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Anne-Elisabeth Devereux

Lead Me Not Into Temptation | Tuesday April 12, 2 pm

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“Then we shall tell each other stories of our homelands. The time will pass quickly and you must be as curious as I am about the similarities and differences between the Colonies and the Caribbean.”

 

Unfortunately the ride was not even bumpy enough for her to pretend to be jostled about. It would be too obvious that she wanted to feel his arms around her, and though Lord Silverbridge would certainly oblige, it would ruin the honesty between them. And if he lunged forward to catch her, it might hurt the kitten nestled in his coat. Anne-Elisabeth didn’t want any harm to come to the sweet little feline.

 

He seemed more concerned than pleased that she lived alone. “I have my male servants to protect me. It is in their best interests, for if anything happens to me they will have a hard time finding work in another noble house. However, I have been thinking of hiring a bodyguard. Perhaps you can help me select one. I don’t really know what to look for other than physical strength and experience.”

 

The carriage hit a bump in the road, and the young Countess slid to the left, preventing herself from hitting the upholstered side by bracing her hand against it.  She wished she had pitched forward instead. “I’m sure the Red Lion is much more comfortable than St. marks Hall. And, of course, you need more than one room since your sister is staying with you. I tried to rent a room there when I first came to court, but it was full. Nobles from all over England flocked to London for the Christmas season and I arrived close to the end of it.”

 

Anne-Elisabeth felt the coach turn into the curved drive that led to her house and finally come to a halt. The driver opened the door and helped her out, again waiting for Lord Silverbridge to exit before driving away. “See? I told you it was a short trip.”

 

Her butler opened the door, looking down his long nose at her companion before disappearing farther into the house. The foyer echoed the house’s white exterior, though one of the walls was painted a blue color that always reminded her of the sea. There was a spiral staircase at the end of it. “My favorite parlor is on the second floor. Would you like to see it or would you prefer to remain downstairs?” Some gentlemen, she had been told, believed it too intimate to visit the second floor of a lady’s house. She didn’t believe that her enchanting companion was one of them, but it was best to be sure.

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He was glad that she was receptive to his helping her.

"I would be far less of a Gentleman if I did not ensure that you have adequate protection. Even tho it steps across the line as it is really not my place."

"You are looking at it from the wrong perspective. Servants are always seeking a better angle or place. They are a commodity that is always needed so if you are not here tis easy enough to get taken up by others."

"And I shall indeed assist you in this. Allow me to ask around with some that I have acquaintance with at the Red Lion ....."

A jolt or two made her adjust her position and it was all he could do to hold back from reaching out.

"The Red Lion has its uses." He smiled across at her. "Most up front but many, I suspect, are more nefarious in nature."

He had expected to alight first and thus have the chance to help her out but that was crushed by as she led the way. He took note of the butler assessing his body but instantly dismissed it. If THAT was an example of what she had surrounded herself with then it was imperative changes were made!

He stood still and took in his surroundings.

It was clear that she was a lover of color for inside was another reflection of her Style. He could not help his smile.

"I want to see all of it."

"For reasons of security ..... naturally."

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Anne-Elisabeth regarded him thoughtfully. “It seems to me that there are more people who wish to work in a noble household than there are positions. I was able to choose my servants from a considerable number of applicants. I also refused to hire any who did not have good references from previous employers. If they try to screw me over, they will be out on the street with no reference at all and I shall spread the word that they are not to be trusted. So it is in their best interests to make certain that thieves do not abscond with my belongings.

 

“Thank you,” she said sincerely. “I will expect a bodyguard to have excellent references as well as your approval.”

 

Lord Silverbridge seemed to enjoy his accommodations at the Red Lion and had already become acquainted with some of the other residents. She’d had no contact at all with her neighbors at St Marks. That they existed she knew from the creaking of their beds at night and their incessant snoring. The walls had been rather thin.

