"I've always wanted to visit Texas," she murmured. "Is it true what they say?"
"That things are always bigger in Texas," Faith purred.
He rocked on his heels, amusement filling his face, "I suppose that depends on tonight?"
She clucked her tongue and gave the standard Sweetbrier reply. "To spend the night with one of Miss Benedict's ladies, you must pass her personal inspection. While you play cards tonight, you will be on display as well."
She noticed his eyes widening.
"I feel honored," he replied.
"For what reason, sir? You haven't been invited upstairs yet," she reminded him.
His mouth opened in shock.
She laughed at his surprise. "Shall we?" Faith gestured toward the back room.
"Of course?" he echoed with a bow.
Stepping around the end of the bar with the box of cigars in her hands his voice stopped her.
Turning, she expected a question. Instead, she found Thaddeus before her. His arms reached out and took possession of her shoulders. She had only moments to moisten her lips before his descended to imprison them.
At first, his lips were crushing as they moved across her flesh, branding them with his own fire. She leaned forward, molding her body to his, feeling the box trapped between them.
Acting as a wedge, the wood denied the satisfaction of their touch. As the kiss continued, she felt his lips begin to tease and entice. His tongue ran across her upper lip coaxing them to open. When she did, his swept inside.
Her breath quickened as his fingers tightened their hold on the wooden box. She tipped her head and felt the broad sweep of his tongue against of her mouth. Her pulse quickened. The scent of bay rum on his skin and the flavor of whiskey overwhelmed her. She could not get enough, as their tongues stroked each other rising and twirling in a sensual dance.
Faith felt him stiffen in surprise. She moved her head and ran her tongue a second time across his. The kiss erupted, deepening to something needy. Her pulse quickened. It was too soon. She heard him moan. Summoning all her strength, she stepped back breaking contact.
He stood for a moment with his eyes closed, swaying. As they opened, beneath the long dark lashes, Faith could see a hint of desire in the sharpening color of his eyes.
"How?" his voice cracked as he asked.
She didn't need to hear the exact words from his lips. She knew he was referring to her company upstairs. "You must be the winner in tonight's hand," she explained. "I am to choose my paramour, my lover. I am to become his mistress for as long as he needs my body."
He took a deep breath, squaring his shoulders. "Then I must concentrate."
"Yes, you must," she answered boldly before moving toward the gaming room with Thaddeus close behind.