Page 37

Author: Anne Stuart

She should argue. She should fight. She did neither. She lifted her arms and slid them around his neck, dancing into his kiss. He pulled her down on the bed, covering her, and the feel of his hot skin against her hands was a shocking intimacy. His fingers brushed her throat, and the collar of her night robe began to part. He moved his mouth away from her, down the line of her jaw to the hollow of her throat, heated breath warming her as he slowly unfastened the row of tiny buttons that usually took her so long to fasten, his mouth lazily following the exposed flesh.

She still had the covers around her, and he pulled them away, pushing them off her. The heat from the fire had begun to fill the room, and she closed her eyes, feeling his mouth on her skin. His hands moved up and covered her breasts, and she jumped, momentarily startled, then subsided as he stroked her, slowly, into a kind of dazed submission.

She was doing this, she was really going to do this, she thought. Her nipples hardened against his fingers, and the sharp intensity of the pleasure was almost painful. He was watching her, rubbing his thumbs back and forth across her breasts, and the feeling burned straight down to that place between her legs.

“Don’t,” she gasped, afraid of the sensation.

“Don’t be absurd, my pet. This is simply pleasure. You need to learn to get used to it.”

She sucked in her breath, wanting to squirm. “It’s…uncomfortable.”

He laughed. “Sex isn’t about comfort. At least, not what lies between you and me. It’s hot and hard and aching, and it won’t feel better until we’re finished.”

“Then why do it?” she whispered dizzily.

He smiled. “Because it feels so good.” And he set his mouth against her breast, sucking at her, and she let out a strangled cry.

It was too much. And it was not enough. He’d pushed the nightgown open to expose her breasts, and the sight of his head down against her, drawing her into his mouth made that ache grow stronger still. He put his hand on her other breast, his fingers dark against the pure white of her skin, plucking at her, and she let out a long, low wail as the burning grew hotter, harder.

He lifted his head to look at her. “Touch me,” he whispered. “Put your hands on me.”

She realized she’d been lying there like a virgin bride, clutching the sheets in her fists. She released them, slowly lifting her hands to touch his shoulders. They were rock hard with tension, and there was no shirt to cling to, only warm, smooth flesh. He seemed satisfied, though, and lowered his mouth again, this time to her other nipple, and she wanted to cry out, to beg him. She didn’t, because she had no idea what she’d beg him for.

He pulled his mouth back, and ran his tongue across the distended peak, causing her to gasp in reaction. And then he blew on the dampness, cool in the heated air, and her fingers dug into his shoulders as she squirmed on the mattress in mindless need.

“Let’s get this over and done with,” he muttered, climbing off the bed to reach for the fastening of his breeches.

She didn’t plan to look. She knew she should be curious, but both Thomas and Wilfred had been so secretive about their…rods that she suspected there was something shameful about them. But Benedick had already stripped, and it was too late to look away. She simply stared in awe.

He was magnificent. His torso and legs were long and lean, muscled and strong. He didn’t have the thick mat of hair that had covered seemingly every inch of her husband’s body. His chest was smooth, with just a bit of hair in the middle, moving in a line down below his waist, setting off the jutting erection he somehow thought was going to fit inside her.

“No,” she said, shaking her head. “You’re too big.”

He laughed then. “There’s something to be said for having such an ingenuous lover. Merci du compliment. It will fit.”

She opened her mouth to protest but he simply silenced her with his tongue, climbing onto the bed beside her, and started pushing off the rest of the nightgown.

“You really want me naked?” she whispered, still uncertain.

“I really want you naked,” he said, moving his mouth to the sensitive skin between her neck and shoulder, biting her gently as his hands divested her of the voluminous nightgown. And now they were both naked in the bed, and she knew there really was no going back.

It should have frightened her. Instead it empowered her, and she reached up to touch his long, thick hair, as she’d wanted to do countless times before, letting her fingers sift through the silk strands, wishing she could bring it to her mouth, to taste it.

His mouth was moving down, kissing her, licking her, biting her, and she arched up in delight, wanting something, not sure what it was.

“For God’s sake, would you please touch me?” he said in a strangled voice.

She blinked. “But I am touching you.”

“I mean my cock.”

It took her a moment to realize what he meant. He took her hand, drawing it down his chest, and she shivered in delight, entranced with the feel of his hot skin. And then he placed it around him, the hard, silken part of him, and she tried to pull her hand away in sudden shyness.

