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Authors: Bethany Sefchick

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BOOK: The Earl Who Loved Me
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"No."
 
Lydia shook her head, her lips pressed into
a tight line.
 
"I would not do such
a thing.
 
Please.
 
My best wishes to you both."
 
Then she was gone, scurrying down the
corridor like a frightened rabbit.

When he was certain she was gone,
David turned back to Amelia.
 
"Your
husband?
 
I was not aware that I had
properly proposed."
 
However, she
could tell he was not angry, but merely teasing.

"You haven't.
 
Yet."
 
It was Amelia who teased now.
 
"But last night, you intimated that you would.
 
Were I amenable to the idea of marriage to
you, of course."

"And are you?"
 
He looked a little worried now, as if he did
not quite believe what he was hearing.
 
"I know this is sudden."

Amelia shook her head in
disagreement.
 
"And yet not.
 
In some ways, I feel as if I have been
waiting for this morning for a lifetime."
 
Then she clasped her hands in front of her.
 
"And to answer your question, David, yes.
 
I am very,
very
amenable."

At that, David sank to one knee in
front of her, heedless of who was witnessing the event.
 
"Well then.
 
Lady Amelia Banbrook, would you do me the great honor of becoming
my wife this evening?
 
I would be ever
so honored if you did."

Seeing David kneeling before her, looking
devastatingly handsome and yet so completely uncertain at the same time, there
was, of course, only one answer she could give.

"Yes, David.
 
Yes.
 
A thousand times yes!"

Amelia was quite certain that his
whoop of joy could be heard all the way to the neighboring estates and
beyond.
 
And she knew precisely how he
felt for she wanted to cry with joy as well.

Her dreams were coming true.
 
She was marrying the man she loved.
 
There could be no greater gift in this
holiday season.
 
Or none that she could
imagine anyway.

Chapter Five

 

"The ceremony was
lovely," Lady Amelia Banbrook, now Lady Amelia Rutledge, Countess of
Weatherby, remarked as she glanced shyly at her husband of only a few hours.

"
You
are lovely, my
darling countess," David replied, coming behind her to drop a kiss on her
bare shoulder.
 
"That dress suits
you.
 
I am rather pleased that Lady
Diana is allowing you to keep it.
 
The
two of you seem to have become fast friends in a very short time."

Admiring herself in the long mirror
once more, Amelia had to agree with her new husband.
 
"We are friends.
 
Good ones, I think.
 
And yes, the
dress is lovely, though I do feel bad about it.
 
She has never worn it."

"And likely never would
have.
 
It does not suit her.
 
But it suits you."
 
Standing behind her, Amelia could see
David's reflection in the mirror, his hands on her shoulders as he started at
her hungrily.
 
"Scarlet really is
your color, my darling.
 
We must remember
that when we return to London in the spring to procure your new wardrobe."

"Hmmm."
 
Though she did not particularly want a new
wardrobe, she would not disagree with David if he wanted to buy her a few new
things.
 
And she did feel positively
decadent in the scarlet silk, the fabric clinging to her body the way the other
dresses Diana had loaned her did - as if they were made for her.

Amelia knew she should have refused
the gift but when Diana, her face alight with happiness for her new friend, had
made the offer there was no way Amelia could have refused.
 
Especially since she
had
needed
something new, or at the very least more colorful to wear to her wedding.
 
It wasn't as if any of them had planned this
after all.
 
Or perhaps David had.
 
He had returned to the country with a
special license in his pocket after all.

In fact, when David and Amelia had
entered the drawing room hand in hand, several of the guests rose instantly to
congratulate them on their impending nuptials - whenever they were to
occur.
 
When David had announced that
they were to be wed that very night, the other guests had nodded as if they had
known all the time that something like this would happen and that the house
party was merely a ruse for a wedding celebration.

He hadn't planned it, of course,
though he had hoped.
 
Still, when Lady
Colebrooke appeared to have been about to speak up, presumably in an attempt to
change David's mind about the marriage and to consider Lydia instead, he had
announced that yes, he had indeed planned the surprise wedding.
 
