The Mad Baron
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by Summer Devon
Category: Romance/Historical Fiction
Description: Nathaniel, the new Baron Felston, awakes from a fever to discover he's a prisoner on his own estate. At first, certain he's gone insane, Nathaniel learns potent opiates are the cause of his strange vision. But, barricaded in a small room, he can't outwit his mysterious jailer. Determined to steal back one of her father's swords, Florrie Cadero gets more than she bargained for when she breaks into the baron's mansion. The dashing, drugged man in the locked room soon sweeps her into his story--and his bed. When she discovers they're trapped together, she devises a clever escape. Addicted to his captor's drugs and bent on revenge, Nathaniel seeks out the feisty thief who freed him. Florrie, now a shopgirl, has foresworn her life of adventure. But Nathaniel's offer of employment intrigues her. Together they must break his addiction and expose the villain who would destroy his life.
eBook Publisher: Atlantic Bridge/Liquid Silver Books, 2011
eBookwise Release Date: April 2011
5 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [338 KB]
Reading time: 218-306 min.
He lay flat on his back, unable to move. Dim memories of waking other times floated into his sluggish brain. He was coming to, rather than waking, like the time he'd been slammed against the stable wall and hit his head. But that happened ten years ago. Years ago. Please, he hoped he hadn't gone back to that time.
"Where..." His mouth was dry and tasted of metal.
"You've been ill, dear," a woman's cheery voice said near him. "When I got here, you were fairly burning up. Mr. Grub was most anxious. But now we're feeling better, aren't we? Ready for more nice broth?"
He tried to move his hands and remembered he'd been tied to a bed. Which bed? He opened his mouth to protest. A man said, "Feed him. It'll help."
Warm broth trickled down his throat. "That's the way, dearie."
Choking and sputtering, he swallowed and tried to speak, but every time he opened his mouth, she spooned in more of the lukewarm slop.
His eyelids felt so heavy he could barely lift them. When he finally did, he wished he hadn't. The stout woman leaning over him had two heads. Two smiling, nodding heads. At her shoulder, a dark mass swirled and thickened into a skull that grinned down at him.
He croaked in fear, blinked and tried to look into her face again. Only one head now, but as he watched, her chin lengthened and shimmered. A hand with a spoon came at his face and turned into a snake.
He twisted his head and yelled. "Get it away."
"Poor thing." The woman poured more broth into his open mouth.
Let me go, he yelled again, but suspected he'd said nothing aloud.
Someone else spoke. "Not right in the head." He wasn't so far gone not to understand they were speaking of him.
A fresh moment of panic hit him.
"Who?" But no one answered him. Perhaps he hadn't spoken.
My name is Nathaniel, he reminded himself before he passed out again.
The next time, he heard someone else speaking, a vaguely familiar, cultured voice filled with pity. "Lady Margaret would be glad to have someone else deal with a problem like this. She'd approve of a quiet solution. Some place off in the country."
The man was right. Nathaniel must have gone mad. His mother would be very glad to hide him away.
He would spend the rest of his life hallucinating and in shackles in an insane asylum. Memory came and went, but now he vividly recalled descriptions in articles he'd read about such institutions.
This time he didn't struggle to remain awake when the thick darkness began to fall.
* * * *
As they hiked along the edge of the moor, Duncan told Florrie about the man they were out to rob.
"The old eccentric's been suffering with some mysterious ailment for a long time. My guess is he's gone soft in the head. He keeps the collection locked on a top floor--never looks at his treasures, just stores them like food in a pantry."
"That's a pity," Florrie said and quickened her pace to reach the copse of trees and get out of the open. She wanted to run, but a young lady didn't run in public, even if the young lady was a thief.
Duncan sped up too, though he gazed around, playing the role of a man on a foot tour determined to enjoy the dramatic, sweeping landscape of the moor even on a gloomy spring day. The feather on his peculiar Alpine hat ruffled in the breeze. Her brother wore the hat because he insisted it fit the part of hearty traveler. She supposed the gaudy object drew enough attention no one would recall their faces once they left the area.
