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Cold Air and Hot Thoughts [Ball Side Thread]- Xmas 1677

Charles Audley

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The cool winter air was a welcome respite from the heat of the ballroom. The quiet, too, was pleasant. Charles had not realised how loud the buzz of conversation had been until they had stepped outside. The contrast made the near silence almost deafening.


Why, it's a most... romantic tableau.


It was supremely pleasant to be out here, with a beautiful woman like Juliana on his arm, knowing that their thoughts were running in identical directions. Charles looked sidelong at her, appreciating the fine lines of her form and features.


"There, that's better now, isn't it? Away from the crush of the crowds. Free to... breath." Charles leaned in to whisper in her ear. "Incidentally, you look even more exquisite by moonlight."


Straightening up, he gestured expansively out over the gardens. "So, what would be your highness's pleasure? But speak your desire and I shall see it performed."

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He was an absolute master of blatant double-entendre, which Juliana much preferred over the subtle variety. His seductive words made her entire body tingle with desire, and she wanted nothing more than to feel his lips and his hands upon her nude body. “I do love a gentleman who is good with his tongue. So many do nothing but flap theirs foolishly. I could take your word on your skills, but what fun would that be? I am particularly interested in seeing your sword in action.”


She was not as eloquent as he, but English was not her first language.


A pretty pout turned down the corners of her lips when he let her wrist go, and when he offered her his arm, she placed one perfectly manicured hand upon his sleeve “Once again, we think alike. With you, I definitely prefer a stroll over a dance. A dance is so structured. I would rather make up the steps as we go along.”


As he escorted her outside, she began to softly stroke his arm. The frigid air was bracing and reminded her of Sweden. Cold temperatures had never bothered her and winter was her favorite season. The silence was welcome as well after the constant noise in the ballroom. And the company … well, the company was delightful and tantalizing and exciting. The chilliness of the night did nothing to quell the fire burning inside her.


“Yes, much better,” she agreed, “although I am still a bit hot.” When he whispered in her ear, she trembled slightly. “You know what they say about flattery,” she whispered back, preening a bit under his admiration. “Moonlight suits you as well. It gives you a mysterious … and very tempting … air.”


Juliana fingers continued to stroke his arm as her gaze swept the gardens. His innuendo thrilled her, but she decided not to answer in kind. For now. “I have heard there is a maze here. I should like to see it. Maybe we can find our way to its center.” Her blue eyes glittered sensuously. “We will have more privacy there.” Then they could do more than just talk about pleasure and desires.

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Charles was feeling giddy, almost drunk on lust and moonlight. Juliana's delicate caresses trailed delightful bursts of heat up and down his arm.


This. This is what life is about. And when all the memories of battle and glory are faded and grey, this will still blaze with colour.


"They say many things about flattery, your highness, and the only one I can think of that is relevant is that it is not flattery if it is true. Is that what you meant?"


She returned the compliment and Charles leaned in to whisper again, voice now more of a lustful growl than a purr.


"Oh, I've always been something of a creature of the night, but it's you that brings out the best in me, I think, not the moon."


He barely swallowed the urge to nibble on her earlobe. Juliana was getting impatient too, to judge from the lack of innuendo in her reply and the direct request for privacy. Well, that was one wish he would be delighted to accommodate.


"The labyrinth? Why, we could misplace ourselves and not be found for hours." The furnace door of his eye opened again, briefly revealing the raging fires within. "Sounds a capital idea."


They moved off, the air, it seemed to Charles, almost humming with anticipation. The maze was difficult to miss, thankfully. Charles took a sconce around the garden to see if there were any likeminded couples about as he and Juliana approached. He hoped not. He'd been to an orgy or two before, but troop fornications of that nature were not really his style.


He stopped before the entrance and looked at Juliana, simply stunning in the moonlight.


"The labyrinth of Whitehall. The one on Crete held the minotaur at its heart. Who knows what savage beast we might find within?" A pause, eye shining hot with desire. "Or without for that matter."


Charles stepped in, arms laying hold of waist and flank, crushing his lips to hers. He plied hands, lips and tongue on her with all the skill he had gained in what must have been twelve or thirteen years of practice. She had stoked his flames well, and now he gave her a taste of the fruits of her labours, kissing her until lack of breath obliged him to withdraw. He stepped back and smirked.


"A small... warm-up, so to speak, before the promised demonstration." He offered her his arm again. "Now, shall we seek the centre?"

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“Actually, no.” Her fingers still danced upon his arm, and her voice was low and sultry. “They say that flattery will get you nowhere, but with me, the exact opposite is more likely.” Juliana shrugged her silk-clad shoulders. “But you say you have not flattered me, so it does not apply.”


He did look like a creature of the night … a very sexy one. His eye patch gave him a roguish air in the moonlight, and the phony princess imagined that at any moment he might throw her to the ground and ravish her. Actually, she rather hoped for it ... after they reached the center of the maze.


She was not concerned much about her reputation as it was already permanently tarnished, but she didn't want malicious gossip floating around court about the new foreigner in their midst. Perhaps she would cultivate scandal in the future … that was always fun … but she was too new to England to know what would get her noticed as opposed to what would get her shunned. There was a fine line between the two extremes and she had fallen the last time she had walked it.


“I bring out the best in you?” She grinned wickedly. “And here I was hoping that I brought out your worst.”


His ideas regarding the labyrinth echoed her own and the desire she saw in his expressive blue eye made her breath catch in her throat. Her knees felt weak, but she managed to keep herself upright by holding a bit tighter to his arm. The snow shimmering in the moonlight seemed almost magical as they strolled in silence. Her anticipation grew, the fire between her thighs burning brighter and brighter which each step they took.


They stopped when they came to the maze and Juliana looked up at him. He looked divine and dangerous with silvery light haloing his dark hair and his handsome face cast partly in shadow. When he mentioned the minotaur, she almost made a racy cyclops joke, but before she could comment at all, he pulled her to him and crushed his lips to hers. Juliana could feel his hands on her body as his tongue danced with hers. The fire within her was now a blazing inferno and she was so hot she was surprised that her clothes didn't melt from her body and fall to ashes on the ground.


