Jill Hughey is stopping by to discuss her steamy historical romances. Take it away, Jill…
Lily, our heroine, just learned today that her father, who sold their home and tailoring shop while she was still living in it, has completely abandoned her to move elsewhere with a woman. Theo, lord of the town, knows she needs protection, so he insists that she stay at his home. She may have drowned her sorrows with a bit too much wine with dinner, and is now adjusting the hem on his new tunic.
“Are you done?” He sounded impatient.
She glanced up from beneath her lashes. He was looking down, a falcon over a mouse.
“Ah, damn.” He shocked her when he reached down to grip her elbow and pull her upright, searching her eyes with a restiveness that indicated he was indeed feeling impatient with her. His thumb traced tenderly along her jaw and over her lips, sending sparkles of…something…down into her belly. “Did Arn ever kiss you?” he asked thickly as he cradled her chin in his hand.
“Of course not,” she replied, confused. “He is a gentleman.”
Her description annoyed him. “He is a boy and a fool,” he asserted as he stared at her mouth then ran his thumb along her lower lip again. Unfamiliar intensity stiffened his posture. He leaned forward. She should have known what would follow. In her innocence, the light brush of his lips over hers surprised and paralyzed her with its novelty and gentleness. She examined the experience for a moment, liking his kiss intensely, and when his dry mouth and tickly beard pressed against her more firmly, he awakened an unfamiliar passion. Her chin lifted to bring her lips into better alignment with his. They teased one another’s mouths for a few moments. Lily wished she could spin them out forever.
He retreated slightly, studying her from behind hooded eyelids. “A complete fool,” he amended, then he pressed against her in earnest, one hand moving to her neck while the other slid to her hip. His lips caressed hers in a tantalizing motion. Her mouth opened instinctively, letting his tongue slip along her lips and slide against her tongue.
Wine and heat and longing curled through her.
She slid her hands up his chest to his shoulders, then wound her arms around his neck, wanting to pull him closer in any way she could. They kissed and tested. He removed her veil, combing his fingers through her long hair as they kissed. Time lost meaning. Lily floated in a pool of wanting and being wanted.
Theophilus’s hand explored upward, finding her breast. Her flesh tightened as he cupped it appreciatively, murmuring against her cheek. She did not protest when he loosened the lacing of her tunic. His lips were on her neck, the beard rasping her tender skin. Effortlessly, Lily was bared to the waist, even her undergarments pushed aside. Her lord leaned back. With a thick forefinger he traced a line from her shoulder over her nipple to the bunching of fabric at her waist. She bit her lip against the flare of lust his touch sparked, her nipple prickling in tight excitement. “You are perfectly made, Lily,” he rasped. “Adding pleats is just unfair to the rest of womankind.”
She tried to think of a pert reply. Coherency flew away as his mouth fastened on her breast. A furor of lust erupted. She clutched at his tunic, and he growled, arching her back over his arm, never releasing the suckling hold on her nipple. She throbbed, an unimaginable tension running from the heat of his mouth to her loins. Her body belonged to him, becoming less recognizable as her own as she moaned and ran her hands restively over his ribs and back. She grabbed great handfuls of his garment.
He lifted his head. His eyes were dark and commanding. “Take off my tunic.”
The order should have shocked her back to sanity, but she wanted to obey. She wanted to see his skin and caress him as he did her. He gazed at her like a man starved, his eyes drinking in her exposed skin, his hand cradling her breast even as he waited for her to comply with his command. The same hunger tore at her. He knew how to guide them to sustenance. And he would.
“Take it off,” he repeated, as though the two of them undressing in his hall was the most obvious, sane action they could possibly take. He tore his eyes off her breast to look at her. With a wry smile he leaned forward to begin kissing her again.
She had never felt anything like this. It had been so long since she’d felt anything good at all that she hoped this moment would never end. She tugged on the Blood of Christ, so distracted by his solid torso she barely noticed that in the midst of removing his tunic he also shoved her clothing the rest of the way to the floor, leaving only the thin shield of her hose over her legs.
“So beautiful,” he praised as he began kissing her again, pressing a palm on her soft belly. “Yes,” he encouraged when her fingers skimmed across bronze shoulders that felt like the warmest, smoothest cloth she could imagine. And his smell. He smelled clean, yet, somehow exciting. Her nostrils flared, inhaling the masculine scent that raised her awareness of him even higher. He buried his face in her hair, then brushed it away so he could nip at her neck. She let her head drop back into his palm while his other hand kneaded her breast before putting his mouth there for another taste of her.
Her world, already so unbalanced, flipped again, slipping her, body and soul, deeper into the pool of lustful heat, until it made complete sense to have his hands on her bare bottom, then invading the hot cleft between her legs, a place she’d never even explored herself. When her lord gently parted her, the rightness of his touch had her opening for him without protest. She sucked in a harsh breath when his clever finger found a particularly satisfying spot.
“Oh Lily,” he breathed as she put her lips on his lightly haired chest. She thought his voice quavered. She hoped so because somewhere, deep in her mind, she knew a reckoning awaited in the harsh light of day when she would have to face him and remember what she had allowed him to do.
