Deliciously Debauched by the Rake(8)

By: Ann Lethbridge



Her escort glanced up at her, a wicked smile on his lips. “Ready, darling?” He also wore an enveloping domino. A black one. He looked incredibly dashing.

“Yes.” She sounded breathless. As if she’d run a mile instead of descending the few stairs to the hallway. She slowed her steps, pleased to discover that although the gown still brushed against the bare skin above her stockings, it did not cling quite so much. She held out the mask with a smile. “Shall I put this on now?”

“When we arrive,” he said.

Broom opened the door with an impassive face and they stepped out into the night. It was cold. The wind stung her cheeks. Flakes of snow drifted down, settling on her domino, melting on her face. Would Vauxhall even be open on such a night?

John—no George; she had decided to play his game—handed her into his town carriage. It provided protection from the wind, and there were warm bricks for their feet and an enormous fur lap rug draped across the other seat. He’d thought of everything. The carriage tilted with his weight as he climbed in, then settled on its springs when he sat beside her. He rapped on the roof and the vehicle moved off.

He pulled the rug across them both, tucking it around her shoulders and his, like a soft cocoon. His thigh pressed against hers, warm and solid, and his shoulders seemed to take up more than their fair share of room. For all his gentleness, he was a large man.

“Thank you,” she said.

Vauxhall. There would be ham and dancing and fireworks, and probably a bit of slap and tickle in the back of the box. It would be fine.

His hand rested on her thigh. “Warm enough?” he asked as he stroked small circles on the top of her leg.

“Perfect,” she replied, trying not to shiver at the delicious sensation.

His fingers slipped beneath the domino and now there was nothing but the sheerest silk between her skin and his hand. His ungloved hand, she realized as he fluttered over skin that had been made sensitive by the few steps she’d taken in the gown.

“Relax, sweetheart,” he murmured softly in her ear. His teeth nibbled at her lobe.

Good Lord, he was right. She was as tense as a debutante on her first drive in the park with a man. The tightness flowed away. She leaned against his shoulder, enjoying the feeling of his mouth pressing little kisses on her temple, at the corner of her eye, while he caressed her legs. His stroking became firmer, more demanding. She parted her thighs and his hand eased between them, massaging and teasing the bare flesh above her stockings with the slide of soft silk. As his hand moved, the silk brushed her core. A whisper of a touch. Yet not his touch. An illicit, unintentional caress.

Heat bloomed. She gasped. He did not seem to notice, but the torment went on and on, minute by minute. Each indrawn breath became more shallow than the last, and anticipation built. Her heart raced. The feminine flesh at her core tingled and ached for a firmer touch. Tormented by the urge for release, she squirmed on the seat—she could bear it no longer. Then he stopped. She cried out a protest, widening her thighs to give him access to where she needed his hand.

“Patience,” he whispered into the hollow of her neck. “We have all night.”

She didn’t want to wait. She burrowed her hand into his lap beneath the throw, felt the evidence of his arousal in the thick swell of his member through the thickness of the domino and his trousers. She stroked his erection as he’d taught her, urging him to finish what he had started. To ease the ache clawing at her insides.

He captured her hand in his with a rueful laugh, brought it to his lips and held it there until she stopped tugging against his greater strength. She glared at him, curling her fingers into claws.

“I like this hellion side of you,” he said.

She let go a breath. “Is this your idea of punishment?”

His face grew serious. “Elizabeth, no. I bear you no enmity. Tonight is for you.”

“Then—”

“Look, we have arrived.”

The carriage turned and slowed.

She frowned. Glanced out of the window. They had not crossed the river. She always knew the sound of the wheels across the bridge and even in her heightened state of arousal, she would have noticed. They had not gone to Vauxhall. “Where are we?”

“You’ll see.”

While the coachman brought the carriage to a gentle stop, George tied on her mask then his own. He threw back the rug. The blast of cold air put paid to the heat of desire. She shivered and pulled the domino close around her as he helped her down. It was a large mansion they had arrived at, with towering columns holding a massive marble pediment decorated with cherubs above the front door. It was snowing harder now. The wind tugged at the folds of the domino. Before she could guess what he was about, he swept her up in his arms.

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