"Why? " she gasped in amazement.
He smiled and ignored her."Why did you marryme? "
Her expressionwentsolemn, her eyes again wary. "So that I wouldnot have to hang you."
"Hmmm. I thought you might say that, " he said pityingly, tracing hisfingers lightly over her hip.
Valoree immediatelybegan towriggle beneath thefeatherlight touch. "Cutthat out!"
Daniel raisedhis eyebrows. "Do younot like me to touch you? "
"Notlike that. It tickles, " she snapped.
"Does it? " He shifted his hand lower so that his fingers whispered lightly up the inside of herthigh."Does thattickle? "
Valoree gritted her teeth. Shewould notask him to stop again.
It seemedthis was partof his torture. Though only he andthe goodLord knew whathe intended to torture her for.
"Tell methat you want me, " he whisperedby her ear suddenly, andValoree turned to gape at him in amazement.
She couldnot believethat hewould threaten to torture her, then expect her to saysomething like that. What thedevil was wrong with the man? Well, the answertothat wasobvious. He was mad. IfShe had knowna bitsooner, she mighthave let him swing.
Herthoughts were distracted when he suddenly liftedhimself up and leaned close to herbreast. She thought at first that he meant to lick orsuckle herthere as hehad done inthe past, but insteadhepaused, his mouth mereinches from the nipple. His breath rippled againstit as his eyes turned toward her face. "Shall I lick you? Kiss you? Shall Isuckle your breast? "
Her nipple already reacting as if hehad done so, tantalized by the fanning of his breath, Valoree pressed her mouth firmly closed and turned herhead. Hearinga rustleas Daniel moved away, she releasedher breathin a sigh. One of relief, of course, she toldherselffirmly, onlyto stiffen as he returned. She refused to look at him, staringgrimly towardthe waterand wonderingif hewould leave her tied up untilthemen cameback, andjust how exactly heintended to torture her, and to what purpose. Then a splash ofcool wetnesson her chest made her gasp andglance around sharply to see him smilingas he tipped a glass ofwine onto first one breast, then the other. The golden liquid immediately randown them, asmall puddle forming between and slightly below her br**sts.
"What are you doing now? " she askedsharply, and hesmiledat heragain.
"Torturingyou, "was his husky reply. Then he benttolickat the shallow poolofwine beforefollowing the trail to thebreast nearest him. He cleaned the liquid from her with long, slow strokes of histongue.
"T-thisis your torture? " she askedshakily, watching his tongue slide out to grazethetip of one painfully erect nipple.
"Aye, "he breathed againsther damp skin, sending shudders through her. "Howdo youlike itso far? "
Valoreesagged back onto thecloth-covered sand with asigh that turnedintoa nervous giggle.She sensed ratherthan saw his eyesseeking hersout, andmet his gazesilently as he frowned.
"You did not think I meant torture torture, didyou? " he asked, the beginnings of a scowl tugging at hismouth. Valoree hesitated.
Had she? Had she really thoughthe had meant torture? she asked herself. She suspected the answer was no. Valoree knew herselfwellenough to realizethat she would have done quite a bit more cussingand struggling, ratherthan lying there tensely to see what was to come about, if she had truly believedhe meant toharm her. Still, she didn’tknow whathe wasup to.
"Nay, "she whispered at last, andhe relaxed.
"Good." He turned hisattentionto herother breast now, laving it as hehad thefirst.Valoree swallowed, her fingers closing into fistsas shesilently watched.She wasa touch uncomfortable lying there, helpless, as he kissed and licked her.She wanted totouch him, too – wanted to run her hands through his hair, over his chest, down his back. Which, of course, he had claimed he wishedto do, too, when he hadbeentied up.
Hishand replaced hismouth at her breast, and hislips moved upward, kissingatrail to her mouth beforecoveringit with his own. He kissed her discomfort away, his hand squeezing and massaging herbreastas hedid, his fingerplucking and rolling her nipple.
Valoree moaned into his kiss, herbody arching off the silky material between herself and the sand, her fingernails digging into the flesh of her palms. Then she was gasping for air as he releasedher mouth, his attentions movingto explore other vistas.
His lips grazedher cheeks, her chin, her ear, her neck, untilthey returned to herbreasts. Butthis timehe gavethemonly cursory attention before his tongue led himdownher stomach, pausing to dipinto her belly button, before he continued on to her hip, licking the hollowthere.
