Today is WiPitUp and a chance to share from my current work in progress, a Regency spanking romance, which has the working title The Duchess and the Huntsman.
Sophia is a widow and has been kept out of sight of high society for nearly twelve months as she mourns her husband – could be worse, Victorian wives were expected to stay in mourning for two and half years! She’s crept downstairs to try to take a peek inside the ballroom where her grandmother is hosting a dance. In an ante-chamber she encounters a man who is escaping the heat of the room. The sex starved Sophia can’t resist heating him up in other ways!
The young man squeezed himself through the gap and closed the door. He had his back to her and she froze, not sure in which direction to run. He sighed heavily, then tugged on his cravat and started to turn towards her. She had no time to escape.
He clutched his hand to his chest. “Good grief, you scared the life out of me.”
“My apologies.” She gathered her skirt ready to bolt out of the room and back upstairs.
“Please don’t….go I mean, not on my account.” He leaned his back against the wall. He’d a mop of red hair, flushed cheeks to match and numerous little freckles about his nose. A drop of sweat trickled down his temple. “It’s too hot in there.” He gestured to the ballroom door.
“Oh.” Men were encumbered with jackets, while she would have worn a short sleeve dress—if she’d been allowed to attend. She slid a foot along the floor, not wishing to appear rude, but eager to escape. “I wouldn’t know,” she muttered.
“Of course. Sorry. It must be frustrating—footmen get to serve, but maids are banished. I’m not surprised you want to take a peek.”
He thought her a maid! How plain she must have become in the last few months to be mistaken for a lowly servant. She opened her mouth to correct him, but instead snapped her jaw shut. He was a decent looking young man, probably on the brink of attaining adulthood and therefore younger than herself. The ball appeared to have quite overwhelmed him.
“Is it your first?” she asked.
“Why, yes. Is it that obvious?” He chuckled. “I’m not accustomed to dancing. My older brother encouraged me to come.”
“I would have thought a fine gentleman as yourself would enjoy the company of ladies and the frivolity of the occasion.” She couldn’t resist taking his innocent nature for a little fun ride. She’d experienced long hours of boredom and had been desperate for youthful company in the place of her tedious aunts and cousins. She stepped forward.
The man, if he had reached that esteemed age, blushed and cleared his throat. “Naturally, I do…it’s just the heat.” He picked at the neckcloth with frantic fingers.
“Let me help with the bow.” She walked up to him and he straightened up, his eyes widening. She reached up to touch his tie. My, she noted, he was taller than he looked and broader about the shoulders. His fashionable breeches highlighted his narrow hips.
“Thank…you. I can manage,” he blustered.
She flicked the bow with her fingertip. “Poor thing, it’s far too tight about your neck.” She jutted her chin up and smiled. “Allow me.”
“Yes,” he murmured, his cheeks glowing, “too tight.”
She sneaked a glance below and she saw something twitch in his breeches. Looking back at his face, his gaze upon her couldn’t be more obvious—he’d located her bosom and was tracking its rapid rise and fall. Dare she touch him, do more than threaten a minor disrobing? Perhaps, she should pucker her lips and tempt him further. How naughty, but what harm would it do? He believed her to be a maid and he’d be gone later, none the wiser at her deception. Just a little peck of his lips or a gentle touch of his hand on her waist. It would make up for months of cold, uneventful mourning.
The music intensified along with the sound of many shod feet prancing up and down the ballroom. Then the laughter penetrated, accompanied by the ceaseless hubbub of background conversations. The cacophony of noise failed to distract her and she lifted her hand to his chin and touched it with the farthest tip of her finger. Barely anything of her had made contact. He dropped his jaw, parting his lips.
“Sophia!” The voice of her grandmother shrieked, ripping across the room.
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