He puffed a bit as he caught up with her. "It's a good thing the stuff's locked away. The household may not even notice the results of your visit until we're long gone." For a moment the sun appeared from between clouds and flashed on his glasses. "No need to look so hounded, Florrie. It's a quiet place. I told you, never anyone about this time of day."
"I pray you're correct." She'd only just arrived in Derbyshire from London and had to rely on Duncan's three days of watching and "research."
They emerged from the grove, and Florrie caught sight of a great stone building looming ahead. She drew in a sharp breath. "That's a fortress. Why on earth didn't the baron pay? And just a small dagger?"
Her brother's eyes gleamed the way they always did when he discussed Papa's work. "Yes, with a silver hilt with the snake theme. Purely decorative, I suspect."
That sort of detail meant her father had labored over the knife for weeks. Most of the men who'd bought his works had paid promptly--but not all. Some, like this obviously wealthy baron, took advantage of the fact that their father had been a gentleman and wouldn't do more than present a bill. Papa would certainly never be vulgar enough to insist on being paid for the many hours he put into each blade.
Florrie stopped trying to work herself into an indignant rage and returned to the practical matter at hand. "You're certain it's something short? Most of Papa's rich clients liked swords."
Duncan shook his head and led her back to the protection of the trees. "I swear, only a dagger. Papa modeled it on some a poem about a pair of lovers' suicide pact."
She smiled. "Yes, I can imagine. I suppose it's a dreadful poem?"
"I haven't read it." He took off his glasses and cleaned them with his soft chamois. "Listen, Florrie. Do take a look around in there. If you find anything else worthwhile, just remember the old skinflint baron can't take anything with him where he's going."
"You are a devil," she said lightly as she took down her hair and ran her fingers through it. She redid the plait and pushed it into her customary bundle at the back of her head, thrusting in pins, hard. Loose strands as she climbed would be a disaster.
They stopped near the base of a large elm tree. He dropped his haversack on the well-groomed grass and rummaged around while she unbuttoned her skirt, let it drop and smoothed the trousers she wore. She stepped out the skirt and handed it to him.
"You look marvelous in that getup," he said dryly as she squatted to tie the thin, rubber-bottom shoes he'd had specially made. "Quite the fashion plate."
He touched the nerve left raw by Jimmy, her ex-fiance. She pulled the laces tighter. "Do you want me to climb in a bustle? You harp at me to do this sort of thing and then complain when I dress the only possible way I can."
"Yes, yes, very well. Don't snap at me, Florrie. Just a bit of teasing."
She got to her feet and gave her brother a nod to show she forgave him. He didn't truly judge her climbing, not the way Jimmy would, the hypocrite.
She looked up and down the impressive stone walls. Such a great fall it would be. The heady mix of eagerness and fear caused to her heart to speed up.
"The building won't be as easy as Haddon Hall, but it's manageable." She eyed the handy decorative gargoyle and protruding rocks here and there. "Grim. I fancy it could be an insane asylum or girls' school."
Nothing moved, and she heard only the faint rustling of trees touched by the wind. "The place does appear as quiet as you claimed."
"Of course it is. It's only got the one inhabitant, very few servants and no tours allowed." He sniffed as if insulted that she would question his research. "And the baron's heavily drugged in his final days, they say. Orders for laudanum and other paregorics for pain from the chemists, they tell me, and patent drugs arriving through the mail. They suppose he's holding on to see his heir."
She didn't ask who "they" were. Though Duncan would never tell her, Florrie knew he hadn't spent his nights alone. He liked to get his information from buxom females, and the inn he'd picked seemed well-stocked with the sort of female he enjoyed. Dunc insisted that getting back their father's work, their heritage, was the reason he planned these break-ins. She suspected he liked playing a part and seeking out information. They'd both inherited a good portion of recklessness.
