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Authors: Morgan Kelly

Midnight in Your Arms (17 page)

BOOK: Midnight in Your Arms
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Laura could only hope.

He rose from his knees, though she rather liked the sight of him there, and turned to look at her, his eyes full of a fire that was no reflection. Heat flooded her at the sight of his slightly wilted shirt, the buttons gleaming in the candlelight, begging to be undone. His frock coat seemed to billow about him like the raiment of a king. He stood regarding her, his eyes sliding over her body. She wore a new blouse—such a thin, transparent thing—silk the same color as her skin. It would tear so easily in his hands. She could tell he liked the way her breasts strained at the yoke, the collar unbuttoned far enough that if she bent over, she would expose nearly every inch of her bosom. She longed to take his hands and place them over the wild drum of her heartbeat. She wanted to wrap her legs around him and breathe every breath he took as if it was her own.

She could see by the way his eyes flickered over her, and how his hands moved restlessly at his sides, that he felt the same way. Alaric’s chest rose and fell. His throat pulsed above the sedate collar with its dark cravat. He looked like the hero of a nineteenth-century novel, tortured by passion and filled with pent-up longing for things he could never ask of a lady.

He wanted her. She could almost taste how much.

She was damned glad she wasn’t a lady.

“Alaric,” she said, in a low, husky voice hardly her own. “Don’t you think it’s time you undressed me?”

 

C
HAPTER
E
LEVEN

H
e crossed to her so quickly, it was almost as though time had folded them together again. She was suddenly enveloped in arms that gathered her up as if she weighed as much as a wisp of smoke. She was a sturdy woman, despite her willowy limbs, unused to feeling delicate around the men of her time, who had needed so much more from her than demure womanliness. Here was a man who needed her in a way no one ever had. She could feel his need, pushing against her as they kissed. His hands pressed and kneaded her hips, fondling her buttocks through the seat of her trousers. He unfastened them with a solemnity Laura found endearing, his eyes soft with wonder as they dropped to the floor. His hands slid up her sides beneath the watered silk of her blouse. Her nipples tightened deliciously as his thumbs stroked them through her camisole. She could feel a gathering sweetness low down in her body, culminating beneath the tangle of curls that shielded her sex. She was wet. She had never been so wet. She wanted him to touch her, to find the place inside of her that only another person could reach and that, despite her experience, no one ever had. There was more than one first when it came to love.

Alaric unbuttoned her blouse with a tenderness that brought an unnameable emotion to the surface of her heart. She could feel it washing through her, a searing tide of desire and vulnerability. She was not even undressed yet, and already she felt fully naked before this man, who had until only a few days before been a stranger.

“Don’t stop,” she told him.

“I’m not stopping,” he murmured. “I just don’t want to miss any part of you.”

She sighed, and smiled as he slid the camisole up over her upraised arms, flinging it aside so that it, too, was only a small crumpled thing on the floor.

Alaric gazed at her in wonder, though she was still far from naked.

“What is that … item you are wearing?” he said, awestruck. “It is most strange. And … wonderful. There is so little of it. Just like everything else you wear, it barely covers you.”

Laura laughed. She ran her hands over the garment in question. “This,” she told him, “is a brassiere.”

His eyes widened appreciatively as he reached out to stroke the filmy lace. “And those drawers,” he breathed. “They, too, are positively miniscule.”

Laura looked down at herself, admiring the curves of her bare thighs and trim calves. She sashayed a bit, turning a little pirouette so that he might take in the full effect of her modern underpinnings. “Do you like them?” she asked, laughing as he grabbed for her. “I don’t suppose ladies of your acquaintance would ever dare wear such scandalous things, though in my time, some women don’t bother wearing undergarments at all.”

“How wonderful,” he murmured, running his hands over her bared back, raking his fingernails lightly over her shoulders and up the length of her neck. He cupped the back of her head in his hands, tilting her neck so he could nuzzle her throat. “I love your hair. I love your lips. I love everything about your body.”

