She moved again, rubbing herself shamelessly on his leg. Oh, that felt nice. But not nearly as nice as when his fingers had strummed over her flesh, playing her like an instrument. Or when his tongue had been on her. Or when he had been inside her.
At the last thought, Jasper shifted and made a sleepy sound, his thigh going higher, their bodies aligned more firmly. Her breasts grazed his chest, his hand still cupping her, the thumb giving a lazy swirl over her nipple. She held her breath, watching him, desperate for him.
But his dark lashes remained fanned against his cheeks, the soft exhales of his breath yet rhythmic and slow, as if slumber still held him firmly within its murky depths. She was burning for him, and he was sleeping.
Instinct claimed her. She rocked forward on the muscled thickness of his leg, bringing a sweet rush of pleasure unfurling from her core. The agonizingly sensitive bundle of flesh there was demanding. Again, she moved.
A pant escaped her.
She needed to reach that same crescendo he had shown her before. Needed his touch. Yet, she was too afraid to entrust herself to him. To trust in him. Anger and disillusionment may have fled, but her reluctance to believe him remained. Even if he had denied Mary entry from The Sinner’s Palace, what if there were others like her? He was a handsome man, and she had no doubt he had his pick of women.
Would he always choose her?
No one had before him.
Her misgivings did nothing to dispel the desire still unfurling within her. She was undulating on him, helpless to stop herself, chasing release. Seeking more. Skillful fingers plucked at her nipple, tugging through the thin material of her night rail.
And that was when she knew for certain.
Despite his calm demeanor and the pretense of his closed eyes and steady breathing, Jasper was awake.
“You said you would be a perfect gentleman,” she reminded him, feeling quite cross with herself for the reaction she could not seem to tame, regardless of how hard she tried or how many times she reminded herself that Jasper Sutton was trouble.
His eyes opened, and there was not a trace of sleep lingering in the hazel depths. “I said I’d be as perfect a gentleman as I can be.”
He rubbed his thumb over her nipple again.
She swallowed against a rush of longing. “How long have you been awake?”
The grin he sent her did nothing to quell the need rising fervently and furiously within. “Long enough to know you want me.”
But hearing him say it aloud made her cheeks go hot. “I was sleeping.”
That was a lie. She, too, had been awake for some time, as he would know.
His hand left her breast, gliding down her belly and then lower. “You’re not sleeping now.”
“No,” she managed as his fingers dipped, stroking her through the barrier of her night rail. “Jasper, I…oh.”
“You’re hot and wet and ready for me already, aren’t you, minx?” he asked, voice low as he played with her.
Made her more desperate.
The pleasure was a spring, coiling.
And she was helpless to stop it. Did not wish to. However, she was not willing to surrender. Not just yet.
Instead of answering him, she concentrated upon his fingers working between her thighs. Harder now, rotating in fast circles that had her hips pumping, making her grind on his thigh. Perhaps she could say nothing and reach that same pinnacle she had before. And then she would be sated and she could return to her chamber and forget all the wicked ways this man made her into a wanton.
She had been a spinster for years. Had never longed for any man. How was it that this one could bring her so thoroughly to her knees?
He leaned toward her and kissed her ear, the hollow behind it, her jaw. His fingers continued their magic. Her mind whirled even as sensation took command. She was also still vexed with him for so many things. Their hasty marriage. His clever manipulations. The lack of attention he had paid to his children, that dreadful woman who had kissed him…
His mouth opened on her neck, and he sucked. It was hot and wet and possessive. The hem of her night rail went higher and she realized he was pulling it, moving it out of his way with his other hand. Now was the time to stop him if she objected. But then, he rolled her gently to her back, and her night dress was around her waist.