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Catherine Gayle Leg-Shackled
Audrey Veazey had always considered herself to be a very open-minded woman-at least she normally did when in comparison to her contemporaries. Yet sitting in Lady Quinton’s parlor of an afternoon during this house party and listening to the other young, married ladies titter and whisper behind their hands, giving each other knowing grins, left Audrey feeling like a prude for some reason. Not to mention completely in the dark about it all.
The curious part about it all was that she couldn’t quite determine why she felt prudish all of a sudden. Since she wasn’t privy to their conversations, they could be discussing fashions or ribbons or trinkets, for all she knew. Yet the fact was, she didn’t know. Not at all. They simply whispered all around her with knowing sparkles lighting their features, and Audrey sat there wondering all the while, yet unable to bring herself to involve herself in their conversations uninvited.
But something inside Audrey was desperate to discover just precisely what they were discussing.
When Lady Lipscombe leaned across Lady Tucker Flynn in order to whisper something quite heatedly to Lady Raynesford, who blushed prettily and nodded, Audrey set her embroidery down on the occasional table next to her with an exaggerated sigh.
“ What has caused this fit of the blue devils, my dear Lady Veazey?” came a voice beside her-male, rich, and entirely too sycophantic not to rattle her nerves to the point of breakage.
Audrey turned and met the cold, black gaze of the Earl of Holbrook, leering shamelessly down at her. “I’m sure I don’t know what you’re talking about, my lord,” she said as haughtily as she could muster beneath his heated stare.
“ Come now,” he said, taking the open seat next to her on the sofa and stretching his long legs out before him. “I’ve been watching you. You want what they have, but you don’t know how to get it-you don’t even know what it is-and it is utterly driving you to distraction.”
Inching away from him to put a more reasonable distance between them, Audrey leveled him with a frown. “You should have a care, my lord. Somehow, I don’t believe discerning the thoughts of others is your area of expertise.” She scanned the room, searching for her husband, Lodge. Surely he could do something about the scoundrel at her side.
Before she found him, though, Lord Holbrook leaned closer and lowered his voice. “You’re quite right, of course. I haven’t a chance at all in terms of interpreting thoughts. Emotions, however-moods and reactions-those, I’m afraid, I’m quite adept at deciphering.”
Audrey did her best to ignore the rascal beside her and scoured the men playing whist, but Lodge wasn’t amongst them. Nor was he sitting on the far side of the room before the hearth with a few of the other men. Blast him, where was he?
“ Like right now, for example. You’re uncomfortable at my presence. You wish I’d go away, and you’re searching for anyone who might rescue you from my attentions.” Lord Holbrook slid closer to her, until the heat of his thigh warmed the side of hers in a most inappropriate manner. “I make you feel things you’ve only dreamed of feeling with your husband, and you’re scared-but you’re also intrigued.” With his closest hand, he reached over and trailed a knuckle over the back of her hand.
“ You forget yourself, sir,” Audrey snapped, pulling her hand away from him as though it were scorched from his touch. Somehow, she restrained herself from striking him across the face for his impudence. It wouldn’t do to draw attention. Not now.
He chuckled. “So intense when you chastise me. I like that.”
Audrey couldn’t decide whether to blush from his implications or storm away in a huff.
Lord Holbrook didn’t give her the chance to decide. “I could make you feel even more things that Veazey has never made you feel, as well. If you’ll let me.” His words were hardly more than a whisper, but that didn’t stop them from ringing in hear ears as loudly as the fireworks exploding overhead at Vauxhall.
Glancing up at the carnal gleam in his eyes, she stood, smoothing her hands over her skirts while her heart thudded a wild, incoherent beat in her chest. “If you’ll excuse me-”
His hand on her elbow stopped her before she could escape. Audrey’s breath stilled.
“ You want to know what they’re talking about?” he asked quietly.
When she looked at him, for once, he seemed sincere and not intent on leaving her unnerved. She nodded curtly.
