Authors: Jenesi Ash,Elliot Mabeuse,Lilli Feisty,Charlotte Featherstone,Cathryn Fox,Portia Da Costa,Megan Hart,Saskia Walker
Yes, it's the marquess. I fear he's irreplaceable.
And it's our last night.
Lights flicker along the passage as I make my way to the little sitting room, and just as I knock on the door, as I always do now, the lights dim and then go out. There's still some rewiring to do and this happens now and again, but this is the first time the power's gone out in a storm.
There's a loud crack of thunder, and lightning flashes almost simultaneously.
I shriek with fear and the door to the study flies open.
If I wasn't so terrified of the storm outside, I would laugh out loud. It's just like a Dracula movie, with a venerable old house, a wild storm and a beautiful, dramatic aristocrat dressed from head to foot in black.
I squeak again as he gathers me to him and hustles me into the softly lit room.
“I didn't think you'd come tonight, Rose. I thought you'd be down with the others in the kitchen, all seeing out the storm together.”
I would be annoyed that he'd think that of me, except that the joy in his eyes at the fact that I did come is patent. He looks as if I've just given him a supremely magnificent gift, and that expression binds me to him far tighter than any length of rope ever could.
Mad, mad thoughts gather in my mind. They're thoughts that have been circling for the past two weeks, nipping at my resolutions and my every idea of what I've always wanted for my future.
But they're so crazy that I find it hard to acknowledge
them, and when thunder cracks again they disappear, along with almost all my normal ones.
The marquess wraps me in his arms, softly cooing to me in low, comforting tones, and it's only as I settle that it dawns on me that I just shouted out incoherently again.
The embrace isn't sexual, it's protective. And yet I can still feel him hard against my belly. I hope he'll make love to me tonight, seeing as it's our last time. He doesn't always. Sometimes he's still hard when he escorts me to my little room, high in the old servants' quarters, and I can only assume he deals with his own needs after, alone.
His hold on me is too nice, too sweet and tempting. I struggle out of his grip and try to sink to the floor and kneelâ¦to begin the game.
But he holds on to me, his big, strong hands gripping my shoulders.
“Not tonight, dear. You're too frightened, aren't you?”
He gazes at me, his dark eyes full of complicated emotion. He
want to play. I can tell by his erection and the tension in his body that these games of ours seem to release just as much as actual sex does. But there's more, so much more on his mind.
Turbulent joy rushes through my veins. He's going to miss me! My marquess is going to miss me!
And it's for more reasons than just the obvious oneâbecause he likes to spank my bottomâ¦
Amazingly, for one so confident and masterfulâboth by birth and by inclinationâhe snags his lip like a nervous, unsure boy. And in this sudden, weighted moment, I sense another, far more real, chance of a lifetime.
“Where's your bedroom, Christian?”
His given name, on my lips for the first time, comes out so naturally. He looks perplexed for a moment. Not angry or confused, just amazed really. I can almost see him rapidly pro
cessing an array of new factors in our brief relationship. Then his sculpted, intelligent face lights with joy.
“Not far,” he says, suddenly gruff as he grabs my hand and leads me swiftly out of the room. His long stride eats up the yards and I have to trot to keep up with him.
As we round a corner onto another corridor, a particularly violent crack of thunder seems to shake the entire manor, and I yelp again and falter, despite my eagerness to follow wherever he leads. He spins around, his long, night-black hair whipping up as he turns, and in one smooth, effortless move, he sweeps me up in his arms, and then we continue on our way, me being carried and with my arms wound tight around his neck.
The storm, his knight-errant act and his intoxicating and spicy male fragrance all make me dizzy. Everything feels unreal, yet more real than anything that has ever happened or will happen.
As he kicks open a door, there is no job, no Caribbean, no life planâ¦just the marquessâ¦noâ¦just Christian and his bedroom and his bed.
