John, it turned out, agreed with me.
We should have left the house half an hour past to attend a ball being hosted by one of our peers, but instead we crowded inside his study. I stood near the window with my arms crossed beneath my breasts, staring out into the deep umbra of night. Rain pelted the panes and ran in rivulets down the glass, blurring my view. Every so often, a flash of blinding white broke out through the clouds, illuminating the world beyond the window for a scant heartbeat before the city was dropped back into darkness. Thunder crashed down upon us afterward, so low that the china rattled in a nearby curio.
I turned from the window and faced the room. John, Henry, McNaught, Adnan, Haydar, Doruk, and Sherman sat clustered around the fire, discussing our battle plans. We would not cede to our enemy’s demands. Instead, both John and McNaught would make use of their expansive networks of employees and agents. John planned to draw in many of the people he had placed in the homes and offices of political rivals and station them around our neighborhood. They would be the front line of defense. Dressed as street merchants, hawkers, and housewives, he meant for them to sound the alarm at the first sign of trouble. We weren’t naïve enough to think that our enemy would only hurt our reputations if we refused to do as they said. After what had befallen John’s father, we knew that the attacks might turn physical.
To that end, McNaught’s fellow agents were to be sequestered with us in the house. Three women would pose as maids, while five men would act as stable hands, footmen, and grooms. McNaught assured us that they were well-practiced in subterfuge, and none of their fellow servants would suspect them for what they truly were.
I wanted to ask him about the agent he must already have hidden within these walls, but I bit my tongue against the accusation. As much as I hated it, we needed him right now, and John was already on edge. I had no idea how he would react to news that his friend had a mole within our home, and I wouldn’t risk him excising McNaught from our lives. Not yet, at least.
Surprisingly, McNaught agreed with the precautions we had taken thus far. Henry was to stay inside. John would take Doruk and the largest of McNaught’s “footmen” with him wherever he went. Adnan and Haydar would accompany me.
Henry remained silent throughout, but I could tell from the brooding line his brow had settled into that he didn’t agree with all of the plans that were being laid. Knowing him, he would let the conversation continue unchallenged, and only after the other men left would he question John.
Sure enough, the moment the door was shut behind them, he let his unease be known. “I don’t like this.”
John, who had risen to see the others out, returned to his seat by the fire. I joined the men then, having abstained from much of the discussion because my lack of experience in these matters meant I had little to contribute. I made to sit beside Henry, but he pulled me down onto him instead, so that I sat with my rear on the cushion and my legs bent over his thighs. One arm went around my shoulders, while he stroked my knee almost absentmindedly with the other hand.
“What don’t you like?” John asked him.
“Resisting them,” Henry answered. “Addington is already on his way out of office. He’ll likely be ousted with or without our help. I see no harm in providing the last shove. Especially when it would keep us free of scandal and save us from this threat of blackmail.”
John shook his head. His expression was firm but patient. “We can survive the publication of that caricature.”
He’d taken the scraps I’d handed him and pieced it back together earlier, and though we’d told the other men that I’d received it, we hadn’t shown it to them. It was too vulgar.
Henry let out an exasperated breath. The hand on my knee tightened. “But we don’t have to survive it. The thought of people seeing us that way…it makes me ill.”
John canted his head sideways. “Since when do you care so much for the opinions of others?”
“Since when do you not?” Henry countered. “You and Kit have spent years crafting your public personas. You can’t tell me that the thought of them being damaged by this horrid cartoon doesn’t enrage you.”
John’s full lips flattened into a hard line. His expression iced over, but the slight clench in his jaw belied his true feelings. “Of course it angers me,” he said, his voice so soft I had to strain to hear it. “But if we give into them now, there’s nothing to say that they won’t turn around and demand something else the day after Addington leaves office. And then something after that, and something after that, and so on until we cannot meet their demands and they publish the caricature anyways. Better to have it out now, when we can anticipate it and control the damage. Better they learn early that we won’t be bullied as easily as their other victims.” His wrapped his fingers around the arms of his chair, knuckles turning white with unspent rage. “I am a goddamn peer of the realm, twentieth in line for the throne, and I will not be held in thrall by some unknown assailant too cowardly to work out in the open like the rest of us.”