Pressing her luscious curves against him, she wrapped her arms around him, stroking his back and then moving lower and underneath his frock coat to playfully squeeze his bum. His kiss was intoxicating and she loved the taste of his lips and his tongue. When he pulled away, she felt bereft and her body was burning with unfulfilled need. “If that was a taste of what is to come, I can hardly wait to see the kind of delights we find at the center.”


Juliana took his arm again, but as soon as they entered, she dropped it and entwined her fingers with his. “If we do get lost, I guess we will have to keep each other warm until we find our way out.” she declared playfully.


They took a few wrong turns, but it wasn't long before the came to the center of the labyrinth. The fountain was dormant, its bowl filled with snow, and there was snow on the stone benches arranged around it. Releasing Charles' hand, Juliana glanced around. “A bit disappointing, if you ask me.” She favored him with a saucy smile. “Now where is that savage beast you promised me?”

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Off hand, Charles could not recall the last time that he had simply held hands with a woman. Indeed, he was not certain he ever had. It felt... strange to him, simultaneously innocent and intimate. Strange, but not unpleasant.


I'm getting soft. Metaphorically, at least.


After a few false starts and dead ends they reached the heart of the labyrinth. Charles could feel his own pulse surge as he looked around their relatively sparse surroundings. It was easy to forget how close the palace was, in the isolated centre of the maze. Perfect for discretion, but Charles had to agree with Juliana- aesthetically, it was somewhat underwhelming.


"Hmm. Doubtless we are not seeing it at its best, but I cannot disagree." He gave her his best wicked smile. "As for the beast, that is a wily creature, I fancy. Cunning. I shouldn't be surprised if he was even occasionally capable of patience."


Charles took Juliana's hand again and crossed to one of the benches. He produced his handkerchief with a flourish and bent to clear the snow from the seat. He left the unfolded cloth on the bench and seated himself upon it, clucking his tongue in disapproval.


"Ah. Having tested the bench, I can testify that it is entirely unsuitable for you, despite my best efforts. No, if you're going to have a seat, it shall have to be my lap."


Gently, he drew her down after him, settling his hands about her waist and positioning her so that his lips were right by her ear.


My, but she makes for a pleasant armful.


"Now, where were we? Oh yes, the beast of the labyrinth."


He was purring right in her ear, almost unconsciously nuzzling at her neck between words. Charles was as hard as he'd ever been by now and only a supreme effort of will maintained his patience. This was not something to be rushed.


"But yes, a discerning hunter he. One imagines that he stalks only the finest of prey."


He nibbled lightly at her earlobe, left hand stealing slowly upwards from her waist to her bosom, caressing it softly through the fabric of her gown, right sliding down to rest on a supple thigh.


"Indeed, were I you, you magnificent creature, I would be in fear of being... devoured."


The last word was growled out as his lips dipped to seek and suckle the pulse point in her throat. His blood felt as though it were aflame, his mind almost feverish.

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“It is probably beautiful in the summer,” Juliana remarked idly, one more glancing around the little clearing. When he mentioned the elusive beast, her eyes returned to him. “So you believe he is lurking somewhere in the shadows, biding his time?” Her grin was as wicked as his. “I wonder if we can draw him out of hiding?”


He took her hand and led her over to a bench and she watched as he cleared the snow from it, placing the handkerchief upon it. She thought that he had spread it out for her, but he sat on it himself, claiming that the bench was unsuitable for her. Now she knew where he was leading, and she didn't protest when he pulled her upon his lap and wrapped his arms around her waist.


“How bold you are, my lord! Although I must admit, your lap is much warmer, but no less hard.” Playfully, she wriggled around as if trying to find the most comfortable position, hoping that she was teasing him unmercifully. He was certainly tempting her as he whispered in her ear, and when he nuzzled her neck, she lifted her head to give him better access. Her body was burning with desire and hot little thrills raced up and down her spine.


Her breath quickened as he continued his enticement. Juliana was content to let him take the lead. This time. Sometimes she liked to be in control, but she did adore the attention he was lavishing on her. A throaty moan escaped her full lips as he nibbled on her earlobe and moved one hand to caress her ample bosom. The other hand slid down to her thigh and she squirmed a bit to ease the sweet ache in her most private of places. He was am expert at seduction and the pretend princess preferred gentlemen with experience. Lord Chatham might even be able to teach her a few new tricks.


His words were as beguiling as his actions. Juliana playfully pulled at the buttons on his frock coat while he continued his captivating ministrations. Her heart leapt when he growled and bent to suckle her throat. More blissful sensations coursed through her body and she draped one arm about his shoulders, gently stroking the nape of his neck.


“But I want to be devoured,” she purred. “If I should see this savage beast, I would sacrifice myself willingly to his pleasure.” Her other hand reached between them, seeking the bulge in his breeches.

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"Beauty has ever inspired me to boldness, your highness. In your company, I think there is nothing I would not dare."


He was about to add that she had obviously not sat on the bench (which was a tad uncomfortable, not that such concerned him at the moment) when the bloody minx wiggled. He swallowed the quip, along with a pleasured moan, but could not stop himself grinding up against her.


Point to her.


Well, Charles could not let that stand and set about employing lips, tongue and fingers to level the score. It took him slightly more effort than her, but his left hand on her breasts drew forth a wonderfully musical moan. A moment later, his stroking of her thigh set her squirming. Charles would have been pleased to have taken the lead, but he had long discarded the notion of keeping score. His attention was entirely focused on what he was doing.


Distantly he noticed her stroking of his neck as he suckled at the delicate skin of her throat. His own pulse was surging with sweet fire and his hips rolled unconsciously against the exquisite weight in his lap. He heard Juliana speak and drew back, eye shining with the dark light of desire. She had asked to see a savage beast and he had obliged.


