Authors: Ella J. Quince
“You said that this afternoon when I was in one of my finest gowns. Now I'm wearing a plain cotton gown. It is a pretty shade of pale yellow, but far beneath my other gown.”
“You will always look lovely to me.” He took her hand and pulled her from the room. He took her toward the back stairs, holding her hand in his, and admiring the way her curls bounced about her shoulders with only half of her hair pinned up.
They reached the dukes suite far too quickly in his mind. He should have found a dark corner and kissed her senseless, but then they would have been late. Entering the antechamber, they found the duke already at the table sipping a glass of wine. A summer storm in the distant hills had brought grey clouds overhead, choking off the early evening light. Candles lit the room, lending a quiet ambiance to the informal dinner. Chance held out Obedience's chair as she sat and greeted the duke. Chance took his seat, relieved that the day was finally ending, and that the night held such promise. The
footman began to serve them, and they settled into a routine of eating and sipping from their glasses. There was little conversation beyond initial greetings. Obedience and his father seemed content to eat in silence. Chance could feel the strain of the day sapping his energy and assumed they felt the same. His father looked older in the meager light. The shadow cast by the candle light enhancing the lines of his face. He ate little and at a slow pace, leaning forward and heavily on the left arm of his chair. Chance made a mental note to summon the doctor tomorrow, just for the sake of his peace of mind. His father was changing, his strength waning each day, his physical appearance being altered drastically. It was heartbreaking to see, and a reminder that time was running out. Obedience smiled at him frequently and ate with gusto. After dessert had been cleared from the table, Chance helped his father to bed, and Obedience pulled a chair to his side and read to him. Chance listened with his eyes closed, his arms folded behind his head, and boots crossed at the ankles as he reclined in his father’s favorite chair beside the fireplace. Her voice was soothing, light and soft, changing octave with the tone of the words.
She stopped reading. Chance opened his eyes and looked over to them. She was staring at his father intently and stood to put a hand on his chest. Chance stood from the chair, his body tensed to react but frozen in place. She exhaled, her hand moving with the inhale and exhale of his fathers. She looked at Chance and smiled with relief. His father was sleeping soundly.
Chance waved her to the door, taking her hand as they entered the hall and escorted her back to her room. She turned to him expectantly when he didn't follow her in, and raised a brow in question.
“How much time do you need to prepare for bed?”
“I just need to change.”
Chance reached in and pulled the bell pull beside her door. “I'll be back in a quarter hour.” He pulled the door closed and left her, the intrigued look on her face haunting him all the way back to his room.
Each minute felt like ten. He paced in his room, dressed down to his breeches and dressing robe, the breeches a reminder that tonight was not for his pleasure, but for hers. It would be too tempting if he went without, although he usually slept nude. That was another question he had yet to answer for himself. Would he stay the entire night? It was tempting, but what if he took advantage of her in his sleep? A ludicrous notion, his mind answered, but another part of his anatomy made him doubt himself. Looking at the clock, he exhaled in frustration and left his room. He arrived at her door just as the maid was leaving, her eyes downcast as she passed him. Chance opened the door and found Obedience tucked in bed, hair curling madly about her shoulders. He paused and just looked at her, afraid to move closer for a heartbeat.
Seven days ago, if a
fortuneteller had told him he would be anticipating his wedding night, he would have laughed uproariously. But here he was, and there she was, watching him nervously, her eyes as round as teacups. He entered and closed the door, turning the key to lock it. There was a soft click, the only sound in the room. He walked forward and untied his robe, pulling it from his shoulders. She looked down at his breeches and frowned. He almost smiled.
“A last bastion, so to speak.”
She frowned even more. “Against what?”
“Against going further then I intend to.” He put
one knee on the bed. She was obviously disappointed.
Sliding to his knees and sitting on his haunches, he watched the play of emotions on her face as she took in his appearance.
“I don't understand,” she finally said.
“I promised I would go slow.”
“I understood that, but I thought...” Her cheeks colored. She pressed a hand to one cheek. “I suppose I don't know anything about what to expect.”
He chuckled and scooted closer, pulling the coverlet from her lap and taking her hand to pull her up to her knees in front of him. “That's all right. That is precisely why I want to go slow. You can take all the time you need to become accustomed to me and the shared intimacy between us. Tonight is about your pleasure.”
“But we will... you know.” She shrugged her shoulders.
Laughter rumbled in his chest as he pulled her closer. “No
, sweet, not tonight. Have no fear.”
She tried to push away from his chest but he held her firmly. “I have no fear. I want to know it all.”
“You're not ready. We don't have to rush this.”
Obedience ground her teeth. This was the one part she wanted to rush into. “We've kissed and touched. What more is there?”
“Quite a bit more.” He smiled rakishly.
It made her feel like a novice, and not in a good way. “More than can be shown in a single night?”
she said incredulously.
He sighed. “This is for your own good. Many women don't like the marital act. I want you to enjoy what we do
.” He pulled her hips against his, and he was already fully aroused. “I want you to crave it. Therefore, we will go slow, taking things step by step, so you don't get spooked.”
“You've decided this all for my benefit?”
she said in annoyance.
It isn’t open to negotiation.”
“And what, my oh so unshakable husband, are we going to do this night?”
“I've been waiting all day to show you.” He dipped his head and claimed her lips. She might not like his plan, but she wouldn't be able to think coherently once he was done with her. If she thought she wouldn't be satisfied with what he had to offer, she would soon find out otherwise. Digging his fingers into her hair, he held the back of her head firmly while he ravaged her mouth. She was pliant in his arms, no fear—no reticence, only acceptance, and untutored passion.