Henry held up a hand and spoke in a soothing voice. “Peace, John.”
John released the arms of the chair and sat back, looking sullen and tired, like a petulant angel. He raked a hand through his blonde curls, disheveling them, and turned to glare into the fire. “I’m sorry. It isn’t you I’m angry with.”
“I know,” Henry said. “And I didn’t mean to question your judgment. I just don’t want to see either of you hurt by what might happen.”
I lifted his hand from my leg and wrapped my fingers through his. “You can’t protect us from everything. Like John said, there’s no telling what could happen if we give into them so easily.”
Henry turned to regard me. “You agree with this plan?”
I nodded. “Their timeline is even more accelerated than McNaught predicted. Today, I received their threats right alongside their demands. Before, didn’t they drag the torment out longer? Over the course of weeks?” I turned to John for confirmation.
He nodded. “They did.”
“Then something has changed,” I said. “They must need Addington out. Now, for some reason. It almost seems like they’re desperate for his removal, and like Sherman said, desperate people make mistakes.”
John turned to meet my gaze with eyes that looked ochre in the light of the fire. The hard hints of anger slipped away to be replaced with quiet contemplation. “I thought the same when you first showed me the papers.”
Henry rubbed his callused thumb over the back of my hand. “Have you come to some conclusion as to why?”
John shook his head. “Nothing looms on the horizon that could warrant the need for Addington’s immediate removal. At least nothing obvious to my eyes. But who knows what our enemy’s true intent is? They could simply have a personal vendetta against the man and want to see him ruined.”
“So we wait,” Henry said. “And we draw them out and hope they make a mistake.”
John met his gaze with a level stare. “Yes. Do you now see the merit in such a plan?”
“I do,” Henry said.
I didn’t realize how stiffly John held himself until he relaxed at those words. The fight seemed to go out of him, and he settled back in his chair as if a great weight had been lifted from his shoulders.
I shifted my hips to get more comfortable in my seat. “Please say that we don’t have to go tonight.”
As if to punctuate the misery involved with leaving the house, another flash of lightning tore through the room, followed by the angry bellow of thunder. It sounded like it was getting closer.
“We don’t have to go,” John said. “With this weather, I doubt we’ll be the only ones to miss the ball. Likely our absence won’t even be remarked upon. Besides,” he said, a small smile playing about his lips. “I can think of several much more enjoyable ways to spend the evening.”
An hour had passed since I’d left the study. Harriet, who still slept in my room, was already settled onto her cot by the foot of my bed. I sat by the fire, pretending to read.
A yawn sounded from behind me. “Who guards the door tonight, Your Grace?”
Glad of the excuse to abandon my book, I stood from my seat to check. Doruk sat just outside the door in the dark. The stony-faced Janissary turned his gaze toward me as a slash of light from my fireplace bisected the sitting room.
“Yes?” he asked. Like Haydar, he’d stopped using my title to address me. But unlike Haydar, I had the distinct impression that he disliked me for some reason.
“Just checking in,” I told him. Then I closed the door and went to Harriet, dropping down into a crouch so that I could speak to her at a volume that wouldn’t carry. “It’s Doruk.”
She wrinkled her nose and lowered her voice to a whisper. “I don’t think he likes me much.”
“It’s not just you. I’m beginning to think it’s all women he holds in disdain.”
She rolled her eyes. “Oh. He’s one of those men.”
Despite myself, I smiled. “Possibly. Now, I’ve been meaning to ask you something.”
She sat up a little. “Anything, Your Grace.”
“First off, when it’s just the two of us, please call me Katherine.”
“I couldn’t.” She looked at me with wide eyes, but I could tell from the hesitancy in her tone that she longed to say yes.
“What if I ordered you to?”
A small, shy grin split her face. “Well, then I couldn’t refuse, could I?”
“Consider it an order then. I think we’re past the point of formalities between us. At least in private.”
She nodded, looking pleased. “Anything else…Katherine?”
“How would you like to learn how to use a weapon?”
Her expression sobered, and she paused as if considering it. When she answered, it was slowly, the words weighted. “I think I would like that very much.”