 

Anne-Elisabeth much preferred the spacious house she led Lord Silverbridge into. He must have liked what he saw for a smile curved his well-formed lips. What would they feel like if he kissed me? It seemed he wanted to see all of her house. Even her bedroom?

 

“Naturally,” she echoed. “First, though, let’s get the little one settled.” A maid entered the foyer and curtsied to both of them. The Countess ordered her to bring a bowl of cream to the upstairs drawing room.

 

“It is fortunate that I prefer cream in my tea,” she told her charming companion as they ascended the staircase. “It is not used much in Barbados as it ruins so quickly in the heat.  To me, it is still a luxury."

 

The room they stepped into was large, with a window that spanned the length and width of the wall opposite the door. The window gave one a lovely view of the whimsical garden with its creatively sculpted topiaries.  The filmy coral curtains had been drawn back and fastened with turquoise ties with seashells strung upon them. Her telescope was set in front of the window, pointed up at the sky.  The  parlor was decorated in a tropical theme. The other three walls were each painted with a different color … one turquoise, one coral, and one light amber. The paintings on the wall depicted beaches, the ocean, palm trees, flamingos, parrots, and brightly colored flowers. There were several large potted plants set artfully around the parlor and vases full of flowers sat upon small tables next to pretty seashells.

 

At the end of the room sat a fireplace with a low fire burning in it. A rug featuring an underwater scene had been placed near it and a couch and two chairs made of rich dark mahogany were arranged around it with a small table between them. The upholstery echoed the colors of the walls. There was another longer table along one wall, strewn with books and maps of the night sky. The entire house was a bit warmer than most English residences so that it would be comfortable to a lady who had grown up in the heat of the tropics.

 

“This is where I prefer to spend most of my day,” Anne-Elisabeth explained. “Let’s see how the kitten likes her new home.”

Edited by Anne-Elisabeth Devereux

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He thinks that she may be a bit confused in terms of that bodyguard! He will ensure that she will be well protected (as best as can be) but reference checking is not on his own requirement list.

He followed her as she moved about issuing her request for the small creature and he wondered if she would sound the same when it was the two of them alone as they climbed the stairs his eyes appreciative of her movements.

He looked about the room and he had been right. It was a reflection of its owner - all bright and full of color. All in all not a bad space but a bit too much for his own tastes. But they came from different climes so it would only be a natural thing for her to wish to replicate that here.

He resisted the urge to run a finger round his collar instead favoring her with another smile as he moved to her side and carefully took out the kitten.

"Poor mite but how well you have behaved - I hope that her manner is fine and lasts for I should not like to face a reign of claws each time I am here."

He handed it to her.

"Here. Now you have become its Lady Mother."

"I hope that this kitten will not be the only one allowed to have refreshment?"

He teased so that she would understand he was in no way questing her abilities as a Hostess.

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Lord Silverbridge didn’t tell her what he thought of her favorite drawing room. Anne-Elisabeth didn’t generally care about the opinions of others, but for some reason, she wanted him to like it. Did he think it too gaudy? She imagined that most English people would view it that way and he was from the Colonies, which, from what he had told her, was more plain and practical than fanciful and flamboyant. Every room of her house had an island theme. It was the closest she could get to Barbados.

 

He didn’t look displeased either, so she took that as a good sign. Her worries fled when he removed the kitten from his coat and handed it to her. The little feline yawned and stretched and immediately started sniffing the air of the strange new environment she found herself in. Anne-Elisabeth suspected that she had never been inside a house before. “I don’t know much about cats, but she doesn’t look the least bit aggressive. I guess that could change as she grows up, but I think she’s young enough to adjust to new surroundings. And she’s not afraid of people or she would not have let you carry her around in your coat. She’s also not hissing or spitting at me right now.”

 

As she cradled the fluffy creature in her arms, it looked up at her, curiosity in its eyes. Anne-Elisabeth smiled at Lord Silverbridge. “If I am her lady mother, then you are her lord father.” Her dark eyes sparkled with amusement. “We’ve only recently met and already we have a baby together!”

