The Brazen Bride(10)

By: Stephanie Laurens

Damn—he knew what he was doing. Knew better than any other man she’d ever met how to do this. She bit her lip on a moan as his questing hand shifted and closed again, then settled to pay homage to her other breast.

He was clearly experienced, and she was no wilting virgin, no paragon of missish modesty, yet …

She couldn’t allow this.

She’d be disgusted with herself in the morning if she did. Not least because, as she well knew, letting her fallen angel have her so easily, without even having exchanged one word, would give him too much power over her.

Or at least lead him to think he had power over her, and that would lead to unnecessary battles. She was queen in, this realm, and such things happened at her command—only at her command.

Accepting she would have to end this now, she sighed, opened her eyes, and took stock—which only resulted in sending a wholly unfamiliar shiver down her spine.

Her robe was undone, the halves spread wide. Her nightgown was rucked up, above her breasts in the front, to the middle of her back behind her, which was why she could feel …

She had to end this now, but she was too wise to try to wriggle away, even leap away. Either move left it up to him to let her go. And he might not. Not readily. He might try to make her plead.

Used to playing power games, chess of a sort, with men, she mentally girded her loins—dragged her senses in and shackled them—then stretched her arms up over her head, sinuously straightening her long body and turning within his hold to face him.

It didn’t go as she’d planned.

Instead of finding him smiling at her in lazy masculine triumph, ready to accept her surrender, she barely had time to register that his eyes were shut, his expression still blank—that even if she’d woken, he had not—before one hard hand slid into her unbound hair, palming her skull, and his bandaged head shifted and his lips closed on hers.



As if he were a man starved and she all his succor.

Heat hit her in a crashing wave, passion and hunger and want and need all churning in that burning kiss. An instant conflagration erupted between them. She felt like she was melting, muscles taut yet turning passive, fluid and giving, emptiness—a hollow ache—burgeoning at her core, yearning to be filled.

Primal. Urgent. Demanding.

He was all that—and he made her feel the same.

Her hands skimmed his shoulders. Even as she battled to regain her mental feet, she registered the warmth spreading beneath his still cool skin.

If nothing else, the exchange was heating him up.

If he’d been awake, her turning would have made him pause long enough for her to douse his flame. Instead, his unconscious, his dream-mind, had read that sinuous slide to face him as encouragement and agreement. As surrender.

By the time she’d realized that, he’d laid claim to her mouth and every one of her senses with a primitive passion that curled her toes.

He plundered, his tongue mating with hers, and her body came alive as it never had before. Yet he was … dreaming?

Even as she wrestled with that conclusion—tried to think what it meant, what she should do—he tore his lips from hers, ducked his head, and set his mouth to her breasts.

Took a furled nipple into his mouth and suckled.


Her body bowed; she fought to stifle a scream—the first of pure pleasure she’d ever uttered. He pushed her onto her back and loomed over her in the dark. She gripped his shoulders, gasps tangling in her throat as, head bowed, he continued to feast, to lave and suckle her breasts.

Even asleep, he knew exactly how to make her body come quickly, rapidly, roaringly alive. Make it sing, make it burn.

She’d had three lovers—had “made love” precisely three times, once with each. Those experiences had convinced her that the activity was not for her, not something she was suited for.

As she was never going to marry, she’d seen no reason to learn more.

Now she faced a choice she hadn’t expected. Even as pleasure lanced through her again and her body arched beneath him, evocatively into him, she knew she could stop him, her fallen angel, but she’d have to wake him up to do it. Even wounded and weakened, he was too damned strong for her, to simply push him back and soothe him deeper into sleep. Yet her reasons for not indulging with him didn’t apply if he remained asleep. If he didn’t know—wouldn’t recall when he awoke …