An Undeniable Passion Ch. 08byopels©
Drake awoke and immediately wondered what was wrong. It was still dark and the ship's movements were normal. And then he realized what it was. Virginia was snuggled up to him. A sweep of coppery red curls were strewn across his torso, her head was resting on his shoulder and her arm was thrown across his chest. Biting back a groan of frustration, he tried to lay still, enjoying the feeling of her body pressed against his for a few moments.
There was no way he could fall back asleep with her like this, but he also knew she would be deeply embarrassed if he woke her. He pretended to start snoring hoping that would wake her. After a couple of snorts she shifted a bit but didn't roll away. He was astonished to find that she actually snuggled a little closer and let out sigh of contentment. He could feel her move her head and he felt her eyes on him. He nearly jumped when he felt a gentle finger slide along his jaw and up and around his ear. She then trailed it down his neck and back up again. She ran it down the length of his nose and very gently caressed his bottom lip. It took every ounce of his self control to continue breathing at a steady pace and not part his lips and suck her finger into his mouth.
Her hand slid back down to his chest and softly caressed the muscles there, awed by the hardness of him. As she snuggled even closer, he almost lost the last of his self control when her lips pressed against his neck. Mimicking the way he had kissed her a few months ago in his carriage, she kissed his neck again, her tongue touching his flesh.
Unable to keep up the pretense, a low groan escaped from his lips. "God woman, what are you trying to do to me?," he growled, his voice low and husky with desire. He turned to her, his eyes glowing with passion. She gasped and tried to move away, but Drake gripped her wrist, pulling her back.
"I...I thought you were asleep," she stammered, afraid of the look in his eyes.
"Something woke me up," he whispered, pulling her close. "Tell me, my dear, just what were you doing? Trying to seduce me?" his full lips curled into a wicked smirk as his smoldering golden eyes burned into hers.
"No, I...I don't know..." she trailed away, unable to answer him. She didn't know herself what had driven her to touch him and kiss him. There was no explanation except that she was unable to resist the power that this man seemed to have over her, as if some spell had been cast that defied all her common sense.
"What were you planning to do next?" he asked, his voice barely above a whisper. He had pulled her so close she could feel his warm breath on her cheek.
"I...I..." she stammered, her breath suddenly catching in her throat, her heart pounding fiercely.
He pulled her fingers to his lips and gently kissed the tips. "Don't let my being awake stop you," he murmured, not removing her fingers from his mouth.
Virginia let out a shaky breath as she watched his tongue dart out and flick the tip of her fingers before slowly drawing her index finger into his mouth. A small cry slipped from her throat as her finger slid into the warm confines of his mouth, his luscious lips closing around her knuckle.
Drake's eyes bored into hers and she knew she was lost. An unnamed hunger flooded her body, heightening her senses to almost painful clarity as he released her finger. His hand closed around the back of her head and pulled her lips to his, kissing her with a passion that had been building ever since that night on the terrace of the Summer Ball.
Virginia's mind spun into a whirl as the kiss deepened. His searing lips fanned the flames of her passion and before she knew it she was kissing him back. The immediate heat of her own response shocked her, sent her reeling. She wrapped her arms around him pulling him closer.
Pressing her back down against the bed, he supported his weight with one hand and with the other he gently touched her face. He again wound his hand through her silky hair. His kisses grew more intense but when his tongue slipped into her mouth, her mind suddenly cleared and she pushed him away.
Turning her head, she cried, "What are you doing?" Virginia had never heard of people kissing like that and Charles had certainly never done that in any of the very chaste kisses they had exchanged. She recalled how in their previous kisses, Drake's tongue had touched her lips but he had never tried to insert it into her mouth!
His hand was still in her hair and she tugged on his arm trying to make him remove it. Refusing to relinquish his hold he replied, "I was kissing you. You seemed to be enjoying it." He suddenly realized that Virginia had probably never been kissed like that before. Leaning closer he said, "I guess your Charles never kissed you like that, did he? You deserve to be properly kissed by a real man."