 

The maid returned with a large bowl of cream. The kitten wriggled in her arms, still sniffing the air. She probably smelled the cream. After instructing the servant to place the bowl on the floor, she set the kitten down in front of it and she began to lap it up greedily. There was no telling how long  the feline had gone without food.

 

Straightening up, she grinned at the intriguing Baron. “Do you want a bowl of cream too?” she teased and then told the maid to bring them some refreshments. “Would you prefer tea or something stronger? I have some coconut rum that comes from Barbados if you’d like to try it.”

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It had not occurred to him that the Lady might be wanting him to give voice to his impressions of her house - he had assumed that she would know by his manner.

"Well let us hope that she will be as such for as I had said I have no wish to be clawed by her ...."

He could not help the slow smile that spread across his face at the double meaning of his words but then he was quick to resume some show of normal. He knew that she knew what they both knew and at some point in the very near future it would be addressed.

"A Father? Well I suppose turn about is fair play and so I shall accept that title. And since it was I after all that found her I would not feel right if I left its care to you alone so I shall happily provide you with a small income for its care."

He would not take 'no' for an answer and he hoped that she would not fight him on it.

if this was a child that we had made together I would do the same but far greater

That thought caught him by surprise and for a moment his gaze locked with hers and held only to be interrupted by the return of her servant.

"I? Cream? Madam I assure you I am long out of the nursery and so Rum it shall be."

He moved to help her up even as she stood his hand lingering on her arm as he drew a breath  ......

So close that his mouth had but inches to touch hers and she, if she looked close, would clearly see his eyes darken and a hint of color across his cheekbones.

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Anne-Elisabeth could feel the sparks growing stronger between them, and she knew that it was only a matter of time before they succumbed to it. Lord Silverbridge’s beguiling smile told he that he knew it too. But would their resistance crumble today or would it happen on their trip to his estate? And which one of them would give in first?

 

He seemed more pleased with the idea of being the kitten’s father than she though he would be. She was both surprised and touched that he offered to provide for its care, just as a proper gentleman would if he found out that he had sired an illegitimate child. Though she couldn’t see the needs of a kitten putting a strain on her finances, she decided not to protest because it would mean she would see him more often. Maybe he would even decide to stay longer in London. Anne-Elisabeth already knew she would miss him when he went back to the Colonies, even if it was just temporarily.

 

She held his gaze until the servant returned. “Then rum it shall be.” As Lord Silverbridge took her arm to help her up, a jolt of pure pleasure careened through her bpdy and she trembled slightly. His hand continued to linger on her tanned skin and he was close that she could feel his warmth and smell the pleasing scent of him. His lips was only a hairsbreadth away from hers, his eyes darkened with desire. She wanted nothing more than to lean forward and kiss him. 

 

Just before her lips met his, she felt a pull on her skirts. Looking down, she saw the kitten climbing up the coral silk. Well, that’s one gown ruined. Maybe she’s going to cost more than I thought.. Even worse, the intimate moment between her and Lord Silverbridge was ruined as well. At least for the moment.

 

“I think she’s jealous,” she laughed, bending down to gently unhook the kitten’s claws and lift it into her arms. “We should name her. We can’t keep calling her ‘kitten’ forever.”

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He could feel the heat that burned between them and the sudden quickening to his groin added torment and all he need do was to inch closer and her mouth would be his to plunder! Her scent wrapped itself into his head and he gave into his needs ....

But the spell was broke as she suddenly drew back and looked down giving a laugh as that creature made to climb up her skirts.

He then took a step or three back a hand tugging on his collar uncaring if she saw it or not.

"Name it?" He drew breath in an attempt to calm himself. "Why not leave it thusly - I can not think of a fitting name better suited."

"And as to its feeling it had best get used to taking a second place."

He smiled yet he was serious. It would not be allowed to cause any interference again.

