Devastation flooded through his body, confounding him as to what his next move should be. Christian had expected to feel some sense of achievement at this announcement but instead he felt despondent, that she had just agreed to do Blackheart’s bidding and she hadn’t hesitated for a moment. He held her gaze for a moment, trying to will her to back down and seeing that she was determined to do what he wished. Nausea threatened. Crossing the cabin he threw the door open.
“Where are you going?” Ana sounded equally as confused. Damn her. Yes, he had started the game but she was his wife, goddamn it. She had professed her love for her husband. She could go to hell!
“I am Captain of a ship, Madame. There are things I must do before I can set about playing games with you.” His voice sounded rather harsh, even to his own ears but he couldn’t deny the hurt.
“You can’t leave me here!” Desperation echoed in her plea. He would have, under normal circumstances, made her more comfortable, not that he usually found himself tying female prisoners up in his cabin. However, this was all very far from normal and for his sanity and her safety, he really needed to remove himself.
“I can and I will, Mrs Grey.” Again, too harsh, by far. “Do not fret. I shall return anon.”
The door slammed and a smile spread across Ana’s face. She had unsettled him with her acquiescence. Good. Not that she relished the thought of hurting her husband, but he did deserve a little discomfort for his conniving ways. She had no doubt now, that he would be back and he might just be angry enough to punish her a little more but she felt the passion behind his outburst. To her great surprise, she wasn’t afraid.
Sighing, she glanced around the cabin. The stiletto was still within reach and her hands were free. He hadn’t thought to tie them up before he departed which was a testament to how much she had unsettled his nerves. She could simply untie the ropes or cut them and make herself more comfortable until his return and it was very tempting. However, she was comfortable enough and she had no idea how long he would be gone. If she was going to win any ground in this game they were playing, she would need to stay exactly where she was.
Christian paced the deck like a rampant bull. He had just told her, as Blackheart, that she would have to do whatever he asked of her and she had, without hesitation agreed. He was ready to hit something or someone, only, the person he wanted to hit was himself. Here he was congratulating himself on his deceptions and she had turned the tables on him, offering herself without reservation to save his friend, and her husband. Only she was about to do the unthinkable and yield to the pirate Captain, even when she had no idea who he was. Did she? He thought about the ropes as they had hit the floor by the bed. She had managed to get herself free and yet when he returned to the cabin she pretended to still be bound.
What would she have done in those minutes of freedom that he had unwittingly given her? He thought she would have tried to escape when she heard the anchor. Surely. She had just told him that she could swim. Only he had ruined her dress and taken her cloak. She would have wanted to leave with some clothes and therefore some dignity. She was a lady of some standing after all and the thought of being waylaid by anyone, be they gentry or servant or villager, would have required her to seek out something to cover her. She would have gone to the armoire where…he had had Taylor bring her clothes for the journey and hung them in the closet for when he would reveal himself to her. He thought about the rest of the cabin. She was undoubtedly taken aback at the decor, it was after all, a little risque for a lady’s tastes but perfect for a debauched pirate. But she was as shrewd and keen as her father, she would have seen his personal items around the cabin, including his very distinctive cane. Again, he had thought that he would reveal himself to her almost immediately upon entering the cabin but then…he had started to play and she, God love her, had responded in kind.
Christian stopped his pacing and leaned against the railing. He chuckled. His lovely, intelligent, sensual wife, was playing him and doing so beautifully. The chuckle turned to a hearty roar of delight. She was besting him and he, when he could calm himself, was loving it. Loving her. He hadn’t felt this good about life since…ever. He gave himself another half an hour to turn over her actions in his head before he returned to the cabin. Nodding to the boy who had not moved from his post, he entered and was surprised when he found her still bound and dozing in the chair.
