Dorian Gray. Beautiful and charming, he hides his true nature from everyone in the dark recess of his soul.

An artist is the creator of beautiful things, but what happens when that art conceals the true nature of one’s soul?

Dorian Gray, a charismatic and beautiful man, is about to find out that with beauty there comes a cost. Living a life of debauchery, he realises that time and age no longer affect him, not when the evil that is now his life is sucked into the vortex of his reflected self.

As Dorian Gray sets out to prove himself to all around him, he realises his acts of vileness and hatred will hurt the people his cold heart has grown to care for. His love knows no bounds, but it is that love that ultimately leaves him alone, only knowing the self-disgust that is now his life

This is a story of a young man who will set out to live his life to the fullest even if that destroys everyone and everything around him, himself included.

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Tom and Sophia arrive in London, but they still have to achieve their happy ending!

Part four of Tom Jones, Henry Fielding’s saga of a young man’s bawdy adventures in Georgian England, with added naughty bits!

Tom and Sophia have reached London and the wicked city, with all its temptations, has a lot in store for them before they reach their happy ending! Tom has found himself a wealthy and titled mistress, but he is still striving to achieve the love of his life and clear his name from the calumny heaped on his head by the evil Blifil. However, he has his darkest days to go through before he can expect to achieve any happiness. And he yet might end up on the scaffold instead of in the arms of the woman he loves.

Sophia finds herself the centre of attention. A lord wants her hand in marriage, but her father has promised her to Blifil, whom she detests. Even her refined aunt wants her to marry someone who will give her the fortune she deserves, rather than the love she strives for.

Tom and Sophia have a way to go, but on the way they meet a dazzling array of characters and experience life in a London teeming with life and fun!

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The Tenant of Wildfell Hall has a secret one man desires her to share...

Into the quiet village of Lindenhope comes Helen Graham, an attractive young widow and mother. Living alone with her son at Wildfell Hall, her seclusion attracts curiosity from the local people, in particular Gilbert Markham, whose interest in her is soon edged with desire – and Helen, despite herself, begins to reciprocate his love for her.

But when scandalous rumours begin to circulate about Helen’s behaviour, Gilbert is filled with anger and jealousy. Helen attempts to clear her name by offering Gilbert her diary, which reveals the dark, passionate story of her former marriage to debauched rake Arthur Huntingdon, whose sexual and sensual desires fill her with excitement and pleasure but precipitate a gradual descent into hell.

Gilbert believes he could forgive her anything, but the lies continue to spread, threatening Helen’s peace of mind and, above all, her physical safety. Will the secrets of Helen’s past get in the way of their future?

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Emma craves the intimacy of marriage without the contract and Mr. Knightley is obliging. But once he has her crying out for more, will she ever be the same?

Bored with country life—and having no intention of getting married herself—Emma plays matchmaker in her small community of Highbury. It isn’t long before her curiosity gets the better of her and she wonders at the benefits of married life. Can she have the cream without the cake? Emma decides to find out, but will Mr. Knightley’s bedroom talents prove more intoxicating than she expects, and will she be unable to leave their scandalous association with her heart unscathed?

Emma may have met her match in the most unexpected of ways.

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Tom and Sophia travel through England, leaving havoc in their wake.

Part three of Tom Jones, Henry Fielding’s saga of a young man’s bawdy adventures in Georgian England, with added naughty bits! Forced to leave the love of his life, Tom finds consolation in the arms of several ladies and one or two gentlemen. The irresistibly handsome, insatiable boy becomes a man, but he is still steadfast, in his way, to his beloved Sophia.

Sophia has adventures of her own, and reaches London before Tom, to confront the voracious peeress, her cousin and her lover. But Tom still holds the only place in her heart.

These two search for each other, and when they finally meet, their love is rekindled, but fate is still playing games with them, and they have a way to travel yet, before it’s possible for them to reach their happy ending. If, of course, there is one.

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A young man returns from war to find two women living on the isolated farm he’d called home. Needing to dominate, he sets out to put his life in order.

The bitter, dark night a rugged man appears on their doorstep, everything about the quiet life of Ellen March and Jill Banford changes. The presence of the powerful, brooding man complicates the simple daily existence of their lives on their struggling chicken farm.

Henry Grenfel, a young soldier recently returned from war, is determined to possess the stronger, more forceful of the two women—Ellen. His need to possess her knows no limits and he uses every opportunity he finds to pressure her into breaking her ties with her best friend, Jill. Jill’s dislike for Henry turns into pure hatred when she realises he’ll stop at nothing to take Ellen from her.

As the tension among the three of them builds, Henry coerces Ellen into submission, forcing her to recognise her own need for the sexual release only he can provide. After Ellen accepts the inevitability of his dominance and agrees to his marriage proposal, the resentment brewing within the love triangle takes an even darker turn.

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There is terror at every turn in the mysterious Sleepy Hollow—but there is also plenty of lustful frolicking. Can three lovers thwart the legendary Headless Horseman to be together forever?

Schoolmaster Ichabod Crane longs to meet someone that he and his lover, Jonathan, can share their amorous talents with on a regular basis. In the mysterious and secluded glen of Sleepy Hollow, Ichabod is enraptured by the curvy coquette, Katrina Van Tassel, heiress to the Van Tassel Farm. With visions of spending long nights consuming both his lady love with Jonathan, and the spoils of the farm, Ichabod sets out to woo her heart away from the town rowdy, Brom Bones.

Katrina knows a good thing when she sees it, and after witnessing what the amply-endowed Ichabod has to offer, she turns away from the manly affections of Brom Bones and his gang of friends. Instead she offers her abundant prizes to Ichabod, with the promise of enjoying his partner Jonathan very soon.

However, soon doesn’t seem it will ever arrive when one night it appears that the fabled Headless Horseman has carried away her vigorous schoolmaster. Forced to marry Brom Bones in order to keep her numerous debaucheries from her father and the rest of the town, she soon discovers that some legends aren’t always as they seem. When Jonathan finally appears, he and Katrina devise a scheme to free her from Brom’s clutches; one that calls upon the talents of the Legendary Headless Hessian. Will their tit for tat plan unite the three lovers, or will the Horseman have the last laugh?

Reader Advisory: This book contains MM intimacy, forced seduction, BDSM elements, and a pesky horseman without a head.

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Tom travels further afield, and bawdiness ensues!

Part two of Tom Jones, Henry Fielding’s saga of a young man’s bawdy adventures in Georgian England, with added naughty bits!

After falling deeply in love with lovely Sophia Western, Tom is forced to leave home to seek his fortune.

Will he ever see her again?

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A motley history of bastardism, fornication, and adultery.

When Tom Jones was first released in 1749, it was attacked as "A motley history of bastardism, fornication, and adultery." Whetted your appetite yet?

Come on a bawdy romp through Georgian England as Tom Jones, his family, friends and the love of his life, Sophia Weston, race through the countryside, seducing and being seduced.

Reckless, good-hearted, bed-hopping Tom falls in love with the beautiful Sophia, but he has a long road to travel before he finds happiness, a road that includes beds, swashbuckling, highwaymen, gentlemen, poets and thieves. Tom and Sophia careen through a countryside peopled with characters you’ll never forget, who try hard to deter the couple from achieving their happy ending.

From the life of a wealthy squire to the very foot of the gallows at Tyburn tree, Tom never fails to captivate and enchant with his boundless enthusiasm for life and love for his Sophia. Sophia is a lively heroine, worthy of her Tom, who gets into her share of adventures before she finds the man she loves.

The eighteenth century comes to vibrant life, and with the scenes indicated but not detailed by Fielding put back in, it bursts with vitality.

The dictionary writer Samuel Johnson said, "I am shocked to hear you quote from so vicious a book. I am sorry to hear you have read it: a confession which no modest lady should ever make."

Johnson also said that women should be whipped regularly. He really didn’t understand women, did he?

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Love at first sight is a beautiful thing, but sometimes, true love waits a lifetime to shine…and then needs a little help from the Three Ghosts of Christmas.

As a young man, Ebenezer Scrooge felt the sharp pain of loss and resolved to protect his heart from all others, taking solace in his gold and silver. Years of discarding his own emotions, and those of anyone around him, has turned Scrooge cold.

When deceased lover and partner Jacob Marley pays miserly Scrooge a late night visit, pride and disbelief buoy Scrooge's courage. As the fabled Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet-to-Come arrive to show Scrooge the error of his ways, they also give him brief glimpses of a love so strong it has stood the test of time.

In an inspiring tale of change, a deep-seated need flares to life, leaving Scrooge without a doubt that love and family are what really matter at Christmas.

Reader Advisory: This book contains gay erotic content with a leaning toward domination/submission and one scene of dubious consent.

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A group of friends are stalked by evil, and plagued by lust.

Jonathan Harker, a young lawyer, is sent to Transylvania to work with Count Dracula on the latter’s acquisition of property in England. However, it’s not long before the Count’s motives are revealed to be more sinister than they at first appeared. He has no reflection, an unnatural fascination with blood, and a determination to satisfy his appetites in a new country.

Distracted by the insatiable, spectral women who haunt the Count’s castle, Jonathan is trapped in a foreign land while Dracula travels to England. There, the charismatic Count seduces his way into the lives of Jonathan’s friends...and his fiancée, Mina.

Also in mortal danger is Mina’s best friend and occasional sleeping partner Lucy Westenra, whose suitors band together to defeat the Count. If they fail, the highly-sexed Lucy may not be the only one who falls victim to the Count’s dual reign of terror and lust.

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A chance sighting at the Opera, fated love, and three lives in turmoil.

One man pledges to own her, while another wants her heart. The Opera sets the stage for romance and intrigue. In the catacombs below the building lives a man rife with sorrow and passion. The Phantom. But he’s not content to live alone. He wants to possess the one woman who can set him free.

His Christine.

