Dark Obsession

Free Dark Obsession by Allison Chase

Book: Dark Obsession by Allison Chase Read Free Book Online
Authors: Allison Chase
than enjoyed; she delighted in the sensation of his hands upon her, savored the taste and heat of him in her mouth and all through her.
    He lifted his mouth from hers, so tenderly she again felt the inexplicable sting of tears. He propped a hand beside her head. The other cradled her cheek, effectively trapping her within his gaze, within the breadth of his arms.
    ‘‘What I had been about to say before you so rudely interrupted me is that I must be certain of rendering the right decision. I may have been hasty that night. I shall think more about your request, and I shall take my time thinking about it, so do not ask again. You’ll know when I’ve reached my decision.’’
    He brushed his lips against hers, and the graze of his tongue raised shivers that left her weak and feverish. He pulled back again and his eyes, blazing in the dimness, held her immobile but for her trembling fingertips. ‘‘Never put words into my mouth, my dear. Your tongue, your lips, your sighs of pleasure, yes. But never words. I will not stand for it.’’
    For the first time she felt afraid of him, truly afraid, and not because of anything anyone might have said about him. He didn’t need rumors to make him fearsome. He need only kiss her and look at her like that.
    Grayson poured brandy into a snifter, watching the coppery flow deepen the dimensions of the crystal. As the liquid heat poured through his body, his gaze drifted over the familiar dark furnishings of the study that had served the Clarington earls for generations.
    By rights this should be his brother’s haven. Tonight, Grayson’s wedding night, Tom should have been here pouring brandy for both of them. Should have been grinning, slapping Grayson’s back and toasting his nuptials in less-than-polite terms.
    The brandy burned his nose and eyes and traced a searing path to his gullet. He took another long pull, knowing it would do little to numb his sense of loss. Nor would it transform the hours ahead into the sort of wedding night he’d always believed he would celebrate. A virginal young wife with a heart filled with love. A future filled with hope.
    Not for him, those things.
    He sauntered behind the desk and threw himself into the chair. Slipping into a slouch, he raised his glass again. The liquid set his lips aflame. Would Honora’s kisses do likewise? All too well did he know their power to scorch. To make a man half-crazed with desire. Yes, he would have that if nothing else.
    Leaning, he set his brandy on the desk. An object near it shimmered in the glow of the candle he’d brought. He frowned. Besides a few token items— glass quill holder and inkpot, a pewter letter rack, an inlaid stationery box—the desk had been cleared of personal articles. Except for a monthly dusting, no one ever entered this room but him, and then only rarely.
    Puzzled, he reached forward.
    His hand closed over a pocket watch. As he scooped it into his palm the chain scraped the desktop, the bleak sound producing a foreboding that prickled up his spine.
    Tom’s gold watch—a Clarington heirloom—had gone missing since the day of his death. . . .
    Lurching forward, Grayson dragged the candle closer and shoved the timepiece into its erratic flicker. But even before his gaze traced the designs etched in the silver cover, the size and weight of the piece produced a less-than-reassuring certainty.
    This was not Tom’s watch, but his own. The one he’d opted not to wear this morning, which he had left atop his dressing room bureau.
    His breath rasped in a throat gone dry. How did his watch get here? Surely his valet would not have moved it.
    The night air penetrated the window behind him, its cool breath raising the hairs on his arms. The crisp scent of lemons crept beneath his nose. Inhaling it, tasting it, he shoved backward until the chair hit the window frame. His heart thumped as an overwhelming sense of recognition swept over him.
    He pushed to his feet, eyes

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