After a long hesitation, Hugh nodded. He did, even as he now burned for Grey to die - and even as Hugh knew his brother was out in the world, seeking to kill him.
"Hugh! It's me."
He blinked his eyes open. He was clutching Jane's wrist as she leaned over him, her expressive face full of worry. He released her and fell back onto the bed. "Jane?" He ran his hand over his brow, finding it damp with sweat.
"What're you doing in here?"
"I heard something. I thought you were having a nightmare."
"Aye." He was often plagued with nightmares, murky scenes of targets who refused to die. He had always strived to make clean shots, to make it quick. But sometimes at great distances, in inclement weather, he'd failed to do so. When the shot was off the mark, they often writhed; some screamed shrilly. "Did I say anything?"
She shook her head. "What was the nightmare about?"
"No' important." It was then that he noticed her nightdress. Clinging, sheer white silk. His gaze dropped to her br**sts - and she noticed, nibbling her lip.
At once, he sat up and snatched a bundle of the cover over his sudden erection. "Damn it, you canna come in dressed like that." His voice was hoarse.
"I rushed in when I heard you. I didn't stop for a robe."
"When will you learn, Jane? I've told you, I've a man's needs. And when I see you like this..." - he shook his head hard - "it affects me. I doona want to do something we'd both regret."
She quirked an eyebrow. "You're saying the sight of me in a nightgown is so irresistible it might make you, a man of the world, lose control?"
"Aye," he said simply, then added, "I've been long without a woman, Jane, and you are verra beautiful - "
"What do you mean,long ?" She angrily crossed her arms. "As in four days?"
He frowned. "What're you speaking of?"
"I saw you go into Lysette's room. And come out with your shirt untucked."
His eyes narrowed. "You would no' have seen that if you had stayed locked in the room."
Her voice was cutting. "That is of no matter."
"She tried to seduce me."
"Tried to, or succeeded?"
"Are you jealous?" He didn't dare hope she could be. Didn't dare hope she felt the blistering envy that clawed at him when he thought of her with another.
She put her chin up and sniffed, "You spent our wedding night in the arms of another woman. I hardly felt complimented by it."
"So it's your vanity that's been injured." Disappointment settled over him. In a deadened tone, he said, "I dinna sleep with her."
"Youdidn't ?" Her arms fell to her sides as if they'd gone boneless.
"Why do you sound so disbelieving?"
"It was clear she wanted you."
"I took a vow to you, and until that vow is annulled, I'll keep it. Now, go back to your room."
Her hand fluttered to her forehead. "I see." Strangely, her face had paled. After a moment, she nodded. "I'll try to straighten my room. And don't worry about me 'carrying on' anymore."
"And what's brought about this change?" Hugh demanded, about to bellow with frustration. "Because now your vanity's intact and you lost no competition with Lysette? So you can go back to being decent to me?"
She seemed to flinch at that. "It wasn't competitiveness or vanity. And I'm sorry for how I've behaved." She looked as though she genuinely meant it.
His ire eased somewhat, and he softened his tone. "Then what, Jane?
Twining her hands, she said nothing.
"You're making me crazed, lass. I know you're unhappy, and I doona know how to change that." He rubbed his forehead, and exhaled. "Tell me how to change that."
At length, she whispered, "I was unhappy because I was jealous."
Jane left him with his lips parted and brows drawn, and withdrew to her room, easing the door nearly closed.
She stood trembling against the wall with her hands flat against the rich wainscoting. Though she'd wanted to stay in his room, she'dstepped back . She was proud of herself and felt mature for her decision, especially since she'd been flooded with compelling impulses - along with many Bad Ideas on how to handle them. She was a mix of roiling emotions.
It was possible that Jane could have been more awful to Hugh over the past few days, but she couldn't conceive of how. "I know you're unhappy, and I doona know how to change that," he'd said, sounding so weary. Immediately, Jane had remembered her father's words - Hugh tries....
