Sharing another extract from my current work in progress, which is set in the Scottish Highlands during Regency times. Claire, an English woman with her heart set on marrying her admirer, has refused to return to England and secretly made her way back to Felix’s home by a Scottish loch. However, she didn’t quite make back and he has to rescue her from the cold.
Arriving at Luichart Castle, he dismounted and managed to catch Claire before she slid off the horse. He carried her up the steps to the door. Once inside, he called to Mary. “Bring hot broth to my room.” He lay the shivering Claire on his bed. Tossing aside his cloak, he stoked the fire into a blaze. The heat had little impact on her blue lips. He would have to remove her wet clothes.
“Here’s the broth.” Mary placed it by the bed. “Let me undress her.”
“No, I’ll do it,” he said softly.
“She needs body warmth. She’s too cold. Leave us.”
Mary hesitated before curtsying.
Alone with Claire, he slipped off her gown and petticoats. Delirious, she muttered. “They’ve come for you.”
He failed to understand the meaning of her strange words. “No, Claire, you’re safe.”
Removing her bodice and shift, he bared her milky white skin, which was sprinkled with goose bumps. He’d no time to admire her shapely form. With her barely conscious and vulnerable, he had to act honourably and with discipline of mind and body. He snuggled next to her, spooning against her back and covered them both with blankets.
He kissed the back of her head and rubbed her arms. “Claire,” he whispered. “Come on sweetness, wake up.”
Gradually, as the heat built beneath the blankets, she ceased trembling and began to move her limbs. She opened her eyes, narrow slits at first until she realised where she was—naked, in Felix’s arms and in his bed.
She jerked, shooting up and clutched a blanket to her bosom.
Felix spoke quickly. “I haven’t touched you except to remove your wet clothes and give you my body warmth. I’m dressed, see?” He rose from the bed. “You were ice, Claire. If left in those clothes, you’d catch a fever. Here, drink this broth.” He held out the bowl.
“You found me. I knew you would,” she said. “Thank you.” She accepted the bowl and sipped on the steaming liquid.
He sat at the foot of the bed on a wooden chest. “I glad I found you because if I hadn’t…” He couldn’t contemplate the scenario. “You were in the woods.”
“I took shelter.”
He pursed his lips. “I’ve questions to ask, but now isn’t the time for them. Sleep here and in the morning you can explain to me why you are here and not travelling to England.”
He moved towards the door.
“Where will you sleep?” she asked.
“Don’t worry about me. You need to rest. Good-night.”
Seated in his armchair, he gazed into the dying embers of the fire and yawned.
What now? He’d seen her naked body, hugged her to his beating chest and touched her perfect skin. His first encounter with Claire’s fully naked form and it had been chaste and pure in nature. Knowing she was safe and recovering, he could allow himself the luxury of re-living the intimacy.
He groaned. The ache in his balls was occupying him with renewed urgency. He jumped to his feet and poured himself a whisky. Standing before the fire, he fingered the rim of the tumbler, pondering his options. Tomorrow would be a difficult day. Assuming she was fully recovered, he had to question her, then decide how best to proceed. A punishment was looming for Claire and much as he wished it otherwise, it had to be done, and done quickly. He swallowed the burning liquid in one gulp. Tonight, he would sleep in the chair and that chair would be central to Claire’s forthcoming spanking.