Clockwork Blue, by Gloria Harchar
Description: Mission… Impossible: The pixies’ mission—if Allegro and Glissando are to accept it—is to secure the future of a troubled England. To achieve this, the Earl of Falconwood, better known as the Black Falcon, must marry Nicola Moore. Never mind the woman is a hoyden who makes the most atrocious hats decorated with machine parts, which she then dyes with her famous Clockwork Blue. And certainly forget the earl is atoning for his brother’s death by purposely hovering on the fringes of the ton. Add to the mix Glissando’s tendency to slip to the side of the Mrasek, the ones who work to free the evil Lord Sethos. But Maestro depends on the pixies—for better or for worse. To release the magic trapped in the Clockwork Blue dye—a magic that will safeguard England’s future—Malcolm and Nicola must not only wed, but they must also fall in love.
Long shadows stretched where the wall sconces in the corridor leading to the stairs couldn’t reach. The day had faded in almost a blink of an eye. After breakfast all the guests had left, and Nicola managed to slip away from Windmere to spend the remainder of the day setting up her millinery shop. She’d been careful to go in the back way so that nobody would think it strange she wasn’t spending time with her new husband.
Gaspar stepped out of the shadows and bowed low. “His lordship already retired, my lady.”
Better to concentrate on her struggling commerce because her marriage would not warrant her time. All day she’d halfway expected Malcolm to come into the shop and demand his conjugal rights, or at least insist on retribution for cornering him into having tea with Lady Celeste. But as the day wore on, she’d come to the conclusion that he would never again actively seek her out. Malcolm didn’t want her.
She met Gaspar’s solemn gaze with all the pride she could muster. “I’ll do the same, then.” As she swept toward the stairway, she glanced toward the hall that led to Malcolm’s chambers and sighed. He’d merely tried to intimidate her with his talk of making babes.
Her disappointment was her own ridiculous fault. Her meddling and goading had caused him to respond in kind. He’d merely been jesting or trying to browbeat her with the business of making babies, and she should be relieved because she didn’t know the first thing about the act. She was relieved, really. So, why did she feel this gaping emptiness at the thought of going to bed alone?
With heavy steps, she plodded toward her chambers and pondered her new shop. The pamphlets advertising the next day as her first one of business in the new location would, with any luck, attract customers. She’d hired a boy to distribute them on the streets that afternoon. And she was very optimistic that her new shop would generate income. She hadn’t been able to sell many hats, she assured herself, because she’d been stuck in the back room of the old mercantile. But that had changed. She had a prime location, beautifully appointed, all thanks to Malcolm. She owed him a tremendous debt of gratitude for that.
Stepping inside her chamber, she rubbed at a smudge of dirt on her skirt. A movement caught her eye, causing her to freeze. Shock coursed through her to see Malcolm lounging on the chaise longue.
“Good evening, Countess Falconwood. Are you prepared for our business?”
The predatory look was back. He’d removed his cravat and his shirt was open. The broad expanse of his chest with dark whorls of hair made her breath catch. Sprawled on the dainty sofa he looked virile and powerful, making her go weak in the knees.
“Wh-what business?” she asked, her fingers plucking nervously at her skirt.
The light in his eyes as he studied her, the way his gaze practically caressed every part of her, the intensity that seemed to crackle the air around him—all suggested that the Clockwork Blue wasn’t the only thing he’d wanted to possess.
“Why, the business of creating an heir.”
Knees like pudding, she would have sat if there was a chair nearby. Instead she thrust out a hand to steady herself against the wall. “Really? I mean, you’re truly going to go through with your threats?”
“Promises, Nicola. Pure promises that will lead to pure pleasure.”
Pure pleasure. Merely hearing such simple words in his deep, husky voice sent a ripple through her, heat and hunger that made her nerves quiver like a feather in a breeze. Oh, yes, she could well believe that his lovemaking would lead to pleasure.
Just knowing that he truly wanted her was pleasurable. For several moments, she merely stared at him and reveled in that knowledge. He wanted her. He really was interested in getting to know her in that special, intimate way that a husband learned about his wife. Surely this was a good sign—surely he couldn’t leave her in the country and forget her after this.
All right—now that she’d finally come to terms with the notion, what was she to do about it? She hadn’t the slightest idea. He’d caught her flat-footed. She worried her hands. “Uh, well, it looks like you’ve already begun the process.”
“Just helping out a bit. Would you rather I start removing your clothes?”
“No,” she said in a squeak that sounded like the barrelabout when she stepped on the brake. She stared, fascinated by the dark swirls of his chest hair. His bronze skin glistened, reminding her of a statue. She wanted to touch that skin. The realization shocked her. “I thought you said I could use my own strategy,” she blurted out.
A feverish heat burned her cheeks. She couldn’t think with all that skin exposed. “Well, button up that shirt right now.”
How delightful. Malcolm barely resisted the urge to chuckle. On the heels of that reaction came one of surprise—surprise at himself. What in bloody hell was he doing here? He hadn’t meant to come tonight. But her challenge earlier had made ditching her unavoidable. “So you don’t want my shirt off?”
He raised his brows at her dogged denial.
She smiled sheepishly and fiddled with her hair. “Uh, no, actually I’ve thought in detail the whole business of child-making and your assumption has ruined the… sequence of events I had in mind.”
“And, pray, what do you consider the most important article of clothing to remove in this business of reproduction?” Fascination stole over him as he waited for her answer.
She stared at him. He could see the panic in her eyes, and he was almost tempted to give her an excuse to say good night—almost.
Staring at him, she blurted, “Your boots.”
He couldn’t resist teasing. “Good choice,” he told her with a serious look. “You’ve been studying the art of seduction.”
She frowned, and he could see doubt cloud her lively eyes. Leaning back, he wondered if she would find an excuse to postpone their encounter.
“Stick out your foot, please,” she instructed like a schoolmistress.
“Yes, madam.” He obliged.
She knelt in front of him, looking as if she would bolt if he moved. With a deep breath, she bent to grasp his heel. Clasping the toe of his boot in her other hand, she tugged. Nothing happened.
She darted him a look. “This is more difficult than I realized,” she said. “Are all men’s boots molded as a second skin?”
“I haven’t noticed.” He supposed he should tell her the correct manner in which to take off a boot, but he was enjoying himself too much.
