Victoria cannot even muster a smile on her wedding day. Her groom is handsome, titled, and wealthy, and her marriage will save her family from financial ruin, but she is still saddened when she contemplates the long, loveless years ahead of her.
Bastian never intended to marry, but he gives in to his father’s scheme because the more he thinks about the bride, the more he wants to capture her heart. He sweeps her into his arms at the reception, determined to make her smile and laugh, though he only manages to make her blush and stare at him incredulously.
Was he wrong to believe he could turn a marriage of convenience into a love match? Or does another man already hold the heart of his reluctant bride?
Bastian had been waiting for Victoria to emerge from the bathroom for over an hour. He’d intended to put her at ease and inspire her. He could only conclude he had failed. However, all her pretty blushes and gasps and wide-eyed stares throughout the afternoon told him she was nervous, not fearful. Tired of waiting, he opened the bathroom door, thankful it hadn’t been locked. It gave him hope she wasn’t dead set on leaving him cold and alone on his wedding night.
Victoria sat in a tub full of lavender-tinted water and stared at him with her mouth hanging open. She immediately drew her legs up to her breasts. “Do you mind?” she said sharply.
“I do. You’re going to catch a cold.” He sat on the edge of the large claw foot tub and ran his hand through the water. “As lovely as the fragrance of bath salts is, I can’t believe you’d prefer sitting in tepid water to coming to bed with me.”
“I certainly didn’t say that, did I?” She drew her legs closer though and made no move to rise from the water.
He pulled the drain from the tub and stood to unfold a large towel for her. “Out. I’ve seen it all by now and will be getting a much closer look soon, so no need to be shy.”
After a moment, she stood and stepped out of the tub, turning her back to him and drawing the towel around her. Then he swept her up into his arms, making her squeal.
“I was hoping for a contented sigh the first time I took you into my arms.”
She lowered her eyes, her breasts heaving, the nipples almost peeking out of the towel.
“Stop worrying, Victoria. You aren’t a piece of chattel that was sold off.” He placed a tender kiss on her forehead. “You’re a treasure that is about to be cherished all night long.”
He swiftly carried her to the bed and placed her in the middle of it. He turned down the gaslights, leaving only a candle by the bed lit as he stripped the final pieces of his clothing off.
She watched him, her eyes no longer lowered.
Her curiosity both aroused and pleased him. “Am I less frightening in the dark?” he asked as he climbed onto the bed, not missing the way her eyes shyly took in every inch of him.
She looked into his eyes. “I’m not frightened,” she murmured.
“Then why are you trembling?” He drew the towel down and trailed kisses over the tops of her breasts. His tongue circled her nipple, making her sigh as he straddled her.
“I’m cold,” she said, her reply barely audible.
“Good thing I pulled you out of that bath when I did then.” He parted the towel, kissing his way down her body. She gasped when he kissed her stomach. He licked her thigh, and she tensed beneath him. He hitched her leg up and parted the delicate curls to touch her clitoris.
“This is a very special spot, my dear. I’ll be spending a lot of time here.” He began making slow circles with his finger, briefly dipping it lower and smiling to find her quim wet. As he watched her reactions, his cock hardened almost to the point of pain, a dull ache of longing settling in his groin. She stared up at the ceiling, and she seemed to be struggling to keep her breathing steady, but despite this effort, her breasts heaved beautifully. He moved up her body to draw one nipple into his mouth.
She gasped and arched against his hand, her juices coating his fingers as he drove her higher and higher. He captured her mouth with his, their first real kiss. This embrace was quite different from the cold brush of lips she’d offered during the wedding ceremony. She opened to him completely as her arms moved up his back. She moaned, and he felt her sex quiver as she found her release. He slowed his movements, cupping her sex and massaging it.
“Oh God,” she cried when he finally broke off the kiss.
“I’d prefer a less exalted pet name, but call me anything you like, my sweet,” he said as he moved back down her body.