“Good. I thought you might. Tomorrow morning, we’ll meet Adnan in the yellow sitting room and begin our lessons. I think it’s best if we keep them to ourselves.” The implication being that she not tell the other servants of them.
She nodded, picking up on it. “My lips are sealed.”
I glanced past her, at the clock on the mantle. I was supposed to return to John’s rooms within the next ten minutes. “I do need to inform the duke, however.”
“Will he allow it?” she asked. The question was valid. Not many men would.
“I believe so,” I said, pushing to my feet. “Don’t bother waiting up, there may be other things he needs to discuss with me.”
Like how exactly he planned on going about ridding me of my virginity.
Doruk remained in his place in my sitting room, but I could feel his gaze following me out into the hallway as I passed. I repressed a shudder, thankful that he wasn’t going to be one of my daily guards.
McNaught’s agents had already arrived, and since I didn’t recognize the scullery maid banking the candles in the corridor, I knew she must be one of them.
“Coast is clear,” she whispered to me as I neared.
I nodded at her in answer and crossed to John’s chambers. He waited just inside the threshold of the sitting room. Empty bottles stood ready on a table nearby.
“That trick again?” I asked.
He nodded, gaze taking in my thick dressing gown. I eyed him back, noting the way his own gaped open to reveal the taut lines of his naked chest.
“Here, let me help,” I said. The faster it was done, the faster I could find out how little else he wore beneath the garment.
Together, we lined the outer door with the glass that would act as our alert system. Though we remained quiet, a thrill of tension wound between us, and I didn’t miss the way he found excuses to brush his hand against mine or trail his fingers over my own as he readjusted a bottle I’d placed.
By the time we stood, my pulse had picked up, nerves and desire making my fingers tremble. His gaze was dark and hungry as he faced me, and without a word, he took my hand in his and led me into his bedroom.
Henry sat atop the mattress with his back against the headboard, wearing only a nightshirt. With one knee bent up in the air, a long expanse of leg was exposed, dark muscles rippling like burnished bronze in the firelight.
“Come here,” he said.
I dragged John with me, ignoring the sound of his amused chuckles. We had waited long enough for this. No use trying to hide my impatience to have one of them deflower me. After what happened with Henry in his paint studio earlier, that impatience now bordered on desperation.
Just as we reached the edge of the mattress, John tugged me back, spinning me toward him. He framed my face with his hands. Laughter danced in his eyes, heated by the flames of desire. “Slow down, Katherine. Though the mind may be ready, the flesh might resist. Better that one of us sees to your pleasure first before I find my own inside you.”
I let out a thready breath. It would be him then. “If you mean to cool my ardor, you need to stop saying things like that to me.”
On the bed, Henry laughed, low and languorous, like the sound of a storm rolling out to sea. “I saw to her pleasure earlier, but I would gladly do so again.”
John cocked a brow and gazed over my shoulder at him. “What’s this? More punishment for my lies?”
“You deserve nothing less,” Henry answered, a slight edge to his tone. “But no. It wasn’t meant to punish you; only for me and Kit to find a moment of respite amidst all this turmoil.”
John turned back to me. “And did you?”
I nodded, the motion restricted by the hold he still had on me.
His gaze dropped, and one thumb slid over my cheek to stroke across my lips. “Did you take him in this pert little mouth of yours?”
“I wish there had been time to.”
He leaned forward and pressed his lips against my own, as if he questioned my answer and sought out the taste of his lover there. The kiss lasted only a moment before he pulled away. “Then how?”
The answer came from behind us. “Up against the wall of my studio. We ruined her dress.”
Because of how close we were, I had an unobstructed view of John’s pupils. They were blown wide, black edging out topaz. He stepped closer, and I knew then that he wanted me as much as I did him. His erection pressed hard into my belly, impossible to ignore.
I leaned closer still, rising on my toes so that I stroked my way up his length with the movement. I brushed my lips over his, just once, denying us what we both wanted to taunt him instead. “He told me that if I hadn’t been a virgin, he would have fucked me like that, with you at my back to hold me up instead of the wall.”
It was at the word “fucked” that John began to move, abandoning all pretense and lifting me off my feet. He tossed me bodily onto the bed, so that the end of the sentence came out in a surprised squeak when I bounced off the mattress.