He also relished informing everyone with
great glee that he and Amelia had been affianced since the night of Lord
Ardenton's wedding, but, given the high number of weddings already among their
set, they did not wish to spoil their friends' joy and had decided to keep
their own betrothal quiet for a bit.

As the kitchens at Weatherby Hall
had already been preparing for a great Twelfth Night feast, there was little
more to do to add a small wedding cake to the desserts being prepared for the
evening.
 
When pressed about the issue,
Amelia had said that she knew not everyone liked cake and thought that a
selection of desserts, especially considering the holiday, might be a better
choice.

Regardless of whether they agreed
or not, all of the guests nodded amiably, saying how clever the new Countess of
Weatherby was and how it was such a wonderful thing for her to think of her
guests' comfort first before her own wishes.
 
As the evening progressed, they also remarked at how lovely the wedding
was and how they had never seen a more beautiful bride.

Not that Amelia could remember much
of the evening so far.
 
There was the
rushed arrival of the parson of the local church, of course, brought in
especially for the ceremony.
 
There had
been the wedding feast, followed by a mix of dancing and the usual Twelfth
Night revelry.
 
Perhaps it was not the
done thing to be married on a night such as this one, but, given the looks that
passed between her parents, Amelia also knew that if she did not marry David
that night, she would be forced to leave with them in the morning, something
she very much did not want to do.

Her departure would have led to a
prolonged engagement, considerable time apart, especially during the winter
season, and all manner of things that Amelia had not wanted to
contemplate.
 
Thankfully, they had not
kicked up a fuss at the news, or not too much anyway.
 
And truthfully, David was one of the few men of Society that her
father was likely to believe was not marrying her for her dowry.
 
Which was why, after the ceremony, her
father had said he would have the necessary papers drawn up to transfer
Amelia's fortune to David.

Bless him, David had insisted that
Amelia's funds be put aside in a trust for their future children.
 
That way he - or she or as many as they were
blessed with - would not be dependent upon the earldom for their security.
 
It was a splendid idea and one that had made
Amelia love her new husband all the more.

A love that she felt grow and wrap
around her all evening, no matter who was at her side.
 
Though more often than not, the person at
her side was David.
 
Just as it should
be.

Now, however, the guests were abed
and he was with her once more.
 
Only
this time, he was eager to introduce her to the pleasures of the flesh.
 
And she could not wait.

Reaching up to remove the ruby and
pearl choker around her neck - one of the new pieces of jewelry that David had
presented her with before the ceremony - she was surprised when he stilled her
hand.

"Leave that on."
 
His voice was a mere whisper.
 
"I want to see you in that and only
that.
 
Later.
 
When I enter you for the first time."

"Oh, David."
 
His words ignited that familiar fire inside
of her again, the one that made her desire to behave like a wanton.

Slowly, he slid his hands down her
arms - this time with no gloves between them to dull the fire his touch created
in her belly - and pulled her back to him, her back to his front.
 
There she felt the familiar press of his
erect cock into the small of her back.
 
"Do you know how long I have desired this, my love?"
 
He kissed the side of her neck and then
looked up to see her reflection in the mirror, her eyes wide with
surprise.
 
"What?
 
Did you think I did not love you?
 
I do.
 
I have.
 
Probably for some time
now, though that night at the wedding, it was the first time I allowed myself
to see it."

The old Amelia would have doubted
her husband's words.
 
Tonight, she did
not.
 
"And I love you, David
Rutledge.
 
I have since I was a small
child, toddling along after a young boy who should not have tolerated me as
much as he did."
 
Reaching up, she
covered his hands with hers.
 
"I
cannot begin to tell you how much."

Turning her around in his arms, he
smiled down at her, his grin seductive.
 
"Then show me, wife.
 
Show
me how much you love me and I, in turn, will show you."

With practiced ease, David slowly
began stripping Amelia out of her gown, the scarlet silk pooling around her
feet.
 
She knew she was not his first
lover, but she was going to make certain she was his last.

Reaching up, she cupped his face in
her hands.
 
"I am unskilled at
this, my love, but I am willing to learn what pleases you.
 
Show me.
 
I want to know."

"Everything you do pleases me,
Amelia."
 
It was true.
 
