Thomas Returns PART II
Thorne turned her to him after he had set her down by the foot of his massive bed. He’d lifted her, then carried her from Jonathan’s room the moment she had placed Jonathan in his crib. Now he looked into her eyes and was delighted with the passion he found there. Good Lord, the things he’d wanted to do to a woman . . . for so many years. He could hardly believe his good fortune, that this was his wife, and that she was biddable. More than biddable—she was fiery with lusts of her own that needed to be fanned . . . then satisfied. He could not have been more pleased.
It had been many years since he’d had a woman look at him that way, as if she was eager to please him above all else. Now, if he could only be worthy. Thoughts of being with her, coupling with her—in nearly every room of the house—in every position imaginable, crowded his mind, making him weak-kneed. For a moment he didn’t know where to start.
Then she smiled and reached for him and he had no trouble forging a plan. The carriage sex of earlier in the day had been very worthwhile. He had discovered if one used the repetition of the swaying motion to their advantage, so much more attention could be paid to the little things, and he had learned that his new bride had the most sensitive, tiny little ears, and a spot in the crease where her hip joined her leg that was ticklish to the extreme. She had nearly destroyed him with her fit of giggles. He had never known one could love someone as completely as her loved her.
The house was quiet now, having settled from all the excitement of their celebratory return. Everyone had toasted the couple and enjoyed slices of an immense sugared cake that Cora had prepared to surprise them. It had been like something out of a fairytale, with a topper that was a music box suspended on a cage of spun sugar. It had been a gift from the staff and it was so beautiful Catherine had shed tears over it. The song it played was Clair de Lune, clearly one of her favorites by her cries of delight when he had wound it for her. It was now front and center on Jonathan’s dresser as she had used it to soothe him to sleep.
Jonathan was to bed now, and Thorne relished the thought that he had the whole night with her—and the morning too, if he so desired. There was no one to hide from, no one he had to explain her presence in his bed to. With the exception of Jonathan’s needs, he had her all to himself. If he wanted to, he could forego his normal duties and make his new wife his sole concern for days on end. He pulled her to him, her back to his chest as he wrapped her hands around the bedpost and began to work at unbuttoning the back of her gown.
As he teased her with a few wickedly suggestive licks, he whispered softly in the shell of her dainty ear, “My Cat, my dearest Cat. You are mine now, and mine alone. There has never been a man happier than I am right now with you as my countess, here in my arms, anticipating the joy of our coupling on this our wedding night.”
She shivered. Thomas had called her Cat. He’d been the only one until now. She wondered if she should tell Thorne that, maybe ask him not to. It would always be a reminder of another man, another time, and the man who had given his seed to join with hers to create their son. The son that was lost to her now, along with the man who had shared another wedding night with her . . . and called her Cat.
But she didn’t want to ruin this moment, this special time with the man who was now her future. She simply closed her eyes and sighed contentedly as she leaned her head back and rested it on his shoulder. Countess. She was a countess. She felt her dress being stripped from her, her chemise and under lacings being loosed and falling to the floor. His hands were cupping her heavy breasts, this thumbs flicking her taut nipples, and she forgot all about being a countess, all about being a wife, all about being a mother, and only about being the woman in the arms of this man who was showing her how much he loved her.
“Don’t let go,” he instructed as he removed the last piece of clothing, leaving her naked but for her garters, stockings, and strappy pumps.
His hands ran along her back, caressed her buttocks, and then he knelt to run them up and down her legs. “God, how smooth and soft your thighs are. I like these shoes, they accentuate your calves, flatter your trim ankles.”
“They are from the left and found closet. They were your mother’s.”
“I did not need to hear that. I will take you to the city; we will spend the day shopping for things bought with only you in mind. Things no one else has ever had use of. I want you to have all your own things. Things suited for only you, my love.” He ran his hand up the back of her thigh, letting his thumb graze the soft crease joining her leg to her buttock. He stroked her there, ran his thumb along her upper thigh and into the deep, hidden crevasse he found there. He dipped into her slick opening. “You are wet for me. You are always wet for me. Do you know what it does to a man to discover that?” he asked, his breath harsh, his breathing raspy.
“No, tell me,” she said, she too was out of breath from his probing touches.
He stood and dropped his trousers and smalls, stepped out of them, and gently kicked her feet apart. “Spread your legs, sweetheart, and I will show you instead.”
