“I should not have lost my head like that,” Drace whispered, referring to more than just the kiss. “I don’t rough-handle women.”
“That was acting out in self-defense and surprise, and I did say for you to draw blood on me. Please do not apologize for that.” She was still pressed tightly against him. “I can feel your interest.” She wiggled to prove it to him. He closed his eyes with a groan as she asked, “Do you wish to be laid with me?”
He chuckled hoarsely at her use of the new term. While his erection screamed yes, yes, he fought its insistence and listened to his brain instead, which whispered not yet. “I would, truly like to make love to you, but then I’m sure to wake up from this dream.”
Ki made a noise of surprise in her throat.
“The time I’ve been here has been so surreal and I’ve just now really
accepted things as they are. But to be here with you like this and to have an offer like you just gave me is surely a dream,” he said softly, the corners of his mouth curling with amusement.
“It is not a dream, so please,” she tugged his hair, “Continue.”
Drace opened his eyes. “As tempting as the offer is, I think I need to get control of myself. I have only known you a few weeks and I’m not in the habit of ravishing beautiful ladies the first chance I get.”
She made a sound of protest, but reluctantly released his hair. He let go of hers also but still cupped her cheek. “You are so beautiful and right now I want you very badly, but it wouldn’t be fair to you to act on it. I hope you
understand,” he whispered.
“Yes, I understand,” she answered shakily. “But that does not mean that I like it.”
He was having a difficult time not changing his mind with her pressed against him as she was. With a sigh of regret, he moved his hand from her cheek, took a step back, and gave her a quick kiss on her mouth, mindful of her split lip.
“Come on, I’ll walk you back, my Lady.” He smiled down at her and
offered her his arm.
Ki accepted it and they walked back to the now empty hall. “You are right to refuse me, my Lord Drace. You need your rest to be ready for the morrow’s trouncing.”
“Ha, ha,” he retorted, joking with her as they continued on to the stairs.
They parted company at his door. “Good night, Ki, sleep well.”
She gave a dip of her head as she gathered her skirts for the climb up the rest of the stairs. “You as well, Drace.”
Drace closed his door behind him after she disappeared up the stairwell, thankful for the candle Estelle had left lit for him. He sighed and carried it to the bed and set it on the side table. He undressed down to his underwear and sat on the edge of the bed.
Drace sat there for a moment, excitement from their unexpected encounter making him restless. He rubbed his face with both hands. He still could not believe he had lost control like that earlier today and struck her. Never in his life had he struck a woman. And yet harder to believe, was how he had become aware of Ki Lionblade as a very desirable woman and the strength of his physical reaction. He had seen her as attractive from the first, but her aura of strength, fierceness, and arrogance had blinded him to the more vulnerable and passionate side of her. It was a surprise, a pleasant one, but certainly a surprise.
Finally, taking a deep breath and releasing it slowly, he lay down. If he didn’t come up with something boring to think about soon, he would lay awake with Ki on his mind all night. Thankfully, between being physically tired and thinking of grocery shopping, which he found boring with a capital B, he was out in minutes.