Tale of Obsession: Courting Daphne Ch. 08bysilver_firefly©
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Maybe it was destined, or maybe, it was a convenient coincidence, but, the original version of the eighth installment of Courting Daphne got deleted accidentally. For a while, I was heartbroken, since I lost the complete version of that tale, and thus, could not re-upload it.
Then, I thought, "What the hell? Why can't I just re-write it?" So, for weeks, I struggled to write it while also dealing with my midterm exams. I don't know if this is going to be good news to my readers or what, but, I decided not to end Courting Daphne in this version of the eighth chapter. The feedbacks I received for the deleted version suggested that it left some of you wanting, so, now, I will extend it a bit.
Sorry for the long note, but I had to say that. :D Anyway, the next installments would most definitely not be under this category, since, as you must notice, Daphne's reluctance is melting away. :P Still not sure where to put it, though, so, we'll see. :P
I hope you enjoy reading this new version, which I dedicate to the readers who so generously supported me. Let me know what you think of it. Much love, SF.
Tents lined the grounds of Northcove's ducal palace. The warriors were celebrating one way or another: through drinking with other warriors, sharing their cots with women, or just sleeping soundly inside their tents. Anthony Renard has spoken to them and explained what was going on, and by the Duke of Wildercross' order and with the Duke of Northcove's assistance, the Army of the Black Wolves was ready to fulfill its mission.
If there was one person in their ranks who had no idea what the deuce they were doing there, it was their general, Leander Van Halen, who was presently a 'guest' in Northcove's palace. Staying inside a brightly-lit room with tasteful decoration and a huge bed, the general was not present to hear the report of his second-in-command.
Although learning the truth was still on Leander's list of priorities, it was by no means the top one at the moment. He would know what was going on soon; right now, his priority was the naked woman on the bed inside his assigned room.
With an amused expression on his face, Leander watched as Daphne writhed underneath him. Her right wrist was bound by a shackle, and Leander was holding the key to it. She was trying her hardest to reach the key with her left hand, which he left unchained so that he could play with her.
He should be wary; he should not trust her, yet, all Leander could think about was that she was here, she was safe, she was with him. Later, he would ask her for explanations. Later, he would fight with her if need be. But right now, all he wanted was to savour her, to love her, for he has not gotten enough of her yet.
"Let me go!" she groaned, grimacing as she tried to grab the key once again.
Leander dropped it onto the carpeted floor near the foot of the bed. "Too bad. You need to earn your freedom inch by inch."
In frustration, Daphne bit her lower lip, pouting. "Please, Leander..."
The general's grin widened. Did she know how cute she looked whenever she would do that? Whether she was aware of it or not, she was making him want her even more badly now. He chuckled softly.
Daphne's cheeks turned crimson, perhaps embarrassed that he should be laughing at her. Or maybe she was getting mad. Before Leander could even decide what it was that made her blush, she began speaking.
Amazed, the general listened as Daphne's pleas turned to commands, and then to threats. It was amusing. And the way she moved beneath him was more than arousing; every twist was teasing, sensual.
He had been with other women before, and Leander would like to think that he had been with the very best. But this one -- this one was perfect. So beautiful outside, so complicated inside. A soft heart and an iron will within the most luscious body a woman could possess. Sweet fragrance, soft flesh --
Gods, she was making him hard!
Daphne continued to rant on and on, but he had long tuned her out.
"If this shackle so much as leave a mark on my skin, I swear to you that I will never forgive you!"
Her voice had so much passion, was so full of emotions. It sounded melodious, minus the thing that she was ranting about.
Not that he paid the message any heed. All that Leander could see was her lips, moving so sensually as she spoke her thoughts out loud. Her eyes: those green pools where golden tokens seemed to have been generously dropped. Her hair: soft golden waves spread around her head like a shimmering halo for a not-so-saintly child.
And her skin...
As he slowly stroked her wrist with his thumb, Leander could not fail to notice the silky smoothness of her milky-white skin. Her hairs were so fine that they could almost be non-existent.
Unable to control himself, Leander found himself kissing Daphne's bare neck. The lady stopped midway through her most recent complaint.
