The streets emptied quickly as footfall of twenty soldiers echoed off the cobblestones. The rain lent a slack cadence to the wet leather as they made their way steadily toward the town square. Locals knew better than to be visible but he wasn’t a local. Still, sliding into the narrow gap between buildings, he would do better if he made his way to the cathedral rather than stay where they could find him.
He cursed. The girl had disappeared into the shadows like a ghost and now he had to play cat and mouse with the cavalry while she vanished into thin air, yet again. How very like her to bring such luck down upon her sorry arse just when he was getting closer. He had to hand it to her though, as far as chameleons went, she was one of the best, maybe even better then him.
The cloisters were ringing with the sound of angelic singing. There was a time when that might have brought him some peace but under current circumstances the chanting only served to grate on his nerves. Moving with stealth, he climbed the monastery wall and began to circumnavigate the square via the rooftops.
The troop make its way across the square to the main avenue and he observed as they merged into the shadows beyond. He assumed that they were on their way to the general’s palace. They wouldn’t return until morning. A movement to his right, caught his attention. She was there, peering out from behind the statuary, probably ensuring they were gone before she made her move. Just as he raised his head, she looked up and froze.
Seizing the moment, he leapt from the low roof and ran as fast as he could toward her. She had twenty feet to work with and made the most of it as she picked up her skirts and charged for the gap to the south of the square. She was fast, but he was faster and he caught her just as she was about to climb a garden wall.
“Not so fast, Mademoiselle. I believe you have something of mine.” Holding a small dagger to her throat was effective enough to halt her struggles.
“I have nothing of…” Before she could finish the lie, he hoisted the heavy skirt and slid one hand between her thighs. Her breath hitched and he would have been tempted to linger a little while as the scent of her arousal hit him but then his fingers brushed over the leather strap and his mind came back to the task at hand. Following the line of leather he pulled the string until the satchel fell from her thigh into his hand.
“Now, you don’t, Mademoiselle.” Weighing the satchel, he figured he had what he was after and there was no need to waste a moment checking the contents. Slipping the satchel into the opening of his jacket, he tucked it safely against his side so that it was secured by his belt. All the while he held her tight against his thigh, the knife against her pretty throat, so that she would not attempt an escape.
“I would have given them to you, for a price.” Her hands were tugging at his arm, even though the blade had to be doing damage. She was a feisty one.
“Really. Come now, little one. We both know that they will be useless if they don’t reach the right people tonight. Waiting until tomorrow to give me what I need tonight makes your offer less palatable. Besides, why would I take your soiled goods?”
Her heel met his chin with surprising force and he almost let her go. “You bastard. Neither you nor your damn letters are worth the price of my body.” She followed that by spitting at his feet.
“You missed. And since you’ve never had my body, how would you know. I assure you, I’m very good.”
“I would not let you fuck me, Monsieur. I fear whatever diseases you might carry.”
The temptation was far too much. His free hand went to her breast and he squeezed as his mouth descended on the skin of her neck. She should be filthy with the street but there was an essence that washed away the dirt. Turning her head to look at him gave him enough purchase to crash his lips against hers and their tongues swept around each other in a pure battle of will. He dropped the knife and turned her in his arms, crushing her against his chest as her arms went around him.
“Benjamine. Why do we play these games?” He whispered into her mouth with a moan and prayer. Christ, this woman was perfect.
“Because you love the thrill of the chase.” She ground her hips against him, teasing his hard cock between the layers of thick fabric. Her foot slipped around his leg, hooking him firmly against her body. It was all too much. The scent of her, the feel of her. Damn, if he didn’t take her now, he would explode with lust.
“Let me…” He didn’t get the words out before she pulled him off balance and he landed squarely on his arse on the hard, wet stone. She bent to pick up the knife in one hand and then revealed the satchel in the other as she laughingly backed away. “Fuck!”
“That is no way to talk to a lady.” The heavy French accent filled the air.
“You’re no lady, Benjamine.”
“No, and that is why you love me.” Giggling, she picked up her skirts and started to run toward the avenue. “I’ll say hello to Haverstock for you.”
For a moment, he thought about giving chase again but there was no sport in that. She would make her way to London and away from this hell hole soon enough. At least for a little while, he could imagine she was safe. Instead, he stood up and brushed himself off before slipping back the way he had come.