"Well, far be it from me to disappoint a lady."


He kissed her fiercely, almost as though he sought to devour her in truth. He felt her exploring hand and shifted slightly to bring her questing fingers in contact with his artillery piece, clearly outlined in his uncommonly tight breeches. She would find it to be in proportion to the rest of him, on the long side of average and pleasingly well-built without being grotesquely over large.


Almost in response, his own hand, guided by instinct rather than intent, slipped down her thigh to her stocking-clad calf before drawing slow, random patterns back up her leg to her inner thigh- but the return journey was made under her skirts. Touching her bare skin sent pleasant electricity shooting up his fingertips.


He withdrew from her mouth, panting slightly, and traced a trail of feather kisses up her jawline before purring in her ear.


"And if your beast likes to play with his food?"


His hand under her skirts slid back slowly.

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Such eloquence! Honeyed words never ceased to charm Juliana. Her wriggling rendered him momentarily speechless, and she smiled smugly as he ground himself against her. She wanted to turn around and straddle him, but she was enjoying his seduction too much to rush things between them. Prolonged desire often led to a more satisfying and fulfilling climax. Instead, she swiveled her hips in a circular motion against him, seeking to further inflame his passion for her.


His lips captured hers again and she melted into his kiss. He truly was devouring her and she loved every minute of it. As she opened her mouth so that his tongue could entwine with hers, he moved so that her fingers brushed against his covered cock. She could feel the way it strained against his breeches and she cupped it gently. It was quite large and her inner muscles contracted delightfully, anticipating the way he would feel inside her. Oh, how much she wanted him! She could not remember ever desiring a gentleman so intensely. What was it about him that tantalized her so?


Juliana gasped when she felt his hand on her calf and she moaned against his lips as it moved upward beneath her skirts. When his fingers touched her bare skin and slid to her inner thigh, they left a trail of delicious fire in their wake, and so many silvery thrills raced through her body that she thought she would die of sheer ecstasy.


His lips withdrew from hers and moved up her jawline to her ear again. Juliana began to stroke him over his clothes, light and playful. Her other hand slowly unfastened his breeches to the point that she could slip one hand inside, wrapping it around the long warm length of him. “Then I will willingly be his plaything,” she whispered, squeezing his cock slightly. “But he had better be careful or the predator may become the prey.”

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It had been longer than Charles cared to admit since a woman had had her hand down his breeches and only pride kept him from groaning as Juliana's fingers found his cock. She probably noticed the shiver, though. He covered with a smirk and a nip at her ear.


"A remarkably generous proposition. Your beast, however savage, would be a fool to refuse, regardless of the attendant risk." He kissed back down her jawline and reclaimed her lips. A slower, more luxuriant kiss this time.


Charles, for once, lacked adequate words. Perhaps it was the enforced celibacy. Perhaps it was the fact that he'd been drinking on an empty stomach. Perhaps it was the rank she claimed. Whatever it was, he could not recall a woman who had ever electrified his blood and fogged his mind like this on such short acquaintance. His body hummed with desire for her.


Under her skirts his hand travelled up her thigh again, stroking the silky skin, probing fingers stopping just short of the juncture of her thighs. Further up, his left hand left off stroking her breasts to loosen the laces of her bodice, before sliding his hand back under her gown. His thumb circled her nipple at torturously slow pace. He broke away from her lips, pressing a line of kisses down the slender column of her throat with feverish intensity. He wanted to hear her moans like he wanted his next breath.


"I am sorely tempted to cut you out of that gown," he growled out as he surveyed his handiwork.


Finally deigning to show mercy (or perhaps just yielding to his own impatience), Charles let his right hand steal forward again, long fingers exploring her mound of Venus, delicately tracing the outline of her entrance.


"Have we been patient enough, do you think?"

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Juliana did notice his shiver and the effect she was having on him elated her. Tugging his breeches down a bit, she released his cock from its confinement and began to stroke it ever so slowly with a skill borne of long practice. Trailing her fingernails down its length, she moved them upward and circled the smooth head, finally wrapping her hand around it again and stroking up and down. His nip at her ear made her tremble as well, and she turned her head so that she could nuzzle his own neck.


“He should know that not all prey is docile.” Her lips moved to his ear and she blew in it again. “Some are prone to ...” She playfully nibbled his earlobe. “... biting.” She removed her hand from his breeches. “And others like to tease.”


He kissed her again and she returned his ardor with wild abandon, nibbling on his lower lip before thrusting her tongue into his mouth. His presence filled all of her senses and she could think of nothing but him. It was as if the snowy maze had dropped away and they were the only two people left in the world.


His hand meandered up her thigh again and her body practically screamed with desire. Apparently, he knew how to tease too, for he stopped right before he reached her secret garden. She sought his cock again and resumed her gentle stroking as he loosened the bodice of her gown and slipped his hand inside. Her sensitive nipple instantly tautened as his fingers circled it and she moaned sweetly. Again he broke the kiss and rained kisses down to her throat.


“And how would I explain that when we return to the ball?” she breathed. Reaching up, she tugged her bodice down so that her breasts bounced free. The cold air danced upon her heated skin. “This will have to do for now.” Maybe they wouldn't go back to the ball. She wouldn't mind spending an entire night with him. For some reason, she felt that this was more than just a casual dalliance and that they would be drawn to each other from this moment onward like moths to a flame.


All thoughts fled as his hand slid over her mound and traced her opening. Only a slight movement would bring his fingers into contact with that little pearl that was source of every woman's pleasure. Her inner muscles contracted again and her entire body sang with utter delight. “Patience is not a virtue I possess,” she purred, and pulled his head down, kissing him with uninhibited passion. Before she withdrew, she playfully pulled at his lower lip. “Is my savage beast ready to claim his prize?”

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Charles could not help but hiss as Juliana withdrew her hand from his cock.


"Minx. I should turn you over my knee."


