Her eyes were sore. When she blinked awake, Dru had to squint against the seemingly bright light. The drapes were open and bright, and cold sunlight streamed through, although she was warm. She heard the pop and crackle of a fire, and realized she was almost completely dressed. Her cap was gone, as she noted when she lifted her hand to her head. And her shoes. She wriggled her toes.
“You’re awake,” someone said. A man in a vaguely familiar voice.
“So it would seem.” Her dry tone made the man chuckle.
She sniffed the air. Bacon, if she wasn’t mistaken, one of the best smells in the world, followed by freshly brewed coffee, even if she’d served more of both than she’d ever eaten.
“Let her sleep,” another man said.
That brought her around. Dru sat up with a speed that made her head spin. The bed next to her sank to accommodate someone else’s weight and a pair of arms went around her. She subsided into them gratefully while the world regained its customary steadiness, but as soon as she was able, she pulled away and stared up at him.
Oh God. She remembered him, the half-naked gentleman who’d witnessed her disgrace and helped her through it. He wasn’t half-naked now, but dressed in a respectable shirt, breeches and waistcoat, his shirt open at the neck to reveal a trace of that fine chest hair he’d had on full display earlier. Concealing it didn’t persuade her to forget what she’d seen, or felt under her cheek when he’d cradled her close to his body. After her panic had subsided, she recalled feeling wonderfully safe. Not an emotion she was used to.
“Come and eat,” her new friend said, smiling. “We can talk later.”
She felt dreadfully crumpled and untidy, but more than that, hunger hollowed out her stomach. As he said “eat,” a rumbling came from low down in her belly and he laughed. “Food first.”
She felt numb, but as she recalled her position, and what had happened, she grew afraid. “I’ll lose my job.”
“No you won’t.”
Swallowing, Dru looked from one to another of the men. Respectably dressed, but for how long? At least they hadn’t undressed her while she’d been unconscious.
The one who’d helped her spoke. “No harm will come to you, I swear it. We spoke to Madame, and she has agreed for you to stay here until you feel better. She will not hold this against you.”
They’d helped her when she’d gone into that shocking fit. She didn’t know what to call it or why it had happened. When he came close, she allowed the man to help her from the bed, despite the contact between them sending tingles right to her toes. Her stockinged toes, although thanks to the rugs beneath their feet and a blazing fire, she wasn’t at all cold.
With the exception of the occasional warm summer, Dru had spent most of her life cold. “Why would you do this? Help me, I mean?”
“To make amends,” the other man said. He was sitting by the fire, dressed informally but respectably, his long legs stretched before him under the small, round table groaning with food.
She’d spent much of her life hungry, too.
“Amends?” She wasn’t sure what he meant until she recalled the sight of him, his erection jutting proudly toward her, scaring her half to death.
“Yes, for that.” He didn’t look away. He had blue eyes, startlingly blue, unlike her own slate-blue ones. Eyes like his belonged on a beautiful woman, but instead they were set in a smoothly handsome face, cheek and jaw lines delineated sharply. And familiar. She came to a halt and stared at him, as he stared back. “I know you,” he said suddenly. “Where have I seen you?”
She shook her head. “I don’t know, sir, but I do know your face.”
Snapping his fingers, the light of recognition dawned on his face. “Outside Dalythorpe’s house. You were coming out, I was going in. I wanted to stop you then. Is that—” He broke off and shook his head. “You look half-starved. Food first. We waited until you stirred before ordering it, so it should be good and hot.”
Like the men. The one behind her urged her gently forward, his hand on her elbow. Belatedly, she recalled these men had shared a bed, naked. If they preferred each other, it was unlikely they formed any threat to her, and like this, they seemed civilized.
When she sat, the man tucked the chair under her, and then took his own place. He handed her a warmed plate, one of Madame’s best blue-and-white breakfast plates. The servants ate off thick, white plates, the food plain but adequate.
Here, silver dishes were piled high with delicacies, barely space left to put their plates on the polished surface. Silver flatware, too. She helped herself to a modest amount of eggs and bacon, only to have her new friends piling it higher with kidneys, a chop, and other morsels they thought she might like. By the time they’d stilled her protests they were almost laughing. “I’m Cameron, and this is Malcolm,” said the man who’d flaunted his body before her earlier.
“Drusilla,” she replied, keeping to their practice of using her first name. “People usually call me Dru.”
“Cam and Mal,” Mal said, grinning. “Tell us about yourself, but don’t stop eating while you do so.”
She nodded around a bite of delicious food. Hot, fragrant, and delectable. She felt as if she’d never eaten before, and certainly not for a time. She cleared her mouth. “I skipped breakfast this morning. That’s probably why I collapsed like that. It’s never happened to me before and I’ve never fainted.”