In David's eyes, she could do no wrong.
 
However, he also understood what she was
asking.
 
She was new to the world of
pleasure but she was willing to learn.
 
Thankfully, he was an excellent teacher.

He kissed her again, lightly this
time, palming her breasts in his hands.
 
She hadn't worn stays, even though with her generous curves, it would
have been proper.
 
Thankfully, he had a
thoroughly improper wife so that now she stood before him clad only in her
chemise, the raspberry-hued tips of her nipples a dusky shadow beneath the
fabric.
 
As his gaze skimmed down, he
could see the dark triangle of curls between her legs and he could not help
himself.
 
He reached down to touch her,
unsurprised when he found her already wet.

"You want me," he
breathed as he kissed the side of her neck, savoring the sweet taste of her
skin against his lips.

"I cannot remember a time when
I did not," she replied, breathless now.
 
When he kissed her again, this time nipping at the tender flesh where
her neck and shoulders met, she mewled like a kitten in need.
 
He responded by reaching down and slowly
sliding her chemise up the silken length of her legs, his fingers caressing her
soft skin as he went, hinting at the pleasures that were to come.

Up and over the sweet swell of her
hips and the gentle slope of her stomach his hands moved, hot fingertips on
aching flesh.
 
Over her rib cage and
caressing her breasts, every stroke so gentle and light that at first Amelia
wondered if she felt him there at all.
 
Then, another kiss, this one at the hollow of her throat, followed by
another one at the tops of her breasts before his mouth moved lower to meet his
hands.

She hadn't known she could feel
like this, all hot and achy and wanting, his mouth laving her nipples and his
teeth scraping gently at the tender flesh of her breasts while his hands
stroked her body, leaving her wanting more.

When he pulled back to kiss her
lips again, she pawed at him maddeningly, only breaking the kiss long enough
for him to pull the chemise over her head until she was naked before him, save
for the bejeweled choker.

"Magnificent," he
breathed, his chest rising and falling as he drank in the sight of her naked
flesh.
 
"You are truly magnificent,
my lovely, lovely Amelia.
 
And all
mine.
 
Forever."
 
Then his mouth was on hers again, hotter
this time and far hungrier.

His tongue teased the seam of her
lips and she opened for him as she had the previous night in the library.
 
The first contact was a jolt to her system,
sending fissions of pleasure along every last nerve ending, awakening a raw,
hungry desire that she had not thought herself capable of.

She was not certain how long they
kissed, only that at some point when his hands tunneled through the thick,
glorious mass that was her hair, she found the strength and courage to undress
him as well.
 
She tore at his waistcoat
and the thin fabric of his evening shirt.
 
His cravat joined her gown on the floor in a rumpled mess.

David toed off his own boots but
Amelia removed his stockings, taking a moment to press light kisses over the
tops of his feet, something that she felt compelled to do and he seemed to
rather enjoy.
 
Then they were kissing
again, mouth to mouth, this time his hands questing lower to press the center
of her against him while his fingers teased the fine nest of curls between her
legs.

She was hot and growing hotter, an
achy need slowly building inside of her, a need that she did not know how to
satisfy but suspected that David did.
 
Restlessly she shifted her legs against him and he responded by dipping
first one finger and then a second inside of her.
 
It should have shocked her and it did to some degree.
 
However as he coaxed her legs farther apart,
she found the shock replaced by something more, a need so great that she could
not articulate it.

Then he sank to his knees before
her and kissed her intimately, his tongue delving deep inside of her, tasting
her, teasing her sensitive swollen bud with the tip of his tongue.

Amelia groaned and leaned back
against the bed frame for support, her legs weak and David not in a position to
support her.
 
No matter.
 
She would support herself for she was unwilling
to ask him to stop.
 
Never had she felt
such pleasure in her life.

"Oh, David," she moaned,
her breath catching in her throat.
 
The
flicker of firelight played across the taut skin of his back, turning him gold
and bronze in the light.
 
She could see
a few old scars left over from the rambunctiousness of youth.
 
Some he had received while she was with him
and others not, but each one of them was a part of the story of his life.
 
A story they would now write together.

BOOK: The Earl Who Loved Me
11.44Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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