Goddess of the hunt, p.51
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       Goddess of the Hunt, p.51

         Part #1 of The Wanton Dairymaid Trilogy series by Tessa Dare
Page 51


  Because, in truth, they were one and the same.

  Jeremy gathered her to his chest, pulling her heart against his. But something came between them. A lumpy weight knocked against his chest.

  The necklace.

  He let go of her waist and reached into his breast pocket to draw out the chain of jewels. In the firelight, the rubies glowed like hot coals.

  “I know you don’t need this,” he said.

  She shook her head. “I don’t. ”

  “But I want you to have it. ” He brushed her hair from her neck. “May I?”

  She nodded slightly, lifting her hair to one side. He fastened the necklace around her neck, trailing his fingers along the delicate curve of her throat.

  “Well?” she whispered, rolling the jeweled chain under her fingertips. “How do they look?”

  “They look … jealous. ”

  She laughed. It was the sweetest music he’d ever heard. “I didn’t know jewels could be jealous. ”

  He nodded solemnly. “Oh, yes. They’re most certainly jealous. Jealous of you. And furious with me, for fastening them about a neck so beautiful. They feel like dull, misshapen rocks hanging there. ”

  She laughed again. “Jeremy, please. I thought gentlemen bought ladies jewels so they could forgo the pretty phrases. ”

  He grasped her waist again, pulling her close against him. “Pretty phrases be damned,” he whispered. “You’re beautiful, Lucy. And there’s no jewel or phrase pretty enough to do you justice. ”

  And there were no gifts, no words extravagant enough to tell her how much he loved her. He would have to show her instead. Tonight. Tomorrow. Every day for the rest of his life. She felt so delicious, pressed up against him, and he was already longing to taste her. Pretty phrases be damned. He would put his lips to better use.

  Her own lips curved in a wicked smile, as though she read his thoughts. He gazed down at her, watching her smile spread slowly across her face and all the way up to her laughing green eyes. “Aren’t you going to kiss me now?”

  He lowered his lips almost to hers, until there was nothing between them but breath. “Yes, I am going to kiss you now. I’m going to kiss you long, and slow, and deep. I’m going to kiss you all night long, and into tomorrow, and every last day that God gives me beside you. ”

  He cupped her face in his hands, and her lips trembled under his. “I’m going to kiss you here,” he murmured above her mouth. He slid his lips over to her ear, letting his breath caress her earlobe. “And here,” he whispered, nuzzling into her hair. Angling her head back, he buried his face in the sweet curve of her neck. “And here. ” He rubbed his rough jaw against the delicate skin of her throat, thrilling to her little gasp.

  Then he pulled away and looked down at her face. Until her eyes fluttered open in a sweep of dark lashes that he felt brush against every inch of his skin.

  “I am going to kiss you from the crown of your head, all the way down to the tips of your toes. And then I’m going to kiss my way back up your body and stop about halfway”—she shivered in his arms and he locked his thighs around her hips—“and I am going to kiss and kiss andkiss you until you are crying out my name. ”

  “So,” he said, standing up. He lifted her into his arms in one swift motion. “If you—my wife, my heart, my love—have anything else to say, I suggest you say it now. ” He carried her over to the fire, sinking down with her into the nest of furs and blankets. “Because for the next several minutes, I intend to keep your lips pleasantly occupied, and after that—after that, I promise you, you will forget. ”

  She wrapped her arms around him, pulling him close. “Just one question,” she breathed, as his hand slid beneath silk to curve around her breast.

  “What would that be?”

  Her tongue flickered against his ear. “When do I get to kiss you?”

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