“Did I?” His tone was mocking.
Her heart thumped. “Yes, you did.”
Did he truly kiss so many ladies that he could not remember whom he had wooed? The question was sobering. But nevertheless, it did nothing to quell the desire to have that wicked mouth on hers once more.
What was wrong with her? She had not ventured to The Sinner’s Palace for more kisses from its enigmatic owner.
“Be careful whom you carry that tale to, Lady Octavia. I’d hate to be the cause of your ruin.” His lips curved in small smile.
A taunting smile.
And that was when the truth occurred to her.
Jasper Sutton was trying to fluster her. To make her uncomfortable. He wanted her to flee.
She summoned a smile of her own. “Are you worried about my reputation, Mr. Sutton? How gentlemanly of you.”
“You and I both know I ain’t a gentleman.”
No, he was not.
Unfortunately, that was one of the qualities he possessed that rendered him so
alluring to Octavia.
Also, his handsome face, sinful lips, and heavens above, those hands of his. There was something about Jasper Sutton’s hands that never failed to incite a fury of longing within her. Just the knowledge that they were there, splayed on the desk, mere inches from her, was enough to make a familiar, unwanted heat unfurl in her belly.
“You did not answer my question,” she reminded him. “Are you married?”
“Not yet,” he said cryptically.
The heat within turned to ice.
“Betrothed?” she guessed next.
“Not yet,” came the same response as the first.
She frowned, trying to make sense of what he had said. “Do you intend to be soon, then?”
“What’s this, milady?” His grin deepened. “You found your way to The Sinner’s Palace to ask about who I’m dabbing it up with?”
She did not know what dabbing it up meant, and she was sure that was best.
“Of course not,” she hastened to say, struggling to remind herself of the true reason for her call. “Your daughters…”
“Their mother abandoned them a fortnight ago,” he explained, his voice forbidding.
“How terrible.” Her heart gave a pang for the girls.
“I take care of my own,” he said, his voice a low, assertive rasp. “Now that I know they’re mine, I’ll keep them safe.”
She believed him. Jasper Sutton was many things, but he was also a man who cared deeply for his family. She knew as much from her ties to the Winter family. Sutton’s sister Caro had recently married Gavin Winter, and Octavia’s sister Mirabel had wed Damian “Demon” Winter. The connections between Octavia and Jasper were distant and yet close enough. It sounded as if he had only learned of the existence of the twins when they had been abandoned. What a shock it must have been for him and the girls both.
But the circumstances in which Jasper Sutton and his daughters found themselves mired was not her problem. And after today, she would not need to return to The Sinner’s Palace for any reason. Provided that he agreed to her new plan, that was.
Why did the thought make her heart pang anew?
“I am certain you will be a good father to them, Sutton,” she told him.