Excerpt, Wicked Widow

Their gazes locked, his blazing with desire. Then his focus shifted to her bodice. During her efforts she’d leaned forward, unconsciously offering him a clear view of her breasts. Her skin warmed where his eyes touched.

“Confound it, woman,” he gasped and shut his eyes. “Cover yourself.”

Morgan looked down at her imprisoned wrists. In all other ways the captain appeared a gentleman, but his hands were not the soft, exquisitely manicured hands of her former friends. His were strong, long-fingered and callused—a man’s hands.

“I cannot,” she whispered.

He opened his eyes. The tight muscles of his face testified to his battle over the passion electrifying the air between them. “You must. I did not bring you here for this.”

“We agreed—”

“I agreed that you were dirty and hungry and in need of assistance, nothing more.”

But she’d spent the better part of a day preparing for this! And now with the combination of wine and attraction flowing through her veins she truly wanted him. Her mouth longed for the feel of his lips moving against hers, her body for the press of his large, hard-muscled body. She licked her lips and said with the same rashness that had begun her American adventure, “I liked kissing you. You taste like pepper.”

He drew several more breaths as she watched the restraint start to dissolve on his countenance, making her own breathing low and labored. To calm herself she moved her regard upward. It didn’t help. The dim lighting of the gasolier turned his hair a gleaming blue-black and her hands itched to run through it, to feel those crisp strands sliding between her fingers.

Across the room the fire’s flames found a knot in the wood, spitting and sputtering in the lengthening silence. “You ought not to have said that,” he said finally.

They locked gazes again. “I rarely say what I ought to, sir.”

“That,” he replied with a glimmer of a smile, “I can readily believe.” Another deep breath. “Do you ever behave as you ought to, madam?”

“Not often enough.”

“What you ought to do right now is adjust that dress.”

“Which way?” Oh Lord, she couldn’t have said that—it was the wine—

His hands shook. “To conceal your—confound it,” he rasped.

“It doesn’t signify. You still possess my hands.” Her voice sounded low and husky, inflamed by desire.

He regarded his fingers, so tight around her wrists that her skin formed wrinkles. “If I release them, I may behave badly.”

“Do you often misbehave, sir?” she quipped, tilting her head slightly.

His lips twisted wryly. “Rarely.”

“Regardless, if you’re suggesting I escape when you release me, it’s pure folly. Cowardliness is not in my character.”

“Nor is rape in mine, but I’ve drunk half a bottle of brandy and a full bottle of burgundy this night. I’m not entirely in control of my actions. You are unwise to tempt me further.”

“I liked kissing you,” she reminded him.

He stared a moment longer. His restraint crumbled. “Then I suppose, madam, I should be remiss not to repeat it.”