Heart's Desire

Heart's Desire by Jacquie D'Alessandro Read Free Book Online

Book: Heart's Desire by Jacquie D'Alessandro Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jacquie D'Alessandro
seconds for him to dredge up his voice, and even then , it sounded as if his throat w ere coated with sand.
    “Callie. What are you doing here?”
“I was walking through the gardens and somehow found myself on the path to the lake. What are you doing here? I thought you planned to retire early.”
    “I did. But I couldn’t sleep. I thought a walk might tire me, and … here I am.” He didn’t mention he’d been strongly drawn here, as if compelled by an invisible hand to the place he’d seen reflected in the mirror. Indeed , when he’d returned home , he spent a half hour turning the mirror pendant over in his hands, carefully examining each jewel, searching for a clue to explain what he’d seen. All to no avail.
    Reasoning that perhaps he might see the odd reflection again if he were physically at the location, he’d tucked the piece in this pocket and struck out for the lake. Never once had he considered that Callie might be here as well.
    But she was. Here. Alone. With him. With ribbons of moonlight caressing her ivory skin. Looking at him with an expression he couldn’t decipher other than to know it pumped fire through his veins and made his clothes feel several sizes too small.
    How many times had he dreamed of being alone with her like this? Too many to count. But bloody hell, it was a very, very bad idea. His damn ed hands were practically trembling with the need to touch her. And this clawing need to touch her … Jesus, it was going to kill him.
    She moistened her lips , and he bit back a groan of pure want. God Almighty, this truly was going to kill him.
    “I’m glad you’re here, William. I’d planned to stop by the shop in the morning on our way to London to speak with you, but I’m relieved it’s not necessary to wait that long. About what Aunt Olivia said regarding an engagement —”
    “Why didn’t you tell me?”
    “Because there was nothing to tell.”
    “You think getting engaged is nothing ?”
    “Of course not. But I am not engaged.”
    “But you will be soon.”
    “I … I know it is what Hayley wants for me. A husband. Children.”
    The knot in his stomach tightened. “Is it what you want for yourself?”
    Her bottom lip quivered then she nodded. “More than anything. But—”
    “Then that’s what you should have.” God, that trembling lip sm o te him where he stood. She looked so damn ed sweet and beautiful and vulnerable looking at him with those huge eyes. Even as his better judgment screamed at him not to touch her, he reached out and brushed a single fingertip over the soft curve of her cheek. “You should have your heart’s desire.”
    William’s finger slipped from her velvety skin , and it required all his strength to lower his hand to his side. Silence pulsed between them, one that to him felt thick with tension. And fraught with danger — of hi s losing the battle he fought with himself not to yank her into his arms.
    He should leave. He knew it. But his heart wanted so badly to stay. To share these few private moments with her. Moments that would never come again. Tomorrow , she returned to London. To her Society world. And the lucky bastard who would marry her and give her heart’s desire.
    So his feet remained in place as if nailed to the grass. Yet he couldn’t simply continue to gawk at her. In a desperate attempt to keep his hands off her and talk about anything other than her engagement, he said, “I brought the mirror pendant with me.”
    She blinked then frowned. “You did? Why?”
    “An experiment of sorts.” He slipped the piece from his pocket and peered at its glossy surface, turning his palm to catch threads of moonlight. “As odd as it sounds, I thought I saw something when we were in the shop, but it must have been my imagination , because I’ve not seen it again.”
    “Was it this tree?” she asked.
    William’s head snapped up from his study of the mirror. His gaze met hers. “Yes. How did you know?”
    “I thought I saw

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