"Leander?" she asked breathlessly.
By that time, the general was teasing her with his tongue, making patterns on her skin. If he could only devour her, he swore that he would. Inch by inch, savouring her to his heart's desire.
"Were you even listening?" Daphne asked in a whisper.
"Uh-huh," he replied, kissing his way down to her shoulder.
Her pulse was accelerating, he noted. Out of fear, out of anger, or out of anticipation?
"Uh-huh?" she repeated.
How could he have survived in this world? Daphne thought. Their world was no place for liars -- or, at least, for people who are not good at lying -- and yet, there he was, blatantly lying to her face.
Uh-huh? Uh-huh?! Daphne would bet her right hand that he had tuned her out.
But, at least, Leander was an effective 'convincer'; he was able to shut her up. Her shock when he kissed her neck made her stop whining. That, the gentle pressure of his thumb against her wrist, and the press of his hard-on on her thighs, were enough to make her stop struggling beneath him.
Let him shackle her, let him seduce her, let him do anything! As long as Daphne knew that he would be making love to her, she would not care what happened afterward.
She missed him. Gods, how she missed him! Having him inside her for a single session was not enough -- not nearly enough. She wanted more, and the sooner she got it, the better.
But even if she knew that Leander lusted for her, she also knew that he was going to punish her. If not right now, then, at one point in the next twenty-four hours.
Or maybe he would just question her, ignoring the torture she brought when she refused to unshackle him while she was doing all the works to get him inside her.
Yes, it would be nice to think of Leander as a gentleman, who would do nothing more than wait for explanations. But he was not that much of a gentleman, really. He was more like a pride-driven warrior, who would exact revenge where he thought it was due.
Besides, if he was thinking of letting her off easily, why the shackle around her right wrist, and the iron grip on her left? Clearly, he was not considering mercy right now.
"Leander?" she moaned as she felt his left hand stroking her right thigh.
"We'll talk later," he whispered just as he nibbled on her ear.
Gabriel would wait for her. The Duke of Northcove gave Daphne a few hours to spend with Leander, but insisted that they had to talk before midnight, after the duke's late-night meeting with the spies he sent to the capital a few days ago. Daphne did not know what was so urgent in the matter at hand, but in a kingdom at war, people must learn not to ask questions. If Gabriel wanted to see her before midnight, His Grace's will be done.
But if Leander continued doing this...
"No," she protested, even as her body practically melted under his touch. "We can't."
Leander would not hear of it, though, as he continued stroking her thigh, his hand moving closer and closer to her still-wet centre. "Of course we can."
Daphne moaned as if in pain. And, in a way, she was in pain: she felt as if the duke's order was wrenching her away from the only place on earth where she wanted to be.
"I have no time to play, Leander!" she hissed, trying to wriggle beneath him, away from his touch. It was, of course, futile, since he was pinning her down to the bed, and her hands were of no use. "Get off me!"
"You used me for your pleasure when you wanted it, and now that I want you, you try to deny me?" Leander asked, looking at her with a smirk on his face. "Play fair."
She moaned in frustration.
Somehow, everything in her plans was going the wrong way. First, that seduction. She never planned it, but her need for him drowned her senses that she actually practically raped him.
And now, here she was, shackled to the bed when she was supposed to be explaining things to Leander. As if that was not bad enough, Leander was downright horny. He needed her, and she knew not how to stop a man with that much lust in his system.
How could she, anyway, when she could not stop herself from indulging earlier?
She could feel the warmth of his body pressing against her; she could make out his scent mixing with the smell of sex hovering around them. Worse, she could remember how he had felt inside her. So, no matter what her brain wanted, her body would continue to long for his flesh.
But there was Gabriel -- Gabriel, who would be waiting for her in his receiving room (she refused to ever set foot on his chamber again). What he was about to tell her must be of extreme importance. It might concern something from her father, if it had anything to do with the message that arrived after dinner, several hours after the Duke of Wildercross' initial correspondence.
If the message was from her father...
Could she possibly ignore it for a little while without asking for trouble? Could she find a way, at all? Maybe she could pretend that she did not sense Gabriel's urgency. Then, she could spend more time with Leander.