Lord Holbrook smiled. “Sit. I’ll tell you.”
“ How do you know?” Audrey asked before she could think better of it.
With a single eyebrow lifted mockingly, he leaned forward, gently tugging on her elbow until she sat again, and said, “Emotions. Reactions. I notice them. I pay attention. After many years of this, I’ve come to be adept at making sense of them.”
She frowned. But what could it hurt to humor him? “Very well. Go on. What are they talking about?”
“ Sex,” he murmured.
For that matter, he might not have said it at all, but just breathed it. The word washed over Audrey’s skin and sent shivers of goose flesh coursing over her arms and all the way down to her toes. She shot her gaze up to look at him with a slight gasp, wide-eyed and scandalized, yet also entirely too fascinated for a proper lady.
“ Yes,” he continued, ignoring her half-hearted appeal to feminine sensibilities. “Sex. Coitus. Sport. Fornication. Mating-”
“ That’s quite enough, my lord,” Audrey bit off, interrupting him before her blush was hot enough to melt iron.
“ I apologize,” he drawled without an ounce of sincerity in his tone. “If you’re so ill at ease discussing such things, it is no wonder you’ve not been party to the other ladies’ conversations.” He lowered his voice and turned from her, muttering beneath his breath, “Heaven knows Veazey must be beyond frustrated with such a squeamish wife. I suppose I am misplacing my efforts, yet again.”
“ Squeamish? Do you really find me to be so?” Her voice sounded strangled and unnatural. When Audrey turned to him, Lord Holbrook opened his mouth, likely to confirm exactly what she had no desire to hear. She held up a hand. “Forget I asked. I really don’t want to know what you think on the matter.”
A wry grin covered his features, but ne inclined his head in concession.
Squeamish. A prude. Everything she had thought she wasn’t-but was she? In the early days of their marriage, Lodge had wanted to try a few things during their bed play which she’d shied away from. But they’d seemed so very improper, so wicked and shocking.
With a frown, Audrey stood and once again smoothed her hands over her skirts. “Thank you for your time, Lord Holbrook.” Somehow, she got the words out without choking on them. “If you’ll excuse me.”
Then without waiting for a response, she left the drawing room and made for the stairs.
On his way back into the abbey from a ride with Lord Quinton and Sir Jonas Buchannan, Lodge Veazey caught a glimpse of his wife scurrying from the drawing room and up the stairs as though the hounds of hell were at her heels.
Sir Jonas stopped in his tracks and faced him. “Is something amiss with your wife?”
Apart from the fact that she was a bit too puritanical for his base, lustful urges? But Lodge couldn’t very well voice such a thing before anyone else. It wouldn’t do. He loved her too much to cause her such discomfort, and if anything was bound to cause her instant mortification, that would certainly do it.
He frowned. “I suppose I’ll have to follow her up to see.”
“ We’ll see you later then, for some Vingt-et-un,” Quin said. At his nod, the two left him, heading for the drawing room Audrey had just vacated.
Could she be ill? Lodge tried to imagine what else might have caused her to run off in such obvious distress, but nothing came to mind. Resigning himself to go and discover the truth for himself, he squared his shoulders and followed her path toward the grand stairs in the front of the abbey.
Just as Quin and Jonas slipped into the drawing room, the bastard Holbrook popped his head out. “Chasing after your wife?” he drawled, crossing his arms lazily over his chest and leaning against a column.
Lodge narrowed his eyes at the blackguard. “What would you know of it? I swear to you, you bloody, lecherous cur, if you’ve done something-”
“ Relax, Veazey. I’ve done you a favor. You can thank me later.”
More likely he’d be drawing the damned scoundrel’s cork later-if not issuing a challenge. But not right now. He needed to get up to Audrey-to discover for himself just how badly Holbrook had damaged her. Nothing with Holbrook’s involvement could bode well.
Taking the stairs two at a time, Lodge called out over his shoulder, “I’ll deal with you later, Holbrook.”
