He raised his hands. “There. You see? You’ve asked for something for which you are not prepared.”
“Was that a test?”
“Yes.” He sighed. “And the outcome was as I expected.”
Shame mixed with outrage. She’d been attempting to expand her boundaries, quavering with the effort of it, and he stood there as unaffected as a teacher delivering a lesson. But the disgrace of it was, he was right. She wasn’t ready. Not tonight. But soon. Tonight, she would retreat and examine her reactions and try to plot a way forwards.
But she had her pride, and it refused to let him see her run back to her room to lick her wounds. “I wouldn’t want you to suffer my inadequate attempts at congress. Perhaps I’ll seek a less critical partner elsewhere.”
She reached the door before he responded.
“Miss Wilcox, as your temporary protector, I feel beholden to insist that you run the name of any potential scoundrels by me before you commence any affairs.” He stalked towards her. “I feel duty bound to investigate their character.”
“And you’d allow me that liberty?” Disappointment crashed through her, and tears burned the back of her eyes. She could never put herself through this with another man.
“Of course. As you point out, there is no marriage bed to save yourself for.” Pausing next to her, he tugged at the neckline of her gown, straightening the lace trim. “Though I don’t think I need worry about it.”
Amanda froze. Surely he didn’t see that clearly into her mind. See that of all the men she’d known, she held him in an especial regard. Even after this failure, she knew she would try to seduce him again, and the tender feelings he evoked would make giving her body that much easier. That didn’t mean she wanted him to know of them.
“And why is that?” she whispered.
“You’d have to leave the house to find yourself a buck. And that, Miss Wilcox, is something we both know you won’t do.”
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