Viscount Raoul de Chagny doesn’t believe the rumours of a Ghost living below the Opera. He only has eyes for Christine, his childhood friend and first love. Together they embark on a sensual journey of discovery and fiery desire.

But she can only have one man. Will love raise her up or tear their world apart?

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The romantic story of the destruction caused by the frustrated love of Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, set against the moors of England, creates a rare blend of violence, beauty and erotic love.Heathcliff, an orphan, is raised by Mr Earnshaw as one of his own children. Hindley despises him but wild Cathy becomes his constant companion, and he falls deeply in love with her, discovering that he can tame her unruly nature. Their tumultuous but passionate romance is threatened by the Lintons, who are determined to civilise Cathy. She endeavours to be a lady when they are present, but is as wild as ever when they are not—and remains forever untameable by anyone other than her lover, Heathcliff.

When she will not marry him, Heathcliff's terrible vengeance ruins them all—but still his and Cathy's love will not die...

A story of doomed love and revenge with a brilliant new introduction of passion fulfilled.

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One of the world's best loved books, Jane Eyre, is retold with scorching passion...

Mystery, betrayal, scandal, and a love that transcends time...

There was only him...

From the moment Jane Eyre sets eyes on her one and true master, Mr Rochester, her life is irrevocably changed.

The tall, dark man is an enigma, complex, deep, compelling, frightening, and tempting beyond compare.

This stern, unyielding man brooks no refusal and demands all of what Jane has to offer as he invites her on a journey of the senses that would scandalise society. He demands her abject surrender. In his strong and athletic arms, Jane submits to his darkest desires and discovers hers are every bit as searing, plunging her into a world she never suspected and never wants to escape.
The thrilling and beloved novel is perhaps more relevant today than it ever was. Jane Eyre's struggles to live a life of grand passion, compromising nothing, willing to sacrifice everything for what she believes, resonates with the modern woman's struggles to have it all, to be it all, and to love with uncompromising abandon.
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When the highly eligible and overtly handsome Mr Fitzwilliam Darcy first arrives in Hertfordshire, Elizabeth Bennet is instantly captivated, but his proud and arrogant manner is at odds with the heated glances he throws her way. Electrifying sexual tension soon leads to an unexpected kiss and Elizabeth’s world is turned upside down.

Misconceptions ensue and judgements abound but the attraction between the young couple endures. Can Elizabeth overlook social convention and give in to her desires for Darcy or will their Pride and Prejudice tear them apart?

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When Catherine Morland meets John Thorpe and Henry Tilney in Bath, England, she is thrilled by the attention both men pay her. She soon realises what a social climber John is, but it is the very handsome Henry who lights the sparks inside her. When Henry’s father invites her to visit their country mansion, Northanger Abbey, she is delighted to have more time to spend with Henry.

As the days pass Henry introduces her to a whole new world of eroticism, a world beyond her imaginings. A world where sex knows no boundaries and even her deepest, most secret fantasies, can be played out behind closed doors.

This is the story of the initiation into life of the naïve but sweetly appealing heroine, Catherine Moreland. A woman who suddenly finds herself an enthusiastic participant in the darker side of sexual activities. At the same time she finds herself embroiled in a real drama of misapprehension, mistreatment, and mortification, until common sense, humour and a crucial clarification of Catherine’s financial status, resolve her problems and win her the approval of Henry’s formidable father.

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Professor Pierre Aronnax, world-renowned Naturalist, is part of an elite team of men commissioned to investigate a series of attacks on international shipping. Are the attacks the work of some ancient sea monster, or is this “monster” actually a manmade vessel? No one is certain, but either way, Pierre’s assignment is the same: find it and destroy it.

The hunt soon becomes tedious, and Pierre is distracted by Ned Land, a sexy and temperamental harpooner who has his sights set on the Professor. The two begin a passionate affair, but an encounter with the creature they seek changes everything.

Professor Aronnax, Ned Land, and their friend Conseil find themselves held hostage aboard The Nautilus, a secret submarine helmed by the mysterious Captain Nemo. For Pierre, life on The Nautilus is ideal. He spends his days studying the sea’s wonders, and his nights with Ned, discovering a passion he’s never known. But how long can it last? Captain Nemo is reckless, and Ned is determined to escape. Caught between two charismatic men and the opportunity of a lifetime, Pierre will have to choose: leave The Nautilus, or lose the man he loves forever?

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He felt that the eyes of Dorian Gray were fixed on him, and the consciousness that amongst his audience there was one whose temperament he wished to fascinate seemed to give his wit keenness and to lend colour to his imagination. He was brilliant, fantastic, irresponsible. He charmed his listeners out of themselves, and they followed his pipe, laughing. Dorian Gray never took his gaze off him, but sat like one under a spell, smiles chasing each other over his lips and wonder growing grave in his darkening eyes. A man like he could cause havoc on the world, like a powerful God bringing pleasure and pain to the Earth. How many times had he dreamt of having a life such as the one Dorian Gray could acquire? The depravity, the eroticism, all of it was right at the tips of his strong, beautiful fingers. Harry wanted it all, wanted everything Dorian had to offer.

At last, liveried in the costume of the age, reality entered the room in the shape of a servant to tell the duchess that her carriage was waiting. She wrung her hands in mock despair. “How annoying!” she cried. “I must go. I have to call for my husband at the club, to take him to some absurd meeting at Willis’s Rooms, where he is going to be in the chair. If I am late he is sure to be furious, and I couldn’t have a scene in this bonnet. It is far too fragile. A harsh word would ruin it. No, I must go, dear Agatha. Good-bye, Lord Henry, you are quite delightful and dreadfully demoralizing. I am sure I don’t know what to say about your views. You must come and dine with us some night. Tuesday? Are you disengaged Tuesday?”

“For you I would throw over anybody, Duchess,” said Lord Henry with a bow.

“Ah! that is very nice, and very wrong of you,” she cried; “so mind you come”; and she swept out of the room, followed by Lady Agatha and the other ladies.

When Lord Henry had sat down again, Mr. Erskine moved round, and taking a chair close to him, placed his hand upon his arm.

“You talk books away,” he said; “why don’t you write one?”

“I am too fond of reading books to care to write them, Mr. Erskine. I should like to write a novel certainly, a novel that would be as lovely as a Persian carpet and as unreal. But there is no literary public in England for anything except newspapers, primers, and encyclopaedias. Of all people in the world the English have the least sense of the beauty of literature.”

“I fear you are right,” answered Mr. Erskine. “I myself used to have literary ambitions, but I gave them up long ago. And now, my dear young friend, if you will allow me to call you so, may I ask if you really meant all that you said to us at lunch?”

“I quite forget what I said,” smiled Lord Henry. “Was it all very bad?”

“Very bad indeed. In fact I consider you extremely dangerous, and if anything happens to our good duchess, we shall all look on you as being primarily responsible. But I should like to talk to you about life. The generation into which I was born was tedious. Some day, when you are tired of London, come down to Treadley and expound to me your philosophy of pleasure over some admirable Burgundy I am fortunate enough to possess.”

“I shall be charmed. A visit to Treadley would be a great privilege. It has a perfect host, and a perfect library.”

“You will complete it,” answered the old gentleman with a courteous bow. “And now I must bid good-bye to your excellent aunt. I am due at the Athenaeum. It is the hour when we sleep there.”

“All of you, Mr. Erskine?”

“Forty of us, in forty arm-chairs. We are practising for an English Academy of Letters.”

Lord Henry laughed and rose. “I am going to the park,” he cried.

As he was passing out of the door, Dorian Gray touched him on the arm. “Let me come with you,” he murmured.

“But I thought you had promised Basil Hallward to go and see him,” answered Lord Henry.

“I would sooner come with you; yes, I feel I must come with you. Do let me. And you will promise to talk to me all the time? No one talks so wonderfully as you do.”

“Ah! I have talked quite enough for to-day,” said Lord Henry, smiling. “All I want now is to look at life. You may come and look at it with me, if you care to.”

Their eyes locked, and although the two gentlemen had plans of enjoying the fine weather, neither moved. It was then, as the air stilled around them and the reality of their close proximity solidified, that Dorian leaned in. So close to Lord Henry’s mouth, Dorian could smell the scent of clean man. Dorian dipped his gaze down to the other man’s mouth, noted the fuller bottom lip, and ached in his trousers to feel how full they truly were.

“You look at me as though you wish to devour me young Dorian,” Lord Henry murmured, his voice thick, his slacks becoming uncomfortably tight. It wasn’t that he was ashamed of such bodily reactions while with another fellow, it was the fact that the young man in front of him made those reactions so pronounced. His desires for Dorian were carnal and fierce, and all he could think about was pressing his body against the young lad’s and feeling male flesh to male flesh.

Dorian Gray was a virile, potent man who sent every part of Lord Henry’s senses reeling. Since first setting eyes on the attractive young man, Lord Henry had been achingly needful of feeling Dorian’s fresh, lively body close to his. His shaft was painfully stiff beneath his trousers, and although he would like nothing more than to feel Dorian’s young, supple hands gripping his member, bringing him to a pleasure that would rival all others, a small part of him stood back.

Dorian looked upon Henry as if the sun had opened up and washed his body with light, brought him to a place that defied all logic. It wasn’t foreign to Lord Henry that Dorian was frightened slightly, that what would happen was not something that he was accustomed to doing.

“Come here, Dorian,” he murmured, willing the young lad closer. When Dorian was inches from him, he smiled, reassuring Dorian and possibly himself that this was something to make them both feel alive. The pleasure he knew he would find with Dorian’s body would surely rival all others. He reached his hand out, ran the tips of his fingers along the smooth, supple skin of the young man’s cheek, and felt himself stiffen further. Oh yes, this would certainly be an encounter that would put all others to shame, Lord Henry thought with lust.

Dorian followed Lord Henry to the chaise and let him pull him down beside him. The smell of the older man’s cologne was like a thick hand wrapped around his stiff shaft. Had he ever been this hard for another person? When Lord Henry took the hand he held and brought it to the front of his trousers, Dorian couldn’t help the moan that slipped from his mouth.