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Anne-Elisabeth found the way that Lord Silverbrige pulled at his collar rather endearing. She doubted that the fire blazing in the hearth had made him too warm. Flames of desire were burning through her as well. If the kitten had not decided to scale the mountain of her skirts, she might be leading him into her bedroom by now. Her heart was still fluttering with anticipation.

 

He must also be flustered if he wanted to call the little feline in her arms ‘Kitten.’  He was intelligent and clever and certainly didn't lack in the imagination department. “We wouldn’t name our child ‘Child,’ would we? She deserves her own special name.” The dark-haired Countess set the white ball of fluff back on the floor. The bowl of cream was completely empty. “Perhaps the perfect name will come to us later.”

 

A sultry grin. “And yes, we must teach her not to come between us.”

 

The maid returned with a tray full of hastily concocted hors d’oeuvres that both looked and smelled delicious along with a bottle of coconut rum and two glasses. There was also a small bowl of raw finely-minced meat for the kitten. Anne-Elisabeth plucked the bowl from the tray and set it down. The kitten pounced toward it and immediately started devouring the meat, growling and hissing as if she was afraid that the humans would try to take it from her.

 

Anne-Elisabeth stepped closer to her handsome companion, her dark gaze lingering for a moment on his lips before rising to his eyes. “Perhaps we should leave her here and take our refreshments out to the garden? Or we can stay here if you prefer.”

 

The maid awaited her mistress’ instructions.

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"If it was male and in the wild tis much like a 'tiger' but that hardly fits the whiteness now does it?"

He teased her back. "Well for a child 'kitten' would be a fondness bit not a suitable name for a son or daughter."

An image of that flashed thru his mind - a small girl like her mother full of Life and a son with his height and manner  ......

The servant returned and he was ever glad for that drink as she once again came within touching distance and her eyes went to his mouth as did his to hers.

"Garden I think. May I?"

He broke their gaze and walked to where the maid stood and poured out a measure into two glasses then turned offering her one.

"Leave the bottle"

He quietly instructed her servant and if smart that maid would understand to leave. That he had done so he did not think would cause any resistance from the Lady. He was one-minded now and intended to find out which way the wind was blowing. That he would sample and allow her to do the same if she wanted was but the beginning and there was no hurry. No hurry at all.

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“I think that 'Tiger' would be more appropriate for a male orange tabby.” Anne-Elisabeth knew next to nothing about cats. If she had, she might not have specified ‘male’ since about eighty percent of such cats were, indeed, male. Nor did she know that the color of their fur was known as ‘red’ instead of ‘orange.’

 

“But she is certainly acting like one, attacking that bowl of meat.” She had believed the kitten to be a gentle soul, but perhaps she was more ferocious than she looked.

 

Lord Silverbridge gazed at her mouth as well, and she couldn’t resist teasingly running her tongue across her upper lips. It seemed to her as if their surrender was going to be sooner rather than later, which was perfectly fine with her considering the stunning sensations that were shimmering through her body.

 

She had hoped that he would choose the garden. The young Countess nodded, assuming that he was asking his permission to kiss her. She pouted a bit as he stepped away from her and poured drinks for the two of them. As Lord Silverbridge handed her one of the goblets, she made sure that her fingers brushed softly against his.

 

The servant looked at her for confirmation. Again, she nodded, and the maid set the bottle on the table and left, taking the tray of food with her. Perhaps she realized that it was not food they hungered for.

 

Anne-Elisabeth took a sip of the coconut rum, savoring its sweet taste as it slid down her throat. Her eyes met those of Lord Silverbridge and she grinned playfully. “Shall I show you the garden now?”  If his answer was yes, she intended to take his free hand and pull him to the door that led outside.

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The brush of her fingers against his sent another wave of heat thru his body. Her pout was duly noted and he his a smile.

He tossed back the measure in his glass taking a moment to discern the taste of coconut and found it was much to his liking.