My amusement cut off as he shrugged out of his robe, revealing the full glory of his naked form. Firelight danced over compact muscles draped in golden skin. Every part of him was so tauntingly flawless that I didn’t know where to look, and my gaze roved over every inch of him as I tried to memorize the sight and store it away for when this lightness was smothered and darkness returned.
I had but a moment to study him, for he crawled up onto the bed after me, shoulders rolling as he crowded me backward, into Henry’s waiting arms.
The larger man gathered me close, my back against his chest, his long legs framing my own. His lips brushed over the shell of my ear as his hands dropped to the sash holding my dressing gown closed. “Please tell me you’re as nude as he is beneath this thing,” he said, untying it with a quick flick of his hands.
It fell open to reveal a garment that was newly arrived from Paris and so scandalous I had almost decided against wearing it. Instead of a full-length chemise, this pale-blue silken confection fell to mid-thigh. The straps were whisper thin. Fabric gathered beneath my breasts, emphasizing their fullness. Delicate lace outlined the plunging neckline, and John’s gaze followed it down to where my nipples dimpled the fabric.
“I change my mind. This is better,” Henry said in a strangled voice.
I lifted one of his hands and flattened it over my breast. “Now this is better.”
He palmed my breast, his heated skin warming the silk. I let my hand fall away and leaned my head against his shoulder, reveling in the sensation of him touching me again. I could become addicted to this feeling. This heat and languor and lust.
“Spread your legs, Katherine,” John said. “I want to taste you.”
I wore no undergarments. The hem of my chemise slipped to my waist in a whisper of silk as I drew my knees up and apart, exposing myself to him. Despite the fact that I had done this before, that he had watchedme pleasure myself to the sight of him and Henry, a hot blush still burned my cheeks.
John sat back on his heels, gaze roaming over me and Henry. His manhood swelled between us, and he took it in his hand and caressed it with slow, lingering strokes. “The sight of you two.”
Henry’s palm stroked a final time over my taunt nipple, drawing a sigh from me as he slid it lower still. The heat of his skin flared over my ribs, my belly, and my hipbone, before he curled his fingers over the hem of my chemise and drew it higher.
“Together?” he rumbled.
John and I both nodded.
My thighs trembled as John moved toward me. I wanted him, wanted to feel the heat of his mouth on my most intimate parts, but I was still nervous. I bunched my hands in the sheets beside Henry’s thighs, unsure of what to do with them. I wanted to touch one of them, but with Henry’s arousal pinned between us and John’s still out of reach, I was left with limited options.
My insecurity fled as John placed his hands on my knees and pushed them further apart, making room for the width of his shoulders. He dropped a hot kiss to the inside of my thigh, then another, then another, working his way slowly downward.
He paused several inches away from the apex of my thighs, staring straight into the folds of my sex. “What a beautiful cunt you have.”
I let out a harsh exhale. Something about hearing such a profane declaration fall from the lips of such an angelic looking man did things to me.
He reached out and stroked his fingers through the evidence of my arousal, and I shivered beneath his touch. “See how it glistens like morning dew.” He lifted his gaze to mine and raised his hand toward his lips. His eyes pinned me in place as he sucked his fingers into his mouth.
Behind me, Henry swore. His manhood throbbed against my lower back.
John pulled his fingers from his lips with a pop. His gaze fell back to my sex. “You taste as good as you look.”
My nerves were drowned beneath the waves of desire that crashed through my body. All that remained now was my need for him. I shifted my hips and spread my legs even wider. “Then what are you waiting for?”
With a devastating smile, he flattened himself to the bed. His arms went beneath my thighs and curled around them, hands landing on my hips. I was propped up by his biceps, held in place by the grip he had on my waist, and even more exposed to him than before. All it took was a single flex of his muscles to pull me up to his mouth.
His full lips parted, breath hot against my aroused skin. As Henry and I watched, his pink tongue darted out and he licked the entire length of my seam. I tensed at the sensation. It felt good, but the sight of what he did gave me more pleasure than the act itself. Then he did it again, and again, and now I didn’t know which was more enjoyable.
