Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage

Page 67

"I always enjoy making a stir. But I might come through with the paintings, you know."
Cauliflower made a point of pulling out his watch and studying it. "Very well. Not much time left, you know." He gave Mac a sorrowful look. "Don't let me down, old man. You've been my hero since I was ten years old."
"That was a long time ago," Mac said.
Cauli stuffed his watch back into his pocket, nodded to Isabella, and grabbed Charles by the arm. "Come on, then, Charlie. Let's have some champagne to celebrate our certain win."
Charles bowed to Isabella, somewhat unsteadily, and walked off with Cauli. Mac watched them go in unveiled disgust.
"To think I used to take pride in leading that gang of bullies."
"School makes one do odd things," Isabella agreed.
"Did you do odd things? At Miss Pringle's Special Home?"
"Select Academy for Young Ladies," she corrected coolly. "And yes. I was rather a tear."
"I think that's one reason I love you." Mac looked thoughtful. "I'd like to win that wager and rub their faces in it, before I give them all the cut direct. Would you still be willing?"
"To pose for you?" She glanced behind them, but Miss Westlock had maintained a discreet distance, pretending to study a guide to the park. "I think I might."
Isabella's skin tingled with the thought. Baring herself while Mac studied her with his warm eyes made her feel wanted and beloved. Her pulse quickened when she thought about what had happened the last time she'd attempted to pose for the paintings.
Mac bent his head and kissed her lips in full view of the entire park. Aimee looked on with great interest. "Good," Mac said into her skin. "I believe I feel inspired to paint today."
What absolute madness had persuaded Mac that painting Isabella in erotic poses was good for his health, he had no idea. He'd even fancied that his hand would be steadier now that they'd bedded each other. He must have been insane.
Bellamy helped Mac turn one of Isabella's large rooms at the top of her house into a studio. There was light here from tall windows, and warmth, because Bellamy had installed a small parlor stove and stoked it with coal. Mac had no intention of letting Isabella catch cold.
She came upstairs fully dressed that afternoon, not wanting the servants to know that Mac was painting her unclothed. Let them believe he was doing a portrait of her, she said. Mac tried to be clinical as he tied his scarf over his hair and mixed paints, but when Isabella told him she needed him to help her undress, his sangfroid abandoned him.
Mac's palms sweated as he pulled off the bodice she'd unbuttoned and unlaced her corset. Steady hands, not bloody likely.
He used to undress her like this when they were married, kissing her as each piece of clothing fell away . Today, Mac let his lips graze her neck as the corset came off, then her shoulder as she unfastened her chemise.
Her skin smelled of roses. He pressed kisses to her glossy hair, inhaling her perfume. Isabella loosened her skirt, and Mac unbuckled the tapes that held her small bustle in place. He stepped against her after the cage came off, liking how her backside curved into his hip.
"I can't paint you," he said in her ear. "I want to love you."
"Perhaps painting instead will be a good exercise in restraint?"
"To hell with that."
Mac knew Isabella was as nervous as he was. Her skin flushed where he kissed it, and her bare br**sts rose as he slid his hand around her waist.
"Come here," he said.
The chaise he'd chosen for her pose was not as accommodating as the one they'd used up in Scotland, a choice he'd made on purpose. He'd thought it would help him avoid temptation. Now he cursed himself. He was hard and ready and could think of nothing else but being inside her. Lessons in restraint be damned.
He pulled up his kilt, sat on a straight-backed chair, and pulled her down on top of him. Her br**sts crushed against his bare chest, and she cried out softly as he pushed inside her.
The coupling was quick and hot. Too quick. Mac released before he wanted to, and he clung to her, wanting more.
Isabella smiled down at him. "I am certain I look ravished now."
She did. Mac hardened again at the sight of her-swollen-lipped, starry-eyed, face flushed. She had no idea how beautiful she truly was.
Mac made himself set up his easel while she arranged herself on the chaise. He forced himself to draw lines, to think of them as shapes and curves, not the legs, br**sts, and hips of his delectable wife.
He was sweating profusely by the time he had a good sketch. "Damn stove," he growled.
"I think it's pleasant." Isabella swung her foot where it dangled from the chaise, her arm stretching languidly over her head. She might be sunning herself in a garden, except that she was naked and indoors.
"Too bloody hot." Mac wiped his forehead. "Shall we continue tomorrow?"
"That suits me. I'm rather stiff." Isabella put aside the sheet, which didn't cover her at all, and rose gracefully to her feet.
Mac was stiff himself, though not in the way she meant. He resolutely didn't look at her. Perhaps, just perhaps, he could contain himself until she left the room. He thought this until she asked, "Help me dress?"
It was another hour before they finally made it out of the studio. Isabella had to scuttle down to her own room to change her clothes and redo her hair. This, Mac thought, as he watched her go, was going to kill him.

Back to Table of content

Copyright © novelfull All Rights Reserved.
Copyright © novelfull All Rights Reserved.