Well, turn about was fair play and Charles set about taking revenge in the appropriate manner, which was to say with great energy and passion and singular focus of intent. (Whoever had first said that revenge was best served cold had obviously failed to consider scenarios such as this.) The labyrinth could have been charged by every hussar in Poland without Charles taking any notice.


Indeed, so absorbed was he in his task (and, admittedly, the resumption of Juliana's stroking) he failed to notice that he had expressed his frustration with women's fashion until Juliana replied.


"Hmm? Oh yes, the ball. Damned inconvenient." Charles left off his grousing as Juliana simply popped her breasts free of her gown. "That works too, I suppose. You have a gift for equitable compromise, it would seem." He rewarded her inspired improvisation with redoubled fondling.


My, but it is wonderful to have a playmate again. We shall have to have a return fixture, in more salubrious surrounds.


Under different circumstances, Charles would have been perfectly content to spent the night teasing and tormenting Juliana until she begged for mercy, but his tonight his patience ran short. Fortunately, it seemed that her's did too, assuming that he was interpreting that kiss correctly. It had left him short of breath, but he didn't need words to answer her. Charles let his right index finger probe her lower lips before slowly sliding it in. A momentary pause, and he crooked the finger and brought his thumb up to play with her pearl, light, slow caresses that steadily increase in speed and pressure.


"Oh, he is positively throbbing with anticipation of his meal, your highness."

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Juliana grinned wickedly at his reaction to her teasing. “Is that a threat or a promise?” she asked, her voice husky with desire. She had never been spanked by a man during lovemaking, but the notion appealed to her. At the moment, he seemed more interested in getting retribution. Revenge, in this case, was served piping hot.


The fake princess sighed blissfully as he fondled her exposed breasts, throwing back her head and moaning loudly. It was becoming difficult to speak with so many lovely sensations flowing through her luscious form. “Maybe eventually you will discover all my gifts,” she managed, her voice a throaty whisper. She wanted to feel his bare skin against hers but she didn't know how well he tolerated the cold. Juliana had fucked in the snow many times in Sweden but she was accustomed to frigid temperatures. They could lie together naked another time … maybe even later tonight if things went well.


And they appeared to be going very well indeed. She gasped again as she felt his finger slide into her and when he stroked her little pearl, she cried out in pleasure, arching her back and writhing on his lap. Wetness blossomed between her thighs. The delicious torment he inflicted upon her was sensual and exciting. She wanted nothing more now than to feel him pulsing within her, bringing her to completion. If he didn't stop soon …


She smiled at his comment. “Then he shall have it. I know how hard it must be to wait.” Sliding off of his lap, she grinned saucily and straddled him, reaching between them to grasp his cock and guide it into her dripping vestibule. Once she felt it enter her, she sat down hard, impaling herself upon him. Oh, how good he felt inside her, how warm and enticing and stimulating!


With excruciating slowness, she began sliding back and forth, up and down. Wrapping her arms around his neck, she lifted her head and kissed him deeply, her tongue moving in perfect rhythm with the motion of her hips.

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Those moans and throaty whispers were an exquisitely sweet torment, almost unbearably erotic. His blood felt near to boiling as it thundered through his veins. Charles bared his teeth and spoke, voice thick with lust.


"You have gifts left unrevealed, then? I shall have to investigate more closely. I am prepared to be most diligent."


He set about coaxing more of those wonderful sounds from her, fingers finally creeping forth to tease at the root of her pleasure. His efforts were rewarded with a rush of wetness and and a sweet cry of pleasure. Her writhing was doing interesting things to him as well. Charles increased his tempo, determined to wring yet more sweet cries from his (fake) princess. He could no more have stopped himself than he could lasso the moon. The heat between them was such that he was amazed the snow about them had not flashed to steam. (Or rather, he would have been amazed if he had been able to break his monomaniacal focus on Juliana and take notice of the surroundings.)


Their patience broke simultaneously. One last exchange of what were by now single entendres, and Juliana moved to straddle him, hand reaching out to guide him inside her. His breath left him in a shuddering sigh as she sank down, sheathing him within her. That warm, wet velvet vice felt divine. Thought-destroying pleasure raced through him. Charles looked at Juliana, magnificent in her disarray, with open, frank appreciation, fixing the sight in his memory.


"Exquisite." The word slipped forth without conscious volition.


He leaned forward to meet her lips, content for the moment to let her set the pace. That did not, of course, mean being idle. He answered her kiss in kind, moved his hips to match her rhythm, caressed a shapely breast and resumed his playing with her pearl. It took a great deal of coordination in the face of immense distraction, but, for Charles, there was no place for passivity or laziness in swiving.

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“I will hold you to that,” she whispered before his beguiling ministrations stole her breath away.


Juliana surrendered to the lovely sensations blossoming through her body. Charles was all that existed for her now, his lips, his tongue, his hands. They were both sybaritic creatures, made for carnal pleasure. While she would have liked for their ardor to have been drawn out a bit longer, they were both impatient to be joined. At another time, they could tease each other until they could both cried out for release, but they were new to each other and could resist no longer.


She smiled smugly when he called her exquisite. “Magnificent,” she replied and began to move upon him, her inner muscles contracting around him to pull him in deeper, if that was even possible. Already, she could feel the head of his cock push against her back walls with each slight shift of their hips. They glided together in perfect harmony and if her lips had not been pressed to his, she would have moaned over and over.


He caressed her breasts and fondled her pearl as she continued to move back and forth, up and down, around and around. Each motion produced a different sensation, all of them thrilling and divine. Juliana moved her hands into his thick dark hair, running her fingers through it. How perfectly they fit together, almost as if they were one being instead of two.


The fire within her burned hotter, and she felt as if she would explode at any moment. She varied her movements to prolong their desire, unwilling to give in too soon. Juliana wanted this coupling to be so memorable for him that he would seek her out again and again, hungry for more.