When he had her legs the way he wanted them, he stepped between them, gripped his cock with a tight fist and jerked it three times before placing it at her opening to slicken it with her silky wetness. “I can hardly breathe,” he said. “This is so heady, like heaven, and it’s all mine,” he growled. He bent his knees slightly and shoved his hardness up inside her.
Catherine cried out at the sudden, forceful intrusion, but she was accepting and accommodating, not truly affected or hurt. She held fast to the bedpost and let it anchor her in place. She wanted more of him to penetrate her; she wanted to feel him even deeper inside her.
He was holding back now, taking shallow, quick stabs to acquaint her with his length before going deep and filling her completely. With each thrust, with each slap of his thighs against her backside, she inched her clasped hands downward, bending from the waist and moving her upper torso toward the carpet. She poked her bottom out. Ten wet, loud slaps from skin smacking skin had her doubled over, her hands gripping the bedpost at its base.
Bent in half, with her head nearly on the floor, she stood on tiptoes, straining to push up against his forceful downward thrusts. His hands were clasping her hips and meshing her bottom tight to his groin. It was as if he was trying to shove more than his cock inside her. He sped up, pulled her to him with hands tightly clamped on her hips, fingers white from the effort of keeping her joined to him. One long arm encircled her waist, pulling her upright as his other hand reached down, and with the flat side of three long fingers, he engaged her engorged nub in a brisk series of spanks. She arched back against him to give him better access, keened his name and collapsed on the end of the bed when he briskly rubbed her enflamed clitoris and decimated her. His hand, caught between her and the bed, continued to massage and press into her as she shuddered and drenched his hand while her vagina pulsed all around him.
Her contractions were so strong he couldn’t move within her body, her grip on him so profound and so absolute that he had no choice but to gasp, arch his neck, throw back his head, and cry out to the ceiling as he spilled deep inside her.
He fell over her, resting against her back, and together they felt their spasms convey one to the other until the tremors finally died and only the pulse of their heartbeats remained. He felt her blood pumping through his hand on her chest, she felt his through her spine.
“There are no words,” he whispered against her neck.
“You roared,” she murmured against the counterpane.
“Like a lion.” She sound pleased, maybe even smug.
“I do feel very much like a king, one who just had every single desire of his life granted.”
“You were most magnificent, mon lion,” she breathed.
“You are incredibly agile, my she-devil. You were all but bent in half, yet still you stayed with me, fitting yourself into each thrust like a soft kidskin glove that surrounded me. And God, when you gripped me, I lost all control. You destroyed me.”
“I sincerely hope not,” she said as she turned her head to look back at him over her shoulder.
He gave her an uneasy look, “You’re not saying . . .”
“Indeed I am. Again, please.”
He groaned. And then laughed as he began to tickle her along her sides. “The night is new wife, the moon not even fully risen. Lie with me until I am recovered and I will attempt to lay waste to you as well.”
She smiled as he climbed off of her and then lifted her to the top of the bed. He tucked her against the pillows and pulled the covers up over them.
“I will hold you to it.” Her wicked smile made his chest stutter. God, how he loved this woman.
He smiled and kissed her on the nose. He had never been happier in his life. “I love you, Catherine. I would never have imagined a night such as this a few short months ago.”
“Nor I,” she said. “I would never have imagined I could love another man so fiercely and so completely after losing Thomas.”
“We are blessed to have found each other. Who would have imagined this outcome from you coming to give succor to my son?”
“Speaking of which, I hear him stirring. I should go pat his back, or top him off.” She moved to slide out of the bed.
He gripped her waist and pulled her so her back was flush to his chest. “You stay here, I will get him for you.”
When he returned with Jonathan, after having changed his wet nappy, she was asleep on her side, looking like a goddess enjoying a peaceful, well-deserved slumber. He tucked Jonathan into the curve of her and turned his cheek into a full breast. He watched, fascinated as his son found what he sought and settled in for a nightcap. Thorne leaned on his elbow and admired them both, believing himself to be the luckiest man alive.
Catherine had just finished bathing the baby. He was so adorable sitting propped up against the back of the dressing table, the soft hooded towel draped over his damp curls, his hand gripping the grosgrain beribboned edge, and smiling up at her with his tiny toothless grin, although there was the beginning of that meddlesome one. You could see where a sliver of white had broken through in the center of his bottom gum. Hopefully, it would be a long time before that tooth would be of concern while nursing him.