“Well, I hope you pay your valet well,” she quipped. Remaining in her hunkered down position, she secured his foot under her arm, causing the mounds of her breasts to spill over the edge of her bodice. Her warmth permeated the leather. Awareness of her soft, womanly body pressed against him gave a jolt of pure lust. A line of sweat beaded his upper lip. Suddenly, it wasn’t a game anymore.
Digging in her heels, she pulled backward once again, causing those delectable mounds to move enticingly. Adding insult to his growing passion, she damn near pulled him off the chair. He had to grasp the squabs to keep from landing in a heap on the floor. He couldn’t help it. He laughed, ending the sound in a choked groan.
“Am I too rough?” she asked. She looked up.
She must have seen the lust in his eyes. For certain she saw the direction of his gaze because she looked down. And gasped.
“Oh, my!” Hastily she stood, dropping his foot with a thud.
Reverberations traveled up his spine, and he grimaced, certain she would run out the door. “You’re not reneging on our bargain already?”
“Of course not,” she said, turning with spunk that he was coming to both admire and dread. With determination, she grabbed his leg again, running her hands over his leather-clad calf, the caress knocking him upside down, causing him to shudder with unwanted passion. Hoisting his leg up, she grasped his whole foot in both hands.
Removing his boot was a simple task. His valet did it every day—even he had done the task on occasion. How could she turn it into an act of seduction? He wanted to rock her backward and tumble her on top of him. He wanted to explore that smooth skin that was the color of honey from days in the sun, to taste her and stroke her and claim her as his.
Sweat broke out on his brow.
“I thought you said you studied this,” he commented through gritted teeth, wondering how she could be so unaware of the way she affected him.
“I have. Well—in for a shilling, in for a pound, I always say.”
He should have been warned by that comment and the determination he saw gleaming in her eyes. Desire nevertheless punched him in the gut when she hoisted her skirts, giving him an eyeful of slim calves and thighs before she straddled his leg. She leaned and adjusted his foot so that she held his heel, and then wiggled her hips, planting her feet wide for leverage. The move was unconsciously seductive. The picture of her adjusting her hips as she slid onto his hardness, her yellow-blond hair drifting over his chest, flitted through his mind.
A flush rose up the back of her neck. He knew she was aware of how intimate their positions were. His knee was inches from heaven. He could feel the heat of her settle over his thigh and it was enough to make him mindless with want.
“Oh, my, it’s getting hot in here, isn’t it?”
“I’ll say it is,” he fairly growled, trying not to groan with passion again.
“It must be this spring weather.”
“Madam, are you going to continue to maul me or are you going to get my bloody boot off?”
“You don’t have to be so surly,” she snapped, turning to glare at him over her shoulder. The movement only brought his knee closer to the heat of her femininity.
“For Christ’s sake, woman! We haven’t got all night,” he snarled.
“Why not? You aren’t going anywhere, are you?”
Not anywhere but insane, he wanted to say. His new wife was treacherous—that was all he could think.
She settled his booted foot more firmly in both hands, and pulled. It gave. She went sailing across the Aubussom carpet. “It’s off!” she declared, holding the boot high as if it were a trophy.
Her bodice slipped and her hair fell from its pins to hang becomingly about her flushed face.
He wanted to make that blush be the result of his attentions rather than from her exertions. “If you attack my trousers with the same enthusiasm, I’ll be a man blessed.”
He couldn’t help but see the dark humor of the whole situation. For him to be matched with a woman so full of life and vigor was too much by half. If she had been his mistress, he could have enjoyed her, then paid her a handsome stipend and left her to her machinations with no more expectations. But he would have to be careful. If he allowed a wife to get too close, or if he gave in to temptation and tried to get nearer to her, he would be her ruin. He would be responsible for yet another person’s demise.
“Can’t get to the breeches until I have your other boot off,” she replied, breathless. “Perhaps this one will come off easier, now that I have experience.”
He shuddered to think what she would be like with experience.
Holding his other leg between her own, she grabbed his Hessian, applying the correct angle to his heel so that she retained her balance as it slid off. Her widened stance and the apple-shape of her slim rump as it jutted toward him proved to be too much. Before he could stop himself, his stocking foot trailed a path up the inside of her calf, gliding along the silkiness of her skin.
She yelped. “Whatever are you doing?” Her legs snapped together, trapping his foot between her thighs, tantalizingly close to her core. If he wiggled his toes—
As if burned, she jumped away.
With great interest, he noted her high color. His own breath had quickened. “I was merely following through on your very thorough strategy.”
“My plan is that you can’t participate,” she said.
He stared at her. “You’d miss a very vital part the process, then.”
“I know what I’m doing,” she stated and firmed her jaw. “Now, stand please.”
He did as she bade, wondering if she would attack his trousers next.
“How did your skin become so dark?” she asked, staring at his chest.
“India is hot. There aren’t as many social restrictions in the hills where there’s no British cantonment.”
“What do you mean by that?”
He shrugged. “In the wilderness I enjoyed riding in nothing but breeches.”
Her eyes widened in fascination as tangible as a caress. A vision popped in his mind of her in a silk toga, her long legs bare and wrapped around his waist as he rode his black stallion.
She stared at his trousers and the painful bulge that had developed there. “Forget the breeches. Your shirt,” she muttered, the muscle in her jaw jumping before she grabbed his shirttails and raised them. She was too short and couldn’t begin to pull the garment over his head. But he didn’t say a word. Some perverseness wanted to see what she would do without any help. Her scent of wildflowers and the out of doors tantalized him. The nearness of her breasts tortured him. Her breath stirred the dark hairs on his chest, making him tremble like an untamed stallion. He clamped down on his desire, welcoming the punishment of self-denial.
Her hands skimmed his chest and her mouth was close, very close to the throbbing vein in his neck. He felt a butterfly touch under his ear and wondered if she’d brushed the tender skin with those lush lips. “Lift your arms.”
He complied, doing exactly as she asked but no more, waiting to see what would happen. Could a person die from want? The thought intrigued him.
Her slender, bare hands traveled up under his shirt, skimming close to the vulnerable undersides of his arms, then continued up the length of his biceps. Heat radiated between them and she suddenly stopped, looking at him from the comer of her eye, standing quite still.
“Ummm, I don’t think this is going to work,” she said breathlessly, not daring to turn her head. The delicate shell of her ear was tantalizingly close to his lips. Before she could pull her arms out from under his sleeves, he hugged her, efficiently trapping her within his shirt. When she looked at him, he gave in to his desires and did what he’d wanted to do for days.
With a hard kiss, he tumbled her onto the bed.