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Charles acknowledged no god, followed the precepts of no church. This was the closest he came to a religious experience, the sheer unguardedness of their intimate joining, two beings almost becoming one. He was as devout in practicing his pseudoreligion as any fanatic, worshipping Juliana with lips, tongue, fingers and cock. The sight, the sound, the scent, the feel, the taste, every sense was utterly intoxicated by her. The world could have burned around them without Charles taking any notice, or caring even if he had.


The nigh spiritual sensations were elevated by the ease of their coupling. They simply fit, with the utter lack of awkwardness that normally only came with long experience together. A more sentimental man might have thought them made for one another. Charles shied from the shadow of the thought, his mind in any case too clouded to process it. His blood had been replaced with lightning, electrifying pleasure shooting through every last particle of him. Thought was distant, drowned in sensation and immolated by passion.


Operating entirely on deeply ingrained instinct by this point, Charles broke the kiss and leaned down to lavish further attention on Juliana's breasts, pressing kisses to the succulent flesh, slowly tracing a path to the nipple, swirling his tongue around the swollen nub.


Charles could feel the fuse burn fiercely, sensed Juliana feel the same thing and adjust her motion, seeking to prolong the act and postpone the explosive finale. He responded, matching her movements and slowing the tempo of his caresses. He lifted his head from her bosom, replaced it with his hand, and kissed her fiercely, giving himself over to the exquisite torment of sensation.


How long they burned together on that fire of torturous ecstasy, Charles could not say. Armageddon and Genesis both could have passed by unremarked before some insight told him it was time. His fingers made one last sortie on her pearl as he tore himself from her lips and somehow found the breath to growl in Juliana's ear, the words for whatever reason coming out in French.


"Viens, ma petite!"

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Juliana didn't consider sex a religious experience, but it was definitely spiritual. To her, there was a difference between the two. However, it was not difficult to see Charles as her god and she his most ardent worshiper. He was everything to her in this delightful moment, and she couldn't remember a time when she had felt more alive. There was something about the dashing Earl that was too strong for her to resist. She had felt it when she had first approached him; now the sparks that had flown between them had been turned into fireworks that exploded through her body in vivid hues.


She threw her head back when he kissed her aching breasts and ran his tongue around her swollen nipple, her light blonde curls bouncing around her shoulders. Lowering her lips to his neck, she nibbled and licked, and one hand moved between them to fondle his balls. She matched her pace to his. They seemed to instinctively know what each other wanted without any need for other forms of communication. Their bodies moving together in perfect synchronization conveyed more emotion than words ever could.


He kissed her again, forceful and enthralling. Juliana continued to ride him slowly and steadily while the symphony inside her built to a breathtaking crescendo. Like him, she had lost all track of time. All that mattered now was the delectable way he made her feel. Her little pearl of pleasure blossomed beneath his fingers, sending delectable sensations coursing through her veins. It was almost time, she could feel it, and apparently so could he.


Although she spoke nearly fluent French, the language he spoke in didn't register. ”Oui,” she whispered breathlessly, squeezing his balls gently before moving both hands to his shoulders. Faster and faster she rode … up and down, around and around, back and forth. Her back arched again as without any warning, the most exquisite sensations she had ever experienced tore through her body, taking her on the wings of ecstasy to a place of pleasure from which she never wanted to return.


Her inner muscles spasmed wildly around him and she cried out in joy. As her rapture escalated and completely consumed her, Juliana felt as if she was dying and being reborn anew. Never before had a climax been so exciting, so profound, so earth-shattering and she wished that it would never end, that they would stay joined in bliss forever.

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Juliana responded to his words and speeded her movements, plunging up and down astride him as though they were in the final straight at Newmarket. Charles girded himself for that last sprint. Mere heartbeats more, he had to hold to reason and will for but mere heartbeats more, despite the molten pleasure thundering through him with all the fury of a storm at sea. His eye was drawn magnetically to Juliana, as he burned that glorious image of sexual feminine perfection irrevocably into his memory. Her back arched, her voice cried out in ecstasy, her muscles fluttered around his cock, and his will broke.


Thought fled, all sense of individuality fled, both carried away on an irresistible tidal wave of pleasure as he spilled himself within her, both burned away as the flames of his passion erupted in the grand explosion of his climax. He groaned long and loud and his vision whited out for an instant that lasted an eternity. There was a primal force in ending their joining like this, a kind of apotheosis shared between them. In a more lucid moment, Charles would wonder why anyone would wait for an uncertain Paradise after death, when they could have the certainty of experiencing it here on Earth.


When his sensibility returned, Charles found himself cradling Juliana to his chest, right hand caressing her thigh and his left alternating playing with her hair and softly stroking circles on her back. He felt... relaxed and at peace, his restless energy for once quietened. Charles luxuriated in the rare feeling and smiled at Juliana. He pressed his lips softly to her forehead and wondered why, before mentally shrugging and seeking out her lips, kissing her with a tenderness that might have surprised some who thought they knew him had they witnessed it.


"Venus I named you at first sight Juliana, and how right I was. You are divine."


His voice was quiet, loathe to break the stillness that surrounded them. Already the looming presence of the ball had slid back into his mind, threatening to disturb their tranquil equilibrium. He left off finger combing her hair to fish a flask from his frock coat. He gave a cautious sniff, confirming that the flask held brandy rather than laudanum, and took a sip before offering it to Juliana. His hand resumed toying with her curls.


"Now, your highness, if I wished to pay homage to Venus again, where should I seek her temple? And what offerings should I lay at her feet?"

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Juliana rode the waves of passion for what seemed a beautiful eternity. Exquisite ecstasy flowed through every fiber of her being, and she ceased to exist as an individual. Now she was joined with Lord Chatham … Charles … and they were one in body, mind, and spirit. His moans were the most entrancing music she had ever heard. She closed her eyes and savored the rhapsody of sensation as he spilled his seed into her in a sudden gush of warmth which sent her over the edge again.


