The Ultimate Surrender(10)

By: Penny Jordan

‘I don’t need my own sitting room,’ she had protested when their plans for the reorganisation of the house had still been at the drafting stage.

‘Maybe you don’t, but Briony most certainly does,’ Marcus had insisted. ‘Fraser House is her home, Polly, and she needs to be able to grow up feeling that it is a proper home. It’s what Richard would have wanted,’ he had told her firmly, when she had been about to demur. And of course she had given in, and had been glad that she had done so in later years when she had recognised that he had been right to pinpoint Briony’s need to feel that at least a small piece of the house and her mother were hers exclusively.

‘Oh, Marcus,’ she had protested as she’d unwrapped the small gift box she’d held in her hand. ‘What…?’

‘It’s to celebrate our first year in business together,’ he had told her coolly.

He had only arrived back in the early hours of that morning. She hadn’t seen him arrive since she had been in bed, but she had heard the taxi drawing up outside and then this evening he had come down. All day she had been a little on edge wondering when he would put in an appearance, and then there he was, looking impossibly brown and male, dressed in a white tee shirt that positively hugged his broad male torso and a pair of faded jeans which…

Hastily she had averted her eyes as she’d realised, to her own chagrin and confusion, that for some reason her body was actually responding to the sight of his maleness.

Fortunately Marcus had been too busy hugging Briony to notice what was happening to her but, nonetheless, as her daughter had chattered excitedly to her favourite relative—bar none—Polly had instinctively and defensively wrapped her arms around her own upper body to make sure that Marcus neither saw nor misinterpreted the totally inappropriate provocative little thrust of her hardening nipples against the soft fabric of her top. And then he had given her the pretty gift-wrapped package—after he had given Briony an even smaller one, which had turned out to be exactly the right kind of delicate little gold locket for a young girl of her age.

Who had chosen their gifts for him? she had wondered a little sharply. A woman…And then, as she had thanked him for them, stumbling a little over the words, he had taken hold of her, his hands cupping the delicate balls of her shoulder joints and frowning a little as he explored them, before saying almost accusingly, ‘You’ve lost weight.’

‘No, I haven’t,’ she denied, before admitting as she saw the look in his eyes, ‘Well, just a little. I’ve been so busy, there just hasn’t—’

‘Mummy gets too busy to eat,’ Briony informed him trenchantly, much to her dismay.

‘No, that isn’t true,’ she began, as she turned her head from looking at her daughter to look at him, and then stopped when she realised that he was much, much closer to her than she had imagined. So close, in fact, that his mouth was just near enough…

She tensed and gulped, and then, finding that she couldn’t breathe in enough air to her oxygen-starved lungs, she opened her mouth, and Marcus somehow or other totally misinterpreted what that meant. To her shock, he lowered his head, covering her mouth with the warm, firm pressure of his own.

Richard, as a husband and lover, had been tender and gentle, so that sex for Polly had been a happy joyful experience—playful loving in the warm shallows of intimacy and romance, during which she had never once felt unsafe or out of her depth. But instinctively she knew, had always known, that Marcus was not like her husband, that there was to him a much darker and far more passionate maleness.

Sex with Marcus would not be conducted in the shallows. No. It would be conducted in the deepest depths, all she would have to cling to if those waters threatened to submerge and overwhelm her would be Marcus himself. As a wife, and then a widow, Polly had deliberately closed her mind to Marcus’s sexuality, refusing to admit even to herself that it was there or that she was aware of it; but, as his mouth covered hers, she was suddenly made very potently aware of it—and of him.

She panicked, jerking her head back from his and raising her hands to ward him off.

Just for a second before he released her, Marcus had looked right into her eyes. His own were almost black, obsidian, with an anger he wasn’t bothering to conceal, his mouth—the same mouth which had just burned hers—twisting into a dismissive grimace.

‘You’re a woman now, not a girl, Polly,’ she heard him telling her angrily. ‘Richard is dead and—’

‘I don’t care.’ She interrupted him wildly, her heart beating in frantic, nervous little thuds as though she was in fear of her life and fleeing from some terrible threatening danger. ‘To me he is still my husband and he always will be.’

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