Treading softly around her, he admiring the soft fullness of her slack lips in slumber, the thickness of her lashes as they lay across her cheeks. She looked serene, her hair draped soft around her shoulders. Her bosom rose and fell with each breath, a creamy mound of temptation that he reached to touch and then though better of. Bending to untie her ankles, he stilled at the length of her shapely thigh and calf. God, she was perfection, her skin a milky alabaster of satin and silk. This time he did touch, brushing his hand up her calf, feeling the fullness of her in his large hands. He bent to kiss her inner thigh when she moved suddenly and the ropes fell away. He found himself rising slowly as she pressed the edge of her stiletto at his throat. He had no idea if she knew how to use it but thought better of seizing this moment to find out.
“Well, well, well. It seems the good captain might be at a disadvantage.” She kept her voice low and menacing as she slowly backed him up against the manacled cross. Christian held his hands up in the air, tempted to wrestle the knife out of her hands but more worried that her resistance might cause her to hurt herself in the attempt. Instead, he went willingly, hoping that if she were calm enough he would reveal himself and they could stop the game. However, right at this moment, the game was enticing his body as nothing had ever done before. Right now, he would play.
“And what would you have done with me, my lady Anastasia.”
Her eyebrow quirked and she tipped her head to the side as if considering an answer. “If you would be so kind, Captain, please secure your right hand in the manacle.” His eyes widened but he did exactly as she asked.
“And now? Should I call my man to come and subdue you?”
“Oh, I don’t think so, Captain. I’ll take it from here.” She placed the knife between her teeth and reached up to secure his other hand before turning her attention to his feet. The manacles did not go easily about his boots but eventually she achieved her aim. He could have pushed her across the room with one swift kick of his booted foot but where was the sport in that? If she wanted to play games then he was an only too willing opponent.
“Well, it seems you have me at a disadvantage, Mrs Grey.” She looked at him long and hard as she backed away a few steps.
“Yes, it does doesn’t it.” Propping her leg up on the chair, she smiled more to herself that to him, as she flashed her generous thigh in his direction. Slowly, very slowly, she teased the stiletto up the length of her leg before replacing it in her garter. Christian’s heart nearly stopped at the sight, all the blood draining from his head and running south to his nether regions. God, she was beautiful.
“Ana. What are you trying to do?” He had to swallow in mid-sentence lest he salivate on the floor at her feet. She was teasing him and he was loving every single minute of it. He pulled fruitlessly at the manacles, wishing to hell he could reach across the room to her.
Ana thought about that for a moment. What was she doing? This game of cat and mouse was far too enticing but she had a feeling she might be playing with fire. Oh, well, she would just have to burn. She regarded him carefully, making sure to hold his eyes, as she turned the chair around so that it faced him. He looked good restrained, she had to admit. But then he looked good all the time. Except for the kohl. She could do without that. It was exotic and interesting but it wasn’t her Christian. She suspected that it had been applied for her benefit. Part of his deception. Well, he could stand there and watch while she indulged in a deception of her own. Feeling incredibly brave, now that she was absolutely sure she was facing down her husband, she held her ground and allowed her eyes to trace a line from his boots, up the length of his well-defined thighs, over the bulge she saw forming in his pants. She resisted the temptation to lick her lips as she carried on, up past his taut stomach to the opening of his black shirt, where a dusting of dark hair spread across his chest. When she reached his face she could see that he was breathing heavily with anticipation. Yes, he was going to pay for his deception, in a way that she suspected would hurt him the most. She smiled.
Circling the chair slowly, she allowed her fingertips to leave a languid trail along the wood.
“You know, Captain. My husband will kill you when he discovers that you have taken me prisoner. He really won’t be pleased.” She stood behind the chair now, both hands on the wooden back as she gazed at him, her head tipped to one side.
“I’ve no doubt he would. Although I suspect you would be next on his list.” He smiled.
“How so?” She permitted a small frown but her smile never wavered.
“For your disobedience and willfulness, Mrs Grey. No husband would be happy with that.”
