DeVere's gaze narrowed. "Why so concerned for my brother? One might think you have feelings for Hew."
"What if I did?" she retorted. "It's no business of yours! Besides, your abominable machinations have already destroyed any potential of that."
DeVere rose and came to her, perching himself on the arm of the settle. "My honorable and straitlaced brother could never satisfy a woman like you, Diana. He could never plumb the depths of your passion...unlock your secret desires."
His voice was low and seductive, and the flickering blue fire in his eyes heated her insides. Diana fiercely tamped down the smoldering sensation that threatened to reignite feelings she'd struggled to suppress. "And what would you know of my wants and desires after four years?"
"A great deal." He gave her a slow, confident smile. "Given that I was the one to unleash them."
Diana averted her face with a bitter laugh. "Thus you presume to have an exclusive claim to me?"
"Has any other exerted one?" he asked softly. He reached out a hand and traced a long, manicured finger along her jaw. "You are still unwed, Diana. Have you taken another lover in my absence?"
"It is none of your business whether I have or not, and you are grossly impertinent to ask."
He laughed long and low. "I think I have my answer."
She glared at him, and thus they remained, silently challenging one another for an interminable beat. Then suddenly his mouth was on hers, taking, possessing, as if it was indeed, his singular privilege.
Diana leaned into him, teasing his lower lip with her tongue and sucking it eagerly into her mouth before sinking her teeth into it. Hard. Savoring the coppery taste of his blood.
"What the hell!" DeVere jerked back with a cry. He touched his lip and examined the crimson stain on his fingertip, his expression a mix of outrage and bemusement.
"You took without invitation," Diana said. "It was a warning not to do so again."