Alaric watched her talking with her father across the table, looking good enough to eat and felt an unwelcome twinge of self-consciousness. Sleeping with her was not the wrong thing to do… Never mind that she was a lady, or Henry’s daughter, or the most interesting and intelligent young woman he had ever met. She had made an offer and he had every right to accept it.
The dessert was served and he ate the heavy apple torte slowly, his mind wandering to the pleasures awaiting him. Arianna looked over and he caught her gaze, holding it for an unusually long time before he lightly cocked a brow in question.
She seemed surprised as she looked to her parents and then widened her eyes, clearly asking now?
He almost nodded, just to see what she would do but instead shook his head, glanced to her parents and then subtly indicted the hall to his room. When she nodded, he downed the remainder of his mead and pushed from the table to await her in his chamber.
An hour and half later Arianna headed down the now familiar path to his sleeping quarters and again checked over her shoulder anxiously. She had waited close to an hour after her parents had retired but every little noise still made her jump. Charlemagne had clearly seen to Chauncy and her brothers were lost in a game of tafl, so there really was not much to worry about. She knew this, and yet her nerves were wired with tension, her stomach feeling as if it were full of the fluttering wings of butterflies. She swallowed thickly as she came upon his door and rapped twice, looking around with restless unease as she waited.
The door opened a crack revealing only a dimly lit room and she slipped inside, taking a nervous breath. Alaric stood behind her as he closed the door and then moved to gently pull her hood back to reveal her. “May I take your cloak, sweetheart?”
His deep voice rang in her left ear, “Yes, thank you.”
He did so and felt his blood thicken as he took in the perfect fit of her deep purple gown when he came around to face her. It hugged her everywhere and yet revealed only a modicum of flesh above the bodice, but the effect was all the same on his heightened libido.
His eyes were glowing hotly and he brought a hand up to her cheek. “Let us not waste any time. I have been dreaming about this for weeks.”
So saying, he dropped his hands to grip her hips and bent his head down to take her mouth passionately.
Arianna was caught off guard by the suddenness of his motion but once his warm pliable lips touched hers, she felt her mind cloud with euphoria. This was what she was here for. Her hands drifted to his shoulders as the kiss deepened and one of his big palms reached down to cover her rounded bottom. He squeezed and she gasped at the familiarity and the rush of pleasure it caused.
Alaric heard her response, overly tuned in to her every action, and wanted to smile. She sure was a sensitive little thing! He could not wait to get her clothes off… The thought shot another hot slither of lust through him and he groaned, gripping her head with one hand to tongue her aggressively as he pulled her body tightly into his.
Arianna felt herself moving and she struggled for thought. He had never kissed her with so much passion! She felt as though her mind had been glazed with a thick coat of sweetness and it was impairing her ability to think.
He broke away a second before she felt his hot moist tongue make contact with her ear and she sighed, an unexpected ripple of stimulation running down her spine.
“Hmm…” he moaned lowly, laving at the little pink shell with expert strokes. “Let us sit on the bed,” he murmured quickly and then moved to kiss a trail of fire down her delicate white throat.
She mindlessly allowed herself to be positioned half lying down on the soft tick, unable to tear her focus from the sizzling path of his hot mouth. He was driving her crazy!
Alaric slid his body partially over hers as he returned to her mouth, easily slipping a knee between her thighs. She was extraordinary! His fingers traced lightly over her velvety cheek, down her throat to tease at the edge of her bodice. He knew he could feel the plump weight of her breast whenever he wanted and he deliberately waited, prolonging the anticipation for them both.
Arianna felt the shyness in his actions and her belly warmed. Sally had been right—he was hoping to touch her bosom! His palm slid to her waist, just barely skimming over her flesh on the way and skitters of heat followed his path. A second later, it slid back up, pausing long enough to almost cup her before retreating again. He did this two more times before he finally, blessedly covered the soft mound and massaged soothingly.
Alaric could feel her nipple stiffen under his palm and it snapped what little was left of his tight control. Making a low moan of pleasure, he brought his second hand up to join his first and he squeezed her full breasts with unbridled desire. Oh she was addictively sweet! He slid his fingers as far into her bodice as they could fit, feeling over her warm satiny skin and daring to intentionally rub over her bare nipple.
Arianna tore her lips free and gulped in a much needed breath. What was he doing to her? His thumb and forefinger constricted on the tip of her breast and she whimpered at the shock of pleasure and almost pain that it caused to her over-sensitized nerve endings. She opened her mouth to beg him to slow down when suddenly she felt cool air on her chest and she froze. Somehow he had managed to remove her bodice and her whole body jerked with rapture as he brought his mouth to her bare nipple.
Alaric groaned and felt his loins push against his braise forcefully. Her breasts were perfect soft white globes crested with mouthwatering strawberry tips. He kissed her sweet flesh and then took the pebble hard peak into his mouth, rolling and flicking his tongue against it until she moaned and arched up for him. Then he lightly scraped it with his teeth, turned on by her obvious enjoyment and seeming innocence.
