"And to you, Mr. Rohan!" her cheerful voice floated back.

They unpacked a feast from the basket: cold roast fowl, a variety of salads, fruit, and thick slices of seedcake. After devouring the lot, they sat before the hearth on a quilt. Dressed only in Kev's shirt, Win sat between his thighs while he brushed the tangles from her hair. He ran his fingers repeatedly through the length of silk, which gleamed like moonlight in his hands.

"Shall we go for a walk, now that I have my clothes?" Win asked.

"If you like." Kev held her hair aside and kissed the nape of her neck. "And afterward, back to bed."


She shivered and made a sound of amusement. "I've never known you to spend so much time abed."

"Until now I've never had a good reason." Setting the brush aside, he pulled her into his lap and cradled her. He kissed her lazily. She pushed upward with increasing demand, making him smile and pull back. "Easy," he said, stroking her jaw. "We're not going to start that again."

"But you just said you wanted to go back to bed."

"I meant to rest."

"We aren't going to make love anymore?"


"Not today," he said gently. "You've had enough." He brushed his thumb over her kiss-swollen lips. "If I made love to you again, you wouldn't be able to walk tomorrow."

But as he was discovering, any challenge to Win's physical stamina was met with immediate resistance. "I'm quite well," she said stubbornly, sitting up in his lap. She spread kisses over his face and throat, everywhere she could reach. "Once more, before we go back. I need you, Kev; I need-"

He quieted her with his mouth, and received such an ardently impatient response that he couldn't help chuckling against her lips. She drew back and demanded, "Are you laughing at me?"

"No. No. It's only… you're adorable, you please me so much. My eager little gadji…" He kissed her again, trying to calm her. But she was insistent, stripping off his shirt, pulling his hands to her na**d body.

"Why are you so anxious?" he whispered, lying back on the quilt with her. "No… wait.… Win, talk to me."

She went still in his arms, her small frowning face close to his. "I'm afraid to go back," she admitted. "I feel as if something bad will happen. It doesn't seem real that we can truly be together now."

"We can't hide here forever," Kev murmured, stroking her hair. "Nothing will happen, love. We've gone too far to turn back. You're mine now, and no one can change that. Are you afraid of Harrow? Is that it?"

"Not afraid, exactly. But I'm not looking forward to facing him."

"Of course not," Kev said quietly. "I'll help you through it. I'll talk to him first."

"I don't think that would be wise," she said uncertainly.

"I insist on it. I won't lose my temper. But I'm going to take responsibility for what I've done. I would hardly leave you to handle the consequences without me."

Win lowered her cheek to his shoulder. "Are you certain nothing will happen to change your mind about marrying me?"

"Nothing in the world could do that." Feeling the tension in her body, he ran his hands over her, lingering on her chest, where every heartbeat was a hard, anxious collision. He rubbed a circle to soothe her. "What can I do to make you feel better?" he asked tenderly.

"I already told you, and you wouldn't," she said in a small, sullen voice, and that drew a smothered laugh from him.


"Then you'll have your way," he whispered. "But slowly, so I won't hurt you." He kissed the spaces behind her earlobes and moved down to the smooth whiteness of her shoulders, the pulse at the base of her throat.

More softly still he kissed the plump curves of her br**sts. Her ni**les were bright and stung-looking from all his previous attentions. He was careful with them, his mouth gentle as he covered a swollen peak.

Win made a little movement, gave a faint hiss, and he guessed the nipple was smarting. But her hands came to his head, holding him there. He used his tongue to make languid circles, sucking only enough to keep the tender flesh inside the clamp of his lips. He spent a long time at her br**sts, keeping his mouth soft, until she moaned and stirred her hips, needing more than the faint, feathery stimulation.

Dragging his lips down between her thighs, Kev rooted in the hot silk of her, finding the delicate blunt point of her clitoris, using the velvet flat of his tongue to paint and caress. She clutched his head more tightly and sobbed his name, the throaty sound exciting him.

When the responsive movements of her h*ps took on a regular rhythm, he pulled his mouth from her and pushed her knees wide and apart. He took an eternity to ease into the lush clenching flesh. Fully seated, he wrapped his arms around her, securing her against his body.

She wriggled, urging him to thrust, but he held still and fast and pressed his mouth to her ear, and whispered that he would make her come just like this, he would stay hard inside her as long as it took. Her ear turned scarlet, and she tightened and throbbed around him. "Please move," she whispered, and he gently said no.

"Please move, please…"

No.

But after a while he began to flex his h*ps in a subtle rhythm. She whimpered and trembled as he drove her, nudging deeper, relentless in his restraint. The cl**ax broke over her finally, tearing low cries from her lips, bringing wild shudders to the surface. Kev was quiet, experiencing a release so acute and paralyzing that it robbed him of all sound. Her slender body pulled at him, milked him, enclosed him in delicate heat.

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