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.Whitehall, you might mention that I’ve just cleaned my pistol,” Cole said dryly as she joined them.She blushed; she hadn’t seen him until now.He’d gone straight out to work before she awoke, and she was in the kitchen already dressed for the evening when he came home to scrub up.Cole grinned at her expression.He felt a little embarrassed himself, but it wouldn’t do to show it.Remembering the feel of Lacy in his arms the night before made him ripple with pleasure.She smiled back, glancing at Turk.“You both look very nice,” she murmured.“We’re not a patch on you, sugarplum,” Cole said softly.“Maybe I’d better display that pistol…”She moved close to him and tucked herself neatly under his shoulder with a confidence she’d never felt in their turbulent relationship until now.“Just keep me right here and you won’t need to,” she whispered, nuzzling her cheek against his chest.His heart jumped.“I think I’ll do that,” he said.Turk knew when he was superfluous.“I’ll go out and check on the side of beef on the spit,” he volunteered.He hesitated.“I don’t suppose Katy and her husband will be coming?”“I thought it best not to invite them,” Cole replied quietly.“Let me rephrase that,” he added curtly.“Ben was disturbed that his fiancée and her father might think he was in the habit of associating with Chicago’s criminal element.”Turk’s face hardened.“I see.The fact that Katy’s his sister made no difference?”“Ben’s very young,” Lacy said, defending him gently.“He has yet to learn that wealth and position aren’t everything.”She looked up at Cole as she spoke, and his eyes kindled with dark fires.Turk left, and they didn’t even notice.Cole’s tall, fit body was reacting violently to Lacy’s nearness.He almost choked on desire for her.His eyes went to the bodice of her dress and he remembered vividly what was under it, how her skin smelled, how it tasted.“Oh, don’t,” she pleaded shyly, blushing.“I’ll swoon if you keep looking at me that way, and what will people think?”“That Valentino’s got nothing on me,” he whispered, laughing at her scarlet flush.“Do I embarrass you?”“Only a little.” She closed her eyes.“I love you so much,” she said huskily.“So much that I’d die if I lost you again!”He shivered.His arm clenched, crushing her against him.“Come here.”He drew her into the deserted hall and maneuvered her back against the wall before he bent and kissed her until her mouth was swollen and red and she could barely breathe.“Take me to bed,” she whispered shakily against his lips.“I hear a car,” he whispered back, his breathing as unsteady as her own.“We have guests arriving.”“I have a headache,” she said.“It’s terrible.You have to put cold cloths on my forehead.”“Nice try,” he said admiringly.“But they’d want to come up and check on you, and that could be embarrassing.We very nearly knocked the slats out this morning.As it is, the bedsprings are very explicit.”“Cole!” she gasped, drawing back, her eyes horrified.“Did someone hear?”He grimaced.“No.But I shouldn’t have mentioned it, should I? Now you’ll go all nervous worrying that they will.”“It’s…private,” she said uncertainly.“Very, very private,” he whispered, rubbing the tip of his nose against hers.“I’ll pull the mattress off on the floor tonight.”“Will you?” she asked, still shy with him and showing it.His teeth nibbled gently at her lower lip.“Yes.I never dreamed of so much happiness,” he said deeply.“Neither did I.”He framed her face in his big hands and kissed her tenderly.“I’m sorry that I can’t give you a baby,” he whispered sadly.“I’m sorry, too,” she said.“But I won’t be unhappy, Cole.I told you that nothing mattered more to me than being your wife.The scars don’t matter.Infertility doesn’t matter.” She smiled softly.“I have no pride at all.I’d follow you crawling on my knees, over broken glass, all the way to the ends of the earth.”His face stiffened.“I don’t deserve this,” he said unsteadily.“Nothing I’ve done in my life merits having you.”She reached up and kissed him.“The angels love you, my dearest,” she breathed.“So do I.Kiss me back.I like it when you kiss me very hard!”He had her up in his arms, kissing the life and breath out of her, when Marion coughed audibly.Cole put her down abruptly, and they both flushed at the lift of Marion’s eyebrows and her smile.“Ben and his fiancée are here,” she told them demurely.“You had best wipe the lip rouge off before you come in, Lacy,” she added, with a laugh.“Oh, it’s…smeared, isn’t it?” Lacy said falteringly, digging for a handkerchief and her pocket mirror from her small purse.“Not yours, dear,” Marion teased, glancing at her tall, flustered son.Lacy looked at Cole and grinned wickedly.He was covered in dark red smudges around his firm mouth.She grinned as she reached up to wipe away the stains.He grinned, too, as the absurdity got through to him.They all went in together to find a nervous Ben and a rather bored-looking brunette, along with a white-haired gentleman, waiting impatiently.“Here they are,” Marion said, introducing Lacy and Cole.Jessica nodded at Lacy, but she went right up to Cole and studied him with flirtatious interest.“So, you’re Ben’s older brother,” she murmured.“How lovely to meet you.”“Same here,” Cole said, but he didn’t smile or show any particular interest.“Lacy and I have looked forward to being introduced,” he added, pulling Lacy close to him [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]