My Lady Quicksilver

Page 42

Lynch glanced over his shoulder darkly. “Isn’t it? Which part?”

“All of it. You want me. I know you do—”

He turned then. His body was as tight as a fucking violin string. “Maybe you’re wrong.”

“I can make you want me,” she declared, giving a little shimmy that slipped her capped sleeves over her shoulders. Her bodice softened, her plump breasts threatening to spill. “You wanted me once.”

“Whether I want you or not, it doesn’t change the fact that I don’t even know who you are!” he snapped. “I thought that I loved a woman, but she didn’t exist. I’ve had enough of betrayal to last me a lifetime.”

Rosa flinched. But she didn’t back down. Instead, her fingers went to the bodice and the little row of buttons that ran down the front of her finely tailored corset-dress. The light gleamed off the metal of her left hand; she’d taken her gloves off, no doubt to force him to admit to himself that she wasn’t Mrs. Marberry.

“You want to know me?” Rosa asked. “Then so be it. I was a thief. On the streets as a child. Then Balfour’s spy and later…later his assassin. I let my husband die because I couldn’t save him in time and I can’t tell my brothers how much I love them because I never have the words. Not when it means something.” Licking dry lips, she continued, “I’m not good, I’m not kind, I don’t seem to be able to feel such things that other people do—as if I can lock a box inside my mind and hide all of the…emotions inside it. But I can’t do that now. Not with you. I hate feeling like this. I hate being so uncertain. I hate the guilt, knowing that I was wrong, that I should have told you.” She struggled with a button, fingers trembling, cursing under her breath. “I don’t know what to say. All I have is this, to show you—”

“I’m not your husband,” he said, a brutal reminder of the one man she had loved. “You might have fooled him, but I won’t make that mistake again.”

Another arrow in the dark. Her skin blanched, still her trembling fingers began tugging at the little row of buttons. And no matter what he said, he couldn’t tear his eyes away.

“You’re right. That was the mistake I made. Pretending to be someone that I’m not. Twice.” Uncertainty stilled her fingers. “I loved him, but…he didn’t know me. Not until the end, when Balfour told him what I was, what I’d done.” Sorrow shadowed her eyes. “I couldn’t go to him. I never got that chance. That’s why I’m here now.” She stiffened, as if waiting for a blow. “You said that your heart belonged to me, but you never truly knew me. All the…the ugliness… Now you do. And…if you want me to go, to truly go away, all you have to do is tell me that you don’t love me. Tell me that I’m not the woman you cared for. That there’s nothing in me that you could ever love.”

Her whisper cut him, her fingers trembling on the next button as she stared at him and waited for the guillotine to fall.

He couldn’t do it. He wanted so much to believe her. He wanted her too much.

Two steps and Lynch was in front of her, his hands reaching for her face. Cursing himself. Cursing the weakness in him that made him desperately long for her words to be true. The silk of her hair slid around his hand as he cradled the base of her skull and then her mouth met his and he was lost.

“God,” he whispered, yanking her hard against him. “Rosa—I wish—” Her tongue, hot and wet. Her hands grabbing him by the shirt so that he couldn’t get away. “I wish I could give you forever.”

“I’ll take tonight.”

Then her mouth met his and all thought scattered, except for the desperate desire to have her.


For a second Rosalind thought she’d failed, that he would turn away, not want her. But even as her lungs deflated he was moving toward her, his mouth swooping down to capture hers. The kiss was hard, desperate. For the first time, nothing lay between them and she couldn’t stop herself from clutching at him, her heart thundering in her ears and hope rearing its head.

He wanted her. Despite what she’d done. Despite her lies, the betrayal… Knowing everything that he knew about her, he still wanted her. This was what she’d never gotten a chance to see in Nate’s eyes. Instead, he’d died before she could dare ask if he could ever forgive her.

Forgiveness might not be so swiftly earned, not with Lynch. She’d hurt him so badly… But at least this was a start. At least he hadn’t thrown her out the window like she probably deserved.

Rosalind drew back for a breath, gasping, her fingers darting under his shirt. Greedy. So greedy for his skin, his body… To show him how she felt when she couldn’t find the words. He slid a hand through her hair, tilting her head back, and then his cool lips were running down her throat, the feel of it echoing between her thighs. Her back hit the wall, his other hand cupping her lush bottom and then she could feel the hard edge of his cock pressing against her stomach.

Grabbing the back of her thigh, he dragged her knee up, pressing hotly between her legs. Rosalind moaned, her nails sinking into the smooth skin of his back, trailing up the long, lean muscles. Somehow, her hand found his, then she was pressing it lower, over her abdomen and down, hot desire racing through her veins.

A soft gasp as he found her, wet and ready, his fingers sliding between the slit in her drawers. Her gasp or his, she didn’t know. Her head dropped back, nails digging into him as she bit her lip. He knew exactly where to touch her, exactly how to make her scream. But then this was the only thing she had never lied to him about. He knew her here. Knew every little place to stroke to drive her crazy.

Hard fingers sank inside her, his thumb stroking hard over the nub at the heart of all this pleasure. Rosalind couldn’t think, couldn’t see. Her body moving against his, desperate for this, to assuage the ache in her chest, and now the ache between her thighs. It rose with choking swiftness—maybe because she wanted this so much, maybe out of sheer relief that he was touching her, giving her what she needed—and then it overwhelmed her with shocking suddenness.

Her cry echoed in the room, her body convulsing around his fingers as she clung to him, trying to ride it out. Somehow this was purer and sweeter than anything she’d ever felt before, as if the purging of all that emotion that had been choking her let her body sing.

