Innocent Pawn Ch. 08bywishfulthinking©
Bella swallowed hard as she gazed upon her father where he stood at the entrance to her chamber, dressed only in a robe. A belt was tied loosely around his hips, and the material gaped over his thick chest matted with wiry black hair. With trembling hands she smoothed her gown over her knees, praying the dark chamber hid her flushed cheeks and crushed gown.
“Ah, you’re awake,” her father drawled, and dread filled her belly as he silently closed the door behind him.
Her heart thundered in her chest as he moved across the chamber toward her, the moonlight casting his features in shadow as he came to tower above her where she knelt on the bed.
“I-I, don’t feel too well,” she lied, praying fervently that he would quickly leave. She flinched slightly as he laid his hand against her forehead.
“You’re warm,” he murmured, his fingers trailing down over the soft skin of her cheek, damp with perspiration. “You should take of your gown.”
“P-Please father. I would rather be alone. I-“
“Nonsense, Isabella. Let me help you out of it. There’s no need to call a maid at this hour.” Bella’s eyes closed momentarily as she fought to control her trembling as his large hands slid over her breasts before closing over the tiny pearl buttons marching down the front of her gown. It felt like spiders crawling over her skin.
Bella was frantic, knowing she had to get rid of her father before Leonn sensed something was amiss and came to her defence. Should her father discover the man his men were scouring the countryside for was hidden beneath her bed, a simple shout would bring armed guards racing to her chamber, and Leonn’s life would be forfeit.
“Father, really, I can do this myself,” she whispered, trying to struggle from his hold as he fumbled with her buttons. She gasped as he tore violently at the fine material, exposing the shadowy cleft between her tiny mounds upthrust by the crush of her bone corset.
“I fear I am too impatient,” he murmured as he pushed the material aside to gaze down at the rapid rise and full of the creamy breasts, their rosy tips a tantalising shadow against the thin cotton chemise.
“Father, don’t-“ The breath rushed from her lungs as he drove her back of the bed, his large body swiftly rearing over her as his mouth covered hers. She tried to turn her head away, but he caught her face firmly between his fingers as his wet tongue sought entry into her mouth. She fought him, her nails raking down his arms as the full weight of him fell on her, pinning her to the bed. She whimpered as his teeth bit down on her lower lip, the taste of her own blood filling her mouth as his tongue finally thrust between her parted lips.
She almost gagged from the taste of him, tears pooling in the corner of her eyes as she struggled beneath him. He drew back from her slightly to gaze down at her, the intensity of his dark brown eyes sending chilled darts down her spine. “I’ve longed to taste you, Isabella. Even as a child you drew me. I wanted to see your eyes widen as I thrust inside of you, tearing your maidenhead and filling you completely for the first time. I will make him pay dearly for what he has taken from me, before I end his miserable life.”
Her eyes widened in horror as she saw Leonn loom above them, his face a terrible mask of fury as he wrenched her father from her and shoved him away from the bed and Bella. Her father stumbled back, fear and disbelief written across his face as he caught sight of the man that dared deny him what he so long desired. “de Angel!” he cursed.
“You sick bastard. Your own daughter,” Leonn ground out menacingly as he advanced on the cowering man.
“She’s a slut,” her father rasped out, never taking his eyes from Leonn as he backed toward the door. “Couldn’t spread her legs fast enough, begged me to fuck her from the moment she arrived.”
In a blur of speed she saw Leonn throw himself on her father, sending them crashing to the floor. She could barely stand to watch as the two men struggled on the floor, praying the guards would not hear. She wasn’t to know that her father had sent them away for fear they would spread gossip of her screams.
Her eyes widened in horror as she saw her father reach for something in his boot, and she cried out to Leonn in warning. Her father rolled on top of Leonn and slashed the dagger down toward his chest. Leonn’s hands wrapped around her father’s wrists in a tight vice, the tendons in his neck straining.
Bella laid her hands on the first heavy object she found, her fingers trembling. She moved toward the two men, raising the silver candleholder above her head. She held her breath as she brought it down hard against the back of her father’s head, feeling the sickening thud reverberate up her arm. Her father groaned at her attack, his hand snaking out to grip the front of her torn gown, but she dodged him, swinging the solid silver instrument around with all her might. The blow landed on his temple, and a look of surprise filled his face before he slumped sideways, the dagger clattering to the floor.
