‘No.’ She shook her head and burrowed her fingers beneath his. ‘I know what to do. Let me touch you, Giles.’
‘You are— Oh, God.’ He sank back as her determined hands pulled down his breeches and tossed them away.
‘Oh.’ He was...magnificent. The fight had battered and bruised his upper body, but below the waist the skin was unblemished, winter-pale. The dark hair that arrowed down from his waist added emphasis to a masculinity that did not need any enhancement. Isobel realised he was holding his breath and did what instinct was clamouring at her to do. She bent and kissed him there, her hands curved over the slim hips.
Satin over teak beneath her lips, the scent of aroused male musk in her nostrils, lithe muscles in tension beneath her hands, his sharply indrawn breath—every sense was filled with him as she trailed her lips upwards.
‘Isobel.’ He sounded in pain, but she knew enough to realise this was not agony. ‘Not yet. Let me...’
She did not fight him as he pulled her up to lie beside him. She would let him lead because it was on him that the burden of control fell. But she would help, she would be rational and—
Giles took her right nipple between his lips and tugged and all rational thought vanished. Isobel pulled his head against her breast with a sob and the knowledge that he could do what he wished with her, she had absolutely no will to stop him.
His mouth, wicked and knowing, tormented each tight, aching nipple in turn, until she was writhing against his flank, gasping his name and some incoherent plea she did not even understand herself. Her body, the flesh she had thought immune to desire for so long, ached and clamoured and, as his fingers stroked down, laced into the damp curls, slipped between the swollen lips, she simply opened to him, quivering with need as he slipped into the tight heat that clenched around his fingers.
‘I love you,’ she managed and was silenced by his mouth, his tongue. Against her hip she could feel his straining body and reached for him, finding the rhythm as her fingers curled around him and his thumb worked wicked, knowing magic at her core. ‘I love you,’ she gasped, the words lost in his kiss as her body arched, pressing up into the heel of his hand, shuddering as the bliss that was almost pain took her.
‘Isobel,’ she heard through the firestorm and Giles thrust into her circling fingers, shuddered and was still.
How long they held each other afterwards, she did not know. She must have drowsed, for she woke to find him gently washing away the evidence of his passion, then he pulled the covers over them, snuggled her against his side and she felt the long body relax as he slid into sleep.
There was only one candle alight now, Isobel noticed hazily. And Giles had said nothing. Her body had not betrayed her as she feared. He had not realised she had borne a child and her secret was still safe from the man she loved.
* * *
‘What time is it?’
‘I can’t tell with you wrapped round me like this,’ Giles said, disentangling the clinging limbs that chained him so deliciously to the bed. He managed to raise himself on one elbow and lift the carriage clock that stood on the night table. It was almost completely dark and he had to bring it to his face to squint at the hands in the faint glow from the fire. ‘Half past four. I must go soon.’
Isobel sounded peevish, he noted, amused, as she burrowed back against his side. The chuckle turned to a gasp as she slid one hand down and stroked. ‘Ten minutes. Fifteen,’ he amended as the caress tightened into a demanding grip.
‘Only fifteen?’ Isobel wriggled up to kiss his stubbled jawline. ‘You are all bristles.’
‘You would be amazed at what I can do in fifteen minutes with these bristles,’ Giles said and burrowed down the bed, ignoring the twinges from his ribs.
‘Oh, do mind your nose and the stitches,’ Isobel said. Then, ‘Oh!’ in quite another tone as he pressed her thighs apart and began to make love to her with mouth and tongue and, very gently, his teeth.
She was not shocked, he realised as he luxuriated in the scent and taste of warm, sleepy, aroused woman. Her fiancé must have made love to her like this as well. He half expected a twinge of jealousy, but surprised himself by feeling none, only pity for the other man. He would have married her if only he had lived, poor devil.
Then everything but the present moment and the pleasure of pleasuring Isobel was driven from his mind as she took his head in her hands and moaned, opening for him with complete trust, total abandon.
* * *
‘Ten minutes,’ Giles said with what even he recognised as smug masculine satisfaction when they lay panting in each other’s arms, half inclined to laughter, completely relaxed.