Read Five Wicked Kisses - A Tasty Regency Tidbit Online

Authors: Anthea Lawson

Tags: #regency romance, #regency short story, #enemies to lovers, #sexy regency

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BOOK: Five Wicked Kisses - A Tasty Regency Tidbit
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He tugged the cloth down, exposing her entire sweet breast. Her nipple was dusky pink, and beginning to tighten. Oh, but he would make it stand up, a taut bud of desire. Despite the urge to caress her with his fingers, he controlled himself. He wanted her to feel keenly the warmth of his mouth, the wet coaxing of his tongue.

Slipping his hands around to brace her, he dipped his head and took the peak of her breast between his lips. She let out a gasping sigh, and he felt tremors race through her. With his tongue, he lapped at her nipple, encouraging it to stand. Her body did not need much coaxing - in moments she was taut.

He continued to kiss her breast, alternately flicking his tongue against her nipple, then drawing it into the warmth of his mouth. She moaned, and her body betrayed her yet again as she arched her back. He risked a glance at her face. Her eyes were closed, her cheeks flushed, her lovely lips parted. Excellent.

Slowly, he moved one hand down to the place between her legs. She did not seem to notice, except to breathe more deeply. She was warm there, heated from her desire. He gently rubbed the cloth of her dress, sending her arousal higher without shocking her. Like blowing on the embers of a fire, stoking it until it could not help but blaze up. He was patient - and he did not want her to burn up, quite yet.

At last he pulled back. She lay there a moment, eyes still closed, her entire body a sigh. Her nipple was still tantalizingly alert… but no. He was finished, for now. Still, he could not help the vision that flashed through his mind - Juliana lying in his bed, her golden hair spread gloriously about her, her face dreamy with desire.

She opened her eyes. The disarming softness in her expression quickly fled as she sat upright and pulled her gown back into place.

“That makes three,” she said, scooting awkwardly away from him. “I will see you next week, sir.”

He stood, oddly sorry for the change in her manner. “Good day, then. And… pleasant dreams.”

Her eyes widened, and he let out a low chuckle. There was no doubt his plans were ripening perfectly. Two more kisses, and Juliana Tate would never be the same.

~
CHAPTER SIX
~

“You dance quite well, Miss Tate.” Viscount Wrenforth smiled at her as he guided her off the Caswell’s dance floor.

“Thank you, my lord. I’ve always enjoyed the quadrille.”

A pity the viscount was not lighter on his feet - she had narrowly avoided having her toes crushed. It seemed he attributed her quickstepping out of his way to skill and grace, rather than self-preservation.

“Would you…” the viscount cleared his throat. “Would you like to see the conservatory? Lord Caswell was telling me about a new orchid he has acquired.”

Juliana studied Viscount Wrenforth from beneath her lashes. Was he hoping to snatch a moment alone, or were his intentions more of a scientific nature?

“Are you botanically inclined, my lord?”

The tip of his large nose turned pink. “No, no. I simply thought ladies enjoyed flowers… but no matter, if you aren’t interested - ”

“Oh, I am! I would be delighted to view the orchid with you.”

This was a very good sign. If she managed the next half-hour correctly, she’d be well on her way to securing a proposal from the viscount. And, truly, there was nothing objectionable about the fellow. Scores of young women would be pleased to trade places with her.

She took the viscount’s arm and let him lead her to the side door of the ballroom. Across the way, Henrietta widened her eyes and gave Juliana a significant look. She then caught her aunt’s elbow, turning their chaperone away from the sight of Juliana and Viscount Wrenforth departing the ballroom.

It was quieter in the hallway, the length of carpeting muffling their footsteps. Juliana shot a sideways glance at the viscount. Had she misjudged him - was her virtue in any danger? He didn’t
seem
the type to whisk a young lady into an unoccupied room and have his way with her, and there was no gossip to suggest he was a scoundrel.

Not like other gentlemen of her acquaintance.

“You’re frowning, Miss Tate. Is everything well?”

“Certainly.” She pasted a smile on her face. “Do tell me more about Lord Caswell’s orchid.”

Oh, that was foolish. She should be asking questions about
him
, drawing him out, making him feel as though he was the most pleasant of company.
That
was how one managed a gentleman.

