Twenty-one

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Chapter Twenty-one

 

Phoebe rose slowly from the dregs of sleep, more than a little disoriented after a sound, dreamless slumber. Thoroughly disoriented, she blinked against the unfamiliar surroundings, mentally wading through the thick fog surrounding her brain. She didn’t even remember falling to sleep or having climbed into bed. Vaguely she recalled strong arms and hands…

The sheets rustled beside her.

Heart pounding, Phoebe snapped to a full state of wakefulness as memories of the last day streamed through her mind. James! She lifted her left hand in front of her face. The sapphire in her ring twinkled in the sunlight. Elation swelled. It hadn’t been a dream. She wasn’t back at the cottage. She was in Scotland with James. Married. The relief washing through her spoke volumes. Clasping her hands against her breast she drew a few steadying breaths, willing her racing pulse to slow.

Finally she turned her head to the side, allowing her gaze to shift over James… her husband. He lay on his stomach, sound asleep.

Careful not to shake the bed, she rose up on an elbow, propping her head on her hand, watching him. He was a fine specimen of a man. Not only was he recklessly handsome, but he sported a warrior’s physique. Smooth, swarthy skin sheathed the powerful, perfectly defined muscles rolling along his arms and torso. A large silvery scar marred his right shoulder, and Phoebe shivered with the physical reminder of how close she’d come to having him stripped from this world.

Give me your heart…

His tender plea rolled through her mind, sending little flutters through her veins and straight to her heart. The words seemed to seed there.

Give me your heart…

With a little nurturing her heart would be more than open… it would be bursting with affection and love. Was James up to the task? Was she?

Tentatively she reached out and grazed her fingertips over the marred flesh.

James stirred and opened his eyes. After a few seconds his sleep clouded gaze focused in on her and a slow smile stretched over his face. He stretched an arm out and snared her about the waist, drawing her snuggly against his side. “Good morning, wife.” He nuzzled her neck and dropped a kiss to her shoulder. “Or is it the evening now?”

Once more her pulse jumped to a run. She wore only her shift and every heated inch of his taut frame melted through the thin fabric, branding her with the intimate pose. “The evening I believe,” she replied more than a little breathlessly.

His palm slid possessively along her side and then across the slight swell of her belly. “And good evening to you too… Samuel.”

“Samuel?”

“Yes. I’m trying out names, and Samuel is one I am quite fond of.”

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