"I will do my very best to make certain you remain oh, so comfortable, Abersham," she said, stalking him around the room. "For instance, I expect your life would be immeasurably more pleasant if word of your part in this escapade did not reach your Head of School or your parents. Now sit, monsieur le marquis, and tell me why you keep refusing me. Have I not made my interest clear?"
With no visible escape from the room or her blackmail, he finally sat in a chair across the room from her, rubbing a hand across his face.
"It is not...madame la comtesse, you are so lovely. So inexpressibly lovely," he sighed. "It is only... I am promised. Or may as well be. I do not wish to dishonour my future wife. A year ago, madame, I would have... well. But now I am... I am holding myself chaste for her." He flushed and dropped his head.
"The thought does you honour, Abersham. But if this almost-betrothed of yours knows nothing, where is the harm? I want to bed you, not marry you. I am no threat to her."
He blushed at the sentiment. He had never known a lady to speak so frankly, though he had told himself exactly that dozens of times before. But it didn't seem to work the same way now as it had at his last two schools.
"I have sworn my loyalty to her. My fealty." Besides, the comtesse would be sorely disappointed when Sir Frogmore would not perform as she wished, and he would be needlessly humiliated once more.
"You may give her your loyalty. I want your body, monsieur; she may keep the rest. A loan, if you will, until she is yours and you are hers. But I forget myself. You are wounded. Coat off, monsieur. Shirt, too. I will wash your wounds while we talk."
She knelt at his feet, a damp cloth ready in her hands. His eyes widened at the sight of her between his thighs. Sir Frogmore hadn't any problem appreciating her décolletage. Running a hand through his hair, he argued, straining not to jump up and away from her. "I have been hers since we were children. It was only recently we... we were parted."
"And yet a year ago, you were able to bestow your favours elsewhere?" She began to undo his waistcoat buttons.
"Er... a year ago, I did not know she felt... I hadn't... promised myself to her."
"And you promised to stay a monk until you could have her? You are how old, my lord? Twenty? Twenty-two?" She pushed his coat off his shoulders, hands caressing his muscles, breasts pressing against his groin.
He groaned at her touch, choking out his response, "Eighteen, madame la comtesse." As she untied his cravat and unbuttoned his shirt, he clarified his position. "And no, I haven't promised to abstain from all... I mean... we never discussed... only I do not wish to share those acts of a husband and wife with anyone but her. She is... I love her with all my heart, madame. I should hate her to be hurt by gossip and innuendo, when I intend to honour her." His best intentions ended on a whimper as she tugged his shirttail from his waistband.
"That is lovely, Abersham. I admire it. Let us agree then, you and I shall not share the acts of a husband and wife. And, of course, we shall not behave like lovers in public, for your beautiful young woman must not have her heart bruised."
"I have lived in a Court before, Madame. There is no means of avoiding the gossip inherent in an affaire."
Toad had no idea how he was stripped to the waist when he had not participated in the least, but he gasped when her lips came so close to his stomach he could feel her breath. He held out his hands, hoping to push her away without pushing her.
"No penetration, then," she said, tracing the damp cloth over the scratches and then up the inside of his arm, followed with her cool breath. It chilled and gave him shivers. He swallowed hard at the thought of penetration. His head reeled under the onslaught of all the justifications he had ever used to excuse his affairs.
"But what of other acts that might give us both pleasure?" she asked, taking her hair down and rubbing it on his chest, letting it tease his tensed stomach.
"Other acts?" Oh yes, he could easily imagine other acts.
"Let me demonstrate," she said,
His lacerated hands fell to his knees, and he gasped as she unbuttoned his trousers, inserting her hand into his smallclothes.
"For example, monsieur, should I grasp you and rub my hand so, that would not breach your promise to the mademoiselle, would it?"
His head fell back. "Yes... no... no, I shouldn't think so."
The guilt rushed in as soon as he spoke, and Sir Frogmore reacted as he had for months. He yanked himself away and stood, buttoning his pants, grabbing for his shirt while staying out of her reach. "I... er... this is..." He felt the blush in his face again.
"Ah! He is faithful, your little gentleman. I see now why you look so lost in my salons while the ladies try to catch your eye. And you so young and innocent; it must seem the end of the world, but I assure you, my lord, this is not the tragedy you imagine. You must, on occasions like this, think only of the person in your arms. Perhaps... I have it." She turned her back. "Play maid for me, please."
His mouth fell open. "Er.. you wish me to..."
"Undo my buttons, yes. Now, if you please. I shall strip naked for you, and you shall think only of me, yes?"
He shut his eyes and moved toward her, as if drawn by a lodestone. Fumbling with her buttons, he did as she asked, keeping his eyes shut and head turned away.
"Do you find me unpleasant to look at, monsieur? I am hurt, I think."
Stammering, he disagreed, opening his eyes just briefly to the sight of her bared shoulders. "No. No, I do not. Rather too exquisite for words, madame." He ran a hand over her shoulder to push one sleeve down her arm. "Your skin is so soft, my lady." He breathed deeply. "And your scent is so..."
"Jasmine and lavender." And the underlying perfume of carnal desire and feminine arousal.
He took another deep breath, losing his senses. Sir Frogmore rose to the occasion again, though for how long, Toad could not guess. Probably until she came near to touching him.
She wriggled, and her frock fell to the floor, "The corset and the petticoat laces, monsieur."
He choked, but his fingers worked double-time to loosen her laces.
"This is what I propose. You shall touch me, and I shall touch you, and if your little gentleman does not wish to cooperate, it is of no matter. I will give you pleasure, nonetheless. And he is not essential to my delight, monsieur, I can assure you. Indeed, since I am still young enough to have children, I prefer to touch him only with my hands and my breasts and my lips and tongue."
When her petticoat dropped to the floor, he couldn't keep his hand from following it from her waist to the back of her leg, falling to his knees behind her to leave a trail of kisses on the back of her thigh. "Madame la comtesse, I am... I am... I am beyond words."
"You must call me Linette, monsieur. And you may touch me anywhere you please. Your lips on my breasts perhaps? Or here?" She grasped his hand resting on her hip and moved it to her minou.
He groaned and turned her, still on his knees, all but worshipping her, shuffling her backward toward the bed. Shockingly, Sir Frogmore did not lose his enthusiasm, for the first time since Toad came to France.
Pulling back suddenly as he crawled onto the bed after her, he confirmed, "You will not expect me to... to dishonour Sa... my lady? You will not change your mind? You will tell no one?"
"Of course, Abersham. How can you doubt it? You will keep your honour and this sweet interlude will be just between the two of us." With that assurance, he trailed his lips down the side of her throat.
YOU ARE READING
Never Kiss a ToadRomance
[A Victorian romance continuing family stories begun in the various Regency books of Jude Knight and Mariana Gabrielle.] David "Toad" Northope, heir to the Duke of Wellbridge and rogue in the mold of his infamous father, knows Lady Sarah "Sal" Grenf...