Scandal in Spring Page 67

Her body tensed as she felt the hardness of him easing intimately inside her…and then she moaned and flushed as he searched for the right rhythm. He knew he had found it when her knees hitched upward, instinctively clamping his hips.

“Yes, hold me…” Matthew whispered, stroking her over and over again, while her inner muscles began to throb violently. He had never known such ecstasy, thrusting in her exquisite tightness, rooting himself deeper as she jerked helplessly upward into the weight of his body. He followed her every movement, giving her what she needed, both of them intent on her pleasure.

Daisy covered her mouth with her hand once more, her eyes widening. Gripping her wrist, Matthew pulled her hand away and opened her mouth with his own, and plundered her deeply with his tongue. Her violent shudders pulled him into cl**ax, eliciting a low groan from his chest as he came in hard, soul-wrenching quivers.

When the last ripples had eased, Matthew was overcome with a lethargy more consuming than any he had ever known. Only the thought of crushing Daisy was enough to prod him to roll onto his side. She made a disgruntled sound and reached for him, seeking the warmth of his body. He moved to help her, cradling her head in the crook of his arm, and somehow managed to drag the disheveled bedclothes over them both.

The temptation to sleep was overwhelming, but Matthew didn’t dare allow himself. He didn’t trust himself to awaken before the maid came to light the grate in the morning. He was far too replete, and the feel of Daisy’s small form snuggled against his was too tempting to resist.

“I have to leave,” he whispered against her hair.

“No, stay.” Her face turned, her lips nuzzling the bare skin of his chest. “Stay all night. Stay forever.”

He smiled and kissed her temple. “I would. But somehow I think your family would take exception to my debauching you before we were properly betrothed.”

“I don’t feel debauched.”

“I do,” Matthew said.

Daisy smiled. “I’d better marry you, then.” Her small hand moved over his body in tentative exploration. “Ironically,” she commented, “this will be the first time I’ve ever done anything to please my father.”

With a sympathetic murmur, Matthew gathered Daisy close against him. He knew her father as well as anyone, having become well acquainted with the man’s tempers, his self-absorption, his impossible standards. And yet he understood what it had required for Bowman to build a great fortune from scratch, the sacrifices he’d had to make. Bowman had discarded everything that would have gotten in the way of achieving his goals. Including closeness with his wife and children.

For the first time it occurred to Matthew that Bowman and his family would benefit from someone acting as a mediator, to ease their communications with each other. If such a thing were in his power, he would find a way to do it.

“You,” he whispered in Daisy’s hair, “are the best thing he’s ever done. Someday he’ll realize that.”

He felt her smile against his skin. “I doubt it. But it’s nice of you to say so. You don’t have to be concerned on that account, you know. I reconciled myself to the way he was a long time ago.”

Once again Matthew was taken unaware by the extent of the feelings she inspired in him, his own limitless desire to fill her with happiness.

“Whatever you need,” he whispered, “Whatever you want, I’ll get it for you. Just tell me.”

Daisy stretched comfortably, a pleasant shiver running through her limbs. She touched his lips with her fingers, tracing the smoothness. “I want to know what your five-dollar wish was for.”

“Is that all?” He smiled beneath her exploring fingertips. “I wished you would find someone who wanted you as much as I did. But I knew it wouldn’t come true.”

The candlelight slid over Daisy’s delicate features as she raised her head to look at him. “Why not?”

“Because I knew no one could ever want you as much as I do.”

Daisy levered herself farther over him until her hair tumbled in a dark curtain around them both.

“What was your wish?” Matthew asked, combing his fingers through the fall of shimmering hair.

“That I could find the right man to marry.” Her tender smile stopped his heart. “And then you appeared.”


After an unusually long sleep Matthew ventured downstairs. Servants were busy cleaning miles of stone-flagged, carpeted, or parqueted floors, while others trimmed lamps, replaced candlesticks, and polished the brasses.

As soon as Matthew approached the morning room, a maid offered to bring him a breakfast tray out to the back terrace if he so desired. Since it promised to be a beautiful day, Matthew accepted the offer readily.

Sitting at one of the outside tables, he watched the progress of a small brown hare hopping along the carefully tended grounds.

His quiet contemplation was interrupted by the sound of the french doors opening. Glancing up expectantly, Matthew saw that instead of the maid with the breakfast tray, it was the considerably less welcome sight of Lillian Bowman. He groaned inwardly, knowing at once that Westcliff had told her about his betrothal to Daisy.

However, it seemed the earl must have exerted some calming influence on his wife. Not that Lillian looked happy, of course…but Matthew took it as a good sign that she wasn’t approaching him with an ax in hand.Yet.

Lillian made a motion for him to remain in his chair as she approached. He stood anyway.

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