Authors: Nina Lane
“I remember Cassie,” Preston said thoughtfully. “Rather tall. Reddish hair. A lovely pair of breasts. She had a bit of a reputation as a tomboy around town, didn’t she? I don’t recall that she ever went out with boys, although I suppose her preference toward you would explain the reason why. Of course, that didn’t stop boys from lusting after her. When did she first make her attraction to you known?”
“After we’d gone to the movies one night,” Lydia said, resigning herself to the fact that her situation would be much easier if she simply told them the truth. “She was driving. We parked near a lake where we had often gone to talk. Rather than talking, however, she kissed me.”
“And?” Kruin prodded. “What did you do?”
“I was shocked, of course. We had been friends for years, and I couldn’t believe she would do such a thing.”
“But you liked it,” Gabriel murmured. “Didn’t you?”
Lydia shot him a glare. “Yes,” she snapped. “I did. I’d never been kissed by a woman before.”
“But that was before the actual…event, wasn’t it, love?” Preston asked. His blue eyes danced with amusement over Lydia’s discomfort.
Lydia poked at the remains of her croissant.
“No,” she muttered. “That was two weeks later. Her parents were out of town and I’d gone to her house to spend the night. We were in her room listening to music and talking, when she asked me if I wanted to take my clothes off. We had seen each other naked plenty of times before, but I felt strange after what had happened at the lake. Still, I took my clothes off while she watched. And then she came toward me and started to kiss me again.”
“Only this time,” Preston continued, his lean body taut with excitement as he pushed his chair back and stood, “you knew it was sexual, didn’t you?”
Lydia’s teeth sank into her lower lip as Preston came toward her with the stealthy grace of a panther. Her heartbeat increased, her hands trembling as she clutched her napkin.
“Yes,” she whispered. “I knew.”
Preston stopped behind her chair, placing his hands with infinite care upon her shoulders. Lydia felt his body heat radiating from him, the length of his fingers as they curled around her and pressed into her skin.
“Go on,” Preston commanded. “Did she kiss your breasts?”
“Your delicious, little cunt?”
Lydia closed her eyes, but she was unable to block out the sound of Preston’s voice, nor the breathing of Gabriel beside her and, indeed, not even the piercingly hot stare of Kruin from across the table. Memory pushed at the back of her mind, streaming heat through her body as she recalled the fervor and passion of youth.
“Yes,” she whispered. Embarrassment scorched her like hot coals.
“Say it,” Preston ordered.
“You know what.”
“She kissed my…my cunt.” Oh, God, she wanted to disappear, detesting this revelation of herself. She suddenly felt more exposed now than she did yesterday when she had been completely naked and helpless.
“And, darling, what did you do to her?” Preston’s hands slipped down, smoothing over the mounds of Lydia’s breasts. He chuckled softly when the hard pebbles of her nipples pressed against his palms. “My, my, Lydia, even the memory arouses you, doesn’t it? Come, tell us what you did to her.”
“The same thing,” Lydia murmured. “I kissed her everywhere.”
“You sucked her nipples, did you?”
Lydia nodded. Her thoughts flooded with the recollection of how intense the sensations had been, how delicious Cassie had tasted with the faint tinge of salt on her skin, how soft her breasts had been when they had tumbled onto the bed, Cassie crushing Lydia against her as she thrust her tongue into her mouth in voluptuous possession.
Oh, how utterly glorious it had been with Cassie’s tapered fingers exploring the moist, hot area between her thighs, her senses swimming with the flavor and feeling of another young woman.
“Keep going,” Preston persisted, his hands kneading and massaging Lydia’s breasts, caressing the crevice underneath the plump globes. “Tell us more. Tell us how she tasted.”
Lydia swallowed hard as a light sheen of perspiration broke out on her forehead. Preston’s breath was hot against her temple, his voice a low, throaty rasp in her ear. She could smell the subtle, crisp fragrance of his shaving cream, taste the strawberries he had eaten as he pressed his lips on the corner of her mouth and flicked his tongue against her lips.
“How did another woman’s cunt taste on that sweet tongue of yours?” Preston whispered obscenely.
Lydia fought the urge to pull away from him, hating his presence so close to her, invading the confines of her space. Preston repeated the question, pressing his pelvis against her, forcing her to feel the growing ridge of his erection.
“She tasted…” Lydia faltered. “I don’t know. Salty, but also sweet.”
Preston made a clucking noise of disapproval, his fingers going to the tiny buttons that ran the length of Lydia’s cotton dress. With precise agility, he began to undo the buttons and expose her breasts to the heated gazes of the two other men. He cupped the mounds in his palms, flicking his thumbs over her nipples as if to draw attention to her arousal.
“Come now, Lydia,” Preston murmured. “You can do better than that.”
Lydia gasped with surprise when Preston’s fingers continued on their route along the buttons. Within seconds, he had undone every button down to the hem, leaving her fully exposed.
She winced, her face burning with shame when he slipped his hand between her rounded thighs and laughed with delight when the evidence of her excitement coated his fingers with juices. He drew her thighs apart, sliding his finger into the pleats of her sex, circling it around the throbbing nub of her pleasure.
“I…she tasted like sun-warmed beaches,” Lydia stammered in a desperate attempt to stop him from manipulating her to orgasm. “Like sand and sunshine and flowers touched with morning dew.”
“Mmm,” Preston murmured. “Like you, I imagine. And what did you do after you’d collapsed onto the bed with her?”
Lydia went very still when Preston’s words penetrated her lust-fogged mind. Slowly, she turned to look at him, her heart lurching when she saw the smug, self-satisfied expression on his face.
“I didn’t tell you we’d got onto the bed,” Lydia said, her entire body tensing as she tried to will away what was already apparent.