“You lost your ability to breathe,” Mal said. “It really hasn’t happened to you before?”
She shook her head. “I can’t afford to be high-strung.”
“It doesn’t mean you were,” he said.
Two men, each touching her. How could she have lived without experiencing that?
She turned her head. Cam was watching. A touch of red edged his cheekbones, and his blue eyes were brighter, more alive. A faint smile curved his finely cut lips. Hunger defined him. As she watched, he stood and removed his shirt, tugging the garment over his head and she saw his nearly hairless chest. All the better to display the slabs of muscle that created lines and planes that were so essentially male Dru nearly lost her breath. She’d already seen it, but not knowing that she might be touching it in the most intimate fashion.
Mal’s was creating tongues of fire, flickering through her body as he pulled at her nipple. He finished with a kiss, exposing her wet flesh to the cooler air and switched his attention to the other one. Totally absorbed, he appeared insensible to anything else going on, but Dru was not. Her sighs and moans urged him on, and he kissed down her body, to her navel, then leaned up, kneeling above her to gaze down at her. “You like that?”
She nodded, then licked her lips. “Yes,” she croaked.
He stared at her blatantly, making the area between her legs dampen and swell. “I want to fuck you, but I need to know one thing.” He raised his eyes to meet her gaze. “Are you a virgin?”
The night before she might not have been, but she’d stopped herself doing it. Now she was glad. “Yes.”
“Then I’ll take care.” He glanced at Cam. “Is this right?” Almost as if he were checking, unsure. She liked him for that. But since she’d given permission, why did he need his friend’s?
“Yes, Mal. Perfectly. You have nobody to answer to but yourself.” Cam spoke gently, assertively. “If the lady is willing and you are, do it. But take care, my friend.”
Mal nodded his assent and turned his attention back to her. “Then I will undress. Is the sight of my cock likely to give you strong hysterics?”
Dru shook her head. “It wasn’t that. Not just that.”
“Shh.” He touched a finger to her mouth. “Enough of that. We want to make amends for that behavior. Let us.”
Yes, she would. This was in the nature of penance, since they were only doing what she longed for them to do. Only these two, though. Together they were perfect. She wasn’t even sure if they’d be acceptable to her separately, but she wasn’t about to find out. They would take her as a pair.
To be introduced to intimate relations in this way! It passed her understanding how this could happen, much less how she could accept it but she did. Heeding Cam’s advice, she gave herself up to Mal, let him do what he would, putting her trust in his capable hands. If she consulted her deepest needs, ignoring the strictures that she’d learned by rote but never fully subscribed to, then this was what she wanted. More than anything else.
Mal stroked her from breast to hip, watching her carefully, his eyes almost black with passion, his mouth full from kissing her. He was more rugged than his friend, but to Dru’s eyes, no less handsome. He had more body hair than Cam, but not so much that she would feel like she were touching a fur coat. She wasn’t sure she’d like that. Mal had dark hair, which he wore long, and tied back. She wanted to touch it, and now she could. As he bent his head to kiss her, she tentatively lifted a hand and touched the back of his head, threading her fingers into the dark, silky mass.
“Does he feel good?”
She couldn’t answer with Mal’s mouth on hers. He kissed her with an exquisite softness, totally unlike his hungry devouring last time. Cam didn’t seem to need an answer. “I love to see that. You’re so responsive, Dru. So sweetly trusting. We won’t betray that. Let us take you.”
Mal drew away, only to gaze into her eyes and then come back for more. Her breasts thrust against his chest, the nipples hard and sensitive, her whole body readying itself for him. When she’d imagined making love—fucking, the girls called it—it was with the thought that only their private parts were involved. Not her breasts, her legs and the waves of heat coursing through her whole body. Everything was involved. Even her scalp had increased in sensitivity, she discovered when he stroked her hair, spreading the loosened length over the pillow.
He finished the kiss and watched as he shifted position, urging her legs apart with his knee. She would be totally exposed to him if she did that, but she’d come too far now to balk at the final hurdle. A hand slipped under her knee. Cam’s. He lifted it, so she bent it and placed her feet flat on the sheet under her.
The hair on Mal’s legs abraded the sensitive skin on her inner thighs. Still watching her, he slipped his hand over her stomach and down, through the nest of curls hiding her secrets, and into her cleft. He traced one side, then the other, and watched her gasp and flinch when he touched the knot of flesh that she’d used to pleasure herself last night.
Cam murmured his encouragement. “Does she feel good, my friend?”
“Yes.” He wet his lips. “Very good.”
“How do you think she tastes?”
Mal glanced at Cam and drew his finger away from her. She mewled in protest, but he held the fingers to Cam and together they watched him lick them. He closed his eyes, made an “Mmm” sound of pleasure. “Good,” he said. “Very good.”