His finger stroked again and that bitter warning blessedly evaporated, steamed away by the heat consuming them. She whimpered and hung on him, her hands clutching at his straining shoulders. He turned and lifted her, sitting her on the edge of the table. She did not understand what he wanted her to do. He stepped between her legs to renew his attention to her sex, and she did not need to understand. Her body knew. Her hips moved of their own volition and her knees drew up, first against his ribs, then easing outward as her hands clutched at his shoulders.
“Oh Lily,” he groaned again. She had not thought it possible to add a new sensation, until she cried out as he slipped his finger into her. She arched back and moved against his hands like a wanton, riding an upward spiral until, miraculously, she shattered. Something inside flew apart in waves, driving her to thrust up and moan and helplessly receive the pleasure he gave without mercy.
* * *
When the storm ended, she was sprawled on the table, the most erotic creature Theo had ever beheld, much less touched. He leaned over her, pushing her hair off her flushed face and arranging the locks over her breasts, fascinated.
Her hair was nearly black, with enough thickness and length to completely cover her chest. Theo liked the contrast of the dark strands against her pale skin but he pushed the hair away again impatiently. Those breasts would bring any sane man to his knees. Only an insane man would shield them from view, especially when they were rosy from his kisses. He had not lied in his praise of her body. And now she lay, limpid and helpless, too innocent to arm herself against his knowledge of her. She would not protest if he mounted her. No, just the opposite. She would be a soft, willing cradle, and she might even rise again in passion.
His manhood strained within his braies, so close to the passage he knew would be tight, slick, so ready for him. Virgin. The thought stayed him. Lily was a virgin, a woman of a lower class, and under his protection. He could not violate her. In fact, half an hour ago, he would have denied the possibility of laying her out like a roasted lamb on his table. She had been fixing his hem, looked up at him in complete ignorance, and his body had said “You must touch her now. Now, now, now!” The resulting explorations had been unplanned and foolish. But damn. Who would have guessed the tailor’s daughter to be a woman of such exquisite passion?
She stirred. Her eyes opened, and she stared up at him, acutely aware of and confused by what had occurred between them. He smiled with genuine tenderness at her lovely innocence. She shifted, obviously wanting to sit up. He pulled her upright without retreating, his whole body thrumming with the desire to be closer to her. She slipped her arms around him, bringing them into an unexpected, pleasant embrace, her head on his shoulder and those tantalizing breasts pillowed against his chest. She trembled so he stroked her back, giving her the reassurance she obviously needed while appreciating the very feminine curve at her hip where the flesh had a womanly pliancy. If he could just get inside her, he would clamp a hand onto that hip as he drove to his own completion.
He clenched his teeth against a groan.
She imitated his touch, trailing her hands from his shoulders to his waist and up again, probably unaware of the rock hard shaft straining to get at her. He was painfully aware. The scent of her skin and the musky aroma of her desire teased him even more as she pressed against him. He wanted to be inside her. Now, now, now!
“What just happened?” she whispered, her breath tickling his skin.
He smirked. He had never been anyone’s first lover and enjoyed the masculine vanity fed by the wonderment of her question. “I gave you pleasure,” he answered.
She nodded and a strand of her hair tickled his stomach. “Is there a way for me to give you pleasure?”
The innocence of the question shot lust through him like a flaming arrow. He’d had no expectation of receiving any relief from her tonight. Now that the offer was quite literally on the table, he had no ability to deny himself.
He reached between them to release his sex from what remained of his clothing then placed one of her hands around the hardened shaft. She gasped. He feared she might bolt. He would let her go if she did. Instead she looked down, studying his manhood. Knowing her gaze was on him made him grit his teeth. He moved within the circle of her hand, then adjusted her grip to teach her what pleased a man. Her motions were willing but awkward, not nearly as fulfilling as he knew her sheath would be.
“Show me what you felt, Lily,” he begged, impatient. “Move your hand the way your body moved.”
She bit her lower lip, then began to drive him slowly, deliberately mad, using her whole body to arouse him. She kissed him open mouthed while she worked him, even bringing her other hand down to squeeze the blunt tip of his manhood. He moaned into her mouth as his hips matched the rhythm they both remembered. His lusty response made her bolder.
He palmed her breast, and she twined a leg around his waist and moved her hot lips to his neck, then, God help him, to his flat nipple. He moaned in a primal way even an innocent could recognize. “Yes,” she whispered as he spent on her bare thigh. She did not stop, caressing him until he begged her to cease. Even then she did not let him go, instead cradling his softening member in her palm.
The climax stunned him with its potency, and with the stark knowledge of what had been missing. He had wanted to be inside her. He had wanted to put his seed in her with an intensity that both startled and unsettled him. Spending outside a woman’s body had always been his contraception of choice. He had never given it a moment’s thought. Tonight, the wasted seed glistening on her skin somehow shamed him, a shame that made no sense. He had preserved her virginity. He had saved her from future shame. He had protected them both from producing an illegitimate child. Why did the act of wiping the fruitless semen from her ivory leg feel so wrong?