His room is big and dark and lit by just one rather anemic bedside lampârather gloomy. It's nothing like what one would expect in a stately home, but then it's not a public area, just actual living space. The bed isn't even made, so I guess he does his own housework up here. My gaze skitters around and I notice there's a black shirt flung across a rather saggy armchair in the corner, a bottle of gin and a glass on the sideboard and a heap of books beside the bed, all with old, well-worn bindings.
It's like the cell of some rather libertine type of monk.
But he won't be particularly monkish for much longer, if I get my way.
Christian carries me to the bed, sets me down on it and sits down beside me.
His face is still a picture of enigmatic emotions, as if there's
a war going on inside him. But at least one part of the battle is quickly resolved, because drawing in a deep breath, he sweeps his hair back to one side and then leans down to kiss me.
It starts gently, but quickly takes fire, his tongue possessing me face-to-face in a way his cock never has. Adjusting his position without breaking lip contact, he stretches out alongside me, then half over me, reaching for my hand and a lacing his fingers tightly with mine.
For a long time he just kisses me as if he were fucking me, his tongue diving in, exploring and imprinting its heat on the soft interior of my mouth. I can't believe how exciting it is, as stirring in its own way as any of the naughty sex games we've played. And yet, for all its power, it's a simple kiss.
When my jaw is aching and my lips feel full and red and thoroughly marauded, he sits up again, and mutters, “Oh, God, I shouldn't do thisâ¦.”
“Yes, you should!” I insist, not sure what it is he shouldn't be doing, but every instinct screaming that if I don't get it now, I'll just go mad.
For a moment, he tips back his head and looks to the somewhat discolored ceiling moldings for inspiration. His sublime hair slides back, accentuating his profile, and giving him the look of a fallen archangel contemplating his sins. And then he swoops back down again and starts undressing me, his hands working deftly at first, and then more frantically. I swear if I didn't help him, he'd probably have tornmy flimsy knickers to get them off.
Thunder peals again, and though I don't cry out, I still can't help but flinch. Instantly, he's holding me to him, stroking and cherishing and protecting, his still fully clothed body creating a piquant sensation against my bareness.
But when the noise from the heavens ebbs, I spring into
action. I don't want to be just held. I want to be fucked! I want him inside me, face-to-face, possessing every bit of me.
And now it's my turn to tear at clothes, wrenching open his shirt as he first heels off his boots and kicks them away, then fumbling with his belt and his jeans button and struggling to free him from his jeans. Between us we achieve our objective and he sinuously wriggles clear of the restriction of the denim.
He's glorious naked. Utter perfection. Long and lean, yet powerful, his enticingly defined chest dusted with a scattering of dark hair. And there's more of that dark hair clustered below, adorning the base of his belly and the root of his eager, jutting cock.
He's everything I've ever wanted in a man, and I want to be worthy of him, a graceful, dexterous, intelligent lover.
But instead, I squeal like a scared kid and hurl myself at him for protection when thunder roars again, right overhead. The crack is so loud I'm convinced the manor has been struck, but it seems not to have been when all Christian does is gather me into his arms and hold me tight against his warm, hard body, stroking my back and murmuring sweet, reassuring bits of nothing.
The heavens rage and bellow, lightning illuminating the room, even though the obviously ancient and rather shabby curtains are quite thick. One powerful arm still wrapped around me, Christian tugs at the bedclothesâold-fashioned linen sheets, woolen blankets and a quilt on topâand pulls them right up and over our heads, sealing out the light show and some, if not all, of the noise.
“Better?” he whispers, his voice echoing strangely in our frowsty little nest. He tightens his arms around me again, and snuggles me close. The heat under all this bedding is really quite oppressive, but the sensation of safety, and of being cared for, more than makes up for that.
And the fact that he's still erect, and his delicious penis is
pushing against my belly and weeping warm, silky fluid, makes matters infinitely more interesting and sensual.
“Yesâ¦” I whisper, adjusting myself to rub against him and let him know that my fear of the storm hasn't killed my desire for him. In fact, the more I feel that long, hard, fabulous tower of flesh against my skin, the less I seem to be noticing the muffled booming of the thunder.
