*** Erotic Romance ~~ Colonial American Historical ~ SHORT NOVELLA ~~ 21,778 words / approx. 80 pages in length ***
His Harlot: A Midsummer's Sin is
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*** Erotic Romance ~~ Colonial American Historical ~ SHORT NOVELLA ~~ 21,778 words / approx. 80 pages in length ***
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Copyright © Natasha Blackthorne, 2012, 2013
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New Balcombe, Massachusetts Bay Colony
She was clad in only her shift.
Moonlight illuminated the thin cloth into a shimmering veil. The glowing ivory of her gentle, generous curves, hints of rose-pink nipples, a shadowy triangle between her long, lithesome legs—all teased Thomas’ imagination.
Blood rushed from his head to fill his cock.
Heart thundering, he leaned against the tree. He barely dared to take a steadying breath lest the vision of that girl dancing in the clearing might disappear and prove itself a mere figment of his long-starved lust.
Dear sweet Christ.
Not since his days at Oxford had he seen a woman’s body displayed so wantonly, then only in dimly lit, rented chambers. Never in brilliant moonlight.
The wind calmed. The rustling leaves of the tall trees grew silent. Her laughter carried to him. The sound—so free, so girlish—sent pleasurable shivers through him, sensual and immediate, as if a woman had raked her nails softly down his back. His erection throbbed, getting bigger, stiffer, straining his breeches. Sweating, he grasped himself and gave his aching shaft a firm squeeze.
God. It was more than a man, a widower of over a year, could bear.
More so for Thomas. Physical passion had repulsed his wife. For his beloved Patience’s sake, after the conception of his son, he’d left her in peace. Now he’d been three years without the ease of a woman’s soft, warm body…
That girl—Rosalind Abramson—was everything he craved.
She was within reach.
They were alone.
He wanted to go her. To seize her. To crush that beguiling body against his own.
No! He released his cock and took a deep steadying breath. He’d learned how to master his passions. He was a Puritan now, no longer a libertine.
He would not yield.
He closed his eyes, but all he saw was hair burning like flames in the noon sun. He was taken back to a little over a year previously when he had been riding in a carriage on a squalid London street.
He had been with his family, on his way to board the Abigail for Boston. His son had taken ill from the stench of the docks and had forced the stopping of the vehicle. Thomas stood outside the vehicle, talking with the driver as they allowed the interior to air.
He looked up and saw her. Rosalind. She wore no head covering—her curls bounced wildly as she ran towards him. She held her skirts—the most garish hue of green he’d ever beheld—high enough to display trim ankles and well-turned calves clad in pale pink silk stockings that gave her legs the appearance of being completely bare. She lifted her knees and run like a boy. A fine sheen of sweat sparkled on her flushed face and on the exposed tops of her generous breasts.
Thomas inhaled deeply and pinched the bridge of his nose, willing the memory away. But the image only intensified.
She had increased her pace, though it didn’t seem possible for anyone, much less a woman, to move that quickly.
She came upon him so fast and close, he thought she meant to crash into him. His man’s body, so starved for the touch of feminine flesh, longed to feel her body colliding with his. Such desire—it held him immobile. At the last moment, as she turned, bypassing him, her eyes, dark brown and large, caught his—full of terror—he could feel it reverberate in his own bones… His heart contracted with sympathy. As she hauled herself into the open carriage door, a whoosh of air, scented with roses and musk, blew over him.
The carriage where his wife had waited.
The crack of a branch snapped. Drawn into the present, he opened his eyes.
She was still there.
Dancing in the moonlight.
As his neighbour’s bondswoman, Rosalind was always so close, so desirable yet so utterly uninterested in him. She was warm and friendly to others yet she dealt with him differently. She often acted aloof, slightly superior, as if he’d never done her any kindness.
But now she shared all with him, however unwittingly.
They were alone.
A single chance to have her without risk of discovery. There would be no consequences. He need only reach out and take. He inhaled deeply. Dear God, give him the strength to resist.
Seemingly unaware of him and lost to her enjoyment, she laughed again. And that did it. His cock became so rigid that his arousal was agonising.
However, this wasn’t simply lust.
He loved Rosalind. He adored the nut-brown freckles that spattered across her cheeks as summer days grew long and hot. The way tendrils of her bright hair constantly escaped her cap to flutter about her face and the way they grew frazzled on rainy days. The curve of her smile and the timbre of her voice and the lazy sway of her walk. He knew all about her, what she’d been—an actress, a woman of easy virtue. It didn’t matter. She captivated him. He couldn’t even imagine marrying anyone else.
Nevertheless, Rosalind was not the wife for him.
He loved her, aye with every breath he took he loved her more but in all the wrong ways. To even think of wedding her—after the pure, pious love he’d shared with Patience—was a sacrilege.
How could he even think of making a former actress his beloved daughter Hannah’s stepmother?