She started for a moment, jerking back her head, then returned the kiss. He was lost. Vital awareness washed over him of her pert breasts crushed against his chest. The pearly hardness of her nipples caused shivers of passion to tighten his whole body. He maneuvered his leg between hers and felt the swift intake of her breath. Then she hooked one limb around him, and he swirled into mindless haze of pleasure.
He deepened the kiss, taking her tongue into his mouth. Desire pierced through him in hot, jagged streaks, the joining of their lips lighting firecrackers too intense to look at, but too beautiful to not see. Heat as powerful as the Indian sun burned between them. His tongue delved inside, finding and claiming hers.
Flames leaped from her innocent lips to his jaded ones, the chemistry of her taste creating pure steam energy, causing a combustible reaction similar to gunpowder, and just as deadly. He wanted to strip her of all barriers, to feel her skin against him. But he was having a devil of a time because his arms didn’t seem to work. They were tangled somehow. Then he remembered how she’d goaded him into being a true husband and
Clockwork Blue, by Gloria Harchar
Description: This novelette of 11,000 words is an erotic, fantasy adventure. It is a romantic tale of magic, emotion, and human motivation that does not turn a blind eye to the frank sexuality of its characters. Within these pages live witches, shapechangers, demons, and immortal beings. Turn the page and let them unveil their dark story in an ambiance of medieval France. If you dare.
Melisse dreams of another life, one in which she is no longer the servant to a noble family, one where she can find her own destiny and make her life her own.
On the eve of the arrival of the Marechal de Barristide, an eldritch light in the forest calls out to her, giving her the hope of change to come.
The Marechal, a man marked with a vicious scar, is a man of the law of the realm, charged with investigating a series of horrible crimes to the south. However, he has his own reasons for visiting House Perene. Reasons that drive him to search mercilessly for the truth, no matter the cost.
His search and the fate of Melisse intertwine to form a tapestry of lust, violence, and supernatural implications. All of which resound within a potent and robust story that draws the reader in and does not let go.
He twined himself about her, his tongue stretching out to lap at her silky skin.
“I’m telling you, there is something wrong,” she said, as he continued to wind himself around her, golden, liquid, the fire quickening within him.
“And, I’m telling you, that this is not the moment, darling,” he said it smiling, and tried once more to catch her lips within his own.
Their forms flowed back and forth, two shades of gold, as ephemeral as mist and as light as downy plumes.
However, his mounting passion began to fill him and his shape took hold, rippling muscles sliding under bronze skin, his frame becoming heavy, where her own remained like that of smoke, nearly without definition.
“You’re not listening to me,” she sighed, and as his insistent mouth, warm and moist sought out her own, she acquiesced and felt her own body lifting up out of the golden fire now filling her thoughts.
His hands found the mounds of her breasts, swelling, the nipples hardening in the grasp of his fingers. He slipped his head down, the light rough of a nearly unshaven chin rasping gently across her belly, his eyes on hers before he dipped down further to let his warm breath fall upon her navel.
She felt her legs opening and the desire he had awakened within her brought her fully into corporeal form. She lifted herself against him, thrilling at the sensation of her spine holding her body arched and willing for him.
He moved further down, and brushed ever so lightly her mound with its velvet blond hair, before coming to rest with his mouth against the inside of her thigh. His tongue slipped out and traced its way along first one side, then the other.
She moaned, trying to master herself, to hold herself still and not be the instrument of his will. But as his breathing deepened and his tongue remounted the swell of her leg, she felt heat between her legs, the delicious, moist ache that he had awakened in her.
She knew he was playing her as well as any song, becoming his melody as he composed note after note, writing each with the touch of his tongue and hands.
She forced herself down, her spine protesting, and turned herself around while slipping lower, down past him, only to come back up with her breasts pushing firmly against his back.
He laughed and then turned himself over as well, their positions reversed, as she slipped lower, working her way down his legs.
His penis stood rigid and proud, the erection visibly descending down through its roots. She could see the strong beat of his heart in its tumescence as she bent down to the soft skin of his scrotum. She took it ever so gently between her lips, sucking it inward and then pulling back. Releasing him, she could see his testicles turning, lifting back up to their position, readying themselves. She came at him again, this time her mouth wide and took first one, then the other, into her mouth, rolling them with her tongue and delighting in the movement that this engendered.
Despite himself, his hips had begun to rock forward, the rhythm slow but sure. Once released from her mouth, his sack lifted up once again, this time with a delightful sensation of cool air where the wet of her mouth had been.
She dipped her head down once more and took his tip between her lips, slipping her tongue across its surface until she found the hole, slick with his mounting desire. She felt him shift under her, knowing that it was probably too much to bear, before she fell down, taking all of him into her mouth.
The heat of her breath, the fire of her passion, caressed him just as firmly as her tongue as she slipped up and down his shaft. The rhythm increased and he could feel himself beginning to tighten, the muscles within his thighs and those of his anus seizing ever tighter. She felt it, too, and desiring that the moment endure, ceased her ministrations.
She moved up his body, careful not to touch his member, preferring that the furnace she had ignited within him calm itself.
She licked his nipple and took it between her teeth, pulling it back, daring him to wince in her bite.
Then it was his turn to come to her and his mouth found her own, his lips plump, her own full, and together they moved in rhythm, until she could stand it no more and slipped his sex inside her.
Her velvet heat enveloped him and he gasped with the suddenness of it. She sank down again and again, each time with more force, each time pushing herself hard against him while grinding her pubis before lifting up to come down once again.
Their hips moved in counterpoint to one another, a staccato clash finding its own rhythm, their breaths shortening and deepening, before he felt the tightening once more deep in his abdomen, while she felt herself opening and opening, the desire to take him deeper into herself driving away all thought.
She felt it then, the tension that had been building inside lifted up and up, held itself, almost as if all her passion had washed away in that tiny instant, balancing upon a pinnacle, all held in equilibrium, before the thundering avalanche took her, her muscles fluttering deep inside with the electric sting of her clitoris, deliciously painful, pulling itself back.
He felt her breath catch, the movement of her hips paused for just a moment, and then she groaned deeply, almost guttural in tone, as she flung herself tighter against him, her legs wrapped around him in desperation, the undulation of her orgasm pulling him onward in the riptide of her pleasure.
He felt himself expand, all of him rock hard and rigid in urgency, his thoughts shrinking down to the pinpoint of the moment, and then the exquisite release came upon him, his body wracked with violent, pumping spasms.
