tagNonConsent/ReluctanceThe Devil's Inheritance Ch. 02

The Devil's Inheritance Ch. 02


Sophie clipped her garments to the line at the side of the house to dry. Her afternoon had been spent running them over the washboard to rid them of the stains that proved her innocence, and of his scent on her clothes. Fastening the last clothespin on her chemise, she ran her fingers across the tear down the front. The sound of it pulling apart in his hands this morning splintered through her memory. She ran inside and shut the door, looking around the silent house. Not a week ago, she had been sitting at the table with Mr. Farthing, laughing about their half-witted old neighbor walking three miles down the road after his escaped rooster.

David Farthing had been a kind master. She often addressed him by his first name, even. Together they had spent days working and nights sharing meals and brandy, of which David would sneak to her a glass every so often. But he always drank too much, becoming melancholy by the end of the meal and Sophie had carried him to his bed many nights. He had never touched her, and had no interest in doing so. David's lack of interest in women stayed an unspoken topic between them, just as discussion of Sophie's parentage and childhood was off limits.

They always had the most fun together alone at night, the two Ashford misfits enjoying each other's company after tending to business around the dairy farm. The townsfolk didn't like either of them: Sophie for her origin as the illegitimate daughter of the Marquess, and David for the rumors surrounding him concerning why none of the young men in town wanted to take up apprenticeship at the farm.

Sophie sat at the dining room table, remembering them singing together with her clapping in time or dancing as David played his fiddle, laughing by candlelight. But when his melancholy got the better of him and the brandy had run out he would drive off in the milk cart and finish the evening at the pub in Ashford before crawling back in the wee hours of the morning, usually just as Sophie was getting up to milk the cows. Four days before he had crawled back to bed and stayed there, never to wake again.

The happy times were gone now, and the memories were violently burned away this morning as his nephew Mr. Gardiner had taken her on this very table. She shut her eyes but couldn't escape the feel of his hands on her, his mouth suckling at her breast, and the burning path he had blazed within her that she now felt with every movement of her body.

After Mr. Gardiner left, Sophie had frantically searched the house to no avail. There was more than a verbal contract between her and David, but she wasn't going to give that information to Mr. Gardiner just yet. Sophie knew that David had written a letter to the barrister entailing the property to her, because she had watched as he started writing it. But in his often-besotted state, she doubted he had ever remembered to deliver it.

If she didn't find it soon then Mr. Gardiner would, and her chances of ever holding this land even under a trust would instantly vanish. All day she had considered running. She knew her options: the whorehouse or the workhouse; and when she had finally run out of money and fortune, and resorted to thieving just to stay alive, she would dance the Tyburn jig. She had to stay here. She had endured worse than James Gardiner in this life.

She sat with her head in her hand at the edge of the table, wearing only her spare summer chemise with the short sleeves, mourning the loss of her old life and steeling herself for her new one. Her mind wretched at the thought of Mr. Gardiner at the same time as her body ached for him to fill it once more. Sophie cursed herself. Surely she was damned for even entertaining these thoughts.

As the sun started descending over the hills, Sophie sat down to sew her torn dress and restring her bodice. She sat in the rocking chair with a needle and thread, mending the jagged tear and listening to the throng of crickets outside. Her hands shook as the needle coursed in and out of the fabric, not the neatest mending job Sophie had ever done. She shut her eyes to the vision of holding Mr. Gardiner's arms as he had pinned her to the table, thrusting in and out of her mercilessly. She let the needle drop, startled by a noise outside.

The gate swung open with a creak as a single horse and chaise lumber through over the grounds. Impossible! Why would he be back so soon? Sophie looked up from her sewing in the fading dusk to see Mr. Gardiner hop down from his carriage and guide the horse to the side of the house.

She panicked for only a moment. There was no escape from him. She had to find the letter. She needed this farm; it was her home. And if she couldn't find it, and had to make a deal with Mr. Gardiner for two years in order to make sure it rightfully passed to her, then she would. The house started darkening as the front door opened. Mr. Gardiner stepped in removing his hat and coat, then his waistcoat and cravat, placing all on the rack by the door.