He cleared his throat and shuffled his feet on the grass, obviously anxious to melt back into the sparse collection of trees at the bottom of the wide lawn. The coward. "What do you think?" He gestured at the wall. "The waterpipe and the windows? I looked it over yesterday, and that's my best guess."
She pushed a stray tendril into the bundle of hair and grabbed up the rope he'd pulled from his bag. "Yes, that'll do nicely. What an enormous pile of granite. I might as well face a challenge on my last outing."
"Yes, but Florrie..." He sounded petulant. "Surely you can--"
"No, you managed to talk me into fetching Papa's work, but no more. We've been lucky enough no one's noticed that the blades are the only things stolen, don't you think? No, of course you don't or you wouldn't keep at me like this. Duncan, I'm not doing this again, not even if you should suddenly locate yet another of Papa's blades that wasn't paid for."
"You sound suspicious, love. But you know that those rich people are terrible about paying their bills and--"
"I believe you. But this is the last time."
The glint in Duncan's eye told her he wasn't going to give up the argument. He rarely did.
"Dunc, save your breath. I am not a criminal." She was, she supposed, but four times wasn't horrible. So far she hadn't even had to break a window. She gave a tiny huff of impatience. After years of listening to her brother, she knew justifications when she heard them--even from herself.
Duncan put a hand on her shoulder and kneaded it. "All right, all right. No more climbs. Do stop looking like a martyr. You know you enjoy it."
She turned away. No point in denying that she loved the climbing. The reflection that she might fall, even the thought that she might get caught, seemed to add a needed spice to her life.
Once they opened the shop Duncan planned, perhaps she'd occasionally go out and climb walls in secret, just to feel her heart beat as hard and fast as it did now. She wiped the perspiration from her hands on the cloth he held out to her. "Right. I best be going before the sun finally breaks through the clouds and shifts to this part of the heap."
She began the slow, careful climb up via the drainpipe. The pipe could have held Duncan's weight and the stone windowsills were large enough so she didn't even have to stand on tip-toe. She had a nasty moment when the rope she'd slung over the spout protruding above her, slipped and slithered down onto her shoulder. No possible safe way to throw it again--she'd climb without the safeguard of the rope. She clung to the chilly stones and carefully examined her next hand and foot holds before inching along. Take the time to wedge the fingers and toes properly, Jimmy had instructed Duncan. Don't let fear hurry you.
After several feet of this painstakingly slow movement, as well as listening for Duncan's warning whistle, even Florrie felt she'd had enough excitement. At least she hadn't required the rope, though she was high enough she didn't like to look down.
The window had bars, just as Duncan had warned. She hissed through her teeth with anger when she tried to pull them open. They never kept it locked, Duncan's informant had assured him. A quick glance in and she saw this room contained a bath. Not the correct window after all. She must have lost track when the rope tumbled down.
The shade and clouds were vanishing, and soon she'd be exposed in early afternoon sunlight. She wished she could climb in the dark. The risk of someone spotting her, a woman in grey clinging to an upper story of a grey building seemed less dangerous than falling. Jimmy might have been skilled at night climbing, but she didn't want to risk it.
With as much speed as she could muster, she moved sideways. Fingers, toes, wedge and hoist.
Another window farther along on the same floor wasn't barred, and a curtain even fluttered invitingly. After cautiously peering into the room to make certain it wasn't occupied, she levered the window fully open and leapt lightly in.
It was a small storage room of some sort, and she looked through the crates that smelt of old lavender and camphor, finding only moth-eaten clothes and a few fur pelts. No knife.
As she explored the boxes, one of her hairpins fell to the floor with a ping. She shed them as regularly as a dog sheds fur. With a sigh, she pulled the rest out and looked around to see how she should hide them. Better not to stow the sharp metal hairpins in her pockets when she wore trousers. She shoved the pins and coil of rope deep under one of the larger furs.
The room felt unused, though the open window kept it from stuffiness. Spots in the dusty floor showed that rain had come through the window and disturbed the dust. She scuffed out her footprints she'd made in the dust and reflected gloomily that such a rarely used room would probably be locked from the outside.
