Read The Earl's Design of Love: The Stenwick Siblings Online

Authors: Morganna Mayfair,Kirsten Osbourne

Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Romance, #Paranormal, #Regency, #Historical Romance

The Earl's Design of Love: The Stenwick Siblings (7 page)

BOOK: The Earl's Design of Love: The Stenwick Siblings
9.04Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Diana smiled.  “Of course.  The design was very intriguing.  I can’t wait to see what you’ve come up with.”  Just thinking about the fountain he was making filled her with happiness.  She knew it was going to be something truly special.

“Thank you.”  He knew any other young lady in London would be furious with him for working during his honeymoon, but Diana seemed to understand what he needed.

“I knew you were a working man when I married you.  I’m proud that you work.” 

He closed his eyes for a moment, having a hard time with the emotions that washed over him.  If he had created a woman who would believe the way he did, and be perfectly compatible with him, he couldn’t have done a better job.  He looked at her for a moment, taking in her beautiful face that he just couldn’t get enough of.  “Do you have any idea how perfect you seem to me at just this moment?”

She smiled ruefully.  “I promise you, you’re the only one who sees me that way.”  She took a bite of her potato before asking, “Do you go to London when parliament is in?”

He shook his head.  “I’m not there all the time.  Anthony sends me a message when he thinks I’ll be interested in something that’s taking place, but for the most part, I stay here and work.  I don’t have a lot of time to sit and listen to random squabbles in parliament.”

When they were finished with their meal, he took her to his library.  “I know you mentioned that you enjoy reading.  My sisters often leave books here when they visit, and there many of the classics.”

“I can read whatever I want?” she asked in surprise.  Her mother had always looked over her books before she was allowed to read them.  She had gotten to the point she would send Anna out to find her a book
, and she would hide it in the pages of one of the books her mother approved, so she could read.  She liked a good classic as much as anyone else, but when she read she wanted a total escape from the world, and to her mind, a novel was the best way to do that.

“Of course.  I’m not going to try to control your mind.”

“What if I want to read something scandalous?  Lord Byron’s poetry or the latest novel?”  She would read them.  There was no doubt about that.  What she wanted to know was whether or not she could read them openly.

He smiled.  “Well, we can’t be running off to London to buy books every week, but if you stock up while we’re there, I don’t see that it would be a problem.  Well, as long as you’re not talking about spending too much on books, of course.”  He looked worried that she might pauper him with her book reading habit for a moment.

She laughed and threw her arms around him.  “I’m extremely frugal.  Thank you for letting me read whatever I want!”  The freedom that would come from being a married woman, coupled with the man she’d married, was going to make her a truly happy woman.

He caught her waist, looking down into her face for a moment.  “Your mother didn’t let you read what you wanted to read?”
  He knew most of the mothers in Society kept strict control over everything their daughters did, but he would have thought her mother would approve of her reading, not try to discourage it.

She rolled her eyes.  “No, she really didn’t.  She would force me to hide the books I was reading in another book so she wouldn’t know about them.”

Percy laughed.  “She forced you to hide your books, did she?”  He loved the way she’d phrased that.

Diana nodded, her face serious.  “She couldn’t really expect me to read scientific treatises happily.  No one could.”

He shook his head with a grin.  She was exactly what he’d needed in his life without even realizing it.  He kissed her lightly.  “You are something special, Lady Stenwick.”

She looked at him startled for a moment.  “Lady
Stenwick?  That sounds…strange when applied to me.”  She hadn’t considered that her name would change when she married him, and the honorific?  It wasn’t something she needed, but she knew her mother would be overwhelmed with bliss the first time Diana was called that in her presence.

He stroked his hand across her cheek.  “I promise you, it will soon fit you like your own glove.”  He looked toward the window.  “You know…the sun really has set.”  He gave her a leering look that she couldn’t help but laugh at.

“So it has.  I think I’ll find myself a good book, and retire for the night.  Good night, milord.”  She curtsied and walked off as if to peruse his shelves, making certain her back was to him so he wouldn’t see the impish grin that had crossed her face.

