Devil in Winter Page 61

“Shhh…” His fingers pushed higher, and his mouth nudged past the swollen folds of her sex. He teased the straining little peak, licking in a sly counter-rhythm to the gentle thrust of his fingers. Evie arched against the door, her throat aching from the effort not to cry out. He did not pause or relent, did not allow her a single moment to catch her breath, only stroked and tormented her hot, twitching flesh, driving the sensation higher and higher until at last she choked back a scream and shuddered with rapture. His mouth stayed on her, drawing out every last ripple of fulfillment until she was finally still, her weary flesh emptied of sensation.

Eventually Sebastian stood, bringing his aroused body against hers, his forehead pressed to the door behind her. Evie linked her arms around his lean waist, her eyes closed as she rested her cheek against his shoulder. “The bargain…” she mumbled.

“You said I could kiss you,” came his gentle, wicked whisper near her ear. “But, my love…you didn’t specify where.”


“You sent for me, my lord?” Evie came to stand before the desk in the small office, where Sebastian remained sitting. One of the servants had brought her downstairs at his request, accompanying her through the barely controlled chaos of the overcrowded club.

On this, the first night of Jenner’s reopening, it seemed that everyone who was or wished to be a member was determined to gain admittance. A stack of applications was piled on the desk before Sebastian, while at least a dozen men waited impatiently in the entrance hall to be approved. The air was filled with the sounds of chatter and clinking glasses, and the music of an orchestra that played on the second-floor balcony. To honor the memory of Ivo Jenner, champagne was being served in an endless flow, adding to the atmosphere of uninhibited enjoyment. The club was open again, and all was well with the gentlemen of London.

“Yes, I did,” Sebastian said in response to Evie’s question. “Why the hell are you still here? You should have left approximately eight hours ago.”

She stared into his expressionless face without flinching. “I’m still packing.”

“You’ve been packing for three days. You don’t own more than a half-dozen gowns. The few belongings you have would fit into a small valise. You’re stalling, Evie.”

“What difference does it make to you?” she shot back. “For the past two days you’ve treated me as if I don’t even exist. I can scarcely credit that you even noticed I’m still here.”

Sebastian subjected her to a knifelike stare while he struggled to retain control of his writhing temper. Not notice her? Holy hell, he would have given a fortune for that to be true. He had been torturously aware of her every word and gesture, hungering constantly for the briefest glimpse of her. Seeing her now, her beautifully curved body neatly wrapped in the black velvet dress, was enough to drive him mad. The somber darkness of mourning was supposed to render a woman plain and drab, but instead the black made her skin look like fresh cream, and her hair glow like fire. He wanted to take her to bed, and love her until this mysterious bedeviling attraction was consumed in its own heat. He felt invaded by something, some kind of ardent disquiet that felt like a sickness…something that made him go from one room to another and then forget what he had wanted. He had never been like this…distracted, impatient, agonized with yearning.

He had to get rid of her. Evie had to be protected from the dangers and depravities of the club, as well as from himself. If he could somehow keep her safe, and see her in some kind of limited manner…it was the only solution.

“I want you to go,” he said. “Everything has been prepared for you at the house. You’ll be far more comfortable there. And then I won’t have to worry about what kind of trouble you might be getting into.” Standing, he went to the door, taking care to preserve a necessary physical distance between them. “I’m going to send for a carriage. In a quarter hour, I want you to be in it.”

“I’ve had no supper. Is it too much to ask that I be allowed a last meal?”

Though Sebastian wasn’t looking at her, he could hear the note of childish defiance in her voice, and it caused a wrench in his heart…a heart that he had always believed to be nothing more than an efficient muscle.

He never remembered whether he had intended to allow her to stay for supper or not, for at that moment he saw Cam approaching the office…accompanied by the unmistakable form of the Earl of Westcliff. Turning to the side, Sebastian dragged his lean fingers through his hair. “Bloody hell,” he muttered.

Evie came to him instantly. “What is it?”

Sebastian wiped his face clean of expression. “You’d better go,” he said grimly. “Westcliff is here.”

“I’m not going anywhere,” she said at once. “Westcliff is too much of a gentleman to fight in front of a lady.”

Sebastian let out a derisive laugh. “I don’t need to hide behind your skirts, pet. And I doubt he’s here to fight—that was all settled on the night I abducted Miss Bowman.”

“What does he want, then?”

“Either to deliver a warning, or to see if you need rescuing. Or both.”

Evie remained by his side as Westcliff entered the office.

Cam was the first to speak. “My lord,” he said to Sebastian, “I bid the earl to wait, but he—”

“No one bids Westcliff to do anything,” Sebastian said dryly. “It’s all right, Cam. Go back to the hazard tables, or it will be mayhem in there. And take Lady St. Vincent with you.”

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