Authors: Isadora Rose,Kate Monroe
Tags: #Erotica, #Romantic Erotica, #Historical, #Literature & Fiction
By Isadora Rose
Copyright 2012 Isadora Rose
This eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This eBook may not be resold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for the recipient. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
Esther Ellis paced around the edge of the ballroom with no care for the intrigued and thinly-veiled looks of concern she was attracting, for she had eyes for only one man – the man who had not taken his own eyes away from her since she had come into the ballroom an hour ago.
She did not even want to be here, but Eleanor’s invitation had been impossible to decline. As godmother-to-be to her oldest friend’s infant daughter, avoiding the festivities surrounding the christening was an impossibility. Here she was, trapped in the manor for the next week – and held entranced against her will by the attention being paid to her by the glorious and devilish stranger.
Esther chanced a swift and direct look at him when the crowds between them momentarily parted. He was sinfully handsome; his wavy hair fell casually around his dark eyes and his muscular form was making him the centre of attention for almost every other woman in attendance.
Still, though, it was only her that he watched. His heated stare continued to follow her around the room as she restlessly moved amongst the crowd, quickening her breath and bringing a rapid blaze of colour across her face that crept down towards her breasts, pebbling her nipples until she was sure the effect he had upon her must be obvious to all.
Esther was growing more agitated by the moment. Whoever he was, he was watching her with a fire in his eyes that threatened far more than any stranger had a right to do. He reminded her of a wolf stalking its prey, lean and unrelenting, biding its time in the unerring confidence that it would succeed; and somehow, the thought of allowing him to take all that the hunger in his dark eyed intimated was strangely alluring.
She needed to speak to Eleanor, to at the very least discover the identity of the man who was managing to affect her in a way she wanted no man to have the power to, even across the distance that separated them.
When she skirted around the edge of the ballroom in search of her friend, though, the stranger’s stare seemed to intensify as he broke free of the throng gathered around him. His destination seemed to Esther to be very obvious. He was coming for her – and he would easily cut her off before she reached the doors leading away from the ballroom.
The French doors nearer to her, however, had been thrown open to lead out into the vast and winding gardens that surrounded the manor. They held the promise of blissful relief from both the watchful stranger and from the heavy tension that hung in the thick air around her.
Esther trusted to the crowds to conceal her as she lowered her head and darted out into the gardens, only breathing more freely when she looked over her shoulder to see no sign of him. A relentless wave of heat inflamed her veins as a heady and unwelcome desire spiralled inside her, even though there was no longer any sign of the unnerving stranger.
She was no innocent girl naïve in the ways of sex and desire, but something about him called out to her in a way that no man had before. For a woman so determined never to allow herself to be vulnerable to any man again, it was a troubling development.
Esther paced back and forth in agitation, running her hands through the elaborate tower of curls piled atop her head and tugging the foremost ones free. The moon was shining brightly in the sky above, for it was a clear midsummer night. It must be late enough now that, once she was calm again, she would be able to make her excuses and retreat to her bedchamber. By the morning the stranger would doubtless be gone. If she had to face him at the christening, then so be it – that would hardly be the most difficult part of the day.
No sooner had she slowly begun to regain her composure, though, than four long fingers closed around her shoulder and turned her around to face their owner as he loomed out of the shadows.
“Ah...we are alone at last,
Tristan de Laurent rapidly closed the remaining distance between himself and the woman who had so enchanted him since he had first caught sight of her. He snaked a possessive arm around her slender waist as her breath hitched and then pulled her into the heat of his body. His suspicions had been right; she was spectacular.
He knew that he could have any pick of any of the breathless and simpering women who had attached themselves to his side in the ballroom, but it was this one who had captivated him entirely. Her disdain and her efforts to evade him had only increased his determination to have her – it was a rare woman indeed who could hold out against him.
Tristan breathed in deeply as he cast an appraising glance over the face of his beautiful little stranger. The glimpses he had won of her in the ballroom had been more than enough to harden his cock and convince him that he had to have her, but now that she was finally in his arms it was evident to see just how lovely she was.
Her curves were what had first caught his roving eye. The full breasts that were barely restrained by her low-cut golden gown were the perfect size to caress in the palms of his hands. The flare of her slender waist and wide hips filled him with the desire to take hold of her, roughly bend her over his bed and bury the full length of his cock inside her again and again; and much to his delight, she wore no ring - no band of gold to mark her out as another man’s possession. She would be his.
The jasmine vines that she had been lingering beneath seemed to conspire with the moonlight. Its heady, cloying scent danced around the two of them as he lowered his head to seek out her wide blue eyes with his own. Consumed by his need for her, Tristan turned his head to the side and brushed the gentlest of kisses against the curve of her throat. “We have not met, I think?”
She shuddered. “No – I would remember if we had.”
Her nervous answer pleased him. “Yes.”
The unknown Frenchman was making no attempt to mask the dark spark of lust in his eyes as he pulled his head back to stare at her intently. To Esther’s frustration and fear, just the briefest touch of his soft lips upon her throat had been enough to drive away any thoughts of fleeing from him. She wanted him more than she had wanted any other man before and she did not think she had the strength to deny herself.
A slow, lazy smile began to play around the corners of Tristan’s thin lips as he correctly read her reaction to him. “So, tell me your name, beautiful stranger.”
His whispered command was impossible to disobey. She closed her eyes with a low, tremulous sigh as he brushed a stray tendril of blonde hair away from her flushed face and left his hand there to capture her chin, tilting it up towards his as he awaited her answer.
