Orphaned Hannah Stuart is sent to work at Darkfield Manor, where she finds herself at the mercy of its seductive owner, Lord Jasper Dark. Aroused by the young woman’s submissive demeanor, he is determined to find sexual fulfillment by dominating Hannah in every way possible.
…but Hannah has a secret, and she must reveal it, or they will not survive the danger that faces them.
This story contains erotic romance, virgin sex, oral sex, spanking, and light BDSM. All characters are eighteen and above. Adult 18+
I clamored into the darkened interior, the sweet scent of leather with a hint of brandy teasing my senses. Its owner had been drinking. I sat across from a man dressed in a dark frockcoat and grey trousers. His hat was in his lap. As the carriage jerked forward, at the behest of its driver, I stared at the stranger who had so kindly given me a ride, thinking that he was one of the most handsome men I had ever seen. He gazed at me with curiosity, intelligence sparkling in his eyes. His face was perfectly proportioned with a strong jawline and elegant cheekbones, and, as he turned slightly, the profile, especially his nose, was decidedly Greek. Thick, dark hair held a natural curl, with longish sideburns and silky tendrils, draping over the back of a high collar shirt.
“You do realize it’s not polite to stare.”
The timber in his voice produced a sinuous shiver that darted down my spine. “I-I’m sorry, sir.” I glanced at my hands, but the compulsion to look at him had my eyes lifting, finding him smiling slightly. “I must thank you for this kindness.”
“There’s no need.”
“Do you know Lord Dark well? Is he a good man? I only ask because I’ve been sent to work for him and I should know what to expect.”
“In what capacity have you been hired?”
“I’m to be a chambermaid, sir.”
“I doubt you’d even see the master then.”
“But I might cross paths with him. If he is disagreeable, I should know, so I can avoid him.”
He fought a smile. “What do you consider disagreeable?”
“Someone who yells or is insulting, sir.”
“That would be the right of any employer, Miss Stuart, if he felt so inclined.”
“Ill-tempered or abusive.”
“That would be his right as well.”
I bit my lip, feeling as if he were having a secret laugh at my expense. “He’s your friend. You would know him.”
“Have you any advice for me then?”
“I suggest you follow instructions, Miss Stuart. That is all. Where are you from?”
“Is that where your family is?”
“They’ve all passed on, sir. I’ve come from an orphanage.” This announcement gave him pause, his eyes lingering on my face. I lowered my chin, staring at my gloves. “I was told this morning that I would be leaving. I’m too old to stay, having come of age, and now I must find work and earn my keep.”
“I shall try my best. I cleaned and looked after the little ones at the orphanage. The babies were my favorite, sir. I shall miss them dearly. I’ve known them for years, and they even called me mommy. Isn’t that sad?” His shoes had been polished to perfection. “They’ll all wonder where I’ve gone. I had so little time to say goodbye. They must think I abandoned them.” I met his gaze. He’d grown serious, somber, my words having affected him. “Oh…but it’s for the best.” I tried to lighten the mood. “I’ve spared them a teary farewell. They’ll be fine. Others will take my place.” An invisible layer of tension connected us in a strange and confusing way. “I’m sorry. I’ve babbled a great deal. I’ll be quiet now.”
He leaned against the seat, crossing his arms over his chest. “Are you prone to fits of weeping?”
That question was a surprise. “Not usually, sir.” But that had been a lie. I cried often, but I was careful to do it in private.
“You’re about to cry now.”
“There’s wetness in your eyes.”
I struggled for composure. “Well, I’m sure you’ve read me wrong. I’m perfectly fine.” Why was he looking at me like that? I had to change the subject. “We’re close.” I gazed out the window. “There’s the house.” An enormous structure loomed at the end of the drive, the lights blazing from the first story windows.
“So it is.”
“I hope you’ll keep this conversation between us. I’ve not been in the world much, sir, as you can plainly see. It would be a shame, if you were to tell my employer about this…about my silly questions. He’s undoubtedly a man of good character. I wasn’t questioning his character.”
“Yes you were.” A flicker of humor appeared again, but it was swiftly stamped out. The carriage ground to a halt before the rear of the building. The driver jumped from his perch and opened the door, letting the steps down. Before I could move from the seat, my traveling companion exited. “You’ll find what you’re looking for through that door, Hannah.” He pointed towards the house, where a woman waited in an open doorway.
I took the first step. “Thank you, sir.”
Before my foot found the second, strong hands went around my waist, lifting me in the air. The stranger held me, and, as I lowered, we were only inches apart, our eyes meeting. I’d never been in such proximity to a male before, and every female instinct I possessed screamed with pleasure. The energy that passed between us was electric; the current filled with the neon white vibrancy of some unnamed attraction so intense, I sucked in a breath, and held it, feeling as if I might lose consciousness all together. As clumsy and inexperienced as I was, I swayed into him, even after my feet were firmly on the ground. Impulse took over, and I touched my lips to his for the briefest kiss.
Realizing that I had behaved improperly, I stepped away. “I’m sorry.” I all but ran from him, not looking back. I approached the woman who stood waiting for me; a stern expression was on her face. “You must be Ms. Fletcher. I’m Hannah Stuart.” I held out my hand.
She shook it firmly. “You’re late.”
“The carriage broke down. Then this gentlemen came along and gave me a ride.”
“The one you were kissing?” Her tone was icy.
“I…I…that was an accident. I lost my footing,” I lied. “I don’t know what possessed me. Can we forget it happened?” My cheeks singed red with mortification. This was the worst possible way to be introduced to my new employer. I had blundered badly. “You won’t mention this incident to Lord Dark, will you?”
“I won’t have to tell him a thing. That was Lord Dark.”