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Authors: Cecilia Grant

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BOOK: A Gentleman Undone
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“Yes. Harder.” Her breath was beginning to shorten.

He shook his head, the corner of his mouth ticking up. “My way this time, remember? No ordering me about. I place an embargo on the word
harder
.” His thumb resumed stroking, more slowly than before and with barely any pressure at all.

This would kill her. “What if I beg? Instead of ordering.”

His brows twitched together; his eyes told her he was imagining the idea thoroughly. “It will have no effect,” he said nevertheless. “I have a program in mind and I mean to follow it.”

Panic drove pinpricks all up and down her spine. She knew how to lie back and take whatever a man cared to give her. There were ways to retreat deep inside one’s body, beyond the reach of what went on; there were ways to stand one’s ground and wrest pleasure from the jaws of degradation. Even last night she’d managed him like any other man, taking what she wanted while holding him an arm’s length away.

But she’d woken in his embrace, tired and warm and wide open to him. She’d misplaced her armor in the night and it might be too late to retrieve it now.

“Don’t worry.” He could feel her agitation. “It’s an excellent program. You’ll enjoy it.”

“Sure of yourself, aren’t you?” She would not flinch. She would not writhe, though he’d moved his hand to the other nipple and commenced his same slow torture there. “I should think I’d be the one to say whether or not I enjoy it.” She swallowed again.

“You’re so sensitive.” An awestruck address to her bosom, heedless of the words she’d just spoken. “I’m barely even touching you and you’re on fire. Why do you insist that everything be so hard and fast and brutal when the slightest pressure sends you to the stars?”

“Because I like it that way.” Maybe she could writhe a bit. It wasn’t as though her stillness would fool him into thinking her unmoved.

“You like it this way too.” He flicked at her with a fingernail.

“Yes.” An undulation wove through her, from her toes all the way to the top of her head. “Slide that hand lower and see just how much I like it.”

“Not a bashful bone in your body, is there?” His
mouth curved, its lopsidedness dizzyingly sensual somehow. “Patience, Lydia.” He reached across her, balanced his palm on the mattress, and lowered his mouth to her breast.

A short keening cry drove itself out from her lungs. His tongue on her nipple was fire itself.

He lifted his head just enough to look in her eyes. His own were dark and fierce with the primal triumph of a man who had made a woman make that sound. “You could convince the greenest schoolboy to think himself a virtuoso lover,” he said. “No wonder your man wanted me to put up three hundred pounds for you.”

Three hundred. That was ridiculous. He’d better not have agreed. She could tell him so later. “Don’t stop.” That was the important thing to say now. “Please.” So he couldn’t accuse her of commanding him.

He chuckled low in his throat, as if he were following her thoughts exactly, and sank his mouth to her once more.

Men liked her bosom. Better than they liked her face, most times. And so she’d had ample experience of hands and mouths, strokes and pinches and bites and sucking and the astounding things tongues could do. Will Blackshear did them all, with a thorough, intricate care that lit up nerve endings one by one. She gasped and twisted, desperate as an eel on dry land. If this kept up it would all be over before he even got inside her.

“Enough.” It didn’t sound like command, did it? “That’s enough.” No, it sounded like abject pleading for mercy.

He raised his head and fixed her with a look that made the room spin around them. “It’s not enough for me. Spread your legs.” He swung his knee up and over, pushing her thighs apart even as she obeyed.

The sheet slid all the way off him. He was naked above her, impressively erect, his eyes glinting with sinful
intent. He planted his second knee in between hers, and she spread her legs even wider to make room.

But instead of bringing his body forward he drew back, and back again, still kneeling, and she knew what was coming and she dug her heels in the mattress to lift up her hips, greedy wanton that she was, without even waiting for his hands to slide under her.

He caught her hips in a firm grasp and bent his head, and he dragged her into a whole bright world made of just his mouth and hands. No, his mouth and hands and the stubbly nascent beard on his chin, prickling all her most sensitive places into a frenzy as he rubbed his mouth over her.

No doubt he could be thorough. No doubt he could pleasure her nerve by intricate nerve here, too. But he’d primed her too well. His tongue stroked once, plunged once, and circled once, and she was done for. She shook all over, hips pushing to answer him of their own volition, hands clapped over her mouth to stop up cries that could have woken people in the next parish.

She was his. The taking would be but a formality. Every nerve, every cell in her body sang for him and him alone. Her hips sank slowly back to the mattress, his hands bearing her weight, cupping her arse in a fit so perfect that they stayed there, between her flesh and the linens, even after she’d come all the way back down.

He knelt at a forward pitch, his hands under her and his head bowed like some heathen worshipper. He didn’t speak. He didn’t look up. He remained in his prayerful posture for one long moment, and when his chin finally came up and his eyes met hers he was smiling with such serene satisfaction she might really believe he’d found a revelation between her thighs.

“Come here.” She reached out with both arms. “If you please.”

His hands slid out from under her and he stretched out to his full height on the horizontal. Instead of settling atop her, though, he eased himself to her side and lay facing her, his fingers venturing out to trace her hairline, his eyes roving over every inch of her face.

“That was a fine program.” She turned her body to face him as well. “I liked it very much.”

“There’s more to it, actually.” He trailed a finger down her cheek.

“I should hope so. You didn’t take your pleasure.”

“Nor do I intend to.”