She was wrong. It wasn't locked, and better still, the door hinges were well oiled so nothing squealed as she slowly swung open the door.
In the hall, she heard distant, angry voices, and she pushed herself flat against the wall. As she tried to discover where the voices originated, Florrie examined the corridor. Even this high in the building, where the upper servants' quarters would be located, she found signs of luxury. The wall she pressed against was paneled, the parquet floor polished.
There was a jingle of keys, and before she had time to hide, a maidservant in an apron came out of a room.
The maidservant, a large, muscular woman, put the key in the door lock then froze--but her interest wasn't in Florrie. She faced the other direction. Indistinct shouting floated up from downstairs. Doors slammed.
"What's that then?" the servant asked, and Florrie at last noticed a man with a gun standing in the shadows. Good God, he was just lurking in the hall outside the room. She could have run straight into him if that door hadn't opened.
"Dunno. Probably just Grub on a tear. I'll check." He thumped away, down the stairs.
Florrie held her breath.
A roar came from a story below. Someone else began shouting. Uh oh. Had someone spotted Duncan?
The woman peered over the banister then hurried down the stairs.
Florrie slipped down the hall on her noiseless slippers. The woman had left a key attached to a heavy ring jammed into the door lock. A room kept secured--a good sign that treasure lay on the other side. Florrie turned the lock, opened the door and slid into the room.
She choked back a shout of alarm.
A man's figure lay uncovered and sprawled across the bed. Dead? No, his breath was heavy and even. He was asleep.
As she stared at the man, she heard footsteps and a muffled oath. The oath, then the sound of metal scraping, sent Florrie diving under the bed. A moment later she understood that the woman servant had returned and locked the door again.
In the silent room, Florrie dragged herself out from under the bed and tiptoed to the door.
Locked. She was trapped with a man who wore nothing but a pair of ragged knee-length trousers. Or, good heavens, those were drawers.
This was no old dying man. He was young and well built. Fascinating though his form might be, she tried to avoid looking at his naked chest or limbs.
The man might have been ill, though--lying on a bed in the middle of the day. His brown and tawny hair was disheveled, and he wore an unkempt beard.
She gave a small squeak of alarm when he opened his eyes. He looked at her with interest but not a trace of surprise.
"I've never had visions of girls turning into boys. Or is it the other way around?" he said conversationally. "You're quite a vivid one." He closed his eyes again. She turned away from him and, trying to suppress her growing panic, examined the door with its empty keyhole.
He spoke from behind her. "Would you care to play a parlor game? You need only answer yes or no."
It wouldn't do to annoy him. He might call for help or attack her. Something she'd heard about the superhuman strength of a madman came to her, and she gulped air and tried to sound calm. "Fine, sir."
"Will you turn into a snake again?"
Oh, heavens. "No, sir," she whispered.
The man watched her again with blue, too-bright eyes. He sounded well educated, but she understood why he'd been locked up. She was trapped with an insane person.
She lay on her stomach to peer under the door to see if anyone still stood near the room. No shadows or movement.
"Lying on the floor. Odd behavior, even for an apparition, don't you think?" His well-educated voice, with a hint of amusement, didn't fit his insane words or appearance. Her fear eased.
"No, sir." She rose and brushed off her front. She again tried not to look at the nearly naked man, but couldn't help noticing his well-formed limbs and the hair on his body. He resembled statues she'd seen except for that light hair across his chest and in a neat line from his flat belly down to the drawstring of the low-slung garment. And nipples.
Good heavens. No more staring.
He, however, ogled her unselfconsciously. "I still say it's not lunacy," he said as if carrying on an argument they'd had earlier. "I admit this is stronger than usual. Clearly they've upped the dose again, for you are unambiguous. No blurring or shifting edges. By now you ought to have turned into a wolfhound. Or perhaps you'll melt. Will you change into something else soon?"
"No." She had been facing him, but now looked quickly away. He had gotten to his feet. Standing, he appeared larger and more ... unnervingly unclothed.