She felt his climax inside her own, her inner thighs fluttering in response, and the heat of him flowed outward, his cock filling her and filling her. His movements, become animal in nature, instinct and pleasure intermingling in the embrace of her legs, called forth an echo of response and she felt herself tighten once more before falling down the other side of deep muscles thrumming in heat and rhythm and spent passion.
They lay together, warmth and light encircling them. The bodies of man and woman falling into gold, into copper, as what was solid and human dissolved.
They returned to their incorporeal states, golden fire twining around each other, bathed in blinding light, at once that of searing heat and of numbing ice.
“So, you say that something is wrong, my darling…?” he asked.
“Can you not feel it? The fire feels tainted in some way, as if some of it has gone out of our realm, ” she replied, hesitating.
He waited a moment, searching about him, tasting the flavors of their shared magic.
“Yes, there is something. And as to that, I can only pose a question…where is your brother?”
The color of her fire dimmed then, as if she doubted or was ashamed.
“I don’t know. None of us do.”
His voice grew hard then, his flame taking on deep russet tones.
“That there is a risk of corruption seems clear. It shall be sought out and eliminated,” he replied. “Woe to your kin if he is at the heart of this, hiding as he does outside our realm with his little friend. It will avail him naught.”
Her colors fell cold, tinged in blue. Her voice small, she asked, “What shall we do?”
“We shall do nothing. I, on the other hand, am calling forth the Evangeline.”
To this she had no reply except to shudder and turn away….
She leaned close to the rippled glass window pane. There, at the forest’s edge, she saw it again, a light that moved back and forth in broad, beckoning motions. Melisse could not imagine how a person might manage to swing a lantern so slowly and so widely. Instead, she watched it, a glowing pendulum of warm, inviting light, golden hued like that of a beeswax candle. Except that the distance was too far to make out a candle. Even a lantern of rude oil would be drowned in the unfurling darkness of sunset.
She watched it, fascinated by its glow and the way it seemed meant just for her. A light meant to lead her away. A light meant for better things.
Her breath misted against the glass and Melisse shook herself. Her mother would have told her to remember her place, her duty as chambermaid. She turned away from the window and rushed to the fireplace.
Melisse pumped furiously on the bellows, desperate to see the embers in the fireplace whiten in intensity. The two cauldrons poised upon the hearthstones were still barely steaming, little more than tepid in the chill air of the demoiselle Helene’s bedchamber.
A light voice hummed a gentle melody in the next room, a sound that mingled well with the splashing of bathwater.
“Melisse! I must have more hot water, girl. The bath cools and I fear catching cold!”
“I’m hurrying, M’lady,” Melisse called back, still working the bellows as hard as she could. A bead of sweat ran down her forehead, slipping down to sting her eyes as she pumped away.
The demoiselle was in an adjoining room, a great claw footed bath of hammered copper dominating the space. Her father had had the thing made in a city to the north and brought here at great expense after his daughter had heard of the new mode, that people bathe more often than at the two key moments of their lives, at birth and at death.
Melisse had to admit that it seemed sensible to her, although washing down with cold well water while standing upon her own two feet did not seem less efficient.
However, it had always been Helene’s way. If some means of luxury were within reach, she would whine and mope about the manor until her father took notice. He then never failed to meet, if not exceed, his children’s wishes.
Helene was a beautiful young woman, with thick blond hair prone to escaping her coiffure and tumbling down in a way calculated to entice the regard of others. Her pale skin and hour glass form simply completed the effect.
Melisse’s own hair was black and drawn back severely in a haphazard bun, all the better to keep it out of her way as she worked. Her own skin was just as pale as that of Helene, her house maiden’s life sparing her from the sun, but her figure was heavier and more thickly boned. A servant’s body.
“Never mind the hot water, Melisse”, Helene called out. “Just come and help me scrub my back. I can’t reach and I want to be sparkling clean to greet my father’s guest this evening.”
Melisse sighed. She knew Helene enjoyed her games, and amusing herself at Melisse’s expense was one of her favorites.
Steeling herself, Melisse left her iron pots at the hearth and in passing the window with its blurred glass panes, she saw the light in the darkness once more. It seemed as familiar as a friend to her, bobbing with a warm glow, deep in the forest. She would have liked to look more closely, to puzzle out its meaning, to tease away some purpose apart from her days in the manor. Instead, she walked into the next room.
Helene was in her bathing chemise, woven in a sheer linen and if meant for propriety, in water it turned instantly transparent.
The demoiselle was reclined, only her head and neck above the waterline, a thin trace of soap floating at the edges of the water. Hearing Melisse, Helene tilted her head back to rest against the bathtub, at once sighing and lifting her chest into view.
Melisse turned her gaze away, but not before seeing light pink nipples studding the fabric of Helene’s bathing shirt. Seeing the scrub brush leaning against the tub, she seized it.
“M’lady, if you’d like me to scrub your back, you’ll need to lean forward,” Melisse said as she went to her knees. Her voice was nearly a whisper, her tone timid.
Helene opened her eyes then, searching for those of Melisse, except that Melisse’s gaze was turned down, as if she found the stone floor more interesting…or less frightening.
“You know, Melisse, if we put your hair up correctly and got you out of that potato sack you’re wearing, I think you’d be surprised at how pretty you could be.”
Despite herself, Melisse looked up and into Helene’s eyes, finding a smile there. The green color held her and she let Helene take her hand with the brush in it and guide her to the water.
Helene held the brush to her belly, her breasts lifted fully into view, and said, “Just there, my dear Melisse. Scrub there, but do it gently.”
Melisse began scrubbing and turned her head away. Helene sighed and began humming the melody once more.
Her grip was too light in her efforts to be gentle and the handle of the brush turned in her hand. Helene hissed and seized Melisse’s arm.
“Pay attention, dullard! You can’t do it right while staring at the wall.”
Helene clamped her hand over Melisse’s and directed the brush back to her stomach, saying, “I’m going to show you, just this once, how one should brush clean the delicate skin of a noblewoman.”
Her hand still holding Melisse’s and the brush together, Helene began making circles against her belly and with each she descended lower and lower until the brush began to touch her thighs.
She said, “Oops…let’s change the technique, shall we, dear?” And began moving it up and down in long straight movements that soon dropped down fully between her legs.
She opened her mouth just a little and Melisse could see how red her lips had become. The tip of Helene’s tongue slipped out to moisten them and Melisse saw that its color was exactly the same as her nipples, clearly visible through the taut linen shirt.
