Anthony quirked a brow. I’m shocked, Miss Sheffield. I had donned all my armor and was expecting you to return with, ‘I know quite enough.’
And somehow that made everything all right.Kate looked to him and nodded, tears in her eyes. Thank you, she whispered. Thank you so much.
Later that day, the two of them walked up the steps to Mary’s small townhouse. The butler showed them into the drawing room, and Kate sat on the familiar blue sofa while Anthony walked over to the window, leaning on the sill as he peered out.See something interesting? she asked.He shook his head, smiling sheepishly as he turned to face her. I just like looking out windows, that’s all.
Kate thought there was something awfully sweet about that, although she couldn’t really put her finger on what. Every day seemed to reveal some new little quirk to his character, some uniquely endearing habit that bound them ever closer. She liked knowing strange little things about him, like how he always doubled up his pillow before going to sleep, or that he detested orange marmalade but adored the lemon.You look rather introspective.
Kate jerked to attention. Anthony was staring at her quizzically. You drifted off, he said with an amused expression, and you had the dreamiest smile on your face.
She shook her head, blushed, and mumbled, It was nothing.I can’t bear it, Anthony whispered, closing the distance between them as he took her hand and raised it to his lips. You must tell me, he said, his voice oddly choked. Do you fear me? Do I repulse you?
Kate shook her head frantically, unable to believe that he could possibly think any woman would find him repulsive.Tell me, he whispered, his lips pressing against her ear. Tell me how to make it right. For I don’t think I can grant you your reprieve. He molded his body against hers, his strong arms holding her close as he groaned, I can’t wait a week, Kate. I simply cannot do it.
I… Kate made the mistake of looking up into his eyes, and she forgot everything she’d meant to say. He was staring at her with a burning intensity that forged a fire in the very center of her being, leaving her breathless, hungry, and desperate for something she did not quite understand.And she knew that she could not make him wait. If she looked into her own soul, and looked with honesty and without delusion, she was forced to admit that she did not wish to wait, either.