Leonn pushed the limp weight off of him and rose, catching a swaying Isabella and pulling her firmly up against his broad chest.
“Is he dead?” she mumbled against his chest, the bloodied weapon in her hand falling to the stone floor as she slid her arms around his waist.
Leonn kissed the top of her head as he arms tightened around her. “Yes.”
She shivered at the matter of fact tone of his voice, even as she felt relief that the monster was finally dead.
“Why didn’t you tell me about him?” he demanded, shaking her slightly. She buried her head against his chest, but he caught her chin in his fingers, titling her head back. There was no escaping those burning amber eyes. “Why Bella?”
“You never asked,” she said quietly. “Go,” she whispered, pushing against his chest as she tore herself free from his arms. “They will kill you if they find you here.”
She couldn’t bear to look at him, knowing it would tear her heart out to watch him leave her again, perhaps this time forever now that her father was dead. She turned her back on him, struggling to get out of her torn gown, and kicked it away from her with disgust as it fell to the floor.
“Would you try and stop them?” he asked quietly, and she stilled.
How could he ask that of her? Didn’t he know how he made her feel?
A lengthy silence filled the chamber as he waited for her answer.
He gave no warning as he strode across the chamber and caught her up in his arms. She shrieked as he tossed her over his shoulder, and he slapped her firmly on the bottom. “Don’t make this harder than it has to be, little one. I’ll drag the answer from you if I have to.”
~ * ~
She knew she shouldn’t have been surprised that Leonn had discovered secret passages that led deep into the bowels of her father’s castle, but she was. Her lips parted on a silent gasp as he lifted a large, dusty tapestry that lined the far wall of her chamber and pushed against solid stone, revealing a narrow passage.
“How?” was all she could manage, her fingers clinging to his linen shirt as he slowly made his way through the dark maze.
“You’re father made the mistake of allowing the steward to live when he murdered the family who lived in this castle to take possession. The man, upon learning my name, came to me, eager to spill his secrets in return for my promise to kill your father.”
“Why didn’t he go to the King for help?” she asked naively, trying to comprehend her father’s despicable behaviour.
“Your father had his wife and daughters locked in the dungeon as surety.”
A shiver racing through her at the horror the steward and his family must be going though. “I must go back, Leonn. I have to release them.”
“They have been freed. I saw to it myself.”
His tone was final, inviting no questions, but her mind tried to piece together the night he had come to her room and the distraction of her father’s missing horse to the steward’s plight. The rush of feelings she had for this man who would risk his own life to fulfil a promise threatened to overwhelm her.
Leonn carried her for what seemed an age, feeling his way through the darkness until eventually the air seemed to ease around them. Finally she spied moonlight filtering softly through grates above them to spill on the ground at Leonn’s feet. He paused beneath one and pushed it aside with one arm before lifting her up through the tiny gap and squeezing through behind her. She found herself standing in a thick grove of trees, the full moon casting long shadowy fingers across the mossy open ground before her. Her toes sunk into the damp softness and she breathed in the moist air as Leonn moved to stand beside her, his fingers seeking hers.
She caught sight of movement from the corner of her eye, and she clung to his warm strength.
“They are my men, little one. They won’t harm you.” He ran his hand soothingly down her back as his men silently closed around them.
They had been laying in wait for their lord, and Bella was only beginning to appreciate the calculated mind of her captor. One man handed the reins of a large black stallion to Leonn, and it tossed its head and nickered in greeting as it caught sight of his master.
Leonn swung his leg gracefully over the back of the stallion and leaned down to lift her up before him. It was only as she settled on the saddle before him, her chemise drawn up high on her thighs that she realised her state of undress, and her hands flew up to cover her breasts as a heat bloomed in her cheeks. She quickly gazed around her, and found that his men refused to meet her gaze as Leonn guided his horse along a barely noticeable trail.
Belatedly realising her distress, Leonn handed her the reins before unbuttoning his white linen shirt and slipping it off, baring his tanned chest to the cool night air. He gathered it around her shoulders and fed her arms through the sleeves one at a time before reaching beneath her arms to button up the front.