He stood there in his shirt and breeches, the fire from the hearth in the other room silhouetting his black clad figure against the flames. His shadow reached toward her. Sophie thought the vision was appropriate. James grabbed a twig from the fire and lit a kerosene lamp on the table by the door. She saw his face in the flicker of the flame as he replaced the glass cover.

"You asked me to think about what you said, Mr. Gardiner," Sophie stood up, her bravery surprising him.

"So I did," he said, coming closer, the lamp in his hand, "And I want you to call me James."

"I accept your offer. I'll do... whatever it is you ask of me."

He gave her a self-satisfied smile as he spoke, "I would think that you would, considering what you're getting out of all this. Of course, it shall remain to be seen whether you can live up to your end of the bargain."

She wrinkled her brow, "What do you mean by that?"

He looked at her standing before him in the gossamer muslin chemise, the only barrier between them, a half-smile curling his lips. Sophie only realized this too late as his eyes coursed over her. She felt a shudder travel up her spine and her knees turned to jelly. As he took a step forward, she felt her body pulling toward him, like a lodestone to a branding iron.

James advanced the rest of the room until he stood in front of Sophie looking downward into the deep pools of her green eyes, as close as he could get without quite touching her. The close contact made her shiver in painful awareness of the last few inches that separated her from James, "It's not something that can be easily put into words. I would need to show you. And I intend to do so now."

James tilted her face up to his and leaned down, his lips descending over hers, pulling her into to him. Strong fingers raked through her golden hair falling in springs down her back. His hand drew around her back and brought her in close to him, her soft curves melding into the hardness of his body. James brought his free hand up the side of her to her breast, kneading her flesh and feeling its weight through the fabric. He was delighted that she had nothing on but the diaphanous fabric. Had it been any other woman, he would have figured that she had planned it. But Sophia was far too innocent to have the foresight to know how to seduce a man; he'd had proof of that this morning.

His tongue darted into her mouth, searching. She responded, their kiss deepening as her tongue started exploring his. His hand felt her nipple hardening to a point under the fabric and he brushed his thumb roughly over it, drawing a keening whimper from her.

Mouth still trapping hers, he ran his hand down over her stomach through the fabric and brought it up between her legs. When his fingers touched her sex on the other side of the cloth it made his cock twitch and enlarge, his hips instinctively arching toward her. She was already wet, their deep kiss bringing her body back to the memories of this morning.

James drew back from her and whispered, "Go upstairs."

She moved away from him and crossed over to the staircase, ascending. James followed behind her, eyes riveted the wiggle of her ass from side to side in front of him. She walked with care, and the knowledge that she did so because she was still tender from her ravishment this morning sent blood pooling into his groin.

She swallowed hard, each step seeming to take an eternity as she ascended toward her ultimate fate. Sophie made her way toward David's room— James's room now, for he was master of this house. James marveled at his uncle's excellent taste as the lamp lit the doorway ahead of them. A great Turkish woven rug dominated the floor with an enormous bed on the wall opposite the door. Floor to ceiling windows let light flow in from the front and back of the house with a large, dormant fireplace anchoring the front wall, and a walnut chest and wardrobe framing each corner.

She pulled back the covers of the massive carved walnut bed as James lit first one candle on the oil lamp before using it to light the rest, flooding the room with a soft glow. Sophie sat on the bed and looked down to see the patch of wetness from where he had touched her through the chemise and turned away, embarrassed.

James watched this interplay on her face and came over to her, sitting beside her on the bed, "Why are you ashamed of something so natural?"

"This isn't natural; none of it is," she looked down almost whispering, "I'm not supposed to feel anything from my... duty to this arrangement."

James smiled at her, "You don't understand yet Sophia, but you soon will."


"I'm sorry?"

"My name is Sophie. Mr. Farthing called me Sophie."

"My uncle, God rest his soul, desired to create children of his own and had none. It comes as no surprise to me that he kept calling you Sophie long after he should have stopped. 'Sophie' infantilizes you, and you aren't just some naïve girl. Sophia is a woman's name and fits you far better."

