Authors: Julianne MacLean
Feeling the warmth of Adam's hand caressing her in her most private place, Madeline's heart quickened with both anticipation and anxiety. She had no experience with any of this. She wanted Adam more than she'd ever wanted anything, but she had no idea what to do.
“You're shaking, Madeline,” he whispered softly, sounding surprised but charmed as he gazed into her eyes.
“I'm sorry. I want to please you, but this is all so new and I don't know what to do.”
His hands caressed her thigh up under her gown. “Don't apologize for being adorable.”
She laid a hand on his cheek. “Tell me what to do, Adam.”
He smiled. “We could start by removing this.” He glanced down at her gown.
She sat up and pulled the linen garment off over her head. She should have felt self-conscious, for no man had ever seen her in such a bared state before, but nervousness faded away with the oncoming wave of arousal when Adam's face revealed his wonderment and his desire.
“You are the most beautiful creature I have ever seen.”
She gloried in the awe in his eyes and the sound of sexual hunger in his voice. He wanted her. It was a dream come true to see him this way.
He came down upon her again, but this time she felt the heat of his bare skin against her own and shuddered with inconceivable pleasure. She met his open mouth with eagerness and delighted in the rhapsody of his kiss. Instinctively, Madeline parted her legs and thrust her hips upward, astounded by the feel of his firm arousal pressing against her. Still devouring his mouth with her own, she gave in to her burning curiosity and reached down to touch him over the thick fabric of his breeches. The rigid feel of him was
wondrous. She felt so blessed to be intimate with him at last.
Adam moaned and kissed her more deeply. He leaned on one elbow and unbuttoned his breeches, then slid them off. He took her hand in his and showed her how to touch him. Never taking her eyes off his, Madeline carefully observed what pleased him.
“Yes, like that.” He closed his eyes for a moment, then opened them again and lowered his mouth to her breasts, kissing and sucking, thrilling her with his fervid tongue. She began to ache and tingle all over.
He kissed down her belly and around her navel, then went lower until he reached the center of her womanhood, where her desires both began and culminated.
An urgent response blazed through her at the exquisite feel of his mouth. Shocked at the intensity of her body's sweet, throbbing ache, she clutched Adam's shoulders until the pleasure became too potent to bear. The tension that was coursing through her body like out-of-control floodwaters surged to a forceful peak, then everything exploded within.
All her muscles squeezed tightly, held fast for a moment, then relented with a titillating, debilitating release. Euphoria filled her, and for the first time in her life, she experienced pure and absolute physical contentment.
“Oh, Adam.” Her voice was a breathy whisper. “I had no idea.”
He rose up to settle himself between her thighs and gently thrust into her opening. Though she was tight
and virginal, she was also relaxed, and the pain seemed insignificant compared to the spiritual bliss of his entry as he broke through her maidenhood. Tears of joy sprang to her eyes.
Adam touched his forehead to hers while he moved within her, their bodies mating in pure, primitive harmony. It was everything she had dreamed it would beâintimate, pleasurable, loving. She had never known anything could be so beautiful.
Adam's pace intensified and she recognized his mounting need. He rose up on both arms and drove into her again and again until he pulsed within. “I love you,” he whispered hotly in her ear, his breath sending a torrent of gooseflesh down her satiated body. “And I promise I will never stop telling you that, Madeline, for as long as I live.”
The love she felt brought tears to her eyes again. “Then I am yours. For as long as you'll have me.”
“That will be forever, my love. Forever.”
The following afternoon, all the family gathered on the veranda to say goodbye to Lord Blackthorne and Lady Thurston and their entourage. Penelope had picked wildflowers to give to Diana, to wish her well and to celebrate her betrothal to the viscount, and Mary had baked biscuits to send with her for the long journey to Halifax.
Adam felt a surge of warmth and gratitude for the people and blessings around him. His family was together; Madeline would soon be his wife. Everything seemed true and proper. Idealistic dreams were gone
now, replaced by what was real, and there was a certain security in that.
“Will you come back to visit us, Lady Thurston?” Penelope asked. “You'll be my auntie, after all.”
“I will indeed be your auntie, Penelope, and I will be happy to visit, as long as you promise to make your father bring you to Halifax to visit me as well.” She tapped Penelope lightly on the nose, and a smile spread across her sweet cherub face.
