Aidan didn’t understand why she hid when the first twig snapped beneath her foot. She wasn’t afraid of Hunter. She was enamored of Blade. She thought he was the bravest, most handsome man she’d ever set eyes upon. She’d followed them to tell Hunter the news. When she’d discovered where they were going, she understood her motive. She didn’t want to do anything that would stop them. The thought of Guy sent goose bumps down her arms. The man was everything she despised.
Fool, she berated herself.
You could have waited for them at the castle.
No, the news was far too important to wait.
And she was terribly curious about Blade. He fascinated her. Whenever he was near, she could not keep her gaze from wandering his way or the blood in her veins from pulsing more quickly. He made her short of breath. He was kind and gentle too. The good Lord knew she had given him more than one reason to lose his temper. He never had.
Pebbles shifted beneath her feet. Instinctively, she moved behind a bush. Breath held tight in her lungs she waited. Silence clung to the tense night air. She heard nothing. The breeze shifting through the trees seemed to stop.
Suddenly, she was grabbed from behind. A rough calloused hand was pressed against her mouth. The scream that welled in her throat was silenced by her assailant. She struggled valiantly against brute strength. Her arms were pinned against her sides. She kicked backward connecting and was rewarded with a grunt of pain.
No, she would not hold still. She struggled even harder, her legs flailing. What if it was Guy who held her?
"I don’t want to hurt you." Belief in this man’s words did not come easily. She wanted to cry out. Who are you? Then suddenly, as if she’d been knocked over the head, she realized who held her. She should recognize his voice anywhere. She had longed to hear it so many times, just as she had longed to be held in his arms. Perhaps wishes did come true.
She froze in Blade’s arms. They felt strong and powerful. She’d wondered about this, Blades’ arms around her. And she’d been ever so jealous when she saw the way he flaunted himself around the serving ladies. Once she’d almost told him how she felt. Yet she’d known somehow that revealing her heart to Blade would not be wise or prudent. He thought of her as a little girl. But she had friends the same age who were married.
"It’s Blade," he whispered, and his warm breath feathering across her cheek sent little spirals of heat through her body all the way to her toes.
She nodded and slowly, Blade slipped his hand from her quivering lips. She turned in his arms, her breasts suddenly pressing against his powerful chest. Her own arms wound around his neck. She wasn’t normally brazen, but she didn’t want this once in a lifetime opportunity to pass. She moistened her lips and let her fingers wind into his flaxen hair. Her body thrummed with a heady anticipation of something she had no knowledge of but meant to discover as much as she could while she had the chance.
"What are you doing?" he asked, his voice softening.
She was sure she felt his body responding to hers. His hands rested on her waist. His thumbs seemed to trace tiny circles. Kiss me.
For a long, silent moment, they stared into each other’s eyes. His lips slowly lowered to hers. They brushed softly across her mouth, once, twice. She knew he wanted something more from her, but she didn’t know what it was.
He pulled her closer. His tongue traced across the seam of her lips. "Blade," she whispered into his mouth. Then his tongue slowly moved inside. She moaned softly. So this was what it was all about. Heat swept through her, her own heady passion seemed to overtake her thinking. She pulled herself closer. His hands slipped up her back, quickly moving to rest beneath her breast.
As if doused with cold water, Blade jerked away from her.
"Hells bells," he said, roughing both hands through his hair. "I should turn you over my knee and paddle you."
She lifted her chin in the air. "As if you could," she unwisely taunted him.
"Don’t tempt me," he growled. "You should not be here. It is far too dangerous."
The chill she’d felt when he came to his senses and pushed her away was mortifying. Embarrassment stained her cheeks red with heat. She wasn’t a little girl and he should realize the fact.