I truly meant to only find you and bring you back to the landing, sweet, but when I saw you here alone, I could not help myself. It has been so many years I have longed for the forbidden fruit, Mary, and I am not really a very patient man. You were angered with me today for kissing Maud, but years of smiling and laughing with you and breathing in your sweet scent and seeing that luscious face and body near me and then bidding you a curt goodnight as you go to Will's or Henry's bed is pure hell." He reached over to smooth her hair. "I tell you, Mary, whomever I have slept with these past five years, I have dreamed it was you or, if not, your face came back to tease me-to haunt me-soon after. Do you understand?
Do not dare to ever touch me again!" she spat at him. "Go caress your Maud, go kiss her in the roses!" A little sob tore from her throat and the stubborn tears sprang to her eyes again.He loosed her waist and took one of her hands firmly in both of his warm ones. "I am in your bad graces, sweetheart, and rightly so. I did not know you and Will stood so close in the garden.""I am certain it would not have made one tiny difference to you if the cardinal himself would have stood there watching!"His teeth shone white in the dim bower as he smiled and the rain splattered down around their protective arch of leaves. "I am elated that my attention to other ladies displeases you.""I could not care less what you do, William Stafford!""Really? Fine, because I am going to kiss you and if we had the time, I would carry you to one of those three hundred silken beds in that great pile of Wolsey's bricks and make hot love to you whether you were willing or not. I told you I do not love the little Jennings, Mary, and I told you true. You know whom I do love, do you not, sweetheart?
house with a great view. You’ll see that at the party tonight. Wish Char would be here for that, too, but we’ll all be together soon.” At least, Kate thought, Jack Lockwood, alias former father, would not be here tonight, so she could enjoy herself. Not only was she curious to see Grant Mason, but she also couldn’t wait to examine the Adena burial site she’d found on an old map in the university archives when she was back in the States at Christmas. The so-called Mason Mound was about twenty yards behind Grant’s house, and she was much more eager to see it than him. * * * The caterers Grant had hired from the upscale Lake Azure area had taken over the kitchen, and he didn’t want to disturb the setup for the buffet or the bar at the far end of the living room. So he sat in his favorite chair looking out over the back forest view through his massive picture window. The guests for the party he was throwing for his best friend, Gabe, and his fiancée, Tess, would be here soon—eighteen people, a nice number for mixing and chatting. He’d laid in champagne for toasts to the happy couple. Gabe and Grant had been best friends since elementary school, when a teacher had seated them in alphabetical order by first names. Grant had been the first to marry. Lacey had been his high-school sweetheart, head of the cheerleaders, prom queen to his king. How unoriginal—and what a disaster.
Staff silenced her with a hot kiss. "Hush," he whispered, taking her closer into his arms. "Mary, we have waited long enough. I want you, dearest, to make up for the lonely hours, and countless advice, and worry that your kings and cursed father would totally ruin our life together. And for the wasted years. Tonight, Mary, we are going to begin catching up-and it will take a long, long time for us to be even...