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by Belladonna Bordeaux
Category: Erotica/Erotic Romance/Romance
Description: Lady Danielle Hampton has really made a muck of her life. Not only is she guilty of entreating carnal fantasies, but her aunt has sold her into slavery to pay off the family's debts. Little does Danielle know the group she's been purchased to service aren't just Lords and Princes, they are the legends from which fairytales are wrought. Prince Gabriel LeFay is in search of his next mate. First he has to find a woman who is as uninhibited as his kind, the Fairefolk, and then he has to teach her the ways of a submissive. In Danielle he finds the woman of his dreams. She'll try anything once or even thrice. The trick to earning her love is to become the man of her fantasies.
eBook Publisher: Atlantic Bridge/Liquid Silver Books, 2010
eBookwise Release Date: July 2010
14 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [118 KB]
Reading time: 71-99 min.
Good God! What a fine stew she'd landed her arse in this time.
Oblivious of the scenery sweeping past the coach, Lady Danielle Hampton nibbled on her lower lip. The niggling worry she'd suffered under since her interview with her father twisted her already confused thoughts into a tight knot.
Aye, a fine stew indeed.
The ton's suspicion of her father's insanity was about to be proved. And all because he'd caught her and her maid in the midst of a chat. His anger soared through the roof of their townhouse and she didn't doubt his self-righteous rhetoric sent shivers through a few angels on their clouds.
'Twas but a harmless game she'd been playing with her maid. Gossip never struck anybody dead, besides, Maria was merely recounting her most recent expedition to the Hellfire Club.
They oft giggled over the whores who were employed for the black mass rituals. The mental images Danielle conjured up only added to their mirth. Who would have thought that the stiff as starched undergarments men of the ton would partake of such a sin? 'Twas a miracle some of them were able to perform at their advanced age.
Not that Maria was allowed to tell of the actual goings on of the mass as she served as handmaiden to the gentlemen. It was a never-mind-the-details aspect to Danielle anyway. 'Twas the lascivious mating during the black mass' banquet which piqued her interest.
To think women actually did exactly what they were told when it came to the grunting and groaning of men caught in fits of passion? Of course, 'twas expected that a wife would submit to her husband, but Danielle thought that was only after the ink dried on the marriage contract and the ceremony properly seen to.
'Twas the enjoying the entirety that held her in transfixed awe while Maria described in vivid detail what had happened and to whom.
It was filthy.
And she often fantasized about participating in the acts of the banquet. How exciting would it be to lay on a banquet table while men fed from plates placed on your naked form. To have them brush their fingers over her nipples as they took the food away, absently pour wine between her breasts then lick it off with tantalizing sweeps of their tongues.
She could almost feel the tweaks to her nips as one man spread her legs to own her body. In a sad way, it was the submission of the handmaiden which excited her most. None of her friends would ever believe her if she told them her dark secret. After all, she'd done enough damage to her reputation by riding her sorrel mare through Lord Carrington's formal garden on a dare delivered by Carrington's heir.
The upper-crust snobbery called her a rake-hell. With good cause, Danielle heaved a sigh as the coach pitched hard when it hit a deep rut in the road. They pitied her father for having such a willful daughter.
In their next breath they pitied Danielle for having such a pious oaf for a sire.
They said 'twould be the downfall of Hampton. That this bent of his to spend more time on his knees than procuring another wife and a rightful male heir to his title would end the line forever. Many a twittering woman whispered Danielle's mother had taken both his cock and balls with her to the grave.
Danielle knew her mother had died from hysteria. Her father's constant brow beating and bible thumping followed by hours of strict penance finally pushed her to commit the sin of suicide.
She'd given up because not even God could deliver her from the nightmare of being bound to a man who despised her.
'Twas her burden to never whisper about her mother's death. To follow her father's orders to the letter in an effort to save them. His logic made sense.
'Twas not because her mother's body would be exhumed from the hallowed walls of the family crypt before being whisked to find a fitting home in unconsecrated ground, but because the news would destroy her father's reputation.
As selfish as she felt when she considered his already tarnished reputation, she knew this secret would ruin every chance she'd have of making a match.
Considering she was nearly the age of spinsterhood, she was desperate for her father to enter into a contract for her. The last thing she wanted was to be strapped to his side for the rest of his life. She had no doubt he'd outlive her just to be spiteful.
Her fingers toyed with the seam of her cloak. She let her mind fall back into the fantasies that had saved her from madness when her father ordered her to pray for hours over her mother's immortal soul.
