Valor of Love (Scandalous Scions Book 2), page 14
The memory of Blackawton had no power over her while she was in Jasper’s arms. She could stay here forever.
His kisses grew more frantic. His lips trailed over her jaw and down the length of her throat, as he held her steady. Lilly clutched at his head, not sure if she was guiding him or encouraging him.
Then he brought his mouth back to hers and kissed her again. His forehead touched hers and they grew still.
Both of them were breathing hard. His body was rock hard against her. All of it, including his shaft. She felt no shock or disgust at the sensation of the hot length against her. It just felt…right. For a wicked moment, she wished she was not wearing her hoops, so she could properly feel him.
Thomsett let her go, as she had known he would.
“Good night, Lilly,” he said softly.
“Good night, Jasper.”
She hurried into the house and up to her lonely bed, before she weakened. The rain started as she climbed. When she closed the window in her bedroom, she saw he was still standing where she had left him, his face turned up to the rain.
* * * * *
The next day was far cooler and damp from the night of rain. There were clouds covering the sky, although they were white and threatened nothing more than an overcast day.
Shortly after breakfast, as Lilly was preparing for her daily walk, she heard the canter of hooves on the gravel outside the house. She looked out her window and her heart sank when she saw it was Darnell Newman upon a tall gelding.
Thomsett had already stepped out of the house and was reaching for the bridle to steady the skittish beast, when it neighed and tried to climb the air with its forefeet. The hooves came perilously close to Thomsett, who ducked and stepped back.
Lilly hurried down the stairs, her heart starting up again. Her breakfast now sitting in her stomach like a heavy rock.
She stepped out into the yard just as Newman jumped off the horse, his boots landing heavily. His riding breeches were tight and new and his boots polished.
He didn’t smile as he tossed the reins at Thomsett.
Thomsett let them drop to the ground. Instead, he caught the gelding’s bridle again and patted its nose, soothing it with low murmurs.
“Mr. Newman,” Lilly acknowledged. “I presume the house party agenda for this morning is a ride across the moors?” If it was, then she would stay in the house.
“Hunting actually, Lady Lillian. Last night’s rain will draw all the prize catches out to drink.”
“And you stopped by to warn us?” Thomsett asked.
Newman ignored him. Instead, he moved back to his saddle. “I thought you might like to join us, Lady Lillian. It is a fine day and you hardly need be sociable, when every man is watching where his sights point. Look, I even have a gun I think might suit you.”
He pulled out a long barreled gun that might have been a short rifle, or a long pistol and waved it, so Lilly could see it.
“Be careful where you point that thing,” Thomsett growled.
Newman strode toward her, carrying the weapon by the handle, his finger curled about the trigger.
Lilly’s heart squeezed even harder. “I don’t hunt, thank you.”
“Then just come along for the ride. Fresh air and sunshine.” He waved his hand to take in the cloudy day. It was the hand holding the gun. “I ask for nothing else,” he said, with a touch of asperity.
Had Newman been drinking? Sweat shone at his temples, yet his eyes were clear enough…
Lilly flinched as the muzzle swung wildly again. She saw the black dead eye pointing at her.
Thomsett let go of the horse, which immediately neighed and shifted backward in panicked movements, its eyes rolling.
Newman whirled to see what was happening, the gun circling with him. His forearm rammed up against Thomsett’s hand, which he had thrown out, anticipating Newman’s spin. Thomsett immediately jerked Newman’s arm up into the air.
The gun went off. It was a loud sound, echoing off the bluff behind the house and making Lilly clap her hands to her ears.
The horse whinnied and galloped away, throwing up clod of earth.
Newman lost his footing. His boots skidded on the gravel and he went down heavily, the air pushing out of him with a grunt.
Jasper took the gun out of his hand and tossed it away. It flew in a high arch and landed in the wild grasses, far beyond the gravel. Then he bent over Newman, who lay dazed on his back.
“I said be careful…” Jasper roared at him, then gasped in another breath to continue, “…where you point that thing.”
He drew himself upright. His hands were shaking. With slow steps, he walked back into the house. Lilly reached for his arm. He didn’t stop. She thought that perhaps he didn’t even see her.
Newman got himself up onto one elbow. His cravat was askew and his hair flopped over his eyes.
“You’d best go and catch your horse, Mr. Newman,” Lilly said coldly. “If you can.”
She turned and moved back into the house herself and shut the door. Shelby was cowering by the kitchen door, her apron up over her mouth and her eyes huge.
“Where did Thomsett go?” Lilly asked her.
“Upstairs. Oh, my lady! He looked so strange! Did he kill Mr. Newman?”
“He barely touched him,” Lilly said. “He didn’t have to,” she added, disgust thick in her voice. “I will see to Thomsett. Do not disturb me, Shelby. Thomsett would be shamed if you saw his condition.”
Shelby dropped the apron. “He was in the wars, wasn’t he, my lady?”
Surprised, Lilly said, “Yes, the Crimea.”
Shelby nodded and brushed her apron down with a no nonsense motion. “I’ve heard of soldiers coming back from battles. Some of them come back different. Not quite right in the head, like.” She looked at Lilly.
