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Match Made by Moonlight
 Maria, forgive me, he whispered and she tilted her head and raised an eyebrow
in query, as though she had not heard him right. He smiled and bent to kiss her again,
ignoring the voice of censure in the back of his mind, warning him that she was still an
innocent and he should not be the one to teach her these things. But she was in his
dream and so most likely a figment of his imagination. He could play out his fantasies if
he so wished, for he would never find a woman her equal in the real world. With this
justification he began again to kiss along her jaw and down her neck, where he could
feel the rapid pulse beneath her skin. Her body pressed against him, her breasts pressed
again his chest, her thighs parting instinctively to cradle him against her, his throbbing
member strained against his trousers. His lips continued their caresses across her
shoulder and he began to push the shoulder of her dress aside, to better access her
delectable collarbone. His left hand swept along her ribs and brushed against her erect
nipple. She gave a soft sigh and with that sweet sound he pulled away, breathing
She whispered, aching at the loss of his lips on her skin.  Please, Kelsey, please!
She knew his name but not his Christian name. Not the name a wife used for a
husband. She was not his wife, no matter how pleasant the dream. He could not
continue. He stepped back and she whimpered in loss. He caressed her cheek and fled
ignobly back up the stairs, the stairs disappearing into blankness under his feet.
Elaine Lowe
Chapter Seven
January 1814
Anna awoke with a start, twisted in her nightgown and the bedcovers, filled with
loss and sadness and not a little indignation. Why had he fled? She had certainly not
wanted him to stop. A blush crept up her face at the wantonness of the thought. But she
had thought him to be her husband, at least, until he had first kissed her. Her memories
had flooded back with that kiss, the wonderful memories she had shared with him, as
well as the terrible nightmare of blood and death that she had just escaped.
She lay there in the comforting morning light, her eyes wide open and let the dream
wash over her again. Illness, she had experience with fevers and broken bones, even
the bloody slashes of farm implements. None of this had prepared her for the sheer
mass of suffering, the sounds of moaning and the gasping for breath, the stench of
unwashed, bloody bodies and the lingering tang of what must be gunpowder. She
hoped that it was all the invention of her dark imagining, naught but a terrible
nightmare. But it did not have the hallmarks of such, the elements of the fantastic that
normally would pervade her blacker dreams when she was troubled. It felt real,
grounded somehow in the true experience of war. It was as though she had been caught
up in someone else s tortured memory, just as she had once attended a lecture she could
not have heard, something she could not have made up.
Perhaps it truly was her suitor s dream and she was merely caught up in it. Even as
the French had battered at the doors and she knew that she was about to die as she
huddled behind a pillar of the chantry chapel, she rallied her courage with the
memories she had of him, of his caress at the doorway of the church, his handsome
form watching her as she progressed through a proper set at a ballroom in London. The
wilder dance and the kiss they had shared amid the moonlit faerie revel. The tender
way he had held her as she wept for her mother. She had risen from her hiding place,
determined to aid the man she had discovered to be in charge of this field hospital by
helping to comfort the sick she could hear calling out in helpless fear and had turned to
open a door into the rectory to retrieve some clean bandages and salve. The world had
spun around. Her eyes clamped shut in response and her gut clenched at the thought
she had been hit by a stray bullet or falling debris.
She had opened her eyes as she heard the sound of a child s laughter. She was
suddenly calm, her rapid pulse and shallow breathing replaced with a feeling of
contentment and amusement, as her twin daughters stared up at her with pleading
eyes, begging for a taste of her grandmother s special lavender honeycomb. Looking
back on it now, she thought her mind must have recoiled so much from drama and
tension of the battle that she had found refuge in one of her fondest dreams, a happy
life here in Gladstone Abbey, sharing her knowledge and the fruit thereof with her
Match Made by Moonlight
children. She dreamed often of children, with subtly different features, at different ages
and almost always the twin girls and the one boy. This time, their features had been
very clear, with some of her own nature to them and some of the dark good looks from
their father. Somehow, she had never truly given a face and form to the father of those
children, her as-yet-unknown husband. At least she had given him a name this time.
Kelsey. It sounded vaguely familiar. He was a colonel no less, at least according to that
nice Mr. Fergusson she had helped in that soldier s hospital. Always before her mate
had been a blurry figure tinged with a hint of longing and in this dream the father of
her children had become the mysterious man who so often had figured in her most [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]


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