tagRomanceEnglish Rose Ch. 05

English Rose Ch. 05


Author's note: Some of you were unhappy with the turn of events in Chapter 4. While I don't want to give anything away I do hope that you'll stay with us through to the end. A special thank you to all those that encouraged me to continue the story the way I wanted to. Please know that this chapter was written the way I always intended it.


Sabrina's affair with Marcus began with dinner. His carriage came for her promptly at eight and delivered her to his townhouse a short time later.

Marcus paced, a drink in one hand, while he waited for Sabrina to arrive. He still wasn't entirely convinced that she would go through with their plans for the evening. She was a woman of morals and an affair wouldn't sit well -- regardless of what stood between her and Radcliff.

Where he any other man, a better man, Marcus would refuse her and send her back to her husband. However, Marcus wasn't a good man. He'd lost touch with his conscious several years ago and had no intention of going back.

Still, he wondered at the wisdom of moving forward with the affair. Marcus was hard and jaded; an affair with him wouldn't be easy -- especially for a woman like Sabrina -- and he suspected that they would both hurt for it in the end. Perhaps he should enjoy dinner and then gently but firmly insist Sabrina go back to her husband?

Marcus stood watching out the window and saw his carriage roll to a stop. Something suspiciously close to excitement shivered across his skin as he watched Sabrina emerge. One look and he knew that there'd be no turning her away.

Moving away from the window Marcus tossed back the last of his drink and went to welcome Sabrina.

"Thank you Dillon," Marcus said as his man took Sabrina's cloak. "That will be all."

"Yes, sir," Dillon said and turned to go. Like the rest of the staff he'd been given his instructions for Lady Radcliff's arrival and then dismissed for the evening.

"Hello," Sabrina said. Turning she caught a look of anticipation flash across Marcus' face before he shuttered his expression.

"Hello," Marcus said and reached for Sabrina. Slowly, he drew her towards him until barely a breath of space separated them. Sabrina caught a hint of the liquor Marcus had enjoyed while awaiting her arrival. For his part, Marcus felt himself growing hard as the unique scent that was Sabrina filled his senses.

"I trust you had a relaxing day?" Marcus asked.

"Indeed," Sabrina said. "I wanted to be well rested for our evening."

"Excellent," Marcus said. Staring down into her upturned face Marcus felt himself falling into the green depths of her eyes. In them he saw tenderness and a sadness that had him pulling away, reconsidering his earlier notion of sending her home. That is until those eyes dropped to his lips and he knew that she wondered if he planned to kiss her.

A spike of lust shot through Marcus as he lowered his head and captured her mouth. He had planned for a slow seduction knowing that Sabrina needed time to adjust but there was nothing slow about this kiss.

Sabrina felt herself pulled up hard against Marcus and her head fall back as he plundered her mouth. His lips were hard and unforgiving as he swept inside tasting her with his tongue before nipping at her with his teeth.

Marcus growled with approval when Sabrina entangled her fingers in his hair; pulling them closer together he felt her breasts press firmly against his chest.

Sabrina felt her breasts swell and grow heavy. Her nipples were hard points of desire aching to be touched. She'd missed this, missed being close to someone both physically and emotionally. Douglas had known how to touch her, how take the emotional and pour it into a physical display of caring. Douglas.

Marcus felt Sabrina stiffen and gentled his touch, drawing their kiss to a close. "I'm sorry," he said searching her face. "I didn't mean to rush you."

"It's alright," Sabrina said and took a deep breath. Stepping back she didn't bother correcting Marcus' assumption at the cause of her sudden discomfort. Determined, she pushed thoughts of Douglas from her mind and considered her dinner companion.

Marcus had dressed for dinner and looked splendid in a charcoal gray coat and trousers. His hair was a little long by ton standards and mussed from her fingers. His crisp cravat sat slightly askew and she couldn't resist the urge to straighten the simple knot.

Marcus startled a bit at the feminine gesture, his hand smoothing over the fabric as Sabrina smiled up at him. It was a strangely intimate touch and he wasn't sure what to make of it.

Breaking the moment of silence, Marcus brushed Sabrina's cheek with the back of his fingers. "Shall we dine?" he asked, ignoring the hammering of his heart and the throbbing of his cock.

