Kev could have found his own release then, but he had to prolong it. If it were possible, he would have gone on forever. He drew one hand along the pale, elegant curve of her back. She arched into the caress, sighing his name. He lay over her, changing the angle between them, still cupping her sex as he thrust. She shuddered as a few more spasms were teased out, passion splotches rising on her shoulders and back. He put his mouth to the patches of color, kissing every blushing place as he rocked slowly, working deeper in her, tighter, until he finally went still and came with violent spurts.

Rolling off her, Kev gathered Win against his ribs and struggled to catch his breath. His heartbeat hammered in his ears for some minutes, which was why he was slow to notice a knock at the door.


Win reached up to his cheeks and guided his face to hers. Her eyes were round. "Someone's here," she said.

Chapter Nineteen

Cursing beneath his breath, Kev dragged on his trousers and shirt and went barefoot to the door. Opening it, he saw Cam Rohan standing there nonchalantly, a valise in one hand and a covered basket in the other.

"Hello." Cam 's hazel eyes danced with mischief. "I've brought you a few things."

"How did you find us?" Kev asked without heat.

"I knew you hadn't gone far. None of your clothes were missing, nor any bags or trunks. And since the front gatehouse was too obvious, this was the next place I thought of. Aren't you going to invite me in?"

"No," Kev said shortly, and Cam grinned.

"If our positions were reversed, phral, I suppose I'd be just as inhospitable. There's food in the basket, and clothes for both of you in the valise."

"Thank you." Kev took the items and set them just inside the door. Straightening, he looked at his brother, searching for any sign of censure. There was none.

-- Advertisement --

"Ov yilo isi?" Cam asked.

It was an old Romany phrase, meaning "Is all well here?" But it was literally translated as "Is there heart here?" which seemed rather appropriate.

"Yes," Kev said softly.

"There is nothing you need?"

"For the first time in my life," Kev admitted, "there is nothing I need."

Cam smiled. "Good." Nonchalantly tucking his hands in his coat pockets, he braced a shoulder against the door frame.

"What is the situation at Ramsay House?" Kev asked, half-dreading the answer.

"There were a few moments of chaos this morning, when it was discovered that you were both gone." A diplomatic pause. " Harrow 's been insisting that Win was taken against her will. At one point he threatened to go to the parish constable. Harrow says if you don't return with Win by nightfall, he'll take drastic action."

"What would that be?" Kev inquired darkly.

"I don't know. But you might give a thought to the rest of us having to stay at Ramsay House with him while you're out here with his fiancée."

"She's my fiancée now. And I'll bring her back when I damn well please."

"Understood." Cam 's lips twitched. "You intend to marry her soon, I hope?"

"Not soon," Kev said. "Immediately."

"Thank God. Even for the Hathaways, this is all a bit untoward." Cam glanced over Merripen's disheveled form and smiled. "It's good to see you at ease finally, Merripen. If it were anyone but you, I'd say you actually looked happy."

It was not easy to shed the habit of privacy. But Kev was actually tempted to confide in his brother, things he wasn't even certain he had words for. Such as the discovery that the love of a woman could make the entire world seem new. Or his wonder that Win, who had always seemed so fragile and in need of protection, had emerged as an even stronger presence than he.

"Rohan," he asked quietly, to keep Win from overhearing, "I have a question…"


"Do you conduct your marriage the way of the gadje or the Rom?"

"Mostly the way of the gadje," Rohan said without hesitation. "It wouldn't work otherwise. Amelia is hardly the kind of woman who could be treated as a subordinate. But as a Rom, I will always reserve the right to protect and look after her as I see fit." He smiled slightly. "You will find a middle way, just as we have."

Kev scrubbed his hand through his hair and asked guardedly, "Are the Hathaways angry about what I've done?"

"You mean carrying Win off?" "Yes."

"The only complaint I heard was that you took far too long."

"Do any of them know where we are?"

"Not that I'm aware of." Cam 's smile turned wry. "I can buy you a few more hours, phral. But have her back by nightfall, if for no other reason than to shut Harrow up." He frowned slightly. "He's an odd one, that gadjo r

Kev gave him an alert glance. "Why do you say that?"

Cam shrugged. "Most men in his position would have done something, anything, by now. Destroyed some furniture. Gone for someone's throat. By this time, I would have turned all of Hampshire upside down to find my woman. But Harrow only talks. And talks."

"About what?"

"He's said quite a lot about what his rights are, what he's entitled to, his sense of betrayal… but so far it hasn't occurred to him to express any concern about Win's welfare, or consider what she wants. Overall, he acts like a child whose toy has been taken from him and who wants it to be given back." Cam grimaced. "Damned embarrassing, even for a gadjo." He raised his voice and called to the unseen Win, "I'm leaving now. Good day, little sister."

-- Advertisement --