So while the giveaway is going on until the end of the month, here is the scene I promised. It takes place in Between after Lindsey and Aiden return home from the ball in Versailles.
After settling Lindsey into the feather bed, I trace my thumb across her cheek to tuck a stray curl behind her ear. Her lips still bear a slight swelling from our kisses earlier at the palace where her boldness had surprised and delighted me. I’m seized by a mad urge to crawl into the bed and join her, but her sleepy eyes hold that impulse at bay.
“Sweet dreams, mo chridhe. I’ll be here when you wake. I promise you that much.” After pressing a light kiss to her forehead, I tear my gaze away and cross the room to the pallet I’d cast for myself beneath the window. I’ve never minded making my bed upon the ground before, but I can feel her eyes watching me, the weight of them like warm hands upon my skin. I turn away to hide the effect her presence has on my body, and struggle for a moment over how to best retire for the night.
Normally, I’d discard my kilt and strip down to my sark. The shirt comes almost to my knees—certainly long enough to maintain modesty in most circumstances. But with Lindsey mere feet away in naught but a thin shift, my desire would be far too evident were I to lie on the ground in only my sark. Still, I cannot take my rest fully clothed or she may ask about it, dissolving the restraint I’ve only barely got hold of.
Instead, I remove my sporran, dirk and shoes, then lower myself to the pallet and pull the sark off over my head. The slight intake of breath from across the room that accompanies the baring of my flesh sends a spike of need through me. Aye, keeping the kilt in place was indeed the right choice. I swallow hard.
With my eyes closed, I listen to her breathing as it eventually becomes slow and even. Just when I expect a gentle snore to signal the depths of her sleep, an unexpected sound floats across the room.
Curious, I sit up and peer at the bed, but I’m not able to see properly, so I get to my feet. The breathy, guttural sound of Lindsey’s humming vibrates in the stillness of the moonlit room. I recognize the waltz played by the orchestra at the ball. Suddenly, her arms fling out wide to either side and she twists in the bed, sending the blankets cascading to the floor.
She’s dancing in her sleep.
Mesmerized, I watch her, taking shallow breaths myself lest I break her trance. Her lips curve up in a delicious smile and my heart clenches at the sight. My tongue passes silently over my own lips, longing to taste her again, to feel her mouth move against mine.
“Aiden...” She breathes my name, though her eyes remain closed.
I can’t help myself. I take a chance. “I’m here, love,” I reply and hold my breath, waiting.
Her dreamy smile grows. “Dance with me, silly. What are you doing clear over there?” Her fingertips twitch as though she’s beckoning me across the hall into her arms. Kneeling at her bedside, I lower my hand into hers until our palms touch. Heat from her skin travels up my arm and curls around my neck. A groan escapes my lips before I can catch myself.
She stills and for a moment, I fear the spell is broken, that my thoughtless sound was enough to disturb her. But then she curls into a ball on one side and tucks my hand close to her heart. The humming resumes and I breathe again, painfully aware of my fingertips nestled between her breasts.
Lifetimes pass as I watch her reliving our dance at the ball in her dreams. My prayers are unceasing and repetitive, an aching plea for mercy.
Sighing, she settles deeper into the mattress. “Don’t leave me, Aiden. Stay,” she says, the words a velvet blade to my soul.
“I promise, my love. I promise.” A hot tear lands on my outstretched arm between us, the first of many I know will come when she is torn from me at last.