“Well, we'll have to pop out sooner or later, or we'll suffocate.” He pauses, then chuckles. “And I'm going to need some air if I'm going to make love to you properly. A guy needs plenty of wind in his lungs for a good performance.”
As if by magic, the next roll of thunder sounds much more muted, more distant. And the one after that even more so, far less fierce.
“I think I'll be all right now.” I place my hand flat against his belly, then slide on down. When I fold my fingers around his prick, he gasps and tugs at the quilt, so we emerge.
“Are you sure? It could still come back again. We could wait a little while, if you'd like.”
He's still concerned, thoughtful, caring. Even though his penis is like a bar of fire in my hand, and the satin flow of pre-come is yet more copious.
“I don't think I can wait.”
It's true. My own body is flowing for him, too. I'm wetter than a river down below. The thunder chunters again in the background, and though I flinch, my need for Christian is far greater than my remaining fears.
I part my legs and he gets the message and starts to touch me, his fingertip settling lightly, yet with authority, on my clit.
The pleasure comes quickly, as wild and elemental as the storm, and just as electric. Within seconds, I'm climaxing hard, rocked by the intense, hungry spasms in my sex, and fighting a battle with myself not to grip Christian's cock too roughly.
But he just laughs kindly, and pushes toward me while I pulse and pulse.
When I get my breath back, I stare at him as he looms over me in the low light from the bedside lamp. I'm still holding his erect penis, but there's more than sex in his eyes. They're dark yet brilliant, a chiaroscuro of turbulent emotions. They seem to say so much, yet the message is still scrambled, unclear. I sense some of it, and it takes my breath away again.
“I want to make love to you.” His voice is husky, low, intent. “No spanking, no mind games, no ropes or bondage. Not tonight.”
I don't know what to say, but he seems to read my thoughts. He gives me a little smile, then rolls away from me for a moment and pulls open a drawer in the bedside cabinet, and fishes around in it without looking. It takes next to no searching to produce a foil-wrapped condom. He puts it into my free hand.
My fingers shake as I dress him in it, rolling the superthin latex over his silky skin and encasing the iron-hard strength of his erection. When he's covered, I hesitate.
What will he want? His usual position? Taking me from behind?
I start to roll into position, but he stops me, a firm but gentle hand on my flank.
He smiles, pushes me flat against the mattress and then parts my legs and moves swiftly and elegantly between them.
For a moment, he just rests there, the head of his cock nestling tantalizingly at my opening, almost quiescent.
“I've so been wanting to do this,” he says, his eyes grave. “Wanting it, but knowing I shouldn't.”
I want to say
But I think I know why.
Games of spanking and bondage are just that. Games. Beautiful and life-enhancing. Sexual fun.
But this, this is serious. This is more.
I sense a different kind of bond breaking as he enters me.
It's a restriction. An artificial barrier we've set between ourselves, and it's shattered now.
All is open. All is honest, dangerous but wonderful.
“I love you,” he says quietly, then starts to thrust.
I can't speak, but I show him with my body that I feel the same. By holding him in my arms as tightly as I can while still allowing him to move. By hooking my legs around his body, and undulating my hips to press against him.
If only I could mold our two forms so closely together that we could become one, be inside each other's skin.
We rock and surge against each other, our heated perspiration almost fusing us in the way I crave. Christian's thrusts are short, shallow, urgent, almost desperate. He braces himself on one arm for leverage, and clasps me tightly to him with the other, his fingers digging into my flesh, not in cruelty but in possession and fierce need.
The joining is manic, almost animal, and yet at the same time soaring and transcendent. Holding him, being held and owned and fucked by him, I'm aware of my life changing as my flesh throbs with pleasure and clutches at his.
I gasp those three words, too, as my future changes shape.
In the morning, the park outside is fresh and clean and bright with sunshine. It's like a brand-new world after the storms of last night, a tangled paradise as I stare out from the window.
On the mantelpiece, Christian's clock reads a little after 6:00 a.m., but I'm wide-awake, anticipating a busy day ahead. I've so much to do and I don't know how to start.
So instead, I return to bedâ¦and my man.