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Nightingale had in reality mistaken Jones's apartment for that in which himself had lodged; he therefore strongly insisted on coming in, often swearing that he would not be kept from his own bed.

Jones, however, prevailed over him, and delivered him into the hands of Partridge, whom the noise on the stairs soon summoned to his master's assistance.

Partridge found the protesting Nightingale away, but hustled him to his own room with promises of treats. He had a half bottle of brandy which he gave to Nightingale, all but a small dose that he deemed medicinal. When Nightingale flung himself on Partridge, declaring himself unable to sleep until he found some satisfaction from somewhere, Partridge gave into the inevitable and, considering if he accomplished this he would get to sleep the sooner, set to stripping Nightingale.

His companion helped as best he could, but such was his condition that proved unable to unfasten his own shoes. While Partridge was on his knees Nightingale managed to wrestle open the fall of his breeches, and his cock tumbled from his disordered underwear.

If Partridge had a fault it was his inability to resist temptation, indeed such was his tendency to fall into trouble he customarily tried to escape from his predicaments by avoiding them, but a juicy, already half-erect cock was beyond his powers of resistance.

He accordingly abandoned the shoes to take the column of flesh into his hand, whereupon it moved, hardening as he watched in gratifying fascination. He could no more reject the morsel thus offered to him than he could prevent his thoughts from flying to the possibilities in store, consoling himself with the fact that this wretch owed him for his interrupted sleep. Besides, Nightingale was in such a condition that his memories of the evening would probably be dimmed on the other side of sleep.

With a groan of surrender, Partridge took Nightingale’s cock into his mouth, the better to feel it harden and lengthen against his tongue. He caressed, licked and sucked, until he was satisfied that the member was in such a condition to grant him the best of pleasures, and then, taken by the sighs and moans coming from Nightingale’s throat, in between greedy gulps of the brandy, that he stood and divested himself of such clothing that stood in the way of achieving his desire.

He then lay on the bed and guided Nightingale to lie alongside him, and the two men kissed and caressed until both were in a state of excitement that they could not resist. Their tongues entwined, Partridge took Nightingale’s hand in his, introducing it to his now wet cock, such was the effusion he experienced when he thought of the unexpected encounter that had come his way this evening.

Nightingale proved adept at stroking and then he gripped Parson’s shaft and pumped it, right down to the balls until Partridge grew afraid that he would not pursue their delicious meeting any longer. And he wanted to feel the man from the inside.

Accordingly, he gave Nightingale one last, lingering kiss, licking deeply into his mouth before turning his partner on to his side facing away from him. He must make the man ready, but since Nightingale obligingly bent and presented his arse for inspection, Partridge knew the man was no stranger to dalliance of this nature.

He licked his fingers and set to, working Nightingale until he was open and ready to take whatever Partridge presented him with. Partridge considered that Nightingale might well take a cock larger than his, or even two at the same time and his mouth watered at the prospect. However he was just one man determined to take his pleasure before he returned to sleep.

Nightingale being nicely prepared, Partridge took his now aching cock in hand and guided it to the opening thus offered. He inserted the tip, enjoying the moans of his unexpected bed partner, and worked it slowly inside, unwilling to cause the man any hurt. For all his eagerness, Partridge had consideration for whoever offered his body for mutual pleasure, for pleasure it would be.

He rotated it until he found that special area of sensitivity unique to the male of the species, or at least, disregarded by most females. In his opinion, the stimulation of this part was equal to the delight of touching a woman’s spot, that part of her that drove her as demented as a woman can ever be.

Carefully he withdrew and then drove deeper inside, the small opening clenching his cock with determination that echoed his own. Fucking was fucking, he always considered, and once inside a person, the differences were small. Except for the hard, masculine body, the firm, tight buttons of nipples and the playful sac between the legs, of course.

Having bethought himself of the playthings, Partridge reached around Nightingale’s body and caught hold of his bollocks, suspended in their fleshy sack, and manipulated them, working them between his fingers until Nightingale cried out his pleasure. “Don’t stop!”

Nightingale heard the now empty bottle fall to the floor, forgotten now. The sound made him work the harder to ensure the pleasure of both parties. He set to with a will now, forcing a response of delight from his bed companion. When he moved his hand from the balls to the cock, Nightingale cried out once more, and wetness flooded his hand, as the meaty morsel in his hand gave up its bounty and Nightingale came in a series of convulsive jerks.

It took only a few more strokes for Partridge to follow Nightingale into ecstasy, and after making free with the washcloth and restoring them both to a reasonable state, he fell asleep to the sound of snores from his friend. He had strong suspicions that Nightingale had indulged himself in other men before, and found himself content, reflecting that youth did not hold all the cards and sometimes the best wine is obtained from old bottles.

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"Well, but, Helen, I'm sure I've been very good these last few weeks.  What have you seen amiss in me, and what would you have me to do?"

"Nothing more than you do, Arthur: your actions are all right so far; but I would have your thoughts changed; I would have you to fortify yourself against temptation, and not to call evil good, and good evil; I should wish you to think more deeply, to look further, and aim higher than you do."

I was truthful when I said this, but I know I have many blessings to be thankful for, as I discovered on our wedding night, when we were truly united for the first time.

He was already in the room when I entered; I felt his hands rest on my shoulders from behind and he gave a low chuckle at my gasp of surprise. I was in my nightgown – Rachel had helped me disrobe before retiring herself – and his breath heated the nape of my neck as I felt his fingers teasing along the silk edging. I had chosen the material deliberately; it clung to my body, the sheen of the fabric highlighting every curve.

"Would you like me to undress, Arthur?" I asked.

"No, Helen," he answered, pressing a kiss to my shoulder and sending a chill along my spine. "I want to undress you myself."

My heart quickened, but I held myself still as slowly he slid the gown from my shoulders. The cool air on my skin made me shiver, my nipples hardening as the soft material dropped past my waist to land lightly around my feet, exposing my naked body to his gaze. I closed my eyes, feeling conscious of my bare skin, the curls at my quim, the growing wetness inside me.

"Don't move," he commanded, and I felt his fingers begin a slow, tortuous glide along the curve of my spine. One hand slid under my ribs to cup my breast, his thumb brushing against my nipple, and I was unable to suppress a moan as sparks of pleasure radiated from that tender spot. Instantly the movement was repeated, his other hand mirroring the motion until I cried out, overwhelmed by the unfamiliar sensation.

"I love that this is all so new to you, my Helen," Arthur whispered in my ear as I let my head fall back onto his shoulder, my body weakening as he continued his sweet assault on my breasts. My knees began to tremble. I clenched my fingers tightly, aching for his hands to move lower, to touch me where I had touched myself so often while thinking of him, but afraid he would think me too wanton if I asked. So new to me, indeed! What would he think if I touched myself in front of him? Would he be surprised? Shocked? No – he would not, I was sure. But he might insist on pleasuring me himself, and my spot pulsed at the thought, imagining myself on the edge of ecstasy, him removing my hands and holding them until I begged him to bring me to completion.

He slid his hands down to my hips, leaving me moaning at the loss, and turned me to face him. Before I could stop myself, I reached my hand out to touch his swollen member, which jutted towards me, almost brushing against my stomach. He groaned as I closed my hand around the tip, which was glistening and sticky with moisture, almost seeming to harden further under my touch.

How strange it was to know that I had such power, that I could bring him such pleasure with only a simple touch! I tightened my grip, feeling the skin move as I tugged, but before I could continue he had caught both my hands in his and was holding them at my waist.

"My darling," he said, with a smile, manoeuvring me backwards as he spoke until my calves hit the edge of the bed. "If I let you do that, I shall lose all control, and that will never do. Lie back for me – let me see you waiting for me."

Trembling, I lay back on the bed, my breath coming faster as he stood watching me, his lazy gaze lowering to rest at the fork of my thighs. Instinctively I parted my legs, blushing as I felt the moisture seep from inside me and dampen my folds.

The smile on his face took on a possessive, lascivious quality.

"How beautiful you are," he whispered. Slowly he placed one knee and then the other on the bed, the mattress dipping under his weight as he moved towards me. He laid one hand on my breast, feeling my heart beat rapidly beneath.

"Arthur," I gasped.

He lowered his head and kissed my nipple, laving it with his tongue, then trailed more kisses down my body – my ribs, my stomach, my hips – until I was trembling with anticipation. His breath rushed over my quim, and for a moment I thought he would kiss me there – oh! How I wanted that! – but instead he paused, watching me with desirous eyes, and slowly slid one finger inside me to the knuckle.

"So pure," he whispered, caressing me as I moaned. He reached forward with his thumb and swept it back and forth over the button of flesh. I cried out at the sensation, my body convulsing; it was so much sweeter, so much more pleasurable than when I had touched myself, and I longed for him to continue.

"Helen," he growled, "tell me you want this." I recognised the words from our first kiss, and felt my heart bound and my quim tighten at the knowledge that now I could be truthful; now I could tell him what I wanted.

"I want this, Arthur."

"Tell me how much you want this."

"I want this more than anything," I moaned. His finger was still moving inside me, his thumb still applying delicious pressure, and my wetness was leaking onto his hand and the bed.

"How long have you wanted this, Helen?"

Oh, he was torturing me! "Since I first met you," I whispered, moving my hips to match his touch. He smiled and crooked his finger inside me, touching a spot that made me clap a hand over my mouth and shriek – the pleasure was exquisite, and I was on the verge of begging him to take me.

"Tell me what you want, and I'll do it."

I arched my back, aching for him. "Please, Arthur, take me."

His finger disappeared, making me moan with the loss, and then I felt the tip of his member at the entrance to my quim.

"You are mine, Helen," he murmured, covering my body with his own. "You are mine."

