After being abandoned by a lover, Deborah McMillan no longer believes in happily ever afters. When she accepts a temporary position as governess in Surrey to raise money for her endangered school, she plans to do the job and return to London, funds in hand. But the three orphaned children under her care-not to mention their brooding guardian-have reawakened the desire for a family of her own.
The last thing artist Sir Martin Hadley needs is to become baronet, let alone guardian for his late friend's orphaned children-who have already run off three governesses. He just wants to send them to school and return to Italy. Martin doesn't know a thing about family love and doesn't care to learn. So why does new governess Deborah McMillan have him thinking otherwise?
His smile became a new deadly sin. “Waiting for delights and then savoring them only makes experiencing them much more powerful.”
He spun her around, and Deborah’s skin tingled as he worked the buttons free, his fingers’ heat radiating through her undergarments to her skin as her dress opened.
“I’ve often thought,” he murmured, nuzzling her ear, “that undressing for bed is one of the nicest things there is.”
“Really?” Deborah gasped.
“Mmm-hmm.” His mouth moved to sweep in a gentle stroke across the back of her neck. He reached the last button and peeled the dress from her body. It fell at her feet in a billowing heap, and she stepped out of it, kicking it aside. The unlacing of her corset was a study in torture. Finally, finally, when the corset had joined the dress, he turned her around again. The same wicked smile covered his face, and his gaze roamed over her remaining garments.
“What next?” he mused, while stroking his chin. “Shoes, I think. Mine first though.”
He yanked them off along with his socks before removing hers and casting them aside “Stockings,” he breathed. “Oh, yes. Stockings.”
He knelt and buried his face at her waist, while sliding one hand between her legs, resting at the opening of her drawers.
Deborah whimpered as his fingers found and played at the sensitive spot, while with exquisite care, he rolled the stockings down her legs and to her feet. Those too he discarded while his other hand continued its maddening attention until she was ready to scream.
“Stand up,” she panted, pulling him to his feet.
“Yes ma’am.” His fingers found her hairpins and scattered them on the carpet. Her hair tumbled past her shoulders. “Like silk,” he murmured, lifting a long strand to his lips. “Soft and strong and sweet.”
He kissed her again, harder this time, plundering the depths of her mouth as if earlier kisses had left him unsatisfied. Deborah’s tongue met his while their hands made short work of their remaining clothes until they stood, skin to skin, and heart to heart.
“Sweet Heaven,” he whispered, his gaze taking in every inch of her. “Da Vinci had his Mona Lisa, Bottecelli had his Venus, and I have you.”