Teeth rasped over her throat, biting at the soft skin over the vein. Rosalind’s eyes shot wide, knowing what he wanted, knowing the dark hungers that drove him. But if she dared ask him to trust her, then she had to give him the same trust. He wouldn’t force this on her, wouldn’t take directly from the vein. He never had.

Her eyes widened further, fear thick in her throat at the idea that sprang to mind. She couldn’t. Could she?

The thin stiletto rasped in her hair. The more she tried not to think of it, the more she couldn’t help herself. It terrified her. To give such control to another person, even Lynch. Her heart throbbed in her chest. Lynch lifted his head, his eyes half-lidded and dazed, his cheeks flushed with desire. He’d felt her withdrawal and looked to find the cause.

Rosalind grabbed a handful of his hair and kissed him, trying not to panic. She couldn’t let him go. Not now. Fingertips trailing down his chest, she felt the hard press of the hilt against the base of her skull.

“Rosa?” he asked.

She had the knife in her fingers before she could even think about it. Swallowing hard, she caught his own hand and wrapped his fingers around the hilt.

Lynch froze. His smoky gray eyes met hers, heat spilling through them until they were black with fierce need. His gaze dropped to her throat, his lips parting with a little quivering jerk. He wanted it. So much. Too much.

Closing his eyes, he tried to breathe through it and she watched the harsh emotions chase each across his face. “No,” he said softly. “No, you’re frightened… I won’t—”

She dragged his hand to her throat and pressed the edge of the blade against the throbbing vein. Their eyes met. “I want you to claim me. I want to be yours.”

Another shuddering moment. Then the hot sting as the blade sliced through skin. It clattered to the floor and then his hands cupped her arse and his mouth closed over her throat as her hips nestled around his.

The surge of feeling shot straight between her legs, igniting her body. Each pull of his mouth, each hot swallow tugged on her clit as if his mouth were there instead. She came, clutching at his shoulders, crying out, her hips rubbing against his, desperate, desperate now to get him inside her… Hands sliding between them, tugging at his breeches and then he was free, the hot surge of his cock filling her hands, rubbing against her wet-slick skin. She came again, crying out, whimpering… It felt like her heartbeat sped up, beating in time to his as his mouth took her blood into his own body, his own veins.

One hard thrust. Rosalind’s eyes went wide, drugged, candlelight melting into a puddle around them. Firm hands cupped her breast, sliding the buttons free, the very same ones she’d struggled with… Then his clever fingers slid over her nipple, tugging, teasing, his hips pumping as he thrust deep within her.

A rasped curse. Then Lynch was licking at her throat to close the wound, his hips thrusting her against the wall with furious desperation. His mouth caught hers, and she could taste the coppery tang of her own blood as their tongues clashed.

Rosalind’s heart thundered in her ears. I love you. She screamed the words inside, where he couldn’t hear, her eyes flooding with heat. Why couldn’t she do this? Why was it so hard to give so much of herself? It shouldn’t be this way. He deserved so much better, but she was so afraid, afraid that a part of him would look at her and not see anything deserving of those three little words.

“God, Rosa… Need you so much…” He gasped, fingers digging into her hips, his face tightening with fierce need. “Taste…so damned good…”

She cupped his face and kissed him, feeling the pressure building within him, within her. She wanted to explode, but she had to get this out before it was too late.

“I love you,” she blurted, a harsh whisper in the gasping stillness. Not what she’d intended but…enough…

He kissed her. Hard. Capturing the words on her lips as he drove her into the patterned wallpaper. Fingers slid between them and then she was lost, crying out, anchored only by the feel of his hands on her hips as his body shuddered against her, a harsh cry torn from his own throat.

Heat spilled within her. She held him through it, his face tucked against her shoulder and her hands sliding through his hair. Gasping, trying to catch her breath again, she felt each tiny shudder as it went through him.


She understood then why he’d longed for her blood. This was the same. Not to own him, not to bind him to her with ties he couldn’t break, but to exist in that moment where the pair of them were one. To give—and to receive.

To be claimed.

Completely and utterly.

She knew that there was still so much between them, so many damned words that hadn’t been said, but for the first time tonight, she felt a tiny little bud of hope swell in her chest. Resting her chin on his shoulder, she pressed a small kiss against his throat.

She was never going to let him go now.


Lynch rolled to the edge of the bed and sat up, scrubbing his hands over his face. Soft dawn light crept through the window and he could hear pigeons cooing on the roof above.

Panic surged through him and he dragged his shaking hand down over his mouth. So much he hadn’t been able to get through last night. And so much he had…

He glanced down, at the slumbering woman on the bed beside him. Rosa’s warmth lingered in the sheets, her breath shifting the cotton sheet that wrapped precariously around her, caressing the lush curves of her bottom. His heart stuttered in his chest. The memories of last night hammered at him like pinpricks of image shoved red-hot into his brain. Everything she’d admitted to, everything she’d said, those last whispered words he’d pretended not to hear… The ones that did so much damage to his heart.

He wanted them to be true. Wanted this to at least be worth it. But could he trust them? Trust her?

The answer to that was easy; if he believed that they were true, then he wouldn’t even be questioning it.

Lynch felt utterly drained. Judging by the clock on the mantel, he had only three hours before he was due to present himself before the court. His chest caught again, panic clutching at him with greedy fingers. He couldn’t breathe. His lungs simply refused to open. Reaching out, he grabbed for Rosa’s hand, felt her warm fingers tighten around his as she stirred with a soft moan. He didn’t want to be alone. Not this morning.

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