Hugh did not hesitate in his retreat. The door clicked closed on his brawny back. And then Octavia was alone.
Alone with Jasper Sutton.
Mayhap he has a wife, she reminded herself. And he had kissed her. Scoundrel! She ought to box his ears. Why had he never mentioned his daughters before? The questions tumbled over each other in her mind, regardless of how many times she told herself she should not concern herself with the complexities of his life.
He prowled toward her, his expression implacable, silken menace in every step of his pursuit. “I thought we ‘ad a square thing, my lady.”
A square thing? It did not bode well when he eschewed the h on had. Or that he had reverted to speaking cant. She knew him well enough to understand that.
Octavia was not fearful of Jasper Sutton, and yet, she found herself retreating as he neared. Until her bottom connected with the edge of his desk, stopping her. He paused before her, bracing his palms on either side of the desk.
His heat seared her through the layers of fabric separating her body from his.
“I…” she faltered, her gaze dipping to his cruelly beautiful mouth. “I needed to speak with you.”
He made a low sound that was somewhere between a growl and a hum. “You needed to speak with me?”
He managed to make the question sound…sultry.
The memory of his lips on hers returned, taunting her before she hastily banished it.
“Yes,” she forced herself to say, running her tongue over her suddenly dry lips. “As I said.”
“Ah, but do you recall, Lady Octavia, what I told you when you last intruded upon my gaming establishment?” His head dipped.
He was taller than she was. Taller than most gentlemen in her acquaintance. Broad of shoulder, lean of hip. Beneath his coat, the arms caging her to his desk appeared strong and vital. She settled her hands on them against her better judgment.
Judgment? Who was she fooling?
She had none when it came to this man.
Else, why would she be here?
“I must confess that I have tried to forget the conversation that passed between us when I last paid you a call,” she countered.
Like Jasper Sutton, she was blustering.
“Allow me to remind you, milady.” Hazel eyes burned into hers as he leaned even nearer. “I told you that this ain’t a place for ladies. That you are trouble. That you need to stay in Mayfair where you belong. This addle-headed notion of yours to use The Sinner’s Palace to find scandal and gossip ain’t going to work.”
He had also kissed her.
Had he forgotten?
Octavia told herself whether or not he had was no concern of hers.
“Do you have a wife, Mr. Sutton?” she blurted.
He quirked an inky brow. “Why should you care?”
“You kissed me.” Her cheeks went hot as she uttered the words, much to her dismay.