She laughed. “Oh, Captain Blackheart, you don’t know my husband, then.” She walked around the front of the seat and sank down, but not in a ladylike way. No. She straddled the chair, her knees wide apart as she stroked down her thighs with her hands. The movement caused her to lean forward, her breasts mostly exposed to his gaze and at that point he almost lost all control. Her eyes, which had been focused downward on her hands now glanced up at him through her lashes and she grinned. “You see, I suspect that he loves my disobedience and willfulness the most.” Leaning back in the chair she crossed her legs and ran her hands down over her stays, careful to linger a moment on the heavy mounds of her breasts before slinking her hands into the juncture of her thighs. She saw his eyes widen, his hefty stiffness outlined against the cloth of his breaches. He leaned forward again in desperation as she writhed a little in the chair for his benefit.
“Ana.” Christian pulled impotently on the manacles, his breathing ragged, his voice low.
“Yes, Christian.” She smiled up at him, their eyes locking for a moment before he dropped his head. Thanking a god that he had little time or use for, he drew in a deep breath.
“Christ.” She barely heard him and then he lifted his head. “You’re going to be the death of me, woman.”
“Oh, don’t think that thought didn’t cross my mind, husband.” She stood up and walked to him. She stood with her legs astride and pressed into his hardness as she wrapped her arms around his head, pulling him in for a long kiss. Their tongues tangled in desperation as they teased and tasted. She nipped around the edges of his mouth, enjoying the roughness of his stubble as she licked. He turned his head to capture her mouth again, groaning as she met his fire. After a heady dance, where he lunged and she parried, she pulled away and stared at him. He didn’t look too angry at her but they were both breathing hard.
“Darling, the key is in the draw of the chest. Please, let me go.”
Tempted as she was to feel his arms around her, his hands on her body, she was quite enjoying him being restrained. Stepping back a little, she smiled. Reaching in, she grasped his manhood with her small palm. He gasped as she squeezed. “Oh, I don’t think so. I haven’t quite finished with you yet.”
Slowly she sank to her knees and opened the buttons of the placket of his trousers, releasing his hard heavy length into her hands.
“Ana. What the hell?” He growled but then lost all composure when she bent to lick him. Following her instincts she listened for his breathing and groans as a guide to how she should approach this act. Ever since she had noticed him trying so hard to disguise his hardness with that seductive apple peeling routine, she had wanted to have him in her mouth. The thought probably should have repulsed her, but the temptation of him and those pictures was too much, especially when coupled with that musky male aroma that he gave off. Now that she had her mouth and her hand about him, she had no desire to stop. “Christ. Ana stop, I’m going to…”
He couldn’t complete that thought as she sucked hard and felt hot salty liquid pump into her mouth. It surprised her but not enough to stop. She swallowed him down, allowing him to complete his spasms as she squeezed gently the last vestiges of cum from his cock. Again, the thought that she probably should not have enjoyed the taste of him, lingered in her consciousness for only a moment before she brushed it aside.
With a coyness borne of mischief she smiled up at him, still holding his member. “Did I please you, my Lord?”
“Ana, I… please, the key.” She frowned. Perhaps she had done it wrong. She thought from his moans and thrusts that he was enjoying himself as much as she. It seemed like a reasonable sort of act between lovers, but then… maybe, it was not something that a married noble should engage in. She was torn between hurt and dismay and he, uncooperative man that he was, was saying nothing helpful to put her at her ease. Petulantly, she walked to the chest and located the key before returning to release him. She couldn’t sense anger or disappointment in him but she felt it rising in herself. She had overstepped the mark, displayed her wantonness again, and he was about to reject her. She felt the sting of hot tears.
“I’m sorry, my Lord.” She stood, contrite in the middle of the cabin, her hands clasped in front of her body, her head bowed down as the hot tears hit the wooden floor.
Christian had only just recovered his equilibrium and it took him a moment to realise what was happening.
