This position let Mac cup her where they joined. The feel of her wet heat, the sounds of pleasure she made as he stroked her there aroused him all over again. They climaxed together, their shouts mingling in the stillness of the night.
Still hard, Mac rolled Isabella onto the bed and entered her again, face-to-face. A conventional position, but the best, he thought, where he could kiss Isabella's lips and watch her green eyes sparkle with passion. If he could ever capture on canvas her expression as she rose to climax, he would treasure that painting above all others. And show it to no one, of course. It would be his own private, decadent pleasure.
Mac made love to her until both of them were limp with exhaustion. Then he blearily pulled the covers over them and fell asleep in a nest with his beautiful, incredible wife.
When Isabella came down to breakfast the next morning, a bit sore from the night's activities, she was pleased to find a letter from Ainsley lying by her plate.
Mac read the paper at the head of the table, the pages hiding him while he crunched his usual buttered toast. Isabella thanked Morton for the coffee he poured and opened the letter.
She made a faint noise, and Mac's paper came down. "What is it, love?"
Isabella's face heated as she met his gaze. She'd begun her shameless behavior last night because she'd been too restless and anxious to sleep. She'd needed to drop off from exhaustion of the kind that only Mac Mackenzie could provide.
She'd sought oblivion but found pleasure so great it was indescribable. By the glint in Mac's eyes, he understood and was gleeful that he'd been the cause.
"Mrs. Douglas," Isabella answered. "She says she will try to contrive another meeting between myself and Louisa, but she's not certain yet when she'll be able to."
"When she does, I will accompany you," Mac said.
"You can't. Ainsley is finding it difficult enough to invent excuses to take Louisa out alone, without my mother. Louisa might be too afraid to go through with it if she knew you were involved."
Mac folded his paper and set it aside, his face stern. "Isabella, my lovely, I am not letting you out of my sight. Don't mention to Ainsley that I will be there if she thinks my presence would confound the scheme, but I am going."
Mac rarely asserted husbandly mastery. He'd told her the first day of their marriage that he thought it nonsense that men presumed to dictate to their wives-what if the husband was a fool? Wouldn't the wife be even more of a fool to obey him? Isabella was to be given complete freedom, because, Mac said, he suspected that Isabella had far better sense than he did.
Isabella saw now that Mac simply had chosen not to assert his rather formidable will. The look in his eyes told her he would not back down, no matter how much she argued
Isabella tried anyway. "She's my sister."
"And there is a madman lurking in the streets waiting to do who the hell knows what. You go nowhere without me."
Isabella swept her lashes down. "Of course, my dear," she said meekly.
"And don't you dare pretend to capitulate and then sneak away when my back's turned. Your servants agree with me and will tell me if you attempt anything so rash. If you try to leave the house without me, I promise I will drag you back home, chain you up in the cellar, and feed you bread and water with my own hands."
The trouble with Mac making idiotic declarations was that there was a good chance he'd carry them out. Also, he was right. Payne was a danger. Isabella recalled his terribly strong hands on her and suppressed a shiver. She never, ever wanted to feel that helpless again.
"Very well," she said in a cool tone. "Find some way that I can meet with my sister safely, and I will do as you say."
"I will," Mac said. "I am deadly serious, Isabella: Do not leave the house without me. I will escort you wherever you wish to go. I trust no one else to keep you safe."
Isabella smeared jam onto a piece of toast. "Will this not severely limit your own business in town?"
"No. My business in town is you."
"Oh." Isabella went warm with pleasure, but she certainly would not let him see that. "Surely you'll have errands to run."
"And a houseful of servants to run them for me. Anyone I must do business with can come to me here." He lifted his paper again and shook it open. "In fact, I have an important visitor arriving this morning, so don't plan to go out until after that, there's a good wife."
Isabella sent him a glare that could have burned his newspaper to a crisp. But in spite of her irritation at his high-handed arrogance, she couldn't help feeling, deep down, a warm glow at his protectiveness.
Her warm glow dimmed an hour and a half later when the Mackenzie family's London solicitor arrived.
Isabella knew Mr. Gordon well. He'd guided her first through the legal ramifications of her marriage to Mac and his settlements on her and then through the morass of issues involved in their separation. Mr. Gordon had advised her against divorce, which he explained was costly and difficult to achieve. It would involve Isabella accusing Mac of heinous behavior, and Mac defending himself in court in front of the world. Separations were less scandalous and less of a headache, and after all, Isabella wanted only to live in peace and comfort on her own. Mac would provide a full income to Isabella, and she could do as she liked. Mr. Gordon had been kind and patient during the turmoil, and Isabella would be forever grateful to him for that.