"Yes."

"I have a desire to see your garden in bloom ....."

He held her gaze and his grin matched hers. He would let her lead him for now.

He picked up the bottle with one hand waiting for her to make her move. 

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“I think you will find my garden quite delightful,” she replied. After Lord Silverbridge picked up the bottle, Anne-Elisabeth took his other hand and led him through the corridor and out the door that led to the garden. From peering into her neighbors’ yards through her telescope, she thought that her garden was a bit larger than most and certainly the most creative use of space. Tall toparies in the shape of mythological creatures dominated the area, giving it a mystical air.

 

Colorful flowers, some just beginning to bloom, surrounded each bush. The flowers had been planted after she bought the house, and a fountain had been placed in the center. Continuing the mythological theme, It featured a statue of a mermaid holding a giant shell from which water sprayed into the circular basin.  It was also surrounded by beds of bright blooms.

 

Two more benches had been added as well. One was not enough since Anne-Elisabeth planned to throw parties in the garden. She led Lord Silverbridge over to the one that sat in front of a topiary scupted to resemble a three-headed hydra. The heads loomed over the bench, shading it from the sun. Sitting down, she patted the space beside her. “You should see this place at night,” she said, downing the rest of her rum and holding her glass out for a refill. “It looks quite magical in the light of the moon.”

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did she deliberately misunderstand me ..... 

HIs double meaning had been clear enough at least to him and it should have been to her as well based upon their previous word play.

He was led first back out into a corridor then thru a door out into the light where once again it was clear that she had a taste for the Dramatic. She was showing it off to him and he could not help his grin as he saw the mermaid with the shell that was a clever water feature.

"I see here too that you have made it as colorful as the inside ..."

He looked at the Hydra that provided the shade and sat beside her refilling both glassed then setting the bottle on the ground beside him.

"I think that you have a mind to entertain here judging by how well things have been planned and put about. The flowers will be a veritable field of color!"

"If that is an invitation I accept it. Do you, I wonder, ever dance under that moonlight?"

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Anne-Elisabeth’s response had been full of innuendo. She understood Lord Silverbridge perfectly but with the sparks burning brightly between them, she thought that leading him directly into her bedroom would be a bit premature. And she did want to show him the garden in her backyard before proceeding to the one between her thighs.

 

She took a sip or wine from her refilled glass. “I adore surrounding myself with bright colors as well as wearing them, as I’m sure you know by now. And yes, I do plan on entertaining here later in the season when more of the flowers are blooming. I have not yet decided if it should be an afternoon party or an evening event. Perhaps it shall be both, beginning in the afternoon and continuing into evening.” She grinned playfully “And yes, that was definitely an invitation.”

 

When Lord Silverbridge mentioned dancing, her smile turned positively wicked. “I have thought about it, but it's no fun dancing alone.  Would you happen to know a dashing gentleman who would like to dance with me?"

 

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"I should think that anything you arrange will be a success."

He smiled as he drowned his drink for the second time.

"I would be hurt just here ..." Hand too heart. "If you did not and I were deprived of your Company."

His gaze rested on her face once again then to her mouth as she asked her question knowing his answer already.

"We would partner excellently well. No matter the dance."

He was serious then and his whispered words floated across to her

"I must kiss you. It can not be helped. I know it. You know it."

"Deny it if you must and I will abide."

He had never nor would he ever force himself upon a woman but he did not think he was misreading any of the signals.

His body was set a humming at her nearness and the desire to taste her lips still damp from her drink was great.

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Anne-Elisabeth’s eyes followed Lord Silverbridge’s hand as he brought it to his heart. How would it sound, she wondered, if she lay her head on his chest? She determined to do it as soon as the opportunity presented itself, either wrapped in his embrace or lying beside him after lovemaking. Whether either of those situations would transpire today, she did not know.