Preston smiled. “You didn’t have to. I saw you.”
“Yes. Cassie’s little brother had built a tree-house in an oak tree a short distance away from Cassie’s bedroom. When I discovered her parents would be out of town, I climbed up with a pair of binoculars in the hopes of seeing her naked. You can imagine my delight when I got far more than I bargained for.”
“You bastard!” Lydia yanked herself away from him, fumbling to close her dress as her body started to shake. Disgust rose to choke her throat as her night with Cassie suddenly seemed sordid with the realization Preston had intruded. “How dare you spy on us? What kind of little shit were you?”
Preston shook his head and clucked his tongue. “Language, Lydia, really.”
Fury coated Lydia’s world in a hazy mist. Before realizing what she was doing, her hand shot out and slapped Preston across his face, leaving a burnt red imprint of her hand on his jaw.
He started in surprise before a mask of anger crashed down over his features. He grabbed for her, but Lydia eluded his grasp and ran out the French doors to the garden, clutching her dress closed in front of her.
She ran far and fast, as if the very devil himself were chasing her. Hot wind blasted into her face, burning her pale skin. Her feet slammed against the grassy inclines of the plantation grounds, her lungs bursting and her legs aching with the need for relief.
And then she sank down under the drooping branches of a weeping willow, her chest heaving as she gasped for air, trying to rid herself of Preston’s revelation as if it were a squalid nightmare from which she might awake.
She collapsed onto the grass, burying her face in her arms, silently sending apologies to Cassie for having divulged their secret in so explicit and coerced a manner.
She did not know how long she lay there, but a hand on her shoulder startled her out of her despair. She lifted her head, her eyes glazed with tears behind a veil of silken dark hair.
“That was a dangerous move, Lydia,” Gabriel murmured. He knelt on the grass beside her, not moving his hand from her shoulder.
She turned away from him, hugging her arms around herself. “I don’t care.”
“You know he’ll punish you.”
“I don’t care. He would have anyway. He’s depraved.”
Gabriel was silent. A breeze rustled through the willow tree, causing the slack branches to sashay back and forth in a seductive, gentle dance. The pungent scent of grass and pure, fresh air filled Lydia’s nose.
She closed her eyes. An unbidden thought appeared in her mind, one that imagined how it would be to leave this place, to simply walk out the front door and never look back.
“You can’t,” Gabriel whispered.
Lydia turned back to him. Oddly, it didn’t seem strange that he had voiced the response to her internal question. “I know I can’t.”
She gazed at him for a moment, sinking into the emerald depths of his eyes, watching the sweep of a breeze through his black hair.
“What did you mean?” she asked. “When you said I have to be like my surroundings?”
“Ivy and oak,” Gabriel said. His fingers brushed over her forehead, stroking away a lock of hair. “Pliant and strong. Manageable and unyielding. Compliant, docile, but also inflexible. You must be both. You have to adapt and surrender, and yet no one can take from you an inner core of pure strength.”
“I don’t think I have one.”
Gabriel looked dismayed. “Ah, Lydia, of course you do.”
“Then why am I here?”
“Because you want to retain control of your life.”
“But I don’t have any control here.”
“That is not true. You only think you don’t.”
Memories of yesterday appeared in Lydia’s mind, an image of how she must have looked splayed over Kruin’s knees with her buttocks flaming, on her knees between Gabriel’s legs, laving his prick with her mouth, crouched over with him thrusting his fingers into her from behind.
A horrible, sordid sensation threatened to engulf her in a wave. God, she was as depraved as they were if she derived pleasure from such events.
And there was no denying she had been pleasured.
Lydia turned her face away from Gabriel again, feeling the damnable flush of shame creep over her neck.
He was no better, she reminded herself. He’d left her last night to wallow in her own wantonness, her inability to resist the undeniably delicious things they did to her. He had only wanted to confirm their expertise in making her succumb whether she wanted to or not.
Gabriel stood, brushing loose grass off his trousers. “Come back with me.”
She did. They passed Kruin on the veranda. His glare said more than words ever could, singeing into Lydia like a firebrand. She felt like a wayward child who had misbehaved and was now required to await punishment for her wrongs.
At his short instruction, she went into the house, her heart beginning to pound hard as she entered the drawing room.
Preston was waiting for her, his hips propped up against the oak desk, his eyes narrow as he watched her approach. He nodded toward an overstuffed chair. Lydia lowered herself into the plush depths, suddenly wishing she hadn’t behaved so rashly.
Preston rapped out an order, and Lydia’s fingers flew to the buttons of her dress. She unfastened each tiny pearl, revealing her nakedness to him again, her legs parted in symbolic invitation, her skin gleaming with sweat from the haste of her flight. Preston’s blue eyes raked over her, lingering at the apex of her thighs which was spread for his viewing.
A hard smile twisted his mouth. “You think I’m going to punish you now, don’t you?”
“I don’t know.”
“Do you think you deserve it?”
Lydia’s eyes flashed, but she nodded.
“I’d like to do it now, of course. However, I find it far more interesting if one is required to wait. I think you’ll be far more apt to be compliant if you know that a punishment is awaiting you. And that I might choose to carry it out at any time.” He smiled again and rubbed his palm against the front of his trousers. “The mere thought of it excites me.”
He approached her chair, stopping in front of her so that she was almost eye-level with the bulge in his crotch.
She fought the urge not to recoil, wishing for the presence of Gabriel or even Kruin, for she did not relish the idea of being alone with Preston in any capacity. Her fingertips dug into the velvety arms of the chair, her body tensing as Preston reached out to flick his fingers over her nipple.
“Come, now, Lydia,” Preston murmured. “I won’t punish you today, but I do think you owe me something for having acted the way you did.”