Deeper down the brush went until Helene began to slide down into the water with it, her eyes closed and making little mewling sounds, reminding Melisse of a hungry kitten.
“Now…just don’t…stop,” Helene gasped while letting go of Melisse’s hand.
Melisse continued the long stroking motion of the brush and did her best to unfocus her eyes, looking for some means of distancing herself from her mistress in the bath.
The water had begun, in truth, to turn quite cool and sloshed about as Helene moved in time against the brush in Melisse’s grasp.
“Please, m’Lady, I’ll go get the water now. I’m sure it’s quite hot,” she said, dropping the brush and pulling back her hand as if the cool water had just scalded her.
Helene’s eyes flew open and Melisse saw there a raw flash of emotion, one that she knew little of, yet recognized all the same. Even the lowest dog in the kennels would recognize it and understand in its most basic sense…hatred. Burning hate that flashed like an ember bursting in the hearth, before dimming as quickly as it came. Helene was of noble blood and had learned early what it is to cover one’s thoughts as quickly as need be.
“Oh, my dear, “she said, mastering herself and smiling. “Look at the color burning in your cheeks. Have I done something to spark such heat?”
She languidly took up the floating brush and began the same long strokes down her abdomen with it.
“Yes, m’Lady…I mean, no, ” Melisse stammered, backing away.
Helene held her eye while the strokes of the brush took on a stronger rhythm. The vicious glint was back in her eyes as she said, “Or, is it not me, then, dear Melisse? Perhaps your color is from thinking of my brother while helping me to bathe? You were imagining him here, his handle in your hands as you stroke it up and down, deeper, and quicker…”
Helene’s breath had changed. It came in short, shallow bursts. She dropped the brush then plunged her hand down in to the water between her raised thighs, her knees rocking in time with her arm.
Her gaze held Melisse unflinching as the words left her and light whimpering sounds slipped between her lips. She didn’t blink as she rubbed herself steadily and Melisse could not break away.
Her lips were suffused in rich red and Melisse watched as Helene clenched her jaws. She drew her lips back in what might have passed for a smile in any other occasion, but only reminded Melisse of a mad dog. The skin of her cheeks was pulled tight, held in her grimace, and then her hips lifted up, nearly out of the water, holding still an instant before falling down slowly in small stuttering movements.
Helene let her breath out in one long sigh, slipping down into the water once more.
“Don’t just stand there, you fool. Fetch my hot water.”
Melisse did not wait to be told a second time.Continue Reading »
White Lace and Promises, by Natasha Blackthorne
Book two in the Carte Blanche Series
Beth and Grey’s passionate battle of wills continues…
New York Merchant Prince Grey Sexton loves the audacious, spirited young temptress who seduced him in a Philadelphia bookseller’s and made passionate love to him in his carriage. Her fiery nature broke through his cold self-protection. But in a time of war and trade disruption, he cannot allow himself to be distracted. He vows to put business above all else in his life, including his bride.
Shocked and hurt by Grey’s distance, Beth wonders whether he truly returns the burning love she feels for him. Beth demands that Grey prove he can truly change once and for all or else she will not start a family with him. But will the dark, sensual secrets she yet keeps repel this arrogant, self-controlled gentleman she has married?
He could be a husband yet keep his priority focused on business. Time to prove that. He broke the kiss, raised his head and opened his mouth to suggest they return to the ballroom.
Beth pressed her soft body into his pelvis and his cock throbbed in response. His heart beat a tattoo in his ears, and a warning echoed off the walls.
He was losing his self-control. He removed his hands from her tempting little ass. “We shouldn’t start this here.”
She gripped his lapels. “Why not?”
Her eyes turned to blue smoke, full of need and longing. She was such an emotional, sexual girl. Her needs ran high. His own need he could resist, but hers was another thing entirely. The hunger in her eyes pulled deep inside him, as if she yanked his guts with just a glance.
But he must be in control, not her. It had to be that way from the very start between them. It must—else he’d have no peace.
He grasped her wrists and pulled her hands away. The feel of her small-boned wrists, the softness of her skin, sent pure fire racing through him. He dropped her hands and fixed her with his strongest look, the one he’d learnt at his father’s knee. The one that quelled men of twice his age and wealth.
She quailed…a bit.
All right, those were some fairly big guns to level at such a petite girl, but he knew from past experience that her charms were deadly.
“We should not do this here,” he repeated, slower this time, more for himself than her.
She laughed, a nervous catch in her throat. “Who is going to know?”
A mischievous light sparkled in her eyes. His heart gave a little leap and warmth suffused him—a strange sensation of pleasure and pride at knowing she wouldn’t be quelled. Not even by him.
But no. He’d better get things in hand. He opened his mouth, prepared to deliver a sharp retort. To tell her just how childish she was being. She grasped his erection through the wool cloth of his pantaloons. Again, fire went racing through his whole body, forcing a sound between a laugh and a gasp from the depths of him.
Her tongue flirted over her lips as she squeezed him and her eyes teased his, glittering with lust—and triumph.
He shot out his hand, seized her by the cascade of silver-gilt curls that lay against her nape and dragged her head back. He paused, holding her like that. Her lips parted and her eyes widened. Then she laughed, throaty and wickedly sensual.
“You’re playing with fire.” He scarcely recognised his own voice.
Her eyes ignited into blue flames and her body trembled against his. “Burn me.”
God, she was such a vixen.
He brought his open mouth down on hers and stabbed his tongue again and again into her velvet-wet cavern. Ravenously. Savagely. He wanted her to feel the same powerlessness he did. Wanted to impress on her how ungovernable this passion was.
She didn’t even flinch. She thrust her tongue back against his with bold strokes. She never backed down. Never. His very own virago. He loosened his grip on her hair, cupped her face and his mouth gentled on hers.
Dear God, he adored her mouth.
Maybe a few more moments wouldn’t matter.
Meanwhile she’d got his fall open faster than he’d thought a woman’s fingers could work a man’s buttons. And he’d let her. Couldn’t find the will to stop her. She wrapped her hand around his heated flesh and squeezed him. Pearly fluid surged from the tip. She swirled her thumb, spreading the fluid in a silken glide over the head.
He groaned deep in his throat and opened his eyes to enjoy the beautiful, refined lines of her face while still relishing the taste of her kiss. She stroked him up and down with agonising slowness. His heart drummed in his ears, chest and cock.
She broke the kiss. Eyes that smouldered like sin held his as she licked her palm, thoroughly wetting it. Then she twisted her hand about his shaft while stroking up and down, touching him in a mind-bendingly novel way.
