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Chapter 11

(adult warning for this chapter):
She might have dozed. Yet, when she opened her eyes it was still dark and Marguerite could still hear the rain as it beat a steady pulse against her hotel suite's window. Quick flashes of lightning, as if from a magician's wand, engulfed the room. It was followed by angry thunder which rumbled distantly. She shivered and tried once again to sleep.

An exceptionally bright flash burst through the room and she winced, opening her eyes into slits. Marguerite anticipated the consequence of a ferocious noise to follow. She was then unexpectedly distracted when, during the mad rumble, a human shadow - dark and unexplained - fled without warning against the wall nearest her bed. She sat up quickly and cried: "Who's there?!" Marguerite's heart beat rapidly and she trembled in alarm as she pulled her bed clothes up to her chest.

"Sh." he walked closer, "It's just me."

In the midst of the last flickers of Mother Nature's fickle torch, Marguerite recognized him. "Roxton … why are you standing there? And why aren't …?" she began but could not finish. It was dark, not allowing for the best view, but she was aware that he was not wearing clothes. Roxton was dressed as he was when she found him in bed earlier in the evening.

He moved in closer, his expression showing a strange combination of sadness, fear and anticipation.

"Roxton?" She watched as he stepped into a streak of light from a well insolated street lamp outside her window. It crossed Roxton's face as if this was something it was meant to do. Marguerite could see his tormented eyes clearly, "John, please tell me what's wrong." she urged.

Carefully, acutely attentive, he sat on the edge of her bed and appeared anxious. Roxton tenderly took her hands in the warmth of his own. "I was thinking about what you said, Marguerite." he whispered barely above the rumblings of thunder outside. "If we have no future, as you seem to think, but we do have this longing and this moment in time then maybe we … should take all we can of one another. It may be our last chance to know if this is simple desire or maybe … more."

Marguerite could feel her breath quickening. Men had given into her before, for a number of different reasons, but this was the first time in her life that she was ecstatic at the prospect of payback. Still, as much as she desired his company, Roxton had to understand where it most probably would not lead. "I can promise you no more than tonight, John." she reiterated compassionately, her voice shuddering ever so slightly at the impulsive thought that he may, once again, refuse her conditions. "I … I don't want you to get your hopes up."

He lifted a hand to touch her hair and cheek. "I'll take what I can get and hope for more. But I have no expectations, Marguerite. Except maybe …" The smooth pads of his fingers rubbed her knuckles gently, "… happiness." Roxton then lifted the hand and kiss her palm softly.

They looked at one another.

She recalled how heroic and handsome he had once looked on horseback and also how, when he thought her badly hurt, he held her in his arms and whispered sweet words. Marguerite could not recall what Roxton had said, because she was quickly losing consciousness at that time, but the memory of his concerned and loving touch had stayed with her after all these months.

He remembered the sporadic times when he saw her smile, showing any emotion other than the fašade of calculated discipline the woman steadfastly exhibited. He looked forward to those moment when Marguerite did not know he was watching her, when she let down her guard, and how stunned and deeply affected he was by the revelation that Miss Krux - not just a beautiful and enigmatic woman - was an accepting-feeling human being.

And now gazing at one another, a controlled yet blistering heat was being stoked that had nothing to do with the flames in her suite's hearth, yet had everything to do with the measured smolder inside of two human beings that wanted each other utterly.

Roxton, unable to contain himself any longer, leaned forward to take the woman he loved in his arms. He kissed her, fearless and passionate, their lips pulling at one another as if they were drowning and only their kiss would give enough oxygen to keep one another alive. It was a long and lavish melding of mouths, fingers against bare skin, and combing through softly tousled hair.

When they parted, their foreheads touching, Marguerite could not help her question, "What about your principals?" she teased and giggling quietly despite their highly intimate situation.

"They're still there keeping me centered … but then something deep inside whispers that second chances are few and far between …" Slowly, he lowered Marguerite to lay on her back on the mattress, " … and I figured … 'Oh, what the hell'." and he kissed her again, a hand resting on Marguerite's flat stomach, slowly sliding upward over the luxuriate material to touch a firm breast through the silk of her negligee.

Reaching our blindly, Marguerite pulled back her bed covers to make better room for him. Lightning flashed. 'A magician's wand' she thought again and nearly sniggered.

Roxton's mouth trailed over her cheek, neck and chest. His eager fingers raised to pull the straps on her negligee down so that he had better access to her silky-smooth shoulders. "So soft …" he whispered between kisses.

Savoring his touch, Marguerite smiled and held his head, directing Roxton to where she wanted to be kissed most., "Yes … yes … Like that." she whispered. But she needed more. As they listened to the rain crashing down outside Marguerite, with his help, slid the negligee up over her head, off of her sleek body. "John …" Her arms surrounded him, holding him close, nearly begging for the bliss only he could give.

His lips crushed hers with wild abandonment now and a hand reached down to massage the smooth skin of a thigh, moving inside to feel the excited warmth of her body, to explore and hear her gasps of pleasure as he kept to a steady rhythm.

By the time the flickers of lightning from outside had reached a blinding crescendo, he had lifted her hips, her legs hugging him, her breathing rapid, and he moved easily inside of her magnificent depths. "I need you … love you …" he murmured in her ear, over and over again, overwhelmed. Roxton had made love with women before but not this beauty, not the woman of his dreams. If only they had more time to explore these feelings ... "Marguerite …" he spoke her name desperately, nearing a pinnacle he prayed would last forever.

Her back arched and she held him tightly, her body quivering. The barrage of sensations were enough to make her cry out but instead Marguerite concentrated on the incredible ecstasy their melding generated. She kissed his cheeks and throat, massaging his shoulders while urging him on to his own completion, thanking him for his power, the way he had over come his doubts, allowing them to share such profound bliss.

In the aftermath they gazed at one another, still holding and in position, and smiled.

A mystery no more.

"One word." Roxton breathed a request.

"Just one?" she continued to grin, delighted that he seemed so proud of himself, and wanted her approval.

He waited, watching her expression as she searched her mind for the perfect word, enjoying their private, thoroughly intimate game.

"On word …" she repeated and rummaged about in her mind, remembering the passion, elation and lightning …. Then Marguerite smiled, listening once again to the rain outside, at what should have been obvious. The word was …