“I don’t know much about the orchid,” he said. “Only that it is new. And white, apparently. He could talk of nothing else at the Club today, and encouraged everyone to come admire it at the ball. Ah, here we are.”

He opened a door decorated with a large cut-glass panel and ushered her inside. Warm, moist air enfolded her, and Juliana sighed. Warmth was becoming a luxury, now that they were being so careful with the coals at home.

If she were a clever girl, all that was about to change.

“Tell me, Lord Wrenforth.” She squeezed his arm slightly. “What are your interests? I find myself fascinated to know.”

“You do?”

The tip of his nose turned pink again, either with pleased embarrassment or because of the heat. It was too bad - the viscount needed nothing that drew attention to his overlarge proboscis.

“Yes,” she lied. “Do you like horses, perhaps? Or literature?”

She and Robert had lain under the apple trees, reading Shakespeare to one another. With a silent curse, Juliana folded the memory and shoved it into the corner of her mind.

“Actually,” the viscount said, “I don’t read much. But I am rather fond of dentistry.”

Juliana blinked at him. “As in… teeth?”

“Don’t worry.” He patted her hand, where it lay on his arm. “Yours are quite passable.”

“Um.” She could not think of an appropriate reply. “Oh, look - that must be the orchid!”

She slipped her arm free from his and quickened her steps toward that glimpse of white, grateful for the distraction. The viscount hurried to keep up with her as she brushed past an array of large ferns. She arrived at a low dais, where the flower in question sat in isolated splendor in a large blue-glazed pot.

It was, without question, the ugliest bloom Juliana had ever seen - protuberant and pallid, at the end of a long bare stalk. The thing almost looked more like a fungus than a flower.

Viscount Wrenforth came up beside her, and they stood for a moment, regarding the orchid.

“It’s very… white,” he said at last.

“Whiter than teeth,” Juliana said, then instantly regretted it. “The petals are so, um…” She could not bring herself to assign an adjective to them.

“Well.” He glanced about, then took a step closer. “I’m very pleased you came to view it with me. Although you are lovelier than that orchid.”

Considering the flower in question, it was not much of a compliment. Still, she gave him an encouraging smile.

“Thank you, my lord.”

It was clear he was thinking of kissing her. Juliana leaned toward him and widened her eyes.

After a tense second, he came even closer and dipped his head. She let out a silent breath of relief, though his large nose grew even larger as it approached her face. Juliana closed her eyes and tilted her face up. Their noses bumped together for an unfortunate moment. Then his lips landed on hers, warm, if a bit unfirm.

He did not enfold her in his arms, or kiss her as though he craved the taste of her. Juliana shifted, trying to give him encouragement, but it did not seem to help. The cold tip of his nose pressed distractingly against her cheek.

“Excuse me.” The voice was chilly, and all too familiar. “I hope I’m not interrupting anything important.”

Viscount Wrenforth pulled abruptly away. Heart sinking to her toes, Juliana opened her eyes. She was relieved the kiss was ended - but that was the only good thing about the interruption. Slowly, she turned her head.

Robert Pembroke stood, arms folded, on the far side of the hideous orchid. His features were controlled, but temper sparked in his amber eyes.

“Eastbrook,” the viscount said, blinking rapidly. “Have you come to see our host’s flower?”

“No.” Robert did not take his gaze from Juliana. “I will escort Miss Tate back to the ballroom. Good evening, sir.”

It was a clear dismissal.

“I, er…” The viscount glanced from Robert to Juliana, then back again. “I see. Good evening, Eastbrook. Miss Tate.”

He ducked his head in farewell, then turned and hurried away. She did not know whether to be thankful or dismayed that he had capitulated so easily. The ferns swayed closed behind him, and then she was alone with Robert Pembroke.

“What were you doing with Wrenforth?” Robert asked, circling the orchid. His voice was cold.

“I think it was clear enough.” She held her ground. “You are not the only gentleman interested in kissing me. And at least
he
has honorable intentions.”

Robert made a sound like a low growl. “Stay out of his company.”

“I shall do no such thing! And I would thank you to stay out of my business, and stop scaring off my suitors. Viscount Wrenforth is a perfect gentleman in every way.”

Not to mention her only hope for pulling her family from the brink of destitution.

“Perfect gentlemen,” Robert said, “do not lure young ladies into conservatories and steal kisses.”

