The Devil Claims a Wife
attending to the far-flung reaches of his demesne. Recollecting himself, Guy felt anironic smile curve his lips. Good Lord! He was making her out to be the ideal wife.
    ‘I could end up being more trouble than I’m worth,’ Jane said. ‘Would it not be sensible to choose someone who is not altogether her own person? Someone who is more docile? Someone tame? Someone who would never dare question you, but would follow your orders as assiduously as if she were an extension of yourself?’
    ‘I agree,’ he replied mockingly.
    ‘Although you might very well die of boredom?’ she remarked sarcastically.
    He looked at her calmly, a frown wrinkling his brow. ‘Before Aniston, was there ever a youth in your neighbourhood you were fond of?’
    His question surprised her. She stared at him, thinking of the faceless number of admirers who had looked her way, men she had put out of her consideration. They could strike no fire in her blood, yet when in the midst of those faces Guy St Edmond’s visage appeared in her mind, a sweet wildness stirred her very soul.
    ‘No,’ she replied sharply, lowering her eyes lest he saw the truth.
    The frown vanished. He ran his finger across her cheek and smiled. ‘I’m sure there were many who were smitten with you.’
    She stepped back, causing him to drop his arm. ‘There may have been a few, but none worth considering.’
    ‘I’m not worried,’ he answered easily. ‘You were well guarded by your father.’
    ‘Yes,’ she retorted sarcastically. ‘That is, from everybody but you when you and your marauding band of knights happened to come across me in the woods that day. You
a devil, Guy St Edmond.’
    His anger returned with frightening speed. ‘More myth than man, Jane. I may be feared by my enemies, but you have no need to be afraid. Do you imagine me a cruel tyrant?’
    ‘If you are about to tell me you are the kindest man in all the kingdoms, I shall take some convincing,’ she scoffed.
    ‘I shall endeavour to do so and shall make a point of telling you until your ears ache.’
    ‘I may not listen.’
    ‘You haven’t heard me roar.’ He grew instantly grave. ‘I am not a monster, Jane. Your doubts disturb me. How a man treats his enemies is one thing. How a man treats his wife may be quite another. If ever I do make you feel threatened or intimidated, you can be certain you are misunderstanding my concern foryour welfare. So protest if you must, but I told you in the beginning that you would be mine.’
    ‘Aye, my lord, but not honourably—not as your wife.’
    ‘But either way, you know you will, don’t you?’
    She closed her eyes and nodded. Guy St Edmond had defeated her as he had said he would from the beginning. She could not fight it and was not sure that she wanted to any more. Opening her eyes, she looked at him, aware that this thing with a man so confident in his own abilities was only just beginning.
    ‘Yes,’ she conceded. ‘You did. Please excuse me now. I am sure there are further matters you must discuss with my father.’
    She turned her back on him, not wanting one more smile or head tilt or glimpse of his overwhelming male presence to complicate her already muddled feelings. She assumed he would allow her to leave, but suddenly she felt his breath caress the back of her neck, causing gooseflesh to prickle along her skin. Before she could move away, his warm hands curled over her shoulders, gentling her in place.
    When he traced his finger along the flesh on her neck, she closed her eyes, awed thata hand which dealt death so skilfully with a sword could be so infinitely tender.
    ‘What your father and I have to discuss can wait,’ he whispered, his lips dangerously close to her ear. ‘I have a more pressing matter to discuss with my future wife. I have yet to taste the sweetness of your lips. Do not withhold them from me, Jane.’
    She refused to turn around, refused to look into his eyes and be swayed by what he wanted her to feel,

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