Henry slid a hand down, toward John’s mouth. He raised his other and brushed his fingers over my nipple. The twin sensation of John’s tongue and Henry’s caress had me clenching my teeth against the moan the threatened.
Between my thighs, John made a low sound of hunger and buried his face into my flesh. It was then that Henry’s finger grazed over my clit. There was no stopping my moan now. Overcome with sensation, I dropped my head against Henry’s shoulder and closed my eyes. A shudder rolled through my body. My breaths came out ragged. John sucked at my folds and then traced them with his tongue. I shifted my hips restlessly beneath him, needing more but not yet knowing exactly what or how to ask for it.
“Stop teasing her, John,” Henry said, a note of impatience in his tone.
John paused to shoot us an unrepentant grin and then resumed his task with renewed vigor. I shouldn’t have worried about being left unsatisfied. John was as adept at reading the cues of my body as he was my facial expressions. His tongue slicked between my folds and then stroked, slowly, over my entrance.
Yes, there. Right there.
I collapsed back against Henry. In answer, he rubbed his hand over my clit harder, faster. I felt his lips against my ear, and he growled, “Dig your fingers into his hair and show him how you want him to fuck you with his mouth.”
I abandoned my hold on the sheets. John’s hair was as soft as silk beneath my fingers. I fisted my hands into his curls and pulled him closer. From his low, answering groan, he liked it.
All hesitancy left him. He plunged his tongue into my entrance and drank down my nectar with hungry noises as he and Henry herded me toward release. Then John clenched his arms, shifted the position of my hips, and truly began to fuck me with his tongue. I went rigid within his grip. Every muscle in my body clenched as, together, they tore my pleasure from me. Black spots danced across my vision. My ears roared with the pounding of my pulse. The sounds I made were more akin to sobs than moans, and I didn’t know whether or I was coming, or dying.
That unbearable pleasure faded in increments, gripping me in its sweet embrace far longer than I was used to. I languished in Henry’s arms, deaf to the words he whispered into my ear. By the time I blinked my eyes open, John was rolling a French letter over his straining manhood.
“It should be now, Kitten,” Henry said. My legs had collapsed outward as I spent myself, and he gripped one of my thighs and lifted, bending my right leg at the knee again. “This will likely hurt, and the sting will be eased while you’re still in the throes of your release.”
“There’s oil, in the pocket of my dressing gown,” I managed. “Mrs. Marston said to use it.” I’d tried her trick with the lemon juice and cotton ball yesterday, and I couldn’t bring myself to use it now. It was too awkward and it burned something awful. We’d just have to take every other precaution.
John pulled the oil from my pocket and then leaned over me and pressed a searing kiss against Henry’s mouth with lips that still glistened from my release.
They broke apart, and amber eyes filled my sight as John glanced down. He held my gaze even as he unstoppered the oil and coated the French letter in it. The smell of cedar filled the room. “Tell me if I need to pause.”
He planted one hand beside Henry’s hips and braced himself up with it. The other fell to his manhood. He gripped it at the base and guided the head to my entrance.
“Ready?” he asked.
“Yes,” I answered.
“Try to relax as much as possible,” he said. “It will only hurt this first time, and hopefully not for long. After tonight, there will be nothing but pleasure between the three of us.”
I reached up and gripped his shoulders. “Then let’s not dissemble any longer. I’d like to come again before the night is over.”
The smile he sent me in response smoldered. He’d been staring into my eyes, but he looked down now as he rubbed the tip of his manhood slowly over my throbbing sex. With a small movement, he began to push inside. My channel was tight, and unbidden, my inner muscles clenched against the intrusion.
John stilled above me.
“I’m fine,” I said, pulling at his shoulders.
John glanced at Henry, sending him some silent instruction. Henry’s arms had been wrapped around me, bracing me up, and he let me go now and shifted his grip. One hand went to a breast, the other back down to my clit. I almost told him not to touch me there – I felt overstimulated already – but when his nimble fingers stroked over that small bud, a wave of pleasure followed in their wake, and I knew that it wouldn’t take much to make me come again.
John dropped his head, using his teeth to pull aside my plunging neckline until my other breast slid free. He latched his full lips over my peaked nipple and lavished it with his tongue. My sex clenched around his manhood, but now it felt as though my body was trying to draw him in instead of push him out.