“Oh, and I suppose a scoundrel like you would know all about such things.”

Her words were meant to be scathing, but came out a bit breathless. Robert was standing uncomfortably close, staring down at her with a possessive expression on his handsome face.

“Indeed,” he said. “I
do
know about such things. Allow me to demonstrate.”

He took her by the upper arms and, before she had time to gather her wits, drew her against him. His touch was firm, but not so hard that Juliana felt trapped. One quick wrench and she could have been out of his grasp - had she wanted to free herself. Her treacherous heart beat so loudly she expected the nearby foliage to tremble from the force of it.

Then his mouth descended over hers, and she closed her eyes. His tongue traced a wicked line along the seam of her lips. Sparks whirled through her and, despite herself, she let out a little sigh. This, this was the kind of wicked kiss that lured young ladies into conservatories.

His lips coaxed hers open, and his tongue dipped into her mouth. Oh heavens - this was nothing like the lovely, fumbling kisses they had shared four spring-times ago. A taste of the wild and forbidden seared along her senses. This was plundering and surrender, the hot twining of desire whirling between them. She clutched his shoulders, trying to keep the heady sensation from pulling her under.

His hands moved restlessly over her gown, one palm coming up to cup her breast. The peak tingled from his touch, then tightened even more when he swept his thumb across it. With his other arm behind her, he pulled her close. The heat of him seared along her entire body. His thighs were tautly muscled, pressed against hers, and there was an unmistakable bulge between his legs. It gave her an odd thrill, to know that she affected him so.

Then Robert deepened the kiss, his mouth demanding over hers, and she was lost.

There was no ball, no conservatory, no London night spread out darkly behind the glass. Only this - two bodies locked in an embrace, hardness against softness, mouths melding into sweet fire.

Long moments later, he broke the kiss. She blinked up at him, trying to catch her breath.

“That…that’s four,” she said, her voice unsteady.

The hint of warmth in his eyes was instantly extinguished. “We had best return you to the ballroom. It wouldn’t do for people to gossip about what a lightskirt you’ve become, Juliana.”

Stung, she pulled away. “I can find my way back alone, thank you.”

“No.” There was no room for argument in his tone. “I wouldn’t want you to wander into any more trouble. After you, milady.”

He waved at the fern-draped pathway. Squaring her shoulders, Juliana marched forward, far too aware of Robert behind her. Her body still sparked and hummed with the aftermath of their kiss.

This evening had been an utter disaster.

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

 

Robert scowled as he stalked down the steps of the Caswell’s mansion. He couldn’t leave that damned ball fast enough. Curse him for giving in to the impulse to attend - though clearly Juliana needed looking after. She was asking to be ruined, going off with Wrenforth like that. Although, admittedly, the viscount was not the ravishing kind.

Still, if anyone was going to ruin Juliana Tate, it would be him.
He
had saved her fortunes, and she owed him dearly for that. Bedamned if he was going to let another man take the prize.

As soon as he returned home, he was going to pen the viscount a letter, warning him well away from Miss Tate. He had no doubt Wrenforth would comply.

How dare that huge-nosed fellow put his hands on Juliana, let alone kiss her? Robert was half-tempted to call him out. But no - that would only add to the titters and raised eyebrows that had met their return to the ballroom. Not that the
ton’s
trivial gossip mattered to him. He had only one goal.

Robert balled his hands and strode on, little caring that the wind whipped his coat fiercely behind him. It matched his mood well. A bit of driving sleet would have added the finishing touch. A pity it was May.

Wrenforth had made him waste one of those tremendously expensive kisses. Robert had plans for those five kisses, each one mapped out to ensnare Juliana’s senses. But no - his careful seduction had been overturned by the primal instinct to possess.

Revenge was a damned complicated beast.

No matter, he still had one kiss left. Despite the wasted opportunity this evening, he had no doubt of the outcome.

It would only take him one more afternoon to finish cracking Juliana Tate’s heart into a dozen pieces.

~
CHAPTER SEVEN
~

“Juliana!” Henrietta rushed down the hall and gave her a hug, under the disapproving eye of the butler. “Your hat and pelisse are simply soaked. Come to the drawing room, and I’ll ring for tea immediately.”

BOOK: Five Wicked Kisses - A Tasty Regency Tidbit
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