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Mr. Knightley, a sensible man about seven or eight-and-thirty, was not only a very old and intimate friend of the family, but particularly connected with it, as the elder brother of Isabella's husband. He walked with an air of confidence Emma envied, and a gait she followed with her gaze. He lived about a mile from Highbury, was a frequent visitor, and always welcome, and at this time more welcome than usual, as coming directly from their mutual connections in London. He had returned to a late dinner, after some days' absence, and now walked up to Hartfield to say that all were well in Brunswick Square. It was a happy circumstance, and animated Mr. Woodhouse for some time. Mr. Knightley had a cheerful manner, and warm smile which always did him good; and his many inquiries after ‘poor Isabella’ and her children were answered most satisfactorily, a twinkle of humour lighting his eyes upon each reply. 

When this was over, Mr. Woodhouse gratefully observed, "It is very kind of you, Mr. Knightley, to come out at this late hour to call upon us. I am afraid you must have had a shocking walk."

"Not at all, sir. It is a beautiful moonlight night; and so mild that I must draw back from your great fire and claim a spot beside Emma."

"But you must have found it very damp and dirty. I wish you may not catch cold."
"Dirty, sir! Look at my shoes. Not a speck on them." Mr. Knightley indeed left the close fire for the cooler bench where Emma sat, but well within range of the conversation shared with her father.

"Well! That is quite surprising, for we have had a vast deal of rain here. It rained dreadfully hard for half an hour while we were at breakfast. I wanted them to put off the wedding."

"By the bye—I have not wished you joy. Being pretty well aware of what sort of joy you must both be feeling, I have been in no hurry with my congratulations; but I hope it all went off tolerably well.

How did you all behave? Who cried most?" Mr. Knightley’s knowing brow lifted in her direction.

"Ah! Poor Miss Taylor! 'Tis a sad business."

"Poor Mr. and Miss Woodhouse, if you please; but I cannot possibly say 'poor Miss Taylor'. I have a great regard for you and Emma; but when it comes to the question of dependence or independence!—At any rate, it must be better to have only one to please than two."

"Especially when one of those two is such a fanciful, troublesome creature!" said Emma, playfully resting her hand on Mr. Knightley’s sleeve. "That is what you have in your head, I know—and what you would certainly say if my father were not by."

"I believe it is very true, my dear, indeed," said Mr. Woodhouse, with a sigh. "I am afraid I am sometimes very fanciful and troublesome."

"My dearest papa! You do not think I could mean you, or suppose Mr. Knightley to mean you. What a horrible idea! Oh no! I meant only myself. Mr. Knightley loves to find fault with me, you know—in a joke—it is all a joke. We always say what we like to one another."

Mr. Knightley, in fact, was one of the few people who could see faults in Emma Woodhouse, and the only one who ever told her of them: and though this was not particularly agreeable to Emma herself, she knew it would be so much less so to her father, that she would not have him really suspect such a circumstance as her not being thought perfect by everybody. Though she suspected Mr. Knightley chose to correct her in place of a more telling discussion regarding her person, and his. She had not missed his many looks, or the regard he held when he thought he’d not been seen. Together with Miss Taylor, they determined it to be certainly true. Mr. Knightley sought her out and not being one to forego freedom for any man, it was her duty to resist. Though claiming innocence of the effect of small touches and smiles, she knew that should he wish for more, she’d dance away unscathed yet pleased for securing his continued interest.

"Emma knows I never flatter her," said Mr. Knightley, "but I meant no reflection on anybody. Miss Taylor has been used to have two persons to please; she will now have but one. The chances are that she must be a gainer."

"Well," said Emma, removing her hand, and willing to let his words pass, "you want to hear about the wedding; and I shall be happy to tell you, for we all behaved charmingly. Everybody was punctual, everybody in their best looks: not a tear, and hardly a long face to be seen. Oh no; we all felt that we were going to be only half a mile apart, and were sure of meeting every day."

"Dear Emma bears everything so well," said her father. "But, Mr. Knightley, she is really very sorry to lose poor Miss Taylor, and I am sure she will miss her more than she thinks for."

Emma turned away her head, divided between tears and smiles. "It is impossible that Emma should not miss such a companion," said Mr. Knightley. "We should not like her so well as we do, sir, if we could suppose it; but she knows how much the marriage is to Miss Taylor's advantage; she knows how very acceptable it must be, at Miss Taylor's time of life, to be settled in a home of her own, and how important to her to be secure of a comfortable provision, and therefore cannot allow herself to feel so much pain as pleasure. Every friend of Miss Taylor must be glad to have her so happily married."

"And you have forgotten one matter of joy to me," said Emma, "and a very considerable one—that I made the match myself. I made the match, you know, four years ago; and to have it take place, and be proved in the right, when so many people said Mr. Weston would never marry again, may comfort me for anything."

Mr. Knightley shook his head at her. Her father fondly replied, "Ah! My dear, I wish you would not make matches and foretell things, for whatever you say always comes to pass. Pray do not make any more matches."

"I promise you to make none for myself, papa, for I shall never marry and leave you; but I must, indeed, for other people. It is the greatest amusement in the world! And after such success, you know!—Everybody said that Mr. Weston would never marry again. Oh dear, no! Mr. Weston, who had been a widower so long, and who seemed so perfectly comfortable without a wife, so constantly occupied either in his business in town or among his friends here, always acceptable wherever he went, always cheerful—Mr. Weston need not spend a single evening in the year alone if he did not like it. Oh no! Mr. Weston certainly would never marry again. Some people even talked of a promise to his wife on her deathbed, and others of the son and the uncle not letting him. All manner of solemn nonsense was talked on the subject, but I believed none of it.

"Ever since the day—about four years ago—that Miss Taylor and I met with him in Broadway Lane, when, because it began to drizzle, he darted away with so much gallantry, and borrowed two umbrellas for us from Farmer Mitchell's, I made up my mind on the subject. I planned the match from that hour; and when such success has blessed me in this instance, dear papa, you cannot think that I shall leave off match-making."

"I do not understand what you mean by 'success,'" said Mr. Knightley, a patronising smile on his handsome face. "Success supposes endeavour. Your time has been properly and delicately spent, if you have been endeavouring for the last four years to bring about this marriage. A worthy employment for a young lady's mind! But if, which I rather imagine, your making the match, as you call it, means only your planning it, your saying to yourself one idle day, 'I think it would be a very good thing for Miss Taylor if Mr. Weston were to marry her,' and saying it again to yourself every now and then afterwards, why do you talk of success? Where is your merit? What are you proud of? You made a lucky guess; and that is all that can be said."

"And have you never known the pleasure and triumph of a lucky guess?—I pity you.—I thought you cleverer—for, depend upon it a lucky guess is never merely luck. There is always some talent in it. And as to my poor word 'success,' which you quarrel with, I do not know that I am so entirely without any claim to it. You have drawn two pretty pictures; but I think there may be a third—a something between the do-nothing and the do-all. If I had not promoted Mr. Weston's visits here, and given many little encouragements, and smoothed many little matters, it might not have come to anything after all. I think you must know Hartfield enough to comprehend that."

"A straightforward, open-hearted man like Weston, and a rational, unaffected woman like Miss Taylor, may be safely left to manage their own concerns. You are more likely to have done harm to yourself, than good to them, by interference."

"Emma never thinks of herself, if she can do good to others," rejoined Mr. Woodhouse, understanding but in part. "But, my dear, pray do not make any more matches; they are silly things, and break up one's family circle grievously."

"Only one more, papa; only for Mr. Elton. Poor Mr. Elton! You like Mr. Elton, papa—I must look about for a wife for him. There is nobody in Highbury who deserves him—and he has been here a whole year, and has fitted up his house so comfortably, that it would be a shame to have him single any longer—and I thought when he was joining their hands to-day, he looked so very much as if he would like to have the same kind office done for him! I think very well of Mr. Elton, and this is the only way I have of doing him a service."

"Mr. Elton is a very pretty young man, to be sure, and a very good young man, and I have a great regard for him. But if you want to show him any attention, my dear, ask him to come and dine with us some day. That will be a much better thing. I dare say Mr. Knightley will be so kind as to meet him."

"With a great deal of pleasure, sir, at any time," said Mr. Knightley, laughing, "and I agree with you entirely, that it will be a much better thing. Invite him to dinner, Emma, and help him to the best of the fish and the chicken, but leave him to choose his own wife. Depend upon it, a man of six or seven-and-twenty can take care of himself."

"I doubt that very much, Mr. Knightley as you yourself have yet to secure a wife of your own. I can only assume that you either think little of the attachment or believe yourself above it. If you knew your own mind so freely, you would wish for my assistance in all matters, as my father has. Or perhaps you bide your time, observing my success until you gather your courage to request my talents?"

"Your father is right. Match-making is an unsettling endeavour to occupy your time. Pray be done with it and move on to your own matching, lest you interfere where you shouldn’t and perplex the clear of mind." Mr Knightley’s firm delivery could not be misconstrued.

Owning as much determination as he possessed, Emma saw his words as a challenge to be met and met it would be.



Now the little trembling hare, which the dread of all her numerous enemies, and chiefly of that cunning, cruel, carnivorous animal, man, had confined all the day to her lurking-place, sports wantonly o’er the lawns; now on some hollow tree the owl, shrill chorister of the night, hoots forth notes which might charm the ears of some modern connoisseurs in music; now, in the imagination of the half-drunk clown, as he staggers through the churchyard, or rather charnel yard, to his home, fear paints the bloody hobgoblin; now thieves and ruffians are awake, and honest watchmen fast asleep; in plain English, it was now midnight; and the company at the inn, as well those who have been already mentioned in this history, as some others who arrived in the evening, were all in bed. Only Susan Chambermaid was now stirring, she being obliged to wash the kitchen before she retired to the arms of the fond expecting ostler.

Our hero, on turning over in bed, made the delightful discovery that he was not alone, something he had quite forgotten in his slumbers. He continued his roll until he had the best mattress imaginable under him, in other words, the soft body of a woman.