Tears filled Catherine’s eyes and began to course down her cheeks. “He’s so beautiful,” she whispered to no one in particular. But the earl, standing in the doorway, drifted in and stood alongside her. Seeing her tears plop onto the padded table, he moved behind her, holding her shoulders as she shook. She looked up at him, her eyes swimming in tears. “I can’t help but wonder what my own Jonathan would look like now, fresh from his bath, smiling up at me, his mum.”
The earl nuzzled her neck and whispered sweet, sympathetic words into her hair and then made her laugh as he tugged a bit of the towel from Jonathan and wiped at the tears puddling on the wood, saying, “Is this going to be enough, or should I fetch you a towel of your own?”
“Yes, a rather large one,” she said as she looked over her shoulder at him again and forced a smile. He kissed her lightly on the nape of her neck and moved her aside to take Jonathan from her. He left her alone with her melancholy, unsure of what to say to make her feel better.
After he was dressed in a miniature sailor suit, the earl took Jonathan with him to his study and placed him on a large quilt in the center of the floor while he perused the stack of ledgers one of his tenant overseers had left for him.
Everyone was having a good year; the winter crops had been bountiful and this year’s spring plantings looked as if they would yield an unusually robust crop. Of particular note were the grains, and last year’s walnut trees had surpassed even his most hoped for predictions. The trees Annaliese had planted years ago were coming into their own now and bearing exceptional fruit that was in demand at all the markets in the big cities. He no longer missed her as a wife, but as a dear cherished friend and a formidable estate manager, he most certainly did.
Half an hour later, Catherine came to collect Jonathan and he was relieved to see she was her cheery self again. She blew him a kiss as she rushed from the room, holding the baby at arm’s length with a scrunched up nose. He laughed and shook his head as she departed and his steward entered.
“Don’t envy her that task,” he said to the man as he gestured for him to take a seat in front of his desk. “If she hadn’t come to get him just now, I was afraid I might have to call for some smelling salts to freshen my sinuses.”
“’Fraid you’re right milord, I could smell something was off as soon as I turned into the corridor. Even checked my shoes.”
They both laughed and then spent the rest of the morning and the entire afternoon going over the accounts. By the time he made it up to their living quarters, the day had taken its toll on both Catherine and his son. They were asleep on the chaise, Jonathan’s head tucked under her chin, her hand splayed over his backside as if she had fallen asleep patting his bottom.
He found Sadie in the hall and asked her to have their dinner sent up on trays. Then he went to see his valet about a bath and a proper shave, as he had neglected them due to their oversleeping that morning.
The evening was filled with admiring Jonathan’s progress, feeding each other tidbits from the dinner trays, and reading poetry and particularly spicy scenes from a new book he had bought Catherine. They ended up oversleeping the next morning as well.
The next day, the earl and his new bride were summoned to the midwives’ croft house. Three days past, Marguerite had fallen from tripping in one of the holes that had appeared overnight in the meager patch of grass that was their yard. She had been making her way to the privy at the time. When she landed, she hit her head on a rock.
She was still unconscious and now, unable to take food or drink, she was failing. To make matters worse, just that very morning, Madeline broke her ankle in another hole, this one not five-feet from the door to the house where she and her sister had lived all their lives.
The hole had not been there when she had first gone to the woodpile before dawn, but appeared freshly dug and waiting, as she had returned for a second bundle of wood mere moments later.
The note card brought to the earl as he had been reading the morning paper had writing scrawled across it in a shaky hand, “I know who’s digging the holes. ’Tis urgent you and Lady Catherine come at once. I cannot manage to leave my house as I have broken my ankle in a hole this very morning. Miss Madeline Merridale.” The word “and” before Lady Catherine had been underlined three times.
He found Catherine in the hall talking with the housekeeper and pulled her aside. He told her that Maddy was bedridden with a broken ankle and that she had written that it was of the utmost importance that he and Catherine come to visit her straight away.
“Her note seemed adamant that we attend her immediately, we best make plans to leave straight away.”
Catherine nodded and turned to go back into her room for her pelisse. She felt sorry for Maddy’s plight, but wondered what could be so crucial that she was demanding they come now.