“Alaric! Wha—” She bit her lip and clenched her eyes, completely overwhelmed. What was going on here? Her body was hot and cold and wound up so tight she thought she might scream! One of his hands rubbed down her thigh and she felt her gown begin to rise. The alien feel of his hard calloused palm brushing her calf was too much and had the effect of ice water rushing her brain. She shook her head to clear it and covered his hand with her own to stop its movement. “Wait! What are you—doing?” She said breathlessly.
But Alaric only chuckled, thinking she was playing coy. “Oh, I do not know, M’Lady…” His mouth captured her other nipple and he slipped his hand under her knee, teasing the back of her thigh with his outstretched fingers.
The intimacy of his hand not a foot from her most private area caused an intense almost harsh throb there and the sudden overpowering feeling scared her. “Alaric—stop! Do not…” She pushed at his hand again and tried to pull her knees up as he drew back.
“What are you about?” his voice was gruff and his eyes looked wild and displeased as he examined her face.
“I…” she tried, unsure what to say. “Can we just… stop for a moment?” She was getting a sneaky suspicion that she had been ill informed. Sally had mentioned nothing of a man’s hands under her skirts!
Alaric licked his lips and narrowed his eyes. Was she serious?! They had just gotten going; his body was primed and ready to perform and she wanted to take a break? “You want to stop… right now…” he said incredulously.
She nodded, unaware her clear blue eyes were large and frightened like a child.
He stared at her a good minute and then stood, snorting with pent up frustration. “Mayhap you should just go back to your room. Tis clear you are not prepared to be here.”
Arianna felt a wash of panic. It had taken so much to simply get this far! She did not want to lose him now… “No! I—I am prepared,” she lied badly.
Alaric crossed his arms. “Then take off your clothes.”
A strange buzzing noise filled her ears and she shook her head to clear them. “T-take off my clothes?”
“Yes,” he confirmed, “how else am I to lie with you?”
Her eyes flared and her soft mouth dropped apart. She did not know what that entailed exactly, but she did know twas what married couples did! “You—want to lie with me?” she said, completely stupefied.
Alaric scowled at her, arousal and irritation pumping through him. “Are you daft? What did you think we were doing here?” He waited, but she simply stared, seeming at a total loss for words.
“Forget it,” he finally snapped, turning to pick up her cloak.
“No—I will do it!” She whispered faintly. If he meant to lie with her, he must have serious feelings for her. Mayhap this was the way most couples went about it.
He stopped dead in his tracks, afraid he had misunderstood her quiet words. “What?”
“I will undress,” Arianna clarified, a surge of something strange and exhilarating running through her as he spun to face her with flagrant hunger. She knew twas a dangerous decision. Her parents would be furious if they ever found out. Her gaze locked with his and she did not care about any of it. Holding her head high, she rose from the bed and brought her hands up to lower her sleeves.
Alaric stood transfixed as the dark material seemed to slowly melt from her, revealing the proud thrust of her young breasts, her flat sleekly muscled abdomen and the perfect curve of her hips. She latched on to her undergarments as she continued and he groaned audibly. Her legs were long and shapely, but twas the invitingly soft thatch of dark honey curls at their juncture that called to him. He wanted to delve his fingers inside and tease her velvety folds.
His erection sprung powerfully against his tight britches as he continued to take her in and he tamped down a grunt. She was the most beautiful almost angelic sight he had ever seen, standing there naked with her long blonde hair shimmering around her slim shoulders seductively. Far more arousing than Jeanine or any other woman he had ever been with; and she was a gently bred Lady… He felt an unwelcome surge of insecurity and he cursed himself as he tore his gaze from her. She was perfection in itself—too perfect for the likes of him.
Arianna did not even breathe for a moment, completely dumbfounded. “What?” She whispered desperately. Did he not just say he was going to lie with her?
He shot her a hot glare full of self-loathing. “I have changed my mind. Get dressed.”
She felt her face blaze with mortification. He had looked her up and down and rejected her flat out! There must be something wrong with her body… Blushing painfully, she yanked her dress up into place, snatched her cloak and rushed from the room without looking at him. She would never be able to look at him again! Oh what a terrible fool she was!
Alaric felt the door close like a punch in the gut. Baring his teeth, he slammed his hand to the wall in frustration and when it felt only slightly better, did it four more times before heading up to find some strong grog.
Arianna ran to her chamber and quickly locked herself in, then curled into a fetal position on her bed and closed her eyes. She had never exposed herself to someone like that—not physically or emotionally, and the resulting spurn she received was devastating. It felt like her insides had been ripped out and yet she ached with a tingling awareness all over, recalling now with shame how his eyes had seen everything!
She groaned, covering her hot face as she felt a pang in her chest. Why did he not want her anymore? A tear burned her left eye and she blinked it away. Twas no use thinking about it. Her gaze caught sight of the nightgown she had so carefully laid out before dinner and she bit her lip. That seemed so long ago now! She pushed herself to a sitting position. She best put it on and get into bed; twas not going to be an easy task to sleep and the morrow was going to be humiliating. God’s breath, she prayed, please do not let him tell anyone what she had done!
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