Moreover, it was the body of a willing woman. When she opened her thighs, he felt her heat and the wetness of her, something he did not hesitate to take advantage of.

Sliding down her body, he paused at her generous breasts, always twin founts of pleasure for Jones, and took his time suckling them, pleasuring them both, until she sighed and moaned under him.

Then, instead of resuming the position in which he could give them both pleasure, he took the part of the most generous gentleman and inserted his shoulders between her thighs, the better to widen her legs and give her the most comfortable of footstools on his back.

As he elevated her to his satisfaction, she twisted, having awoken from the sweetest dreams imaginable, and discovered that which she dreamed of was real. But she wanted none of it; she wanted a part of the performance.

So, the sheets on the bed turned under her as she moved, and urged Tom to “Lift up, sir, that I might taste you. I thirst for what you may give me.”

Her breathless tones persuaded her young lover to obey her request. Accordingly, he, being the younger and more agile of the two, turned, presenting her with the best piece of meat she had seen for a long time. She lost no time in taking hold, and closing her mouth over the object for which she thirsted.

After letting out a great groan, Tom set to, and lapped the lady with a will, taking her nectar like some exotic bird at the flower. Or a good English bee, which sucks from flowers until content. For although Tom loved Sophia truly, he thought her lost to him, so he took his pleasure where he might. As long as the lady was willing, and this lady for sure and certain was.

Eventually, when he was done teasing and tasting, he took her tiny bud of flesh into his mouth and set to suckling with a will, making much use of his agile tongue to tease and entice.

So well did he succeed that she cried out and shuddered as he brought her to that sweet conclusion so long looked for. She gave up tormenting his cock with her mouth, and her temporary state of incoherent bliss gave him the opportunity he needed to reverse his position. He was now in a position to pleasure her, cock to cunny, and he did so, not losing any time and using the lubrication he had already imparted to her to drive into the depths of her form.

Again, he thrust, riding her hard. Her response was to lift her legs and curl them around his waist with remarkable dexterity for an older woman. However, it could be said that an older woman in possession of her faculties and her bodily strength would learn the ways of her form and could use it to better ability than her coltish younger sister.

Howsoever, she pleased Tom mightily with her work, and he set to with a will, rocking the bed they lay on with his efforts, which was something to behold as the bed was old and well made.

In very short order he had her crying out again, until her nails made lines down his back and he sweated prodigiously, but did not stop his efforts until he, too, had arrived as his looked-for conclusion.

They failed to put the bedding to rights, merely pulled the covers roughly over their bodies and curled up like kittens in straw. 


He had been sawing logs for the fire in the afternoon and his entire body had been, at one point, covered in a fine sheen of perspiration. What remained now was the scent of his exertion and the lingering effects of the satisfaction that comes across a man when he has done a hard job well.
Darkness came very early. It was still a cold, raw mist. It was getting almost too dark to see. A pile of short sawed logs lay beside the trestle. March came to carry them indoors, or into the shed, as he was busy sawing the last log. He was working in his shirt-sleeves, and did not notice her approach; she came unwillingly, as if shy. When she bent down he saw the firmness of her muscles and the easy way her strong arms moved the logs. She was a fine prey, indeed and they both knew it. He saw her stooping to the bright-ended logs, and he stopped sawing, letting his probing gaze rake across her. A fire like lightning flew down his legs in the nerves and he was more aware of March than he ever had been. Everything about her called to him, her scent, her body, her essence. It was not enough to be near her. He needed to possess her. Indeed, master her.

"March?" he said in his quiet, young voice.

She looked up from the logs she was piling.

"Yes!" she said.

He looked down on her in the dusk. He could see her not too distinctly and he struggled to see what he could of her. If only she would stop shrinking away from him and expose herself to him as she ought to.

"I wanted to ask you something," he said, feeling that lightning fire burn in his limbs.

"Did you? What was it?" she said. Already the fright was in her voice. But she was too much mistress of herself. And it was that control, he realised, that he most wanted to take from her. She would weaken and give herself to him. He would see to it. As he felt that was what he wanted, he knew she must want it too.

"Why"—his voice seemed to draw out soft and subtle, it penetrated her nerves—"why, what do you think it is?"

She stood up, placed her hands on her hips, and stood looking at him transfixed, without answering.
Again he burned with a sudden power.

"Well," he said, and his voice was so soft it seemed rather like a subtle touch, like the merest touch of a cat’s paw, a feeling rather than a sound. "Well—I wanted to ask you to marry me."

March felt rather than heard him. She felt him everywhere—on her face, across her breasts, deep inside her, filling her and taking her soul. She was trying in vain to turn aside her face. A great relaxation seemed to have come over her as she had known this moment was coming and finally it had arrived. She stood silent, her head slightly on one side. He seemed to be bending towards her, invisibly smiling as he came for her. It seemed to her fine sparks came out of him, ready to jump across to her and burn through her skin.



Under cover of his character of singing-master, he made frequent visits at the farmhouse; not that he had anything to apprehend from the meddlesome interference of parents, which is so often a stumbling—block in the path of lovers. Balt Van Tassel was an easy indulgent soul; he loved his daughter better even than his pipe, and, like a reasonable man and an excellent father, let her have her way in everything. His notable little wife, too, had enough to do to attend to her housekeeping and manage her poultry; for, as she sagely observed, ducks and geese are foolish things, and must be looked after, but girls can take care of themselves. Thus, while the busy dame bustled about the house, or plied her spinning-wheel at one end of the piazza, honest Balt would sit smoking his evening pipe at the other, watching the achievements of a little wooden warrior, who, armed with a sword in each hand, was most valiantly fighting the wind on the pinnacle of the barn. In the mean time, Ichabod would carry on his suit with the daughter by the side of the spring under the great elm, or sauntering along in the twilight, that hour so favourable to the lover’s eloquence.

After several visits that were meant to be more ingratiating towards her than singing lessons, and after he had repeatedly cooed over her abilities in the kitchen, and awed over her proficiency with the knitting needle, he asked again if he might walk with her at dusk, so that they could enjoy the cooling autumn air before the nights became too harsh for them to properly enjoy. Katrina readily agreed to our pedagogue’s suggestion, this time even offering to bring along a small coverlet, in case they should wish to rest their legs, and to keep from getting their clothing stained or dampened in the grasses. This was all announced to her parents in a general manner, so that they could be assured that the two lovers were engaging in all of the expected and proper rituals.

"Ichabod, how is it that you have taken so long to suitably woo me?" asked Katrina, once they had reached the other side of the barn, which was set upon a hill behind the Van Tassel residence, and out of sight of her father’s eye.

"Why, my dearest Katrina, I would not want you ever to believe of me that I should be hasty or uncouth in how I present myself to you. But you must know that your charms are the grandest I have ever encountered in my travels, and there could never be another one of the fairer sex that I could find more pleasing."

"Those are wondrous words that you speak! How I long to believe them true. But when I am with Brom, his enthusiasm for me extends beyond dainties and doilies. He has manly talents that he shares with me; ones that I never knew existed until but recently, and I wish to be wooed in that manner going forward. Praytell, do you judge me wicked for wanting such things?"

"Aah, my sweet Katrina, all of God’s creatures are filled with desires for his created pleasures. That you are able to revel in all of your senses indicates to me that you are even more worthy of my suit! I would never judge you or criticize your yearnings, as I hope you will not criticize mine."

Katrina smiled at him with a most inviting gaze. "Then Ichabod, shall we go to my special hideaway in the barn? There is an area in the loft that I have claimed as my own, and as my father’s gout prevents him walking too far – or climbing ladders – and my mother is too occupied with her household duties, we shall be free to express our true feelings for one another without fear of annoying interruptions."

Ichabod nodded his head in joyful acquiescence, and gestured for the comely lass to lead the way. He was secretly grateful that another man had broken down the hallowed gates of Katrina’s maidenhood, because in his experience, the mere sight of his manhood elicited gasps of fear, and many times, a changing of the mind in untried ladies and inexperienced men. Instead, he would have the advantage of comparison between he and Brom, for he was sure no cock in the county could measure up to his glorious offering. 



Sophia retained the same gravity of countenance the next morning at breakfast; whence she retired likewise earlier than usual, leaving her father and aunt together. The squire took no notice of this change in his daughter's disposition. To say the truth, though he was somewhat of a politician, and had been twice a candidate in the country interest at an election, he was a man of no great observation. His sister was a lady of a different turn. She had lived about the court, and had seen the world. Hence she had acquired all that knowledge which the said world usually communicates; and was a perfect mistress of manners, customs, ceremonies, and fashions. Nor did her erudition stop here. She had considerably improved her mind by study; she had not only read all the modern plays, operas, oratorios, poems, and romances—in all which she was a critic; but had gone through Rapin's History of England, Eachard's Roman History, and many French Mémoires pour servir à l'Histoire: to these she had added most of the political pamphlets and journals published within the last twenty years. From which she had attained a very competent skill in politics, and could discourse very learnedly on the affairs of Europe.

She was, moreover, excellently well skilled in the doctrine of amour, and knew better than anybody who and who were together; a knowledge which she the more easily attained, as her pursuit of it was never diverted by any affairs of her own; for either she had no inclinations, or they had never been solicited; which last is indeed very probable; for her masculine person, which was near six foot high, added to her manner and learning, possibly prevented the other sex from regarding her, notwithstanding her petticoats, in the light of a woman. However, as she had considered the matter scientifically, she perfectly well knew, though she had never practised them, all the arts which fine ladies use when they desire to give encouragement, or to conceal liking, with all the long appendage of smiles, ogles, glances, &c., as they are at present practised in the beau-monde. To sum the whole, no species of disguise or affectation had escaped her notice; but as to the plain simple workings of honest nature, as she had never seen any such, she could know but little of them.

However, while her appearance was of the most severely respectable, Mrs Western knew well how to appear perfectly estimable while conducting several discreet dalliances which taught her the practical side of that which she had studied assiduously and with great dispatch.