“Oh, no you don’t. Come here, minx.” With one fluid movement he picked her up and threw her over his shoulder, swatting her backside playfully before sitting down on the bed. Ana couldn’t help the squeal as she left the ground. What was he doing? He shifted her until she was laying across his lap and this time she sensed his anger. His hand rubbed around the cheek of her bottom before he slapped down hard making her cry out.
“Repeat after me, Anastasia.” Although she was heartily confused, she felt compelled to do as he asked. His hand came down again and she cried out. “What say you, wench?”
“Yes, Sir. I’m sorry, my Lord.” Ana cried out in anguish. His slap smarted on her hot skin but then he followed it with soothing rubbing that had her body in turmoil. After a moment, he lifted his hand and slapped again.
“You are willful and disobedient. Say it.” He gritted out.
“I’m willful, my lord, and disobedient.” His hand soothed and she squirmed.
“You will do as you’re told in future.” Slap!
“Ow! I will do what I am told, Sir. Please, Sir.” She was about to beg for mercy but thought better of it. Not because she didn’t think he would stop if she asked, but because she actually wanted to feel that sting again. She gave another involuntary squirm as he rubbed her buttock.
“And you will love your husband unreservedly.” Slap!
“I do love my husband unreservedly.” His hand stilled at her words.
“You do?” He asked incredulously.
“Yes, Christian. I love you.” Slap! She cried out while simultaneously pushing her bottom into his hand. He smiled. “What was that for?” Her little fist reached awkwardly behind around behind his back and punched the only place she could reach, his kidney. The woman packed a wallop, but he was enjoying her fire.
“And I will not offer any part of myself to pirates ever again.” He allowed her to lift herself up as he said it and she straddled his legs, wrapping her arms around his neck. Her lips descended on his and he sucked on her tongue with abandon. Her hips pressed into him, confirming that he was indeed hard again and ready for her.
“I will only offer myself to my pirate.” She breathed into his mouth.
“Yes, my husband, my pirate, my lover.” She punctuated each role with a kiss to the corners of his mouth as she removed his mask. At that declaration, Christian tossed her onto the bed, reaching out to carefully remove her weapon. He took the knife between his teeth and then slid the garter down her thigh, enjoying the feel of her silky skin as he did so. Then he removed her boots and stockings, leaving her now with only her short petticoat and stays intact. They were removed next with an agonizingly slow pull of the ribboned laces. Finally, she was naked, her breathing labored and lips pouting with desire.
Picking up her foot he placed a chaste kiss on her instep. Her gasp became a moan as she leaned back on her elbows, her head thrown back. He risked a quick glance before his tongue traced a lazy path up over her ankle to her calf. Her pointed toe landed on his shoulder and he stretched her leg out with his hands, kissing and sucking on the flesh behind her knee.
At that point Ana lost the will to stay upright and lay back, only to find herself gasping in shock at the sight she beheld on the underside of the canopy of the bed. Why on earth had she not noticed this before? The canopy was lined with mirrored tiles, so that she could see herself being seduced by her husband. There she was in all her naked glory, her leg stretched over her husband’s shoulder, and his broad muscled back, almost detectable through his shirt. She pulled her leg away from him.
“No. This will not do.” She looked at him with a frown as he pulled himself upright in surprise.
Thinking that she had had an attack of nerves at the sight of herself, Christian prepared himself to be let down by a strategic retreat on her part. Instead, she scrambled across the bed toward him and began tearing at his clothes.
“These need to all come off.” She all but tossed him down on the bed and began pulling at his boots. He raised his hands and let her go to it with some amusement. She was a woman on a mission and it seemed his nudity was her quest. Once she had removed all his clothing she stood up and walked to the chest where the basin stood and wet the edge of a cloth before returning to the bed. “That, too.”
Waving the cloth at him, she indicated the kohl on his eyes. He took the cloth and began to remove the offending marks. “Can I ask why?”
She placed her hands on her hips and studied him. “Because I want to be with my husband. This evening has been a little fraught and I should prefer to know that the man who is making love to me is, indubitably, Christian Grey. The man I married, and not some rogue pirate.”