 

“I would never cause you any heartache,” she said softly, “for it would pain me more than it pained you.” Her voice strengthened and she grinned at him. “Besides, now that I’ve met you, no party would be complete without you. In fact, I should like you to arrive before any of my other guests."

 

Her dark eyes never left his and she saw his gaze trail to her mouth as she spoke. Lord Silverbridge also picked up on the innuendo in her words. She had not just been talking about dancing in her garden. There were other forms of dancing that were much more pleasurable.

 

His whisper sent a delicious heat blazing through every fiber of her being. Anne-Elisabeth almost threw herself in his arms and pressed her lips to his, but she sensed he would prefer to seduce her than to be seduced himself … at least this time. Who knew what the future would bring?

 

With a quick glance at his lips, she raised her eyes to his and scooted a bit closer. “Yes,” she breathed, lifting her face toward his.

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Her words were indeed sweet and pleasing to hear and he would take them into full meaning soon.

He saw her quick look and then she eased herself closer her mouth a pout of invitation ready to be plundered.

He held her gaze and then leaned down inching closer and closer his breath but a whisper away .....

And a kiss was placed upon her forehead.

"How could I not?" He smiled and his chuckle was low and his words for her only. "Tis far to 'public' and even tho you may have well-trained servants I prefer no audience."

He took her glass and set in on the ground then his followed.

Taking her hands in his he turned one palm side up bringing it to his lips where he teased the sensitive skin at the base of her wrist with his tongue his breath blowing ever so lightly at the dampness.

"Tis just a taste which will make it all the more special. That place I long to discover ....."

His manner may not be as smooth as those Courtiers she must know but he had never heard a complaint and for all his height and strength he could be gentle when it was needed.

He would not rush and so stoked the fire.

"Here. How can I disappoint and not do what we both need. Not when you look at me the way you are."

It was but inches between them and so his mouth set to hers warm and inviting and teasing. 

He would take it no further here than this despite his own body saying otherwise.

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What a tease he was, kissing her on the forehead instead of her lips! I should have expected something like that from him, Anne-Elisabeth thought. Maybe I shouldn’t have been so obliging. Lord Silverbridge’s chaste kiss was sweet and she couldn’t fault him for his reasoning. Though tall walls cloaked her garden from her neighbor’s yards, they might be able to see them if they were looking out of a third or fourth story window. Is he trying to protect my reputation when he knows it has been ruined a hundred times over?

 

His consideration was endearing.

 

The alluring Baron took her glass and set it on the ground, capturing her hands in his larger ones and tantalizing her inner wrists with his tongue and his warm breath, fanning the flames that burned within her. Her body began to tremble with exquisite sensations and she wanted nothing more than for him to continue his playful ministrations.

 

She knew that the place he wanted to discover was the very area that pulsed with need for him, but she didn’t want to hurry into anything either. And yet … “A taste has never been enough for me. I always want it all.”

 

Apparently he needed exactly what she did. Finally his mouth met hers. Anne-Elisabeth did not deepen the kiss, accepting it as it was, but she did entwine her fingers with his and lifted one hand to rest against her heart. “Feel what you do to me,” she whispered against his lips. “My heart is racing for you.”

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Her admittance was a thing he already knew but it served to establish that this was mutual between them. And willing. Very willing.

Her lips were soft and she tasted of rum and coconut and he wanted more. Yet he held himself back - this was a first kiss and despite his growing need he would not plunder quickly but take his time. Her fingers melted into his and her whispered words only made it all the more difficult.

"Unfair. I can hardly caress you openly can I? Yet how can I deny myself when your need is clear."

He whispered back as he claimed her mouth again this time with more instance willing her to respond in kind. The kiss deepened and that hand she had drawn to her breast (heart) was soon softly seeking and moulding as best he could.  

He drew back and looked down at her with heavy-lidded eyes full of passion and she would be hard pressed to not be aware of the change in his body so close were they.

"If this continues I suspect that a 'tour' of those upper floors will be needed ....."