"I know the game was my idea, but do you speak in more than monosyllables? The last one sang."
She brushed past him to go to the window.
"My God." He stumbled back as if she'd struck him hard. "I felt that. When you-you touched me. God." He groaned. "It grows worse. I grow mad."
"Pardon," she said. The window was open, but the bars were locked tight. She couldn't escape that way. "I don't mean to bother you, sir."
He blinked and rubbed his eyes. "I'm not... Are you real?"
She stopped to consider what she should say. Would he call for help if she admitted yes, she was.
She didn't answer.
He blew out a long breath. "I was right. They must have started in the porridge." He sounded angry. "You'd think I'd notice the flavor."
He moved toward her, and something in his manner had changed. He was less casual now. Still friendly. She hoped.
She backed away, but he'd gotten her against a wall. "I attacked a nurse, you know. But surely you know that whether or not you're a figment of my imagination."
The last time her blood had coursed through her like this, she'd just slipped off a roof and barely saved herself from falling. The same dizziness engulfed her and made her words come out in a whisper. "No, I don't. Sir."
"She wouldn't answer my questions. I lost my temper with her. And now I must wear that." He pointed back to the bed.
She thought he meant he must wear the bed, until she saw the chain that lay on the floor, one side attached to a carved loop of the heavy mahogany bedstead. "You forgot to tell me to chain myself and toss you the key." He waggled a key at her. "Too late now."
She shifted along the wall crabwise. "You don't need to attack me." Her voice cracked.
"Why not? Ah, you mean you'll be compliant. Very good. Lovely phantasm of a rational dress reformer." His smile was dreamy as he took another step. "Not a real woman. Not dropped out of the sky. Not in here with me when they know I'd murder you."
She gave a small whimper.
He stopped for a second and regarded her. "No, no. I promise I won't attack you--even if you do turn into an angry reptile. I've learned my lesson."
His eyes gleamed. Madman with a touch of humor in his manner. But were madmen conscious of their insanity?
Another door. She moved towards it, praying it wasn't merely an adjoining dressing room. "I'm sorry to disturb you. I made a mistake. I shouldn't have come here."
She grabbed at the door. Locked.
"That's two of us," he whispered. "I, too, should have stayed away. Or told someone who gave a damn."
He'd come close. Only inches separated them. His trembling hand closed the distance, and with surprising gentleness, he stroked her cheek. "Oh, my sweet little vision, you are so soft. I haven't touched any sort of woman in so long. Real or imaginary."
She wasn't sure what to do. Her heart's hammering thundered in her ear. Fear and something else pulsed through her. "Don't hurt me," she whispered, not quite able to catch her breath. "Please. Let me go."
"No, of course I won't hurt you. You're my most pleasant apparition. Can't afford to have you turn into a hissing lizard."
She decided not to point out she couldn't turn into anything. "When will they come back?"
"Hours," he murmured. "Hours and hours. Will you entertain me until then? Or at least another minute or two?"
She considered screaming and banging on the door but then she'd be frog-marched off to jail. Better to take her chances with the madman who drew very near. Astonishing how pleasing he looked and smelled. Surely he was well-cared for, although he could have used a haircut.
Without considering the matter, she held her breath and pushed a lock of his hair from his face so she could examine him closer. Soft hair, handsome bearded face. Even attractive men could go mad.
The fear punched through her again as he laid his hands on her shoulders and pulled her toward him. She squeaked, and he stopped pulling, but didn't remove his hands. Instead he slowly bent his face to hers.
She must have been hypnotized for she didn't protest, and her fear twisted far inside her, transforming into that other form of excitement. The kiss he gave her was tentative, and she could have broken away, but the touch of his mouth on hers was pleasant. Extremely pleasant. His lips were dry, slightly rough, but warm.
And then suddenly she felt moisture on her mouth. When the tip of his tongue brushed hers, she jerked her head back. "What are you doing?"
Jimmy had never attempted so bold a move. He'd told her he respected her as the gentlewoman she was, or was supposed to be.