“Then you understand,” Lilly said, relieved. “Please keep it to yourself, Shelby, for Thomsett’s sake.”
“Oh, aye, I can do that for the man.”
Lilly went upstairs.
Jasper’s room was at the other end of the narrow corridor from hers. Shelby’s lay in between. The house was too small to have a separate servants’ hall and one of Shelby’s role was to act as chaperone for Lilly. Taking the upstairs bedroom had been perfectly sensible, which fit with everything Shelby did.
Lilly turned left at the top of the stairs. Jasper’s door was shut, as she had expected. However, there were no locks on any of the doors. She didn’t knock or wait for him to allow her to enter. She turned the knob and stepped into the room and shut the door softly behind her.
As she had expected, he was sitting in the corner of the room. He’d shrugged off his jacket and cravat and both lay over the railing at the end of the bed. The collar and cuffs were tossed on the floor, the pins scattered around them.
His boots and stockings lay where he had shed them as he moved to the corner. Lilly nudged them out of the way and lowered herself down to the floor in front of him.
Jasper sat with his knees against his chest, his arms around them. He was shivering and gazing at nothing.
“Thomsett,” she said softly.
His gaze flickered toward her. “I warned you.” His teeth almost chattered as he spoke. “Useless…” he added.
Lilly rested her hand against his cheek, then almost pulled it away. She had expected he would feel cold to the touch, because of the shivering, only his flesh was heated to a blasting hot degree.
She held her hand there. “Jasper,” she said again. “Look at me. Talk to me.”
If his memories trapped him the way hers did, then he would not hear her now.
Each time Jasper had drawn her out of her memories, he’d had to shake her, or shout. She suspected either of those things would drive him deeper.
Instead, she picked up his hand from about his knee. She had to peel the fingers away, but persi
The touch of his fire-hot fingers sent a ripple through her.
He brought his head up. His gaze turned to her face. He was seeing her.
“Lilly,” he gasped.
She leaned forward and kissed him.
With a groan, he pulled her against him and crushed her lips with his. The heat of him was ferocious. It bathed her, loosened her limbs and her heart. She wound her arm about his neck and let herself lean against him, knowing he would hold her up.
The kiss deepened. His tongue swept into her mouth and stirred her senses and her body. He pushed his hand back inside her blouse and stroked her flesh there and she shuddered with delight. Every nerve ending was wakening. Tingling.
Jasper released her mouth and drew in a shuddering breath.
Lilly tightened her arm. “Don’t stop,” she whispered.
He brushed the loosened curls from about her face. “Not here,” he replied.
Lilly turned in his arms to look at the bed. “There, then.”
Jasper touched his lips to hers, then put her gently aside and got to his feet. He bent and put his hands around her waist and lifted her onto hers.
Lilly gripped his arms through the sleeves of his shirt. They were thick and strong. “Wait,” she murmured and pulled up her skirt. She reached beneath and tugged on the strings of her hoop petticoat. The garment dropped to the floor with a soft sigh. “That’s better.” Lilly pushed it aside and pressed herself up against him. This time, she could feel him against her. All of him.
Jasper’s eyes were narrowed. What she could see of them looked green and pure…and heated.
She reached for the waistcoat he had not removed. “Too many layers,” she whispered, slipping the buttons undone quickly.
He shrugged out of it, his shirt coming adrift from his trousers. Then he reached for the buttons on her blouse. Only, his fingers were too big and they still shook. Lilly held his hand between hers, then lowered it and pulled the buttons undone herself. She could not pull it out of her skirt, for the belt was hooked and fastened, so she reached around behind her and released it. The skirt button was just beneath, so she undid that, too.
As her skirt and belt dropped, she pulled the blouse off. That left her in pantalets and camisole. She reached for her hair.
“Let me do that, please,” Jasper said. “I have wanted to, for such a long time.”
Startled, she lowered her hands.
He reached around behind her head. His fingers unerringly found the two clips and withdrew them. He turned and put them on the chest of drawers behind him, then uncoiled her hair.
It unraveled and fell against her back and brushed her waist. Jasper let out a soft sigh. He drew a thick lock of it through his fingers. “The color of teak,” he said softly. “The only outward evidence of your true strength.”
“You are the only one to see that.”
“A privilege I am grateful for.” He kissed her again, then picked her up and carried her over to the bed.
Her heart beat harder as he lay her on it. Even though she welcomed this, fear touched her. Would it hurt? The only experience she had involved blood and pain.
Perhaps he sensed her sudden wariness, for he stroked her cheek. “I won’t hurt you.”
“You couldn’t. Not you,” she said with complete certainty and let herself relax. “Take your clothes off,” she urged him. “Groping through clothes…that’s what he did.”
Jasper pulled the shirt over his head. Because of the heat, he had not bothered with an undershirt.
He looked as strong as his actions hinted. He did not look like a huge man when he was dressed, even though he was nearly as tall as Raymond. However, he had a wiry strength. His chest was heavy with muscle. So were his arms. She watched the muscles work as he unfastened his trousers and bent and removed both them and the underdrawers in one movement.
