Getting into a fight with a popular senior. Pissing off a school teacher and the local chief of police. Hanging with two major-league losers. She slapped my back. Welcome to high school.
Why?” he whispered as he leaned over her, supported on one arm. “Why must ye be the one that haunts me dreams? I’ve seen ye weepin’ night after bloody night since the day I sent ye from me palace with yer dress half undone. If I had it to do over again, I’d cut me own right hand off rather than hurt ye so. Will ye never be able to forgive me, Silence love?”“I already have,” she replied, cradling his cheek in her hand. “Long, long ago.
He watched her retreat, his eyes lazy, and his body unmoving. A trickle of blood seeped slowly from the corner of his mouth. He let her get nearly out of the room before he spoke, “I may not have the right, Silence, me love,” he drawled so soft she nearly didn’t catch the words. “But I would’ve listened to ye. I would’ve believed ye.
He grunted and stirred, withdrawing from her. She only had a moment to be disappointed and then he flipped her to her back and rose over her, powerful and male. He casually parted her legs with his knees and thrust into her again, hot and hard.She gasped at the swift invasion, the lovely feeling, and then his face was next to hers, his big palms cradling her cheeks.“What I want,” he drawled, “is ye. Nothin’ else.
She swallowed, watching as the servants and Harry and Bert trooped out of the room. Lad, apparently not the brightest dog in the world, sat down next to Mickey O’Connor and leaned against his leg.Mr. O’Connor looked at the dog, looked at the damp spot growing on his breeches where the dog was leaning, and sighed. “I find me life is not as quiet as it used to be afore ye came to me palace, Mrs. Hollingbrook.”Silence lifted her chin. “You’re a pirate, Mr. O’Connor. I cannot believe your life was ever very quiet.”He gave her an ironic look. “Aye, amazin’, isn’t it? Yet since yer arrival me servants no longer obey me and I return home to find me kitchen flooded.” He crossed to a cupboard and took down a china teapot, a tin of tea, and a teacup. “And me dog smells like a whorehouse.”Silence glanced guiltily at Lad. “The only soap we could find was rose scented.
She opened her mouth wide in a silent scream and his release caught him, hard and fast as he kissed her openmouthed. He tore his mouth from hers and shouted his triumph. She was his, now and forevermore, until the end of time, until the seas ran dry and man no longer roamed the earth, amen.His and only his.She slumped against him, the scent of their passion musky in the night air.“Sleep,” he murmured to her, and held her against himself, his cock still buried deep.She was caught and he had no intention of ever letting her go.
Humph.” She peered down suspiciously as he parted the leaves to reveal the choke. “That doesn’t look very tasty.”“That’s because it isn’t,” he said. “Pay heed: the artichoke is a shy vegetable. She covers herself in spine-tipped leaves that must be carefully peeled away, and underneath shields her treasure with a barricade o’ soft needles. They must be tenderly, but firmly, scraped aside. Ye must be bold, for if yer not, she’ll never reveal her soft heart.”He finished cutting away the thistles and placed the small, tender heart on the center of her plate.She wrinkled her nose. “That’s it? But it’s so small.”“Ah, and d’ye judge a thing solely upon size alone?”She made a choking sound.
The butterfly startled at Mary’s gesture and floated up, drifting on the breeze, its wings sparkling blue and bright in the late afternoon sunshine.Silence watched it, enthralled, and then her eyes met Michael’s.A corner of his mouth cocked up. “Welcome home, m’love.
There, there, sweetin’,” he murmured into her hair.“He loved me, he truly did,” she gasped.“I know he did,” Michael said.“And I loved him.”“Mm-hmm.”She raised her head, glaring angrily. “You don’t even believe in love. Why are you agreeing with me?”He laughed.“Because”—he leaned down and licked at the tears on her cheeks, his lips brushing softly against her sensitive skin as he spoke, “ye’ve bewitched and bespelled me, my sweet Silence, didn’t ye know? I’ll agree that the sky is pink, that the moon is made o’ marzipan and sugared raisins, and that mermaids swim the muddy waters o’ the Thames, if ye’ll only stop weepin’. Me chest breaks apart and gapes wide open when I see tears in yer pretty eyes. Me lungs, me liver, and me heart cannot stand to be thus exposed.”She stopped breathing. She simply inhaled and stopped, looking at him in wonder. His lips were quirked in a mocking smile, but his eyes—his fathomless black eyes—seemed to hold a great pain as if his strong chest really had been split open.
