found herself wandering despondently through the large manor.

It was quiet in the house, everyone having retired to their rooms for afternoon naps. Preparations were being made for the earl and countess, and Lord and Lady St. Vincent, to leave for Bristol in the morning. They would stay at the home of Lillian's sister and brother-in-law, Daisy and Matthew Swift, for the last fortnight of Daisy's confinement.


Lillian was anxious to see her younger sister, with whom she was extremely close. "She's been in splendid health through the whole thing," Lillian had told Amelia, with obvious pride. "Daisy's healthy as a horse. But she's very small. And her husband is quite large," she added darkly, "which means any babies of his will probably be oversized, as well."

"One can't fault him for being tall," Lord Westcliff, who was sitting beside his wife, had pointed out laconically.

"I didn't say it was his fault," Lillian protested.

"You were thinking it," the earl murmured, and she raised a pillow as if to hurl it at him. The effect of marital strife was spoiled, however, as they grinned at each other affectionately.

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