“In that case, Anastasia Trent, if you wish to travel in my carriage, you shall have to buy a seat.”
“Is that so? And what is the going rate for passage in such a broken down third-rate conveyance?”
“It is quite expensive, my dear. I fear you cannot afford it.”
“Then you have grossly misjudged me, Your Grace, for I am a lady of some means.” The sparkle in her eyes spelled mischief and mirth. How he loved her. What had taken him so long to realize it? “Name your price, good man. For I am in desperate need to arrive in London today.”
“Desperate need?” Baldwyn put his arms around her waist and pulled her close. “Very well. The cost for passage to London this day is one kiss… Payable in advance.” He lowered his head to hers, but she slipped one finger in front of his lips, stopping his forward motion inches from her mouth.
“I have not yet consented to your terms, sir.” A wry smile played on her lips. “I wish to offer a counter.”
“Anastasia,” Baldwyn whispered against her finger. “One does not say she is desperate and then expect to have bargaining power.”
She giggled. “No. No, I suppose not. But will you not hear me out?”
“What is your offer, Princess?” He placed a lingering kiss on the finger that blocked his path to her lips.
She brought her hand down to rest on his chest. “Two. One now…” she rose onto her tiptoes, meeting his lips with her own in a slow, warm caress that he could feel all the way through him. Baldwyn was breathless when she pulled away. “…And the second payable on safe delivery.”
He rested his forehead against hers and closed his eyes. “Sweet Anastasia,” he whispered hoarsely. “You have much to learn about bargaining.”
~Two Turtledoves (work in progress)