What,” came a deep male voice, “is this?”Silence froze, her hand still outstretched, clutching a damp, dirty cloth. Oh, dear Lord. Slowly she raised her eyes and found herself face-to-thighs with Mickey O’Connor’s extremely tight breeches.
At her gesture Michael cursed and caught her hand, falling suddenly atop her.She stared up at him wondering what bedchamber faux pas she’d committed.He groaned at her look. “I’ll let ye pet and play all ye want—after. Now I need”—he pushed her chemise to her waist, parted her thighs, and settled between them—“to be inside ye.
Silence rose and crossed to the connecting door and knocked.The door was opened almost at once.Michael leaned a shoulder against the doorjamb, a wicked smile playing about his sensuous lips. He was so very big this close—every time it surprised her and made her breathless. “Well, now, and when did ye decide to start knockin’ at me door?”Silence fought to keep her face from flaming as she remembered the last time she’d peeked through Michael’s door.She swallowed. “We’re bored.”“Is that so?” Michael glanced down.Silence followed his gaze and saw that Mary had crawled over to investigate. The baby grabbed a handful of her skirt and stood up. She kept one hand on Silence’s skirt and popped two fingers from the other into her mouth as she stared solemnly at Michael.“She looks a rare treat,” Michael said softly, watching the toddler.Silence smiled down at Mary. “She does indeed.”She glanced up and her heart squeezed at the gentle look on Michael’s face.As if she understood she was the subject of conversation, Mary lifted her arms—to Michael. “Up!”Michael arched an eyebrow. “Mouthy little thing, ain’t she?”But he bent and lifted the toddler.
Silence cleared her throat, fearful her voice would come out a croak. “Is she asleep?”He blinked as if he, too, were waking from a dream, and glanced down at Mary Darling. “Aye, I’m a-thinkin’ she is—she’s stopped fussin’ at me.”Silence felt a huge smile of relief spread over her face. “She was fussing? Oh, how wonderful!”He shot her a look, one eyebrow arching. “Ye’ve taught the child to bully me, too, now?”“Oh, no,” she said hastily, embarrassed. Did he really think she bullied him? What a silly notion!
Will ye be wantin’ this now, madam?”“Yes, please,” she whispered. She wanted to engrave the sight of him thus, about to make love to her, in her mind.
As I said, I don’t expect you to understand—”“And I don’t,” he cut in. “Ye ask how I can live a life that I know will end with the hangman’s noose. Well, at least I am alive. Ye might as well have climbed inside yer husband’s coffin and let yerself be buried with his corpse.”Her hand flashed out before she’d thought about it, the smack against his cheek loud in the little courtyard.Silence had her eyes locked with Michael’s, her chest rising and falling swiftly, but she was aware that Bert and Harry had looked up. Even Mary and Lad had paused in their play.Without taking his gaze from hers, Michael reached out and grasped her hand. He raised her hand to his lips and softly kissed the center of her palm.He looked at her, her hand still at his lips. “Don’t take to yer grave afore yer time, Silence, m’love.
I must be getting back to my rooms,” Silence said and stood.Mick frowned with displeasure. “Why?”“Because of Mary Darling.”He shrugged. “One o’ the maids is watchin’ her.”“But if Mary wakes she’ll want me.”“Why?” he asked again, biting into a sweetmeat. This discussion wasn’t to his fancy, but sparring with her was.“Because,” she said slowly, looking at him as if he were lack-witted, “she’s only a baby and she loves me.”“Babies,” Mick pronounced, “are a great trouble.”She shook her head, not bothering to reply this time, and started marching to the door.
He sat and looked at her. “How is Mary Darling?”“Fast asleep after playing and having a bath,” she said. “The nursery is lovely.”“I’m glad you like it.”“Rose and Annie are obviously practiced nursemaids, and what is even better, they seem to like Mary, and she them.”He grunted. “It would take a hard heart to turn away from my Mary Darling.”A smile curved the corners of her lips. “You didn’t seem too enamored of her when you first met.”“She has a forceful personality, as do I. We just took a bit to get to know one another.