Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage

Page 19

Mac fished the cheroot from her priceless antique bowl and laid the two cigars on the edge of the table, positioned so they wouldn't burn the wood. "You're good for the lad."
"I'm too soft on him. He needs a firm hand."
"He needs a gentle one as well," Mac pointed out.
"I remember the morning after you married me, Daniel came charging into our house in Mount Street and mistook me for one of your models."
"Aye, I remember boxing his ears for his impertinence."
"The poor mite. He didn't know." Isabella turned to the railing, watching her guests talking and laughing below, wondering why she didn't want to go back down to them. "He was all of nine years old, seeking refuge because he'd been sent home from school again and was afraid to tell Cam."
"Spare him your sympathy. The 'poor mite' dropped a mouse down my coat to get back at me for the ear boxing."
"I think perhaps none of you ever grew up."
"Oh, but we did."
Mac's hands came around Isabella's waist. His warmth covered her back, her bustle bent under his weight, and his lips burned the curve of her neck.
Chapter 6
A most lavish soiree held by the Lady of Mount Street Saturday last was marred somewhat by the failure of her Lord to make an appearance. The Lady assured her guests that his Lordship would be only a little late, but it was discovered in the small hours of the morning that he had gone to Rome instead. Perhaps he took a wrong turning?
-February 1876
Isabella closed her eyes, gripping the railing until her fingers ached. "I should go down."
Mac's teeth grazed her skin. "They are enjoying themselves on their own. Your task is finished."
He was right. The crowd had a new focus point-the soprano. Isabella's mission had been to draw notice to the singer's talent, and she'd done it. She was the director who could now retire to the wings. An excellent excuse to linger.
As Mac's hands glided along the satin of her bodice, Isabella's thoughts fled back through years, to the night she and Mac had hosted their first grand soiree at his Mount Street house. They'd stood like this on the landing while their guests roamed below, eager to see what effect Mac's marriage had wrought on his bachelor's abode. Isabella had felt wild and wicked and reckless. All those people, many well-respected members of society, had no idea that she stood in the shadows above, letting her rakish husband put love bites on her neck.
"You still wear yellow roses for me," he said into her skin.
"Not necessarily for you," she said faintly. "Redheads can't wear pink ones."
"You wear what you please and damn your detractors." Mac nibbled her earlobe, her earring trickling into his mouth.
It would be easy to give in to him . Easy to let him touch her until she forgot pain and grief, despair and anger, and her burning loneliness.
She'd done it before. She'd smiled at him and welcomed him back after each one of his disappearances, and all would be sunshine between them again. More than sunshine-it had been happiness words couldn't express, an expanse of joy that tore at her until she'd thought she'd come apart.
Then it would start again. Mac's nearly obsessive attentiveness would give way to irritation, deteriorating tempers on both their parts. Their quarrels would start small and then escalate into blazing rows. Then more hurting, more sorrow, Mac retreating into drunkenness and wild behavior until Isabella would wake to find him gone again.
Mac pressed a kiss behind her ear, and the memory of the bad times dissolved into pure feeling. His mouth was hot, his clever tongue touching places that he knew aroused her. Below them, guests chattered and talked, unaware of the two in the shadows above. Mac moved his hand to her décolletage, slid fingers inside her bodice.
Isabella leaned back into him, letting him take her weight in his arms while his hard fingertips played with her breast. She turned her head, and Mac caught her lips with his.
Mac had taught Isabella to kiss, taking his time and showing her every technique. He'd begun the lessons on her father's chill terrace, continued them in the carriage on the way to the bishop's house. More still on the way back to his own house, while his ring, which he'd slipped on her finger during the makeshift ceremony, had weighed heavily on her hand.
He'd carried her up the stairs to his bedroom and then taught her that her preconceptions of what husband and wife did in bed were all wrong. No lying quietly while her husband took his pleasure with her body, as was her "duty." No praying it would be over soon. No pain, no fear.
Mac had touched her as though she were an exquisite piece of art, learning her body while he encouraged her to learn his. He'd been so incredibly gentle and loving, and at the same time, wicked. He'd teased her and made her blush, taught her naughty words, and let her explore the hard planes of his interesting body. He'd taken her virginity slowly, never rushing, never hurting her.
He'd had oils that let him slide gently into her, easing her tightness so she could take him without pain. He'd done other things with the oils-used them to glide his hands across her skin, showed her how to use them on his body to bring him to arousal. He'd taught her that he could find exquisite pleasure with her even when he didn't enter her, and then Mac proved that he could give Isabella the same kind of pleasure in turn.

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Copyright © novelfull All Rights Reserved.