Sabrina nodded and allowed Marcus to lead her into the dining room. A light supper was set out on a small table set for two. "Thank you," she said as Marcus helped her to her seat. "Everything looks wonderful."

Marcus smiled and served them both. "I have an amazing cook."

"Indeed," Sabrina agreed, taking her first bite. Marcus was a lively dinner companion with an endless stash of stories. He entertained her with tales from his youth and hinted at his more recent escapades.

"What's this?" Sabrina asked when Marcus slid a velvet jeweler's box across the table.

"Open it," he said.

Sabrina looked up to find Marcus watching her intently. There was something about the way he looked at her that both thrilled and urged caution. Taking a deep breath Sabrina opened the box and gasped. "Marcus, it's beautiful!"

Nestled in among the velvet lining sat a large teardrop shaped ruby. The stone was the size of her thumb down to the first knuckle and a red so deep as to appear almost black.

"Do you like it?" he asked, his tense posture contradicting his casual question.

Sabrina looked up from the gift. "It's stunning," she said fingering the pendant and watching it sparkle in the candlelight. "Do you always bestow such gifts onto your paramours?"

"No," Marcus said, "you are the first."

Sabrina stared down at the pendant but didn't know what to say. She knew that it was customary for gentlemen to gift their lovers with jewels and other trinkets. But what did it mean that she was the first to receive such a thing from Marcus?

"Sabrina," Marcus said drawing her attention back to his face. "You should know that it comes with one condition. For as long as you wear it you belong to me and no other."

Sabrina blinked at the harshness of his tone but nodded in understanding.

"Now is the time to change your mind with no hard feelings," he said. "We finish a nice meal together and I send you home in my carriage. Otherwise, you're mine," Marcus finished on a growl.

Sabrina passed the pendant to Marcus. For a moment he thought she meant to refuse him and regretted having pushed her. While he suspected that Sabrina wasn't a woman to embark on a casual affair or take on more then one lover he wanted it made perfectly clear his expectations. He would not share.

"Will you put it on?" she asked, surprising him.

Masking his relief, Marcus stood and circled the table. Carefully, he secured the pendant before resting his hands on her shoulders and placing a tender kiss on her neck.

Sabrina held herself still feeling Marcus' hands on her shoulders. His need, his desire pressed against her -- a heat at her back that she longed to lean into. Still confused over what to do regarding her marriage, Marcus offered a simple solace in the chaotic storm of her emotions. Tentatively, she reached up and covered his hand with her own.

Marcus felt a thrill of triumph. Grasping her hand lightly so as not to betray the depths of his emotions he asked, "Shall we go?"

Sabrina nodded and allowed Marcus to draw her to her feet. For a moment they stood much as they had upon her arrival. Sabrina wondered if Marcus would kiss her again and felt something low in her belly tighten in anticipation.

Marcus stared down into her face. He saw his desire mirrored in her eyes along with a number of emotions he couldn't decipher. He realized that while she'd acquiesced to the affair she remained unsure.

"Would you rather stay in?" he asked. His motives were not entirely selfless. Arriving at their destination on his arm would solidify her place as his lover in the eyes of many. It was a public declaration and one he'd chosen specifically with Sabrina and himself in mind. However, seeing her now he realized that perhaps it would be better to begin their affair on a more circumspect note.

"No," Sabrina said and smiled. "You promised to introduce me to your world and I am anxious to begin."

Marcus searched her face one more time. "Very well," he said. "Let us be off."

A short time later Sabrina sat staring out the window of Marcus' carriage. The hour was growing late, many of the ton events in full swing but Marcus assured her that they were right on time.

Nervous anticipation hummed through her as they drew near their destination. Marcus refused to say where they were going -- only that it was sure to be a new experience for her. Reaching up, Sabrina fingered the pendant hanging around her neck, comforted by its weight and its presence.

"Are you sure you're ready for this?" Marcus asked.

Still doubtful, Marcus watched Sabrina as she stared out the carriage window. Unlike most ladies of the ton, Sabrina's every emotion showed across her face. Fascinated, he watched as her expression went from uncertainty to resolve to excitement all depending on the direction of her thoughts.

Sabrina turned to where Marcus sat sprawled in the corner of the carriage. "For the last time, yes, I'm sure."

"Once you step into that room you will effectively confirm what everyone already believes, that you and I are having an affair." Marcus warned. "There will be no going back."

