Secrets of Midnight(114)

By: Miriam Minger


"Corie? Good God, woman, are you all right?"

She stared up at him, so grateful that she'd caught him in time, so giddily happy that he hadn't left yet for London, so . . . so angry that he was going to leave without saying good-bye!

"You . . . you cad! Scoundrel! Reckless horseman!"

"Reckless horseman?"

"You could have killed me! Killed me! And I came all this way to find you!"

"You came to find me?"

"Yes, that's only fair, isn't it? After all the times you had to come after me? But then Gilbert said you were going to London and—and without even a good-bye and . . . and you're going to annul me, aren't you?"

"Actually," he said huskily, drawing her into his arms, "I'd annul you just for the chance to start over with you again as my bride, Corie, if I thought it might help me win your love."

As tears filled her eyes, Corisande plucked at Donovan's coat; she had suddenly grown so flustered. "I . . . I don't think that will be necessary, my lord."

"No?"

She shook her head, swallowing hard so that she might continue to speak. "I think I've been quite won over already . . . quite won over. I'm just so sorry, Donovan, that it took me so—"

She didn't have to finish. Donovan's kiss was so warm, so tender, that she felt her heart filling with unimaginable joy. And when he finally pulled away from her, long, long moments later, he had the funniest, wryest smile on his lips.

"I wasn't going to London, you know."

"No?"

He shrugged. "No. Couldn't leave you. That's all there is to it. I guess you're stuck with me, woman, for better or worse, informer or not—"

"Oh, no, Donovan, I never believed you were an informer! I only said that because—"

Again Donovan silenced her, this time with a finger placed gently to her lips. Later, he thought, later he would tell her about Jack Pascoe, but not now. Not now.

"That's all behind us, Corie. Are we agreed?"

She nodded, and he drew her close, hugging her fiercely to him as he murmured against her hair, "And no more fair trading, are we agreed? After seeing that revenue cruiser, I can't bear the thought that—"

"Agreed."

She'd answered so hoarsely that he drew back to look into her face, only to discover tears coursing down her cheeks.

"Corie?"

"I want you to find your daughter, Donovan, I truly do, and I'll do anything I can to help you. I'll love her as if she were my very own. But for you to go behind enemy lines—"

"There won't be any enemy lines, not in Lisbon," he said softly, watching surprise light her face. "Paloma's been found. My daughter's been found. We have only to go get her, Corie. Will you come with me to bring my little girl home?"

Corisande reached up to cradle his face, her lips sweetly, so sweetly touching his, and Donovan knew that he needn't have asked. But he couldn't help himself from asking for one final agreement when she drew away from him a moment later, her beautiful eyes shining.

"One last thing, Corie. Would you promise here and now that you'll never call me lambkins?"

"Only if you promise never to call me a shrew."

"Oh, you're no shrew, woman." Donovan hugged her against him, his smile as teasing as her own. "Just lively. And I wouldn't want you any other way."

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