Friday, April 27, 2012

The Ruby Brooch Chapter Fourteen

CULLEN KNOCKED ON the side of Kit’s wagon shortly before dawn the next morning. She didn’t answer. “Kit.” Still no answer. Should he go in? A chill of alarm said, yes.

The predawn air inside the wagon lay heavy with the scent of dew and vanilla. Kit breathed in a slow melodic rhythm. He relaxed. He should leave now, but the fey creature bewitched him. Even in her sleep, she cast an erotic spell.

The sheet had slipped to her waist exposing a pink silk camisole type garment with ribbon ties. Her nipples pressed against the silk. His pulse spiked at the tempting, delectable feast spread out on a banquet table. As if he willed her to wake, her eyes opened soft with sleep. Her hair looked tousled by a lover’s hands. He cleared his throat to remove the raw huskiness.

“Good morning.”

She yawned and stretched, seemingly unaware each titillating move was a siren’s call to come to the table. “Isn’t it early for visitors, or have you been waiting all night?”

“I slept outside.”

“You’ll cause a scandal if folks catch you here.”

“No one is up yet.”

She laughed, her voice coated with morning dew. “I’m fine.” Apparently unfazed over her near nakedness, she sat and ran both hands up and down her right thigh. “No swelling.” She unwrapped the dressing. “No red streaks either.” She eased her feet over the side of the bed and stood. “I’m starving.”

“Hunger’s a good sign.” Tight trousers provided evidence of his. “Now, that I know you’re going to recover I have a question.”

“I’ll answer what I can.” She gathered her hair into a tail and clipped it to the top of her head.

He made a hook with his finger and wiggled the digit suggestively. “Come here.” She turned toward him. “I’ve never seen anything like what you’re wearing.”

“Hmm.” Her eyebrow arched. “You’re accustomed to seeing women’s undergarments?”

He cleared his throat, again.

She laughed and playfully fluffed his hair. “I ordered them from a catalogue.”

“What kind of catalogue has undergarments?”

“Victoria’s Secret. Now, you need to go so I can dress and go help Sarah with breakfast.”

“I don’t think you should go anywhere. Rest your leg today.”

“I’m not an invalid and won’t be treated like one.”

He reached for her hands and held them between his own. “Are you sure you’re well?” 

 “I am, and you can stop worrying about me.”

He pulled her close. “I’ll leave you alone if you’ll kiss me.”

“That’s black—”

He pressed his lips to hers, swallowing her protest. Heated blood roared to his groin, and he held her firmly against him, skimming his hands down her back, burying his fingers in the cool silk. Her hair tumbled from its clip and vanilla scented tresses cascaded about her shoulders. He deepened the kiss, stroking the interior of her mouth, tasting her tongue while it explored his.

“Cullen,” she moaned his name. He pressed her closer to his arousal, rubbing her against him. All that separated them were his trousers and a slip of fabric. He could unbutton his pants and enter her, even if it meant ripping the silk. The way she rubbed against him in a crescendo of passion said all he needed to know. His skin tingled with expectation.

“Let me make love to you.”

She pushed back, breaking away from their kiss. “What are we doing? This has to stop. I can’t do this with you.”

His breath stalled in his lungs. “Your husband’s dead, Kit.”

She rubbed the scars on her neck. “Please leave.”

“Your body needs release, lass. Let me please you.”


“How long has it been since you made love?”

Her face turned scarlet, and she dropped her chin. “I’ve never…made love.”

He lifted her head with the crook of his finger and gazed into her eyes. The level of fear he saw there made him wince. “Never?”

She pulled her head away. “It’s complicated.”

The air between them grew thick and heavy. “This is not complicated. What kind of man wouldn’t touch a desirable woman?”

Her tongue swept her lower lip. “The problem was with me. He wanted to, but—” 


She grabbed her trousers and slipped them on. “He died before we got engaged.”

Her words swung like the trap door to the gallows. “You lied?”

“Not exactly, I mean…”

“But you’re not a widow?” He could feel his pulse beating in his wrists.

“It’s complicated.”

 “You said that already, Kitherina MacKlenna.” He grabbed the back of the rocker for a foothold to keep from slipping beneath his rising anger. “Is that your real name, or did you steal his name, too?”

She flinched. “It’s my name.”

A rush of chilly air swept through the wagon, stirred up the scent she carried. He ignored the arousing smells.

She grabbed her blouse. “Go away. I didn’t ask for your help.” She gazed at him without blinking, her expression unreadable.

“Without help, you’d be dead by now.”

He’d caught her lying, just as he’d caught witnesses lying in court. She couldn’t or wouldn’t explain why she was passing herself off as a widow. That meant one thing. She was protecting a bigger secret. His arm and shoulder muscles knotted. He had seen innocent men hanged, and guilty men go free, all because of lies. He had no tolerance for liars.


He rushed past her and jumped free of the wagon, letting go a halting laugh. “Unlike Odysseus, I will not bathe in the fullness of a siren’s song.”

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