"A lover's kiss." He squinted at her, and his hands moved to her face. She flinched away, but he only cupped her cheeks with his large clean fingers. "Your skin is unbelievably soft."
She'd have to stop this. She must ignore the dizzying rush created by his touch and admit the truth. "Sir, my skin is real. I'm real. I'm a person."
"I'd swear too silky to be real," he breathed. Watching her mouth, he moved to kiss her again. She could have ducked away, but perhaps, no. A lover's kiss might appease the madman.
It wouldn't be a terrible thing to experience such a kiss, and this might be her one chance.
His breath fanned her cheek, pleasingly fresh, with only the hint of some sort of bitter chemical. Medicine for his madness.
"This is inappropriate," she said, speaking to herself as well as him.
He sniffed. "Ah, but this is fine. Propriety has no place in a madman's routine."
"Sir. You're practically unclothed."
"I apologize. They took my clothes. One more kiss, perhaps? I'm not truly mad, you know."
She'd let him kiss her again, so he wouldn't grow angry with her.
The kiss drew heat into her body and made her legs go weak. She must have been insane herself because she wasn't afraid of him now, not at all. Or rather fear wasn't the strongest emotion coursing through her. And appeasing him wasn't the reason she let him touch her. Curiosity filled her.
Curiosity and something far more sinister deep inside her. The longing that had often come to her, especially in her muddled dreams, seized her full force. She wanted this. A small groan rose from her throat, and she tentatively touched his shoulders with her fingertips. His flesh felt smooth and solid. The man was clearly very strong.
Just as he trapped her against the wall again, a single part of him nudged her. His erection pressed against her belly. She gasped at the realization that through only thin layers of cotton, a man's private parts touched her body.
"No," she said faintly. "That won't do. No."
"Come," he whispered in her ear, making her quiver. "Don't you like these kisses? I do, very much."
He groaned and moved against her. One of the hands that had held her face traced her body, down her side. His mouth on hers was hungry as his tongue explored hers, and oh, dear, she explored him, too, feeling the texture of his skin, the breadth of his shoulders, and the shifting muscles of his back.
His hand found her breast and cupped it, his thumb making light circles on her nipple. She must talk him out of this, although as he cleverly plucked her nipple through her blouse and chemise, she wasn't certain why she must.
"You are delightful," he said, and his hand slid under the top of her makeshift trousers.
She squirmed away again, and he allowed it, though he lightly encircled her wrist with his hand.
"I appreciate the compliment," she said, breathing heavily. "Now we must talk. What's your name?" She looked around the clean, barren room. Not a speck of dust and not a single object she might use to protect herself.
He squeezed her wrist, but not so hard he hurt her. "You know who I am. The phantasms always know who I am."
"I am not a hallucination."
His smile was sad. "They--or rather you--always say that as well."
"No, please, you must understand. Can't you tell the difference? Can hallucinations do this?" She gave him a little shove. Not too hard because she wouldn't anger him but she must get away. His wasn't the only disordered mind in the room.
Still grasping her arm, he took several steps backwards and dropped onto the bed, pulling her with him. "Not usually, I grant you," he said. "But perhaps there was something new in the porridge. Something good for a change. If you're real or imaginary, I shan't hurt you. I promise."
His suddenly strong grip meant he easily dragged her on top of him. She fell with an oof. He rolled, and they were side by side facing one another, nearly touching. "Such a pretty creature. Please God, I beg of you, stay that way," he murmured and delicately kissed her mouth. The kiss soon turned into the deep, hungry exploration.
She would have shoved him away, but she found she instead stroked his back, experiencing the supple warm skin and hard muscle of naked male flesh. He didn't protest when she ran her hands over his shoulders.
Good gracious. She'd slung her leg over his hip, and she squirmed against him. Ladies don't wiggle like music hall dancers. Jimmy's reprimand came to her. He hadn't liked what he called her earthy streak.
The phrase had made her feel as if she had a stripe of grimy dirt right down her body. Not a true lady, after all. He hadn't said the words, but he didn't need to.