With another thrust, he surged deeper.
I hissed at the sharp flash of pain that followed. God, but it hurt. Like something inside of me had torn.
Henry stilled his fingers. John froze, releasing my nipple to look up at me.
“I need a moment,” I told them.
Henry kissed my temple. “Just breath.”
I realized then that I’d been holding my breath, and I’d clenched up with the lack of air. I forced myself to draw a breath in, slowly, and then another, until the worst of the pain had passed.
John stayed where he was while I recovered, barely inside of me, and dropped his mouth back to my breast. Henry began to move his hands again, and the men went back to pleasuring me in what way they could until my body was ready for more.
Several minutes passed before lust began to overtake pain. With a low moan, I pulled at John. He released my breast, leaned his forehead against mine, and pushed another inch into me. Though his member was smaller than Henry’s, he felt huge. My body strained to accept him. How was I ever going to take his full length? For that matter, how would I take Henry’s? I could feel the sheer size of him pressed against my back, and though the contraband books I’d acquired told me a woman’s body was able to expand internally, I wondered if there was a limit to it.
John started to slide out of me instead of further in, and I was helpless to keep from whimpering at the resulting burn.
He stilled and dropped a kiss to my lips. “It’ll go easier if I coat myself in you.”
“Would more oil help?” I asked.
His lashes fluttered shut as he shook his head. “No need. You’re soaked.” His voice sounded strained.
We stayed like that, breathing hard, our faces inches apart as he began to push his way inside me again. It felt easier this time, my body more willing to accept the invasion, but then he pushed further still and that uncomfortably full feeling returned.
“Shhh,” he said, soothing me as he began pulling out again.
It was a struggle not to become frustrated. I wanted him to bury himself to the hilt, but my body still resisted.
“More,” I said, voice low with emotion.
He obliged, easing himself in and out of me in slow, careful increments, allowing me time to adjust. Each time he paused, Henry stroked his fingers over my clit in a way that kept my body from clenching up again. I shifted against him, trying to find some way to see to his pleasure in response, but it was no use.
“I want to touch you,” I told him.
“I want you to touch me,” he answered.
“I can’t…” I took another glorious inch of John inside of me, “…like this.”
“Then let’s move,” John said.
He eased himself fully out, and soon we laid on our sides, my chemise discarded on the floor. Henry was still at my back, but there was enough space that I was able to snake my hand between us and wrap my fingers around his girth. He strained away from me to grab the oil from the bedside table, and then my work was eased when he coated my hand in it.
As I stroked him, he lifted one of my thighs so John could slide forward. My husband fitted the tip of his manhood to my entrance again. Like this, we were eye-to-eye, and it felt far more intimate than it had a moment ago.
I lifted my free hand and stroked my thumb over his swollen lower lip. “Kiss me.”
He leaned in and covered my mouth with his, coaxing my own open. He had to hold his body in check against hurting me, but the same didn’t hold true for this kiss, and if the way he plied his tongue against mine was anything to go by, he longed to unleash himself upon me with the full strength of his ardor. God, I wanted that too. If not tonight, then soon.
Henry still held my thigh, and he lifted it higher as John shifted his hips and pushed inside of me once more.
I broke the kiss, gasping. “I’m fine,” I said when he stilled. “It still burns a little, but now it feels good too.”
Henry propped himself up on an elbow and he leaned down, kissing my neck as John began to open me up to him again. He kissed my shoulder next. Then the side of my breast. I turned my torso toward him, and he covered my nipple with his mouth. The heat of his tongue was feverishly warm. He flicked it over my taunt peak in a way that made my breath hitch.
I gripped him tighter and pumped my fist up and down his straining cock. In response, he clamped my nipple between his teeth. Light burst from behind my eyelids, and I shoved my hips forward so that John speared into me.
“More,” I told them both.
With our legs pressed together from hip to knee, John could only push so deep. I felt him shift, try to improve the angle, but soon a low growl of frustration sounded at the back of his throat.
I met his eyes and continued to stroke Henry. “What do you need?”
“Turn around,” he said. “Let me take you from behind.”
