The Magic of You Page 14

"A newly cut switch will get the point across, I have no doubt."

She swung around to say, "Forget it, Warren. I haven't done anything deserving--was

"Haven't you? If it weren't for you, my body wouldn't still be ... in need. I wouldn't have been robbed. I wouldn't be out here on this miserable road."

"This is splendid exercise, you weren't carrying that much money, and you know what you can do about your other problem--if you wouldn't be so bloody stubborn."

"That does it."

He headed straight for the side of the road and all those bushes he'd been referring to. Amy didn't wait around to see him break off a switch. She took off down the road at a full-out run.

Chapter 15

There was a bit of moonlight peeking through the thinness of the clouds, enough to see the road clearly, so avoiding potholes and wagon-wheel grooves was no problem. And the road was dry. It hadn't rained in three days, so there was no worry of slipping and sliding in muddy ruts.

Amy's only worry was being caught by that madman who was determined to take his frustrations out on her in a physical way--but not the right physical way. She couldn't let him do it.

He'd regret it after, though she had an 167 idea she'd regret it a lot more--at least her bottom would.

However, she was confident she'd win this race, especially since there was no one out here to step into her path, which had happened earlier. But Warren had had time and exertion enough to sober up considerably, so he wasn't the least bit clumsy in hieing after her this time.

Within moments his hand was inside her cloak, slowing her down, then on her arm, jerking her around.

Unfortunately, she stumbled in the turning, which threw him off-balance. She lost her breath as she landed, with his body falling on top of her. When the pain settled down she'd probably find a broken bone or two, if he hadn't crushed every one of them outright. It certainly felt like it.

And he didn't get off her. He started to, but after rising a little, he caught her wide eyes on him, her lips parted and panting, and with a groan, he bent his head down instead.

That one sweet touch of his lips on hers made Amy forget about her discomfort. Her skirt wasn't wide enough to allow him to settle fully between her legs unless it was hiked up, which it wasn't. But it accommodated one leg, which he inserted now. And that was all it took for her arms to clasp around him and pull him back down completely.

Heaven, that was how his weight felt to her now. This was so different from those other kisses, when she'd tried to get closer to him but couldn't quite manage it. This was pure melding, with no space left between them, and yet it still wasn't enough. She wanted more.

Both of his hands were on her, one holding her head, the other gripping her side. Neither held a switch, not that she thought of that now. And then the kiss deepened as the one hand moved up to cover her breast.

This, too, wasn't like earlier, when his hand had been touching, but still. He kneaded, he flattened, he squeezed, and her breast came alive, swelling, the nipple puckering, and the sensations it caused elsewhere ... She had known lovemaking with this man would be marvelous, but knowing was not experiencing. That this was only the beginning gave her an added thrill in anticipating the rest.

It was inconceivable how he could fight something this wonderful when, unlike her, he knew exactly what to expect. But he wasn't fighting now.

He was giving his passion free rein, and 169 hers was there to meet it.

He rolled over, bringing her on top of him so he could reach her bottom. With both hands gripping her to

control her movements, he pressed her down against his hardness, then guided her in slow undulations, against which her thin summer gown was no barrier.

The movements were driving her quite wild. Her fingers locked in his long golden hair. She kissed his jaw, his neck, nipped at his ear, while he kept thrusting and sliding her against him, causing a searing friction on a pulse-point she hadn't realized existed.

They were in the middle of the road. They could get run over if someone came along and they didn't hear it, which was a distinct possibility, consumed with him as Amy was just now. But she didn't care, and she'd wager her last twopence that Warren didn't either.

Unfortunately, a coach did come along, and they actually didn't hear it, not even when it was abreast of them. Fortunately, the driver noted the obstruction in the road and halted. His occupant, a well-known matron of the ton, stuck her head

out the window to see what was what, but from that angle, she didn't actually see Amy and Warren scrambling to their feet after the driver's loud throat-clearing finally got their attention.

She did, however, demand, "Well, what is it, John? And if you tell me it's one of those pesky highwaymen, I will dismiss you--first thing in the morning."

John, who had been highly amused by the cavorting lovers, wasn't anymore, and not because of the lady's threat. She threatened to dismiss him at least once a week, yet he'd been in her employ going on twenty years now. But that mention of highwaymen got him to thinking this might have been a trick to get him to stop.

Cautiously, he yelled down, "I don't rightly know what the problem is, Lady Beecham."

Amy groaned, recognizing that name. Abigail Beecham was a dowager countess, a cantankerous old lady whose sole occupation these days seemed to be ferreting out the latest on-dit to feed to the gossip mills. She was absolutely the worst person who could have come along, and if she happened to recognize Amy, then Amy might as

well start packing her bags for China, 171 no doubt about it. She needed to head for the bushes and concealment. She did not need to hear Warren sounding pleasant for a change, because he saw Abigail Beecham and her coach as his salvation.

"Be easy, my good man," he told John the coachman. "We were just robbed ourselves--was

"What's that? What's that?" Abigail called out. "Come around here where I can see you."

Warren started to do just that. Amy jerked him back with a furious hiss. "She'll know me on sight! If you aren't sure what that means, kindly remember that forced marriages run in both our families."

"Nonsense," he scoffed, clearly indifferent to the risk. "Just keep your hood up."

Amy was incredulous. The dratted man apparently wasn't the least bit concerned over the seriousness of this new and highly ruinous situation. He actually dragged her forward, right into the light cast by the coach lanterns, and Abigail Beecham's keen scrutiny.

"Who are you hiding there, young man?" Abigail wanted to know.

Warren glanced over his shoulder to see that Amy

was indeed hiding, directly behind him, her face practically pressed into his back.