“God, Beth, where’d you learn that?” He barely choked the words out.
Her throaty laugh resonated deep in his balls. “I know a lot of things I have yet to show you.” She squeezed him. “You like it?”
Couldn’t she tell from the way he was leaking all over her hand?
“I like it fine,” he managed to choke the words out.
She laughed again. A wicked promise.
She pushed her breasts, belly and pelvis against him. Her soft curves pressed into him and she slid slowly down his body. He caught his breath.
She dropped to her knees.
His heart pounded and his erection twitched urgently. She grasped him and held on firmly. Squeezing. So accurately mimicking the rhythmic clenching of her cunt when she came that he released his breath in a groan and leaked uncontrollably. She bent her head and her warm breath cascaded over his heated flesh. Again, he sucked in his breath and held it. She glanced up at him, her eyes full of sin and sex. Her little pink tongue came out and swept over the head, licking it clean. He threw his head back.
Again, she circled the head with her tongue, a slow, wet, warm slide. Over and over. He glanced back down and touched her face. She moaned deep in her throat, as if having him in her mouth was the most delicious pleasure. The sound vibrated in her mouth, through his cock and deep into his groin, his balls. Weakening his knees. Weakening his resolve even more.
He had never felt her mouth on him before. It wasn’t as if he’d never received this kind of pleasure. With his former mistresses he’d got this regularly enough. While certainly diverting, he wouldn’t have said it was anything to sell one’s soul over. But no woman had ever put all her heart into it as Beth did now. No contest, this was the most exciting, enchanting thing he’d ever experienced. And she hadn’t even really got started.
What would she be like when she—
Boots sounded in the corridor, seeming almost unnaturally loud. His eyes popped open and he glanced down. Beth’s champagne-silver head was bent, shimmering in the candlelight and bobbing as she pleasured him. The pale pink roses in her diadem had wilted considerably. He focused on the tiny chamber.
Good God, they were in Cornelia Hazelwood’s house.
At what point had he lost all sense and propriety? He was supposed to be introducing her to his world, not setting her back on her ass and fucking the breath out of her in a musty, dusty old schoolroom—which was exactly where this would end.
He reached to push her away. She licked him on the underside between the head and the shaft. The sensation rocked him to his balls and his hand stilled as his hips thrust forward.
He shuddered with pleasure and clasped her shoulders.
“No, not like this, not here.”
Her eyes flew open. Her delicate brows lifted and she looked at him like he’d lost his mind.
His cock twitched as if he’d lost his mind as well.
“But why?” she asked.
“Anyone could come in.”
“I locked the door, remember?” She slowly lowered her head, opened her mouth and her moist, heated breath encircled him. His cock twitched, as if rearing up to reach her lips.
She stroked her hot, wet tongue down his length. Grey gave a whispered groan, part pleasure and part frustrated defeat. She glanced up questioningly, her eyes smoky and sensual. Oh Christ, he was so damned. He nodded and stroked her hair, wishing he could take the pins out. He wanted to see it flowing around her. She was closing her mouth over the head.
No, this wasn’t right. He wasn’t going to fall on her here like she was some harlot he’d picked off the wharf. They would do things his way, on his terms.
“Get up,” he said firmly, certain those words would be the death of him.
She fell back on her heels, mouth open, eyes glazed. “I just wanted to prove something to you.”
“What? That you drive me absolutely insane with desire?”
“No, that I reached too high. And I shall bear the blame for the ruin of us both.”
“Reached too high?” Oh damn, not this again. “What the hell is that supposed to mean?”
“Would a lady do this, here with you, like this?” She moved forward, took his cock in her hand and stroked him up and down.
He gave a whispered groan.
“Would she?” Her voice became urgent.
“It depends”—he caught his breath and grimaced with pleasure, then exhaled on a groan—“on the lady in question.”
“Would she ask you to allow her to take your cock into her mouth and pleasure you until you pour your seed down her throat?”
His cock throbbed and painful hunger made him grit his teeth. He was close to spilling in her hand. “Christ, Beth.”
“Here in her former benefactress’s house? In the schoolroom where she once learnt her letters? Would she get such a perverse thrill out of it?” She said this in a calm, conversational tone, all the while stroking him. Her eyes smouldered. He knew that look. She needed a good, hard fucking.
He needed to give it to her.
But not here.
“Now that you truly know the kind of girl I am, it’s not too late for you to back out.”
He knew her. Already, even after a couple of months, he knew her. She was pushing at him. Testing him. Wanting to goad him into a reaction. It was a defiant self-destructiveness that worried him.
He must remain firm. It was the only way he knew to handle her.
But, damn it, at the moment he couldn’t think clearly enough to form the words to refute her. He put his hands on her shoulders, trying to dissuade her. She leaned her head forward and caught his cock in her mouth, swallowing him in one swift, silken slide. His crown rested in the snugness of her throat. His heart pounded against his chest wall and in his ears. He shouldn’t let this continue…but damn, she had such a sweet, small mouth. How had she—
A loud squeak sounded. Her mouth popped open, releasing him. With a small cry, she scurried away. He jerked his cock and shirt tail into his pantaloons and threw a glance over his shoulder towards the door.
A tall, slender, bespectacled young gentleman stood there holding a lantern. His dark eyes were huge in his ashen face. He lifted his free hand and the lantern’s light caught the glint of metal. A key. “I knew you’d bring him here. Did you think you could keep me locked out?”
The younger man’s voice was accusing.
Still aroused, with the blood still roaring in his ears, Grey struggled to regain his bearings.
Beth hugged herself and glared at the intruder. “You have no right to come here—spying on me. Get out of here.”
White Lace and Promises, by Natasha Blackthorne
Grey’s Lady, Carte Blanche Book One, by Natasha Blackthorne
Description: Book one in the Carte Blanche Series
Seeking sexual excitement and conquest, poor but beautiful Beth seduces wealthy merchant prince Grey Sexton, only to find herself the pursued as he seeks to own her body and soul.
In Philadelphia, PA 1812
Flouting the moral standards of Jeffersonian America, temptress Beth McConnell lets no man touch her heart. Her motto is love them once and leave them burning.
But when she boldly seduces Grey Sexton, a self-controlled merchant prince from New York, she finds herself too fascinated by his ice-over-fire nature to stay away. His possessive determination to own her, body and soul, threatens to expose her secret erotic life to public shame.