God save him. His past was full of sensual, sinful decadence. He’d filled his time with nothing but transgressions before Patience had saved him with the example of her steadfast faith and love. He had been so inspired by her. By the peace her religion gave her. He’d been blessed with his conversion experience, changed forever.
Dear God, he was lost without his Patience.
And never more lost than here in the moonlight, alone with Rosalind. Just a fortnight away from leaving to teach at Harvard College in Cambridge village—he’d almost escaped unscathed.
He took a step towards Rosalind. Then another. Then several more.
She turned. Her eyes, glittering in the moonlight, caught his. She stopped, her hips in mid-sway. She backed away, watching him, her eyes growing wide. Dark brown velvet eyes framed by delicately arched brows. Tonight, those orbs were deep and smoky, almost black. He couldn’t tear his gaze from hers. A dry-mouthed, pulse-pounding apprehensive excitement possessed him. A sense of inevitability.
Dear God, he was falling. Falling into sin with her.
Her thick lashes swept down over her eyes, the dark auburn crescents looking purplish in the moon’s light, and a slight smile curved her lips. His focus dropped where her breasts rose and fell quickly, their tight, pink peaks straining against the gossamer shift.
She didn’t attempt to cover herself but kept her hands to her sides. That surprised him. However, he’d not been out of this sport so long that he misunderstood. It was clearly an invitation.
Temptation pounded through his blood and, with every beat of his heart, increased the pulsation in his cock. She was lust incarnate.
His body trembling with hunger, he fisted his hands.
He would not succumb.
* * * *
Breathless, Rosalind panted as the tall, broad-shouldered image before her swayed in her dizzy vision. She beheld the glossy, dark chestnut hair, the high forehead, well-shaped yet heavy brows, long straight nose and full yet firm-looking mouth.
He wasn’t wearing his doublet. In the moonlight his white shirt glowed and rippled in the slight breeze against a body that displayed the sort of hard muscled strength and power that came from strenuous daily labour.
Each time she saw him, her whole focus narrowed on him, her body tingling yet weak. Oh, he was very familiar to her. But she had never been alone with him.
However, she wasn’t afraid.
He’d always been kind. He’d assisted her that horrid day over a year ago when she’d needed nothing more than to get out of London. Attained her passage to New England and found her modest clothes in sad colours. Told everyone on the Abigail that she was his cousin’s widow and helped her falsify her last name—even though she could tell he hated being dishonest.
But Thomas had saved her from the censure of the other Puritans on the ship knowing she was an actress. She had begun to love him then. Even though he was married.
Even though coveting him was a sin.
Now he was a widower. The town schoolmaster. A stern-faced, hardworking, pious man. He’d never been able to completely hide how he held her in disdain because of what she had been. Despite his kindness he’d retained a certain dispassionate remoteness. Especially after the mid-point of the voyage, when he’d lost his young son and, shortly thereafter, his wife, to a fever that had raged through the passengers.
She sensed that he suspected the truth of her past. For years, she had been a whore but not of her own choice. Her mother had been a member of an acting troupe who had shared herself with many wealthy gentlemen. Rosalind had never known her father. When her mother had grown ill, they’d grown completely dependent on the troupe manager Mr Boger’s goodwill to pay for the doctoring and life-extending medications. He had owned Rosalind’s very soul. He’d forced her, trained her how to please men then sold her by the hour to the highest bidders as if she were a pleasure slave.
Then her mother had died and Rosalind had vowed to escape.
That day in London, near the docks, she’d been running from Mr Boger. He had been escorting her to yet another wealthy gentleman, a merchant prince who had paid for a few hours of gratification in his offices. She had jumped from the carriage when it had stopped.
However, Mr Boger wasn’t opposed to using physical violence. She’d often experienced the back of his hand—or his fist. He had warned her that, if she ever ran from him, she’d better run well and hard for, if he caught up to her, he would kill her.
That day, he’d come after her in a rage.
She’d been desperate. Running for her dear life. Knowing she couldn’t fail. She’d recognised the sympathy on Thomas’ face that day. And the desire.
Well, she’d been dressed as the veriest of doxies. Who could blame him for any mistaken assumptions?
She couldn’t bear to tell him the truth of her past outright. She couldn’t take the chance of increasing the disdain he must feel for her. What did the circumstances matter? She was just as unclean no matter if the choice had truly been hers or not.
She’d been a whore. A dirty whore.
Goodman Thomas Marlowe. Goodman. As if the damned Puritans held some special innate goodness others could never attain. Well, of course they saw it that way. Their religion centred on the sanctimonious notion.
That religion, his devotion to its principles and practice, made him completely unattainable to a woman like her. He always held a wistful, removed quality in his eyes as if he were consumed by some long remembered and perhaps deliciously savoured pain.
But tonight was very different.
His large, heavy-lidded, green eyes glimmered with something earthy and very intimate and they were focused lower than her neck.
She glanced down.