Since sexual frustration, vexation, and simple retaliation were high on his priorities list just then, he answered baldly, "My doxy."

"You dress her in mighty fine togs," Abigailnoted skeptically.

"A man will spend his money as it pleases him," Warren said with a reckless smile.

The old lady clucked her tongue, but dismissed his retort for the moment. "You look stranded."

"We are," Warren replied. "Robbed of both money and our transportation."

"Highwaymen?"

"The city kind," he clarified. "We were taken right out of London."

"Scandalous! Well, climb aboard, and you can tell me all about it."

"Forget it," Amy whispered at his back. "I can't take the chance."

"What's she mumbling?" Abigail asked. Before he could answer, Amy warned him further. "She didn't believe you. She's dying to find out

if she knows me, and she does." 173

"It would serve you right," was all he said as he opened the coach door and thrust her inside.

Amy couldn't believe he had done that. But she was having none of it. She went in with her head averted, but she also went right out the other side of the coach.

Warren did likewise, pausing only long enough to tell the startled lady, "Your pardon, madam. This will only take a moment."

He caught up with Amy several yards away, since she was only stalking off in her anger, rather than running. "What the devil do you think you're doing?"

"Me?" she gasped furiously. "Let's talk about you, because I know exactly what you're doing. You didn't get to cut your switch, so you think to punish me this way for the small bit of inconvenience I've caused you. Well, you'll have to find some other way to do it."

"I am not walking back to London when that lady is kind enough to offer us a ride."

"Then by all means ride with her, but you'll do it without me. If you won't think of my reputation, think of yours. That lady will tell all and sundry

that you've compromised me, and if you think you can get away with that unscathed, think again. And that's not how I want you, Warren. I want you willing and doing the asking."

She could almost hear his teeth grinding together. "You've made your point, dammit. We'll compromise.

You can ride up with the driver. I trust he won't recognize you?"

"And what will you tell Lady Beecham?"

"That you didn't want to soil her with your immoral character."

She felt like kicking him. She gave him a brilliant smile instead and said, "You may not be a rake, Warren Anderson, but you're most definitely a cad."

Chapter 16

Unlike Warren, who apparently had every intention of nursing his bitterness for the rest of his life, Amy was too effervescent to hold grudges or even to stay angry for very long. So she had already forgiven Warren for his odious treatment by the time Lady Beecham dropped them off at the Albany Hotel. In fact, such close

proximity to the very place she'd wanted 175 to come to all evening was putting ideas in her head again.

It must have showed, because Warren took one look at her and said, "If you say it, I'll turn you over my knee right here, and I don't care how big an audience gathers to watch. I won't stop until you beg for mercy."

"What makes you think I wouldn't beg for mercy real quick?" she ventured.

"What makes you think I've got any?"

She grinned at him, not the least bit intimidated this time. "You've got some. It might be way down there in your baby toes, you've got so little of it, but I'd wager I could shake some loose if I tried, and I never lose my wagers."

He didn't deign to answer that, just grabbed her arm and turned to hail a passing hack. Fortunately, Abigail's coach had turned a corner by then, because Warren's impatience ruled out being cautious. He wanted Amy off his hands, and he wanted it now.

She actually sympathized with him. She'd put him through hell a number of times today, all intentional and part of her plan to wear him down the quickest way possible, but more than a man should have to bear, particularly a man of Warren's temperament. So she couldn't very well resent his irritation with her. She was, in fact, surprised he wasn't frothing at the mouth by now.

All in all, it had been a splendid day. Even those unplanned little adventures had worked to her advantage--well, at least one had. If those thieves hadn't abducted them and left them out in the countryside, she never would have experienced that last eye-opening feast of passion. And neither would Warren. And what she hugged to her breast on the short ride back to Berkeley Square was the fact that Warren hadn't stopped that last time and might not have. If Lady B. hadn't come along when she did ...

He told the driver to wait for him. Amy had only these few moments left with Warren, without knowing

when she'd see him next. If she knew him, and she was certainly getting to, he'd want to avoid her at all costs. But he couldn't do that, not when she was staying in his sister's house. If only he were staying here, too. She really ought to mention that to Georgina ...

They reached the door. Amy leaned 177 against it to look up at him. As usual, he was frowning, but that certainly didn't detract from his handsomeness. If anything, it represented a challenge. No wonder so many women were drawn to him. But she wasn't going to be one of those many. She was going to be the one to win him.

She wished he'd kiss her good night. Did she dare provoke him into it one more time? Well, she'd proved she was nothing if not daring.

"Do you realize," she asked him lightly, "it was only this morning that I told you I wanted you? With this kind of progress, you should be ready to propose to me by the end of the week. 'Course, you could give up the fight and ask me to marry you now; then we could be legal by the end of the week, instead of just engaged. How about it, Yank? Are you ready to surrender?"

"I'm ready to speak to your uncle." His tone said it wasn't about marriage, but about her outrageous behavior. "Open the door, Amy."

She stiffened, never dreaming this was a possibility. "You can't do that!"

"Watch me."

"But you'd never see me again, and that's not what you want. You may think it is, but I promise you it's not."

"I disagree. I can't think of anything more enticing at the moment."

"Can't you?"

He stiffened now and took a step away from her. Stupid, stupid, to have said that. She ought to be assuring him that she'd back off--but she had no intention of backing off. And she had to be as scrupulously honest with him as the old "All's fair" adage would allow, or she'd never get him to trust her.

She didn't take back the taunt, but she offered what she hoped was a reasonable suggestion. "Please, at least sleep on it. You're angry now, but you'll feel different in the morning."

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