But Beth will only surrender her love to a man she can trust. And Grey’s materialistic approach to relationships leaves her little reason to believe he can ever give her what she truly needs.
For these two cynical yet lonely people, can deep sexual intimacy work a miracle and lead to the opening of their hearts?
Heat Level: EROTIC 18+ ONLY
Grey couldn’t keep his eyes off her. Philadelphian women were the cream of the Republic, but damn if this one didn’t exceed all previous definitions. Curling wisps of hair escaped from her indigo bonnet and trailed down her graceful neck. He’d never seen hair that colour—like champagne shimmering in the moonlight.
She looked up, giving him his first full sight of her face. Sky blue eyes, full of aching, longing…and something else. Abject sadness. Haunting.
Something caught in his chest. Something reminiscent of pleurisy. Well, it wasn’t surprising. Philadelphia air was notoriously insalubrious and the day was oppressively damp. He blinked, glancing away. Was he losing his wits? Haunting eyes? What romantic nonsense. If he didn’t know better, he’d think he was getting a fever.
He glanced at his pocket watch. God, time was crawling. He’d arranged this series of lectures to entice potential investors, and last week in Boston had been most profitable. However, today, Mason’s Bookstore was packed with adolescent boys who sat with their mouths agape listening to local captains recount tales of privateering glory. His own speech on how and why to invest in a voyage had been met with yawns and bobbing heads. What a waste of an afternoon.
Shifting in his seat, he sensed her gaze. Lingering. Burning him. Against his will, he turned back to her. Those eyes seemed to reach across the room, directly into him, to touch his emptiness.
What a fanciful notion. His wits must be addled.
She didn’t drop her gaze, as a modest woman might. Instead, she appraised him, boldly weighing and measuring. A hint of her tongue flirted along the seam of her pink lips. Her eyes smouldered as if she’d read his every erotic longing and fantasy in his face.
He shifted again, trying to adjust for the heated blood rushing into his cock. The corners of her mouth turned up and humour glinted in her eyes. Clearly, she found his interest amusing. She found him amusing.
By God, then, I’ll have her beneath me, writhing and begging me to fuck her.
Damned if he wouldn’t.
The fervour of his thoughts shocked him back to his senses. People were talking and laughing and moving around. The lecture was over. He got up to leave, but he found himself standing at the windows, transfixed by the rain sheeting down.
“My goodness.” The breathy, feminine voice hit him low in his gut and he didn’t have to look to know who’d spoken. Something primal pounded through his blood. An urge to turn, grasp her by the back of her hair and kiss her with such brute force she would run.
Shaken, he took several long, deep breaths before he trusted himself enough to turn to her. He looked down to where her head barely met his shoulder and suddenly he was drowning in those azure eyes.
“It’s so hard, isn’t it?” she said in breathy, bedchamber tones.
“Pardon me, Madam?”
“The rain. It’s coming down so hard today. Buckets and buckets full.” Her voice sounded sincere but her eyes glimmered with mirth.
“Yes, it is.” He kept his tone cool, polite.
She stood so close his arm almost touched her breast. So close her tangy, sweet gardenia-like scent became intoxicating.
“Pardon me, Madam, but do you have some question about investing in a privateer venture?”
“Oh, no, they answered all my questions in the lecture.”
“But how could they have? You came in after the part about investing.”
“I didn’t really have any particular questions—I come to all the lectures here.” She glanced at the chalk board on the opposite wall, where the names of the lecturers were posted. “You are Mr Asahel de Grijs Sexton of New York?”
“At your service.”
“Your middle name means grey…like your eyes. Correct?”
“Yes. It’s Dutch.” It had been his mother’s maiden name.
“And you’re here to invest in privateering voyages for the expected war?” She took hold of the curtain’s thick, gold, braided cord.
“I own some ships and take on investors. I also invest in other voyages. It’s a numbers game, for safety.”
She gave a soft sigh… No, it was more like a moan. A lush, bedroom sound that made his lower belly tighten.
“Well, I was wondering…” She caressed her fingers up and down the braided cord in a way that could only be described as suggestive. Sinfully so. Right here in the book store.
A tide of lust like he had never felt before swept through his blood and stiffened his cock.
“I—I was wondering…” She trailed her fingers one last time before she dropped the cord. A half-smile curved her lips.
“Yes, Madam?” The steadiness of his voice amazed him.
“Could you—” She drew her lashes down as she spread her lips in a slow, sensual smile. “Would you be so kind as to give me a ride in your carriage?”
Her inflection left no doubt what kind of ride she meant.
What true gentleman could disappoint a lady? He offered her his arm. “Come, then.”
She raised fine, pale-gold brows. “I cannot be seen leaving here in your company.”
“Drive around the block and wait there. I shall come along presently.”
“It’s raining like the flood. You cannot walk in that.”
“Do you think I shall melt?” Her deep and throaty laugh resonated deep in his balls.
“I think a gentleman doesn’t expect a lady to walk in the rain.”
She laughed again. “Oh, but I am not a lady.”
“Don’t talk like that.” His harsh tone puzzled him. Where had it come from?
“Did my fine silk gown fool you?” She plucked her coarse woollen skirt. Her fingerless nankeen gloves revealed digits reddened as though they habitually spent hours soaked in lye. The sharp contrast with her refined loveliness made his throat burn and he swallowed tightly.
She sighed. He glanced up. Her eyes were sad again and her emotion seemed to touch him in places he’d forgotten had existed. Damn, she was beautiful. How many times had he repeated that today? God, he was making a jackass of himself. But what did she really want from him? She was bold, yes, but she lacked the hardened look of a girl on the town. Maybe poverty had forced her into temporary whoring.
“You need money?” The hoarse terseness of his whisper surprised him.
“I don’t want your money.” She turned her gaze to him. Bold, blue and full of unmistakable longing. “I only want a ride.”
* * * *
Alone with her in the carriage, Grey took her hand and caressed it. Her fingers grated roughly against his. The burning sensation returned to his throat, making him cough. Her eyes were full of that earlier sadness. And longing. Compassion and sympathy flooded him, rendering him incapable of thinking clearly. Making him aware of his own sadness, the emptiness that had been with him so long he’d forgotten it was even there. It was getting to be unnerving. As if there was a cord attached to his innards that she could yank at will.
What the devil was he getting into here?
He kept his life orderly. Free of emotional entanglements and excess. He certainly never spent time indulging his more maudlin emotions. And yet, right now, the combination of sympathy and sexuality was overpowering. Irresistibly seductive.
