Untamed Hearts

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Excerpt from UNTAMED HEARTS

He stepped forward as the line moved, his gaze straying back to the girl name Jonet. His breath caught as he connected with those eyes, again looking right at him. She whispered something to her friend without breaking the connection, and the blonde followed her gaze. Will let a slow grin roll onto his face, one that made the wenches in port practically melt at his feet. A subtle blush came to Jonet’s cheeks, and she looked down to answer the smile of the next lad in front of her.

Will frowned, suddenly wanting to punch the fool lad who kissed her soundly. Three remained in line before him. He watched Jonet as she took a sip off her mug and chewed a bit of mint. A man rattled off a cutting phrase in Gaelic, and the last lad kissing her turned bright red.

The devil, he needed to learn this language. He already knew French and Latin and a few words from some of the islands in the Caribbean, but he’d never even thought to learn the Scot’s Gaelic.

Jonet kept her gaze away from him until he stepped up. Instead of grabbing the quill, he fished around in the leather bag he had strapped across his chest. He lobbed the pure gold sovereign into the air with a flick of his thumb. It cracked starkly against the wooden table and spun on its end, whirling.

“What can I get for this?” he asked softly, his voice a low rumble meant to coax a rush of heat through a woman. The gold coin wobbled and finally flattened.

She pinkened but held her saucy grin. “Just trading for kisses.”

He was already close, close enough to smell the early spring flowers in the wreath on her glossy hair. “Then I’m trading for a kiss,” he said low. He’d kissed a hundred women, knew just how to touch, how to stroke. She’d likely swoon from his talent.

Will closed the distance over the narrow table. He slid his hand through the heavy mass of ebony to gently hold her nape as his lips met hers. Mint and warmth and sweet, sweet woman. With a nudge, he slanted her face so that they slid against each other, deepening the kiss. She made a small mewing sound in the back of her throat and opened her lips a crack. It was all he needed.

Will’s strategic assault escalated as he tentatively tasted her mouth with his tongue. Would she flee? Instead, the woman opened more, inviting him in, touching him, returning the erotic kiss. Sultry heat coursed through him like flowing fire. The world disappeared as a whirlpool of sensation flooded him. He hauled her closer until she molded against his chest, and still they kissed. Her curves pressed against his hard torso. He could feel her warmth through the thin linen of his partly unlaced shirt.

The hoots from behind him were lost in the sound of his own blood rushing in his ears. He was only half-aware of the lighter-haired girl tugging on Jonet, and slowly, as if gliding up through warm, summer water off an island coast, Will surfaced and broke the kiss.

He held her there, so close their noses touched. Her breath came shallow as if she’d run a race, and he fought to smooth his own ragged inhale. Hell! Or rather, Heaven.

One finger at a time, he disentangled his hold on her soft nape. When he looked down, he realized that she sat upon the table. Had he dragged her across? He backed up as she wet her lips, her mouth open, and he almost dove back in for another taste. But as if she suddenly realized where she was, she slid quickly off, the barrier once again between them.

She cleared her throat, her gaze dropping as she scooped up the gold coin. “’Twill buy quite a few boots for the children.” She nodded in thanks, and it disappeared into her pocket.

Will waited for her to look up, to meet his eyes. Had he scared her?

“I’m Will,” he said and felt the man behind him try to move past. Will held his ground and the man cut over to Ann. “Will Wyatt.”

It worked. She had to meet his gaze in order to pretend the kiss hadn’t affected her. In a spine-straightening inhale, she lifted her bright green eyes, connecting with him. His breath hitched at the rich beauty before him. Golden fire radiated out from within the green. She blinked and tilted her head. “Well, Will Wyatt, if ye want another kiss, ye’ll have to pledge a day’s work at the orphans’ home.” Her saucy smile resurfaced.

Should he toss out another sovereign? Nay, kissing her out here before a hooting crowd wasn’t enough. He would have more. He leaned in and noticed she held her breath even though she kept the mask of a smile. His lips brushed her ear. “What do I have to pledge to get you to swive with me?”

Her inhale bordered on an outraged gasp as she straightened away. He didn’t retreat, just met her wide eyes with laughing ones of his own. What type of mettle was she made of? He doubted she was a whore, though she was trading kisses to a multitude of men. An orphans’ home certainly sounded like a worthy reason.

His smile expanded as he waited for an answer, and slowly her lips relaxed into a grin. “A lifetime of servitude, Will Wyatt,” she said, her tone even, one eyebrow raised. “That’s all.”

Will chuckled and slapped his hand down on the table. “Aye, you have it!”

Jonet started laughing and called out loudly. “Ho, someone fetch Father Daughtry! Will Wyatt has just asked me to wed!”