A Christmas Romance
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The more his friend pushes his ward at Esmond as the perfect wife, the more Esmond resists and falls further in love with Hester.
Esmond was the one to break that silence. “I’m going to kiss you now, Miss Child, because I wish to, because I think you will like it—and it might make you feel a modicum better—and because to do so, I will need to move you off my wounded leg which is hurting.”
Hester was apologetic, which he thought was a good sign that he had distracted her from her troubles. Esmond shifted her off of one thigh and onto the other. “You cannot run away this time,” he remarked as he set his lips on hers and felt her respond. He pressed deeper as his tongue played with hers in an almost lazy fashion as they enjoyed tasting each other. They nibbled and bit before diving in to taste again with their tongues.
“That was good,” Esmond said at last. “Why did you run away last time?” Hester shifted in his arms, though not apparently to move off his lap but merely to lean back so she could see him better.
“Because you are Celeste’s prize; she told me so herself. I promised her I wouldn’t interfere.” Hester licked her lips after she finished explaining.
“Ah,” Esmond remarked and kissed her again. “Walter is a matchmaker, though he isn’t the sort of man who normally interferes. You know that he induced me to come to The Labyrinth partly because he had a pretty young cousin.”
“Yes. Walter is…” Hester shifted in his lap, conscious that she might be hurting him. She untangled herself, though Esmond was reluctant to let go. She sat again in her chair. “Walter is like that.” He thought Hester had more to say about his friend, but it was quite late, and their conversation had slipped far past a simple question and answer. Her candle had burned out. It was time to part before he offered her more than whiskey.