As Caroline Winters stepped out of the bonnet shop, the altercation across the street caught her attention. A tall, brawny man gripped a chimney boy’s thin arm. His harsh voice rose above the noise of the passing traffic and hawkers selling their wares on the street corner.
Sara, Caroline’s friend, reached out to her. “Don’t, Caroline. The carriage is this way.” She motioned toward their left.
Joan, her other closest friend, moved to her side. But Caroline couldn’t look away from the fracas occurring in front of her. She stepped onto Bond Street, ignoring a wagon that almost hit her and the ugly words the driver shouted. She dodged carriages and other wagons to hurry across. Dust swirled around, coating her hair and clothes. She blinked rapidly to clear her vision from particles of dirt blowing in her eyes.
All she saw was a child’s face darkened with soot. Tears left white lines down his gaunt cheeks. When she stepped onto the walkway, she said, “Release him!”
Is the man going to ignore me? Then, he turned.
His black eyes glared at her as he moved forward dragging the boy along. His put his face close to hers and sneered. “Ah, if it ain’t the same lady back again. I suppose you want this one, too.” He nodded at the child.
His bad breath made Caroline step back. He laughed and deliberately closed the space between them.
“If I keep givin’ you my chimney boys, I won’t have any to do the job. This is the fifth one you’ve tried to take from me.”
She tipped her head and stared at him. “Hardly take from you,” Caroline answered in her most refined tone. “You have been well paid.”
Uneasiness crept over her as she noted a crowd began to form. With a quick glance, she realized some of the people watching were members of society. Her parents would be appalled if they heard of her behavior.
The man yelled. She forgot the crowd and turned back just as the child yanked his arm free. He ran to Caroline, grabbing her hand tightly.
She leaned down to comfort him. A low murmur came from the assembled group.
“Let the lady take him home. He won’t be much good to you. He can’t last long in those chimneys as small as he is,” a workman shouted.
“Stay out of my business!” The chimney boy’s boss grabbed the child’s arm and pulled him to his side.
“You’ll need more money this time, my lady.” His face had reddened with anger. He pulled the boy’s arm up and the youngster cried out. The man grinned sardonically at her.
Inside Caroline something snapped. She struck the man with her parasol. She and the crowd gasped as the angry sweeper turned on her.
Suddenly, a tall, well-dressed man stepped between Caroline and the burly, crude man moving to attack her.
The gentleman held up his hand. “Stop right where you are.”
“Move out of my way. This is my business,” the sweeper snarled.
“I’m making it mine,” her rescuer said without raising his voice. “How dare you accost this lady?”
Caroline couldn’t move. The people and activity around her clouded. She mustn’t faint. She never fainted. After taking several deep breaths, the unreal sensation faded. The chimney boy’s boss had moved back from the stranger, although he still glared around him at Caroline.
Her rescuer turned partway and caught Caroline frowning at the man. “You need to join the ladies across the street.” He nodded toward Sara and Joan. “I’m sure they must be your friends. They look quite alarmed.”
He was right. Sara and Joan motioned frantically at her to return. She looked at the gentleman and found herself caught in his dark gaze.
Straightening to her full height of five feet three inches, she shook her head no. “I will pay the man first and take the boy with me before I leave.” She saw displeasure flash in the stranger’s blue eyes. His lips tightened.
“I will deal with the boy and this man.” He spoke in a firm tone and nodded toward where the man stood holding tightly onto the child’s forearm. Caroline silently challenged her rescuer. The air sizzled around them during their silent battle of wills.
Surprised, she realized he wasn’t going to relent and change his mind. The unrest of the crowd and din of noise finally reached her consciousness. Her face flushed with heat. Reluctantly, she turned and walked to the edge of the street. Her friends looked across at her with anxious expressions on their faces. Her maid, Mary, waved.
The small boy, covered in soot, pulled himself loose again and threw himself against her, leaving smudges of black against her cream-colored pelisse. Caroline pulled him protectively against her body.
Her rescuer had put money into the sweeper’s hand. The gentleman frowned at her and the boy. He walked to them and put his hand on the child’s shoulder.