Valoree was writhing – shifting, arching, and moaning mindlessly beneath his attentions. Daniel shifted to kneel betweenher legs, and she openedeyesshe hadn’teven realized she hadsqueezed closed to see him quicklyuntying her feet. She thought he would enter her then, andshe wanted himto. Dear God, that was what she wanted most in the world at that moment, to feel his flesh fillhers. But he didn’t. Instead, hegrasped one ankle and liftedit in his hands until hecould press a kiss to her instep.
Valoree jolted as if hehad bitten her, her bodyrespondingwith amazing sensitivity to thetouch.It seemed he could do anything to her, touch heranywhere, and itwouldbeerotic. She pressed herselfback into the sand, twisting her head and moaning aloud as hislipsmoved up the inside of her leg, pausing to nibble behind her knee. He shifted to lie between her legs sothat his mouth could meander upher thigh.
She continued to thrash beneath his touch, uttering a continuous, mindless moan until she felt his breath between her legs. Then she went as stiff as wood, her nerve endings screaming, her eyes shooting open to stare blindly at the trees overhead. She cried out and arched upward off the ground, sending thebirdswingingfrom the trees aboveas he pleasured herina way she had heretoforeonlyeverheardher men talkof a womandoingto them. He did things withhis mouth thatbrought tears to her eyes and sobs bursting from her lips. She raced towardsomethingwondrous. Then he stopped.
The trees slowly came back into focusbeforeher swimming eyes, and Valoreefound herself lying panting on a scrap ofsilkin the sand, herbody clamoring in protest. Raisingher head slightly, she peered blanklydownthe length of her body and saw that he was watching her, waiting.
"Tell meyou want me."
Valoree felt thosewordsbreathed against the trembling flesh of herwomanhoodall the way up to the roots ofher hair.Her entire body wasscreaming with the desire he would have her speak aloud.Couldhe not see that?
"Say it, " he instructed. "Say, ‘I married you because I want you. Not to save you from hanging.’"
Suddenly recognizing the vulnerability in him, Valoree felt some part of her heart crumble with the understanding."Imarried you because I wanted to, and I want you.Iwant you inside me.
A slow smile twisting his lips, he glanced downto the damp flesh he had been devouring and blew on it softly, sending tremorsthrough her body.Then he leaned downfor a lick, and another, his teeth grazing her swollen skin andmaking her close her eyes andsob in need. With that, his touch changed slightly, and shepeeredback at him to see that he was caressing herwith hisfingers, continuingto urge her passion back to the blaze it had been. He shifted to his kneesand movedfurther up between her legs. There, ceasing his manipulations, he slipped his hands beneath her bottom. Lifting her slightly, he nudged her legs farther apart to makeroom forhim between them, then guided himself slowly into her.
A moan erupting from deep in her throat, Valoree tugged mindlessly on her bindings, yearning to holdhim. She wanted to wrap herarms aroundhimand draw him close, a need thatonly increased as he withdrew himself from her with agonizing slowness, watching her expression the whole time.
"More." She groaned inagony, and Daniel smiled aslow, sexy smile.
Shenoddeddesperately, bucking upward in an effort tourge him on, but he caught her thighs, restraining her, then grasped her ankles and bent her knees to maintain complete control. He slowly slid himself back into her.
"Greedy, " hechidedwith a grin when she struggled withhim, trying to force himto her will, but his control wasslipping, and he apparentlydecided togive her what theyboth wanted. Releasing her ankles, he dropped forward, his hands landing on eitherside of herbody, his mouth dropping to nip at one breastashe drove himself completely inside.
Gasping encouragement, Valoree wrapped her legs around his hipsand met histhrusts eagerly. Some few moments later, he tookthem both towhere thatwondroussomethingwaited and showed her just whatit was againand againuntil hejoined herin it.
"What are you doing? "
Working at the lacesof her gown, Valoreeturned back tosmile down atDanielwarmly. Hewas nude and still sleepy-eyed, his hair disheveledas he leaned up on onearm topeer ather. Good Lord, the man wassexy."Iam getting dressed, my lord."
"Nay, " he protested on a yawn, leaningforwardto grab at her skirt. "Come back to bed."
"Bed? " Valoreelaughed, dancingaway to avoid being caught.
Smiling wryly, he glanced down at the now crinkled and sand-dusted cloth She hadlaidoutfor Bull to place him onthe daybefore.
It had beenwellusedand itshowed. The man was insatiable.
He had not let hersleep more thana few minutes sincehisfirst awakening after their arrival. Not that she wascomplaining. She hadenjoyed herself immensely.