He pulled out, and I rolled away from him. Now it was he who held one of my thighs aloft, pulling it back to rest atop his as he pressed the head of his manhood to my entrance. Henry leaned in to kiss me, and I moaned into his mouth as John drove his hips forward. This was a much better angle than before. That burning sensation had almost entirely subsided, and in its wake, my pleasure returned full force.
“Christ, you’re tight,” John said.
I arched my back and realigned my hips toward him, hoping to ease his way. All the while Henry’s tongue caressed mine, his fingers plied my nipples, and my fist pumped over his straining manhood. In this position, John’s cock stroked forward into me in a way that sent delicious tendrils of friction coursing deep inside. My inner muscles started to pulse around him. I drove my hips back to meet his next thrust. I wanted him deeper, harder. There was an ache forming within me that I knew he could ease if only he reached it.
He grabbed my waist, and with one final shove, he was fully sheathed.
I broke Henry’s kiss and gasped. “John, I…”
“I know,” he said.
His hand slipped over my hip, fingers trailing through the curls that guarded my sex until they came to land on the spot I needed them. He timed his movements, stroking in and out of me as his nimble fingers played over that sensitive bud. I was being touched in every place I’d longed to be. John’s cock filled me up while his fingers played a devastating rhythm over my clit. Henry’s large hands covered my breasts, kneading and plying my nipples in turn.
I arched my back even more, straining toward John. The angle shifted, and he stroked over something deep inside. I froze, head swimming.
John misread my reaction and began to pull out.
I reached back with my free hand and grabbed his leg. “No. Do that again. Harder.”
With a groan, he drove into me.
It felt like the storm had torn the roof off the house and lightning sizzled through my blood. Every nerve came alive. Every part of my body became erogenous. It was transcendent. Miraculous. Now I knew why some people claimed they saw God when they came.
Henry stared at me with the same concentration he turned to his artwork, like he wanted to paint what he saw. “Your face, Kit.” His eyes dropped to where John’s hand worked between my legs, and his brows drew together as heat darkened his gaze.
Knowing he was close, I put both hands on him, one stroking his girth while the other fell lower, to gently fondle his heavy sac like John had. He slaved his movements to John’s, thrusting into my hand as John thrust into my cunt. His abs clenched with the motion, muscles rolling in a sensual wave. Even his shoulders and biceps began to strain. Soon his hands lost their purpose on my breasts, and he released them to grip my shoulders and drive his hips faster. I squeezed my fist tighter and pumped it up and down. With a growl, he covered my mouth with his, our tongues tangling as he spent himself in my hand.
Behind me, John leaned his forehead against the back of my head and increased his own rhythm, no doubt driven to the brink after watching Henry’s release. His cocked stroked in and out, hitting that spot deep inside with every thrust. I ground my mouth against Henry’s as the pressure built. I felt it everywhere, in my clenching thighs, my pulsing sex, the stiffening of my spine. The storm inside me had built to a crescendo, and once its strength was spent, I feared the devastation that would be left in its wake.
With one final thrust, John dropped me into the epicenter of the tempest. I broke the kiss with Henry and buried my face into his chest, clinging to his shoulders as I muffled my scream. John continued to pound into me, prolonging the climax, and soon my back arched, my hips flexed, and I closed my eyes and gave myself over to my pleasure. The men no longer existed. I no longer existed. I wasn’t a woman; I was a wild thing.
If Death arrived for me in that moment, I would have gone with him happily. I would have taken his hand and let him lead me into that dark night with no regrets and a smile on my face.
As it was, I somehow managed to survive.
I felt John shudder, and holding to our agreement, he pulled out of me before he came, thrusting up between the cheeks of my ass as he spent himself inside the French letter he wore.
All three of us were breathless and shaking. Henry’s chest shuddered as he laughed.
I pulled my face away from him and rolled, boneless, onto my back. “My god. Please tell me we can do that again once we’ve all recovered.”
“You may not be able to,” John said.
He tipped his head, and I looked down, following his gaze. There was blood between my legs.
Henry rolled from the bed. “I’ll get her a drink. Should help ease the pain.”
“I’m not in pain,” I told them.
John met my eyes. “Yet.”
