Devil in Winter Page 45

“Yes, I am!” Sebastian seized her and kissed her angrily, stabbing his tongue inside her, assaulting her mouth with his own. Evie didn’t resist him. She closed her eyes and let him do as he wished, and soon he was groaning and kissing her with a tender passion that wrung pleasure from every nerve. By the time he lifted his head, they were both shaking.

“Evie…” His voice was hoarse. “Don’t ask this of me.”

“Three months of celibacy,” she said. “And if you succeed, I-I will go to bed with you willingly, as often as you wish.”

“For how long?”

“For as long as we both shall live. But if you fail…” Evie paused to think of the direst consequences possible…something that would revolt him to the very core. “If you fail, then you will have to go to your former friend Lord Westcliff, and apologize for abducting Lillian Bowman.”

“Holy hell!”

“That is my price.”

“Your price is too damn high. I never apologize.”

“Then you had better not accept my challenge. Or if you do accept it…you had better not fail.”

“You’ll have no way of knowing if I cheat.”

“I’ll know.”

A long moment of silence passed.

“Where is your ring?” Sebastian asked suddenly.

Evie’s smile disappeared instantly. Embarrassed to admit that she had removed it in a fit of pique, she mumbled, “I took it off.”

“What did you do with it?”

Awkwardly she reached into her pocket. “I…it’s here. I’ll put it back on if you wish—”

“Give it to me.”

Assuming that he intended to take it away from her for good, Evie closed her fingers tightly around the circlet. All of a sudden she discovered that she had become rather attached to the blasted thing. However, pride kept her from asking him to let her keep it. Reluctantly she withdrew the gold ring from her pocket, surreptitiously stroking the engraved surface with her fingertip one last time. Tha Gad Agam Ort…

Taking the ring from her, Sebastian slid it onto his own hand. His hands were so much larger that the circlet would only fit the tip of his smallest finger. Grasping her chin in an intractable hold, he glared into her eyes. “I’ll take your bet,” he said grimly. “I’m going to win it. And in three months, I’m going to put this back on your finger, and take you to bed, and do things to you that are outlawed in the civilized world.”

Evie’s resolve did not shield her from the heart-thumping alarm that any rational woman would feel upon hearing such an ominous statement. Nor did it prevent her knees from turning to jelly as he jerked her against his body and fitted his mouth to hers. Her hands, suspended in mid-air, went to his head in a trembling butterfly descent. The texture of his hair, the locks so cool and thick on the surface, so warm and damp at the roots, was too alluring to resist. She slid her fingers into the gleaming golden layers and pulled him even closer, helplessly reveling in the urgent pressure of his mouth.

Their tongues mated, slid, stroked, and with each slippery-sweet caress inside the joined cavern of their mouths, she felt a hot coiling deep in her belly…no, deeper than that…in the tightening, liquefying core where she had once taken his invading flesh. It shocked her to realize how much she wanted him there again.

She whimpered as he pulled away from her, while frustration washed over them both.

“You didn’t say that I couldn’t kiss you,” Sebastian said, his eyes bright with devil-fire. “I’m going to kiss you as long and as often as I like, and you’re not to utter a word of protest. That’s the concession you’ll give in return for my celibacy. Damn you.”

Giving her no time either to agree or to object, he released her and strode to the door. “And now, if you’ll excuse me…I’m going to go kill Joss Bullard.”


Sebastian encountered Cam in the hallway outside the reading room. “Where is he?” he demanded without preamble.

Stopping before him with an expressionless face, Cam said shortly, “He’s gone.”

“Why didn’t you follow him?” White-hot fury blazed in Sebastian’s eyes. This news, added to the frustration of his vow of celibacy, was the last straw.

Cam, who had been exposed to years of Ivo Jenner’s volcanic temper, remained unruffled. “It was unnecessary in my judgment,” he said. “He won’t return.”

“I don’t pay you to act on your own damned judgment. I pay you to act on mine! You should have dragged him here by the throat and then let me decide what was to be done with the bastard.”

Cam remained silent, sliding a quick, subtle glance at Evie, who was inwardly relieved by the turn of events. They were both aware that had Cam brought Bullard back to the club, there was a distinct possibility that Sebastian might actually have killed him—and the last thing Evie wanted was a murder charge on her husband’s head.

“I want him found,” Sebastian said vehemently, pacing back and forth across the reading room. “I want at least two men hired to look for him day and night until he is brought to me. I swear he’ll serve as an example to anyone who even thinks of lifting a finger against my wife.” He raised his arm and pointed to the doorway. “Bring me a list of names within the hour. The best detectives available—private ones. I don’t want some idiot from the New Police, who’ll foul this up as they do everything else. Go.”

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