He turned, ready to eat her up alive with his tongue. If it hadn’t been for her foolishness, he wouldn’t have had to spend the night traipsing back and forth fetching bandages, worrying if he was doing the right thing, worrying if she’d stay alive.
The tongue lashing he’d wanted to deliver evaporated from his mind at the sight of Lady Corrine standing in the narrow doorway between the two rooms wearing little more than one of his shirts.
Dear God. He leaned forward onto his knees. He remembered too clearly how soft her skin was and how full, how perfect, how luscious her breasts were.
It had been his penance to undress her, to keep his hands off of her.
And it didn’t help his sorry state to have her standing there as proud and demanding as a Teutonic goddess. Her pale blonde hair caught the beams of sun coming in from the back room, creating a halo of light around her. The backlight also delineated the shape of her amazingly long legs, which could be seen clearly beneath the sheer, fine material of her petticoats.
Her feet were bare and as perfectly formed as the rest of her.
She was The One. The Incomparable.
The Unattainable … and whoever had christened her such had named her right. The lure of a siren mixed with the scorn of a harpy in the duke of Banfield’s willful daughter.
Will came to his feet, needing his extra height to keep her, and his lust, at bay.
Her intelligent blue eyes swept his person.
“You appear the worse for wear, Reverend.”
He was conscious that he needed a shave. His beard was such that he looked quite vicious if he didn’t keep it under control. And there were probably circles under his eyes that matched the weariness in his bones. Yesterday had been a very demanding day before he’d made an appearance at his foster father’s dinner table. Certainly his hair must have been going every which way now.
In contrast, she appeared well rested and amazingly fresh and lovely.
“I needed to see to your welfare, my lady. You are lucky I discovered you injured on the side of the road on my way home last night.” If there was a chance she didn’t remember anything after being shot, Will was going to play it.
“And my undressing?”
“Necessary for attending your wound.”
“So you didn’t believe Major Ashcroft would return for me?”
There was an edge to her voice. “You remember,” he said. He might as well lay it all on the table. He had to remember how willful she was, how bold. Dislike and distrust were good foils for lust.
“Not the undressing,” she said. She crossed her arms as if protecting her breasts from view. The movement caused her to wince, but she bravely, stubbornly kept her hands where she’d placed them. “But I remember everything else.”
“I feared you would.” He tucked the flint and stone in his pocket. “So what happens now? Are you going to go running to Freddie with your discovery of who I am? I don’t believe so. There was a reason you were stowed away in that coach last night.”
There, straight talk for straight talk – and it worked. A small frown appeared between her brows.
“You saw me?” she asked.
“You came from somewhere, and Ashcroft was obviously surprised at your presence. I had been inside the coach, and you hadn’t been there. I was very careful to ensure I’d accounted for everyone present.”
She dropped her arms, reached up, and placed a hand on her left shoulder, as if the bit of pressure relieved the pain. “You truly are frightening as the Thorn.”
“I try to be, my lady,” he said. “Although you don’t seem frightened now, and perhaps you should be.”
She cocked her head at his warning, considered him, then shook her head. “You won’t hurt me.”
“Don’t be so certain.”