If You Desire

Page 37

"Ourhome. And you should, especially since I bought it with you in mind - "

"Youdid ?" she asked, both surprised and delighted. When he'd told her of it weeks ago, she'd dreamed about being there with him, never knowing he'd done the same about her.

"Aye, I think you would be proud to call it yours. I'll take you there straightway, if you like. We can leave tonight."

She bit her lip and murmured, "Or we could stay here for tonight...and finish what we started in the carriage."

"My vote's for that," he said in a rush, making her laugh, but it turned to a delicious gasp when he pressed his lips to her neck. His tongue flicked out with wicked kisses until she was shivering and clutching his shoulders. Against her damp neck, he said, "I need to take you again so badly...dreamed of it..."

"Me, too." She moaned softly as he laid her back across the bed, pressing her skirts to her waist.

"After so long," he began, his voice a husky rasp, "finally I'm free to claim you for my own." He tugged her lacy undergarments from her, baring her to his gaze. Her knees fell open with his first hot touch between her thighs, and she watched in fascination as his eyes slid shut with pleasure. "I'm warning you now," he said, biting out the words. "I'm going to be so damned greedy for you, lass."

She eased her arms up to him, reaching out in welcome. "I'm yours for the taking."

At that, his expression turned fierce, his eyes burning with feeling as he stared down at her. "After tonight, love, you will no' ever doubt it."

Chapter Fifty-two

"Are you ready to see our home, Sìne?" Hugh asked, as they stood near the end of a hedge-lined walk at Waldegrave.

She nodded, breathless. "I'mbeyond ready." There were only so many minutes left until dusk, and they'd just arrived. "I've been dying to see it for the last week!" It had taken them that long in London to resolve certain concerns. If Jane hadn't been utterly in love with him already, then she would have been when he'd asked for help to fulfill his promise of toys to his new nieces and nephews.

He'd gruffly explained, "It's simply good strategy to get on with your family. I'll bribe the youngest generation directly before the holidays and ensure their cooperation."

Biting back a grin, she'd answered, "Toys: you're positively Machiavellian."

Jane had also taken the time to make up to Claudia for canceling their trip, and to thank her father repeatedly for, as he called it, "his brilliant marriage coup." Hugh had spoken with Dr. Robert, returning home from his meeting with a red face and a box of various...supplies. She and Hugh had decided they would reevaluate the question of children in a year or so. After all, she was greedy to have Hugh all to herself, too.

Now he clasped her chin and brushed her bottom lip. "If you doona like it here, you've only to tell me."

"I'm positive I'm going to love it," she assured him. Then she narrowed her eyes. He didn't look nervous whatsoever. She sensed he knew she would love it as he did - and that meant he was only increasing her suspense. She lightly cuffed his chest. "If I can eversee it. I promise I'll love it, even if it looks like Ros Creag."

"It's a wee bit grimmer. But I ken how you like that." He grinned, reminding her of how heartbreakingly handsome he was when he smiled. She'd be seeking out his smiles as if they were her target.

Though he'd offered to take her anywhere in the world for their honeymoon, she'd wanted only to come here. Undoubtedly, they would travel in the future, but they needed to be within a day's train ride of England because they were confident Hugh's runners would soon pick up a lead on Ethan. Jane also wanted them to be near Beinn a'Chaorainn for the birth of Hugh's niece or nephew in the spring - even if Courtland was going to be there. If Hugh could make the effort with her family, she'd do the same for him....

"And we can change things here, too," Hugh said with deliberate slowness. "The color or - "

"Please, Hugh, I can't stand it anymore!" she said with a choked laugh. "I want to see our seashore home."

"You know I canna deny you." He took her hand and led her past the end of the walk and out into the open.

She gasped at the sight, feeling light-headed. When her eyes watered, he squeezed her hand. "Say something, lass."

"It's like...a dream." The manor was stunning both in beauty - and in size. Built of dark cream-colored brick, it had classic black shutters and marble balconies fronting the sea side. The grounds were picturesque, rolling down to majestic cliffs.And the waves... When she caught her breath, she whispered, "You really can see the sun set through the water."

At her words, he looked so proud, as though he felt ten feet tall. "I'm glad you like it," he said simply. "Ready to see the inside?"

"Can we just watch the rest of the sunset?" she asked.

"Of course." He drew her back to his front, wrapping his arms around her and resting his chin on her head.

As they gazed out together, she said, "But, itis a shame that it obviously won't need any improvements."

"Oh, aye." He chuckled, a low, rumbling laugh that was still rare, but came more often each day. She adored hearing it. "Still glad you married me?"

"Abit ," she said, and he turned her in his arms. "I've only been waiting for this since the first day I met you, when you called me 'poppet' in your brogue."

"I recall that day. I remember thinking that when you grew up, you'd lead some man on a merry chase." He tucked her against his warm chest. "Ah, lass," he rasped, pressing his lips against her hair, "I just dinna know it would be me."

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