Maybe he was turning sick. Maybe he was lying in bed right now, delirious with fever.
He squeezed her hand. “What is your name?”
He exhaled her name, cupping her face and rubbing his thumbs over the hollows beneath her cheekbones. The sensation was pure luxury, the texture of her skin like satin cream.
She closed her eyes, lifted her face. Barely aware he moved still closer, he felt her soft mouth under his with a sense of shock. She moaned and opened her mouth, all hot, wet and spicy-sweet, like mulled cider against his tongue.
He moved his hands down her back against the coarse wool of her bodice, pulling her closer. The folds of his cravat rustled, crisply crushing. She cried out. Damn—his cravat pin. He leaned away, stripped his coat off, plucked out the offending pin and came back to her. She laughed and tugged at his cravat until it came loose. Her grip tight on the two loose ends, she pulled him close to her face and held him in place. Her taste was so intoxicating. He ravished her mouth without mercy. She returned his strokes measure for measure until they were forced to stop and pant for breath. Fuck, she was so intense. So willing and wanton and womanly. Her fire consumed him. Part of him—the gentlemanly part—watched appalled as he hooked his fingers around the damp hem of her coarse woollen skirt and pushed it up in one swift motion, baring her to the waist. She gasped, then laughed again.
Her legs, milky white, long and lovely, parted to reveal the pale gold and pink shell of her cunt. He glided his fingertips over her inner thigh. Damn, she had amazing skin. The equal of any lady’s he’d touched. He slid his hand higher, into her apex. She pressed up to meet his fingers, writhing and drenching him with her honey.
He slipped two fingers inside the irresistible, liquid heat. She clenched tight and his cock twitched with impatience. God, he had to be inside her. Now.
She reached for the fall of his pantaloons but he shoved her hands away and wrenched his buttons open. He pressed her back into the plush velvet cushion, then positioned himself for entry. Her hips arched and she sheathed his length in one swift, slick slide. Her sharp cry pierced his ears and he brought his lips down swiftly on hers. She gripped his shoulders fiercely as he moved deep, fast, hard. Her hips met his, thrust for thrust. Her legs gripped his waist to propel him deeper, until the head of his cock banged against the mouth of her womb. At her appreciative cry he continued, fucking her with a brutal abandon.
The smell of their sweat and sex filled the closed, humid carriage. This was what a fuck should be. Always.
Her wet heat convulsed around his hardness, the waves of her pleasure long-lasting and violent. He must withdraw. Now. He tore his mouth away from hers as something between a groan and a sob forced its way past his lips. His whole body shuddered as he withdrew, releasing his seed on her thigh in furious jets.
He touched his forehead to hers. “Dear God.”
* * * *
Beth sat in the farthest corner of the carriage and cast a sideways glance at her dark-haired stranger. The angular cut of his cheekbones and strong, imperious jaw gave him an air of granite-hewn arrogance.
His pale grey eyes cut into her. Hidden behind her worldly-woman smile, her heart fluttered. As if she’d just experienced her first true kiss. As if she’d been truly touched for the first time.
The horses’ hooves. The rain beating on the roof. The distant thunder. The rustle of her skirts as she drew her legs up underneath her. All of them sounded unnaturally loud.
She felt raw, exposed, bleeding.
And she had no one else to blame but herself.
She’d gone to the lecture to meet him. He was an excellent conquest. Blue-blooded, obscenely wealthy, the owner of Sexton Shipping, politically connected and powerful. Once, when she’d been too young to know better, she’d allowed herself to be seduced by a wealthy gentleman. He had promised eternal love, then abandoned her. A bitter lesson but one she’d learnt well. Now she was the seducer. She was very particular, choosing the handsomest and wealthiest of men. To know she could tempt any man of her choosing, even dressed in her shabby clothes, added a perverse thrill, made her dizzy with power. Conquest and control often proved a headier thrill than love.
Then, too, there was the erotic pleasure. She’d always been weak to her sensual drives. Her mother’s wild blood, some would say.
But today it had not been only Sexton’s wealth or handsomeness that had drawn her. It had been the way his frosty eyes had cut into her, stripping her bare of all her secrets. And how they had warmed to silver, shining with such empathy. It was as if he knew her, as if he could see all her faults, all her weak longings and petty spites. Even the tears she shed at midnight, silently into her pillow. And he didn’t judge her for any of it. After that moment of rare soul-to-soul connection, she had to know him. And that had been the problem.
Of course, he had succumbed. Men always did. But today had been different. Her need to experience him gave him a power over her that made her throat go dry and her palms slick. It was time to part ways. She always cut the strings after one encounter. Always left them wanting. It made the conquest all the sweeter.
She flicked the curtain open and gazed out, trying to determine their location. There was nothing to see but the water and grey, rainy sky. She turned back to the gentleman. “Asahel—”
“Grey.” His voice, deep and strong, reverberated in her stomach.
“Grey, I am desperately late getting home.” He reached back and tapped the carriage wall. “You are not so very late. This normally takes longer.” He paused and grinned. “A lot longer.”
“I think it was more than adequate.”
His touch was gentle on her face. “I want to see you again.”
Her eyes caressed his broad-shouldered, powerful yet elegant form. Longing tingled through her, so ardent that fear followed close on its heels. Her heart began to pound. She should never have started this.
“You want to see me?” She laughed with affected lightness. “In the parlour, with my sister in attendance? Shall we have tea and biscuits, or do you prefer wine and cakes?”
His eyes darkened and the tanned skin tightened over his cheekbones. “You want bluntness? All right. I want to fuck you again.”
“It is very hard for me to get away.”
“You must.” He moved closer, a lock of coal-black hair falling over his brow as he took her hand and pulled it to his lap. His erection felt huge and throbbing beneath the nankeen cloth. Again. Already. She closed her eyes and gripped him as tightly as the fabric would allow, her cunt clenching at the recollection of the mind-drugging effect of his lovemaking. A woman could become a slave to this sort of passion.
“I shall be staying at City Tavern. All month.”
His eyes sparkled, making her stomach bottom out.
He described small circles on her palm. “You must come and see me, and soon, too. You must promise—cross your heart.” He traced an X across her left breast.
She arched up and put her lips upon his. As she kissed him in a long, leisurely fashion, her hand slid up to his chest to feel his heart racing beneath. And why shouldn’t it? She was very good at goodbyes.
Grey’s Lady, Carte Blanche Book One, by Natasha Blackthorne