She squeezed her eyes tight, embarrassed at her cutting behavior, even as she was sopleased with him, so relieved that Hugh hadn't touched that woman. Of course, a major deterrent to her feelings for him had just been eliminated. Which brought abouther revelation.
Was she right back where she'd been at the inn as she sat on the table? When she'd feared letting him out of her sight?
Jane's eyes shot open when Hugh's hand wrapped around the back of her neck. He'd pulled on his pants and entered her room silently, giving her little warning before he dragged her to his na**d chest. Leaning down, he slanted his lips over hers, groaning at the contact. He broke away only to ask, "You were truly jealous?" then set back in.
Telling him the truth could open her up to hurt, could accelerate the rate at which she dropped off that cliff. And still, between their licking, seeking kisses, she whispered, "I didn't want you kissing her. Because you should've still been kissing me."
At her admission, he tensed, hesitating for only a heartbeat before he lifted her in his arms, striding with her back to his bedroom.
"Hugh?" she murmured in a daze. "What are you doing?"
"I've something on my mind," he said, setting her on the bed, following her down. As he leaned above her, his dark hungry gaze flickered over her, and his voice broke low. "Something I need tae see."
He rubbed an unsteady hand over his mouth, looking like a man in agony. His body seemed to thrum with tension. Frowning, she brought her palms up to cup his face, but he shuddered, even at that slight touch. What was happening here?
For all the books she'd read, for all that she'd heard from her cousins and learned in London, she'dnever imagined a man behaving like this - as though he were about to die from desire. The erotic books she'd read never had accounts of men's bodiesshuddering with lust, pained with a need so great they could scarcely speak and could barely stand to be touched.
He reached forward to brush her nightdress straps down her shoulders, then dipped a kiss to her collarbone. Just as she felt cool air on her br**sts and belly, he hissed something in Gaelic, and sank back on his haunches to stare. She felt his gaze on her bared skin like a touch and arched her back for him.
Leaning forward once more, he rasped, "Mercy."
She thought she would scream in pleasure with the first wet flick of his tongue to her aching nipple. He cradled her breast with his whole hand, holding her in place as he sucked her between his lips.
"Hugh," she moaned, threading her fingers through his thick hair. "It feels so good when you do that."
His other hand was easing upward between her legs, his fingers caressing as they slowly ascended. "Tell me tae stop this," he said against her breast.
She shook her head, body quivering when he kneaded her inner thigh, coaxing her to spread her legs wider. The rough texture of his hand abraded her tender skin, but she loved it.
"Tell me now." His palm rubbed upward. She shook her head again and whimpered, afraid she was about to cl**ax. She didn't want this ever to end.
"Ah, God, I canna stop." His fingers passed the thatch between her legs. "I need tae stroke you here."
She cried out when he slipped the pad of his thumb against her clitoris, rubbing it sensuously. Another finger delved to her slick sex. "So wet." He lowered his head, and against her damp nipple, he said, "You'd be ready for me, would you no'?"
When he spread the moisture and continued his slow, agonizing strokes, she writhed helplessly to his touch. "Please, Hugh," she said, panting. "Don't stop."
He raised his head, studying her face. "I will no'." His voice sounded hoarse, lost. "I want tae make you...make you come for me." He stroked more firmly. "Taesee you - "
She gave a strangled moan - she was already there.
Hugh gazed in awe as she suddenly arched her back, hands clutching the sheets.
Without thought, he set four fingers on her, cupping and rubbing her sex fast, mouth sucking greedily on her nipple to make it stronger for her. With his other hand, he snatched up her gown so he could watch her body twisting with pleasure.
She gave a breathy cry that made his c*ck jerk painfully in answer, and her knees fell wide open. In utter abandon, she rocked her h*ps against his hand, over and over, until the tension left her.
Trembling, she fell back onto the arm he'd draped behind her, lying docile and open as he slowly continued to pet her flesh.
He couldn't catch his breath. The sight of his fingertips against the wet auburn curls at her sex...He was going to lose his seed right in his trousers.