Mrs Western, knowing the value of discretion and having long admired the physique of the working man, tended to select her lovers from the lower orders, assuring their discretion either by withholding her name or giving them the largesse they required. She had never found a man who would make her completely happy, but she had enjoyed herself in the attempt.

Her last had been a couple of chair-men, one of those sturdy fellows who carried the gentry hither and yon in London. Long renowned for their strength of body, she had found reason to employ a likely pair to carry her to Covent Garden and such places for her daily recreation and shopping.

Since she owned her own sedan-chair, the men had perforce to enter the house to collect her. In common with most people fortunate enough to own their own transport, she kept the item in the main hall of her residence.

Unfortunately one day they arrived to discover the right hand pole, by which they lifted the chair, to be broken through, a long break that necessitated the purchase of a new shaft before they could carry Mrs Western anywhere.

She proposed that they accompanied her to a nearby park, where she could have her constitutional exercise, since she could no longer shop and her staff was otherwise occupied.

While the men glanced at each other, thick eyebrows raised, Mrs Western congratulated herself on the success of her scheme, which had taken little more than the judicious application of the axe in the kitchen to render the shaft unusable.

She stowed a number of golden guineas in her pocket, ensuring they were legitimate and very little clipped, since chair-men always checked such items for veracity. She considered it less good fortune that she had bespoken a small grotto in the park and more careful planning.

The men therefore accompanied her to her park, where she considered one circuit perfectly adequate for her health, and then declared herself worn out by her exertions. Since the grotto she had bespoken was situated at the far end of the park to her residence, she proposed they rest there for a short time.

The grotto would have been forgotten, had it not been for the people who considered it a useful place for trysts of a less than respectable nature. As it was, the guardians of the place probably earned more by keeping the trees before the entrance wild and untrammelled as they would have done had they maintained it perfectly.

Mrs Western discovered, to her pleasure, the presence of several soft cushions and even a blanket, set aside in a locked cabinet, to which she had the key. Claiming all people with entrance keys to the park owned a key, something that was far from the case, she proceeded to spread the soft blanket over the long bench at the center of the small arbor. The shelter had gained the name of grotto by means of a vista depicted in seashells on one wall, but the effort was perfunctory and probably constructed by an amateur, since it did not give the visitor any compensation for the lack of a view.

Mrs Western consequently bade her chairmen sit, one on each side of her, something they were willing to comply with.

It is often asserted that people of the lower orders have a less than adequate intellect, something I have found to be far from the case. Rather, expediency, such as the need to find a way of earning a living, has given them a quickness of wit and an abundance of native commonsense.

Consequently the chairment, who had no illusions of the nature of this visit, set to, one by setting his lips on her neck, the other his hand on her ankle. Receiving nothing worse than sighs, the ventured so continue, the one working down from the top, the other from the ankle upwards.

Mrs Western had fastened her fichu very loosely that morning and it was soon disposed of, revealing a pair of adequate titties, with sweet berry tips, which the first chairman, whose name was Samuel, applied himself to with great vigour. Even if his hopes of renumeration were not great, he would have enjoyed the treat, as his wife had long denied him the pleasures of her body, afraid of making yet another little Samuel.

Mrs Western had no such fears. Her years were more advanced, she ventured, than would make a child easily and she had ways of her own which helped to ensure her lack of issue. If the worst had happened, she’d have found a way. A long illness or a visit to the country would have dealt with the matter, and it wouldn’t have been the first time she had recourse to such a solution. Of such expediencies were orphans made, and not all the babes who found their way to the foundling hospitals were of humble origin. Nor, for that matter, babies who mysteriously appeared in unoccupied beds.

Currently, Mrs Western could remain sure that she would not discover any unfortunate events resulting from today’s adventure, and she set herself to appreciating the encounter.

Any evidence of her maidenhood having long disappeared, with the active life she led, she had no fear that she would sustain any discomfort, so long as the men she’d employed knew what they were about.

Certainly the big one currently caressing and sucking her bosom knew his work, and the one at her ankles was slowly working his way up. Too slowly for her liking, but she decided to allow him a little leeway, as he appeared to enjoy his work.

He worked his way up her calves, which she prided herself on for their shape and strength. Certainly he appreciated them, and when he reached her knees, she allowed him to push her skirt up somewhat to give him a view of her quim, which was by now eagerly preparing itself for the attention it was about to receive.


Mr Allworthy had been absent a full quarter of a year in London, on some very particular business, though I know not what it was; but judge of its importance by its having detained him so long from home, whence he had not been absent a month at a time during the space of many years.

This enabled him to pay attention to a lady he had been acquainted with for a long time, but had sadly neglected of late, business having kept him in the country.

Mrs. Dickinson was the relict of a city businessman and had a very good sort of lodging in Red Lion Square; so good that when she invited Mr. Allworthy to save the cost of an inn and stay with her in comfort, he accepted with a good heart and voluminous thanks.

So pleased was the good lady to see him that she found great difficulty in keeping her fichu in place, a matter the squire was only too pleased to assist her with, and, the fichu disposed of, a great expanse of cleavage came into view, something Mr. Allworthy took advantage of with both hands.

On tumbling her back onto the sopha, the good squire animadverted on the size of her breasts, which had become bountiful in his absence. "Mr. Allworthy, I have had nothing to do but eat and visit the establishments that cater to my needs," the lady said. "I have long been in need of more vigorous exercise."

A gleam came into the good squire’s eyes when the lady announced that fact. "I believe I can help you with that ambition, my good madam."

So saying, he swept up her skirts, finding the lady, having anticipated his visit, had little more than a hooped petticoat and a shift between her decency and her total exposure to the squire’s appreciative eyes. "My word, madam, you have spent a long time without a man," he said, gratefully fingering her slit, which had gathered copious moisture to guide his way. Not that he needed such guidance, his experience having given him much knowledge in the matter of women and what they required.

"I’m a respectable woman, sir, and I do not lift my petticoats for a man unless I can also enjoy his company out of the bedroom. I have a reputation to consider."

The squire glanced up from his absorbing pursuit. "I hope I have not sullied your reputation. I would not wish to damage what you have taken so long to develop." But he was gratified by the widow’s words and appreciated her welcome.



Scrooge took his melancholy dinner in his usual melancholy tavern; and having read all the newspapers, and beguiled the rest of the evening with his banker’s-book, went home to bed. He lived in chambers which had once belonged to his deceased partner. That one piece of a far away life, of filled evenings and nights, Scrooge was but loath to relinquish.

They were a gloomy suite of rooms, in a lowering pile of building up a yard, where it had so little business to be, that one could scarcely help fancying it must have run there when it was a young house, playing at hide-and-seek with other houses, and forgotten the way out again. It was old enough now, and dreary enough, for nobody lived in it but Scrooge, the other rooms being all let out as offices. The yard was so dark that even Scrooge, who knew its every stone, was fain to grope with his hands. The fog and frost so hung about the black old gateway of the house, that it seemed as if the Genius of the Weather sat in mournful meditation on the threshold.

Now, it is a fact, that there was nothing at all particular about the knocker on the door, except that it was very large. It is also a fact, that Scrooge had seen it, night and morning, during his whole residence in that place; also that Scrooge had as little of what is called fancy about him as any man in the city of London, even including—which is a bold word—the corporation, aldermen, and livery. 
Let it also be borne in mind that Scrooge would not concede to have bestowed one thought on Marley, since his last mention of his seven years’ dead partner that afternoon, not even to himself. And then let any man explain to me, if he can, how it happened that Scrooge, having his key in the lock of the door, saw in the knocker, without its undergoing any intermediate process of change—not a knocker, but Marley’s face.

Scrooge held in place, his heart near a standstill at the unbelievable image he had surely conjured with having spoken of his dead partner just that afternoon. Damn that sod for dredging up ghosts to haunt him.

And out of all of it, Marley’s face.

It was not in impenetrable shadow as the other objects in the yard were, but had a dismal light about it, like a bad lobster in a dark cellar. It was not angry or ferocious, but looked at Scrooge as Marley used to look: with ghostly spectacles turned up on its ghostly forehead. The hair was curiously stirred, as if in memory by breath or hot air; and, though the eyes were wide open, they were perfectly motionless. That, and its livid colour, made it horrible; but its horror seemed to be in spite of the face and beyond its control, rather than a part of its own expression.

To its point, the horror seeped into Scrooge. His skin bore that chill to its depths; the icy grip of something to which he had long ago left to die as surely as his partner had those seven years ago. His nephew! His nephew had rambled nonsense of love and it had addled Scrooge’s brain, he was certain of it.

As Scrooge looked fixedly at this phenomenon of Marley’s face, it was a knocker again. To say that he was not startled, or that his blood was not conscious of a terrible sensation to which it had been a stranger from infancy, would be untrue. Fear and loss so keen seared his bones and hammered at his mind. But he put his hand upon the key he had relinquished, turned it sturdily, walked in, and lighted his candle.

He did pause, with a moment’s irresolution, before he shut the door; and he did look cautiously behind it first, as if he half expected to be terrified with the sight of Marley’s pigtail sticking out into the hall. Hope sprang forth to war against fear in those seconds within Scrooge and gave discredit to the moment. But there it was. Scrooge had one fleeting weakness, one wish, to see taut shoulders and arse trapped under linen. To catch a glimpse of long, muscled legs beneath woollen pants.

But there was nothing on the back of the door, except the screws and nuts that held the knocker on, so he said "Pooh, pooh!" and closed it with a bang.



"Perhaps," the fair girl whispered, her voice almost like the hiss of a snake, "he could serve us well another way first."

One of the other women made a soft sound of disappointment, too soft even to be called a groan, a whine perhaps. "But it’s been so long since we…"

The third presence laughed, however. "It would be a shame not to. He’s a young man, after all, healthy. If you think he would be agreeable…?"