The breath caught in her throat as more than once his fingers brushed against her breasts, the rosy peaks puckering beneath the light caresses. She could have groaned aloud when his hands seemed to brush the hardened tips all the more and she tried to concentrate on steering the horse, her cheeks a rosy pink. She breathed a sigh of relief when his hands recaptured the reins, and he chuckled against her ear. She slapped his thigh, outraged, and he only responded by tightening the arm around her waist so that she nestled firmly against his warmth. She squirmed against him, and he groaned under his breath as she rubbed up against him tantalisingly. “Witch,” he murmured.
The ride to Chauboneau was long and swift, yet despite the discomforts she had somehow fallen asleep in the protective circle of Leonn’s arms, her head cradled against his shoulder. He woke her gently at dawn as they rode through the castle gates, and she blinked sleepily, shifting in the saddle and drawing a groan from Leonn as she brushed against him. She bit her lip as she discovered the pulsing hardness nudging at her bottom, and felt her own body tighten in response.
Her wobbly legs could barely support her as he lifted her down from the horse, and he held her firmly against him as he barked out orders to his men. One of his orders was to find a maid to help her to her chamber, and she vaguely recalled her pleasant face as a young woman rushed to her.
“Mina,” she murmured, and the young woman smiled and curtsied.
“Yes, My Lady,” the maid said, one arm around her waist as she helped escort Bella to her chamber. Bella refused to gaze back at Leonn as they left, unwilling to let him see her uncertainty at returning to where she had been held captive for so long. Was she to become his captive again? Even as her body thrilled at the knowledge, her mind rebelled.
Mina gasped as Bella nearly lost her balance on the last few stone steps, forcing Bella to lean heavily on the maid.
“I’m alright,” Bella murmured. “I just need rest.”
~ * ~
She woke slowly, sleepily blinking her long lashes as she rolled onto her side. Light from the tall windows fell across the bed where she lay, and slowly the tall naked man gazing out of the windows came into focus as he turned to face her.
She held the sheet to her breasts as she sat up, feeling relief that she still wore her chemise. The feather mattress beside her was imprinted with his body, and her cheeks flamed at the thought of him spending the night with her for the first time, and her mind raced at the intimacies their unconscious bodies may have shared.
“Did he rape you?” he queried softly.
She shook her head, unable to meet the burning amber gaze.
“But he wanted to,” he said, moving closer.
She didn’t reply, her fingers plucking nervously at the sheet.
“Even if you had escaped me, you couldn’t have gone to him,” he said angrily, the bed dipping beneath his weight as he sat at her side. “What other secrets have you kept from me, little one?”
She closed her eyes and shook her head, unwilling to answer. Her lips trembled as he gently peeled back the sheet, her clutching fingers little match against his strength as he drew the covering from her body. She flinched as his fingers gently trailed down her bare arm to gently circle her wrist, lifting her palm to his warm lips.
“Don’t make me force you to tell me, Bella,” he murmured, still holding her wrist as he leaned forward and pressed a soft kiss where her shoulder joined her neck. “You know you can never win this fight. Your body is too sweetly responsive to deny me anything I desire.”
“Leonn, no,” she murmured, trying to shift away, only to find herself flat on the bed and gazing up at him with startled green eyes. “So the cat hasn’t got your tongue,” he queried softly, pressing another kiss on the corner of her mouth.
“Stop it,” she gasped, wiggling out from beneath him to present him with the column of her back as she swung her legs over the side of the bed. He moved swiftly, his large palms clamping down on her shoulders as he shifted to kneel behind her, pressing his warm body along the rigid line of her back. A shiver raced through her as his teeth nibbled on her ear lobe.
“I want you to tell me, Bella. I want to hear it from your own sweet lips.” She moaned as his fingers slid down to cup her tiny breasts through the thin cotton shift possessively.
“You’ve won, Leonn. You did everything you set out to do. There is no need for – for this.” The words were torn from her as she arched against him.
“There is always a need for me to touch you, to caress you.” His breath stirred the tendrils at her temple as he gently molded her soft flesh in his large palms. “To take you.” Her head fell back against his shoulder as he caught the hard tips between his thumbs and forefingers, rolling them sweetly. She felt moisture trickle between her thighs at his knowing fingers caressed her sensitive flesh.