She blushed. Of course she wasn't a naïve girl anymore. He had made sure of that this morning. Images of that moment where she ceased being Sophie flooded into her fevered mind.

"Now where were we Sophia," he said, whispering her name slowly into her ear, "Ah, that's right. Your natural response to me."

James ran a hand up her thigh, moving the fabric with him, causing her to shudder in a mixture of terror and arousal. She had to stop this in its tracks. He could rut on her body all he wanted but she needed to resist and separate herself from him. If she didn't, she would lose whatever remained of her soul. He felt her stiffen and came back to her ear.

"Here is your first lesson tonight in why this is a natural response," he said, moving the folds of fabric out of the way until his finger was slowly tracing up the naked skin of her inner thigh. At the same time he picked up her hand and brought it down over his breeches to the erection building beneath, "If you are not ready when I enter you, it will cause you a great deal of pain."

Sophia slowly drew her hand back and shuddered as his finger made contact with the thatch of blonde hair covering her nether lips. He had used his hands and mouth on her body, preparing her this morning, and it had still hurt horrifically. She couldn't imagine what would happen to her insides if she weren't prepared for him. She felt her thighs twitch and her breathing become shallow as he lightly drew his finger through the hair along her outer lips, stroking and enflaming her. His touch didn't increase, and she didn't sense the urgency in him from this morning. Instead he was teasing her and waiting for her to give in.

Sophia tensed then let go, allowing her body to respond. If this was what he wished, then it was necessary for now. He was playing with her like the cat in the barn batting around a field mouse before the kill. She hated him but the way his hands touched her, the way his lips grazed her skin, set her on fire. Her mind held out in holy terror but her body flew free wishing this would never stop. An ache returned to her insides with force, but it wasn't the sharp pain from this morning. Sophia felt a very different kind of throbbing that demanded more.

James watched every sensation course over her face and saw as she started to surrender to his touch. It wasn't enough for him to just to have her only ready enough for him to push inside of her then thrust away for several minutes until he found his release with her lying like a statue underneath him. If he sought after that, he would get a wife. He'd had enough women to know that he needed an active participant, not a rag doll. James wanted to possess this woman and linger in her thoughts long after he had left her side. He needed her to want him, to bend and beg for him. He wanted to feel her body melt into his as it had started to this morning and hear her crying out his name as he gave her the gift of ultimate pleasure.

Her eyes went glassy and her breathing grew ragged as his touch continued. She needed something great and nameless that stood out of reach, "James, please..."

"Hmm?" He said looking up as she whispered.

Sophia hadn't even known the words had left her mouth until he acknowledged them, "Please... I," her words cracked.

"You don't know what it really is that you need, do you? Only that you have to have it," he said as she crossed the threshold from surrender to desire.

"No, I don't, but please..."

James dipped his fingers in deeper, feeling hot wet heat pour out of her, coating his finger as it brushed through her inner lips. Sophia's heavy lidded eyes closed as she felt a wave of pleasure sweep over her, her voice breaking from deep in her throat. His stroke relieved the throbbing within her but that primal ache soon returned. He felt her quivering under his touch, "Lesson the second: I know what it is you need, even though you do not. I can either stop—"

He withdrew his fingers suddenly and she bent forward, body crumpling, unfulfilled. She whimpered, the ache becoming unbearable, "No!"

A wide grin crossed his face and he returned his fingers to her keening flesh, "—or continue touching you. What would you like, Sophia?"

"Please, James! Stop teasing me like this! I... you already showed me once today what I... need," Sophia looked down at his groin as she reached toward him. He caught her wrist before she could touch him and shatter his waning control. She opened her eyes wide and looked deep into his calm grey pupils, her lips trembling.

James cupped her face with his other hand and brushed his lips against hers before gently nipping the bottom. He locked his mouth to hers feeling her press back with an urgent moan. Their tongues entwined and James used the kiss to lower her to the bed, her blonde hair pooling underneath them. James knew that she needed his touch and had assumed that him thrusting away inside of her was the answer to her arching desire. She broke the kiss and looked down at his groin hesitantly, assuming he would simply take her here and now as he had this morning. James read her thoughts on her face, "There will be time enough for that. I promise. But there's more to this than just my taking you."