Christian chuckled as he completed his assigned task. She took the cloth from him and turned to throw it into the basin. He was surprised at her good shot. Then she turned and approached the bed. This time he lay back and awaited her pleasure. She crawled up his body, planting hot kisses as she went, singing his skin with a fire that he had never known with any other woman. His desire for her hit like an inferno when her breasts brushed over his cock. A shudder ran down his body and she glanced up at him, her lips poised less than an inch from the tip, her breasts weighing down on either side and the look of lust and concern mixed in. There was no way that he wasn’t going to end up inside her this time.
“Come here.” His voice sounded guttural and harsh even to him but the burn for her increased twenty-fold when she did exactly what he asked without hesitation. His hands snaked beneath her armpits as he hoisted her up his chest. Their lips met, open and soft, tongues thrusting and tasting. So caught in the delight of her skin on his, her mouth joined with him, he hardly knew where she began and he ended. This woman, this girl, this wanton siren, his beautiful wife, could have asked him to scuttle his own ship and he would have done so, such was the power she had over him. A power she must never know about lest he lose his soul. She terrified him, enticed him, enthralled him. She had since the moment she had stormed into his quarters aboard the Ruby Queen.
Rolling her over, he pinned her with his body against the mattress before shifting her hands above her head and pinning her wrists with one large hand. He pressed a kiss to her underarm before licking him her arm, delighting in the shiver that ran through her. Her hips thrust up toward him and he suppressed a groan as her slim hip bone crushed against his engorged erection. It both hurt him and urged him on. Shifting his leg across her legs, he secured her even further, surreptitiously rubbing himself against her hip as he suckled on the skin of her neck. A long anguished moan came from her, urging him to repeat his movement.
“Christian. Oh God.” Her voice was husky and soft, the sound of an ache that needed to be rubbed. A gasp, a thrust, a grind, a moan. The sounds of their play blending into a sensual symphony around their desperate bodies.
“Kiss me.” She turned her head at his whispered instruction, mouth softly open and receiving of his lips, his tongue. He bit on her lip and she ground upwards with her hips on another moan. Every sound from her mouth, every movement of her body, was driving him to the brink. “I want you.”
“Take me.” He also didn’t hesitate to do her bidding. Shifting over her, he released her wrists and entwined his fingers with hers. Hers grasped at him, securing her as she fought to bring her breathing under control. He didn’t allow it, smothering her mouth again. Once more, he lifted a fraction, just enough to gaze into her eyes. They were pools of want, drawing him in. He felt lost and discovered in the same moment, knowing that his life was completely in her hands, his heart in her control. Resistance was futile and he allowed himself to sink. Into her eyes, into her heart, into her body.
Ana’s head tipped back as he thrust inside her, his hard length filling her. The heat from her tight sheath drew a hiss and a groan from him. The sensation so intense he had to pause lest he lost all control too soon. Tight muscles squeezed him, reminding him to move. Drawing back slowly on a gasp from her lips, he took his sweet time to push into her again, feeling her stretch as he encroached. The tussle continued, a push and pull, tense and release, as they found their rhythm.
Keeping himself firmly inside her, he rolled onto his back, bringing her up over the top of him. To his delight, Ana didn’t hesitate, didn’t miss a beat, as she straddled his hips and walked herself upright with her hands. Gripping her hips, he urged her on as she rose and fell, riding him to completion. His hands skated up her torso and he palmed her breasts. She tipped herself back, her hand reaching behind to his thigh as she altered the angle, throwing her head back.
“My goddess.” Christian ground out, his eyes locked on her face as every emotion played across it. The edge was near for her and he wanted her to find her bliss as much as he wanted to continue the ride. Placing his fingers where her body joined his, he flicked gentle over the hardened nub, bringing her to a precipice that could have been written in tall blushing letters across her cheeks. Her lip sneaked beneath her teeth and he thrust upward just as her cries rang out, both coming long and hard with a series of intense pulses as he filled and she tightened.