He straightened again and drew in a breath that lifted his chest. “The look in your eyes…”
Lilly let her gaze draw back to his manhood once more. Despite Blackawton, she had never seen a man’s parts before.
Jasper settled on the bed next to her and Lilly reached out her hand, fascinated. It was instinctive to curl her hand around him. The softness and the heat were a surprise and she stroked her fingers along the length, marveling.
“Lilly…” Jasper said, with a groan.
“I would know every inch of you,” she told him. “My ignorance has only led to hurt. I won’t be ignorant anymore.”
“Then you should know that what you are doing will end things sooner than you’d like, if you don’t stop right now.”
She pulled her hand away, startled.
Jasper sighed. Then he pushed at her shoulder so that she was lying down properly and bent over her. “There is a time for everything,” he assured her. “Let me show you.”
And he did.
First he stripped her undergarments from her one slow inch at a time. Every newly exposed inch, he bathed with his tongue and kissed and stroked the flesh with his lips. It had not occurred to Lilly that a mouth could go anywhere hands could. She applied the lesson herself and tasted any portion of his body that was close enough for her to reach.
He groaned as he worked to remove her garments. His muscles quivered under her mouth. The sensation and his reaction pleased her, so she doubled her efforts, letting her mouth explore one area while her hands trailed elsewhere.
A man’s body was so different from a woman’s. It was harder, more muscled and leaner. Longer. Stronger. She had seen nude male statues at the museum and had studied then with innocent curiosity. She had never seen a real man’s body, though. The heat and the softness of the flesh over the powerful muscles was something no marble in the world could convey. She liked it.
She liked the way he smelled. She liked that she could make him groan and make his breath come more quickly and could make his hips shift in a way that told her she was having an effect.
Only Jasper was having an effect on her, too. Once she was naked, he played with her as she was doing with him, finding the places that made her gasp—most of them were a surprise even to her. His touch could make her back arch and her hips to lift.
The flesh beneath her legs throbbed heatedly. She didn’t understand why it would, except that it was mysteriously associated with the end result of all this play.
When Jasper took the tip of her breast into his mouth and his teeth actually closed over it, Lilly’s moan made her throat ache. The heated flesh at the juncture of her thighs gave out a powerful pulse and her thighs fell apart restlessly.
Jasper toyed with her breasts for long moments and her aching emptiness impossibly increased. She writhed on the sheet, everything in her body tightening.
He pulled herself over her and Lilly caught her breath. This, she knew. Only it wasn’t anywhere near the same. She had no shame or fear. Just a touch of uncertainty.
Jasper pulled her knee up over his hip. “The more open you are, the easier it will be,” he murmured. “Tell me to stop if anything hurts, if anything…”
She nodded and drew in her breath as his shaft—his cock, he had told her to call it—and only in his company—nudged up against her. Astonishingly, she felt as though her flesh was wet. Slippery.
Understanding flared in her. That was what it was supposed to be. Without the moisture, it would hurt and tear.
Jasper pushed inside her, so slowly she could barely trace his movements.
“Breathe in, then let it out,” he whispered.
She followed his instructions and could feel her body relax around him. He pushed inside and she felt herself spreading, encompassing his girth.
His flesh at the base of his cock touched hers and he looked at her. A tiny furrow showed between his brows and his eyes
“It didn’t hurt,” she murmured. “Not at all.”
He kissed her cheek. Then he moved against her and she caught her breath again. This, she also remembered, yet it was wildly different this time. She could feel her body gathering around him, welcoming the thrusts. All sorts of sensations were building in her belly. They were pleasurable. Very pleasurable.
Her breath came faster, as the tension in her seemed to climb and climb.
Jasper reared over her, gripping the rail by her head, the tendons in his arm flexing as he strained and worked inside her.
Lilly couldn’t keep still. It was as if her body was reaching for something, only she didn’t know what it might be. The tension, the delightful tension, wound tighter and tighter.
Then Jasper groaned, his throat working, as he thrust, his deepest yet, then grew still, his whole body a taut bow above her.
Then he relaxed against her with a gusty sigh and kissed her. She felt his cock slip out of her.
Jasper ran his finger along her collarbone, then lower, to tug and roll her breasts.
“I thought…oh!” she breathed. “I thought that was…all!” She moaned and rolled her head.
“Oh, we are not nearly done yet,” Jasper breathed and kissed her, this time his tongue pushing inside her to play with hers and stroke her teeth and lips.
His hand spread over her belly, making the muscles there strum and her hips to rise.
Then he pushed his fingers between her thighs, actually inside the folds of flesh there.
Lilly almost cried out as he brushed the nub of flesh there that seemed to pulse and ache. She clutched at him, her breath coming more quickly.
“Mmm….” He bent his head to play with her breasts again and his hand stroked and stroked…
Lilly shook and panted and writhed, the tension tearing through her, making everything molten hot and rippling with excitement. Where could it end? Surely it had to end?
Her breath caught in her chest, as the pleasure became overwhelming. A wave of the most powerful pleasure coursed through her, snapping her body taut and bringing a low, deep moan to her throat that was almost a scream.
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