Jade followed for a few feet then stopped, warning herself against joining Patrick, telling him she was the woman he’d searched for when he’d moved down the beach. Her confession might flood him with too many painful memories, which would make her seduction that much more difficult.
When he saw her again, she needed him to recall a warm summer day in 1510, moments after he’d finished his swim. He’d stood in a shallow part of the stream then, the water reaching just above his knees. Beads of moisture dripped from his eyebrows, stubble, and long dark lashes. Sun drizzled through thick stands of cork and olive trees, dappling his broad shoulders with flecks of golden light. With his head lowered, he’d scooped water then flung it beneath his arms.
Secretly, she’d watched him, as she had for weeks, ever since he’d arrived at her papá’s castle to tutor her younger brothers.
His tall, strong body had intrigued her from the start, along with his educated voice, sculpted features, and bearing with his charges.
Unlike her papá’s other servants, he didn’t defer to her brothers, indulging their every whim. With a firm but fair hand, he’d schooled them in advanced mathematics, Latin, Greek, science, horsemanship, and other physical pursuits. At those times, he’d worn only a linen shirt and hose as he ran and played with them. Grinning broadly, he’d ruffled her brothers’ dark hair when they performed to his satisfaction.
She began to imagine his smile directed at her, his touch belonging to no one else.
At night, she dreamt of him. During the day, she couldn’t think of anything else, consumed with everything he did. Where he slept, what he ate, how he enjoyed his few moments of freedom from her brothers and her papá’s demands.
Clearly, he enjoyed bathing in the stream, rather than the iron tub in the castle. As though he preferred to be outdoors because it allowed him to be alone. Or so he thought.
Water poured through his fingers as he finally sensed her. His hand remained suspended in air as he forgot to bring it to his chest.
Slowly, as though uncertain at what he might see, he’d lifted his face and stared at the hem of her yellow gown. The insistent breeze had pulled the linen away from her legs and around the tree trunk where she’d been hiding.
A warning registered in her mind, telling her to yank the garment back, then turn and run, not stopping until she reached the chapel. There, god would expect her to feel badly for what she’d witnessed.
Carnal desire proved more powerful and compelling than eternal damnation, trapping her where she stood. With her palms on the stout ancient tree, she leaned to the left, knowing he’d see her face, not caring if he did. All she could do was drink in his powerful male form—his flat nipples, as richly brown as the earth, the dark tufts of hair beneath his arms, the silky strands swirling around his navel then trickling to his groin.
Flushed with embarrassment, fevered with need, she stared at his male organ, captivated as it lengthened and hardened before her eyes, the skin growing dusky, the head rounded and so plump his skin seemed in danger of splitting.
When she finally glanced up, she forgot to breathe. In his dark eyes, she saw desire to match her own. The promise of what life should be, not what her papá had planned for her with the count. A man she could barely stand.
Trembling with excitement, she stepped from behind the trunk and faced him.
Beneath his lust, she saw how bewildered he was. He had no idea who she might be or where she belonged. Although he’d lived at her papá’s castle for weeks, there was no reason for her father to have introduced them. He was a mere tutor, she even less. A female relegated to the shadows, ordered to be quiet and meek until her nuptials.
Undeniable need drew her closer to him, a sense of destiny singing in her blood. Dizzy at the thought of finally brushing her lips over his, touching his chest, erect shaft, and weighty sac, she told him her Christian name and then her family’s.
Confusion flooded his face that she was the daughter of his patrón—his benefactor.
Beneath his surprise was a man’s uncivilized passion. She stopped at the edge of the stream, not caring how the mud dirtied her pattens or the hem of her gown. She told him about the abandoned hut on her papá’s estate where they could go to be free of prying eyes.
He stared at her, unease finally draining him of lust. “Go,” he ordered her in Castilian.
Headstrong, she murmured, “No.” She regarded the dark curls on his groin, the beads of water that glimmered in their musky prison. She wanted to bury her face in that part of him, experience his male aroma and taste his skin.
Heat snaked through her body, leaving her deliciously weak. Beneath her chemise, she knew her nipples were hard. A pulse beat between her legs, driving a hint of moisture from her hidden folds, oiling them for a male’s desire.
Although a virgin and not permitted to know such things, she’d watched animals rutting, fascinated by the act. The sheer power of a male member piercing a female’s depths, stretching, filling, taming her.
She wanted the same for herself. As long as it was with him.
He frowned at her boldness. “Go. Now,” he ordered her, using the firm voice he had with her brothers when they disobeyed. “Never come here again.”
Jade smiled at the memory, even as grief pressed in on her. She had returned, of course. So had he, irresistibly drawn to each other as they were now.
Reaching the surf, Patrick walked the last few feet to dry sand. Water sparkled on his hair, shoulders, pecs, and abs, his muscles taut, his birthmark obvious. Stopping, he searched the crowd once more.
It’s time, she thought. More than a hundred years in the making.
His attention inched toward her, driven by their shared histories and his enduring love.
Jade’s belly fluttered with expectation at what might happen. Her heart beat painfully as he studied one woman after the other, frustration tightening his features.
Sweat prickled Patrick’s forehead and cheeks. He went to the left and saw nothing he wanted. Turning to the right, he stared, his lips parting on a dazed sigh.