“Esther,” she slowly replied, tensing as his free hand moved up from her waist to rest against the exposed line of her collarbone. “Esther Ellis, Lady Malone.”
“Ah, how very lovely!” Tristan could not hold himself back. The creamy skin spilling out over the top of her bodice was far too tempting. As he spoke, he allowed his fingers to dance across the curve of her full breasts and gloried in the sharp and ragged breath that she drew, for it was loaded with the same desperate hunger that he too felt. “Your name means ‘star’, Esther, does it not?”
The sound of her name murmured so intimately in his sultry accent had her arching against him as he became bolder, cupping her breasts through the gown and brushing his fingers over the treacherously stiffened nipples that he so longed to capture between his lips. “Y-yes, sir.”
He laughed softly. “And of all the stars in the skies above us, Esther, you are the one that shines most brightly, the one I cannot take my eyes away from.”
His charming words were those of a man evidently well-versed in seduction, but Esther found that she did not even care how many women were in his past. She was hardly as pure as the driven snow – but their pasts did not matter. All that mattered was submitting to the control of the gloriously abandoned and debauched lust that was coursing through her feverish body.
Tristan’s pulse was racing, for the burning desire he felt for the flushed woman in his arms was far stronger than anything he had experienced before. “Esther,
? I am going to kiss you now, and once I have done so I think we are both going to want to find somewhere a little more secluded to continue this
affaire de coeur
“The heart?” Esther echoed faintly, unable to stifle a soft cry when he firmly caressed her breasts. The layers of material between their skin seemed to have melted away for all the good they were doing in protecting her from his touch. “Sir, I do not know about you, of course, but I do not think it is my heart that I am thinking with tonight.”
A brilliant smile broke out across Tristan’s face. “Then for my part,
, I have never been happier to follow the commands of the more than generous cock in my breeches. Delightful as I find it to listen to your lovely voice, it compels me to take that kiss from you now.”
Her blush deepened rapidly. “Then do one thing for me first, sir?”
“Anything you ask, Esther. Tonight I am yours to command.”
The underlying meaning of his whispered words was very evident. With a fresh thrill of desire as a knot of hot tension pooled in her core, she parted her lips in anticipation of the kiss they both yearned for. “Tell me your name, sir. Tell me what name is to be on my lips tonight.”
He groaned under his breath as the thought she had deliberately placed in his mind of her crying out his name whilst in the grip of her pleasure sent his fierce arousal spiralling yet further. “I am Tristan de Laurent, the Comte de Rouvroy; but please, Esther, call me Tristan.”
Esther’s eyes widened with dismayed incredulity. She was dumbstruck, unable to force any words past the rising tide of nausea constricting her throat. All she could do was try to break free of the Comte before she compounded her grievous error in allowing him the liberties he had already taken even further.
She was pulling away from him. He was losing her and he could not comprehend it – and neither would he stand for it. Tristan caught hold of her hand and entwined their fingers, mercilessly holding her wide eyes with his own as he pulled her hand towards the bulge in his breeches. “Do you feel that,
? You have me rock hard and desperate for your sweet kiss. Will you oblige me or will you make me beg for what I need?”
Esther’s fever spiked. The Comte had very clearly not been flattering himself – even through his breeches she could feel the generous size of his cock and how hard it was; how hard it was because of her. She had forgotten the thrill of feeling so desired, and the dizzying sensation had her transfixed, rooted to the spot as he leaned in towards her again.
Tristan seized upon her evident discomposure and took advantage of it. “You want me, Esther, I know that you do. I saw the way you were looking at me in the ballroom,” he declared arrogantly. “Now that we are alone together, I daresay that you are already wet and ready for me to take you, as ready as I am to do so.” He pressed her hand down firmly against his cock as he spoke and groaned desperately again as he felt her fingers push against the shaft.
Her low cry was belied by the fact that she made no effort to pull her hand away from his cock.
“Do not fight this,
I want you, Esther, fervently so!”
Esther dug deep within herself to find the strength to do what she must. “And I hate you, Comte, with all that I am, so I will ask you once more to release my damned hand!”
He stared at her blankly as his heart lost a beat. “Hate?! Esther,
“Do not call me that! I am not yours and I never will be – and let go of my hand!”
Tristan tightened his grip on her even as she finally began to tug against him. Bemused fury was rising up inside him to push aside his consuming lust. “Esther, you will explain your words to me now! Mere moments ago you were all but begging me to take you – what has changed?”
“I know now who you are, Comte, and I thank you for telling me that before you took from me that which you took from my cousin; for knowing what you did to her, your bed is the very last place I should be in!”
“Your cousin?” he echoed dumbly, clenching his fists as she struggled out of his hold with a panicked cry. “Esther, I still do not understand! I have no attachment, no commitment to any woman – nothing to stop us spending the night together as you so clearly wish to.”
“Then allow me to explain. My uncle is Charles Tennyson, Earl Montfort. He has a daughter the same age as me; Charlotte Tennyson,” she continued harshly. “Ah – I see that finally you have found some spark of recollection in your debauched mind!”
Dizzying comprehension slammed into him, sending him stumbling backwards from the righteous rage in her eyes.
. Of all the mistakes in his past, that was the one he regretted more than any other; and how cruelly it was haunting him now.
Tristan had two rules and two rules only. He never had sex with a virgin and he never took another man’s woman. Charlotte Tennyson had led him to break both of those rules – her family’s rage had been directed upon the rake she told them had seduced her and led to the end of a lucrative betrothal.
He reached out and caught Esther’s hand again, his voice low and urgent. “Esther,
, you must listen to me!”