|Henry scooped Sorcha up and felt her fold her arms around his neck. He mounted the stone steps, never letting his climb interrupt a second of their kiss. She had broken through a barrier he kept around his pain for a mother he had never met. It was that pain that drove him to seek answers about his mother's life before her marriage. He couldn't protect her, but he could defend her good name. Sorcha's similar loss connected them, and he knew Sorcha felt this, too.
Without relinquishing his claim on her mouth, he managed the passageway and the door to his room. Her lips tasted sweet, her breath hinting of apple. He liked the flavor and examined her face for more other deliciously sweet spots.
"Would you not like to put me down now, Sir Henry?"
He nuzzled his nose into her soft red locks and nibbled her earlobe. "I'm content."
"Tis not very practical."
Reluctantly, he let her down gently.
"You carried me as if I weighed nothing." She placed her hand on his chest and rubbed her fingers over his tunic. "I'm impressed by your strength."
"There are many kinds of strength, milady." He tugged his tunic up and over his head. "I'm about to show you all of them."
He reached back to the side to unbuckle his chain mail and found it a strenuous task, one that he had a steward usually assist with.
"Again, you are trapped by your own armament." She pushed his arm to get him to move it away.
He watched her unfasten the leathers down one side. When she shifted to the other, he raised that arm out of her way. Then she helped lift the steel vest off over his head. It clinked loudly when he dropped it to the floor.
"You should have taken that off and left it with your steward. Now you'll have to put it back on before leaving here."
"How nice that I'll have you to help me with it." He smiled. "Now, isn't there something of your clothing you'd like to remove? I haven't forgotten my promise to pleasure you with long hot kisses."
"As I remember, you wanted to be a cat while doing so."
Henry dropped to his hands and knees. "Meow."
"What are you doing?" She jumped back as he crawled toward her.
He licked his lips, teasing her. "I'm anticipating the taste of your sweet cream."
He cornered her by the bed and a trunk against the wall.
"Sir Henry, stop that," she squealed as he rubbed his face against the skirting of her gown-covered leg.
"Meow," he said again.
"Sir Henry, please." Her surprised tone disappeared as she laughed. "Henry, that tickles."
He chased her slow walk around the room, flipping up the hem of her gown and going for her leg. Once she stopped trying to escape, he lifted the skirt and licked her ankle. She gathered the cloth and slid it higher, exposing her slender limb.
"Meow," he purred, speckling her shin and knee with kisses.
Not getting ahead of himself, he show patience and dragged his lips down to the top of her foot just before the rim of her shoe. At the sound of a forced cough, he turned his head to see Thomas in the doorway.
Sorcha dashed away to the opposite side of the room. Henry rose from the floor and silently scolded himself for not thinking to close the door.
"Your meal, Sir Henry."
"Thank you. Just leave it on the table."
Henry watched Thomas come closer, hoping he wasn't going to hear an earful about his undignified behavior. While Thomas liked to still treat him as the boy he'd helped his brothers raise, now wasn't the time to be reprimanded like one.
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