The fair one, still hovering so close to me that I could smell her sweet breath, laughed, and I barely resisted a shudder. "Of course he would be," she whispered, speaking so quietly she had to have been addressing only me. Her words were somehow not threatening, but closer to hypnotic.

Still half-asleep and wondering if this were a dream, I felt chilled, but with it that chill brought a momentary courage, and I opened my eyes wide, though supposing myself still in the middle of a vivid dream.

"Ah." She laughed, a tinkling, musical sound, and in the back of my mind I imagined it an artificial laugh, like the one given by someone who supposed this must be how an amused woman should sound, someone entertained by a man’s compliance.

Looking back now, how guilty I feel for so readily going along with these witches’ schemes! But I truly believed myself to be in a trance of some sort, and not to be held accountable for the things I did at that time.

"Look at his skin…" The fair one’s fingertips trailed down my torso as she easily undid my shirt. She seemed fascinated by my heartbeat. Laying a palm against my chest, she smiled sweetly. "He’s so young." A strange thing to say, as she seemed no older than I. "And strong."

"Hurry up," the reluctant dark-haired woman urged her and the third, more willing, laughed, teased her for being so eager, and received a frown in reply, which silenced her.

Passively, I lay still on the couch on which I’d been sleeping, and allowed the fair one to undo my trouser fastenings, assuring myself I could not be held accountable for what happened in the dream-world.

"Oh, just look at him," the more keen of the dark-haired ones said, laughing, hands clasped together in a parody of prayer. Eagerness shone in those strangely red eyes, which I could see even at this distance.

"Any woman would be a fool not to take her enjoyment with someone so gifted." And the fair one laughed too, clasping my erection in one hand and stroking me slowly. "You want this as much as we do, don’t you?" One side of her mouth lifted in a triumphant smirk and her grip on me tightened.

I gasped at the intensity of such feelings, how real this all was.

"Do you have a sweetheart back home, who misses you?"

Thoughts of Mina came to mind, her sweet smiling face, and I grew harder in this woman’s hand, whimpering helplessly.

"Does she ever take you in her mouth, I wonder?" the fair one went on. "Have you ever had a woman’s tongue on you? Have you ever spilled your seed into your sweetheart’s mouth and watched as she struggled to swallow?"

A bead of moisture emerged from the tip of my prick and oh, thinking of it in such vulgar terms appalled me and yet did nothing to quell my arousal.

"Get on with it," a voice came from one of the other two present in the room. "Hurry. You know he might come back at any—"

"Ssh," the other hissed. "Worry not. We have time."

"I think he does." The fair one used the tip of her thumb to spread the moisture around, coating my erection with my own fluids. "Look how aroused he gets when I mention her. You’re thinking of her now, aren’t you, my friend? Wishing she were here now, watching. Joining in, perhaps? Have you ever done this, grasping yourself in one hand and thinking of what it would be like to use her as a whore?"

"Mina." The word, my beloved’s name, was out of my mouth before I could stop it. I wouldn’t have this woman talk of her in such a way, but it was true, oh, how true it was. How often had I imagined, while travelling far from home, doing all the things this one talked about? Loneliness had often led me to do just what she said, to wrap a hand around a painfully-hard erection and bring myself to a finish while thinking of sinking myself into Mina’s warmth. All of the images in my mind were distinctly ungentlemanly but I couldn’t help them appearing.

With this fair-haired woman—I hesitated to think of her as a lady—on top of me, her grip tightening with every stroke, I had no hope of entertaining anything other than base, animalistic thoughts.

"Oh…faster," I urged, and she laughed.

"Listen—he speaks!" She leaned over me. "You’re enjoying this more than you care to admit, aren’t you, young man?" Sitting up, she let go of me and I groaned in disappointment. Relief washed over me when I realised she’d only released her hold to adjust her skirts, to pull them out of the way so she could sink down onto me.

I entered her easily. Her arousal was plain. She was obviously a woman who enjoyed taking charge and in that moment I was all too happy to allow her to.

At first she moved slowly, only speeding up when I grabbed her hips. "Oh yes. You like that, don’t you?" she asked, throwing her head back in obvious ecstasy. When her breathing grew heavier still, the sound drew me even closer to fulfilment. I had never imagined a woman reaching a climax so quickly, but this one, this woman whose name I didn’t even know, moved like someone who knew exactly what she wanted and would not be denied.

She tore at the ties keeping her bodice laced up, allowed her breasts to spill out, her lust growing still more frenzied. "Suck me," she said, leaning forward, thrusting a nipple into my mouth, and I suckled on it eagerly. "Make me come."

As my tongue played against her erect nipple, flicking then sucking harder, I felt her inner muscles tighten around me and she cried out, collapsing against me. "Oh. Oh. You were good. So very…" Lifting herself up, she sighed. "Satisfactory."



Heathcliff must have been similarly afflicted, for he glimpsed my departure and, unbeknownst to me, followed me out of doors. He made his presence known in the stable, giving me a terrible fright by striding into the tack room and laying a hand on my shoulder just as I was reaching for my saddle. 
"It’s too dark to ride," he told me. "There’s only a sliver of a moon tonight—try it and you shall cause your mare to break her leg out on the marsh."

He stepped in front of me and my ire rose—to think that he should try to prevent me from relieving my torturous feelings when it was he who caused them in the first place! I told him that I would not ride my mare out onto the marsh, for I was not a fool, and demanded that he remove himself from my way, or else saddle my horse for me.

He had the gall to refuse, and promised that we would ride together in the morning, when our journey would be made safe by the light of the sun.
I assured him that I could not possibly pass the night in my current state, and that I desired escape from the house and the distress he had caused me.
He said he would stay with me till morning, and that we might weather the darkness together. Ignorant of the true meaning of his words and the potential of his suggestion, I succumbed to a rather spectacular fit of temper, furious that he should continue to detain me. Using my fingernails as a cat uses its claws, I struck his chest and shoulders, attempting to make him stumble or shrink away from me so that I might slip by him and seize my saddle.
He did neither, and instead stood as steadfastly as a stone wall, unyielding to my vicious efforts to move him. After a few moments, I began to feel ashamed, for I could see that I had marred his chest with a red furrow that stood out just above the collar of his shirt, which was the only garment he wore on the upper half of his body. At that moment, I made up my mind to abandon him and the saddle, silently vowing that I would ride my mare bareback, under the light of the moon. When I turned on my heel and attempted to escape the tack room, Heathcliff seized me around the waist and pulled me against himself, wrapping me so tightly in his arms that I might as well have been bound by heavy chains.
I shouted for him to release me, but as I struggled, something curious happened—my skin warmed and my every nerve seemed to hum with excitement, as if suddenly brought to a new kind of life by the intimate position I shared with Heathcliff. I continued to writhe, but the friction my motions created became a sort of pleasure in and of itself, and I knew that it had affected a change in Heathcliff too, for I heard him groan and felt him shift against me, pressing something hard against the small of my back. This development sent a shiver of exhilaration down my spine, though at the time, I still possessed only the vaguest of ideas as to what would occur next. 
Heathcliff’s intent became clearer when he laid his hands on my shoulders and turned me about so that I faced him. I’d scarcely met his eyes when he pressed me against a wooden beam, pinning me against it with the weight of his own body. The rigid rod tenting the front of his trousers now pushed against my belly, caught betwixt our bodies—a fact I could not help but be aware of. I acknowledged its presence with a breathless gasp, and a thrill of expectation went through me when his dark eyes met mine. I had looked into them many a time, and yet, never had I seen the gleam I saw then, the intensity of which was the cause of my excitement.

"Listen to me, Cathy," he said. "It’s only the two of us. You must listen to me when it’s only us—you may command me in the others’ presence, but that shall stop when we are alone together."

I possessed neither the power nor the will to contradict him—not when his gaze held me captive more effectively than his grip, and his body felt so powerful against mine. We had stolen kisses before, and the sensations I’d felt then were much like the ones I experienced as he held me there, his eyes full of promise—promise of what, exactly, I had yet to discover.

As I stilled and said nothing, a look of satisfaction flashed in his eyes. I expected a kiss, or perhaps a tender caress, and was much perplexed when he broached an unexpected and less pleasant subject.
"Do you remember when I first came to Wuthering Heights, years ago?" As he spoke, he plucked a familiar instrument from the wall—a riding crop.

"Yes," I replied, somewhat breathlessly. "Of course."

"Ah," he said, leaning close to me again, so that his breath warmed my lips when he breathed, "Then you remember spitting at me because you were angry that your father brought me home to you instead of a new riding crop." He raised the crop he gripped in his hand so that the flap of leather on the end touched my face. Ever so slowly, he stroked my cheek, and the touch of leather against my skin was as gentle as a breeze. I can’t yet reason why, but I quivered with elation, even as guilt assailed me, conjured by the memory he had invoked.

"I was but a child," I protested, "and that was a dozen years ago."

"You spat at me and then turned your back. You refused to allow me into your bed," he reminded me.

"You have spent many nights in my bed since," I said. 

"Years ago," he replied. "A habit that we quit when we left childhood behind. I have given it some thought and I rather think that it’s a practice we should take up again."

I’ll swear my heart skipped a beat at the notion of sharing my bed with Heathcliff, and what that would mean now that we were older, our relationship having progressed irrevocably beyond our former bond as childhood playmates. I exhaled as he continued to stroke my cheek with the crop, a rhythmic motion that seemed to promise much more than gentle caresses. "That crop," I worked up the courage to ask, "what do you intend to do with it?"

"Much," he replied.

I entreated him to tell me more.

"I mean to drive out every last bit of your worries and your defiance, until I am all you can think about, and my name is the only thing you can shout," he said. "Would you like that?"
I could not deny that his words thrilled me, and told him as much.