Jimmy had eventually gently insisted she break it off. He wasn't good enough for her, he told her, and it took her an embarrassingly long time to figure out he actually meant that she wasn't what he wanted. He hadn't even known the real extent of her depravity. Jimmy the housebreaker hadn't known she'd planned to break into houses.
Never mind. Jimmy hadn't climbed into this fortress. She had and now here she was with this gentleman, gentle mad man, who touched her body in such a lewd manner. The way he stroked her brought out her earthy streak, ha, she was drenched in mud.
Mortified, she removed her leg she'd draped over his hip and stopped writhing against him, but she didn't halt the exploration altogether. She still drew her fingers over his arms.
So much skin. Delicious, bare and warm. Her heart beat as hard as it did when she started out a job. The same naughty excitement of something forbidden and dangerous. She was a fool.
Somehow he'd managed to put his hand between her legs. He rubbed her private area, and the tingling pleasant sensation spread. When she realized this was a deliberate action and he wasn't going to stop, she shut her thighs tight, but he didn't protest or force her legs open. Instead he cupped her mound and made a little circle against her in that intimate place she barely allowed her own hand to explore.
She had trouble sucking in air as his fingers rubbed her, adding a little jiggle that seemed to melt every bit of her resolve to fight. The cloth of her trousers rasped her skin, and she felt the heat of his fingers through it.
She held his arm as if to pull his hand away, but at the same time, her hips pressed up and against his hand. "What are you doing?" she whispered, wishing she sounded indignant and not gasping for breath.
"Stroking a woman's form for the first time in forever. Enjoying something in this hellish room at last. You're so wet I can feel it through the cloth. I can feel everything." Embarrassed, she clenched her thighs together as hard as she could. He stopped moving his trapped hand until she loosened the grip of her legs, then he immediately resumed the hypnotic stroking.
"You may touch me as well." With his free hand, he grabbed her fingers.
She told herself she'd scream if he put her hand on his penis, but he placed it on his stomach.
Her hand examining his flat belly brushed his shockingly hard manhood through the thin clothing he wore. His body jolted, and he hissed through his teeth.
Her throat grew tight when she saw how she affected him. A thrilling curiosity made her explore the interesting object. She stifled a nervous giggle and touched him again. She'd already noticed that his organ was much larger than she had imagined a man's private parts to be, and she had done a fair amount of guessing and wondering.
She was a wanton, for touching him made her feel even more of that stomach clenching interest. Her rough breath came quickly as she stroked him, imitating the magical touch he had with her.
His fingers' movements became more concentrated, more deliberate. He pressed against the part of her that welcomed his touch--ached for it.
She stopped exploring his body, lost in the amazement of what he could do to hers. That touch felt good. Any embarrassment about her situation dissolved as the delicious ripples strengthened. She needed more of him.
She breathed the word on a long inhalation. Need.
"Do you have a name?" he whispered.
At that second, it struck. "Oh. Oh." The bolt of sensation hit her, spiraling from her core through her body. "My God." She panted.
"Oh yes, yes. Of course. God is love." The man moved closer. He dexterously pulled off one of her shoes and began to untie her trousers.
She woke from the commotion pinging through her--even her fingers tingled--and squirmed away. He followed, and with a deft roll, he was on top of her, capturing her body under his.
Panic cut through the last ripples of her release. She wiggled, dug her heels into the bed, and pushed up trying to get away. Her head struck the wooden headboard. "Stop," she said, breathless. "I was wrong. I'm sorry. Please stop."
He murmured something and buried his face in her hair as he pushed down her trousers. She found his shoulder with her mouth and bit down, as hard as she could.
He gave a startled yelp. All motion stopped.
Very slowly he pushed himself up on his elbows, taking most of his weight off of her. He twisted his head to examine the blood that oozed from the bite mark on his shoulder.
She wished she hadn't done any of that, especially the bite. Now he would turn more insane, beat her. She readied herself to start screaming for help.