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Authors: Juliet Chastain

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BOOK: A Proper Lady's Gypsy Lover
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“Yes, no chance of rain.”

“I hope for only sunny days ahead.”

“And I the same.” She could not stop smiling, although now they were at the head of the line and must dance with others all down the line.

When the music ceased, Liberty stood once more before her. Bowing deeply he said, “I fear my next dances are all promised, but I would dearly like to see you again.”

“And I you. Will you call on me?” she asked as he gave her his arm and led her off the crowded floor.

“No, it would be best that your name never be associated with mine. We have met now in your world.” He stopped and looked her full in the face. “Do you dare meet me in mine?”

“I dare,” she said boldly, meeting his eyes. “I will meet you anywhere you wish.”

“Tomorrow, during the day, the Gypsy
called Liberty Wood will be at Smithfield preparing some horses for Mr. Derbyshire to sell at the Bartholomew Fair. On Saturday the fair begins, and Mr. Derbyshire will be there to sell his horses.” He bowed once more, turned on his heel, and disappeared into the crowd.

 

 

Chapter Four

 

 

Lucy-Ann barely slept, anxious for the day to come, and preoccupied with thoughts on how to get to Smithfield unescorted. Finally she decided she would tell her aunts that she had arranged to spend the afternoon with a friend she had met at the ball, a fictional Miss Darnsworth, who lived overlooking the large open field called Smithfield. She did not like to lie to them, but her desire to see Liberty again and her fear that if she did not she might lose him forever overcame her reluctance.

Her aunts were satisfied with her tale and the carriage was ordered. If the old ladies wondered why Lucy-Ann tried on every dress and every bonnet and found every one of them wanting and could not decide for many minutes between her spencer and her cloak, they said nothing. They were only pleased that she had made a friend, although both said they could not remember which young lady was Miss Darnsworth.

Aunt Emily accompanied her—no proper young lady went anywhere alone. When the carriage arrived at the fictional Miss Darnsworth’s address, Aunt Emily said she would return for her at dusk and ordered the footman to accompany her to her destination. They took the walkway beside the house and then turned on the path that led to the front door. As soon as they were out of sight of the carriage, Lucy-Ann assured the man that she preferred to arrive alone and instructed him to turn about. She put a guinea in his hand and he bowed and turned his back, pausing for a moment before walking, very slowly, back to the carriage.

Lucy-Ann hurried down the hill and onto the field. She saw several pens holding horses and off to one side, perhaps twenty feet away, an encampment of seven gaily painted gypsy wagons—
vardos
, the Gypsies called them.

She was not sure quite where to go, so she began to tramp across the field toward the encampment, passing by Gypsy children who played near the
vardos
. Soon her dainty white shoes and the hem of her cloak were covered in mud.

As she approached, she spied Liberty training a horse in one of the pens next to the encampment. She hurried over to the enclosure where she watched him put the horse through its paces. He wore a blue workman’s cap and tight breeches and his shirt was patched and rough. Her heart lurched. She much preferred him thus than as the well-dressed Mr. Derbyshire.

In fact, she found herself yearning to be in those powerful arms that handled the horse so expertly. A wave of heat coursed through her as she imagined those strong hands on her breasts, those powerful thighs intertwined with her own softer ones.

When he saw her, he dismounted immediately and ran, smiling, toward her. He leapt over the fence and took her in his arms.

“I did not expect you to come so early,” he said. Mere seconds later, he kissed her hungrily, demandingly, and she returned the kiss in kind, her heart beating wildly as she swept her hands over his broad shoulders. It had been so long, too long that she had dreamed of this.

Lucy-Ann thought she could stand here for an eternity with Liberty’s lips on hers, Liberty’s arms around her. Suddenly, he pulled away from her.

“I must be mad,” he muttered, “to be kissing you here where any might see us—as though you were a common trollop. Come, my darling Lucy-Ann.” He offered her his arm.

They walked slowly and silently to the encampment. She held tightly to his arm, dazed, every sense tingling. They passed by an array of brightly colored
vardos
,
as well as the group of wide-eyed children who looked at her curiously as they passed. Lucy-Ann paused beside a green
vardo
. It looked exactly as she remembered.