Shrugging away the questionof a bed, Daniel peered backat her, thehungrylook shewas beginningto recognize takingthe placeof his sleepy expression.His voice, whenhe spoke, was huskyand seductive."Come back here. I am not donewith you yet."
Valoree felt aflutter in herlower belly athis words, and would have loved to shed the gown she had just donned and slipback intohis arms, butshe shook her head regretfully instead. "Nay.
The men w – " Her gaze slidingtoward the beach, shestopped as she saw the Valor sailing slowlyaround the point and into view.
Right on time, of course. She hadsaiddusk, and here they were.
"Very well. And here Ithought that youwished to get with child."
Valoree glanced around at that to seethat hewas now rooting through the remainsof the supplies she hadhad brought over.
"Whatdo youmean? "
Shrugging, hesmiled at her innocently. "Just what I said.We willneverproducean heirthisway.Especially when we only have – what is it now? – little better than seven months to produce one? "
"Well, surely we can manage thetask in thattime." She raised aneyebrow at his pursedlips. "What? "
"Iwas just thinking that it took myparents three years erethey begat me, and according to my mother they were quite dutifulin their nightly attempts. How many years werethere between you andJeremy? "
Valoree’seyes narrowed."Eight, almostnine – but there were two stillborn babes between us."
"Hmmmmm." Giving up his search, hestraightenedand caught his handsbehindhis back, thenbegan topace nak*d before her, hishead tilted upward, eyes to the sky as he began to figure aloud. "Now, let us see. Threeyears on my side, and… Well, let us just saythree between each child withyour parents, too. Now, thereare three hundred sixty-five days in a year.In three years thatwould be one thousandand ninety-fiveattempts they made tocreate a child before onewas produced. Of course, that isonly if your parents were as dutiful as mine in attempting it every night. Do you think they were? " Pausing beforeher, he ignored hergaping expression and raised his eyebrowsinpoliteinquiry.
"Are you saying you think it will take a thousand and ninety-five couplings for us to produce the heir we need to inherit? " she asked with amazement.
"Itwould seemso." He smiled innocently, thentilted hishead tocalculateagain."And we have just over seven months. But, of course, youshould be a couple months along else no one will know. Therefore, let ussay we have five months to accomplish the deed. Thatmeanswe have… Well, roughlywe haveto make the attempt atleastnine timesa day to inherit."He lowered his gaze to her again. "How many times have we attempted it today? "
"Shut up and kissme, " Valoree muttered, slipping her hands up to catchhis face anddrawit down to herown. She hadn’tfallen for his line. She wasn’tthat naive, buthe wasjustso darncute.
Their passion was quick to reignite.Hismouth shifted, and he sucked athers as his tonguethrustoutaggressively.He backed heragainst the treethat hadshaded them these last twodays, quickly beginning to undo the laces she had just done up.
Finishing with them, he pushed her gown off her shoulders, shifting her chemiseoutof theway atthe same time. Covering her br**sts withhis hands, he slidone nak*d thigh between hers and raised it slightly to rub herthrough her gown. When hebent suddenly, hisface dropping toward her br**sts, shethought he wasgoingtosuckle her, andhernipples puckered even harder, but he straightened again almost at once, his hands brushing up along her legs under her skirt.
Squirming against the tree, Valoree gasped, her eyes opening andlandingright onthesmalldinghy that was being lowered over the side of the Valor. She had forgotten all about them.
"Damn, " she said under her breath, stiffening at once, her hands going down to catch his astheyslid between her legs.
"Whatis it? "Daniel glanced over his shoulder andhesitated briefly, then turned back and kissedher again, slidinga finger into her moist heatto caress the nubthat hid there.
"Nay." Valoree groaned, pulling her lips away and gasping as hebegan todrive her wild with acombination of kissesalong her chin, ear, and neck, and thefriction he was causing between her legs."The men."
"Ignore them. They will go away, " Daniel assured her.
Catchingone of her hands withhis free one, he drew it down to press itagainst his swollen flesh. Valoreereleased a breathless laugh thatendedon a moan ashe thrust one finger inside her.
"Daniel, " she cried pleadingly, caressing his arousal and pushing at hisshoulders at the sametime.
"It will take them a minute to get here. We have time."
Reaching down to catch one ofher legsbeneath the knee, he hooked it around his hip, then clasped her bottom and lifted her slightly. Releasing his manhood, she reached up to clasp his shoulders as he drovehimself into her, her teeth biting theflesh of his shoulder, her fingernails digging into his back as he began a rhythmthat was fast andexciting, poundinginto her like waves on a beach until they both shattered with the pressure.