Oh. Well, not much was novel to a lady who’d worked at Mrs. Parrish’s, and she’d encountered more than one man who liked to have his crisis denied. If he wanted her to—

“I shan’t take, this time.” Along her jaw his finger went, from under her ear on out to her chin. His eyes narrowed ever so slightly. “You shall give.”

Chapter Seventeen

H
E WAS
challenging her, as surely as if he’d bid her name her friends. The back of her neck prickled. “Do you think I cannot?”

“I don’t know.” Brows straight and serious, he let his hand fall from her face to the pillow. “I expect I’ll find out.”

Oh, he’d find out, to be sure. “I can give you anything you want.” Likely he thought he’d seen her at the height of her powers in the gaming hell. He hadn’t seen the half of what she could do. “I can give you things you didn’t even know you wanted.” Her voice was sloping into its duskiest timbre, thick with promise and potency. In one smooth motion she rose above him and pushed his shoulder down to make him lie flat. “I can leave you begging for mercy
and
begging for more.”

“No.” With a granite grip he halted her as she was halfway to straddling him. “No arts. Save your showing-off for the card table. That’s not what I want.”

Not what I want
. For Heaven’s sake, not again. Did he prefer a
mediocre
fuck, perhaps? She fixed him with exactly the blank look such sentiments deserved.

“I want
you
.” The more gently he spoke, the more
resolute the pitch of his brows. “The Miss Slaughter with whom I’ve grown acquainted.” He eased her down so she sat across his thighs, just back of his erection. “I don’t want to spend myself in a stranger again. I want to do this with the woman for whom I’ve come to care.”

“Don’t.” He’d turned into a bright sun of a sudden, or a blazing fire threatening to leap the hearth. “Don’t say that.” She had to angle her face away.

“Don’t worry.” His hands stroked up her arms. “It needn’t be tender. It can be a good rollicking fuck. We can say as many filthy things as you like. Only it needs to be you here with me.”

“It was, last night.” Her eyes stung and she was blinking. “That was me too.” She ought to have known he wouldn’t truly accept that part of her.

For a moment he was silent, and finally she had to risk a glance. His eyes had gone slightly unfocused. He was busy with his own thoughts. “Of course,” he then said. “Forgive my mistake. I just … want
all
of you this time.”

“I can’t.” He had no idea what he was asking of her.

“Most of you, then. More of you. Lydia.” He would have an answer for her every objection. He would prevail no matter what she did. “It needn’t be so difficult. Trust me. Trust yourself. We’ll find our way.”

His soft exhortations kindled a memory: that night at the gaming hell, when he’d called her out to the hallway because he wanted to retreat, and she’d willed the necessary confidence into him. Now she was the one wrestling an urge to flee, and his were the steady hands holding her in place.

She could do this. She’d writhed and wailed and come for him already this morning without anger. She could meet him on what ground he liked, and she could do it without betraying herself.

She grasped his cock, rose up on her knees, and slid down hard until she had him to the hilt. That meant
yes
.

He closed his eyes and exhaled forcefully. “Yes,” he said in his turn. “Good. Just like that.” One of his hands left her arm to claw up a fistful of the rumpled sheet.

He didn’t need her to be careful, then, or warm. “Open your eyes.” She could command him without shoving him away. “Watch me fuck you.”

A spasm shot through him, feet to scalp. His eyes half-opened and his hand trailed from her arm to her waist, settling there to ride her movement. “You are wanton beyond my wildest dreams, Lydia Slaughter. You are the lewdest, filthiest, most irredeemable …” His paean ended in a curse as he succumbed to another bolt of pleasure.

“You make me that way. I’ve wanted to see you naked since the first time we spoke in the dark upstairs at Beecham’s.” That was a confidence, not altogether easy to say. But it was what he wanted, so it was what he would have, in a caressing whisper, with her fingertips wandering through the hairs on his chest.

“Only since then? I think I wanted you on sight.” He was addressing her bosom, watching, unabashedly, the bounce with which it echoed her every movement on him. He nudged her arm aside where it blocked his view. “Damnation, but your tits are exquisite,” he growled.

“Would you like to watch me touch them?”

“Hell. What do you think?” His voice was hoarse and his eyes burned with appetite.

She lifted her hands, slowing her movement to a delicate writhing, and crossed her arms in front to cover her breasts with her palms. This might be more interesting if she played the shy virgin lured into lechery.

He stared, and swallowed. “Touch them.”

“I am.” Her eyelids fluttered modestly down.

“You ruthless, pitiless tease. Stroke them.”

She couldn’t help smiling. This was art, and it was showing off, and despite what he’d said he wanted it.
She let her smile tell him so, and he understood precisely. He smiled in answer, making it a sweet shared joke that sent currents of warmth through every part of her.

She dragged her fingers, one after the next, hesitant as a maiden in her bath. His throat rippled with a harder swallow. His smile evaporated and his gaze sharpened until it was fit to cut diamonds.

“What else would you like me to do?” She half-whispered the question, eyes averted to his chest.

“Put your fingers in your mouth. Make them wet.”

Not bad, Blackshear
. But she could do better. She met his gaze. Then she sent her hand down and slipped her fingers in between her body and his, between her legs, and brought them back wet.

His chest gave a quick heave as he sucked a breath in through his mouth.

BOOK: A Gentleman Undone
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