“Budding gravedigger, I think you mean.”
“Just look at the detail in these illustrations.” She moved closer, angling her body so that he could peer over her shoulder.
He reached over her arm to turn the page. As he did so, his forearm grazed her shoulder. His breath caressed her ear.
Alex stared at the line drawing of the respiratory system. Perhaps the illustration could help her identify exactly which features of her own anatomy were failing her—because his proximity made it difficult to breathe.
“I took an interest in anatomy as a youth,” he murmured. “Continued my studies all the way through university.”
“Oh, yes. I found it fascinating. But I did the majority of my learning from life, rather than books.” He took the volume from her hand, closed it, and set it aside. “Do you know, I think it’s time for another lesson.”
With that, he turned her toward him and captured her mouth in a searing kiss. His hands made possessive sweeps, caressing her breasts and thighs and hips. Awakening her body the way dawn woke the earth.
When he lifted his head, his eyes had a devilish gleam. He nudged her backward until her spine met the library shelving.
Then he sank to his knees.
Chase’s skin tightened with anticipation. He’d been waiting for this.
“Chase,” she whispered. “Chase, get up.”
Get up? The hell he would. He was just getting started.
However, the offering he had in mind would be no sacrifice.
He slid his hand down one of her stocking-clad calves, bent her leg at the knee, and hooked it over his shoulder. That accomplished, he reached to grasp her by the hips and tilt her pelvis forward.
There. Now she was open to his view, to his touch. To his kiss.
He nuzzled the slope of her bare thigh, reveling in the satiny texture of her skin against his cheek. Beginning at her garter, he trailed kisses upward in an arrow-straight path to her cleft.
She squirmed in his grasp. “What are you doing?”
Chase decided demonstration was the most useful answer. He ran his thumb down the seam of her sex, parting her with a gentle touch. Then he leaned into her heat, sweeping his tongue along the sweet, silky furrow.
Her hips jerked, and she kicked him in the kidney. “Chase.” Her hands patted around his back and shoulders, meeting atop his head. She gave him a shake. “Chase. We can’t do this. Not here.”
“Certainly we can.” He wasn’t sure if his words reached her, given that his voice was muffled by her skirts and his mouth had more pleasant tasks at hand than enunciation. He explored the treasure before him with slow, gentle passes of his tongue, giving her time to adjust to the sensation.
She gasped and bucked. “This is so very wrong.”
Beneath her skirts, he grinned. “That’s what makes it so very good.”
“A servant could come by at any moment.”
“Then stop interrupting.”
Her fingers still clutched at his hair, but she ceased struggling.
With that, he returned to his task. He found the swollen bud at the apex of her cleft and fluttered his tongue.
Her breath escaped on an erotic sigh.
That’s it. Surrender to the pleasure. Surrender to me.
He slid his hands to her bottom, clasping tight with both hands and drawing her closer, the better to kiss, lick, suck, nibble. Using her reactions as his guide, he learned the ways to make her sigh, moan, whimper, and dig her fingernails into his scalp.
Hearing his name from her lips was the most heady triumph of all. It told him he wasn’t an anonymous lover to her, but a man—one with whom she would share her most intimate places and sensations. A man she deemed worthy of her body and her pleasure. Even if he could never be worthy of her heart or her hand, this was enough.
At least, he would tell himself it was enough.
She began to roll her hips, seeking more contact, wanting it faster. A muscle in her thigh quivered. He knew she was close.
Come, he silently willed. Come for me.
A few more flickering pulses of his tongue, and she went over the edge. She came with a series of shuddering whimpers, bracing herself on his head and shoulders. He didn’t let up until her pleasure eased, and even then he couldn’t tear himself away. He pressed his mouth to her inner thigh, sucking and biting until a bruise rose on her tender flesh.
There, now he’d left his mark: Chase Reynaud was here.