“Come with me,” he commanded. He turned his attention to Caroline and nodded toward the crowd. “You have exposed yourself to enough notoriety. Join your friends, now.” He spoke in a low voice, but it was nonetheless commanding.
“You have no right to tell me what to do.” She directed her frustration and anger toward him, even though she knew she was being ungrateful and unreasonable.
“A well-mannered lady would say thank you.” His eyes glinted with amusement.
The light material caressed her skin. Caroline strolled across the bedroom to stand in front of her mirror. The gown was cut very low in the bodice, and sewn to go across her breast and wrap around her waist.
She took off her robe and slipped the gown over her head. Her nipples were faintly visible through the material. Swaths of silk wrapped her small waist snugly and fell in soft folds down her legs, to brush gently across the tops of her small feet.
Caroline blushed. She had never worn any piece of clothing so daring and so blatantly seductive, not even in the privacy of her own bedroom. She reached for the cashmere shawl to put around her.
“Don’t.” His soft words stilled her hand. He strolled toward her. A light flared in his eyes as he took his time observing her face, her throat and breasts, and all the way to her feet.
Her heart raced and her abdomen ached with a strange hunger, especially when he stopped for a longer look at her breasts.
“I have dreamed of you in this gown, in my room.” His husky words wrapped seductively around Caroline and she trembled.
His large, warm hands rubbed her arms, sending a spark of fire to burn in her core. Then his hands cupped her face. His dark-blue eyes turned as black as an onyx stone while he stared at her. She watched as he bent his head. He kissed her and held her tight. His tongue slid between her lips, giving him entrance into the inner recesses of her mouth. He groaned and his hands cupped her buttocks, bringing her abdomen tight against his long, hard cock. It startled her, and she tried to put distance between them.
“Don’t be frightened, darling,” he whispered in her ear.
His breath and words aroused a feeling of fear and fascination. A chill ran down her back.
She gasped when his lips moved to her neck, and then lowered to kiss and caress her breast. Her nipples peaked and her body automatically tried to get closer.
Her hands instinctively touched his dark-brown, silky hair. Caroline was more aware of her body than ever before. She wrapped her arms around his neck and moved her lips against his earlobe. His cock pulsed against her abdomen.
Damon moved slowly, his lips leaving a trail of fire wherever they touched. When he kissed her again, her tongue slid caressingly against his as he explored the inside of her mouth.
At last, he straightened and looked into her face.
“I want you now, in my bed.” The intent look in his eyes and his voice warmed her whole body. She leaned into him, and he swept her into his arms.
Damon’s long legs quickly covered the adjoining distance between her room and his. He laid her onto his large bed and pulled her silk gown over her head.
Caroline watched mesmerized as Damon flung off his robe. His body was beautiful, tanned, and well muscled. She gasped and moved away from him, seeing how large and strong he was in all his nudity. His cock jutted out and upward.
He smiled and walked over to her small feet. Leaning down, he kissed her toes, her ankles, and up her legs to the most private parts of her body.
Caroline moaned and found herself twisting. Her body hummed with an exquisite hunger. Damon continued to work his way up over her stomach, to her breasts. He took his time kissing each breast and sucked on her nipples. When Caroline was certain she’d explode, he moved all the way up and captured her lips.
His silken, hard shaft rubbed against her abdomen and her legs opened, while her arms pulled him closer and closer. She’d lost all awareness of anything but him and her and the sweet feel of their bodies entwined.
Damon slid down her body and his fingers separated her lower lips. He licked across her clit, and raptures of delight raced up her spine. Her heart pounded from the fear of the unknown, and the thrill of his touch and kiss. He licked her juices to her pussy opening and flicked his tongue inside. Caroline screamed out his name. Her pussy clenched tight and her hips rose off the bed.
“Relax, sweetheart, this may hurt for just a second.”
Before Caroline had time to tense up, he positioned his hard dick at her pussy opening and thrust forward. She cried out briefly, and he held still. Damon kissed her gently on the sides of her face and wiped the few tears away.
When the discomfort eased, Caroline tentatively moved against him, and he began to thrust in and out.
“That’s right, sweetheart. Ah, it feels very good.” Damon moved faster and faster, and Caroline wrapped her legs around him and held on tight.