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EXCERPT: LORD OF PLEASURE
“Lady X, I presume?” His heart was still pounding and his breath a bit too quick, but he’d made it. He was the first at her side.
“Lord X.” Her red lips smiled up at him from beneath her impenetrable black mask. “It’s a pleasure to see you again.”
“The pleasure is most definitely mine.” He proffered his arm. “Come with me.”
“Should I?” she rejoined archly.
“I shall beg if I must.”
Only when her fingers curved about his elbow did his tense muscles finally relax.
He guided her up the slender staircase lining the far wall. When they reached the upper promenade, he led her not to the balcony overlooking the back garden, but to a hidden corridor with a second, smaller staircase, twisting up a dark tower.
She tilted her head. “What’s up there?”
“Come and find out.” He stepped into the darkness, held out his hand, and waited.
She placed her white-gloved fingers in his.
“I’ve been thinking of you all week,” he said roughly. “It’s been maddening.”
“Why didn’t you stop?”
“I can’t.” He pulled her into his arms and slanted his mouth over hers.
The last time he’d kissed her, he’d felt she was holding back on her passion. He didn’t want her to. Not with him. Not tonight. He cradled the side of her face in his hand and told her with every kiss that there was no need for circumspection. No need to be tentative.
Whoever she was before she stepped through the vestibule door, here she was a goddess cloaked in darkness and sheltered by the night. They were as anonymous as stars in the sky, their passion as bright. Her power was boundless. With naught more than the taste of her kiss, she was capable of bringing him to his knees.
Heart pounding, he pulled away while he still could.