Camille laid her cheek against Dmitri’s warm back. It was good to have a man of her own and her own home. It was also wonderful to be needed.
Her fingers brushed across his ribs and Dmitri wiggled a little in response. Ah! He was ticklish. Some devil of mischief took possession of her and Camille launched an attack on Dmitri’s unprotected ribs. With a howl, followed by choked laughter, he came awake. They rolled around on the bed as Dmitri tried to grab her wrists. At last, he succeeded in subduing the laughing girl.
“Fiend! That is no way to wake a man! Perhaps you are ticklish yourself.”
The smile he turned on her was wicked. With a chuckle, Dmitri forced Camille’s arms above her head. Hazel eyes wide, she struggled to break loose.
“Now, let me see. Could you be ticklish here?” His fingers brushed across her ribs and Camille struggled harder.
“Not there. Then I think I will try here.”
His searching fingers found the tender skin beneath her arm. Camille giggled as she attempted to roll away, but his body held her against the mattress.
“Oh, please stop! Dmitri, stop!” Tears rolled from her eyes, as Camille’s laughter became choked. Dmitri released her, then rolled onto his side. Camille closed her eyes for a moment as she caught her breath.
Dmitri lowered his head to kiss her wet cheek. “Was I too rough with you? Did I hurt you?”
She opened her eyes, then smiled at him. “No, you were not too rough.”
His concern touched her. Camille reached up to push the hair from his forehead. Will we ever reach the point, she asked herself when questions like this are unnecessary?
Without a word, he embraced her. They lay back on the bed together. Camille rested her head on his shoulder. Dmitri’s hand caressed the soft skin of her back where the nightgown had ridden up.
Already he knew the feel of her body. It was strange, knowing a woman’s body better than her heart. Camille cuddled against him and seemed content. Did she experience any of the conflicting emotions now storming through him? Would they ever be as one, married in the full sense of the word?
There was a significant difference in their ages. Seventeen years were almost a lifetime. Dmitri wondered if the age gap between them might be the cause of their inability to understand each other. It was a gulf he was not sure could be bridged.
True, he knew of other men who married girls much younger than themselves, but he never found innocent young girls more than boring. They flirted, they played games, and the extent of their conversation seemed to be local gossip.
Camille was young and there were times her inexperience irked him, yet he sensed something kind and good in her. She was not a vapid, selfish chit.
He needed to let go of the worries and enjoy the warmth of her tucked against him. For now, Dmitri would take what he could get. Camille lay against him, and he sensed no reservations in the woman he held. It was sufficient for the moment.