Liberty smiled and gave her his hand as they climbed the steep wooden steps and stepped through a yellow curtain.

The sunlight streamed though the yellow curtain, infusing the interior with a dim, golden light. Lucy-Ann remembered the way the wooden walls bowed out, the bed at the far end. She recalled how happy she had been, how free she had felt, when she had been here last.

She looked up at Liberty and gently touched the scar on his cheek. It was painful to think of the injury he had suffered—and that it had been at the command of one of her own family.

“How can you ever forgive us?”

“Can you forgive me for not succeeding in rescuing you? I followed after you to London, but I could not learn where you were staying.”

She stepped close to him, put her arms about his waist, and rested her head on his broad chest. “I dreamed about you, longed for you, and now here you are.”

“I am with you at last,” he said, “after so many months of wishing for it.”

When she looked up at him, she saw the raw passion evident in his eyes, and she felt the heat of an answering desire ignite within her. She brought her arms about his neck, pulled his head down so she could kiss him, and did so softly. He kissed back gently and then his lips grew harder, more demanding, and his tongue pushed past her lips as he held her tighter to himself. She could feel his member pressing against her as she caressed his tongue with her own.

Liberty slid his hands up and down her back and then up her sides, barely touching the edges of her breasts, making her shiver and ache for more. Then he untied her bonnet, tossed it aside, and tried to run his hands through her hair. He pulled back and looked at her, smiling.

“I never thought to see you with pins in your hair,” he said.

She raised her arms to pull out the pins, conscious of his gaze upon her, conscious that her breasts lifted and that he looked at them with desire. She longed for his touch, she longed for him to reach out to her, to stroke, to fondle, to make her feel as she used to. His hands moved toward her, as though he knew what she wanted, but then dropped to his sides again. He watched her intently. She pulled out the pins so her hair tumbled about her shoulders and down her back.

Liberty stepped toward her and took a strand in his hand. “The color of sunlight,” he mused, letting it slip through his fingers.

He took her by the shoulders and drew her to himself again. He kissed her hard and deep as he pulled at the ribbon that held her dress together and opened the bodice. He kissed the tops of her breasts where they rose above her petticoat and short stays. His hands snaked through her hair, stroking, smoothing, and then took tight hold and pulled her head back. He kissed and nuzzled her throat, tenderly, tantalizingly. He nipped and nibbled as she sighed with the pleasure of it.

He helped her out of her dress, then she helped him pull off the patched shirt. He kicked off his boots and, kneeling, he tenderly untied Lucy Anne’s mud-stained shoes and the ribbon ties that held up her stockings while she ran her fingers again and again through his luxuriant black curls, amazed at the softness of them and at the miracle that Liberty was really here.

She turned so he could undo her petticoat, and she pulled it off over her head. She undid the buttons of his breeches and he pulled them off. She gasped as his shaft, hard and erect, sprang free. She turned and he unlaced her stays and dropped them to the floor. He brought his hands to her breasts and she leaned back against him, luxuriating in the feel of his touch through her chemise. His member pushed hard against her back. She moaned with overwhelming desire for him.

She said softly, “I’ve dreamed of this for so long.”

“And I too,” he said as he nipped the back of her neck, bending his knees a little to do so. Now his member pressed hard against her bottom, finding its way between her cheeks while his finger stroked her nipples, making them hard and sending a fire racing down her body to that secret place between her thighs, setting it aflame with the wanting of him.

He tore off her chemise, turned her toward him, and took her mouth again as his hands roamed hungrily over her body. Then he scooped her up in his arms, carried her to the bed, and laid her upon it.

He kissed her face and her throat. He kissed between her breasts and then the breasts themselves. Finally his tongue was on a nipple, circling it until he drew it between his lips and sucked as she moaned with pleasure. A minute later, he did the same to her other breast.

“I want you,” she whispered. “Please, Liberty, take me now.”

“Oh no, my darling, we have hardly begun.” He kissed his way down her body until he was kissing the most private part of her. His tongue found her clitoris and licked and stroked and sucked as she writhed and panted. She groaned, craving more and yet finding the intense sweetness of the sensation almost past bearing. She exploded into orgasm.