No. Duty above everything else; her 'Papa' taught her that. Daphne knew that she could not encourage Leander to continue this. He had to understand; he had to let her go and talk to Gabriel. And then, after hearing what the duke had to say, she would come back to Leander. They would be free to do as they desired then. No objections from her, no interruptions from others...
"Please, Leander, listen to me," she begged. His hand was almost touching her pussy now. She was desperate to make him stop, before she lost hold of her sanity and decide to let him have his way with her. "I'm sorry if I ended up seducing you earlier. I did not mean to do it."
The general's eyes narrowed when he looked at her face. "You did not mean it?"
"No," she groaned, biting her lower lip. Well, of course, she meant it, what the hell! "I mean, it's not part of the plan..."
Now, she could see that she had his attention again. The good thing about him was that he was a general first, a lustful man second. He could push his responsibilities aside, but it would not take much to make him pick it up again.
"Yes," she said, closing her eyes in relief. She was jubilant when she felt his hold on her left wrist starting to relax. "Let me go and I will tell you everything. I need to leave as quickly as possible. Gabriel needs me tonight. He only gave me permission to talk to you while he talks to his spies, but I need to see him before midnight."
Only when she felt his grip tightening again did Daphne look at his face and realized her mistake.
His blue eyes were icy cold, his face dark with unmasked anger. Daphne felt her heartbeat accelerating again.
Damn luck she had! Why did she have to mention that, seemingly out of the blue, without telling him the stuff he had to know first? Taken out of context, her statement about meeting Gabriel in the middle of the night could mean anything!
Leander was mad -- as she should have known he would be. Without knowing what was really going on around him, his head was bound to be plagued by misconceptions, by suspicions. And if he thought that there was something going on between her and Gabriel...
"Oh no," she groaned, meeting his furious stare even if her heart was beating at a thousand mile a second. "Don't look at me that way. It's not what you think it is."
"Isn't it?" he asked through his teeth. His grip on her wrist almost hurt.
Almost. That was the key word. Daphne realized then that, whatever happens, Leander would never hurt her. Not if he could help it. Even in his rage, he wouldn't -- perhaps couldn't. Not because he was duty-bound to protect her, but because he loved her. He loved her as much as she loved him, if not more.
With that thought in mind, Daphne's heart swelled even though she was still face to face with the angry general of the Black Wolves.
Maybe she was wrong: he was an angry man first, a general second, and all other personalities next. But on this, she was sure: he loved her and he would never, ever hurt her.
"Leander," she whispered, willing him to see in her eyes the truth of what she was saying. "There is nothing going on between Gabriel and me. There will never be another man in my life. There is only you. There can only be you."
The iciness in his eyes thawed, and Daphne saw the pain there. She also saw the way he struggled: should he believe her or not?
"Then, stay," he said. "Don't go. Stay with me. Let me hold you. Let me have you. Let me love you."
"No," she groaned, looking away from him. "I can't..."
"You can't or you won't?" he asked.
"Of course I want to stay!" she said, the beginnings of annoyance already in her voice. "But I really can't. Please try to understand."
Leander stared at her with a clearly suspicious look in his eyes. Daphne's insides seemed to turn. Was this the result of her one-time deception, then? The loss of his trust, forever?
"Is this one of your deceptive ways again, Daphne?" he asked quietly, loosening his grip on her wrist. "Are you doing this because you know how vulnerable I am when it comes to you? Because you know that I can't resist you, weak man that I am?"
"No," she moaned, biting her lower lip. "No, it's not like that. I'm telling you the truth. Gabriel said he needs to talk to me before midnight. About something important. I'll come back to you as soon as I am able, once I've spoken with him."
"Are you sure that is everything he wants from you?"
For a moment, Daphne remembered the blatant means Gabriel used to seduce her on her first few days of staying in the ducal palace. She remembered the duke's threat, and then his subsequent surrender. Her face burned a bright crimson.
"I thought so," Leander mused aloud.
"But I don't want him!" Daphne complained. "Don't you trust me?"
As soon as she saw the shadow of a smile on the corners of Leander's lips, she realized that it was the wrong question to ask. She almost flinched when she heard his answer.