His hand moved to caress her neck then cupped her face then his mouth softly nibbled at that sensitive place just behind her ear. 

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“Why not?” Anne-Elisabeth asked, a seductive note in her naturally sultry voice. “I just gave you an invitation.”

 

Lord Silverbridge kissed her again, more demanding this time. She responded eagerly and gasped against his lips when she felt his hand caressing her breast. Wrapping her arms around his neck, she pressed her curves against him. She could feel his need for her, which excited her all the more.

 

Anne-Elisabeth pouted prettily when he pulled away from her. “If that is what you wish, my lord,” she whispered. Lord Silverbridge caressed her long slender neck, moving upward to cup her face. Fire trailed in the wake of his hands and she longed to feel them on every part of her body. He nibbled behind her ear, sending ripples of pleasure straight to the most sensitive part of her body. Her inner muscles contracted, intensifying her desire.

 

Reaching between them, she gently ran her fingers teasingly over the bulge of his breeches as she captured his lips in yet another searing kiss.

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He obliged and return the kiss with equal measure as one hand stilled hers as she teased him.

Breaking the kiss he whispered against her lips

"I am hot for you and so do not play now or else the outcome shall not be to our liking ..."

He nibbled her lips adding that "I think we best go up. You are wearing far too many layers and that will have to be seen to.'

He stood up as best he could resisting the urge to adjust and then reached down and drew her into his embrace adding another kiss.

"Let us continue this exploration in comfort and privacy. I hope your bed is supportive but even if not I am sure we are creative enough to be able to improvise."

He smiled down at her desire clearing in his gaze. He had not had a woman in weeks and his body was primed for this encounter.

Edited by John Palliser

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Lord Silverbridge placed his hand over hers, halting her soft stroking and then breaking the kiss. Did he not like to be caressed or was he so eager for her that he was afraid he would take her here and now in the garden?. Anne-Elisabeth wouldn’t mind if he did. The possibility of being discovered often increased one’s pleasure, though her bed would be much more comfortable than the grass.

 

He would probably be able to feel her smile as he nibbled her lips. She couldn’t help glancing at his groin as he rose. Lord Silverbridge pulled her up as well, and wrapped her in his heated embrace, kissing her yet again. Anne-Elisabeth melted into his kiss, desire stirring in every part of her nubile young body.

 

The look in his eyes added to her excitement. “Come then, You can judge my bed’s strength for yourself.” Taking his hand, she lifted it to her lips and kissed it and then pulled him back into the house and up the stairs. She led him past the drawing room that he had already seen, down to the end of the hall, and through a pair of doors carved with mermaids, sea life, and various kinds of shells.

 

Her suite consisted of a sitting room and a bedroom with attached dressing room.  The walls of the sitting room and the back of the door were striking ... painted with a continuous scene consisting of a shimmering white beach, turquoise water , and a light blue sky  complete with fluffy clouds and the bright light of the sun. There were shells and crabs on the beach and frothy waves lapping across the shoreline. Gulls flew through the sky and a ship sailed in the distance. The furnishings were upholstered in pastel colors and a low fire burned in the hearth.

 

The walls were exactly the same in the bedroom, only one wall was a window that looked out into the garden, just like in the parlor. The sheer coral-colored curtains were pulled back and fastened with ribbons decorated with seashells and strings of fake pearls.  Dominating the chamber was a large sturdy four-poster bed with the sheer coral curtains drawn over it, obscuring its interior from view. A row of shells ran along the top of the canopy and there were long loops of pearls in each corner reaching to the floor.  Tables sat on each side of the bed containing tropical flowers.  There was a full-length mirror with a mother-of-pearl frame, and a pastel rug on the floor. The fireplace was unlit. The sun streaming through the window warmed the room.

 

As soon as they stepped inside, Anne-Elisabeth turned toward Lord Silverbridge, stepping toward him and entwining her arms about his neck. “Now that you have me where you want me,” she purred, “what do you plan to do with me?”