"It's already too late for that, " Sabrina said softly, wondering if that was actually true.

Twenty minutes later Marcus helped Sabrina down from the carriage, escorting her inside and helping her with her cloak.

Sabrina's dress was simple and understated yet surprisingly elegant. The plunging neckline and sharply cut waist gave the appearance of more then it actually showed -- suggesting rather then displaying. Marcus, used to women wearing more daring decolletage, discovered he preferred the invitation to discover for himself what lay beneath rather then an obvious display of feminine charms.

Taking her arm, Marcus led Sabrina past the foyer and into the ballroom, watching as she caught her first glimpse of the demimonde.

The ballroom was large, like any other she'd been in, but instead of being cleared for dancing the room was filled with gaming tables and small sitting areas that hinted at private conversations. The lights were lower with fewer candles lit and the conversation held a excited edge that bordered on chaos.

She noted that while there would be no dancing there was still entertainment. In one corner, scantily clad couples performed enticing acrobatics. Across the room live sculptures stood covered in what appeared to be chocolate, the guests periodically changing their positions for amusement. Fascinated, Sabrina found herself unable to turn away for where a woman reclined on a chaise wearing little more then a corset and stockings reading poetry.

Eventually Marcus took her in hand and led her further into the crowd. Her gazed passed over familiar faces, many of whom she would not have thought to see here. Others she recognized by reputation only. Not a single unmarried lady was in attendance and she noted that most of the individuals neither came nor left with their spouse.

"Ah, Sabrina," Marcus said, drawing her close to his side and settling his arm around her waist. "I'd like you to meet our host for the evening. Sabrina, this is Philip Westmoreland."

"Good evening," Sabrina said and felt her eyes widen in surprise. It was no wonder Marcus refused to disclose their destination. Lord Philip Westmoreland was notorious even among the ton though he was rarely seen in their ballrooms; while Westmoreland's position gained him entry to the most sought after events, it was said that simply being seen in his presence, no matter how public, could ruin a young woman's reputation.

Offering Philip her hand, Sabrina was surprised when he turned it over and pressed a kiss to her palm, nibbling gently before slowly releasing her. "A pleasure," she said.

"I'm sure you are," Philip said.

Sabrina couldn't stop the heat that infused her cheeks.

"Oh-ho!" he said, laughing in delight. "She still blushes." Turning to Marcus he said, "You obviously haven't bedded her often enough; either that or you're doing it wrong."

"You're crude," Marcus said with the suffering of a long time friend.

"No, just drunk." Philip said. "Of course, I now see the reason for your absence of late." Turning to Sabrina he said, "I really should warn you, there will be several ladies deliciously jealous at seeing our dear boy here with you. But then, not a single one of them can compare."

Sabrina smiled. "I'm not sure if I should be flattered or offended."

"Flattered," Philip said swaying slightly on his feet. "Definitely flattered. Of course the men will be grateful, myself included. The pickings always improve when Marcus is distracted."

"Well," Sabrina said, "I'm glad I could be of service. I will do my best to keep Marcus occupied and give you the best chance possible before I cut him loose."

Philip threw his head back and laughed. "Oh Marcus, she really is charming. Well done," he said and started off. "Well done!"

Sabrina watched Philip lose himself in the crowd. Turning to Marcus she asked, "Have you known him long?"

Marcus stared down into Sabrina's face. He had to admit he was surprised at well she had handled herself. "We were in school together."

"Ah, I take it that's where your long history of debauchery begins." Sabrina felt herself smile, slight intoxicated by the unfettered gaiety that surrounded them. For the first time she realized that this was what she had been needing -- time unrestrained by the dictates of the ton, her father or her husband. This was the first time she'd felt free to choose a path for herself.

"Indeed," Marcus said taking her arm and leading her towards one of the gaming tables. "Actually, there was a group of us, four or five lads from similar backgrounds. Philip was the ringleader and the one most likely to get us into trouble."

"Hmm...and let me guess, you were the one to get the lot of you out of trouble." Sabrina said.

"Me?" Marcus laughed. "No, I don't have a diplomatic bone in my body - that would be Wilson. I'm sure he's around here somewhere, I'll introduce you later."

Approaching a table with a vacancy Marcus sat, pulling Sabrina down onto his lap. "Good evening, gentlemen, mind if we join you?"