Why couldn't he just get it over with and tell her instead of making her guess in shame? Confusion swept over Sophia as she felt him start to lift her chemise over her head. She aided him, shifting so he could more easily pull it off her and cast it on the floor beside the bed. He looked down at her body, candlelight flickering across her silvery flesh. Her collarbone jutted forward, the hollows in her neck more pronounced as she rolled and arched her back, searching out his hand once more. Below that, the supple curves of liquid flesh ended in delicate pink nipples, each puckered to a point at the touch of the cold air and his hands brushing the inside of her thighs.

With his eyes he traced the line running from her ribs down the side of her stomach, the gentle inward curve only obscured by her navel. Her hips flared out below that and his eyes finally passed to where his hands were stroking her thighs. James moved them upward returning his hands to her core and the pink lips covered in downy blonde hair that matched the tendrils framing her face.

She had surrendered to him. He kissed her once more as she lay on the edge of the bed, her legs cast over the side before moving to her breasts, supporting them underneath. He rolled his tongue around each nipple feeling the areole constrict even further under his lips. Sophia felt the same sensations building within her as she had felt on the dining room table this morning. She watched as James moved from her breasts and started kissing down the length of her stomach, his fingers tracing a figure eight through her wet lips.

She tilted her head back with a gasp, her mound rising up as his tongue hit her flesh just under her navel. She felt his fingers move away and a breath of hot air landed on her hardened bud. Before she could process her disbelief at where he was and what he was about to do, she felt the gentle rasp of his tongue meet her delicate flesh. The room started spinning, and a loud moan escaped her throat.

James rolled his tongue through her slit, the sweet salty essence of her filling his senses. He ran the back of his tongue down to its source and darted inside her. Sophia brought her legs up and shrieked, gasping as he probed her, thrusting in and out of her opening in a pleasurable mock of the searing pain she knew would later replace it.

As his fingers edged deeper inside her curling upward, he ran the flat of his tongue up her slit and flicked her nub with the tip. She rolled her head from side to side on the bed, her feet resting on his shoulders, opening her wider to him.

Sophia was lost to the dream world. Every brush of his tongue sent a new shiver down her body all the way to the tips of her toes and the thrust and curl of his fingers sparked a fire within her. She felt as though she were flying, soaring outside of her person, intoxicated by the ecstasy of his expert touch. Her moans filled the room, her unintelligible voice drawn from that primal place deep within.

He latched his mouth onto her flesh and sucked in, her juices and the sound of her pleasure flowing through him, nourishing him. Her cries echoing off the walls burned into his consciousness as he drove her onward, feeling her body surrender and undulate under the assault of his tongue and lips. She felt as though the bed underneath her didn't exist; as though she were flying. Suddenly James felt her fingers rake through his hair and push him closer to her. He smiled at her urgent need for him. He felt her thighs start closing around his head as she bucked upward, her control only a memory.

Just when she thought she could stand no more of this sweet torture, Sophia felt something inside her shatter, the force of it arching her back up off the bed. A scream tore from her throat and she felt the physical world around her melt away, replaced only by the feel of his mouth and hands on her flesh. James felt her thighs lock around him, muffling the sound of her cries to his trapped ears. Unseen, he smiled at the power behind her response to him.

When her thighs finally came away, his mouth was still locked to her flesh made so sensitive it almost hurt. After the briefest respite, she felt the paroxysms return as strong as before, her eyes rolling back as she arched again, the sound of her pleasure echoing through the house. When it became too much she started pushing his forehead away with the tips of her fingers. James steadied her and released her from his mouth, looking up at the deep rise and fall of her chest as she recovered her senses. Sophia opened her eyes.

Hands, lips, breasts and feet tingled and her mound and thighs spasmed as she lay there utterly spent. She watched James stand and rise above her, fully clothed with a noticeable bulge straining against the front of his breeches. With a wicked smile, he wiped his mouth in the crook of his arm then slackened his shirt. Words finally returned to Sophia, "James... what was—"

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