Laura melted to liquid in his arms, her roving hands making their own inventory of his anatomy, which was rather difficult in his fully dressed state. When her brassiere came away in his hands, and her drawers slithered to the floor, and she was utterly naked, she pressed him back against the bed before he could gather her closer, forcing him to lounge back as she stood between his knees. Alaric stared at her dazedly, swallowing hard as he took in every bare inch of her. He slid his hands over her hips, grazing the gentle convex of her belly as his fingers went to the place that ached most deeply for his touch, but she pushed them away.

“Not yet,” she said huskily. “First it’s my turn to see what you’ve been hiding under all of that beautifully starched linen.”

He groaned impatiently, but complied, his hands roaming over only the more demure parts of her exposed flesh—flank, abdomen, the full undersides of her breasts. It was a torture almost too exquisite to be borne, one she once thought she would only ever be able to imagine. And yet, it was only the beginning of what she hoped he might do to her before the night was through. Tiny incendiaries of anticipation exploded along the length of her spine. She trembled as she touched his face, her thumbs tracing the lush contours of his lips, the bold curve of his nose and jut of his jaw. He closed his eyes, and pulled her hand to his lips, suckling each finger in turn, the inside of his mouth a silken cavern she longed to fill with various parts of her, one by one, until he had had his fill.

If she didn’t see him naked in the next few moments, she would go mad.

Laura pushed his immaculately brushed dinner coat from his shoulders, tossing it aside. She unbuttoned his waistcoat dexterously, after which she reached to unfasten his trousers, pulling a snowy expanse of crumpled linen from his waistband to reveal an abdomen taut and rippling. It occurred to her that he was going to be much more complicated to undress than she had been, and the thought of all the layers of gentlemanly attire that lay between her body and his sent a deepening tremor of impatience through her. She took hold of his shirtfront, and simply tore it open. An explosion of buttons cascaded across the bedspread, and more than one seam rent in two.

“Oh dear,” she said, eyes widening. “Terribly sorry. I’ve never known my own strength.”

Alaric contemplated her with something close to astonishment, though it looked much more like delight. The golden sheen of his chest and abdomen exposed, candlelight licked his skin as Laura longed to do. Her eyes raked over him with a hunger she didn’t bother disguising, and she did what she wanted, running her mouth over his flesh as though branding him finally as her own. No other woman could ever possess him as she did.

She licked the faded hatchwork of battle scars that filigreed his flesh, from the most delicate to the cruelest. Beneath her roving tongue, Alaric shivered, the places where he had been wounded more sensitive than the flesh surrounding them. In his skin, Laura tasted not only the salt of his sweat, but the texture of his whole history. Flashes of his experiences came to her as she grazed on his skin. She saw things both beautiful and unspeakable, and swallowed them all, as though drinking in a part of his soul. Whatever happened to them, wherever they went, and no matter if they could never make love to each other again, Laura could play back the jumbled scenes of Alaric’s life on the insides of her eyelids long after the imprint of her body on his had faded into memory.

Sliding her breasts along his torso, she followed the concave between his pectorals to the hollow of his throat. She caught his mouth in a ravenous kiss, devouring his lips as though they contained some essential nutrient she must have, or die. Then she stopped suddenly, and pulled back to look at him. “I’m not a virgin,” she said, as if to explain her obvious familiarity with the body of a man. “Just so you know. Don’t expect some coquettish miss who you must mollycoddle and convince to let you ravish her. I’m a woman, with a woman’s desires.”

“Thank God,” he said, exhaling, a slow smile crinkling the corners of his delicious mouth. His amber eyes were gleaming in the half dark like polished pennies. “I don’t want to have to be a gentleman.”

“Please don’t be,” she said.

T
aking her at her word, Alaric dragged her against him, the astonishing impact of her skin on his sending a jolt of electricity through his body. It was like being struck by lightning. Suddenly he felt the room shift around him, and they were neither in his world, hers, or the next. He flipped her on her back, and the rigid sleekness of his erection grazed her thigh as he parted her legs to touch her. The veil of his hair slid along her skin, and her nipples ruched into tight little buds as his tongue fondled each of them in turn before trailing lower. He spread the folds of her sex as though peeling an exotic fruit. He devoured her with the same hunger and rapt attention he would apply to a sun-ripened fruit.

“You taste like a peach,” he murmured, as her juice ran down his chin. Her fingers twined in his hair, her thighs quivering as she gasped, shuddering with pleasure.