At first she denied the inclination, thinking her mother needed good thoughts and fervent prayers to send her to heaven.
As the fasting continued, hunger and thirst playing havoc on her psyche, the lack of sleep making her oft dizzy, she found herself turning to satisfying an appetite of a base nature. She blamed herself for her blasphemy, but couldn't stop the dreams. They became synonymous with kneeling in the chapel.
A small, bitter smile stroked her lips. She recalled Maria's last whisper to her, the one that had been overheard by Arthur who in turn reported the incident to her father. She then placed herself in the lurid dream. Though she didn't place the elderly lords as her masters; nay, she used the younger set in her fantasies.
Her favored lord was the Duke of Lincoln. She didn't even know his name, but knew her mother didn't approve of the man. He'd arrived at her debutante ball dressed in austere evening garb. On his arm was a woman of rare beauty.
Every girl whispered of who she was. None knew the certain answer.
It was while she stood hoping for a young fop to engage her in conversation, that she caught him staring at her. It wasn't so much that he gawked in her direction but the scowl marring his brow that worried her.
Why would he care a whit for her?
The rest of the night passed in a blur as young gentleman after youthful lord prodded her for a dance.
Her father had fulfilled her mother's wish that she have a proper come-out, but after that night, Danielle was whisked back to the townhouse where she received only guests her father approved of.
Little did he know, her friends were full of tales too.
Using her friends' gossip helped on this front, for she couldn't imagine lying naked before patriarchs her father's age.
The men of the realm her friends called 'the wild set' became her fodder. A few of her confidants had even met these men who kept dancers and actresses as their mistresses. Of course the minute their chaperones realized the danger the young miss was in, they were cordially and coldly swept away from the proverbial wolf licking his lips.
She didn't find it the least surprising that His Grace, the Duke of Lincoln traveled with the wilder set of the haute ton.
Rubbing the stiffness from the taut muscles of her neck, Danielle returned her thoughts once more to the fantasies that had saved her on many an occasion.
To be told to take one man's cock into her mouth as another licked her sensitive nub made her shiver with unrequited anticipation. A tremor of lust rolled up her inner thighs as she imagined more hands roaming over her body, some playfully swatting her skin until it burned, others kissing long paths up her legs, arms, to finally take her hard nip in their mouths.
Her breasts grew heavy. A twinge shook through her core.
Nay! Danielle snapped her eyelids open.
Swallowing the gasp rising in her throat, Danielle turned her gaze to her chaperone for this trip to St. Sophia's Cloister where she'd spend the next month contemplating the sin of lust. Aunt Esther sat on the opposing bench; her head nestled in the corner. A soft snore sounded when they hit yet another rut in the wretched road.
Danielle blew out a relieved breath when the elder adjusted her shoulders but remained fast asleep. Her father was crazy with piety. Aunt Esther was just plain out of her mind.
For the life of her, Danielle couldn't imagine her maiden aunt's reaction if she ever learned her secret. She'd probably laugh herself straight to bedlam. Granted, 'twouldn't be a very long journey.
Easily falling back into the fantasy, Danielle relaxed against the stiff squab. Crossing her arms over her chest, she was just about to fall back into her fantasy when shouts broke the quiet night. The coach came to a tooth-jarring halt.
"What on earth?" Esther muttered.
Danielle shrugged in response. She did peer out the window to see what the impromptu stop was about. "Highwaymen," she breathed.
Fear rooted deep in her soul while her fingers curled around the window frame. Just outside the golden glow of the carriage lamps she made out a terrifying sight. Her gaze traveled down the four black cloaked riders seated atop black stallions. By God's toes, why had her father sent them this round about way rather then ordering the coachman to take them by way of the main road out of London?
To punish you more, came the silent response.
She highly doubted being robbed a pistol point was a part of his retribution. 'Twas not that they had aught worth taking to begin with.
Not even the coach or horses were worth more than a crown. The transport had seen many a better day and the twosome team was worn from years of service.
Panic infused Danielle's frame. What would these men do if they were denied booty? Her heart chugged hard in her chest when she recalled a descriptive column in the London Times about such an incidence as this one. Though put out in softer terms, Danielle didn't like the idea of losing her chastity to such a man. Correction, men. Her fear grew in direct proportion to what she suspected would be her last hours of life.
"Aunt Esther, what are you doing?" she asked when the woman moved to open the door.
"Never you mind, Danielle," Esther commented. She flicked the door open. The crunch of loose gravel practically shouted through the interior of the coach when her feet hit the ground.
