The Duke's Shotgun Wedding (Entangled Scandalous)(4)

By: Stacy Reid

“Come no farther!”

He halted inches from her, the barrel tip of the derringer brushing against his waistcoat. He ignored her gasp as he reached out deliberately and drew the hat from her head.

“What are you doing?” she demanded, grabbing for it. He held it behind his back.

He liked that her voice did not lose its husky timber even though she appeared rattled, so unlike the high-pitched nasal tone of the many debutantes of the summer season.

He was even more relieved that her voice was not pure throaty seductiveness, or else his disgust would have been instant. Stripped of its veil, her delicate face had blushed crimson, and her gray eyes were like saucers. He feared she may be in danger of fainting.

“It is normal, Miss Rathbourne, for a man to fully gaze upon his intended before committing to marriage, especially under such unorthodox circumstances.”

She took several breaths and lowered the weapon slightly, in line with his waist. He circled her neck with his hand, his thumb teasing the pulse that fluttered at her throat. Her tongue peeked out and moistened her lips. His nostril flared, but he ruthlessly ignored the sudden desire that burned him. She had dressed for their meeting in her riding habit: a green, high-collared shirt with matching skirts that molded her petite but voluptuous figure. From the nerve-racking tutelage he had received from his sister, Constance, about the current season’s fashion, Sebastian determined that she was wearing last season’s habit.

She inhaled sharply as he stepped in close enough to her that she was forced to lower her weapon completely or shoot him. Her eyes widened even further, and Sebastian realized he’d done her an injustice when he’d thought of them as merely gray. They were the color of storm clouds, full and raging with emotion.

“Your Grace, you presume too much!”

“Do I?” Sebastian chuckled as the click of the gun echoed like the crack of a whip. “Brave little thing, aren’t you?”

“You will address me as Lady Jocelyn.” She lifted the derringer again, and pressed it to his ribs. “Unhand me, and summon your solicitor at once. I require him to procure a special license and prepare our marriage contract.”

“Ah.” He reached past her and set her hat and veil on the bookshelf. “In that case, I fear I must insist on first sampling the wares you so boldly offer, Miss…Lady Rathbourne.”

She froze. “Sample? I am not a common doxy!”

“No you are not…nor are you a lady.” He traced his thumb along her jaw. “I have yet to figure out what you are, Jocelyn.”


He swallowed her reply in a kiss, an action meant to shock the sensibilities she obviously possessed. But instead, it completely floored him.

The flavor of her lips was like the finest wine, the texture sublime, and her taste could intoxicate even the most jaded rake. She went rigid against him. He clasped her face with both hands and tilted her back, sinking in for a more thorough kiss. She shuddered, and parted her lips on a soft gasp which he took immediate advantage of, dipping his tongue into heaven.

The stab of his own arousal stunned him, yet what he tasted from her infuriated him, sending rage through his blood like poison.

For he tasted innocence.

It was there in the hesitant dart of her tongue as it met his, in the soft moan, the hand that fluttered to his shoulder, clasping him tightly as he deepened the kiss, and her shiver as he slanted his lips over hers. But it was the guileless hunger she responded with that bespoke her innocence. There was no artifice, no seduction…and no expertise behind her natural response. It was pure and unguarded, and it drew him under as nothing else could.

He kissed her with scorching proficiency, drawing her pleasure as an artist with a brush. His tongue plunged into the warm recess of her mouth, tasting nectar, eliciting a fractured moan. His hunger grew, and he licked and engaged her tongue in a feast of the senses. Her body arched, and he groaned as her moans roused the full length of his cock. Too much, and too soon for the innocence he tasted, for as he molded her body to his, curving her shape and pillowing her breast to his chest, she tore her mouth from his. Horrified by his boldness, or by her own response, he wasn’t certain. But he could guess.

“How dare you!” she choked out.

The storm clouds of her eyes appeared about to crack, unleashing torrents of rage. Her lips glistened, the high flush on her cheeks spread to her neck and lower, her petite frame held taut with outrage.

She was magnificent in her fury.

“You take liberties, Your Grace! Your actions are of an unspeakable cad!” Jocelyn spluttered, and darted sideways away from Calydon, lest she shoot him and unravel all that she had plotted for.

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