Alex shrugged off the bedcovers, which had tented over his head, and looked up, his face alive with the old familiar smile that she had despaired of seeing again. ‘And this is different again. But now you are getting impatient because you haven’t learned that restraint increases pleasure and you are still terrified that you are going to get this all wrong, so you start to shift, thinking about what has to go where and worrying that you aren’t the right size, or shape or...’
‘Or?’ She could still speak. Just. Something was happening to her body and whatever it was, she seemed to have no control over it at all.
‘Or...you don’t know, just that you are scared to death and in heaven, too. So she, this beautiful, generous, wise, woman gives you a nudge in the right direction. Put your hand on my head and push.’
‘Push?’ His head? Confused, she did as he asked.
Alex slid down another foot or so, pressed her thighs apart and kissed her.
Tess opened her mouth to scream, but all that emerged was a long, groaning purr of pure, wicked pleasure. His tongue foraged into the secret folds, his teeth nibbled, his lips sucked and kissed and... ‘Ooh!’
Tess came to herself to find Alex lying on her, his weight on his elbows, his legs between her spread thighs. He lodged perfectly in the cradle her body made. ‘That was...’
‘Good, isn’t it?’ He grinned, obviously pleased for both of them.
‘I had no idea. I thought you just...’ She blushed. ‘Um, put it...’
‘We can do that next.’ He shifted his hips and something pressed against her. Alex frowned when she wriggled, eager. ‘It might not be so good, not the first time, I understand.’
‘Have you never made love to a virgin before?’ The pressure was more of an intrusion now, but this was Alex, she told herself, he would be as careful as he could be.
‘No, so this is a first time for both of us. I think...’ He nudged forward a little. ‘Yes, quick might be good.’
‘Ow!’ They both went still. Tess considered how she felt. ‘Go on.’
So he did. Things went from tight and sore to tight and wonderful to a glorious confusion of sensation and movement. ‘Oh, Alex! Yes.’
She felt him go tense, then pull away and then groan as he held her and she slipped into a haze of pleasure.
* * *
‘Tess, sweetheart.’ A whisper in her ear, a hand gliding over her hip, then settling between her thighs.
‘Hmm.’ She wriggled against Alex’s fingers. ‘Again?’
‘No, wicked one. Time for you to go back to your own bed.’
She sat up and found the beside lamp still burning and illuminating the very gratifying sight of one large naked man stretched out on the bed beside her. Alex even managed to look elegant with morning stubble and not a stitch of clothing. My lover. My love.
He got up and bent to retrieve her nightgown, affording a magnificent view of taut buttocks and trim waist. ‘What?’ he enquired as he turned.
‘I was ogling you.’ Tess put on the nightgown. ‘You are a very pleasing shape.’
To her delight colour slashed across his cheekbones as he reached for his robe, then made a business of finding hers. ‘No slippers?’
‘No, I was tiptoeing. Look at all those muscles.’ She reached for his arm and curled her fingers around his biceps as far as they would go. ‘I think I was seduced by your shoulders from that first evening.’
‘I was trying very hard to think of you as a nun,’ he confessed as he removed her hand from his arm and pulled her to her feet. ‘It was overly exciting to discover that nuns do not wear corsets.’
‘I do now.’ Tess tied the sash of her robe.
‘That can have its moments, too. Now hush.’
He delivered her back to her door. As she closed it she heard a muffled sound as though a hand had been laid against the panels, then the soft pad of his footsteps.
‘I love you,’ she whispered. ‘Sleep well, Alex.’
* * *
Alex strolled along the corridor to the study, consciously slowing his pace to distance himself from the anxious scurry of the nervous youth he had been the last time he’d been ordered here.
He had given up on sleep at the first faint sound of servants moving discreetly around the house. Before he had taken her back to her room he had dozed with Tess in his arms, too shaken by the experience to lose himself in unconsciousness. Besides, it was a new pleasure to lie like this with a lover and to watch over her, observe the flicker of her eyes beneath those fragile lids as she dreamed, the soft, parted lips, the way her hair lay like silk on his shoulder.