Suddenly acutely aware that they were in his bed, clad only in the thinnest of garments and in a most compromising position, she tried to move away from him. "Let me go," she pleaded, afraid of her own emotions, of the raw feelings coursing through her trembling body.
Ignoring her struggles, Drake leaned even closer to her and whispered, "Not yet. Kiss me again and then ask me to let you go." Slowly he lowered his mouth to hers once more and began to kiss her again, softly and slowly.
Virginia tried to resist feeling anything, hoping he would then get off her, but before she knew it she was again responding and kissing him back. When his tongue again sought entry into her mouth she opened her lips and accepted it. Her heart began to hammer in her chest and the heat again spread through her, coiling through her limbs. She met his tongue with her own and felt almost dizzy with the sensations flowing through her. Her arms went back around him, winding around his neck. Her hands found their way into his hair stroking the silky locks.
Drake's hand slid from her hair, down her neck to land on her breast. A growl rumbled deep in his throat as he gently squeezed, feeling the nipple harden beneath his palm. Virginia arched against him, pressing herself against his hand, urging him to go further.
At that point, he knew he had to end this now, for if it continued much further he wouldn't be able to stop. With a groan bordering on pain, he pulled back, tearing his lips from hers. They lay in each other's arms gasping, their eyes both burning with passion and desire.
"Tell me to stop," he rasped. "Tell me now because I won't be able to later."
"No, don't stop," she breathed, replacing his hand on her breast. Leaning toward him, offering her lips for him to kiss, "Please, don't stop,"
He gazed hungrily at her parted lips, tipped up to him, waiting for him. She had no idea what she was asking for. If he gave in to the fierce hunger clawing at his insides he would not be able to stop and he would never be able to forgive himself. Clenching his teeth he called upon every reserve of self control he had and pulled himself away from her. He climbed off the bed and stood at it's edge staring at her as she gazed back at him with blazing emerald eyes. Her chest was heaving, pressing her hardened nipples against the thin fabric of her nightgown.
"No, don't go," she pleaded breathlessly, wanting nothing more than for him to climb back into the bed and again take her in his arms.
He wrenched his eyes from hers and snatching up his breeches, boots and jacket he hastily left the room, leaving her bewildered.
With a frustrated cry, Virginia fell back against the bed. As she was pondering why he had rejected her, why he had left when she had asked him to stay, her wildly pounding heart slowed and her spinning head cleared. Oh dear God, what had she done? What had she been willing to do? Utterly ashamed, she covered her face with her hands. What was it about this man that caused her to act so recklessly, so brazenly?
Outside the room, Drake leaned against the door, pulling on his breeches and thrusting his bare feet into his boots. When he heard her cry of frustration he fled to the stairs, taking them two at a time. He shoved his arms into the sleeves of his coat as he stepped onto the deck, breathing in deeply the cool night air. The gentle breeze picked up his loose hair and swirled it about his face as he tipped his head back and gazed up at the star filled sky. His whole body hummed with tension, his lips and palm burning from where he had kissed and touched her. Closing his eyes, he let the sensations wash over him before taking another deep breath, letting his passions cool.
Walking briskly about the deck, he worked off the excess energy coursing through him until he was relaxed and he hoped she was asleep. Quietly, he slipped down the stairs and through the hallway to his cabin.
Without making a sound he slowly opened the door to his cabin and peered inside. Moonlight streamed through the portholes, illuminating the room with a silver glow. She was sprawled across her side of the bed, not curled up in a ball like he had been expecting.
Her coppery hair was strewn across the pillows, glinting in the shimmering light. Her pale lashes lay against her cheek and her breathing was soft and deep. He fought down the urge to touch her, to just stroke her cheek. How was he supposed to stay away from her, not touch her, not kiss and hold her in his arms for the remainder of this voyage. Staring down at her lovely face, he dragged his fingers through his loose hair.
With a sigh he pulled off his jacket, boots and breeches before sliding into his bed. He resolutely turned his back to her and tried to forget that she was there.