The mongrel had the nerve to let out a snort of disdain. Lodge forced himself to continue up to his wife and to ignore Holbrook-at least for the time being. Holbrook could wait, but Audrey could not.
He threw back the door when he reached their rooms. She wasn’t in the sitting room between their separate chambers, so Lodge knocked on the door of her private chamber. No answer. He knocked again, louder this time, but still she didn’t respond.
Blast, this might be worse than he’d initially feared. He’d rip Holbrook’s arms from his body when he discovered what the rogue had done to upset his wife so fully.
“ Audrey,” he said, pushing her door open-but then he stopped. She wasn’t in there.
Good God, where was she? Had she run off somewhere else? His stomach dropped to his toes when the thought. If Holbrook ran into Audrey before Lodge did…
He couldn’t allow himself to think that way. What if was a dangerous game to play. Pulling the door to her chamber closed behind him, he turned to go search for her, but drew up short. Audrey stood across the sitting room from him, tears in her eyes, just inside the now open door to his chamber.
Lodge started to cross to her in a rush, a question on his lips that he couldn’t seem to voice. Before he made it halfway across the room, however, she asked a question of her own.
“ Am I squeamish?” Audrey asked of him.
He slid to a stop, his jaw hanging agape.
“ Am I?” she pressed, her brown eyes earnest and pained. “Am I prudish? Am I-am I cold when we make love?”
Lodge dragged a hand through his hair. “What brought this on?”
“ Does it matter?” A single tear slipped down Audrey’s cheek and she dashed it away impatiently. When he still didn’t answer after a few moments, she stamped her foot against the Parquet flooring. “Answer me, Lodge.”
This little fit of pique from his wife was as intoxicating to him as watching her find pleasure beneath him. Perhaps he did have a reason to thank Holbrook, after all. Of course, the final outcome of all of this had yet to be determined.
Lodge had the distinct impression that he’d better tread carefully in how he chose to answer his wife’s questions. “You’re not cold. But you aren’t very adventurous, either.”
Audrey’s mouth fell open as if she intended to issue him a rebuttal, but then snapped closed again. She crossed her arms over her chest in a manner which lifted her breasts in a decidedly alluring manner, though he doubted she had any idea what effect she was having on him at the moment. Again, she started to respond, but then pressed her lips together.
Damn, this was awkward. Perhaps drawing Holbrook’s cork would be the appropriate response, after all.
“ Do you wish for me to be more adventurous?” she whispered after long moments of crackling silence between them.
God, did he ever. His chest filled to the brim with air, which he let out slowly through his nostrils. He couldn’t botch this. Not again. “Yes.” Lodge stared into her eyes, watching the turmoil of warring emotions filter through them. He wasn’t certain she’d ever respond.
Finally, after the most torturously long period of his wife’s uncommunicativeness he could ever remember experiencing, Audrey nodded. Christ what did that mean? He was hesitant to attempt to interpret it on his own. He knew what he wanted it to mean, but whether it actually meant that or not was another story entirely.
Then her tongue darted out and licked her lips and Lodge had to stifle a groan. His lovely, little wife had no idea how she drove him mad with need.
Audrey locked her gaze on him and moved forward, until she was almost close enough for him to touch. “Teach me.”
Good gracious, what had come over her? Lord Holbrook acting a cad was nothing new, so why was she suddenly taking everything he had said and turning it into something more than what it was?
And yet, Lodge had said she wasn’t daring in their lovemaking-something that he wanted her to be-so this was all to make him happy, wasn’t it?
Drat, she wished she knew what she was getting herself into. The look in her husband’s eyes right now was one she’d never seen on him before. Indeed, it was an expression more akin to what she’d expect from the overtly licentious Lord Holbrook than from Lodge.
He closed the distance between them in a flash and wrapped his arms around her back, drawing her closer to his heat-and to his need. His fiery length pressed against her belly, searing her even through the constraints of their clothing. “You’re sure?” he breathed just before he took her mouth in a kiss.
