If You Dare

Chapter Thirty


When Hugh returned, Court had his arm around Annal¨ªa at the dining table, stroking the back of her neck and murmuring in her ear. His brother had barely been able to grate out an "invitation" for Court to join him for a drink after dinner. Court had wanted to go with Anna when she retired, but she said she was sleepy and wanted him to visit with his brother.

"Why, Court?" Hugh asked as he sank into the leather chair in the study. He pinched the bridge of his nose, appearing exhausted.

"I got to a point where I could no' resist any longer."

"That's no' why you took her virtue. Because you 'could no' resist.' You're one of the most disciplined men I've ever known. Which means you made a conscious decision." He exhaled a long breath. "You did it so you would be forced to marry her. And more important, so a woman like that would be forced to marry you."

His eyes narrowed. "No, she wants me, too."

"Do you think that someone like her is going to enjoy living in a drafty four-hundred-year-old keep? No' to mention that your propitious land grab just officially put your home in the middle of nowhere. A seamstress is no' going to ride through thousands of acres to get to your bonny wife out there."

"Where she lived before was no' exactly a metropolis."

"Does she even know who you are? Be realistic, Court."

"You mean a cursed, sterile mercenary living in a stone heap?"

Hugh raised his eyebrows and said simply, "Aye."

Strange how one word could feel like a punch he hadn't tensed for. Court didn't bother to hide his resentment before he strode from the room.

Afterward he walked the house, scowling at everything he saw. This was not how he lived. What she saw was gilded. Anna saw the wealth and the servants, and if she was comfortable here, she would not be at his home in the wilds of northern Scotland.

And what did she know about him? She had an idea of him as a gentle lover, but lately he'd been losing control, little by little.

Sometimes he wanted to take her much harder than he did....

He entered her room, found her sleeping on her front, with the sheet kicked off and her hair spilling across the pillow just as it had when he'd gone to her room in Andorra. He'd stared at her that night, envisioning himself palming her thighs and sex until she rose to her knees. Court remembered how furiously he'd wanted her, remembered how he'd hated the fact that a fine lady like her would never have him.

Yet she would. She would right now.

He stripped down, then knelt between her legs, running his hand up her thighs to her nightgown. She murmured but slept on as he rolled it higher to her waist.

He put his palm to her sex, his fingers higher, massaging. She woke with a gasp.

"Spread your legs." She did without hesitation. "More." She did, trusting him.

He pressed his finger into her, closing his eyes at the lush feeling, the growing wetness that would soon be gloving him. When her breaths came faster he placed another finger in. She moaned, but he wouldn't push far within her - just enough to make her want more. He groaned when she tried to twist down to get him to take her deeper. Using small touches, he teased her to her knees.

"Yes," he said, his voice hoarse. "On your knees. On your hands." When she was as he wanted her, he rolled her nightdress up her back and over her head, pulling her up against his chest so he could untangle the silk from her arms. He threw it to the side, then inhaled the addictive scent of her hair as it brushed his face. "I canna get enough of you, mo cridhe," he rasped as he eased her back down.

Without his touch she must have grown embarrassed, because she started to lie down once more. He grabbed her hips before she could and steadied her. "No, I want you like this."

"Like what?" she whispered.

In answer, he spread her flesh and ran his thumb up and down. Her head fell forward and her back arched down. "But...it's how...it's how animals mate," she whispered wildly.

"Aye." He reached under her and cupped her breast, plucking her nipple, and she gasped.

"I can't...I don't know."

He pulled her up to his chest again, and brushed her thick hair over her shoulder so he could kiss her neck, then trailed his fingers down her belly all the way to her sex, plunging his fingers into her. She moaned and went limp. He captured her against his chest, with a tight arm wrapped over her breasts. Beneath them, he thrust his fingers into her again and again until she was close. Then he removed them, devoting both hands to her breasts, palming them wholly and lightly pinching her nipples.

She cried out, "Please, Court."

"What do you want?"

"You know."

"You need something filling you?"

She gasped but nodded.

He prodded her thigh with his now aching erection. "Put it inside you."

"What?" she whispered.

"Put me inside you. Now."


"You know how."

When she hesitated, he circled her nipple with the tip of his finger as he ran his tongue against her earlobe. Her head fell back to rest on his shoulder and he grazed his teeth along her neck, saying against her damp skin, "Take my shaft in your hand."