Jade stood within the crowd, somehow separated from the others, lit by flashes of white from the bursting fireworks. Those pulsing lights accentuated the moment’s dreamlike quality.
Rhinestones twinkled on the tall tiara she wore. Her upper body glittered, covered by sparkling silver dust and little else. Strands of rhinestones draped her bare breasts. Her dark nipples peeked through, the tips erect, the areolas tight, prepared for his mouth. Instead of a thong, she’d worn a silver medallion to cover her cunt.
Lust punched through Patrick with savage force, followed by longing he’d never experienced. He knew without question, he’d been born for this moment, the same as her.
And that something horrible would happen. It had already occurred many times in the past.
No. He pushed his ridiculous thoughts aside, refusing to ruin the moment. She was here. No matter what, he’d protect her. That’s all that mattered.
The crowd continued to jostle for position, a slice of space, unaware of Jade’s attention fixed on him. As though he were the only man alive, her expression promising him a lifetime of hope. Happiness. Peace.
Her desire for him pulled Patrick forward. He tore through the crowd that seemed insistent on separating them, not caring who he pushed or what they thought. One of the revelers cursed him in German. Ignoring the man, Patrick forced his way past and reached Jade.
Her face lit up with her smile.
A groan of desire caught in Patrick’s throat. He pushed his camera to the side, not caring if anyone stole it, and rested his hands on either side of her beautiful face. Without invitation or hesitation, he lowered his mouth to hers.
The world stopped, taking everyone with it, leaving only him and Jade.
Her lips parted on a whimpering sigh. Her sweetly scented breath skimmed his mouth.
Patrick groaned like a horny teen at her frank willingness to be with him and her mouth’s inviting warmth. Skimming her lower lip with his tongue, he teased her playfully before seeking entrance, the first of many tonight.
She moaned indelicately.
The sound thrilled Patrick as nothing else had. His knees sagged.
As they bumped hers, Jade slipped her hands up his chest and over his shoulders, providing loving support.
Time shifted to low gear. Patrick deepened their kiss. Her mouth was ungodly warm, tasting of peppermint toothpaste and a flavor that belonged to her alone. It fed his soul. Blood pooled in his thickened cock and tightened balls. His body demanded pleasure, everything she could give.
With his hand on the back of her head, he angled his mouth for better penetration. She bunched his tee in her fists and pulled it up his back. They pushed into each other, the ridge of his erection rubbing the medallion covering her cunt, her breasts crushed against his chest, her hard nipples poking the solid planes of his body, proving his effect on her.
Filled with his tongue, she groaned. A lewd, uncivilized sound.
He answered with a throaty grunt. Taking command of their kiss, Jade pushed his tongue from her mouth and filled him with hers.
Patrick’s head swam. He sucked her as deep as he could then tore his mouth free and gulped air. Or rather, he tried. He couldn’t quite catch his breath.
Desire smoldered in her hooded gaze. Her lower lip was still wet with him. “More,” she ordered on a breathless sigh.
Patrick wrapped his arms around her, his hands dangling near her hips. He didn’t dare move them lower, afraid he wouldn’t be able to control himself even with the crowd surrounding them.
Jade seemed unaware of the others. She worked her hands beneath his tee and pressed her palms against the small of his back.
A jolt of pleasure rocketed to his ass, then circled to his groin. Swallowing hard, Patrick tightened his embrace and rested his chin on her shoulder, wanting, no, needing to hold her.
Jade cupped his ass and squeezed.
Patrick groaned. “Don’t tempt me,” he warned in Portuguese.
Pushing to her toes, she whispered in his ear, speaking the same language. “Why not? I want more. Give me more.”
Laughter bubbled in his throat. Patrick fought it, sensing he might let out a hysterical moan. Pulling himself together, he lifted her hands from his ass and moved back, bumping into someone from behind.
“Hey, man,” a male voice growled in an American accent. “Watch it.”
“Why don’t you two get a room,” a female snapped, her accent also American.
At the female’s suggestion, Jade’s lips lifted in a sultry smile.
Something beyond happiness and akin to awe flooded Patrick. He knew it was impossible to feel as strongly as he did for a woman he’d just met, but couldn’t deny the emotions overtaking him. If he’d known Jade for fifty years, Patrick doubted she would have felt any more familiar to him than she did now. It was as if they’d never been strangers. As though fate, or whatever one wanted to call it, had chosen them for each other.
Bringing her hands to his mouth, he kissed each fingertip.
Jade’s chin lifted to the sky, thick with smoke from the fireworks. She breathed deeply despite the acrid odor.
His kisses reached her right thumb. He nibbled the side of it.
She spoke at a volume only he could hear. “That’s not enough.”
He agreed. It wasn’t. Not even if they had a lifetime, which they never would.
He froze, jolted by the thought. Where had it come from? Why in the fuck did he keep thinking about crap like that?
“More,” Jade coaxed.
Her tone—or rather her plea—pulled Patrick from the darkness that insisted on pressing close. Refusing to think about anything other than tonight with her, he captured her hand and murmured, “Not here.”
Her gaze blurred with lust.
“We’re going to my hotel,” he said, then turned to lead her through the crowd.