Eden's Pleasure

Eden's Pleasure by Kate Pearce

Book: Eden's Pleasure by Kate Pearce Read Free Book Online
Authors: Kate Pearce
that I stay upright in my chair and look my accuser
    in the eye.
    “I wonder why not?” The viscount mused. “Maybe you have been foolish, Eden,
    and allowed him the freedom of your body without extracting any promises from him.”
    He shrugged his elegant shoulders. “Why should Gervase bother to marry you when he
    has already had you?”
    The deliberate crudity from a man who scarcely needed to use such language set
    my teeth on edge. I struggled to remember that it was not as he believed.
    “No, my lord, Gervase has not offered me marriage, nor did I expect him to. I chose
    to share my body with him.” I cocked an insolent eyebrow at the viscount who sat back
    as if amused. “Does it shock you that a woman might have needs like a man?”
    The viscount smiled. “Nothing shocks me, my dear. I offer you my congratulations.
    Not many women in your position would be brave enough to turn down an offer of
    marriage. Not even one made out of pity. And make no mistake, what Gervase feels for
    you is guilt and pity.” His eyes narrowed to the color of flint and he leaned slightly
    towards me.
    “Let us take the gloves off and discuss this matter properly. I do not wish Gervase
    to marry you but not for the reasons you might imagine.” He must have sensed my
    Kate Pearce
    bewilderment as he smiled again. “You are a beautiful and sensual woman. A woman
    who reminds me greatly of the twins’ mother.”
    He folded his hands together on the desk and looked down at them. “I do not say
    that lightly. Louisa was the light of my life and if I were but twenty years younger I
    suspect I would be brawling over you myself.” His mouth twisted. “But as I grow older
    and more aware of the fragility of life I have a strange desire to see my line established.”
    My stomach ceased to burn with nerves and instead seemed to fill with ashes as the
    viscount captured my gaze. “I want grandchildren, Eden. Gideon’s wife is unstable, and
    God forbid I should wish harm on her, but Gideon swears he will not lie with her even
    to make a child.” He sighed. “And that leaves Gervase.”
    His voice softened and I tensed my shoulders to repel his apparent sympathy. “You
    were married for several years to a man who was desperate for a child. He swore to me
    he would bed you every night until you gave him one.”
    He sat back. “You didn’t conceive, my dear, and I cannot allow you to marry my
    son and threaten my chances for grandchildren. Gervase deserves children. He would
    be an excellent father. He might tell you that it doesn’t matter to him but I suspect you
    know that for a virile man like Gervase it does.”
    The room blurred before my eyes. I realized that I had been weeping for a while as I
    listened to the viscount. He knew I was but a barren shell. He was right. I couldn’t
    deprive Gervase of the chance of children. I fought for control as the silence lengthened,
    marred only by the ticking of the mantel clock. At length, an elegant hand appeared at
    my elbow and dropped a large handkerchief into my lap.
    I drew in several slow breaths, blew my nose and lifted my head to find the
    viscount watching me.
    “You may rest easy, my lord,” I whispered. “I never intended to entrap Gervase. I
    wished only to enjoy my widowhood for a short while until you found another elderly
    husband to stifle me with.”
    Eden’s Pleasure
    The viscount met my gaze, a hint of respect and understanding in there which
    nearly made me cry again. He glanced down at a list of names on his desk.
    “As to that, they are not all elderly,” he said gently. “Some are even men with
    young families to raise who would love the care of a new mother.”
    I gathered my courage. “If I accept what you say about Gervase, will you allow me
    some element of choice this time?”
    The viscount folded the piece of paper and handed it to me with a wave of his
    hand. “Of course. I would have allowed that anyway.” He hesitated. “And time

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