Nathan frowned. Something was wrong. Something had been wrong for a few days now, but he couldn’t place his finger on what it was.
Oh, she had smiled at him, accepted his bantering, freely gave of her affections. She had improved in her swimming as well as her seat on a horse. They had succeeded in crossing off the majority of her adventure list.
But something was wrong.
In everything they had done, he had the feeling that something was . . . off. Different. But he could not determine what.
His gaze raked over her, taking in her gray traveling outfit, and his lip curled. Her outfit was old and worn, out of fashion, and exactly what an impoverished governess would wear. What Sara would wear.
He didn’t like it. She ought to be dressed in the fine fashions of London ladies.
“You are angry?” Her voice was quiet. Timid, even. It stuck in his throat how intimidated she became at the thought of anger and conflict.
He made sure his voice was even. “Why do you think that?”
“You are glaring at me.”
“I am not glaring.”
“I believe you were.”
“If I gave that impression, it was not my intent. I was glaring at your outfit, not you.”
She glanced down. “What is wrong with my outfit? It is serviceable.”
“That is what is wrong with it.”
“I don’t understand.”
“You should not have to wear serviceable dresses.”
“I cannot afford anything else.”
“Your husband should be able to afford more for you. Ensure that he does.”
A small blush crossed her cheeks. “A vicar’s wife does not wear fancy clothing, Nathan. There are higher priorities. Vanity is one of the Deadly Sins, so even if there were money for such things, it would not be appropriate.”
“I thought you had moved beyond thinking about what was appropriate or not.” His voice had taken on an edge.
“Please, can we not argue?” she whispered. “There is so little time left.”
Nathan sighed and ran a hand through his hair, looking out the coach window. She was correct. They would be nearing the town in which she was to join the mail coach.
He looked back at her. “Let me take you to Ridgestone,” he blurted.
Her eyebrows rose. “I beg your pardon?”
He swallowed to keep the desperation from his voice. The urge to prolong his time with her grew. “Let me take you to Ridgestone. We can say that I was passing through and saw you. It is only the act of a gentleman to offer a lady of his acquaintance transportation. I could not in good faith leave you to suffer the ills of the mail coach.”
A giggle escaped her. “The ills?”
“Yes. You never know what might transpire. A passenger may become ill, an unruly child may cause you to become deaf. Your portmanteau may be improperly secured and fly off at any moment. I should not wish to suffer such tragedies.”
She smiled at him, but her words did not ease his desperation. “That is very kind of you, but it is likely best for us to follow the original plan. We went through all this trouble to ensure discretion. I would not want to ruin that.”
Of course she wouldn’t. Not when it might ruin her chances with the Goddamn Bloody Vicar. Nathan felt his lips flatten into a hard line. So be it. He would let her go. He had known that his time with her was limited; there was little sense in trying to negotiate for more. It was clear that she ready for this charade of an affair to be over.
But not before he was ready. There was still at least thirty minutes before their destination and he intended to make the most of it.
He reached over and grasped her waist. Her mouth opened into an “O” but she did not have time to react before he pulled her over to his side of the coach and onto his lap.
“Be quiet,” he ordered and pulled off her bonnet. The woman had imprisoned her glorious red curls in a tight bun, but he managed to get his fingers into it, pins falling to the floor.
“Nathan—” she tried again.
“I said be quiet.” This time he added his kiss to the command.
His lips roved over hers, pressing his tongue into her mouth. She opened eagerly, her fingers stroking the back of his neck. He delved into her warmth, drawing in into his body as much as possible. Now fully familiar with his kiss, her tongue parried his, creating a dance that set his blood to boiling. Her arms moved to wrap around his neck, pressing her body closer to his.
Nathan could feel her round breasts against his chest, despite the layers that separated them. He reached down and cupped one, trying to massage it. Christ, too many layers, Primordial Nathan whispered in his ear. Without hesitation, Nathan unlaced her dress until it sagged open and he could gain access to her flesh.
Sara pulled back from the kiss and he took the opportunity to plant kisses under her jaw and down her neck. His goal was clear. “Nathan.”
He heard her acceptance in her sigh. His hand pulled her dress down, exposing her shift. He made short work of that and within moments he had her nipple in his mouth. Her head fell back and he found he had to support her with his arm to keep her breasts where he wanted them: close by for his attention.
Little moans and sighs escaped her as his tongue circled her nipple, the rough texture teasing it into tightness. The mound tightened against his face, swelling and pushing up, offering itself to him.
Nathan switched to her other breast and gave it the same adulation as the first. Sara’s fingers wove through his hair, holding him right where he wanted to be. His free hand pushed up her skirts, freeing her legs and guiding her to straddle his lap.
Sara’s hands clasped his face, tilting his face. This time it was she who took possession of his mouth, she who controlled the kiss. Her tongue touched his and flitted away, teasing, coming back and stroking it more thoroughly. She rubbed their pelvises together, his hard cock pressing against her clitoris, riding against him, thoroughly in command of their pleasure.
