Was that worry she detected in his voice?
“You need not concern myself with my ankle or my neck,” she informed him. “And the only cause of all this trouble is you. First locking me in your chamber and now sending word to my brother-in-law that I am here. Tell me you did not.”
“Jasper Sutton is a lot of things, but liar ain’t one of them, minx,” he growled.
Oh dear heavens.
“This is terrible,” she said faintly.
“The way I see it, it’s luck.”
“There is no luck involved when you are the one who has made all the decisions leading us to this,” she countered, frustration rising to join the worry. “How dare you send word to my sister’s husband that I am here?”
She adored Damian Winter, she truly did. But he was fiercely protective. When he learned she had been here all night, she did not know how he would react. Nor did she know what would become of her. Would she be sent to the country with Mama? If word of her spending the evening at a gaming hell reached polite society, she would be ruined.
“One of us has to be rational,” he said calmly, as if everything made perfect sense.
As if he were not at all perturbed by the fact that an irate brother-in-law was about to come crashing down upon The Sinner’s Palace, demanding only heaven knew what as reparations. Why, it was almost as if he had plotted this entire affair intentionally and that…
Anne’s and Elizabeth’s words returned to her. You are going to marry Papa.
She gasped. “You scoundrel. You have ruined me intentionally.”
His lips quirked into a grin. “If I had ruined you, darling, you would be naked in that bed behind you, begging me for more.”
Why did he have to be so handsome? And insufferable? Why did she have to be drawn to this maddening rogue in a way she had never known with another man? And why did his words send heat and longing unfurling within her instead of outrage? She wished she knew.
“You…preposterous…smug…villain!” She was sputtering, and she knew it.
Villain was the worst word she could think of at the moment.
He was devious.
“Careful, Mrs. Sutton. Your cruel barbs may hurt my poor panter.” His grin had deepened.
She supposed his panter was his heart. But she was not sure which was more irksome, his reliance upon cant or his laughter.
He found this amusing.
She planted her hands on her hips and glared him down. “I am not marrying you, Sutton. I am happily unwed, and I’ll not be changing that for you.”
He shrugged, unaffected. “I warned you to stay away from The Sinner’s Palace, did I not?”
Yes, of course he had. But even his own daughters had said he liked to bluster.
“I wished to have a proper conversation with you.”