Swept Away By A Wicked Rogue – A Novella
If there lived the slightest of doubts in Claire’s mind about her scandalous decision, the man standing before her dispelled it. He was tall, his posture was relaxed, and an easy, if not perhaps a bit too wolfish, smile spread upon his face. But wicked or not, that smile was frosting, and Claire wanted a taste. His eyes, on the other hand, were inscrutable. They belied his idle state, marking him as a wild predator, barely caged. They roamed her body, her curves, all of her, setting her skin aflame.
Incredible. Unforgettable. Those were the words that sprang to mind. Two other words also roamed in the back of her brain, though they were barely audible. Foolhardy. Reckless.
He was handsome and he wore the title of trouble well. Oh but that smile! Wicked and sensual. The promise of passion all combined in the perfect symmetry of his full lips.
Claire commanded her eyes to hold his green gaze as he somehow managed to capture her hand in his and press his dreamy lips against the inside of her wrist. Tiny prickles of awareness feathered through her fingers. It was too much. She forced her feet to move away, pulling her hand free of his.
His grin never wavered as he allowed her fingers to slip from his. He nodded slowly in acknowledgment but instead of fully accepting her withdrawal, his arm reached out and he rested his palm on the small of her back, guiding her away from interested onlookers, some who even appeared envious.
Grateful for her mask, and still wracked with nerves that she worked hard not to show, Claire released a slow breath as he ushered her into a smaller, empty room. As her eyes swept around the room in a quick glance—a small library—she heard the lock on the door click into place.
Claire blinked up at the man who had whisked her away in breathless anticipation. Goodness, but he was striking. Even through his mask, she could tell. Dark hair framed an angular jaw, and his mask failed to conceal the stubborn set of his chin, the air of self-importance that adorned him like a cloak.
Thank you, Madam Dexter.
His lips tilted upward at her inspection of him. “Do you like what you see?” he drawled.
Very much. But the scoundrel already knew that, she suspected. That, however, was the least of her worries. How ought she proceed? Did she kiss him? Did he kiss her? Or do they converse a bit first?
About what, her inner voice piped up.
They were strangers from different worlds. Perhaps she ought to let him guide the conversation, or kissing, or whatever was about to transpire.
The stretch of his lips widened.
Heat pooled in Claire’s belly.
This man made her feel way out of her depth. “Do you do this often?” she blurted out, much to her horror.
What a silly question!
Her gaze remained fixated on him, even as her cheeks flushed, simply because it was impossible to look away.
He appeared bemused by her question. “As often as rakes are wont to do.”
And rakes were wont to do this often, Claire presumed. Working for Madam Dexter, he in all likelihood had scores of women lined up for the night. She couldn’t help but wonder whether she was the first. Did it matter? She supposed not. And still, Claire inhaled deeply.
His scent was fresh and clean, not a whiff of a woman’s perfume.
Relief washed over her.
“This is my first time,” Claire confessed in a whisper. “I have never ventured into this sphere before now.”
He chuckled, the sound rich and comforting. “Nothing like a brandy to accompany a grand new adventure, wouldn’t you say?”
Claire nodded, watching him as he strolled over to a crystal decanter to pour two glasses of cognac.
“Shall we?” he asked.
Not wanting to seem unsophisticated, she sauntered over to him, eyes never leaving his as she took the glass and tossed the liquid down her throat. For courage, she told herself. And while Claire might be an innocent, she knew how to handle her spirits. Her friend, Sophie, enjoyed the stuff, and cheroots, though Claire preferred pastries, as was evident from her figure.
“You’re not a tavern wench, are you?” he murmured with mock suspicion, a teasing light shimmering in his eyes.
“I suppose you shall never know,” she murmured back, saluting him with her empty tumbler.
He laughed at that, and Claire had the supreme pleasure of watching an entirely different expression cross his features. The tension lifted from her shoulders. Not because of the liquid, mind you, but his laughter had eased the tightness of her muscles. She enjoyed the soothing sound of his voice.
Their eyes locked.
There was that connection again. The air seemed charged between them.
“The only problem I have, Angel, is getting you out of that silk.”
Her breath hitched.
Dear lord, this man was good. He inspired in her every feeling, all sensations she had wished to capture tonight and had so conveyed to the proprietress. Madam Dexter had outdone herself. The Madam had also assured her that she could leave if her courage failed her, that Claire was always in control. So the question remained: did she follow through? Dare she?
Yes! Her inner voice shouted, pleaded.
She might never get this chance again. Or the nerve. Or this man, who was everything she could have hoped for. She would not sulk home. It was her birthday. She’d be damned if she retired for the night with her virginity intact. Boldly, Claire sauntered forward, and in a voice she hardly recognized, said, “Staring at me won’t make your problem go away.”
He tossed back his drink. “No, no, it won’t.”
The tumbler fell from his hand, and he lunged for her. Lunged! She would have squealed in fright had his lips not crashed down on hers, claiming her mouth in a hot, urgent kiss. Never had a man reacted to her thusly, so fired with enthusiasm it stole the air from her lungs. He tasted of brandy and tobacco. Manly. Strong fingers gripped her hips and lifted her onto the desk. It was not what she had expected, but neither was Claire about to complain. There was something about losing her maidenhood on a desk in an unknown residence that was thrilling, much more appealing than the proverbial marriage bed.
Hands tugged at her bodice, and Claire issued a groan when his lips left hers and his tongue skimmed the flesh of her neck, working his way downward. Another tug and cool air brushed against the mounds of her breasts. His mouth found the tightened skin of her nipples, his tongue swirling around them, teasing them.
A tremor skittered through Claire, heat burning low in her belly. The way he tasted her… “Lud, this is so wrong, don’t stop.”
“This is so right,” he murmured against her skin.
She bit her lip at the pleasure of his teeth grazing the sensitive tip, the heat of his mouth moving to her other breast. She felt his smile against her skin.
“Angel, your breasts are heaven.”
They were larger than most, yes, and men certainly ogled them often enough. But coming from this man, Claire preened inside, and for one small moment, she wished he hadn’t been paid to say that.
All thought scattered when his hands fumbled with her skirts while his tongue nipped and grazed, teasing her lazily, sending little sparks of pleasure through her body. Scarcely able to breathe, her lips parted in a soft whimper as his hand inched upward, until his fingers were at the outer edge of her opening. A low sound that resembled a growl rumbled from his chest. Then his finger slid inside her.
Claire moaned in response.
“Bloody hell, you’re so tight. The things I want to do to you.”
“Such as?” she breathed.
He disappeared beneath her skirts, and Claire frowned down at him until she felt his mouth there.
“What are you doing?” she croaked out.
In answer, his tongue circled the folds of her sex. Sensations sparked through her body as his tongue furthered its exploration, the heavy pulse of her heartbeat drumming through her body. He did not stop, and soon a finger joined him, sliding in and out of her until she could no longer contain her moans and cried out as pleasure rocketed inside her. Neither did he give her time to descend from the sudden heights she had reached.
Moments later, Claire felt the tip of his member entering her, stretching her. It felt marvelous and full. Heat sizzled through her, and she swayed against him, demanding more. His hands tightened on her hips, and he thrust forward until he was buried to the hilt, her legs wrapping around him. Her cry only spurred him on, and he started to move inside her with a ragged groan.
For better or worse, she held onto him as his hand fisted in her hair and he dragged her mouth to his, driving himself to the same heights she had moments before reached, the pain of his breach transforming once again into dazzling pleasure as he rocked her world, again and again.