Gently and with regret, Seguín broke their kiss and stepped back. Diana swayed in the circle of his arms. Her eyes were shut, and her lips swollen from his kisses.
He stroked the curve of her spine through her muslin gown. He’d been right; she wasn’t wearing a corset. Her breasts had pebbled into peaks. He could see their tight buds through the thin material.
She was an unusual woman—going without a corset.
And por Dios, she was driving him wild with wanting her.
Her eyes opened. She pulled away, and he let her go. Her cheeks were tinged pink, and she backed up several steps. She didn’t look at him, keeping her head lowered.
She sat down on the stone bench and traced an imaginary pattern on the flagstones of the patio with the toe of her slipper.
With her gaze averted, she said, “I think you better leave.”
He flushed and drew himself up. He’d allowed his control to slip. Holding and kissing her had changed him… changed his relationship with her. Why had he done it?
“At least think about what I’ve said. Will you? And give my regards to your mother.”
She nodded. And he thought he detected the bright sparkle of moisture on her eyelashes. That he might have made her cry hammered at him. But he couldn’t be certain. He waited as the seconds ticked by. He didn’t know why. She’d already asked him to leave.
But when he turned to go, the sound of her voice stopped him. “You were right that day at the posada, Seguín. I’ve never been kissed before.”
He turned to apologize, but she forestalled him by saying, “You said I acted like a man.” She brushed her fingertips across her lips and raised her head. “Why did you kiss me now? To convince me to sell you the formula? To appeal to my feminine vanity?”
Silently, he cursed himself for the ugly things he’d said that day. She sounded so wounded and vulnerable. And he knew what it felt like to believe no one wanted you.
“I want the formula. I admit it. But not enough… not enough to make love to…” He stopped and ran his hand through his hair. She probably wouldn’t believe him, but he had to say it anyway. “I kissed you because you look so lovely with the sunlight shining on your hair. And because I wanted to kiss you, Diana. As simple as that.”
He watched as the slow flush crept up her neck, turning her cheeks pinker than the camellia nestled in her honey-blond hair.
She lowered her head again. And a tense silence, like the one when he came, stretched between them.
“One more thing, Seguín. I know you didn’t send the intruder. I know your stepfather did.” She raised her head and snagged his gaze. “Why didn’t you guard my father against your enemies? Why did you allow him to be murdered?”
The familiar spike of guilt lanced through him. He lowered his head and backed up a pace.
How had she found out?
The York’s. Gossip was the lifeblood of México, and the York’s were well connected. So, the truth was out and she knew. But with the truth revealed, came a strange sense of relief.
“I didn’t mean to endanger your father.” He lifted his hand and swiped the stubble on his chin. “I didn’t think my stepfather would…” He shook his head. “I’ve no real excuse. I should have known. Should have taken better precautions.” He hung his head. “I wish there was something I could do…”
“I don’t think I can forgive you.”
He waited, his head hung low, staring at the tips of his boots. But she didn’t respond.
He bent down, picked up his cowboy hat, and left the quiet house.