You Belong to Me left off with the first love scene. Now, we catch up with Brenna and Tony just as she's about to offer up a suggestion to Tony that she just might come to regret....
Brenna fought down the fluttery nervousness that was almost making her dizzy. It’s best to simply blurt it out, she thought, her eyes moving over him slowly. He certainly could not read her thoughts and though he seemed to have lost some of his anger, he had made no overture to bed her again, leaving her with no other choice but to swallow her embarrassment and ask.
He was reaching for the doorknob when he heard her soft, “Anthony?”
Slowly turning to face her, he said, “Yes?”
“Might I have a word with you?”
“Of course.” Anthony turned to lean back against the door, his eyes meeting hers and causing her belly to splash and toss wildly.
“There is something I wish to discuss with you,” she began in a hurried voice, trying to get the words out before her courage failed her. “That is, if you don’t mind.”
“What is it?” he asked, his voice mild, almost as if he was wary at what she might say.
“I realize ours is not a typical marriage. Not by any stretch of the imagination. But there is one thing I wished to know.”
He folded his arms over his chest, his expression bland as he simply stared hard at her. “What might that be?”
“Do you...” Her voice cracked, scarlet fire burning in her cheeks. Clearing her throat, she tried again. “Do you wish to...that is…well...”
“What is it, my lady?”
“What I mean is—” She winced at the heat filling her face. For some reason, she hadn’t thought this would be so difficult to say aloud. “What I mean to say is that I would like a child.”
“Mine?” he asked softly.
“Well, seeing as you are my husband.”
His sigh was heavy. “I suppose that would only be proper.”
“So, I thought, mayhap...”
“You thought what, love?”
She didn’t miss the endearment, nor did she miss the sarcastic note behind it. Swallowing hard, she forced herself to meet his gaze. “I thought we might...attempt...”
A slow smile pulled at his lips. Obviously, her discomfort amused him. “Attempt what, my lady?”
She glared at him. “You know what I mean.”
He unfolded his arms, walking over to place his hands on the arms of her chair. “You mean, you wish to use me—use my body, that is—for stud purposes.”
She shifted in her seat, almost squirming beneath his penetrating stare, unable to maintain eye contact. “I thought, mayhap, it would make things easier.”
“Easier? How?” His voice was a low throaty growl as he leaned close enough that his lips brushed her ear. “Tell me how it would make things easier.”
She caught her skirt between her thumb and forefinger, twisting the royal blue silk into a wrinkled ball. “If I should conceive before we reach America, then you no longer need to worry. You will be free to live your life as you see fit.”
“So you expect that I will seek out my mistress on a regular basis, then?”
Brenna swallowed hard against the lump in her throat at the thought of losing him to another woman. “Aye.”
“Seek her and not you?”
He growled with frustration. “You do realize, the woman awaiting me in America fully expects to wed me, don’t you?”
“I was unaware of that.” Now at least she knew who Charlotte was.
“Oh, yes, sweet. You’ve usurped the claim of another.”
“I did no such thing.” She met his blazing gaze without hesitation. Then she ducked down once more, her voice softening. “I did no such thing. It was out of my hands.”
“Well, that is neither here nor there now,” he said, shaking his head. “But tell me, what happens, once this babe is conceived? Do you turn me away then?”
Fighting down her rising embarrassment, she whispered, “I free you to go to another. To one you’ve chosen. I do not expect you to continue this charade once we reach your home.”
“So, just so I fully understand this, Brenna,” his voice was low and icy as he held her gaze, “you wish to have access to my body, not for pleasure, not for intimacy, not for anything other than breeding purposes? Then, when you have conceived, I am free to visit as many other beds
as I wish?”
“It sounds so terrible when you say it that way,” she complained, glancing down at the twisted silk in her hands.
“It’s the truth, my lady. Whether you wish it to be prettified or not. You care naught about feeling, only the means to achieve the end.” His blunt reply sent another rush of heat streaking through her cheeks, but he didn’t relent. “So, am I correct?”
“Aye. You will be free to live your life however you see fit.”
“Very well. So pleasure, feeling, will play no role in our bedroom activities?”
Anger glinted in his blue eyes and she heard the hardness in his voice, but was a little confused as to what could be making him so angry. Wasn’t she giving him what he wanted? She was, for all purposes, releasing him from the bonds of matrimony and giving him leave to frolic with whichever woman might catch his eye. What wife would offer such a bargain to her husband?
If only she didn’t wish to have a child as badly as she did. It’d be so much easier to send him on his way without sharing that wonderful part of him which cut through her doubts and made her feel so cherished, so adored.
And what the devil did he mean about pleasure playing no role in begetting a child? How was that even possible?
Taking another deep breath, she said, “I thought the two went hand in hand.”
He smiled then—a cold smile, converting the heat in her blood to icicles. “Oh, they would, were I not merely performing an act. If it was true lovemaking, my lady, you’d never know what it would be like without pleasure. But, since you only require one thing from me, that is all you shall receive.”
She did not like the sound of that. It sounded so—so cold and remote to her. Still, he had yet to give her an answer. “Have we a bargain, then?”
Tony stared at her with hard blue eyes for a long, uncomfortable moment. “Very well, my lady,” he said in a tight voice. “When shall we begin breeding?”
Brenna could no longer hold his eyes, they were filled with such fury. Dropping her gaze to her lap, she murmured, “I thought we might—that is, I hoped—possibly this evening?”
“Ah, you are not wasting any time, I see. Very well. If you wish, we can do it now.” He reached for the lacings at his throat. “Undress, my lady, and hope for the best.”
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