Oh Christ. This was the Sara he had been waiting to see all week.
She pulled away from the kiss, leaving a breath between their lips. “Touch me. You know where I want you to touch me.” She kissed him again, slow and sweet.
There was no thought to resisting her. She had embodied the Nymph he had dreamed of for all these weeks. His hand disappeared under her gray dress and moved to the juncture of her thighs, his fingers seeking the wet heat emanating from her. His fingers found the slit in her drawers, touching her wetness and finding that spot he knew she loved.
She moaned against his lips when he pressed down and circled her clit with his thumb. Sara broke the kiss and put her forehead against his. Her eyes were shut in a focused grimace, drawing out all the pleasure she could from his hand. Nathan stroked her labia with two fingers, coating them with her juices before inserting them up her passage.
Another moan, a groan actually. She opened her eyes and looked at him, their gazes inches apart. She filled his vision, the passion in her eyes riveting. He loved seeing it, loved the way she responded to him. How would he fill his days if he had no chance of seeing this again?
No chance of loving her again.
Nathan pulled back, feeling the coach wall hit his head. He loved her. His Nymph.
Her eyes closed again and her head fell back, exposing her neck to him. He leaned forward and kissed her pulse, sucking on the rapid beat. “Nathan,” she gasped.
He increased the pressure with his hand, taking control from her and guiding her toward her release. She rode his fingers, allowing them to push her closer to ecstasy until he felt her muscles clench around him. The telltale gasps that signaled the pleasure coursing through her body filled the coach.
When she was finished, Nathan eased his fingers out of her, soothing her pleasured flesh. Sara raised her hands and caressed his cheeks with the back of her knuckles. She kissed him, mouth closed, her lips lingering.
A tugging along his trouser flap caught his attention. “No, Nymph,” he said against her lips. “You don’t have to.”
“Sh. I want to.”
“No speaking, Nathan. Just do as you’re told.”
Her words brought a smile to his face. Sara smiled back and resumed their kiss and opened his flap. His erection freed, she traced a circle around the head before trailing along the shaft. A guttural groan echoed in his chest; she used her thumb to smear the pearl of fluid in her hand and wrapped it around him, squeezing as he had taught her.
Nathan broke the kiss, his breathing rapid as she moved her hand, stroking his shaft. She watched him, a sultry smile covering her lips as she demonstrated her power over him. He felt himself nearing completion and fumbled into his pocket, drawing out a handkerchief. He tried to cover his head with it, but Sara took it from him and did it for him, adding her second hand to the fray.
His hips arched and his seed left his body, soiling the cloth over his cock. If it had been any other woman, Nathan would have been embarrassed by his quick response to her attentions. But this was his Nymph. His love.
And she could never know.
She folded the handkerchief and placed it on the floor. Sara sat, still straddling him, looking at him with uncertainty in her eyes. Nathan rubbed her arms and pulled her toward him to settle against his chest. She nestled quickly into her favorite position, her head tucked into his neck. His arms came around her, his hands soothing her back.
They sat like this for several minutes until they heard the road change from dirt to cobblestone.
“Nathan,” she whispered.
“I need to go.”
Nathan could feel his reluctance binding his arms across her back, but she pulled away and they fell to his sides. She moved back to the other bench and tidied herself, lacing up her dress and ending the last view of her bosom, he was sure, that he would ever see. Nathan did up the falls of his trousers.
The coach slowed and pulled to a stop outside of the inn. Neither of them moved. Nathan said, “Stay here until you hear the horn for the mail coach.”
She nodded her assent.
“Are you hungry? Thirsty?”
She shook her head. He could see tears begin to gather.
“I will be following close behind. Should anything happen, I will be able to assist you.”
She gave him a small smile, her eyes glistening. “Nothing is going to happen.”
The horn sounded. Bloody hell. That hadn’t been long at all. He needed more time. When he didn’t move, she repeated, “I need to go.”
His mouth twisted into a flat line and he opened the door, stepping out to help her. Sawyer had already taken down her portmanteau and was handing it to the other driver. Her hand was soft in his as he led her to the mail coach.
They stopped and Sara turned to look at him. He spoke before she did. “We will see each other, but nothing can betray us. We must act as before.”
“This is it.”
He stood awkwardly, his eyes memorizing her face. “This is it, then,” he repeated.
Her smile was said and she placed her hand on his arm. “Thank you for my adventures, Nathan.” Her voice was quiet, the words straining to reach his ears.
Whatever he would have replied was cut off by the final horn. Nathan had no choice but to help her into the coach. Sara gave a small wave through the window as the door slammed shut and he stepped away. The coach lurched into motion, pulling out of the inn’s yard and disappearing around a corner.
Bloody fucking hell.