She leaned up to bury her face against his neck. To his disbelief, she whispered how much she loved his touch.His touch. After a decade fantasizing about it, he'd made her come.
And it was the most incredible experience he'd ever had.
Her breaths were warm and quick, and between her words, she gave his neck little licks that made his c*ck grow impossibly hotter and harder.
At that moment, spending in his pants did not strike him as a bad idea.
He inwardly shook himself and pulled away, but she'd looped her soft arms around his neck and eased a knee up beside his waist.
"Hugh, what about you? Won't you stay with me?" She tugged gently, until he allowed himself to settle his h*ps between her thighs.
She wanted him to come as well? Could he drag himself away? Not when she undulated her bared sex against him. Impossible. He was burning to free himself and sink into her slick heat, desperate to ride her mindlessly, finally taking what he'd needed for so long.
Instead, when she did that sensual roll of her h*ps again, he tentatively thrust back against her. She sucked in a breath.
"Dinna hurt you?" he choked out.
When she said, "No, darling, no," he leaned up and found his hand shooting between them to rip open the fastening of his trousers. He shoved his pants down to his thighs, baring his cock, so that it hung down over her.
They were both breathing heavily, staring at where their bodies almost touched. Their flesh was so close. Her eyes were half-lidded as she stared at his shaft, at the slick head. As if in a dream, he watched as she rolled her h*ps again, seeking him. He put his straightened arms on each side of her, holding himself up, sweating with the effort not to take her.
He knew he couldn't have her, even when it felt so right to be here with her like this. He was awash in how right it felt. Yet, unable to stop himself, he pressed his own h*ps down. Lower, so slowly, until his shaft grazed against her swollen little clitoris.
His eyes rolled back in his head.
She gave a cry and another undulation that nearly put his cockhead inside her, ending everything. One of his hands shot to her hip to pin her down, then he pressed his shaft harder against her mound. He stayed there, letting it throb against her. Where his control came from, he had no idea. He only knew he had to stretch out every second, to make it last the rest of his life.
But when she reached eager hands forward to grasp him, he grabbed her wrists, knowing he'd come before her last finger had wrapped around his shaft. "Put your arms over your head, Sìne." She let them fall above her. "Keep them there for me." She nodded, as if she understood his struggle.
Soon the urge to thrust grew overwhelming. He obeyed it, pushing slowly over her sex, slipping up to her flat belly, then back, a near-constant groan rising from his chest. With his position and the movement, he was close to being inside her, as close as he would ever allow himself to get. Her cries would be the same - as would the way she was gazing up at him when she spread her legs wider and whispered, "Oh, God! Yes, Hugh!"
He savored even this agonizing pressure. Another slow push over her sex.
"Jane," he groaned. Each time his shaft slid over her, he could feel his sack tightening until it ground against her wetness too. She made some unintelligible sound at the contact.
The pleasure was too great. He was going to come, and he was going to come hard.
He dropped his head and rasped, "Arch your back for me. Have tae taste you again." When she rushed to do so, he sucked her nipple between his lips, then tugged it with his teeth until she moaned.
Was she telling him she was about to come again? He'd make her. He'd hold on until she did once more.
The pressure had nearly turned to pain when she cried out his name and thrashed beneath him in her orgasm.
Lost, he ground himself determinedly up and back against her. "Ah, God, Sìne, I have tae...come," he groaned, beginning to ejaculate. He gave a brutal yell each time the hard spurts lashed across her belly...over and over until he'd finally emptied his seed.
His body wracked with after-shudders, he sank onto his elbows with hoarse exhalations of breath against her damp neck.
He couldn't believe he'd been thrusting over her like that. He closed his eyes in shame - he'd spilled his seed on her.
Drawing away, he tucked his sensitive shaft back into his pants, then rose to grab a towel. When he returned he couldn't bear to look at her, even as he wiped her skin and pulled her gown into place. He tossed the towel away and sat on the edge of the bed, head in his hands. Never had he felt so ashamed, so low. How was he going to face her tomorrow? Didn't matter, he'd have to.