He cupped her br**sts and teased the peaks with his breath and tongue until they were hard and silken. Softly he drew one between his teeth, held it there until she whimpered and lifted upward.

Cam tugged at the tangled layer of her gown between them. The cove of her navel rose and fell with her breathing. Easing his mouth over it, he sank the tip of his tongue into the tight circle, filling the hollow.


"Cam... oh, wait..." She was squirming now, pushing at him in earnest. He caught her hands and gripped them close against her body, and breathed hard against her stomach.

Fighting for self-control, Cam laid his cheek against her skin with all the gentleness he was capable of. "I won't hurt you," he whispered. "I'm only going to kiss you ... taste you . .."

Her voice was plaintive. "Not there."

Cam couldn't suppress a smile. This was new, this mixture of amusement and arousal. "Especially there." He let his fingers drift over her hip and thigh, into the soft curls. "I want to know every part of you, monisha?Hold still for me and?yes, love, yes? He moved downward, shaking with hunger. The scents of intimate salt and female skin had kindled an unbearable craving. His mouth brushed intimately closed lips. He licked them open, delving into the heat, the taste of her pleasure.

Amelia was silent except for her broken gasps, her legs clamping hard against his sides. Helplessly she followed the sinuous pattern of his tongue, her entire body arching and yearning. He soothed her, provoked her, his mouth as playful as a swallow in flight. His breath fell rapidly on her wet flesh, her erotic incense. He slid a finger into the silkiness.

She made a sound of distress as she lost all self-control, and he gloried in it, his mouth punishing in its gentleness. He drew out the torment until the soft female moans broke into sobs. She tightened and twisted, her fingers closing in; his hair, h*ps pulsing in helpless movements as he licked away every twitch and throb.

After a while he moved to gather her against him. She reached down to the fastenings of his breeches and worked at them until the garment was loose around his hips. The rigid length of him sprang free. Her hand curled around the burgeoning shape, stroking until Cam jerked back with a gasp.

Her face was flushed, eyes half-closed. She touched him again, urged him forward, instinctively making an open cradle of her h*ps and legs. He resisted, keeping his weight suspended above her, shielding her from the gaze of moonlight as he spread his fingers and trailed them over the front of her body. She shivered as the tip of his smallest finger brushed the tip of her breast. He traced a circle around it, watching the bud tighten.

"If you want me, love," he whispered, "tell me in Romany. Please."

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Blindly Amelia turned her head and kissed the curve of his biceps. "What should I say?"

He murmured soft lyrical words, waiting patiently as she repeated them, helping her when she faltered. All the while he positioned himself against her, lower, tighter, and just as the last syllable left her lips, he thrust strongly inside her.

Amelia flinched and cried out in pain, and Cam was torn between acute regret at having hurt her, and the devastating pleasure of being inside her. Her innocent flesh cinched around the unfamiliar invasion, her h*ps lifting as if to throw him off, but every movement only drew him deeper. He tried to soothe away the hurt, stroking her, kissing her throat and br**sts. Taking a rosy crest into his mouth, he sucked lightly, ran his tongue over it, until she relaxed beneath him and began to moan.

Cam couldn't stop from moving then, forgetting everything but the need to push deeper into the gently gripping flesh, the warm limbs curving around him, the sweet panting mouth beneath his. He whispered compulsively against her lips... one word, over and over, the ecstasy crowning higher every time. "Mandis?mandis?


Feeling the violent spill of release about to begin, Cam withdrew and thrust against the quivering velvet of her stomach. Heat jetted and slid between them. Cam buried his head in the crook of her neck and shoulder, groaning. No feeling had ever come close to this, he thought dizzily. Nothing could.

The pleasure lasted even after his heartbeat had returned to normal and he had regained his ability to think clearly, more or less. Amelia had gone lax beneath him, drowsing and sighing. He had to force himself to withdraw, when all he wanted was to revel in the feel of her.

He used a handkerchief to clean the blood and moisture from her body, dressed her in her nightgown, and went to replenish the fire. When he returned to settle beneath the blankets, Amelia snuggled in the crook of his arm.

Watching the crackling fire, relishing the trusting weight of her head on his shoulder, Cam stroked her hair as it streamed over his arm. She slept heavily, while the fire pitched shadows from her long lashes across her cheeks. Cam looked over her with a lover's vigilance, absorbing every detail, the feathery edge of her hairline, the neat slope of her nose, the small ears. He wanted to nibble at her ears, play with her, but he would do nothing to disturb her sleep.

He pulled a quilt higher over her snowy shoulder, stroked back a curl that had looped over her ear. Everything had changed, he thought. And there was no turning back.

Chapter Sixteen


A perfect word for the way the morning had entered the bedroom in pieces, a shard of light falling across her bed, another on the floor between the window and the small hearth.

Amelia blinked and lay for a while in a torpor. There was a fire in the hearth—she must have slept right through the maid lighting the grate.

Fire... Ramsay House... the memory fell on her with an unpleasant thud, and she closed her eyes. They flew open again, however, as she thought of darkness and blue moonlight and warm male flesh. Goose bumps rose all over her.