When coherent thought returned, she was cradled close to his chest, her head resting against the fine fabric of his frock coat. Bright little aftershocks fluttered through her as he caressed her bare thigh and stroked her hair and back. A sublime lethargy settled over her, and she was perfectly content to remain on his lap for as long as he wished to keep her there. The ball could wait. Life could wait. He was all that mattered now and she sighed happily as he kissed her forehead. What a sweet gesture. Juliana could not remember any of her lovers doing that before. She lifted her head and smiled at him. As if she had issued a silent invitation … and perhaps she had … he captured her lips in a gentle kiss that was so tender it nearly took her breath away.


His eloquent words delighted her as they always did, and she was at a loss as how to reply. She wasn't at her wittiest after sex. “And you are absolutely magnificent. None of the gods in the heavens could ever compare to you.” She winked saucily. “You should watch out for stray lightening bolts thrown at you out of jealousy.”


She lay her head back on his shoulder, smiling softly as he played with her blonde curls. When he stopped, she was disappointed, but then he produced a flask and held it out to her. Taking it from him, she took a generous gulp before holding it up to his lips.


“Her temple is in London.” Lifting her slender neck, Juliana whispered the address of her rented house into his ear. “She needs no offerings but she certainly will not turn them down. Anything you wish to give her will be acceptable, as long as it is sincere. She likes her offerings to come from the heart and not out of any sense of obligation.”


Playfully, she nibbled on his earlobe. “As you should already know, she rewards her most fervent admirers richly, regardless of what they lay at her feet.”


In truth, Juliana was fond of jewels, but she didn't want him to pay her for the pleasure they had found in each other's arms. It would turn the beauty and purity of their liaison into something cheap and vulgar. If he wished to give her gifts, she would pleased, but all she truly wanted was him.

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Charles laughed deep in his chest at Juliana's blasphemous compliment. He leant down to nuzzle her and whispered.


"Well, I shall just have to trust in my goddess to protect me from their jealousy, shan't I?" Her wink made him grin and he lowered his voice still further. "You know, that's what I miss most about having both eyes- being able to wink. Not the peripheral vision, not the depth perception, but the ability to wink. Bloody ridiculous, isn't it? I've never told anyone that, you know. Not sure why I brought it up now, even." He laughed again and hugged her close, basking in her warmth and closeness.


She pressed his flask to his lips and Charles took a shallow draught before setting it down within easy reach in case they had further need of it. He was wholly and absolutely content, a state of affairs so alien that it should have frightened him. It did not, which should have been equally disquieting. Yet the warm, restful glow only enveloped him further as Juliana whispered in his ear, her breath tickling.


"My thanks. Venus should expect me to visit and pay homage soon." He kissed her forehead again. "Offerings she deserves and so such I will bring, once I find ones magnificent enough to adorn her loveliness. Until then, I will cast myself at her feet, in the hope that she will deem it sufficient."


He could have quite happily spent the rest of the night sitting there with Juliana on his lap, playing with her hair, talking nonsense and kissing with no greater end in sight. It was nice, for want of a better word, and there was novelty in that, quite apart from its own inherent attractions. Unfortunately, that would be impractical for a number of reasons. They would have to leave eventually. Still, Charles was willing to delay that moment as long as Juliana wished. He smiled down at her.


"But that is for later. What would be your pleasure now, your highness?

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Meanwhile back in the cold hedges of the labyrinth ...


Henrietta Butler, the Duke of Ormonde's twenty-year-old daughter, was tired of pretending to be merry. She had never enjoyed balls much, and this one was particularly trying. Who had come up with the idea that ladies should ask gentlemen to dance? Henrietta was too shy to approach gentlemen on her own, and she had trailed behind Elizabeth, letting her sister take the lead in finding them dance partners. So far, she had made excellent choices, and while Henrietta was an accomplished dancer, she was a poor conversationalist. Watching Lizzie flirt and laugh on the dance floor only added to her awkwardness, and she excused herself as soon as each dance was over and slipped back into the crowd.


It also didn't help that Lord Maldon had arrived with a pretty lady on his arm. When they had separated, Henrietta told herself that they were only friends, but she saw them together again a little while later. The intriguing Earl was from a good family. It was no surprise that he attracted female attention. He had probably forgotten all about her and the time they had spent together during the summer. Or maybe he had asked her father to court her, and he had denied his request. He had not even looked her way once this evening (or if he had, Henrietta had not been gazing at him at the time).


After the third dance, she politely excused herself from the Irish lord she had danced with and went outside to find some much-needed solitude. Bundled up against the cold, she began strolling through the gardens. There were other people meandering about … all couples … and she felt conspicuous by herself. When the labyrinth loomed before her, she decided to seek its center. Nobody would be able to see her there and it had always been a place of solace for her.


She moved unerringly down the pathway, anticipating being alone with her thoughts.



In the hot and steamy center of the labyrinth …


Juliana sighed happily as Charles nuzzled her. Generally, she wasn't fond of cuddling after sex and usually sent her lovers on their merry way as soon as they were done. With Charles, however, she was content to sit on his lap and bask in the afterglow of passion, enjoying his kisses and the way he played with her hair. It seemed natural to remain like this with him, although she had no idea why and her brain was still too fogged with pleasure to ponder anything more than the lovely way he made her feel.


“I will do my best to protect you,” she promised. When he confessed that he missed winking, she looked up at his eye patch and tilted her head to the side, pleased that he had told her something he had never told anyone else. “It is not ridiculous at all. You have such a delightful way with words that a wink is often implied. I must confess that I like your eye patch.” Juliana scooted a bit upwards so that she could kiss it gently before nestling against him again. “It adds to your allure.”


She tipped the flask so that he could drink from it and his fingers brushed against hers as he took it from her and set it where both of them could reach it. After she whispered her address in his ear, he kissed her forehead again and promised to visit her soon. Her heart leapt in her chest at the thought of coupling with him in more suitable surroundings. They could take their time and get to know every inch of each other's bodies in the comfort of her bed. Or in every room of the house, if he preferred.


“She has already shown you how she feels when you cast yourself inside her,” she whispered seductively. “I don't think there can be a greater offering than that.”