All Danielle could see was her aunt gaining a bullet for her uppityness.
"Per your request, milord," Esther said.
"What the blazes?" Danielle perked up, her gaze on the foremost rider as he swung himself down from his saddle. A soft sigh escaped her throat. He had the fluid moves of a predator. A fresh tremor rocked her soft, feminine walls to mingle with the fear. Danielle didn't know what she should feel or how she should proceed.
She wished she could see his face if for no other reason save to add him to her stable of fantasy gents. Foolishness, she chastised herself. You don't want some highwaymen to take part in your fantasies.
"You'll find her malleable and open minded to your lessons. Her father wishes her to pay penance."
A round of chuckles came from the leader's group. He didn't say aught, but he did nod.
Danielle frowned at her aunt's sentence. The panic from the moment before turned to true terror when the leader waved for her very own driver and footman to remove her from the coach. "Cease," she cried when the driver swung the door open.
Kicking at them, she heard laughter above the pounding of her rioting heart. "Let me go," she shouted when the footman grabbed first her right foot then her left. The driver held her legs together at the knees while the footman tied them.
It didn't stop her attack. Danielle clawed for Horace's head. Her coachman was ready for her. Catching her wrists in his calloused hand, they jerked her out of the cabin and tied her hands behind her back.
"I demand an answer," Danielle shrieked. She fought against the men steadying her. Breaking free, she crumpled into a useless heap of wool and cotton on the ground.
"Do stop the theatrics, Danielle. It's unbecoming a lady of your station."
Reluctant, Danielle allowed the men to help her to her feet. "What have you done?" she asked, her glare plastered to her aunt's wrinkled face. Was that triumph she saw in her aunt's faded blue eyes? Dear God, it was.
"'Tis quite simple, my dear," Aunt Esther informed her in a voice that could have caused frostbite. "You're father requires a substantial amount of money to rescue what little remains of the family's estate. You are a means to that end."
Shocked dumb, Danielle glared at her aunt, her mouth gaping like a caught cod gasping for a way back to the comfort of the sea. She shook her head in outrage and dismay. "You ... you ... sold me?"
"What other way was there to save our good name? Though at your advanced age, 'twas a task to find a buyer. Your reputation for being hellbent for leather was another concern. 'Twas nothing short of a miracle I found this group who can and will tame your wild spirit. If you are a good lady, perhaps I'll figure a way to buy your freedom at a later date."
The barb hit home. Danielle winced. Paralyzed with fear, Danielle's eyes grew to the size of saucers when the leader walked directly to where she stood. She raised her chin in a display of false bravado. Inside she was a mass of frightened twanging nerves and something else, but she knew it wasn't lust. "I will not submit to you," she spat the first thing that came to her mind. "Not ever."
"Aye, milady," the leader finally spoke. He stroked his gloved index finger down her cheek. A chuckle rumbled through his chest when she jerked her head away. "You will submit to the Hellfire and Damnation Club or I will sell you to a harem."
He gripped her chin between his thumb and forefinger. Forced to stare into his gaze, an involuntary shiver raced the course of Danielle's spine. The man was serious.
Lecher. Well, she'd take the harem over him without a thought. She was about to tell him when he increased the pressure on her jaw. Beneath his glare she sensed the loosely chained anger brewing in his system.
"I assure you, milady, you are better off behaving yourself. A shah or chieftain would have no conscience beating your insolence from you."
Refusing to go quietly, Danielle spat in his face. "Do what you will, but know this. I will never submit to you."
He wiped the spittle from his face with the sleeve of his cloak. "We'll see about that."
Danielle heard the laughter in his voice. About ready to choke on her ire, she wished she could kick him in the shins. Unable to do that, she met his steady gaze and held it.
"She meets with your approval?" Aunt Esther's voice broke through the silent war of wills.
"Aye." He nodded to his rider.
A heavy purse of coins fell to the ground in front of Ester's feet. "Thank you, milord."
Oho, Danielle thought when his glare turned scathing and slid ominously to Aunt Esther's face. He's a lord of the realm. Perhaps she could use that tidbit of information to her benefit in the future.
She'd have to concentrate on every aspect of him to discover his true identity. For a certainty he wasn't amongst her limited circle of friends. Perhaps he was of the wilder set.
'Twould be better yet if he was one of the King's trusted confidants. How horrid would it be for the man to have not only his name, but that of their sovereign, attached to this heinous act.
A small smile quirked the corners of her lips, but she quickly steeled her features.
'Twould be a very long fall from grace for this man.