He held her there, wrapping his fingers around hers, so that she had no choice. She cupped him, and he drew their hands up and down the rigid length of him, and she heard him groan in pleasure.

“How do you feel?” he whispered in her ear, his voice rough.

She was so caught up in the feel of him that it took her a moment. “Afraid,” she said finally. “A little bit.”


“And restless. Needy. Wanting,” she said, shocked at herself.

He kissed her. “That’s good. Anything else?” He kept moving their hands in unison.

“And…and wet,” she said, knowing she was blushing. The one candle that still burned offered little illumination, just enough to embarrass her.

He smiled then, and kissed her again, full and openmouthed. “Good… You’ve had me hard for days. It’s only fair that I should make you wet.”


His hand released hers, but she didn’t let go. Instead her grip loosened and her fingertips touched him, glanced across the hot skin, the rigid, protruding veins, the flared head. It still seemed mysterious, but as she let her fingers learn him she felt reaction shudder through his strong body.

He moved then, pulling away from her, lying on his side next to her, watching her out of hooded eyes. She had the sudden fear that she’d hurt him, offended him, but the intent look on his face made her skin heat.

“Relax, sweet Charity,” he said softly. “I’m just going to make sure you’re ready.” His hand covered her stomach, warm and strong, and she shivered in response, as he moved it down, between her legs, his fingers slipping through the curls, into the wetness, and he closed his eyes, smiling. “Oh, my precious, you most definitely are ready. I had so many other things in mind, but I’m afraid I’m simply going to have to take you now. I’ll have to lick you another time.”

“But you did. My breasts.”

“Not there,” he said, brushing against her hard nipples. “Here.” And his fingers slid inside her.

She arched up in shock, crying out. He stroked her, slowly, spreading the wetness around, and then he moved between her legs, and she tensed, knowing what was coming, knowing it was going to be miserable.

The touch of him against her silenced her, stilled her. She was trembling, trying to hide it, but lying naked beneath a man made subterfuge almost impossible. “I’ll stop if it hurts you,” he said, pushing against her. “We’ll go slow. Just tell me how it feels.”

She trusted him. She’d forgotten that salient point—she trusted him. She nodded, unable to speak, bracing herself, and his smile was so sweet it almost shattered her. “No, my love. This isn’t a torture chamber. Relax.”

“I c-c-can’t,” she stammered, shivering despite the warm of the air.

“I’ll help.” And leaning forward, he bit the top of her breast, just hard enough to shock her into loosening her muscles. At that he pushed into her, so hard, so big, and she should tell him to stop, tell him that it hurt.

And it did hurt. Just a little bit. So little that the pain was almost a kind of pleasure, and she shifted, lifting her hips, needing more of him.

“Am I hurting you?” His mouth was against her ear.

“More,” she said, her voice ragged. “Please. More.”

He held himself still for a moment, and then he pushed, slid deep, filling her, and she cried out, arching against him, taking him.

He began to thrust, slowly at first, watching her, and she knew he was afraid of hurting her. She wanted to scream at him, to demand, to beg. Did she want him to leave her body? Did she want him to slam into her? She needed something, so desperately, and she didn’t know how to reach it.

His hands cupped her hips, angling them. He continued to thrust, ignoring her efforts to speed him, slow and hard and deep, each push one more claim on her body, and she felt the darkness began to bubble beneath her skin, felt the need blossom and grow and spread through her body, reaching every inch of her skin, tiny pinpricks of reaction. It wasn’t too late, she thought desperately. She could make him stop. She didn’t have to go to this terrifying place he was taking her, where nothing existed but the man inside her, their bodies joined, sweating, slapping together. There was no escape, she didn’t want to escape, but she kept fighting, pushing it away.

“Stop it, Melisande,” he growled in her ear. “Take it. Claim it.”

“No,” she sobbed.

“Take it,” he said again, hard inside her, slamming into her so that the bed shook and her body trembled and she knew she would break apart, and she couldn’t stop, couldn’t stop shaking, couldn’t stop crying, couldn’t stop…

She froze, as an endless, keening delight stiffened her body and tore away the last of her defenses. She felt him cry out, spill inside her, and she welcomed it all, the wet heat of his seed, the shaking of his body, the crazy-mad delight that caught her in its grip, so tightly she thought she would never unravel.


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