She wasn’t sure. Not at all.
In the early days of their marriage, he’d wanted her to do things in bed that seemed so depraved, so immoral. Audrey had never allowed herself to imagine mouths would be used for such things, or that people might mate in the same manner as horses. Would he want her to do something like that again?
But perhaps she was prudish. Perhaps those things were not as immoral or as depraved as she’d imagined, as long as they were shared between a husband and wife. He hadn’t asked her to do anything truly debauched, after all-not like she imagined Lord Holbrook would have suggested if she’d allowed him to continue his fiendish line of conversation.
“ Yes,” she said into his mouth finally, once she had found her breath again and regained her wits. She would have just nodded, but she couldn’t with his hands fisted in her chignon the way they were.
Before she could change her mind or take the word back, Lodge lifted her by the hips and carried her into his chamber, tossing her gently on her back against the massive bed. He sat on the edge of the bed and pulled his Hessians free, tossing them to the side of the room.
Good Lord. Now? “It is the middle of the afternoon, Lodge. Surely we can’t-”
“ On the contrary,” he said, cutting her off and leaning over to plant a kiss on the end of her nose, “surely we can. I’ve never made love to you in daylight before. I want to see you. All of you.”
Her eyes went as wide as they’d ever done before. In more than two years of marriage, she’d never seen her husband nude before-only under the cover of full darkness.
Lodge’s eyes twinkled at her as he stood to pull his coat free. “You did say you wanted to be bolder and more daring, didn’t you?”
Yes. Yes, she had. Audrey could do this. She could go through with this. Perhaps they wouldn’t ever do such a thing again. She had to know if she would enjoy it, if she allowed herself. Pinching her eyes closed, she sat up and set to work on unfastening the buttons along the back of her gown.
Before half the tiny pearl buttons were undone, Lodge had his coat, waistcoat, and shirt all off, draped over an armchair by the window. Dappled, golden sunlight poured in, washing him in a glow that highlighted all of the muscles on his chest and back. Facing the window, he undid the flap of his breeches and Audrey couldn’t look away if she tried.
As he lowered his pants and smallclothes to the ground in a single motion, his taut backside kept her entranced. How was it possible to have etched muscles there? Was it from all of his horse riding? Her breath caught as she imagined tracing the contours of his bottom with her fingertips. She’d never allowed herself to think about touching him before, not anywhere but his strong arms and upper chest. They seemed safe places to touch. Proper. Touching his buttocks could hardly qualify as proper.
Lodge turned, then, and caught her staring. Drat, she hated herself for looking as she had been. She hated herself even more now, because she was staring at the apex of his thighs and the member standing at attention nestled there.
His hand came over it, gripping it and sliding along its length a time or two. His staff seemed to grow before her eyes. Good gracious. “Never, in all this time, have you looked at what’s been inside you.”
Spontaneously, she wet her lips with her tongue as she watched his movements.
He moved closer to her, standing beside the bed, his hand still moving slowly over his engorged blade in the same manner as he moved within her. With his other hand, he drew down the top of her gown, freeing her breasts to his inspection in the waning afternoon sun.
His heated gaze bored through her. She wanted to cover herself, to hide from the intensity of his eyes. Almost of their own volition, Audrey’s hands lifted to do just that.
Lodge let out an almost inhuman moan. “Yes, my love. Touch yourself for me.”
Fire pounded through her veins. Touch herself?
With tentative fingers, she trailed a path over the curve of her breasts, avoiding the hardened peaks of her nipples at all costs. It was bad enough she was touching the fleshy part. She couldn’t bear to stroke the sensitive tips beneath his scrutiny.
The entire time she touched herself, she watched his reaction. A flash of hunger flickered through his green eyes when her fingertips moved close to her tightened nubs, then ebbed when she slid them away. His hand never left his member-never reached out to touch her.
After a few minutes, he ground out, “Stop teasing me, Audrey. Touch your teats.”