When he asked what she would like to do now, she grinned wickedly and wriggled on his lap again. But before she could say anything …


Henrietta Butler stepped into the clearing and stopped as soon as she saw them … a lady with her skirts pulled up around her thighs and her breasts exposed straddling a gentlemen in an extremely improper manner. Innocent, sheltered, and plagued by melancholy thoughts, the sight was just too much for the poor girl. Shocked to the core of her being, she let out a startled cry and then placed her hands over her mouth and closed her eyes.


Juliana whipped her head around. “Well, this is awkward,” she muttered, sliding off of Charles' lap onto the bench beside him. She smoothed down her skirts and pushed her breasts back into her bodice. Henrietta just stood there, frozen in place, her eyes squeezed shut.

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"Oh, the eye patch is absolutely integral to my allure. With it, I am a dashing rogue. Without it, merely unfortunately ill-favoured. I might well have started wearing one even if I hadn't lost the eye."


Charles waggled his eyebrows as he laughed. They bantered on, trading compliments and swiftly establishing that they were both very interested in further engagements. Indeed, a continuation of their first seemed on the cards. Charles answered Juliana's sinful smile in kind, grinding up against her. His strength had returned and his body was beginning to react to her proximity once more.


Unfortunately, their sensual idyll was shattered by a high-pitched cry. Charles sighed in frustration and turned to look at the disturbance, pinching the bridge of his nose. A young woman whom (unsurprisingly) he did not recognise, obviously mortified and, he could not help but note, pretty. He snorted in amusement and gave Juliana a sidelong look and rolled his eye heavenwards.


"Inconvenient, certainly, but as divine vengeance goes it's probably better than lightning bolts." A moment's consideration. "You know, I've been waiting for the other shoe to drop. I've enjoyed far too much good fortune this evening."


He could not help but pout as Juliana vacated his lap and pout further as she reordered her appearance. Still, it was the sensible thing to do, Charles reflected, producing a second handkerchief and offering it to Juliana. Moving smoothly and unhurriedly, he tucked his cock away and laced his breeches.


Sorry old boy, you've stood to for nothing.


Some swift smoothing of his frock coat and Charles stood. He stepped towards their interloper, snatching up his brandy flask as he passed. He paused, arranged his features into a pleasant, modest mask and spoke, voice soft and gentle.


"You can open your eyes my lady. We're both decently clad." He swirled the brandy in the flask. "Drink for your shock?"

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By the way he snorted and rolled his eyes, Charles didn't seem any more bothered about being discovered than she was. Maybe, like herself, he didn't have a shred of reputation left to lose. “Very true,” she replied. “Give me an embarrassed maiden over a lightening bolt any day.” Juliana, too, noticed how pretty the girl was. She didn't like to swive inexperienced men, but she did like to introduce women to the art of pleasure. Although she enjoyed making love to ladies, she had a definite preference for gentlemen.


Juliana had never understood why unmarried ladies were kept in the dark about what went on in the bedchamber until their wedding night. It was a rude awakening for most of them, especially if their husbands were more intent on creating an heir than pleasuring their wives. She thought it would make more sense if women were encouraged to take lovers before they were wed. Then they would know what was coming and not fear what should be the most exciting experience of their lives.


The pretend princess knew why that wasn't done. Men wanted virgins so that they would be sure that the children their wives bore would be theirs. Juliana thought that this mindset was rather odd, because how did the husbands know that their unsatisfied wives wouldn't seek gratification elsewhere, even as soon as the day after the wedding? She often wondered how many sons of lords had really been fathered by stable boys. Probably more than anyone thought.


She chuckled softly at Charles' pout while she laced up her bodice. “Don't worry,” she whispered, low enough that the upset intruder would not hear. “You will see all this … and more … when you visit my temple.” Juliana hoped to see more of him as well, and she took a good look at his cock before he tucked it into his breeches. Smiling saucily, she moved her gaze back to his face and licked her lips seductively.


As he smoothed his frock coat, she reached up to straighten his cravat, and then stepped back and nodded to indicate that he was presentable. Patting her curls back into place, she followed him over to the girl, in case she would be more comfortable talking to another lady. Charles spoke to her gently and offered her the flask of brandy. Juliana hovered behind him, wondering what her reaction would be.



Henrietta was trying in vain to block what she had seen out of her mind. Why would two people want to do something so revolting? And they had looked like they were enjoying it. She found the whole thing extremely disgusting and she wished they would go away and leave the place she had always thought of as her sanctuary. Or would she not think of it like that from now on, knowing how it had been defiled? When it became warmer and she came here to read, would she be able to concentrate on her book or would she …


A gentle masculine voice penetrated her disconcerting thoughts, telling her that she could open her eyes now. When she did, she found herself staring up at a tall dark-haired man with a bright patch covering one eye. A woman with blonde hair stood behind him, a reassuring smile on her pretty face.


Henrietta jumped back, her eyes wide, and when he offered her a drink from his flask, she just stared at it. And then she seemed to snap. Reaching out, she pushed the gentleman as hard as she could. “Stay away from me!” she shouted. “Leave me alone, both of you!”


Turning around, she fled back into the labyrinth.

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Charles swallowed a growl as Juliana licked her lips. He was sorely tempted to make at her again, audience or no audience. He shook his head and whispered.


"Wicked creature. One could almost think you want to be turned over my knee."


Appearances reordered, they approached their unexpected guest as they might have a skittish horse, though Charles would probably not have offered the latter brandy.


It might have been a mistake to do so now as well. Charles grunted, more in surprise than pain, as the girl shoved him hard enough to rock him back him a step. For a horrible fraction of a moment, his feet refused to find traction on the snow and he teetered before recovering his footing. He frowned after his fleeing assailant.


At least the brandy didn't spill.


"A simple 'no' would have sufficed!" He called drily, unable to resist the impulse, before turning to face Juliana.


