One Night With A Prince(6)

By: Sabrina Jeffries

“Having you as my mistress is the one thing that might induce me to help you,” he said in his best seductive whisper.

To his surprise, she burst into laughter. “You don’t evenlike me.”

“Not when you’re shooting at me.” He skimmed his finger along her jaw, exulting when her breath quickened. “But if you were to focus all that fierce energy on pleasing a man in bed—”

“As if I know anything about that.” She pushed his hand away with another laugh, but this one was strained. “I’m a respectable woman, for pity’s sake.”

“My mistresses generally are. That doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy themselves in the bedchamber.”

Her amusement vanished. “May I be frank, Mr. Byrne?”

He bit back a smile. “When have you ever not been?”

“I would prefer to be your pretend mistress. If you don’t mind.”

“Ah, but I don’t need a pretend mistress. I can have a real one whenever I wish.”

Her eyes narrowed. “Are you saying you won’t help me unless I become your mistress in truth?”

“That’s exactly what I’m saying.” It was less a bluff than he’d like. The idea of making Lady Haversham his mistress had begun to hold a certain appeal.

Take care, man,he cautioned himself. It was fine to desire the woman, but her usefulness lay in the property that Prinny seemed so eager to have her regain. Gavin meant to get more than a barony out of this. He would settle for nothing less than Prinny’s public confession of how he’d wronged Gavin’s mother.

Never mind that it might cause a scandal that Prinny could ill afford these days. Gavin wanted the record set straight. But he needed leverage for that, which Lady Haversham might provide—ifhe didn’t let his lust for the woman run away with him.

A long sigh escaped her. “Oh, all right. I suppose I can endure having you lie atop me and do your business if I must.”

That brought him up short. “Lie atop you and—”

“I endured it well enough with my husband, so a few encounters of the sort with you won’t hurt me.”

Her heavy sigh alerted him. She was calling his bluff, but doing it in a way designed to put him off, the clever chit.

“Ah, but if you sharedmy bed, it would be—”

“Yes, yes, it would be sheer bliss with you. Of course.”

Her sarcasm didn’t fool him, either. “Then we’re agreed.”

She stiffened. “I don’t think it’s quite fair for you to ask an additional payment for your services when His Highness has already offered you a barony.” When his eyes narrowed, she added hastily, “But I’ll meet your price if I must.”

Now she was trying to reduce his seduction to a mercenary act. But her shaking hands gave her away—this was all bluster. Damn, but this must be important to her—and to Prinny. He ought to keep pressing her to see how far she’d go, but the truth was, he liked his women willing. What pleasure would there be in taking a woman to bed who didn’t want to be there? If he agreed to her scheme, though, he’d have plenty of time to bring her round. And that would make the pleasure even sweeter in the end.

When he said nothing, she added, “Shall we seal the deal now? You gentlemen are usually quick with your swiving, so I could throw up my skirts, and you could take care of matters before anyone guesses—”

“Enough, madam, you’ve made your point.” Not the point she thought she’d made, but an effective one nonetheless. “Where did you learn a word likeswiving, anyway?”

She eyed him coolly. “I’ve spent most of my life in the company of soldiers. My father is a general, remember?”

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