She pressed her eyes closed and did as he asked, gasping with shock at the touch. A flood of heated yearning pooled at her center. With pinches and prods, she copied the pattern Lodge often followed when he was inside her until her breath came out in sharp pants and an ache built inside her secret place.
“ Harder,” he whispered.
She was powerless to deny him anything just then. Squeezing tighter, Audrey couldn’t suppress the moan that came from her lips as her head lolled back.
Lodge leaned forward and kissed her, his tongue plundering inside and warring with hers. Holding her head in place with one hand, he used the other to pry her fingers free from her breast and wrap them around his smooth heat.
She should remove her hand from him. Touching him like this had to be sinful and wrong, but it felt so very right. When he moved his hips back and forth, sliding his shaft through her grip, she couldn’t imagine ever letting him go.
All too soon, he pulled away from her, moving to his armoire. Lodge opened a drawer and pulled something out, then returned to the foot of the bed. “Come down here, sweeting. It’s time to become adventurous.”
Audrey looked across at him with an expression so full of reserve, yet so coy at the same time, he wondered if he was pushing things too far again. Making love to her in the light of day, touching each other intimately while they could see, that might be as far as she was willing to go at this juncture.
But he had to try for more, while she was still open and willing.
In a painstakingly slow fashion, she stood and walked over to him, careful to keep an arm pressed against her waist so her gown wouldn’t fall the rest of the way to the floor. When she was standing before him, between him and the bed, Lodge tilted her chin so she looked up at him, and then drew her hand away from the garment. As her eyes widened, it pooled at her feet along with the loosened chemise, leaving her in nothing but her drawers. Blissfully, she refrained from trying to cover herself.
He worked to undo the ties of her drawers and then pulled them free, until she stood before him with nothing but a blush. Exquisite.
“ You’re certain you wish to be daring, my love?” he coaxed.
She nodded, a brisk and curt movement.
He lifted a brow.
Releasing the pent-up breath she’d been holding, Audrey murmured, “Yes. I asked you to teach me.”
Lodge chuckled. “So you did. And now I’ll ask you to trust me.” His eyes were locked on the rise and fall of her pert breasts with each short, little breath she took. He couldn’t resist moving the pad of his forefinger over the swell of her breast and feeling it quiver beneath him. “Will you do that?”
She met his gaze. “I trust you.”
With a wink for reassurance, he nodded. “Then sit here with your bum on the edge of the bed, and then lie back.”
Audrey followed his instructions, hanging her knees over the edge of the bed and keeping them locked together as though they were held that way by a vise. When she stilled, Lodge hooked his hands in the crook of her knees and tugged, until her bum was almost falling off the edge of the bed.
“ Stay very still,” he said as he lifted one petite ankle. Her wide, blue eyes followed his every movement and her lips parted just enough for her to dart her tongue out and wet them. Christ, he loved when she did that. Lodge drew her leg to the side, stretching it up and out until her ankle met the post at the foot of the bed.
The rise and fall of her breasts quickened. “What are you doing?” she asked as he straightened one of the cravats he’d pulled out of his armoire.
He grinned back down at her and winked. “Giving you a bit of adventure.”
Audrey’s jaw hung open, but she didn’t move a muscle as he secured her ankle to the post. He’d dreamed of doing such things with her countless times-Lodge’s tastes had always bordered on the more risque before their marriage, and he’d frequented the lesser known hovels in order to sate his needs-but he’d never imagined she would allow him to take such liberties. Yet here she was, pliant in his hands, letting him do as he wished.
When he finished tying the cravat, he gave her ankle a slight tug. Perfectly immobile. “Is this too tight?” he asked.
She shook her head, but remained silent.
He trailed a hand along the inside of her leg, slowly tracing the contours of each curve and inching his way closer to her masterpiece. As he brushed over her thighs, her flesh twitched beneath his touch. Lodge let his hand hover just over her sex-close enough she could feel his heat and he could feel her wetness, but not enough to give her any relief. “Touch your tits for me again.”
