The Mad, Bad Duke (Nvengaria #2)(11)

His fingers clamped down. “Not until you tell me who prepared this spell and who inside my house helped you.”

“Let go of me,” Meagan cried over the wind.

She tried to wrench herself away and snatch the talisman from him at the same time, but she slipped on the marble tiles and nearly pitched over the balustrade. Alexander caught her heavily, and her hand closed over the talisman at the same time his did.

A bright light flashed around them, then just as suddenly, it was gone.

“What was that?” Meagan asked.

“Hell,” Alexander said, then snarled words in Nvengarian that sounded violent and frightening.

A sudden flood of longing poured over Meagan, similar to the hunger in her visions but a hundred times stronger. She fought for breath as warmth filled her body that completely erased the chill bite of the wind.

Meagan gazed at the black-flecked blue of Alexander’s eyes and the line of his mouth. In their struggle, his cravat knot had loosened, giving her a glimpse of his brown throat. To have him lying under her where she could lick his skin and breathe his warmth, would be … heaven.

Alexander moved his hands to the small of her back and she landed against his chest. He smelled of shaving soap and the fresh scent of the outdoor wind. One of his medals scraped her skin, bared by her décolletage, a tiny dart of pain.

Meagan had experienced infatuation for handsome gentlemen in the past, but that faint excited flutter was nothing to the need that took hold of her now. The space between her legs was hot and wet, and because of her earlier visions, she knew what she wanted—this man, inside her.

“Alexander,” she said, desperate.

“Not here.” Alexander slid his arm around her waist and pulled her with him to a door in the terrace, this one leading to a small corridor that ran alongside the ballroom. “We will find a place.”

They made it along the hall without encountering anyone, and Alexander pushed his way into a tiny anteroom. The room contained two low chairs, a Turkish sofa, and a semi-circular table that held a tray of goblets. The walls were covered with gilded curlicues that snaked around busy paintings of gods pursuing naked goddesses and nymphs. The excess of gilding and clashing colors was a bit nauseating, but Meagan only noticed it distractedly.

Alexander closed the door at the same time he dragged Meagan into his arms. His mouth came down on hers, hard and taking, her first full kiss. He thrust his tongue into her mouth, and instead of resisting, which dimly Meagan thought she should, she played her tongue against his, learning his heady and exciting taste.

He slid his hands to her elbows, the thin silk sleeves of her frock tearing to make way for his large fingers. He shoved all the way to her bare shoulders and pulled the torn bodice down.

Meagan braced herself against his broad chest as Alexander licked her neck in one long stroke. Meagan flicked her tongue along his jaw, tasting sharp stubble. She licked again, liking the raw, masculine taste of his skin.

In the back of her mind, a voice that was the sensible Meagan Tavistock shouted for attention. What on earth are you doing? You are compromised, you ninny of a girl!

The voice was far away and scarce mattered. The only thing that mattered was Alexander touching her.

He nipped her, and when Meagan made a faint noise in her throat, Alexander bit harder. His hair, smelling of cologne and spice, broke loose from its bond and flowed to Meagan’s neck. Meagan crumpled his sash of office across his coat, the gold-laced cloth stiff and cool to her fingers.

“Do you want that off, love?” he murmured.

“Yes, please,” Meagan said breathlessly.

She helped Alexander push the sash from his shoulder, and then he lifted it over his head and let it flutter to the floor. He stripped off his gloves as he sat on an armless gilded chair, unfastening the cording that held his coat. Underneath the coat he wore a lawn shirt that hugged his body, the hard planes of his chest shadowing the opening beneath his collar.

“Turn around,” he said. “I want to unlace you.”

Willingly, Meagan turned her back, as if it were the most natural thing in the world to let this man unfasten the catches that held her bodice closed.

Alexander’s fingers moved and the silk bodice parted. He ran his hand down the placket of Meagan’s short stays, drawing the tapes apart, unbinding her. Last, he untied her chemise, pushing the garment down, baring her back and bosom with hard hands.

Meagan faced the door, bare to the waist, her breasts heavy. When she felt Alexander’s tongue on her back, she groaned, closing her eyes.

He licked down her spine to her hips, pushing fabric aside until the gown and chemise slithered to a pool at her feet. He danced his tongue over the small of Meagan’s back, then pressed warm lips to the hollow there, breath scalding.

“Part your legs,” he commanded in a soft voice.

Meagan obeyed, sliding her feet apart, never minding she was standing quite bare in front of a man she’d met a mere quarter of an hour ago. His tongue moved to her buttocks, swirling around each one, then to the backs of her thighs.

Meagan moved her legs apart still more, wanting his touch, ready to beg for him. Her mind was clouded with strange thoughts that tumbled together, laced with the waking and very clear visions she’d had of them together.

Alexander was on his knees behind her now, hands pressing her legs apart, his rings cool. He touched the curls between her thighs and she squeaked at the new sensation.

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