How to Catch an Elusive Earl (Romancing the Rake 2)

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She shivered, reminded of her wish to kiss this man right before he’d arrived. He made her so angry but also…he brought out her spirit, her fire, and she found herself entranced by the blue of his eyes. “I’m too sharp-tongued. What’s yours? Is lying your worst sin or do you have several more?”
“More,” he answered, moving even closer. “I’d name them all, but you’re not ready to hear them, so I’ll tell you the one I’m most likely to be guilty of in the next several seconds.”
“What’s that?” she asked, her gaze not breaking from his. Perhaps she should be scared, but she remembered the way his body had felt against hers the night before and only excitement pulsed through her. She’d never been less frightened of anyone.
“I’m going to teach an innocent lady how to kiss,” he said in a low, deep baritone that shook her insides to her core.
Chapter Six
Luke waited a full five seconds before he slowly lowered his head. He wanted her to have every opportunity to back up if she wished. This was a seduction. But his little minx didn’t back up at all. In fact, he was relatively certain, she leaned in closer. His body thrummed in response.
“How do you know I need a lesson? Perhaps I am an expert kisser already?” But her breath came out in short gasps and her lips had parted in invitation. Even her pupils had dilated as she tilted her chin up toward his.
Who did she think she was fooling?
As a rake, he understood perfectly when a woman wanted his touch. It was the first and most important skill he possessed.
Luke allowed a ghost of a smile to touch his lips. He loved that even as her body responded to his, her mind kept sparring. Some men might not like a little fight in their passion and he’d never considered himself that sort before, but he found the trait intoxicating in her. It fueled his desire and…there was something so honest about her barbs. She was not going to deceive him when she was telling him exactly how awful he was.
He grasped her cheek with his palm, lightly stroking her neck with his fingertips. Despite the rising passion between them, he reminded himself she was a tender virgin, raised in this far more wholesome place and he needed to take his time with her. “Expert?” he whispered just above her lips. He let the air from his lips tickle over hers. “Careful, lest another lie be exposed.”
She gasped and he knew she’d drawn in his breath. How was that so intimate? He’d done all sorts of depraved acts in the last five years. Why did simply sharing air seem so…special? Why was slow so much sexier than rushing headlong into passion? He wasn’t certain but he found he enjoyed this prolonged prelude. It was…more exciting than he’d ever imagined.
“I’ll have you know that I’ve kissed…” But she didn’t finish as he lightly brushed his lips against hers. They were achingly soft and so warm from the sun. Her body, just a few inches from his, radiated heat. Part of him wanted to pull her close but another part liked the fact that only their lips had touched as though they were savoring every place their skin came together.
“Don’t lie to me, sweetheart,” he said as he lifted his lips. “Your honesty is one of my favorite things about you.”
“Oh,” she whispered, blinking up at him, her gaze unfocused, her cheeks flushed.
Had he rendered her speechless? His chest swelled with pride. Perhaps he should do so again. And he lowered his mouth giving hers another light brush.
Her breath rushed out and he drew it in, noting the hints of cinnamon and spice that only added to her violet scent. Was everything about this woman appealing? But he forgot to answer his own question as her gloved palms pressed against his chest and slid up to his collarbone.
“I’ve never kissed anyone before today,” she said as he
lifted his mouth.
A possessive pride and a surge of desire coursed through him. Why did it matter that he was the only man to ever touch her lips? Rather than say so, he kissed her again, more firmly pressing his mouth to hers.
She swayed closer and he slid his hands down her neck, over her arms, and around her back to draw her in closer still. He considered slanting her mouth open and touching his tongue to hers but didn’t. He normally never showed such reserve but he wanted this to be… He nearly choked. He wanted the kiss to be wholesome. A special little memory of a man who didn’t take too much, just gave her a perfect first kiss. Bloody hell, he was doing this for her not himself.
With that in mind, he lifted his head, even as he still held her close. “You were right. There is no land deal. Just a party that I hoped to attend.” That he still hoped to attend, didn’t he?
Adrianna looked up at him, still pressed to his body as her hands circled about his neck. “A party so important, you’d lie to my father about a possible contract?”
Guilt and shame made his insides twist. “I thought it was terribly important.” But now he wasn’t so certain. All the pleasures he’d hoped to experience had been trumped with one chaste kiss.
Which scared the hell out of him. His stomach churned even as he held her closer.
She nodded. Her small frame pressed to his from chest to hip and he gave her waist a light squeeze drawing her closer still. “And now?” she asked, her head cocking to the side.
He sighed, half hating the answer that came to his lips. A day ago, he’d been so sure of who he was and what he wanted from life. Now? At this moment he didn’t know anything. Whether to stay or to go, to kiss Adrianna again or leave before either of them got hurt. “Now, I think finding Mittens is the most important task of them all.”
Something surged deep inside her at his answer. Fear? Excitement? She wasn’t entirely certain, but she tried to pull back just a little, hoping to examine her feelings. He held firm. “You don’t mean that,” she said, her voice high and tight.
He shrugged. “I might.” Then he shook his head. “I might not.”
She slid her hands back down his chest and gently pushed to create some distance. “Well then, we’ll continue our search for Mittens, but we’ll look toward the village. You’ve only got a half hour to make it to the boat.”