Audrey brought hesitant, faltering hands to her breasts and molded against them, gradually increasing in intensity as he moved his hand closer to her cunny until he was touching her with the lightest of touches.
Ever so slightly, she ground her hips down to connect more fully with his hand, and her eyes widened in shock over her own boldness. Before he lost himself to her newfound bravery, Lodge lifted her other ankle, following the same procedure as before with the opposite bedpost, until she was stretched wide before him with her honeypot open to his view.
“ Too tight?” he asked, dipping a single finger into her very tight sheath, a chuckle on his lips over his own double entendre.
“ No,” she moaned.
He’d never seen her this way before-so wanton and needy, just as he always was. Perhaps she had always wished for this sort of variety, without ever being aware of it. If this ended the way he was imagining it, Lodge would definitely be finding a way to thank Holbrook, however odd it felt to think such a thing.
After a moment, he withdrew and added a second finger, stretching her for his coming invasion. Audrey stopped playing with her breasts and propped herself up on her elbows, watching in the fading sunlight. He took up a fucking rhythm, thrusting his hand against her and inside her, rubbing the pad of his thumb over her button as she stared down at their join.
When high-pitched little squeaks came from her mouth, he nearly lost control. Lodge gripped her by both thighs, lifted her slightly off the bed, and pressed his cock inside, moving forward until he was completely buried.
As soon as he resumed his pace, driving his tool into her like a man possessed, she splintered around him with a silent scream-an orgasm far more intense than he’d ever witnessed before. Her head rolled back and hit the mattress, and her sheath shuddered in waves, and still he plunged into her time and again.
Several moments later, she roused herself and pushed up off the bed until they were chest to chest, wrapping her arms around his waist and rubbing her breasts more fully against him with each thrust. The changed angle was almost more than he could take. Audrey delved her tongue into his mouth, matching his movements even as her hands slipped lower, running sensuously over his arse. When she squeezed at the join of his arse and thighs, he lost himself, grunting loudly as he pumped his stuff into her womb.
Audrey sank back down to the bed, more fully sated than she’d ever imagined possible, her legs still stretched obscenely wide, her husband’s shaft still deep in her body.
Who knew lovemaking could be like this?
A few minutes later, Lodge’s breathing returned to normal and he separated himself from her. Moving to the bed, he lifted her up enough to slide behind her and leaned her against his chest. “Did you enjoy your first foray into being more adventuresome?” He pressed a hot kiss against the side of her neck and smoothed his hands over her body, rubbing against her straining thighs.
Already, a hum of excitement coursed through her again. Audrey squirmed against him slightly, hoping to urge his hands to her sex. “Yes,” she moaned when he pressed his fingers inside her with one hand, just where she wanted them. His other hand moved to caress her breasts, glistening from their bed play in the rich pink and golden hues of the setting sun.
“ So,” he murmured against her ear as he flicked her button with his thumb, “do you wish me to continue my instruction? Or have you had enough for one day?”
Enough? She might never get enough again, in all her life, with the way he was so easily able to make her body sing beneath his attentions. “Continue teaching me, please.”
“ No more missish shyness, then,” he said. He pinched her nubbin gently between his fingers and she would have shot off the bed, if not for his arms holding her in place-not to mention the cravats keeping her legs bound to the bed. “I plan to keep you leg-shackled like this for quite some time-until you beg me for mercy. And then I might release you and use the ties on your arms instead.”
Leg-shackled. Audrey chuckled. She’d always thought the phrase rather unusual and obscure, but it took on a new meaning at the moment. “You promise you don’t find me squeamish? Not a prude?”
Lodge rolled his thumb over her center and she let out a ragged whimper.
“ Not a prude in the least, my love. Now I’d say you’re more of a vixen.”
They made love twice more early that evening before sending their regrets down to the other house guests, saying they wouldn’t make it down for supper. They were too busy in other pursuits, after all, to attempt to be polite company.