Chapter 9

Olivia felt like she was a ship in a storm and Mr.Townshend was her anchor. She didn't regret initiating the kiss one bit.

He held her close to him and she felt the hardness of his body against hers. Who would've thought that such a hard, unyielding body could be so warm?!

But his lips were soft as they gently moved with hers. Olivia couldn't breathe, the sensation was too much to bear. She'd been kissed before, but not like this...

One of his hands slid from the base of her neck to her waist. Olivia felt as if his touch burned her through all those layers of cloth. She let herself sink into him with a moan and felt his arms tighten around her.

Jacob was enjoying himself-he was enjoying this far too much. It's just a kiss, he told himself, but when her hands tentatively came around his neck and her bosom pressed against his chest, he couldn't hold back the groan that escaped him.

He was a dying man and she was ambrosia.

He fed on the sweetness of her lips as his hands roamed her back. He knew he shouldn't be affected, that he should stop, but he'd be damned if the little sounds she made didn't spur him on more.

"Olivia," he murmured, intending to end the kiss. But then he made the mistake of looking into her guileless eyes-half lidded, full of passion and he plunged into their depths, not caring about anything other than this moment. Other than this feeling of wanting and being wanted.

She didn't kiss with skill, but she was enthusiastic. She imitated the movement of his lips and that was more than enough to bring Jacob down to his knees.

He'd always preferred experienced women, then why did this innocent spinster have this effect on him?

He didn't want to stop. He wanted to lose himself in the scent of her-roses...she smelt like roses. He wanted to divest her of her gown and finish what they'd started.

"Olivia Cavendish, stop this instant, I say!"

What the hell?

Olivia practically flew apart from him and Jacob had to turn in his lust-filled haze to find the source.

A middle-aged, albeit attractive woman was stomping towards them, looking more than a little indignant. As she drew a little closer, Jacob observed that her eyes were the same shade of blue as Olivia.

"It's my aunt," she whispered from beside him. No wonder.

"Who are you?! Do you think you can just maul my niece in a public park? I'd call you out if I were a man!" she shouted, her eyes radiating fury. Jacob raised a brow, not intimidated in the least. Maul her, indeed!

"Aunt Mel..."

"Not one word, Olivia. I'm very disappointed in you," she huffed.

"My lady, as you could see, we were only kissing and your niece is old enough to make her own choices," he said coolly, not happy about being reprimanded like a wayward child. He was a man of thirty, not a boy of fifteen. And he didn't like the way Olivia looked-ashamed and embarrassed. She was a grown woman, dammit.

But if Jacob thought that her aunt would heed his words, he was wrong. Her eyes were two blue daggers, ready to puncture him.

She merely caught hold of Olivia and dragged her away a few paces before turning and walking back to him.

"Stay away from my niece, mister whoever you are. She's had her share of pain, please don't contribute to it." Although she used the word 'please', there was nothing in her tone that indicated that she was requesting. It sounded more like a warning. Jacob didn't reply, he had never reacted well to warnings.

She turned and stomped off after that, taking Olivia with her. But not before Olivia turned and sent him an apologetic look. He smiled his reassurance.


"What in God's name were you doing, Olivia?" Aunt Mel asked.


"This is no time to be cheeky, niece. I can't believe it. What if someone would've come upon you?"

"We were alone, Aunt Mel. I don't know how you found us."

"I always know how to find you," her aunt eyed her shrewdly, moving to sit on her bed.

"I didn't like the way you two danced last night. But I thought it was harmless. Clearly, it wasn't," she huffed.

Her aunt watched her more closely than she'd initially thought.

"Who is he?" she finally asked.

"Sir Jacob Townshend," she said noncommittally.


"Jacob Townshend, the Viscount Townshend's nephew," she clarified.

But her Aunt's breath whooshed out of her. And she looked a little pale.

"Aunt Mel? Are you alright?"

She nodded mechanically.

"What is it?" Olivia persisted.

"Why is he here in England? After all these years?" her aunt asked, not appearing to have heard her.

"His uncle is on his deathbed, so naturally-"

Melissa shot up from the bed, unable to breathe.

"What do you mean he's dying?" She asked, her voice loud, harsher than she'd intended to be.

"Why, I do not know the details. But Mr.Townshend was extremely upset-he said that he wished he had more time with his uncle..."

Tears streamed down Melissa's face, she was unable to keep her emotions in check any longer.

He wouldn't die. Not on her watch. She turned to her niece. "Olivia, I must go to him."

She looked confused, but slowly, understanding dawned in her eyes. Smart girl.

"All these years..." she murmured, looking dazed.

Melissa nodded, a blush staining her cheeks.

"Yes, you must," Olivia smiled.

"But your father is away in Derbyshire and I was your chaperone for the season."

"Aunt Mel, I can always ask Aunt Sophia. She's been volunteering for years. Although she's not quite as fun as you, I shall make do," Olivia grinned.

"She's so careless, she won't even know when you're off on a kissing excursion," her aunt sniffed.

"I don't see why that's such a bad thing," Olivia winked. "I will take care of my reputation, Aunt Mel. I really am sorry about today," she said more solemnly.

Melissa nodded. "I know you're a good egg, darling," she whispered, dropping a kiss on Olivia's head.

"Now you must go pack," she shooed her away.

"Yes yes," she laughed.

She peeped back inside. "What if he doesn't want me, Olivia?"

"Then there'd be no greater imbecile in this world."

Melissa grinned.

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