Which wasn’t precisely the truth. That moment with her mother—there had been magic in those tears.
But she couldn’t tell him that. He’d hear the bit about crying and nothing else, and then he’d worry, and she’d feel terrible for worrying him, and she was tired of all that.
Besides, he was a man. He’d never understand, anyway.
“I feel happy,” she announced. “Something in the air.”
“The sun is shining,” he observed.
She gave him a jaunty, single-shouldered shrug and leaned back against a tree. “Birds are singing.”
“Just a few,” she admitted.
He regarded the landscape. “All the moment needs is a cherubic little bunny hopping across the field.”
She smiled blissfully and leaned into him for a kiss. “Bucolic splendor is a marvelous thing.”
“Indeed.” His lips found hers with familiar hunger. “I missed you,” he said, his voice husky with desire.
She let out a little moan as he nipped her ear. “I know. You said that.”
“It bears repeating.”
Francesca meant to say something witty about never tiring of hearing it, but at that moment she found herself pressed rather breathlessly against the tree, one of her legs lifted around his hips.
“You wear far too many clothes,” he growled.
“We’re a little too close to the house,” she gasped, her belly clenching with need as he pressed more intimately against her.
“How far,” he murmured, one of his hands stealing under her skirts, “is not ‘too close’?”
He drew back and gazed at her. “Really?”
“Really.” Her lips curved, and she felt devilish. She felt powerful. And she wanted to take charge. Of him. Of her life. Of everything.
“Come with me,” she said impulsively, and she grabbed his hand and ran.
Michael had missed his wife. At night, when she was not beside him, the bed felt cold, and the air felt empty. Even when he was tired, and his body was not hungry for her, he craved her presence, her scent, her warmth.
He missed the sound of her breathing. He missed the way the mattress moved differently when there was a second body on it.
He knew, even though she was more reticent than he, and far less likely to use such passionate words, that she felt the same way. But even so, he was pleasantly surprised to be racing across a field, letting her take the lead, knowing that in a few short minutes he would be buried deep within her.
“Here,” she said, skidding to a halt at the bottom of a hill.
“Here?” he asked dubiously. There was no cover of trees, nothing to block them from sight should anyone stroll by.
She sat. “No one comes this way.”
“The grass is very soft,” she said seductively, patting a spot beside her.
“I’m not even going to ask how you know that,” he muttered.