He walked up behind her and leaned down, kissing the back of her neck, thankful that ladies’ hairstyles were such that her hair wasn’t in his way. 

She pretended he wasn’t there as she selected a book.  “Oh, I’ve wanted to read this one.”  She flipped through the pages, sucking in her breath as he bit her neck.  She had planned to send Anna out to get it for her, but there had been no time amid the wedding preparations.

“Take it upstairs with you then.  You can read it tomorrow.”  His lips on her neck and his hands stroking her waist left her in no doubt of what he considered more important than her reading the book.

She turned to him, brushing her lips against his.  “Give me ten minutes to change into my nightgown.  Please.”

He caught her waist and turned her soft kiss into one of great passion.  “Hurry.  I don’t want to wait.”
  He knew he must seem terribly impatient to her, but he was impatient.  He didn’t think he could wait much longer to touch her the way he wanted to.

Honestly, she didn’t either.  “I’ll hurry.”  She turned and all but ran from the room and to the stairs to rush to get ready before he joined her.

Chapter Seven



Percy watched Diana run from him with a smile.  She’d been hugging the book to her chest as if she’d just been giv
en a great gift.  He was happy she would entertain herself with books.  He wasn’t going to be able to give her the time most of the women of the ton demanded from her husbands, and didn’t want her to wander around his estates thinking about how much better things would be in London.  That could lead to her wanting to go to London for the Season, and he would rather shoot himself in the foot.

He took his time walking upstairs, leaving the lamps lit for Bertram to put out.  He untied his cravat as he walked.  He wondered how she was going to react when he came to breakfast in his work clothes the following morning.  It was one thing for her to know he was a stone mason.  Another for her to see him in his work clothes on a regular basis. 
He shrugged.  She’d get used to it. 

He was certain she’d dress in her dressing room, so he went into his room and undressed himself, pulling on a dressing gown to hide his nudity from her.  He expected her to be more than a little skittish, but new brides were supposed to be, right?  He was just glad there were strong feelings between them to make it easier on them both.
  He worried about hurting her, because he’d never been with a virgin before, but he would be careful.

He waited what felt like forever, sitting on the edge of the bed, before finally knocking on the door that connected the master chamber to her room.  She opened it, looking embarrassed, in an emerald green dressing gown.  Her blond hair was flowing down her back and around her shoulders.  He took her hand and pulled her into his room, closing the door between the two chambers.

Cupping her face in his hands, Percy whispered, “You look beautiful.”  He’d never realized just how long her hair was.  It cascaded like a waterfall down her back and to her waist, making him want to run his fingers through it.

Diana looked up at him with nervous eyes.  No one but Anna and a few dressmakers had seen her
in such a state of undress before.  “Thank you,” she whispered.  She looked around his bedroom, which she had paid little attention to earlier in the day.  She’d been too busy being angry with him to think about this being the room she’d sleep in.

The bed in the middle of the room was huge, bigger than she’d ever seen.  It was decorated in dark, masculine colors, but she liked it.  It seemed to suit him well.  “I like your bedroom,” she said in a whisper.

“Our bedroom,” he countered, his lips claiming hers in a soft teasing kiss.  “I feel like I’ve waited years to see you standing here.”  If he could paint, he would try to capture this moment on canvas, he realized.  She was perfect as she stood before him, beautiful and willing. 

She smiled.  “We’ve only known each other for three weeks.”  At her own words, Diana felt a pang of panic.  What was she thinking agreeing to spend the rest of her life with a man she’d only known for three weeks?  What kind of idiot did that?
  Her eyes widened in alarm.

He saw the panic on her face, and his hands stroked up and down her back, trying to ease her mind.  “There’s no reason to be nervous, sweetheart.  I’m not going to hurt you.”

“I know.  It’s just…I’ve only known you for three weeks.”  She trusted him more than she’d ever trusted another man in her life, but she’d never done this with another man.  She prayed the panic wasn’t as obvious as she thought it was.