He felt her hand closing over him, distinctly felt one soft finger at a time curling around him. He groaned with need, wanting inside her so badly. He wanted that fine woman from the bed, the one that he'd despaired of ever having, to desire him so strongly that she'd guide him into her own body.

She brought him to her wet flesh, and he thought he might come the moment the head pushed against her. He put his hands on the front of her thighs and pulled them farther apart, making her spread her knees wider. Then both his hands were back on her breasts, kneading, desperate, struggling not to buck into her.

He closed his eyes as she did it, as she worked his shaft inside her tightness, loving that she moaned with each inch slowly sliding in. He hissed in a breath, but stilled halfway, letting her get used to him.

Because he was about to ride her harder than he ever had.

She put her hands back, grasping his thighs. He clenched her hips, plunging up into her, and she cried out.

"I need tae take you hard."

"Any way you wish - " she cried between hectic breaths, but the words broke on a moan when he rocked his hips into her again.

"You know what I want, Anna. Will you be givin' it tae me?"

Her fingernails dug into the backs of his thighs, and he heard her murmur, "Yes."

He took her lobe between his teeth and growled in her ear, "Then go tae your hands."

She nodded, her hair brushing up and down over his arm. He placed a flat hand on her back to ease her down, then shoved her knees wider with his own. Clamping her shoulders, he pulled her along his cock.

He drew his hips back, then thrust again, going in harder than he'd meant to, but she cried, "Ah, yes."

He bucked into her, his skin sounding against hers. "Arch your back down," he grated. She did, and in reward he reached around her to rub at her sex and place his flattened palm just beneath her breast so her nipple rasped against it with each of his thrusts.

When she moaned, he raised one knee up beside her hip and finally entered her as far as possible. She cried out again, but her growing wetness was all the permission he needed. He squeezed her lush curves, feeling frenzied, taking her harder and harder, driving into her bodily until she was forced to her elbows.

To his shock and pleasure, she tried to meet him, hastening to her climax. He felt her tense, saw her hands clutch the pillow. He groaned, bit out a curse from the intensity as her body squeezed his, until she fell limp to the bed.

He turned her to her back, grabbing her leg and working it around so he could stay within her, still thrusting into her.

He took her hands and captured them over her head with one of his own as he pumped faster and faster. With the other he seized her breast and held it so he could put his mouth on her and graze his teeth over her nipple. At once, she began to come again, her knees falling open in surrender.

Just when he'd become too thick within her, he followed, never releasing her hands or her breast as he shot deep inside her, coming endlessly and forced to yell out from it, still driving until he collapsed.

MacCarrick's head lay on her chest, his arms wrapped solidly around her, still lying as he had been when she'd stroked his hair until he'd slept.

She believed that tonight he had been communicating something to her through his actions. She felt that the message could be one of two things. Either he wanted her to know he could be free with her, that he trusted her to understand the needs hidden within him, and to accept them.

Or tonight had been a blatant warning.

If the first, then she could accept him. She wanted his rough ways, craved that he made her feel so much like a woman just because he was so much a man. She thought of his teeth nipping her and shivered. She didn't want him to hold back or feel he had to hide anything from her.

If his actions had been a warning, he'd failed miserably. Because she desperately wanted everything he was warning her from.

Was there a message here that would reveal why he hadn't asked her to marry him? Were the Gaelic words he oftentimes rasped to her when they made love some type of promise? Once she had asked him what they meant, and he'd said only, "I will tell you soon." She wanted to demand answers, to force the issue, but these days with him were so precious to her that she feared jeopardizing them in any way.

She sighed. These thoughts plagued her because each day passing was a step closer to her ruin. Soon she would be given a choice, and if he hadn't made her his wife, if he wouldn't make her his wife, she would be forced to prove to all that she was just like her mother, that the Castilian blood ran far too hot in her veins. Because she would be choosing ruin to be with her Scottish lover.

He shifted positions, bringing her to him now, his head above hers. She knew he slept, but his hand unerringly went to her breast. His hand, so dark and scarred, stood out against her skin. Such a primal sign of possession. At once her nipple hardened beneath his hot palm.

What he couldn't know was how badly she wanted to possess him back.

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