Deliciously Debauched by the Rake(10)

By: Ann Lethbridge

“We are to bathe in here?”

“We can bathe. Or we can ask for a few nymphs and dyads and watch them disport from that couch over there.” The couch in question was raised on several steps and would provide an excellent view into the bath. The whole idea seemed dreadfully wicked. Far beyond her experience.

“Oh, my. Why did I never hear of this place before?”

“You have. This is Madame Jouette’s.”

Gentlemen spoke of this brothel with awe in their voices, though never in front of their wives. Wives, who eventually learned of it, dismissed it out of hand as simply another place where a husband could take his pleasure without them. And thank goodness, too, they said. If they knew what it was like, they might not be so sanguine.

“I’m surprised men ever go home.”

“They’d be broke in a week. A night with the girls who work here is very expensive.”

“And if you bring your own woman?”

“It costs twice as much. Come, have some champagne while we consider our options.”

He poured the wine. “To George,” she said, smiling.

“To the most beautiful woman I know,” he replied, toasting her.

The words pierced her heart. He’d always been kind, always respectful of her feelings. Gentle, as if she’d been made of spun glass. And it seemed that in return she had hurt him. One day he would thank her, know it was for the best. She sipped at her wine to cover the pain she felt. The bubbles broke deliciously tart on her tongue. The warm perfumed steam invited. “I think we should stay here.”

A smile broke on his face, making him look more handsome than ever and twice as seductive. “I hoped you would.” He took her glass and placed it on a small table then drew her close. He lifted her chin with his knuckle. A kiss hovered on his lips and she lifted her mouth.

It was all she could have hoped. At first a gentle brush of warm dry lips. A whisper of a kiss. Her blood heated. Her body sprang to life. Not that it had been dead. It had simply been waiting, still quivering from the sensual sensations in the carriage, needing more.

He kissed her slowly and deeply, their mouths melding, their tongues tangling and dancing. She’d kissed this man hundreds of times before, but this time was different. Exciting to the point of madness. And she didn’t care. Because this time it must be goodbye.

For his sake.

Strong arms came around her, enfolding her close as if offering silent argument. Large warm hands skimmed her body, the shifting slide of silk reminding her of his earlier caresses, the torment and the desire. She opened her eyes and saw them from every angle, saw what she was feeling, his hands on her back, his lips on her mouth teasing and wooing, his thigh pressed deep between hers sending hot waves of lust through her body. It was decadent and delicious and overwhelming.

Her mind ceased to work as her body pressed against him, arching into him, with the ache of desire, while every touch seemed to set her on fire and make the ache worse.

Breathing hard and ragged, he broke the contact. “Let me bathe you, beautiful Lizzie,” he breathed. “And pleasure you.”

Dumb, unable to speak for the tension of desire gripping her unmercifully, she nodded.

“Turn around, my darling,” he murmured.

All around her, a slender goddess in black whirled about and the black silk skirts flowed like mysterious waters, catching the light and holding it as the fabric settled in sensual clinging folds. The bow in the tie at the neck pulled undone in a heartbeat. The ribbon at the waist followed. Designed just for this, it slipped down her length to puddle around her feet. He swung her around to face him, his hungry gaze skimming her body, lingering at her breasts rising stark white above the black lace edge, and then moved on to where the chemise barely covered her femininity and revealed the length of her thighs and the garters above her knee.

He knelt before her to remove her shoes with reverential movements while she kept her balance by holding on to his broad, powerful shoulders. Next came her garters, his fingers working swiftly at the silken bows she’d tied with such care. They, too, were removed. He slid his hands up her calves over her knees and gently caressed her thighs before dipping his dark head to the apex and kissing her through the muslin.

She hissed in at the sensation of hot breath and pressure on that most sensitive place.

He groaned, a sound of pleasure mingled with pain, and kissed her again. She wanted more, much more, and she curled her fingers in his dark hair, pressing him closer. Sweet pleasure. But it did not last long. Against her wishes he rose. His gray eyes smoky, eyelids heavy, he kissed the point of her chin. “Patience.”

He didn’t seem to have an awful lot of patience as he divested her of chemise and stays, leaving her naked to his hungry gaze. She could not remember when she had been so blatantly nude. Indeed, she’d always been a little prim and proper, and had never felt quite comfortable flaunting her body, though he had seen her naked in his bed many, many times.

Also By Ann Lethbridge

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