Percy sighed.  “There was a time when our fathers would have arranged our marriage and we wouldn’t have met until we were standing in front of a priest.”
  He wished he knew the right words to soothe her, but he could understand her panic to some extent.  She was giving him rights over her body that no one else had ever had.  How could it not frighten her?

A half smile crossed her lips.  “I would have really panicked then.”
  The joking words slipped out before she could stop them.

He laughed.  “We’re meant to be together, remember?”

She nodded slowly, trying to force down the panic that she was certain was about to consume her.  How could she allow a man she barely knew the kind of liberties Percy had every right to take with her body?  “I remember.  That doesn’t help a lot, but I remember.”  She sighed, wishing she could just stop worrying and let things happen.

He slid his arm around her waist and led her to the dresser off to the side of the room.  There was a long mirror covering the wall above it.  “Look in the mirror.  What do you see?”

Her sigh of contentment told him immediately he’d done the right thing.  She looked at the spot just above their touching shoulders and smiled.  “I’ve never seen
a truer lavender.  I didn’t know that shade even existed.  Not for unmarried people anyway.”  She sighed resting her head on his shoulder for a moment.

He looked at her for a moment.  “We’re married.”
  His face in the mirror showed his confusion.

She shook her head.  “No, I mean I see that color for people who are already married to other people.  Never for couples who are actually married to each other
or who could marry.”

Percy shook his head.  “That’s really sad.”

Diana turned to him, thankful he understood.  “It
sad.  I’m so glad you understand.”  She wrapped her arm around his waist and leaned her head on his shoulder.  “I’m glad you’re the man I’m going to spend the rest of my life with.”  No matter how nervous she was, she needed to remember that.  He was the man she needed to spend her life with.  He was her soul mate.  There wasn’t another man in the world who would suit her as well as the man standing in front of her.

He stroked her back for a moment.  “Not afraid anymore?”

She shook her head.  “I couldn’t be afraid of you.”  She looked up at him and stood on tiptoe to kiss his chin.  “Even though you make me feel like a child with as much taller as you are.”

He looked at them in the mirror and smiled.  He couldn’t see the aura, of course, but her height in comparison with his was amusing.  She was a petite woman, and he had always been a bear of a man.  His hands were the size of dinner plates, and he’d often felt like a behemoth as he stepped into a ballroom, so much larger than everyone.  She made him feel large, yes, but she made him feel like it was his duty in life to protect her.  “We do look rather odd together.”

She shrugged.  “I think we look like two people who complete each other.  Your dark contrasts with my light.  You’re so much bigger than me, but we’re like two halves of a whole.”  Like two pieces of a puzzle that fit together and could never be complete apart.  She knew the words were dramatic, so she didn’t say them aloud, but she couldn’t help but think them.

He nodded, tilting her chin up for his kiss.  “Just remember, you complete me, and I complete you.”  His lips slowly lowered to hers
, and he used his tongue to carefully spread her lips.  His hands moved down to her hips to pull her against his body, before stroking her back through the silk of her gown.  “You feel so good to me.”

Diana wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him, stroking her tongue against his as he’d taught her.  How could she have been afraid of him?  He was everything she’d ever wanted in life all in one
very large package.

His hands untied her robe and pushed it off her shoulders, his mouth kissing a trail from her mouth, down her neck and across her shoulder.  “You’re mine.”

She nodded.  “But that means you’re mine too.”  She stood proudly before him in just her nightgown, her dressing gown on the floor at her feet.  The nightgown she’d chosen covered her everywhere necessary, but the thin straps on her shoulders, and the low cut bodice left little to the imagination.  Her small firm breasts pushed against the front of her gown, her nipples already hard.  The nightgown ended at just below her knees and had a slit up the side all the way to her hip.

He looked at what he’d uncovered and swallowed hard.  “I’m going to go as slowly as I can.”  He scooped her up into his arms and laid her onto the bed, before coming down beside her. 
One hand toyed with one of her curls while the other cupped her breast, his thumb finding her nipple through the thin fabric covering her breasts.  “Our mothers helped you pick out this gown?” he asked.  He was surprised his mother knew that gowns like this existed.