In keeping with years of practice his eyes opened as dawn was breaking, the early sun sending pink and gold rays into the room. He was surprised to find his nose buried in a mass of red curls. Slowly his senses awoke and began reporting to his brain. Virginia was nestled in his arms, her back curving against his body. His thigh was thrust possessively between hers, one arm was wrapped around her waist, the other stretched out beneath her neck. Muffling a groan, he debated how he was going to untangle himself without waking her. Being so close to her was already stirring his desire and he didn't dare risk a glance into her captivating green eyes.
She made a small sound of protest as he pulled away but, thankfully, did not awaken. Drake stood by the edge of the bed, gazing down at her, watching the soft light in the room bathe her lovely face.
He quietly went about his routine of washing, shaving and dressing, all the while casting glances over at the captivating creature sleeping in his bed.
Never before had a woman entranced him so. He caught himself thinking of her at times when his thoughts should be concentrated elsewhere. And that was during the day. The nights were worse. He was tormented by dreams of her. Dreams where the kisses and brief caresses they had shared were only the beginning. Dreams where she gave herself willingly, even eagerly to him. Her breathless pleas from the previous night rang in his ears. Don't stop. Please, don't go. She had been offering herself. But, she didn't know what she was doing, he reminded himself. She's a complete innocent, she's never truly experienced raw, unleashed passion. Most likely didn't even know that she had the power to awaken that in him.
Raking his fingers through his hair, pulling it back and restraining it with a thin strap of leather, he cast her one last lingering look before silently leaving the room.
Virginia awoke slowly, her hands instinctively stretching out across the sheets, searching for something. What was she looking for, she wondered. And then memories of the previous night flooded through her mind with stunning clarity. Her eyes flew open, darting about the room, relief flooding her veins to find that he was already gone. She was surprised to find that the relief was touched with disappointment that he wasn't still there. Wasn't still in their bed. She had woken much earlier that morning, before him, sighing happily in his arms before drifting back to sleep.
Sitting up, she shook her head. I must be losing my mind, she thought. I should be thanking my lucky stars he had the good sense to leave when he did last night. A shiver rippled through her body as she thought about what might have happened had he stayed. Would she have continued, surrendering her virtue? Would she have given herself to him?
The shiver returned as she again chastised herself for daydreaming of him. She squared her shoulders as she rose from the bed, vowing to be strong and to not let his charms get the best of her again.
As she tugged on the laces of her gown, trying to make it fit without the constricting corset beneath it, her mind again drifted to home and what she had left behind. She was surprised to find that it was only the people, and not a single possession that tugged at her heart. Violet of course was who she needed the most right now. A smile curled her lips as she thought about how much her adventurous friend would love hearing about last night.
The smile slipped from her lips and her hands began to tremble as she again recalled how she had acted and felt last night. With a shaky breath she sank to the bed. Why could she not control herself around him? What was it about him that she simply could not resist? She had always prided herself on being sensible and level headed but for some reason all she had to do was look at him and all her common sense and even her dignity just evaporated. Color flooded her cheeks as she recalled how she had practically begged him to not stop. Shame spread through her limbs as she once again felt desire for him building. Desire to have him hold her, kiss her, touch her.
Shaking her head, she once again promised herself that she would not behave so disgracefully again. She stood quickly and resolutely tied off the laces of her gown. Glancing down she wished the neckline was bit higher. Normally she wouldn't give it a second thought as the low neckline was the fashion of the day, but under the circumstances, she wanted something more conservative. Well, it will have to do, she thought.
Standing by the door, she put her ear to the rough wood. The corridor outside was silent and she slowly turned the knob. It stopped before making a full turn and she suddenly realized she was locked in. Her shoulders slumped and sitting herself down at the desk, she wondered what she should do until Drake returned.
Drake stood outside his cabin door and took a deep breath. He had given her plenty of time to be up and dressed but he still hesitated. Clutching the key in his hand he closed his eyes and again took a deep breath, calming himself before entering the room to be enveloped by her intoxicating presence.
Virginia's head swung and she jumped to her feet as she heard the key turn in the lock. It was late in the morning and having been stuck in the room for over an hour, was anxious to get out.
"Miss, Templeton, may I come in?" he called.
