Thief of Shadows (Maiden Lane #4)

But he place a gentle palm under her chin and turned her face back to him. “I'm privileged to see you like this,” he said, his eyes fierce. “Wear you social mask at your balls and parties and when you visit your friends out there, but when we are alone, just the two of us in here, promise me this: that you'll show me only your real face, no matter how ugly you might think it. That's our true intimacy, not sex, but the ability to be ourselves when we are together. (Winter Makepeace)

But you must be awash in a sea of compliments, my lady. Every gentleman you meet must voice his admiration, his wish to make love to you. And those are only the ones who may voice such thoughts. All about you are men who cannot speak their admiration, who must remain mute from lack of social standing or fear of offending you. Only their thoughts light the air about you, following you like a trail of perfume, heady but invisible. (Winter Makepeace)

Dear God, what she saw in that look! How he had hidden these many years behind the guise of a simple schoolmaster, she didn't know. Anger, passion, lust, and surging hunger swirled in his stormy eyes. Emotions so stark, so strong, she didn't understand how he kept them under control. He looked as if he were about to attack her, ravish her, and conquer London and the world itself. He could've been a warrior, a statesman, a king.

Don’t make promises you can’t keep

He shoved his hips against her, reminding her of what they had just done, and said, “I had never bedded a woman before you. I made that plain. Did you think I let you seduce me lightly? No, I did not. You made a deal with me the moment you gave me entry into your body.”
“I made no such deal!” Her eyes were angry—and frightened—but he would not let her make him back down.
“Precious Isabel,” he whispered. “You made a deal with your heart, your soul, and your body, and you sealed it with the wash of your climax on my c*ck.”
She blinked, looking dazed. He’d never used such words before, especially not with her, but their bluntness was necessary.

He was like a young tiger, all muscle and passion, and she wanted to ride him--not to tame the beast, but to feel for a small moment all of his vitality.

I'll never look at you in any way but complete admiration.” He stroked her hair soothingly. “You will never be a millstone about my neck. Rather you're the sunshine that brightens my day.” He swallowed. “Don't you see? You brought me into the daylight. You've embraced parts of me that I was never able to let see light. Don't make me retreat again into the night. (Winter Makepeace)

I love you,” he whispered as he thrust again. And again. Each movement controlled. Each small movement devastating in its effect. “I love you.”
She lost all concept of time. She lost her place and surroundings. She couldn’t remember who he was—who she was. She lost her mind.

It hardly mattered. She was tired of waiting for him to acknowledge who he was. Tired of donning a false mask of gaiety when she was so much more—felt so much more—beneath. No one had ever noticed her mask. No one but him. If he couldn’t or wouldn’t make the first move, then damn it, she would.

It was the sad state of the world that people judged others not by the best that they could be but by the worst thought in their own hearts

I would do violence for one glimpse of your naked breasts. Bleed for one taste of your nipple on my tongue. (Winter Makepeace)

She'd never find another man like him as long as she lived. He was ruining her for any other, and the pleasure of it was beyond bearing.

She gasped again and opened blue eyes lit with erotic mischief. “Are you trying to steal the reins from me?”
Even with his penis buried deep within her, even moments from climax, he arched an eyebrow. “You have them only by my permission.

She smiled as she poured tea into his cup. “I hope you find your rooms comfortable?”
“Quite.” He took a too-hasty sip of tea and scalded his tongue.
“The view is to your liking?”
He had a view of a brick wall. “Indeed.”
She fluttered her eyelashes at him over the rim of her teacup. “And the bed. Is it soft and… yielding?”
He nearly choked on the bite of cake he’d just taken.
“Or do you prefer a firmer bed?” she asked sweetly. “One that refuses to yield too soon?”
“I think”—he narrowed his eyes at her—“whatever mattress I have on the bed you gave me is perfect. But tell me, my lady, what sort of mattress do you prefer? All soft goose down or one that’s a bit… harder?”
It was very fast, but he saw it: Her gaze flashed down to the juncture of his thighs and then up again. If there hadn’t been anything to see there before, there certainly was now.
“Oh, I like a nice stiff mattress,” she purred. “Well warmed and ready for a long ride.

She threw one leg over his and straddled his lap, then reached under herself and found him again.
He tore his mouth from hers. “Wait.”
“No.” She looked him frankly in the eyes. “I don’t care if you spill at once. I need you inside me now.”
His beautiful eyes widened and then narrowed. “You’ll not always hold the reins, my lady.”
She smiled sweetly. “Naturally not, but I do now.

Shhh.” He put a finger to her lips. “Hear me out. I cannot deny that I would've liked to have made babies with you. A little girl with your hair and eyes would've been the delight of my life. But it is you that I want primarily, not mythical children. I can survive the loss of something I've never had. I cannot survive losing you. (Winter Makepeace)

Sir?"
"Yes"
"Where do you go at night?"
Winter paused and glanced over his shoulder. Joseph was watching him with perceptive eyes for one so young.
In that instant, Winter grew tired of lies. "I right wrongs."
He expect more questions--Joseph was usually full of them and his answer was too obscure--but the boy merely nodded. "Will you teach me how sometime?"
Winter's eyes widened. Teach him to...? His mind instantly balked at the thought of putting Joseph in danger. But were he ever to ask for an apprentice to his Ghost, he knew instinctively that he could find no one with more courage than the lad.

Somehow she knew he would take a love affair very seriously indeed. Once that pinpoint focus was engaged, he would throw himself body and soul into the liaison. In the the woman he decided to take as a lover.
A shiver ran through her at the thought. To be the object of such ferocious regard was an alluring prospect, but it also gave her pause.

Still, it was a sad state of the world that people judged others not by the best that they could be but by the worst thought in their own hearts.

There was no sound, but she felt a movement, a shifting of the air in her room, the warmth of another presence.
Isabel opened her eyes. He was there, at the foot of her bed, a single candle in his hand, dressed only in shirtsleeves, waistcoat, and breeches.
“Forgive me,” he whispered as he set the candle down. “I could not stay away.

The sight of her was like a swift, cool wind through his frame, quickening his body, alerting all his senses, making him completely aware he was a male and she a female.

This was madness; this was delirium.

When you enter a room, all eyes turn to you. You blaze like a torch, lighting the darkest corners, brightening even those who thought they were already well lit. You bring joy and mirth and leave behind a glow that gives hope to those you left."
"And you, Mr. Makepeace? Are you one of those who thought themselves well lit?"
"I am as dark as a pit." Now he was glad her back was turned. "Even your torch will have difficulty lighting my depths.