 

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He was led inside and it was as he expected - EVERYTHING in her room was as the rest of her house - it was blinding in some ways and yet it was also a reflection of the Lady herself but he was never going to say it aloud!

He eyed the bed as the door shut behind him and she stepped back into his embrace issuing her challenge. Never a man to not accept one he smiled down at her then leaned in to whisper 

"All manner of things."

His eyes held amusement and also desire as her caught at her lips to tease then a kiss that would leave her in little doubt.

"But first I think you needs must remove all of this ...." He made a small gesture with one hand to indicate her clothing. "And I shall help naturally. Playing 'ladies maid' has its rewards. Where shall I start?"

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“I can hardly wait,” she whispered back. Anne-Elisabeth was becoming quite addicted to Lord Silverbridge’s kisses and the desire in his eyes called to the tantalizing sensations shimmering through her. She nipped playfully at his lower lip before they pulled away from each other.

 

As for undressing: “Why should you have all the fun? How about we play a game? You remove one article of my clothing, and I remove one of yours.”

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He eyed her with appreciation glad that she was no shy young thing and more than willing to participate!

"Indeed? Strike a bargain? Hmmmmm."

He pretended to think on it then gave a half wolf's grin as he gathered her close to him to nuzzle her tempting neck murmuring 

"Somehow I think I am the one getting a better deal but I confess that this 'Game' intrigues. Shall I start ..."

Without waiting he knelt and with hands that were gentle raised her skirts to expose stockings and shoes where he promptly set about removing one.

He hid a smile at her stockings for they were clearly designed for warmth and not to seduce yet they too would soon follow her shoes    ...... 

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Anne-Elisabeth was fairly certain that Lord Silverbridge would agree to her suggestion. She had no problem with standing naked before a fully-clothed man. In fact, she enjoyed distracting him while he fumbled with his own clothing. But undressing each other slowly and delectably was much more fun and often led to greater anticipation which in turn brought exquisite pleasure.

 

And he did, drawing her close to him and nuzzling the sensitive skin of her neck. Moving her lips to his ear, she whispered: “I wouldn’t be so sure about that,” and then playfully pulled on his earlobe with her teeth before stepping away. A casual shrug was his answer as to whether he should start first. It didn’t matter to her.

 

Lord Silverbridge … I should start referring to him as John now … knelt and lifted the hem of her skirt. So he was going to start with her shoes. Anne-Elisabeth raised one foot so that he could slide it off, balancing herself with a hand resting gently on his shoulder. When he was done with that small task, she moved her hand up his neck and over to his chin, lifting it so that he was looking up at her.

 

“Stand up,” she said. She planned to remove his cravat pin first.

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She raised his chin and he looked up as she then bid him to stand. He complied making no effort to hide his smile.

"I should warn you  ... I am exceedingly good at Games ..."

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“Then we are evenly matched.” Anne-Elisabeth reached up and removed John’s cravat pin and then took off the cravat as well. Placing one hand upon his shoulder, she leaned forward and kissed the exposed skin, sucking on it lightly.

 

Moving her lips to his ear, she blew into it. “Your turn. I removed two items, so I will not protest if you do the same."

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Her lips on his skin was electric and the 'jolt' went directly to that place that needed no encouragement. 

"Mmmmmm ....."

He murmured softly as he shifted her slightly so that his mouth captured hers in a lingering kiss. He teased sure in the fact that she would be receptive. He moved his hands across her back and then down her sides - just for the wanting but also searching out for any objects like pins that might be holding her clothing closed  - he was well enough familiar with how a woman was dressed for oft times he too was pinned together in places. His hands then ran along her ribcage then upwards to linger but not touch her breasts.

"You must tell me afore I am stung by pins or at least where they are placed so that I can take then out. And I won't count them but instead what they hold together."

She was a delicious female all brightly wrapped and he was impatient to begin the opening.

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