Sutton's Spinster (The Sinful Suttons 1) - Page 38

Motley shifted, as if he could not bear to remain sitting. Barnaby and Drunkard flanked him on either side. The result was almost comical—three dog faces with lolling tongues facing them.

This was not the welcome she had supposed she would find. And yet, when had she ever been able to predict anything when it came to Jasper Sutton? The answer was as plain as it was simple. Never.

“The lads can be a bit eager,” Jasper said, his gaze searching hers, his tone almost apologetic.

Perhaps even approval-seeking, though it hardly seemed possible coming from a man such as he.

“I do not mind their enthusiasm,” she said. “Just as long as little Motley comes to understand he cannot make a meal of my arm.”

Jasper winced, then offered her his hand. She accepted it and together, they rose. She was suddenly aware, in a way she had not been before during their journey from the church, that they were married.

This man was her husband.

She was his wife.

How impossible and vexing and thrilling and illicit, all at once. It occurred to her then that she was living a scandal right now. A lord’s daughter who had married one of London’s most incorrigible scoundrels. From the moment the banns had first been read, Mirabel and the well-connected Winter clan had done their utmost to blunt the whispers and scorn. But Octavia had seen herself illustrated in more than one recent caricature. Neither her representation nor Jasper’s had been flattering.

He kept their fingers twined together. Their gloves and outerwear had been shed promptly upon their entrance, allowing her the luxury of his skin on hers. The gesture and the moment both felt intima


“Welcome to your new home, Mrs. Sutton,” he said, bringing her hand to his lips to place a kiss on her inner wrist.

It was a spot she had never found particularly sensitive. However, as with every other part of her they had come into contact with, those wicked lips of his brought her to life.

“Thank you,” she forced herself to say, struck by a wave of uncertainty.

Having been blessed—or perhaps cursed, depending upon the person one consulted—with a keen sense of curiosity, Octavia had managed to collect a plethora of information about what passed between a husband and a wife. Or a husband and someone else’s wife. Or an unmarried man and woman. Yes, she had read a number of illicit treatises. Gossip was not the only forbidden vice she traded in.

However, she did not know what Jasper expected of her. Heavens, she was not certain what she expected of him either. Would he wish to consummate their marriage? And if so, when? Her head swam with questions, none of which were particularly polite.

“Penny for your thoughts, minx?” he asked, the low timbre of his voice affecting her every bit as much as the kiss he had placed on her inner wrist had.

How to tell him?

Did she dare?

“It is quiet,” she observed instead. “I expected your siblings and Anne and Elizabeth to join us.”

She had also supposed his guards, who had stood solemn protectors at the entrance to the small church, would be about. His siblings and daughters had joined for the ceremony, of course, but she and Jasper had left following the proceedings, alone. Octavia had been surprised to discover a gleaming high phaeton was to be their mode of travel to The Sinner’s Palace. Jasper had handled the reins expertly, of course.

“I told everyone to make scarce while I settle my bride or I’ll feed the lot of them to the dogs,” he said, his expression as serious as his voice.

“An idle threat, surely,” she suggested weakly, glancing toward the trio of hounds watching them. “Barnaby, Drunkard, and Motley would never eat anyone.”

A grin pulled at the corners of his lips. “What do you think, Octavia?”


It was the first time he had referred to her thus, simply a name. No Lady Octavia. She liked the omission. The informality seemed to spell the promise of a new intimacy between them.

“I think you are telling me a Banbury story,” she decided. “These three gentlemen do not look as if they would harm anyone. Not truly.”

“Not unless I order it,” he said enigmatically, before turning to the hounds. “Stay.”

The command in his voice was undeniable.

Motley whined.

Tags: Scarlett Scott The Sinful Suttons Historical
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