Adam escorted Diana to the lieutenant-governor's coach and swept her up into his arms to lift her in. She squirmed on the leather seat to try and sit naturally, fumbling with her skirts to cover her injured leg.
“You'll be all right?” he asked her, closing the door and standing at the window. “There's no hurry, you know. You can stay here if you like, until you're fully recovered. Madeline and I would gladly take you to Halifax in a week or two.”
She waved her gloved hand through the air. “Don't be such a silly worrywart, Adam. I'm fine. You're just looking for an excuse to go to Halifax for a honeymoon.”
He smiled warmly at her.
“Goodbye, Adam,” she said. “My future brother-in-law. I am trusting you with my baby sister. You had best not disappoint me.”
“You know I won't. I intend to make her happy, Diana. I promise you that.”
“You don't have to promise. You are a good man, Adam. I've always known that. I'm sorry for how
things were between us, but it has all turned out for the best. We are all where we are meant to be.”
“Indeed we are.” He squeezed her hand one last time. “Goodbye, Diana.”
As he turned away from her, he spotted Lord Blackthorne. The viscount was the last guest to leave the house, leaning on his cane and limping down the steps on his wooden leg, following his valet, who carried a leather satchel.
“My word, Coates, Mary has just given me enough blueberry tarts to turn me into one! What a perfectly delightful family you have.”
Adam met the viscount in the middle of the yard and pumped his hand. “Have a safe journey, my lord.”
“I most certainly will, and I will take up the case of your marshlands at Government House and see what can be done.”
Their handshake continued. The viscount seemed reluctant to leave. He nervously cleared his throat and lowered his voice. “And do accept my apologies, man, for what occurred between Lady Thurston and me. I must thank you for not challenging me to a duel or something of that nature, Coates. You certainly had the right.”
Adam smiled at Lord Blackthorne. “Nonsense. Diana was free to do as she chose. Life here in Cumberland could never have been right for her, and I think we all knew it.”
“Yes, yes, well, I'm glad things worked out.” He peered over Adam's shoulder at Diana, waiting in the coach. “By God, but she is a lovely creature, is she
not? More charm than a sparkling jewel. What were the chances that a man like me could ever
of marrying a woman like her?” He whistled in disbelief.
“You are a lucky man, my lord,” Adam replied dutifully.
“And so are you, Coates. Miss Oxley is a lovely young woman in her own right. Quite ravishing, actually. She seems to belong here. I always thought so, from the first moment I saw her. She'll be a good mother to your children, and with God's blessings, give you many more.”
“I have no doubt.” They said goodbye again, and the viscount limped off to his coach.
Madeline went to say goodbye to her sister. Adam watched them hold hands and kiss each other on the cheek. It was a fine thing to see sisters reunited with each other after so many years apart. Or perhaps they had found each other for the first time, here in a new land.
Penelope and Charlie appeared on either side of him, and he wrapped his arms around his children.
The coach lurched forward and Madeline waved goodbye. As soon as the convoy turned into the lane, she faced Adam, a glow of true happiness lighting up her face.
Adam moved toward her and held out his hands. The children giggled and dashed for the house, leaving Adam and Madeline alone in the yard, facing each other with the sun raining down on their faces. Adam raised both of Madeline's hands and pressed his lips to her soft knuckles.
“Shall we go and find the reverend?” he asked, with a seductive grin.
Madeline giggled. “Now?”
“Yes, now. I would have preferred it to be yesterday, or the day before, or the day before that, but I will settle for today.”
Her voice was silky and flirtatious. “Why the hurry?”
“You know why, love.”
“Because you're afraid I'll change my mind?”
“Because you're afraid John Metcalf will come back and propose to me again?”
“Becauseâ¦hmm. You have dykes to build and fields to drain, and today is your only free day?”
Adam covered her mouth with his own, tasting the sweet honey of her kiss, consuming the light that had finally begun to shine from her soul.
“Does that give you a hint?” he asked, rubbing his nose against hers. “If not, just wait until tonight, my Yorkshire brideâand I will show you exactly why.”
Madeline smiled enticingly and kissed him again. “Then take me to the reverend, and let me tell him that âI do.”'
Copyright Â© 2003 by Julianne MacLean
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