"I didn't accidentally swear at her, or suggest she join us, did I? Or maybe she prefers wine?" Charles harumphed, and then adopted a more rueful expression. "I probably should have let you do the talking."


A considering glance around them, followed by a regretful sigh.


"Well, our tranquillity is quite shattered. Shall we return to the ball? We might even catch up to our little lamb on the way. Between her dress, her distress and the snow, I doubt she'll manage much in the way of speed."


He offered her his arm.

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“Then I will make sure I am a bad girl when we meet again,” she whispered back. The notion of him spanking her … or of her spanking him … sent desire coursing through her veins. It was a shame that they had been interrupted, but Juliana suspected that he would visit her at her residence soon. There was unfinished business between them.


The pretty girl shouted at Charles, shoved him, and disappeared back into the maze. The dashing Earl almost lost his balance and Juliana grabbed his arm to steady him if he needed her support. She doubted that the poor thing had heard his retort. Her footsteps were fading rapidly. She would probably be out of the maze before they even left the center.


“I would have loved to see her face if you had asked her to join in.” Juliana laughed and then shrugged nonchalantly. “I doubt she would have listened to me either. And then I would have been the one she pushed. I doubt my balance is as good as yours. My legs might have gotten tangled in my skirts.”


It was her turn to pout when he suggested that they return to the ball. “I wish we didn't have to go back, but if we don't, she might send someone else out here. There's no telling what she thought we were doing. I confess I feel a bit sorry for her,” she added as she took his arm. “Coming upon us like that must have been a rude awakening.”


She smiled up at him. “I hope finding our way out is easier than finding our way in.”


Again, they took a few wrong turns as they navigated the pathways of the labyrinth. Juliana almost hoped that they would get lost so that she could spend more time with Charles. But at length, they arrived at the entrance … or exit, depending on one's perspective. In the distance, the lights of the palace could be seen, as well as a small figure running toward it.


“There she is,” Juliana pointed out as the girl hurried through the door. “I wonder if she will tell anyone what she saw.” A thoughtful pause. “Do you think we should enter the palace together or separately?”

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"It would have made for a most entertaining picture," Charles agreed, "assuming that she didn't simply die of apoplexy." He smiled at Juliana. "I doubt she'd have reacted so poorly to you. You make for a far more comely sight than I, and you probably wouldn't have been so unutterably depraved as to offer her brandy."


Her pout was enough to have him consider how necessary it really was for them to return to the ball but Juliana was right. It was time to head back inside.


"No telling indeed. Young women can have the strangest notions concerning the capital act." He shook his head in bemusement. "It was a rude awakening, yes, but it might well have been better for her, and her future husband for that matter, had she stayed silent and watched for a few minutes longer. Certainly would have been better for us."


Unfortunately, they did not manage to entangle themselves in the labyrinth on their way out and, all too soon, the palace was silhouetted against the horizon, with the fleeing figure of their prudish intruder running towards it. Charles summoned her face into his mind's eye. There was a small debt to be discharged there, even if he had not quite decided how repayment should be exacted. Nothing too cruel, obviously, but minor discomfiture was called for.


"I doubt she'll tell anyone tonight. She seemed to consider witnessing almost as bad as participating. No, she might talk to a sister or a close friend at some point, but I'll wager she stays silent tonight."


Juliana's next question brought forth a thoughtful frown as Charles considered.


"What's left of my reputation could only be enhanced by our being seen together but I find I would protect your's, if need be. The choice, then, is up to you."

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“I was the one she saw half-naked,” Juliana reminded him, “even though I don't have anything she hasn't seen before, assuming she doesn't think it's a sin to look in the mirror when she's nude.” She had been sheltered herself when she was a child, but her body had awakened to desire early and coupled with her insatiable curiosity, she had lost her virtue when she was quite a bit younger than the girl who had come upon them. “I think she was too embarrassed to speak to either of us, which is why she fled. If I were her, I would have taken you up on the offer of brandy.”


She rolled her eyes. “It is because they aren't taught what will happen on their wedding nights. I once knew a girl who believed that you could get pregnant by kissing a man. And another who had once seen her brother naked and thought that a boy's cock fell off when he grew up.” Juliana chuckled at the memories. “I hope you're right. If our interloper is intelligent, she will ask questions of her married friends and she won't be as ignorant as most maidens when she weds.


“I wish she would have watched for a bit longer too,” she added with a playful smile, “more for our enjoyment than for her education.”


Charles was probably right. The young lady would keep what she had seen to herself for awhile. She might even ask to go home right away. If she did stay, Juliana would keep an eye on her, curious as to whether she would steer clear of the gentlemen for the rest of the night or if she would act as if nothing was amiss. Her attitude would say a lot about her character.


Juliana's snort was graceful and elegant. “Thank you for offering, but I no longer have a reputation to protect. We sinners should stick together.” Her hand stroked his sleeve again and she favored him with another wicked smile. “Shall we go, my dashing rogue?”

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Charles couldn't help it. He threw his head back and roared with laughter as Juliana recounted the misconceptions she had encountered.


"Sublimely ridiculous, isn't it? It boggles the mind, how young women are sent so ignorant to their marriage bed." He shook his head, still smiling. "Intelligent or not, I think it will be some time before she overcomes her embarrassment enough to ask questions, assuming she ever does. Poor little lamb."


He matched Juliana's playful smirk and hummed thoughtfully.


"Well, we can be patient can't we? Pleasure delayed is pleasure doubled. Her education, though... Who knows how little time she has for that?" He bared his teeth. "But she's unlikely to accept our tuition now, even if we were to offer it and regardless of how... edifying she might find it. Her loss, I suppose."


They paused briefly, to debate whether to enter together or separately. Juliana's firm response prompted a fierce grin. He could not recall ever knowing a woman so very like him. He leaned down and kissed her with ferocious intensity.


"You are magnificent beyond words Juliana," he whispered as he drew back, "but yes, let's spit in their eyes and dare them to make something of it."


He turned to face the palace.


"Once more unto the breach."



continued in main thread.

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