Panting in shallow breaths, Ana could do nothing but rest her palms on his shoulders. Although she had never felt so vulnerable in her life, she was comforted by the stunned look in her husband’s eyes. The blush that threatened to overtake her body held off as she began to understand that he was affected by what had happened as she.
“Do you have any idea how beautiful you are?” Disbelief was her instant response quickly followed by a tightening of her muscles causing him to grimace as his still hard and sensitive erection responded. Ana’s face fell as she realised that she had misread him. Her head dropped, unable to meet his gaze. Wanting to scramble off him and bury herself in the sheets. Instead, all she could do was lift herself up and cover her face with her hands. Christian knew what has happening almost before she did. His hands pulled hers apart, his eyes drawing her gaze. “No, don’t you dare. Ana you’re stunning. An angel. My goddess.”
Shaking her head, tears threatened. It was too much. He was too much. She had been willing to play his game. She had even felt strong and beautiful when she had sought to seduce him. When his seduction of her body began proper, she had welcomed him inside, only too eager to meet his desires. But to have taken control like this, to be the one who had driven them both to their release, with him lying prone beneath her, was so much more than she was capable of handling.
“I’m sorry, my lord. You must be disgusted.”
“Anastasia. Don’t.” His voice was stern, cutting through her remorse like a knife but when she finally looked at him she only saw concern and that made her feel worse.
“Women don’t do this, and husbands don’t let them.” The edge of panic in her whisper ripped at his heart. How could she not see what she did to him? How could she not feel his desire for her? His spitfire, his wanton princess was sinking into the despair of misinformation and he wanted to find all of those idiot doctors and ram their ridiculous theories down their throats. However, right in this moment, his wife need his reassurance. Offering a prayer to whatever gods might be listening, he hoped that he would find the right words.
“You know nothing of what women do or husband’s allow, do you?” His voice was gentle. Not accusing. Confusion crowded her thoughts. He lifted her off his hips and the certainty that he would now eject her from his bed, stung. Her stomach roiled. On strong arms, he pushed himself up the bed and leaned against the bed head. His body rippled with strength and beauty and Ana felt even less deserving than every before. Then he reached out to her and pulled her onto his lap, wrapping her in both a blanket and his arms.
Once he had her settled he began the project of stroking her hair. She wanted to relax but in complete contradiction to his solicitous touch, she began to tremble.
“You don’t have to be so kind.”
He stilled at her words before leaning her away so he could look at her face.
“Sweetheart, I’m not being kind. I’m in awe of you, beautiful girl. Ana, you are so perfect, my heart hurts. I can’t believe that you are mine. I can’t believe that I have been so blessed as to find you. Don’t you ever change what you are, what you feel. And don’t ever stop doing that to me. I promise, you would be every man’s dream.” She glanced up through quiet tears. A hand on her chin, he kissed them away on each of his next words. “However, be warned wife. You. Are. Mine.”
With a gentleness reserved for small children and spooked horses, Christian held her face as he brushed his lips softly over hers, coaxing her forth. The trembling of her body began to ease under his soft caress but he did not ease up until she was returning his kiss with the ripe passion she had demonstrated during their lovemaking. When her small hands snaked out from under the sheets and fisted in his hair, he knew that she had her confidence back.
Finally, he drew away, his forehead resting against hers in breathless wonder. “And you will promise that you will never regret what just happened between us because the sight of you, doing that for me, to me, was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.”
“It was?” she glanced at him through her lashes, shyly. He grinned, the type of self-satisfied grin of a man who is well-pleased with his life.
“Oh, indeed.” Laying her back across the pillows with reverence, he rose above her. “Now…wife…you have loved me, you have sated me and you have tasted me. Please do me the honor and let me return the favor.” Ana’s eyes widened but once his head dove between her legs, she was powerless to say no.