With that dire warning to cool my blood, I sat up. And winced. Ah, there was the pain. Soreness, deep inside. Burning near my entrance, from where John had pushed through the evidence of my virginity. Maybe a dram or two of scotch was a good idea after all.
Henry stood with his back to me at the drink cart. The dying glow of the fire painted his muscles in scarlet and carmine. I could have sat there and stared at his figure for hours. The way his body rippled as he turned was entrancing, made me momentarily forget the ache between my legs. At least until I leaned over to take my drink from him.
“Ow,” I said, cringing. I tossed back the contents of the glass in one go and handed it back to him as the liquor seared down my throat. “Another, please.”
Henry’s fingers covered mine over the glass. His expression was pensive as he looked down at me. “That bad?”
“Worth it,” I said in answer.
He gave me a small smile and went to the drink cart.
John sat up beside me and leaned in to whisper, “You did that just to see him walk back and forth again, didn’t you?”
“Could you blame me?” I asked, watching those long legs carry Henry across the room. The way his ass moved with every step was a sight to behold. I had a feeling that after this, I would start finding every excuse I could to touch it. Or to make him fetch things for me while naked.
He poured me another drink and turned toward us. Now I couldn’t tell which view was better. Though he wasn’t aroused, his manhood still hung heavy between his thighs. Thighs that stood out in bas relief as he padded back to the bed.
John chuckled, the sound low and satisfied. “I thought of asking him to pour me one while he was over there, but now I think I’d like to watch him make the journey again.”
I dropped my voice to a conspiratorial whisper. “He might catch onto us.”
“Worth it,” he answered.
Henry did indeed catch onto us, but instead of being annoyed, he took his time on the third trip to the drink cart, and I could swear his muscles flexed just a little bit harder as he moved.
Afterward we stripped the bed and cleaned ourselves off. I hissed as I dragged a washcloth between my legs. Yes, it was worth it, but I really hoped this pain passed quickly.
John pulled a set of clean sheets from the trunk at the foot of the bed and he and Henry remade it as I tugged my chemise back over my head. I was just reaching for my dressing gown when Henry came up behind me. He wrapped his heavy arms around my waist, pulled me close, and rumbled, “Stay.”
I turned to John, who’d already climbed back into bed. He met my eyes and nodded, and I was helpless to resist. Though I should probably leave, I didn’t want to return to my rooms and sleep alone in my large, empty bed, and I felt a flush of warmth that they didn’t want me to either. I’d have to make up something to tell Harriet, again, but that could wait until the morning. Right now, I wanted to remain here in this soft, hazy feeling of warmth and love, for as long as possible.
Henry helped me onto the bed next to John, then climbed in on the other side of me.
I settled down beneath the covers and rolled onto my side to face my husband.
John turned his head, eyes heavy with sleep, and met my gaze. We stared at each other for a long moment. Like this, all pretense was gone. All art and artifice. We were open to each other as we’d never been before. He’d been so gentle with me. So much more caring than I’d anticipated. My needs had come first. My wants. Together, he and Henry had given me a better deflowering than I could have dreamed of, and I would never forget it.
He reached out and rested his hand against my hip, stroking his fingers over the silk that covered it. A small smile tugged at his full lips. Contentment and peace settled over his features as his eyelids fluttered shut.
I started to hope that maybe, just maybe, I wasn’t the only one who had fallen in love with their spouse.
The mattress shifted beneath me, and Henry fitted himself against my back, spooning me. He hadn’t bothered pulling his nightshirt back on, and his body was warm against the length of mine. I sighed and I settled into him.
He reached across me and brushed a stray curl from John’s forehead. “He looks peaceful like this, doesn’t he?”
“Like an angel,” I said.
John cracked his eyes open and sent me a sardonic grin. “Don’t trust the devil at your back then. He put you between us for a reason.”
“Oh?” I asked.
He closed his eyes and nodded. “This angel kicks in his sleep.”
Copyright © 2020 by Navessa Allen
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.
This book is a work of fiction. References to real people, establishments, locales, events, and organizations are used fictitiously and only with the intent to provide a sense of historical authenticity. All other characters, dialog, incidents, and settings are drawn from the author’s imagination and are not to be construed as real.