Home > The Duke (Victorian Rebels #4)(8)

The Duke (Victorian Rebels #4)(8)
Author: Kerrigan Byrne

This close, she found it difficult not to become overwhelmed by his beauty. His relaxed posture was deceptive, she realized, as his muscles were coiled as tightly as a predator ready to spring. Though his expression remained inscrutable, a distinctive sense of leashed violence wove through the air between them, though his placid, enigmatic features never revealed it.

He released a breath he’d been holding too long, his eyes becoming heavy-lidded as his tongue snaked out to moisten lips gone dry.

He reached for her, and then seemed to change his mind. “Take that off,” he commanded softly.

Struck by a shy uncertainty, she didn’t believe that her fingers would be capable of the task.

“You could…” she offered hesitantly. “You could undress me, if you like.”

“You wouldn’t like that,” he warned, shifting his position to angle slightly away from her.

“I—I don’t mind. I’m to do whatever you ask.”

“If I touch that dress, I’ll shred it,” he said tightly. “And I don’t believe you’re ready for that.” How a man could manage to appear savage, bleak, and seductive at the same time was beyond her. But, in the end, it was the soul-haunting sorrow beneath the naked desire in his eyes that brought her fingers to the buttons of her scandalously low bodice.

His feral gaze latched onto the movements of her unsteady hands, and Imogen groped for something to say as she peeled her dress down her arms.

“Twenty pounds?” Her eyes closed in mortification. How vulgar and stupid it was to bring up money when you were being paid for fantasy.

“I didn’t like Mackenzie’s hands on you.” His own hands curled as her dress slid in a heap to the floor, leaving her only in her corset, drawers, stockings, and slippers. “Then I realized it was because I wanted to put my hands on you. Only my hands. I could feel how warm you were all night against my thigh.”

The memory apparently proved too much for him.

He sprang and she started, but the arms that pulled Imogen down to him were careful, if not gentle. Trenwyth was a man aware of his own strength. Used to tempering it, controlling it, and only unleashing it upon the deserving.

He split her thighs over his lap and, true to his word, he rent her undergarments with his big hands and tossed them to the floor. She was too astounded to make a sound, to do anything but kneel above him and hope her trembling bare thighs didn’t give out. Without thinking, her hand gripped the unyielding flesh of his shoulders to steady herself.

Their eyes met and clung, her face only inches from his. She didn’t dare look down, couldn’t think of the chill of the air against the heat of her most intimate flesh. Flesh she’d bared to no one before this night. Didn’t want to see how close it was to the aroused column of his sex.

Dear God, she thought in a rush of panic, how could she bring herself to do this?

His hands gripped the span of her hips to steady her. Her muscles trembled and quivered beneath them, and he ran his thumb over the protuberance of her hip bone in a soothing gesture.

“Of all the torments I’ve experienced, and they’ve been many, the heat of your slit against my leg had to be the most pleasant torture yet.” The unfettered depravity of his increasingly garbled words elicited a startled sound from her, one that he covered with a kiss.

Her mouth felt uncommonly soft beneath his hard lips. Her flesh and bones even more delicate against a body so hard and lean.

He reminded her how breakable she was and yet … she felt nothing but protected.


His questing tongue tested the seam of her lips, and instinct drove her to let him inside. Crushing her against him, corset and all, he released a growl as his tongue conducted a wet exploration of her mouth. The sound vibrated up between their bodies, and somehow lent the night an even darker hue. Had she heard a sound like that elsewhere she’d have run from it, screaming for help. But now, like this, it thrilled through her, causing another of those unsettling spasms deep inside her as her sex clenched around its own emptiness.

Imogen thought she’d been kissed before, but she’d been utterly mistaken. His siege of her mouth went on and on until she lost her breath and didn’t care. Her thoughts scattered like a flock of panicked birds chased out of their roost. Even inebriated, his skill with his mouth pushed her beyond her wits. He tasted of Scotch and sin, and Imogen wondered if intoxication was as contagious as a fever, because she felt quite funny.

Just when she thought there was no other place for him to lick, he would begin to suck and nip. To sample and savor. First her bottom lip, then the top before gently capturing her tongue. She thought she’d go mad from the busy sensations.

Eventually he relented, pulling his tongue away and dragging his mouth across hers in great, gentle sweeps, letting some of his evening stubble rasp at her tender lips.

His hands didn’t remain idle. They tested the garters securing her stockings to her thighs. They spanned her hips again, apparently enjoying that particular part of her anatomy, and then molded to the curve of her bottom before reaching beneath and—

Imogen surged away and tried unsuccessfully to clamp her thighs shut as questing fingers found a wellspring of moisture between her legs.

“Hold still,” he breathed out on a shudder.

Scandalized and overstimulated, Imogen blinked back a few confused tears. “You don’t have to … We can just … get to it.” She wanted—no—needed this to be over before she lost her nerve. A heated curiosity had bloomed within her, and crawled over her skin. She felt like a wanton. Not like a whore, but like a lover. And she knew whatever he did to her just now was utterly dangerous.

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