Just the sound of his voice caused a tremor to run through her body. She was too worked up, too embarrassed about last night to easily face him. Taking a deep steadying breath, she responded. "Yes, you may come in."
The door swung open and suddenly the hours evaporated and they both felt the same hunger that had consumed them during the night. The promises they had made to themselves that they would be strong dissolved as he approached her.
Drake's gaze swept over her, lingering on the neckline of her gown before settling on her sparkling emerald eyes. Only a couple of feet separated them and he could see that she was trembling, her chest heaving with shaky breaths. His own lungs were greedily sucking in air as well and all he could think about was gathering her in his arms and feeling her lips on his.
Virginia's body was also in turmoil. She was craving his touch, desperately wanting his body pressed against hers, his silky soft hair brushing her cheeks as his mouth covered hers.
Getting a grip on his errant emotions, he managed a smile. "Good morning," he greeted her.
"Good morning," she breathed, unable to tear her eyes away from him.
"I thought I might give you a tour of the ship, as this will be your home for the next couple of months," he said.
"Couple of months?" she exclaimed. She had no idea these crossings took so long. How was she going to manage sleeping in the same bed with him for two more months?
"Yes. It may not take that long, or it may even take longer. It all depends on the wind and the weather of course," he said still smiling at her. "Once you know your way around the ship and become acquainted with some of the crew, you'll be fine."
"It's not the crew I'm worried about," she murmured to herself.
She went to move past him, but he gently caught her arm. Just this light contact sizzled through her and her eyes flew to his.
"Before we go, I'd like to apologize for last night," he said haltingly. Seeing her cheeks flame with embarrassment, he cleared his throat before continuing. "I should have alerted you the moment I awoke instead of just laying there...letting you...touch me." he stammered.
Virginia didn't know what to say. Should she thank him? Should she also apologize? "I apologize as well. I shouldn't have woken you," she whispered. "I know you need a good nights sleep. It won't happen again." She was staring at the floor, unable to meet his eyes, afraid of what she might see there.
Placing a finger under her chin, he raised her eyes up to his. "I'm not saying I didn't enjoy it," he said, his voice soft and low. He pulled her closer to him, wrapping an arm around her waist, his eyes warming with the heat he was feeling for her. "I think you know quite clearly how I feel about you. How I can't resist drawing you into my arms when you're near, how I can't resist kissing you." His hand gently caressed her cheek before slipping into her hair, his large fingers tangling in the soft curls. Staring down into her wide eyes, he could see the mixture of fear and desire that was battling inside her.
"What are you saying? That you love me?" She stared at him with wide eyes, her heart picking up tempo, thundering in her ears.
The corner of his mouth curled into a smirk. "No, my sweetness, not love. It's a very different emotion that has me spellbound."
His lips were scarcely a breath away from hers. She knew he was about to kiss her. Scared of her own emotions, she twisted her head away, avoiding his eyes. "Please," she whispered.
"Please what?" he replied, brushing his lips against her temple.
She tried to pull out of his arms. "Please don't. I can't..." Her words caught in her throat as his lips touched her skin.
"You don't want me to hold you? You don't want me to kiss you?" he asked her, his lips close to her ear.
Oh yes, she wanted that. She wanted nothing more than to melt against him and feel his lips on hers, but she knew she had to be strong. They had two months ahead of them and she wasn't about to falter on the first day. Taking a deep breath, she was about to tell him no, when his tongue touched the tender flesh behind her ear. She trembled in his arms as he trailed his tongue down her throat with maddening slowness, finally stopping at the base.
No, no, no, oh please no, she thought, willing the words to come to her lips, to make him stop this exquisite torture. Opening her mouth, she was surprised to hear the mutinous words that breathlessly passed her lips. "Yes, oh yes, Drake."
She recklessly threw her head back, giving him greater access to her throat, and God help her, her heaving bosom. Accepting her invitation, his hand closed over her breast, feeling the nipple harden beneath the thin fabric. Dipping his head lower he trailed kisses along the edge of her gown, his fingers gently squeezing the soft flesh above her wildly pounding heart. His grip around her waist tightened as his lips captured hers, the immediate intensity shattering the last of her resolve to be strong.