Her nipples were pointed peaks against the thin material. Her shift! No wonder he stared! Dizziness swept over her, her head growing light, as if it might float away. Dear God. She was dressed only in her shift. No matter how fascinating she found the contours of his powerful body, how could she have forgotten, even for a moment?
She ought to feel shame. She ought to cover herself and run away and pretend this was all a dream.
He kept looking at her with those gorgeous green eyes. Looking at her as if he would never stop. Could never stop.
Triumph at her power took her breath. Energy surged through her body like fire blazing up a piece of kindling. Vitality that couldn’t be suppressed. She resumed swaying, allowing her feminine instinct complete possession.
He fixed his gaze on her lower body. His eyes widened. Darkened.
She knew the look of a man’s lust.
God, he was hers. Totally hers.
And this was likely her last chance ever to know him like this. Maybe fate itself had created this moment of magical moonlit opportunity.
For hours, she’d tossed in sweat-soaked sheets. She’d told herself it was owing to the excessive heat, the worst summer’s heat she had known in her life. As the clock had chimed midnight, wind had rustled the curtains. The first cooling breeze New Balcombe had seen in days had compelled her to come outdoors.
However, she couldn’t lie to herself. One thing and one thing only had dominated her thoughts and kept her from sleeping.
In two weeks, Thomas would leave for Harvard College. He was leaving…
The only man she had ever wanted—yes, it must be admitted, the only man she had ever loved—was about to walk out of her life. Maybe forever.
She would never know his kiss, his touch.
You could have him, here tonight, if you wanted him. No one shall ever know…
A little seduction. That was all it would take. She swayed her hips and shoulders in a motion as if she were a helpless willow caught in a breeze. Submissive to the forces of nature.
Always before, in the theatre, she had danced before a large audience. She’d never liked acting or dancing on stage. She’d been so young when she started, terrified of making a misstep in front of so many people. People who might pelt her with rotten fruit and worse. She taken herself to a place deep inside and pretended that she danced alone.
But now she was not alone. She was exceedingly aware of Thomas Marlowe. Aware of her effect on him. Her nipples drew tight, straining against the fabric of her bodice as she moved. Wetness flowed from her sex.
She’d known many men and it hadn’t been her choice. But Thomas was her choice. She had wanted him for so very long.
And tonight he wanted her too—this cold, impossibly remote man wanted her.
She stole a glance over her shoulder. He stood there, watching her as if he were transfixed.
She laughed, the low, throaty sound alien to her ears. Dear heaven, what was he waiting on? It had taken far less for the gentlemen in London to jump at her mother backstage.
Well, as a former actress, she certainly knew how to play the seductress.
“Goodman Marlowe.” She let her tongue caress the name and paused, while holding his gaze steadily. “Always devout, always good. Too good to take what he wants.”
She cupped her breasts, lifting and pushing them together, making them appear fuller. His focus of attention fell. She laughed again.
His jaw tightened. “Mistress Abramson, don’t.”
She drew her brows together in an expression of exaggerated sympathy and shook her head slowly. “Too good to take what he wants…even if his quarry wants to be taken?”
He jerked his stare back to her eyes, his brows drawn tightly together. “You want that? To be taken here in the wood, like a harlot?”
She flinched. The word stung. Yes, however unwilling, she’d been a whore. Yet to hear that ugly word on his lips, directed at her—
Leave. Just leave and pretend none of this ever happened.
His gaze trailed down over her body.
His lips parted slightly and his features sharpened into an expression of pure hunger.
No. He hadn’t meant it. It was bluster. He was defensive, deflecting blame. He was close to giving in. Power surged through her once more. She purposely relaxed her face and curved her lips into a smile. “Oh no, never a harlot. I am a creature of the wood. A nymph.”
She laughed, turning away to resume her dance.
He locked an iron arm around her waist and he pulled her backwards. Roughly. Anticipation tingled through her like a thousand stinging bees. She opened her mouth to cry out but her back made contact with his body. A body as rock hard as she’d ever imagined.
She couldn’t speak. Couldn’t think.
He pressed his pelvis into her buttocks, and, even through the fabric of his breeches, his erection felt hot and huge.
It felt divine.
Unable to stop herself, she wriggled against him, revelling in the evidence of his arousal.
He growled low, the sound vibrating over her neck. Gooseflesh prickled down her spine. His large hand splayed over her belly. “So the quarry wants to be taken?”
Through the thin fabric, he brushed his fingertips over her stomach in a circular pattern. Not clumsy or rough, but gentle, sensitive teasing. A beguilement.
She moaned, still helplessly writhing against his straining heat. She had dreamt of this too many times, yet it was nothing like she’d dreamt. He was nothing like she had dreamt. She trembled and closed her eyes, surrendering.
He stopped and put her from him. Firmly. Decisively.
She swayed on her feet. What had happened? Shaking with the shock of loss, she spun to see him walking towards the path in the wood that led back to his property.
God, he was leaving.