Sabrina noted a few eyes go wide at the sight of her but no one commented. After a moment of silence - which both she and Marcus pointedly ignored - there came a chorus of warm greetings.

What followed was a lively game of cards with the participants hurling compliments and complaints equally as fortunes were won and lost. Eventually Marcus ordered them drinks, replacing Sabrina's usual champagne with brandy and watching carefully that she didn't over-indulge.

Up several hundred pounds, Marcus set Sabrina on her feet and stood. "If you'll excuse us, gentlemen, I think we'll be on our way."

"You can't leave, not if you're taking my money with you," cried one inebriated gentleman good-naturedly. "I demand a chance to win my money back!"

"You had your chance," Marcus said with a smile. "You blew both of them."

Sabrina smiled as the table erupted in laughter.

"But the night is young, there's plenty of time..." the man continued.

"Shut up, Harold, can't you see that the man has better things to do than sit here and take all of your money?"

Harold seemed to sober enough to fix his unfocused gaze on Sabrina. "Well, when you put it like that...what the hell are you still doing here man?!"

Marcus shook his head, grabbed Sabrina's hand and led her from the table before the bawdy jokes started. Sabrina rolled her eyes and managed not to blush.

Peering over his shoulder Sabrina asked, "Where are we going?"

"Some place private," Marcus said.

"Here?" Sabrina asked doubtfully, looking around at the crowded ballroom. It seemed that the demimonde had their own crush events with guests arriving late into the night and early morning.

"Here," Marcus said, holding back the curtain covering the entrance to a small alcove and escorting her inside.

Ducking inside, Sabrina's steps slowed and then stopped at the sight of the dimly light space complete with a wide chaise lounge. Her heart beat nervously at the sound of the curtain dropping behind her and she startled at the feel of Marcus' hands wrapping around her waist.

"Easy," Marcus cooed and urged Sabrina further inside.

Sabrina allowed Marcus to steer her towards the chaise before turning in his arms. "Marcus?"

"Hmmm?" Marcus circled Sabrina's waist with his arms, drawing her to him and stopping only when he felt her breasts pressed against his chest. She was tense, holding herself stiff against him. Slow so as not to spook her, Marcus lowered his head and brushed his mouth across her lips. Once, twice -- it was the most delicate of contact meant to entice, encourage her to open up to him. Marcus struggled not to deepen the kiss, to sweep in and demand what she had already promised.

Sabrina sighed at the gentle touch; letting her eyes drift closed she concentrated on the kiss letting herself get swept away on a wave of rising desire. This was no ravishment but a slow, sensual seduction that had her responding as no plundering ever would. Relaxing, she leaned into Marcus enjoying the hard expanse of his chest pressing against her breasts.

Marcus breathed a silent sigh of relief as Sabrina responded beneath his lips. He had thought to to start his seduction when they returned to his townhouse but found that he couldn't wait. Hours at the gaming table, of her sitting on his lap with her hips pressed intimately against his cock, had driven him from the card table and into this alcove. Just a taste, he promised himself.

Sabrina shivered as Marcus nipped at her bottom lip, gently tugging on it with his teeth before licking the tiny sting away. Unbidden, her lips parted and she was rewarded with the slow slide of his tongue into her mouth. He tasted of liquor, as he always did, but underneath it was a taste she was coming to associated with Marcus. It was dark, sensual and complex - much like the man himself.

Marcus moaned as he slid into the heat of Sabrina's mouth. Her lips were full and soft against his, her tongue coming to touch and mate with his as he explored. His hands, which had been resting at her waist, slid up her back pressing her more firmly against him.

They touched from lip to toe, her breast crushed against his chest while his cock was cradled between her thighs. Marcus wanted her, wanted to feel her breasts in his hands while the taste of her lingered on his tongue. Part of him urged him on, told him to take whatever she was willing to give, while part of him urged caution. Marcus wasn't sure which part of him would triumph.

Sabrina slid her hands up Marcus' chest, over his shoulders and into his hair. Giving into the kiss she met his tongue with her own drawing him into her mouth and sucking. Her breasts had grown heavy, her nipples hard and aching to be touched. Experimentally, she brushed them back and forth against Marcus' chest and groaned in response to the exquisite friction.

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