No Choice But Seduction Page 41

Anthony stiffened. “Boyd? What the deuce did you do that for?”

But before James could answer, Katey gasped, “Boyd’s here? Where?”

“When it looked like you weren’t coming back tonight, he took himself off to bed, mumbling something about wanting to be fresh and clear—”

“That sounds like a good idea for me as well.” Katey actually ran the stairs, shouting back at them, “Good night, you two!”

Anthony frowned as he watched her go. James started chuckling before he said, “Why am I not surprised?”

Anthony glared at his brother. “Surprised about what, that she doesn’t even greet you before she runs off? And how dare you bring that bounder—?”

“Put a lid on it, puppy.” James came forward and shoved his brandy into Anthony’s hand. “Drink that. You’re going to need it when you hear what I have to tell you, or didn’t you notice how her face lit up at the mere mention of his name?”

Katey’s heart was racing. He’d come. For her. She didn’t doubt it, and she didn’t doubt either that he was filled with anxiety, still thinking he’d have to do battle to win her love. She wasn’t going to let him spend another anxious moment.

She knew which rooms her family were in, so she knew which ones had been empty and were available to Boyd. The first one she checked was the right one—at least it was occupied. She had to wait for her eyes to adjust to the darkness before she could be positive. It wasn’t cold enough yet for the fireplace to be lit.

She closed the door softly behind her and took several deep breaths. Just being in the same room with him again filled her with soothing peace. And it didn’t take long for her to see well enough to approach the bed.

He was lying on his back, one arm thrown behind his head, his gold-streaked hair across one brow. His chest was na**d, the blanket only covering him to his waist. Katey felt less peaceful when she noticed that. His mouth was slightly open, but he wasn’t snoring. She heard only the deep, even breathing of sleep. He’d wanted to be fresh and clearheaded before he spoke to her in the morning. She couldn’t wait that long.

She slipped out of her shoes and her clothes, leaving them in a pile next to the bed. She wasn’t feeling at all peaceful now. She was getting quite excited and was surprised she’d been able to pause long enough to undress. But then she lay down on the bed next to Boyd and curled against his side. It didn’t wake him, not even when she touched his chest. She was content to do just that for a few moments, but only for a few. She leaned closer, blew softly toward his ear to tickle him awake—and knew to the second when it worked and he realized he wasn’t alone.

He turned toward her. She kissed him before he could say anything. If for some reason she’d been wrong and he didn’t still want her, she didn’t want to know it. But his body still wanted her. She had to resist the urge to laugh in sheer delight at how quickly his kiss turned hot and possessive, then was amazed at how fast her own body responded.

“Lavender—you have such a unique smell, Katey,” he said dreamily as he cupped her cheek, then her shoulder. But then he groaned as his hand moved lower and he realized she was na**d. “God, don’t wake me. Or have I gone to heaven?”

He’d said something similar to her once before. “You’re not sleeping,” she replied. “But this is definitely heavenly, isn’t it?”

He groaned and kissed her again. He struggled to get out from under the blanket without breaking that kiss, but soon he was lying on top of her, and her legs instinctively wrapped around him to keep him there. His lust had always been a problem. She had a feeling hers might be one now. She wanted him so much, too much to wait.

Apparently, he needed more. “You can’t give me this and not marry me.”

“I know.” She kissed him again.

“You mean it?”

“We’ll talk later!”

He grinned down at her impatience. “At least you finally understand what it’s like—”

She gripped his hair and almost growled at him, “If you don’t make love to me right now—”

With that look that had always been able to singe her, he said, “God, I love you so much, Katey,” as he slid deep into her, satisfying her core need to have him there, satisfying her desire quickly after that, and satisfying her yearning heart with those impassioned words that had come from the bottom of his.

He held her gently in his arms afterward, as if she might break. “Did you mean it?” he asked her carefully.

Her passion spent, she only felt tenderness now and was overflowing with it. She turned to cup his cheek in her hand and look into his eyes before she said, “I learned tonight how horrible a life can turn out just because a few simple words were never said. They might have changed nothing, or they might have changed everything. But I’m not going to make the same mistake. Come what may, Boyd, I love you. So the next time I say I’m married, it’s going to be true.”

“You won’t regret it, I promise you.” He kissed each finger of her hand. “We have the rest of our lives to see the world. It isn’t necessary to see it all in one year or two. When our children are older, they’ll even enjoy it. They’ll have experiences that you missed as a child, be able to see the world with their own eyes, and not just hear about it or read about it.”

Tears nearly entered her eyes, she was so moved by how much he wanted to make her happy. “You’d do that for me, even as sick as sailing makes you? But it’s no longer necessary. I was searching for excitement, new things, adventure, but it was all only to fill the void in my life, and to make up for the boredom of my youth. I don’t need that anymore, Boyd, now that I have you.”

Amy had warned her, You’re going to be more happy here than you realize. Katey didn’t doubt it now. She had the large family she’d always yearned for, and now she was ready to enlarge it even more with the man she loved. That was an exciting thought. That was going to be the adventure of her life.

In the morning Katey and Boyd went downstairs together to share their wonderful news with her family. Most of the Malorys were gathered in the parlor. Anthony and James were there with their wives enjoying some morning pastries. Jacqueline and Judith had their heads together whispering, both able to fit in the same armchair. They stopped to stare wide-eyed when they saw the couple come in, holding hands, smiling.

Anthony noticed them immediately as well and slowly stood up. He didn’t need to ask what was going on after his talk with James. And he waited silently for the couple to reach him. Only Georgina and Roslynn looked concerned over what he might say or do. Apparently, it wasn’t a foregone conclusion yet.

But Anthony put his hands on Katey cheeks and said, “Are you sure this is what you want? I can still kill himself instead if it isn’t.”

Boyd snorted, but Katey gave her father a beautiful smile, her dimples in full view, and replied, “Love me, love my husband.”

Anthony groaned. “So it’s to be like that, is it?”

James chuckled behind him. “She’s a Malory. Did you expect anything less?”