Before she could catch her breath, he slipped his finger inside her, stroking and rubbing until she thought she might die of pleasure. She cried out as she tumbled into the ecstasy of orgasm once again.

“Now,” she demanded, opening her eyes to find him looking intently at her. “Take me now.” He shook his head and smiled at her.

His finger moved inside her while his gaze never left hers. He found new places of exquisite sensation, new ways of delighting her, thrilling her. She struggled to keep her eyes open and on his, wanting him to see the joy he was giving her, wanting somehow to share her own passion as she climaxed.

His expression changed, and she watched unbridled desire overcome him. He brought his arms about her in a tight embrace. He kissed her lips hard, almost brutally. She could taste herself, her own excitement, on his mouth. He placed the backs of her legs against his broad chest and slowly he entered her. They smiled at one another and then he began to move and she moved with him.

Lucy-Ann arched and groaned as the heat between them grew, as the exquisite pleasure overcame them. She came in a frenzied climax and yet wanted more, was ravenous for more and, incredibly, he gave her more. And her world exploded once more.

She saw his control shatter as he drove into her, harder, faster, until, completely overwhelmed by passion, they both cried out in ecstasy as he released his essence into her.

The interior of the
vardo
was becoming dark when the lovers finally got out of bed. Lucy-Ann peeked out of the little window and saw that the sun was at the horizon. They dressed hurriedly and tried to pin up Lucy-Ann’s hair–—mercifully, her bonnet covered that disaster. Liberty tied the bow under her chin and then, holding her face, he kissed her softly and she kissed him back. Had she ever been so happy?

In the dimming light, they hurried across the field and kissed quickly, parting before the waiting footman could see them. It was not until she returned home that Lucy-Ann realized she and Liberty had made no plans to meet again.

 

***

 

After a minute, Liberty stepped onto the path and walked nonchalantly after her—no one would think anything of it; people passed to and fro here often. He wanted to make sure Lucy-Ann got to the carriage safely. He saw the footman open the door and pull down the stairs and Lucy-Ann step lightly up them and into the carriage. As it rumbled away, Liberty took off his cap and ran his hands through his curls. He stood watching until the carriage turned onto Bond Street and was lost to sight.

He sighed. When she’d been in his arms, he’d forgotten what Lucy-Ann was. He’d forgotten that she was a member of the ton, an heiress. As for himself, he was a Rom, a Gypsy, who lived by winning at cards with members of her class when he wasn’t selling them horses—preferably for more than they were worth.

He turned and walked dejectedly back to Smithfield. He should never have taken advantage of her. True, she was willing enough; in fact, he was sure her passion matched his own, but that didn’t make it right. The thought of her made him begin to grow hard, made him yearn to have her in his arms again. But that didn’t make it right either. He and Lucy-Ann did not belong together, yet he was unable to control his desire for her.

But no, he must not allow it. Their situation was impossible; there could be no future for them. He belonged to the road, she to society. Neither could exist in the world of the other. Lucy-Ann was no longer the wild young girl she’d been—his late-summer playmate and then his lover—who would think nothing of riding astride, who saw nothing wrong with laughing loudly if she were amused, or scratching herself if she itched, or wading in the stream, or swimming naked in the pond. That girl was gone.

He had mistaken the elegant, self-possessed society lady for the Lucy-Ann from long ago. But that girl was not the woman with a pretty bonnet, a silk petticoat, and a carriage with four horses and a footman on the back. Perhaps he had made love to a memory.

He rubbed the mark on his cheek where the driver of that same carriage had struck him with the whip two years ago, knocking him off his horse and into the mud. Neither the mark nor the memory had completely faded.

At the encampment, when the children ran toward him, begging him to pick them up and swing them around the way they loved, he refused. He was conscious of their surprised, hurt looks as he went to his
vardo
and climbed inside. He would have thrown himself fully clothed onto the bed, but it was still redolent of the lovemaking he had shared with Lucy-Ann. It was too unsettling, too sad to think it was over, that it would never happen again. That it should never have happened. He went out again and, trying to forget Lucy-Ann, he worked with the horses well into the night.

 

BOOK: A Proper Lady's Gypsy Lover
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