Some hours later they lay in bed staring at the mirrors that lined the inner ceiling of the large four poster bed. Ana felt completely sated and peaceful as she lay back in the crook of his arm, their fingers wound around each others in the air above their heads.
“We’ve been at sea for hours. I take it we are not going straight to Brest.” Her words were a question.
“No, I’ve given the order to sail down toward Cadiz. We will come up the coast under Spanish flags to arouse less suspicion.”
“What, being Spanish is better than English?”
“Under current political conditions, yes, it is.” She trusted his knowledge, then frowned.
“I thought you would want me to be out of the way. In safety. I had expected you to deliver me back to England. You had time.”
“Oh, no. I’m not letting you out of my sight. You’re not going to decide that you no longer want to be my wife.”
“What do you mean?”
“I’m talking of your plans to be rid of this marriage.”
“But how could you…?” She wondered if he had intercepted her letters to Kate.
“I didn’t but you’ve just confirmed what I suspected. You know that annulments are extremely difficult to obtain. You, my darling, would have to submit to an internal inspection, which you would clearly now fail.” The grin spread across his face. “And I would have to prove my impotence by sleeping with three prostitutes without touching them.”
Her pout was instant and enticing. “And you wouldn’t have been able to resist?”
He leaned in and sucked on her lip. “I would have resisted because they are not you but I’m only human. Besides, every time I think of you, I want to throw you on the floor and make love to you. You bewitch me, my love. You would be a much harder test than I am capable of passing.”
Ana wriggled around so that his arms wrapped around her from behind, a smug smile on her face. “And you promise you’re not disgusted by me?”
“God no. That has been the delight of all of this. You are a joy. But I suspect that I am going to have to work a little harder to convince you. Just rest assured, that here in this moment, I am completely enamored of your body and your desire. I will currently follow you into the seventh circle of hell just to see your mouth wrapped around my…” She reached up and clamped a hand over his mouth to stop the words, with a giggle.
“Please don’t. I’m not ready for talk like that, quite yet.” She snuggled back down but he felt her shiver. Then her timid whisper came. “I’m scared about what all this means.”
“Right now, it means that I love you. That is all you need to worry about. I will protect you and love you and cherish all of you. We can worry about the rest of it as it comes. If it comes.”
“Oh, I have no doubt that it will come.” He heard the anguish in that small statement and wanted to kiss away her fears but knew that this was something they needed more time to work through. He would not diminish her fears nor dismiss them. Time and trust was required and now that he had her firmly in his arms, he could find them in abundance.
“I want to help you to rescue Ethan?” She was keen to know his plans and so was he. Since receiving her information, a few ideas had been mulling about in between their bouts of hot and heavy sex. None of them involved his beautiful young wife being part of that process. If he had his way, she would remain on the ship, heavily guarded while he and Taylor and some of his most able men dealt with Ethan’s transport guard. He suspected that he might have to tie her up to achieve that aim but he was willing to do that if he had to. No, Ana would not be part of that process and now that she was here with him, he was at once congratulating himself at securing her emotions and berating himself for bringing her anywhere near the French coast.
“I promise you, that no matter what happens. I will keep you safe, Ana.” She glanced up in the mirror as he said the words but she didn’t miss the frown.
The carriage raced into the grounds of Trevelyan Grange with a thundering of hooves. As soon as she had received the note she had moved heaven and earth to get to her son as quickly as possible, knowing that Christian and Ana might be gone for a while. Her intention was not to remove him from this place. She was not heartless and her desire to be here was never about wrenching him from the only home he had known. Pushing down her disappointment she descended from the carriage and moved quickly to the house. The hopes that she had for Nicholas’ future rested on Ana establishing a relationship with him, something that could not happen if she did not remain at the Grange. For Ana to have left meant that she had not yet taken the boy to her heart. No, she was not here to disrupt but to facilitate a bond, even though her heart ached with the certain knowledge that she could not publicly acknowledge him as her own.