“You-” she gasped as he tugged at the ribbons of her chemise, drawing the edges apart to expose the tiny thrust of her creamy breasts to the cool morning air. “Oh!” she gasped as his hands slid down beneath her chemise to rest on the noticeable swell of her belly. She leapt from the bed, only to gasp as he caught a fistful of her chemise, tugging her back.
“Oh, no, little one. You do not escape my interrogation so easily,” he murmured.
The thin material gave way, tearing along the seam down her middle, and she sprawled on her hands and knees on the fur rug, giving him a delicious eyeful of her creamy bottom peaking out from beneath the tattered material.
“You – you pig! You tripped me!” she cried as she scrambled to her feet and faced him, blushing as she fought to drag the material over the taut peaks of her breasts. He chuckled at the alluring picture she made, all tousled and pink with feminine outrage.
“Ah, Bella,” he murmured, a smile curling his lips as his burning amber eyes caressed her sweet curves as she stood before him clad only in her creamy stockings and frilly garters and the doubtful remains of her chemise. His fingers itched to slide those garters over her soft thighs and slowly roll down the stockings and he pressed soft kisses against her quivering flesh.
“How could you possibly think that there was no longer a need to do what it is that makes you tremble and your eyes darken to sage at the mere thought of it?”
“Don’t come near me,” she cried, backing away as he swung his legs over the side of the bed. She swallowed hard as he stood up, all hard muscle rippling beneath smooth golden skin. Her eyes were drawn irresistibly to the nest of golden curls between his thighs, widening at the hardness of him before flicking away scandalously.
“I’m p-pregnant. Is that what you wanted me to say?”
His eyebrows lifted as she bumped against a marble-topped side table resting against the wall. She was unable to retreat any further as he leisurely strolled across the chamber toward her.
“I’ve waited weeks for you to come to me with the truth. It gives me no pleasure to have to drag it from you.”
Her eyes widened as he planted a palm against the wall on either side of her head. “Y-you knew?”
He nodded, gazing down at her intently. “I knew,” he said softly as his head dipped and his mouth lightly brushed hers. “And I’m glad. It simplifies things between us.”
She didn’t know what he meant, but she couldn’t help the glow of happiness his words created deep inside of her. She frowned as something occurred to her.
“Then why did you come to me at my father’s castle if you already knew I was pregnant? There was no need for you – for us to…,” she stumbled to a halt, a blush rising in her cheeks, and he smiled wickedly.
“To make love?” he murmured as he brushed another kiss against her parted lips.
“Stop it,” she gasped, turning her face to the side as he pressed another kiss on her. “I won’t allow you to – to put your thing inside of me.”
“Thing?” He raised an incredulous eyebrow as he gazed down at her, and she knew the evidence of her desire for that very thing must be obvious to him: the way her rosy peaks tented the gaping cotton material, her moist parted lips and her turbulent green eyes. “Surely you love the feel of my ‘thing’ sliding up inside of you?”
Her skin burned where he trailed kisses down her neck. “You must have given yourself a pat on the back when my father learned that I carried your child,” she gasped out, trying to block the wicked sensations spiralling low in her belly at his close proximity.
“Our child,” he breathed as his tongue wreaked havoc with her senses.
“So you’ve had you revenge,” she cried as his lips closed over the fluttering pulse at the base of her neck. “Your father killed my father’s lover, so he in turn killed your father. You then had me kidnapped from the convent and kept me prisoner while you - you ravished me to get me with child, and then you used me as bait to lure my father from his hiding place.”
“What garbage is that?” he demanded incredulously. She tried to duck beneath his arm but he caught her around the waist, lifting her bottom onto the narrow side table and pressing her back against the wall as he gazed down at her intently.
“What part of it is garbage, Sir,” she said with a coolness she was far from feeling as the material of her chemise gaped down her middle, exposing a creamy breast and the swell of her belly and the red curls between her soft creamy thighs.
“The woman you speak of was never your father’s lover. She was my mother. The woman your father was so obsessed with that he eventually killed her in an attack on my father, was married to my father. Theirs was a love match. My father worshipped the ground she walked on.”