Very long, indeed.
She was spitting mad and tired of feeling like she might explode with rage. For two weeks she'd spent her days holed away in a rather nice suite of rooms. The decor was richly gorgeous with a tall tester bed dressed in fine linens, ceiling to floor brocade curtains and a fireplace with an excellent draft. The embossed wall-covering was white on light peach that accentuated the chintz covered settee and vanity stool perfectly.
The room had a woman's touch. If she'd had the energy to spare, she'd have used this room in her fantasies. Sadly, she hadn't an ounce to spare since she was tossed over the threshold to land in an ignominious heap.
Even though she was fed three times a day plus given tea, tedium and fury kept her from being the least bit cordial to the maid who served her. All her demands to be freed were met with a patient smile. When she posed a question about where she was or what might happen to her, the maid shook her head. If she posed a query as to where her captor, the man in black, was, the maid gave her a placating smile as if to say, ''twas none of her business'. It was damnably infuriating.
Brushing her hand down the pink day gown she'd been delivered that morning, she heaved a sigh. She turned toward the window to watch the sun beaming down on the pristine garden behind the manor house. What she'd give to walk just a few paces beyond the locked door of her room. Almost aught including her right arm. In a fit to begin with, she strode to the locked windows. Tilting her gaze to the sky, she pushed away the urge to break the mullioned glass and jump to her death three floors below. "Not even you, God, can tell me I was kidnapped, sold into whatever this nightmare is to rot away in a room."
"No, you weren't."
Danielle spun around at the masculine voice coming from the doorway. "I demand to know why I was brought here." She waved her hand in the air with all the grace she could muster. "Never mind, I'll put my question to the lord of the manor. If you would direct me to his location straight away, sir..." She tried to infuse her voice with the appropriate amount of condemnation. Her fingers curled into a fist when he smirked at her.
"He stands before you, milady. I am Alexander Hightower. I own Falstaff Manor."
She took a moment to inspect him from his bald pate to the tips of his well-polished shoes. He wasn't the horrid man dressed in all black. That much she'd figured out because he wasn't as tall, nor did he speak with the same conjecture. Through narrowed eyes, she took in the slim set of the man's shoulders. Doubts formed in her mind. Distrust took root in her heart. "You wouldn't lie to me, would you?"
"Of course not, milady."
"I don't believe you. Who is the man who brought me here? I'd like to speak to him." Not that he'd said a word on the long journey to the manor. Unfortunately, she'd felt an odd connection to him. 'Twas as if there was something to the captor and the captive where the supplicant's life was at his mercy. All she knew was he was horrid, but he hadn't harmed her.
"Enough! You are not a free woman. There isn't a Knight of the Seventh Seal who will accept your unruly tongue unless it is on them. You have no say in what happens to you. Not today, tomorrow or ever."
Lifting her chin in defiance, Danielle took a shaky step back and fell upon the settee when he came forward. "I will scream should you touch me."
"Aye, I am aware. 'Twill do you no good, except to excite the other members of the Knighthood."
A shiver raced the length of her spine when he raked his gaze down her body. Swallowing against the knot of trepidation growing in her throat, Danielle shook her head. A slight fuzziness took control of her senses. 'Twas as if she was walking into a fog-shrouded dale. Grey figures, not human but not totally unrecognizable flitted through the scene. Icy touches caressed her flesh causing delicious goose pimples to rise on her arms.
"You'll do well tonight at the banquet," he said in an authoritative voice.
"I beg your pardon." She couldn't help sounding stunned. She was. A brief snippet of the musings that landed her in this stew popped into her mind's eye. She was naked and once more lying upon a grand banquet table. This time, though, the men were all handsome and held an air of virility not normally seen amongst the ton. A twinge of lust grew to a twang. Unbidden, her eyes steered to a shield affixed to the wall. The crest carried the number '7'. Around the outer field were fanciful images of creatures only found between the covers of a fairytale.
In the next instant, the vision was ripped away. "Of all the unmitigated gall." Terror and want forced her to rise to her feet. The same obstinacies that had her accepting Carrington's bet to jump his father's hedge forced bravado to the surface. Whatever spell the man had cast upon her would not go unanswered. Of that much she was sure. "If you think I would willingly ... let you take my..." The word 'virginity' popped into her head along with a new image of her taking a cock in her mouth. Dear God, help me. Her heart fell to the soles of her stylish satin slippers, and then surged upward to lodge in her throat.
Outraged, needy, she watched the door close behind her captor. His laughter hung in the air a long time after he retreated.