As lovely as it had been to imagine the taste and feel of Miss Grace Claridon, Alexander knew it had to stop. He knew that she was a respectable woman who deserved to be thought of honorably.
He moved towards her, his long steps eating up the distance that had existed between them. Taking her hands in his, he looked her in the eyes and said “I have overstepped the bounds of our agreement and I apologize for my transgression. Could you find it in your heart to forgive me, Miss Claridon?”
Shocked, Grace stammered before granting him forgiveness. “I suppose I can forgive you, Your Grace. As long as you ensure that this will not happen again.” With the duke in close proximity to her, Grace was treated to the woodsy scent, tinged with undertones of sandalwood, that enveloped him. She also spied the smattering of dark hair visible where his shirt was unbuttoned. His hands were large and callused in hers. His nails were neat and clean but his palms told a story of work done for love of land and not for profit. “Yes,” Grace said once more, “I forgive you.”
“Thank you, Miss Claridon.” He slowly raised her hands, giving her every opportunity to pull away, before brushing lips over first one hand and then the other.
Her breath caught as she watched his mouth pass over her hands and in the silence that followed, she could hear her heart pounding in her ears. Regaining her senses, she pulled her hands out of his and raced back to the house without another word.
Alex was left standing alone in the stables, stunned.