"Frankly?" he drawled, bending down to kiss her. "No."
She was miffed. Just like that? He would not let her explain, and he would suddenly tell her that he did not trust her anymore? She had her fair share of mistakes, all right, but she deserved a moment to redeem herself -- a moment that he would not give her!
In her annoyed state, Daphne tried to deny Leander the kiss that he was about to force on her. But Leander's hand gently held her face steady until his lips were covering hers.
Daphne groaned, trying to break free from him. But while they were bickering, Leander had seized the opportunity to firmly grab her wrist again. With him still pinning her down to the bed -- and with the shackle still around her right wrist -- her efforts were fruitless.
However, there was still one way to show him her defiance.
Leander gently licked at her lips, prodding her to let his tongue into her mouth. Instead, Daphne pressed her lips tightly together. If he wanted to enjoy himself, let him do so knowing that she did not consent to this.
But the general chuckled softly as if unaffected by her manoeuvres. He slowly moved his kisses to her cheek, while the tip of his tongue gently grazed along her skin. Without his mouth covering hers, she finally had the freedom to speak, yet, Daphne refused to open her mouth, knowing what he planned to do as soon as she let her guard down.
That was where she was wrong, it seemed. Whatever it takes, Leander would make sure he gains her cooperation.
"Why don't you just give in, my love?" Leander whispered, peppering her neck with feather-light kisses. "I want you, and I know you want me."
Daphne held her breath, closing her eyes tightly. Whatever happened, she could not give in. Her father raised her to look to duty first. Anything else is secondary. She already broke it several times in the past, but not again. Not this time. Not when two kingdoms are at war, even if it meant saying no to Leander.
His left palm began softly caressing her flat stomach, tracing delightful patterns with his fingers. Daphne stifled a groan. The roughness of his palm contrasted so much against the smoothness of her skin. Feeling it on her naked flesh was starting to wear down her certitude.
Leander's mouth travelled from her neck to her shoulders, then downward to her chest, deftly avoiding her already sensitive nipples. As he moved lower down her body, he let go of her wrist, but Daphne was too concentrated on keeping the last bits of her sanity to notice the difference.
With both of his hands now free, Leander wasted no time. Daphne sighed as she was assaulted by pleasant sensations from everywhere his hands roamed. His touch, coupled with the butterfly kisses, was stimulating every nerve in her body, further awakening her desire to be one with him.
As Leander's mouth travelled to the region just above her crotch, Daphne heard herself moaning in pleasure. Leander chuckled; she did not care. At the moment, she felt as though her body was on fire, and any reluctance on her part was slowly fading away. She only wanted him to continue what he was doing.
"Leander..." she groaned.
She bit her lower lip, loving the sensation that reverberated from where he answered her. "Please..."
"I thought you did not want it," Leander teased.
"Then stop..." she groaned, while grinding her hips closer to him.
Leander laughed, parting the lips of her nether region before planting a kiss on her glistening pearl. Daphne groaned, her left hand clutching the sheet on the bed.
"When the lips on the upper part of the body are out of bounds, you leave me no choice but to kiss the other pair below," Leander cooed, before slowly circling her bud of pleasure with his tongue.
Daphne looked at him then, a pout on her face. There was triumph in his eyes -- a certain look about him that clearly said, "I win, my love; you know you want me."
She did not know what to do; she did not know what to feel. She wanted to tell him to stop, but in all actuality, she was afraid that he would really stop and leave her hanging, the way that she had done to him earlier just to tease him. Gods, she did not want that! She wouldn't bear it if he teased her that way...
So, instead of saying anything, she looked away, conceding defeat.
And gods, who ever said that losing felt awful? As Leander swiftly sucked her clit into his mouth, sucking on it fiercely, Daphne let out a yelp of delight. Her hips moved of their own accord, moving off the bed and moving closer to Leander's mouth.
The hell with her duty to listen to Gabriel; the hell to the war between Thersale and Elgeshore! No way on earth would she be anywhere else right now.
As if hypnotized, she looked at Leander again. His blue eyes were so full of want -- so full of love, even.