She blushed.  “Well, they helped me pick out
gown with this fabric.  I went back and changed the order.  They chose a nightgown that had a ruffle covering my neck to my chin and went all the way to my ankles.  It had long sleeves as well.  I thought you’d like this one better.”

He chuckled.  “You were right.”  His mouth toyed with hers while his hands explored her body, leaving no inch untouched.  She moaned softly as his hand moved under the hem of the gown and slowly pushed it up, so he could stroke along her knee and thigh.

Diana was glad she’d had a talk with Anna about what would happen that evening, because she knew her fear would have been greater if she hadn’t known.  She was still nervous, but the fear had left her when he’d shown her their aura.  They truly were meant to be together. 

He removed her gown and laid beside her on the bed, his eyes roaming over her while his hands toyed with her softness.  “You feel so good,” he whispered, his mouth crushing down on hers again, this time more insistent than before. 

She pushed against the robe on his shoulders, wanting to feel him as well.  Why did he think he should touch her naked body while still wearing his dressing gown?  She wanted to feel him too.  Her hands went to the knot at the belt of his robe and untied it.

She pushed it off his shoulders and pressed kisses along his skin from his neck to his shoulder.  Her hands combed through the thick mat of hair on his chest.  “You’re like a giant bear,” she said with a giggle.

He growled in a fair imitation of a bear before swooping down and kissing her passionately.  He stroked her with more purpose now, his hand going to her thighs and sliding between them.  Slowly, he stroked up to her core, one finger playing with her bud of pleasure hidden within her folds.  He toyed with her for a moment before sliding his finger deep within her moist depths.

She let out a low moan, moving her hips wildly.  “That feels so good.”

Percy nipped at her neck before moving the fingers of his free hand down to toy with her nipple.  “I want to be inside you,” he whispered softly.

She blushed, but nodded.  “I want that too.”

He moved a second finger into her, making certain she was ready for him before he moved beyond the strokes that were mild compared to what he wanted to do.  How had he survived his entire life without making love with this woman?

Once she was ready
, he moved over her between her spread thighs.  “It’s going to hurt a little,” he told her, regretting the pain he was about to cause her.  “If I could keep it from happening, I would.”  He’d happily take any pain she would ever again feel into himself.

She smiled up at him.  “I’ll be fine as long as I get to be one with you.”

He groaned and carefully guided himself to her moist opening.  Pressing within her, he plunged deep and then held himself still as he waited for her to accept his body and become used to him. 

Diana closed her eyes for a moment as the pain overwhelmed her, but it quickly faded and left her with only
an odd feeling of fullness.  She looked up at him, her eyes wide.  “It feels…strange.  Like you’re stretching me to the point where I can’t bear it, but it doesn’t hurt any longer.”

Percy kissed her quickly before pulling back and plunging inside her again.  “No pain?”  His voice was a mere whisper, the passion obviously overtaking him.

She reached up to stroke his cheek.  “No pain.”

“Thank God.”  He began the dance he’d dreamed of since meeting her, slowly withdrawing from her, only to plunge back inside.

Diana laid beneath him, unsure what to do as she enjoyed the strange sensations having him inside her caused.  After a moment she felt her body tensing and finally, she let out a cry of pleasure.

As soon as she clenched around him, he let out a low groan as he allowed himself to spill his seed inside her.  He rolled to his side and held her against him.  His hands stroked her constantly, and he kissed her forehead.  He didn’t speak as he struggled to control his breathing.

Diana snuggled into his arms, her face buried in his neck.  She didn’t know what she’d expected, but it was not what she’d gotten.  He had treated her with a gentleness she hadn’t thought possible, and she felt amazing.  After a moment she stretched like a cat against him.  “I liked that.  Can we do it again?”

He laughed softly.  “Not right away, but I promise you, we’ll be doing that again very soon.”  Percy stared down into her green eyes and knew he was looking into eternity.  He would have this woman by his side for the rest of his days.  She truly did complete him.



BOOK: The Earl's Design of Love: The Stenwick Siblings
9.04Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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