When she came, he could feel her climax as if it was his own, and when he thrust into her, it was a collision of cosmic proportions, like an asteroid colliding with the atmosphere of Earth and burning away. He could feel the reverberations of the pleasure he had given her drawing him in, and it took everything he had to hold back. Laura gasped at the fullness as she took him in, wrapping her legs around him and drawing him deep. She rocked her hips as he thrust into her with powerful strokes, their bodies moving together with piston-like intensity and precision.

She felt like oiled satin. Her breath tasted of cloves. The scent of her skin drove him wild. He could not go deep enough. He couldn’t be close enough. There was no such thing.

Her hair tumbled over her face, and her mouth was a kiss-stung oval of delight. Alaric could feel the delightful jiggle of her breasts against him as he surged ever closer to his own crest of pleasure.

Pushing him over, Laura urged him wordlessly to shift places with her, so she could straddle him in the dominant position. He had never experienced a woman moving on top of him, and he nearly spent himself at the sight of her riding his eager cock, her straining thighs and jutting breasts sleek with perspiration. He gathered them in the cups of his hands, tweaking and rubbing her pretty nipples. She arched her back, thrusting her hips in such a way that Alaric could actually watch his shaft sliding in and out of the glistening wetness that held him. He fondled her, pressing his thumb against her hidden pearl until she slowly climaxed again. He followed swiftly in her wake, the waves of pleasure tearing through him like wildfire. He murmured hoarsely every oath and every prayer he knew, until words gave way to the guttural cry that was the first holy utterance.

Laura collapsed on top of him with a weak moan that he sucked from her lips as he withdrew and coiled himself around her, face to face, his arm cradled along her spine. They were both slick-skinned, drenched in the only substance that quenched what it had ignited.

“One doesn’t learn
that
in finishing school,” he murmured appreciatively into her ear, when he could speak. She giggled, hiding her face in his shoulder.

“I suppose you think me utterly wanton?” she said. “Isn’t that a word you use these days, to describe women like me?”

“There are no women like you,” he said, tucking a damp curl behind her ear.

“Not here,” she agreed, snuggling against him.

“Not anywhere,” he said.

Laura smiled, and pressed her lips to his chest. He ran his fingernails slowly up and down her back, and she nearly purred. He loved the way their skin stuck together, as though they were truly fusing into one person. His eyes grew heavy, and he blinked, afraid that if he fell asleep, she would simply disappear. He didn’t know the rules. He didn’t know if there were any. They seemed to be making them up as they went along.

“In this time,” he said, “are you truly not yet born?”

“Not for years and years, yet.”

“Then how is it you can exist, here and now with me?”

She looked up at him, her neck arched against the pillow. “I really don’t know, Alaric. I only know that I do, and that I have never felt more alive than when I’m with you.”

“If you … stayed, here, with me, what would happen when you
are
born?”

Laura rolled onto her back, her leg still hooked around him, and her body pressed alongside his. She cradled her head on her arm, the sinuous curve of her underarm upraised. Tiny beads of perspiration pearled her collarbone, a necklace of her own making. “I don’t know. But my time isn’t a good one, Alaric. It’s a dangerous time, when the whole world has been at war with itself. I’ve seen things I can’t erase from my mind. People have done things that take away their humanity, and now they are expected to carry on like decent citizens.”

“I know what war is,” Alaric said.

“Not war like this,” Laura said quietly. “We can never be the same, any of us. Being here with you makes me feel like none of that could ever happen.”

“Maybe it won’t,” he said gently, running his palm over her sweet flesh.

“Oh, it will,” she said. “And then it will happen again. Time isn’t the only endless cycle.”

They were quiet together then. In the distance, Alaric heard a low rumble of thunder, though no rainfall accompanied the sound—it was a dry storm he had felt in the air, and it was finally beginning to break. In counterpoint, the last strains of music from the gathering below drifted up to settle like a tender blanket on their skin. The guests would soon retire for the night, no doubt wondering to where their host had disappeared. He had a reputation for this sort of behavior, and he knew no one would be unduly alarmed. Ellen would smooth everything over. She always did.

BOOK: Midnight in Your Arms
9.23Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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