He pressed her back to the bed, sweeping a hand down her back. His hand swept over the curve of her bottom, to hook at her knees and pull them out from under her. Coming down on top of her, he rolled to the side and pulled up the hem of her nightgown, hooking her knee over his leg. He slid his hand up higher under her nightgown, running his hand over her bare skin. She shivered in his arms, a whole body vibration. Gasping, she pulled away, arching her back and pressing her breasts hard against his chest. He released his hold on her skull and loosened the tie at the neck of her nightgown. Pulling it lose, he slipped it over one pale shoulder and kissed her soft skin. She pressed her body against his, her softness against his hardness. She was writhing with desire, shooting past his planned measured pace, eroding his patience and control with her fervor.
He had to pull back, take control of the situation, and slow her down, but then she set her hands to his chest, her fingernails lightly scoring his skin. He clenched his teeth against a wave of intense lust. She tucked her hips, grinding against the ridge of his arousal, all but decimating his restraint. She did it again and again, whimpering with pleasure. He caught her lips again to distract her, delving his tongue deep inside her mouth and stealing her breath. There he played, and with his free hand, he tugged her neckline lower, exposing her breasts. He cupped her, squeezing and molding her until she pressed back against his hand and fought to pull her mouth away to moan. He let her, and then he lowered his head to her breast to pull her nipple into his mouth startling a scream from her.
He gentled, soothing her tender skin, and using soft licks to set fire to her skin. Her leg hitched higher over his, pressing the core of her body harder against his erection. He groaned
aloud, unable to harness his own response to her. Her eyes snapped open and met his with wonder. He suckled her harder, holding her gaze until she threw her head back and moaned. Gripping her bare hip, he moved his hand to the soft skin of her inner thigh, trailing his fingers upward to her curls and running his fingers along the cleft of her woman hood. She shivered again, her head still thrown back, but he knew he had her complete attention.
She was wet and hot, ready for him, but he still had some of his wits about him. He was straining in his breeches, so aroused it was almost painful, but he was still in control. He teased the entrance to her body with his fingers. She hitched her leg even higher, opening herself to him.
“Please, Chance,” she begged.
He knew what she wanted, but he wasn't going to give it to her, not yet
. He grabbed her knee and pushed it wider until she had to roll to her back. He slid down, wedging his shoulders between her legs and forcing them even wider.
“What are you doing?”
she panted, her eyes glazed over with desire.
“I'm driving you mad.” He settled himself between her legs, pushing her nightgown to her waist. She was bared to him now, completely exposed and at his mercy. He looked up at her. She had no trace of modesty, or reserve. She was aroused and agitated, her body blindly
searching for release. He focused on the feast before him. It was just like her to jump head first into the world of pleasure without bothering to think or look. She was an impetuous innocent. Teasing her slick folds, he bent his head and kissed her softly. She jerked as he suspected she would, overly sensitized by her need and unfamiliar with the strength of the new sensations. He kissed her again, slowly, searching with his lips and tongue, lightly tickling and teasing with small strokes. She began to move, her hips undulating in their own rhythm in response.
Her breathing became erratic, sawing breaths mixed with frustrated moans as he worked her body into a frenzy of desire and need. Her thighs were tense and trembling, muscles and tendons locked as she struggled to reach her peak.
He took mercy on her. With deliberate strokes of his tongue and rhythmic penetration of his fingers, he brought her to a quick climax. She cried out, arching her back and lifting her hips off the bed. He watched her hungrily, keeping his fingers inside her causing her body to spasm and clench tightly around them. He closed his eyes, his own body tensing with need, his muscles locked against the urge to find his own satisfaction. He remained in control, the fabric of his breeches brushing painfully against his swollen cock, but he persevered.
As she relaxed, so did he. He climbed up to lay beside her and pulled the coverlet over them. He pulled her against his side, careful to keep his hips angled away from her. She drowsily turned her body into his side and closed her eyes. “Is it always like this?”
she said thickly.
“Not for others. For us it will be, and it will grow.”
She exhaled, her body heavy and limp against him. He wished he could feel as she did. He wondered why he was even waiting. Clearly, she was eager for whatever he put on the table, but he had made a promise. The wedding was rushed and imperfect, this needed to be so much better than that. This was his courtship, his declaration that this marriage would be more than a rushed favor to please a dying man. Because he did mean forever, and he did mean for it to be so much more, maybe even love. With that thought, his ardor cooled. He had only been home less than a week, and yet here they were, and he was thinking of love? It was like a cold draft up one's robe. Where had that come from? Did he love her? Yes, but in a caring for, protective way. But did he
her? He had no experience with love, except...
He thought of the way Dominic loved Lilly. That burning intensity that crackled between them, the way his friend had gone mad with it. Could he feel that way about Obedience? His logical mind wanted to say no. It sounded supremely uncomfortable, but he couldn't bring himself to say a definite no, even if only in his mind. He exhaled, letting his body relax finally, his mind once more fully in control, and his body content to just be near her. If a kiss revealed that he could marry her, perhaps the progression of their intimacy would reveal more. Only time would tell.
Obedience woke as the sun was just breaking through the night, the sky changing from black to purple. With a
start, her eyes popped open, and her hand reached out to the warm male body that had been there through the night. He was gone, but the bed was still warm where he had lain. She sat up, rubbing the sleep from her eyes. She didn't understand what woke her, unless it was his leaving that did it. But why would he leave? She heard heavy steps coming from the floor above. Someone was running. She jumped from the bed, re-cinching her nightgown and throwing on her dressing gown. Barefoot, she went into the hall. The darkness was almost suffocating. Blinking rapidly, her eyes adjusted enough to follow the patterned carpet on the floor to the main stairs. She looked down over the railing to the main hall where she saw footmen busily lighting candelabras and oil lamps.