He responded by releasing me, leaving me to languish against the beam, eyeing the crop he wielded and the bulge that strained against his trousers. Seeing him in such a state roused something inside me, and inspired in me an admiration that stole my breath away. I felt as if I were seeing Heathcliff not as I had always known him, but as I had always been meant to know him. As I regarded him I considered his words, and at first I thought to protest, but he quelled those intentions with a command I could not deny. "Bend over that saddle," he said, in a tone so firm that I took a step forward, ignoring my weak knees as I made my way towards the very object that I had been attempting to claw my way to only minutes ago.

The saddle rested on a simple wooden rack that extended from the wall, and was at a level that allowed me to bend over it quite easily—an action which brought a pleased expression to Heathcliff’s face. My heart thrilled at the sight of his satisfaction, and I wriggled anxiously against the leather as I awaited the fulfilment of his lofty promise.

Next, he used a long set of driving reins as one might use a rope, securing my wrists and ankles with a couple of knots, so that I was tied fast to the saddle in a way that would prevent me from rising or slipping. Perhaps it is strange, but this caused me to feel secure, rather than trapped—the knots were comforting because he had tied them. When that was done, he raised my skirt and petticoats above my waist and lowered my drawers, exposing my buttocks. I fear I cannot put into words the excitement I felt when his hand brushed across my bare skin—it was the first time he had touched me there, and I had done so sparingly on a few occasions when my own natural curiosity and daring thoughts of Heathcliff had conspired to overwhelm me. I was soon glad of the restraints he’d created for me, for when he caressed my bottom one last time and then rose at last, I trembled with anticipation and might have fallen if he hadn’t secured me.

"My Cathy," he said as he stood, surveying me.

This endearment only increased my tremors, and my gaze settled again upon the instrument he held in one hand. He gripped it firmly, his hand much more steady than my own quivering limbs as he stepped behind me.
"Count each strike of my whip, Cathy," he instructed. "Cry out if you wish, cry my name—anything you desire, but don’t forget to count, unless you wish me to stop. I shall continue as long as you persist counting. And if anytime you should stop counting, I shall stop too."


“Let me warm you.” Christine smiled and tugged another blanket across his body. “You shouldn’t have followed me,” she whispered.

“Christine.” He wrestled his hand free of the cotton blanket. “I wanted nothing bad to come of you.”

“Nothing bad happened. But you—you could catch your death in that cold.”

Raoul managed to sit up. He reached for her. Christine perched on the edge of the bed and smoothed her palm along his cheek. “You’re still so chilled.”

“My heart is full of emotions only for you.” He turned his face into her touch. “Only you.”

“Me?” She tipped her head. “You must forget about me.”

“I cannot.” He threaded his fingers into her hair, drawing her close.

“I have the most indecent thoughts when I’m near you.” He spoke against her lips. “I can’t help but want to ruin you, only to keep you in my arms a bit longer.”

The most beautiful shade of red spread across her cheeks and slipped down the column of her neck. She glanced at the door, then shot from her spot on the bed. Christine twisted the lock and pressed herself against the door.

“What kind of indecent thoughts?” she whispered.

“To lash you to my bed with your body bared to me. I want to take you over and over, hearing you cry out my name. To watch you give me pleasure with your submission to me.”

“I’m not educated in the way to love a man.” Her chest heaved with each breath. “Will you teach me? I want to be yours, if for only a short time. I want you to show me how much you love me. Teach me?”

“Yes, my love.” He held out his hand to her. Christine twisted her fingers with his and eased onto his lap. Her eyes widened.

“What are you asking of me?”

“Your submission. Allow me to direct you as if I were the composer of one of your songs. Do you trust me?”

Raoul smoothed a lock of her hair between his fingers. She smelled of flowers, a most intoxicating scent. Although she trembled in his arms, she met him for a kiss. Christine whimpered. Damn the blanket and the layers of fabric between them. He longed to feel her body next to his. He parted her robe and shoved the garment from her shoulders, leaving her in her nightgown. He swiped his tongue along her bottom lip and palmed her breast.

“Raoul,” she gasped, but didn’t swat him away. “I trust you.”

“Let me make you feel the magic.”

Christine stared at him a moment. “What do you want me to do?”

“Give me what I want. Can you do that?” He unbuttoned the top button on her nightgown. “Show me the depths of your soul.”

“I can.” She whipped her nightgown up over her head, exposing her body to him. Her rosy nipples peaked and the flush spread across her entire chest.

Raoul shrugged out of his nightshirt and tugged her back onto his lap. Skin to skin, mouth to mouth, he lost himself in her sweetness. His desire to conquer her took over. Christine slid her hands up his chest and twined them behind his head.

“Do you still wish to learn? This will not be what you expect.”

“I do.”

He sat back on his heels and hazarded a glance to the door to reassure himself it was locked.


“I do not wish to be interrupted.” He grabbed the chair at the small table and dragged it to the couch.


Christine hesitated, then moved from his lap to the edge of the bed. Raoul eased her onto her back. He crawled between her thighs.

“I will pull out so I don’t leave my seed inside you, but I cannot guarantee this won’t hurt.”

She nodded, but didn’t look particularly agreeable. He braced himself on his knees and one hand. With his free hand, he stroked her cheek.

“I will make you feel precious when I’m done.”

“I’m yours.”

His heart leapt. She’d never be his, not truly, but to be his for the night he’d accept. He reached between his legs and stroked his length. The touch of his hand on his skin always made him hard. He gritted his teeth and forced himself to stop. This was about her pleasure. He moved down her body and kissed from her breasts to the apex of her thighs. He wanted to linger all over her, but kept on his journey to her sweet vagina.

“Oh.” She gasped and reached for him. Raoul nuzzled the pale curls surrounding her cunt. Her scent wrapped around him. Powers be, he’d never get her out of his mind. He spread her pussy lips and suckled on the tight nubbin.

She cried out and dug her fingers into his shoulders. He smiled and licked her clitoris. He blew across the shiny skin, happy when she quivered. Raoul speared one finger into her channel.



“I tell you I must go!” I retorted, roused to something like passion.  “Do you think I can stay to become nothing to you?  Do you think I am an automaton?—a machine without feelings? and can bear to have my morsel of bread snatched from my lips, and my drop of living water dashed from my cup?  Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless?  You think wrong!—I have as much soul as you,—and full as much heart!  And if God had gifted me with some beauty and much wealth, I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you.  I am not talking to you now through the medium of custom, conventionalities, nor even of mortal flesh;—it is my spirit that addresses your spirit; just as if both had passed through the grave, and we stood at God’s feet, equal,—as we are!”

“As we are!” repeated Mr Rochester—“so,” he added, enclosing me in his arms.  Gathering me to his breast, pressing his lips on my lips very quickly: “so, Jane!”

“Yes, so, sir,” I rejoined: “and yet not so; for you are a married man—or as good as a married man, and wed to one inferior to you—to one with whom you have no sympathy—whom I do not believe you truly love; for I have seen and heard you sneer at her.  I would scorn such a union: therefore I am better than you—let me go!” I could endure no more; not his touch; not his words; not the past; not the unbearable, barren future! More passionately I enjoin him again, “Let me go!”

“Where, Jane?  To Ireland?”

“Yes—to Ireland.  I have spoken my mind, and can go anywhere now.”

“Jane, be still; don’t struggle so, like a wild frantic bird that is rending its own plumage in its desperation.”

“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being with an independent will, which I now exert to leave you.”

Another effort set me at liberty, and I stood erect before him.

“And your will shall decide your destiny,” he said, “I offer you my hand, my heart, and a share of all my possessions.”

“You play a farce, which I merely laugh at.”

“I ask you to pass through life at my side—to be my second self, and best earthly companion.”

“For that fate you have already made your choice, and must abide by it.”

“Jane, be still a few moments, you are over-excited. I will be still too.”

My master captured my wrists and secured them behind my back, imprisoning me and preventing my movements.

Again he rejoined me, finally piercing the armour I’d worn like a cloak. Desperately I sought to shut out the dreadful pain of knowing I must go. We would both have an interminable future—he with the lovely and hollow Miss Ingram, and me entombed hundreds of miles away. With my pain, I choked back a cry and whispered, “I cannot, Mr Rochester, by all that is holy—”
“Be still, Jane, I implore you,” he interjected. His bass tone was soothing as well as demanding. When he issued a command, there would be no refusing him. “Be still.”

He exerted the force of his will as effortlessly as he schooled my person, relentlessly and with an inexorable force, he commanded me against his body. Those torrid throbbings of desire surely filled my deepest recesses. No matter how I controlled my mind, my very flesh was weak. How I yearned for his mastery—even now, especially now!

No matter how I longed to quit his presence and nurse my emotional injuries, I was powerless to tear myself away. I wanted him to compel me to my knees as he took the knot from my hair and filled me as only he could. This very well could be our last time together. I would seize it; I would have a lifetime for regrets while tonight I merely had this moment.

“Look at me, Jane—”

“Do not tease me, sir, I beg you!”

With his strong and powerful grip on my wrists, he forced me up onto my tiptoes.

At once I saw he meant to kiss me once again. His lips would be relentless and ruthless; and the taste of him—the smokiness of his cigar combined with his uncivilised power—would render me helpless.

“Surrender, sweet Jane.”

“Nay, sir, I cannot; I will not.”

His thick brows furrowed above those eyes. Though the sun had been swallowed by eve, the intent was as clear as a spring brook. Mr Rochester would have me.

Any further protest was swallowed by his lips.

I knew I could have turned away; he held my hands—thus my upper body—imprisoned at the small of my back. My head was free.

“Kiss me,” he commanded, moving closer.

“Indeed not,” I rejoined. My voice sounded fragile, even to my own ears.

“Then you leave me no choice.”

My heart pounded like a vicious storm. He held my eyes captive. Nature won out, and as he came closer, I closed my eyes. Thornfield’s master claimed my lips. At first, it was a simple press; nothing untoward, much like his earlier, more hurried one.

This, I could endure; soon it would be over. I barely felt any response. But then he pulled back and said, “Open your mouth, Miss Eyre.”

I did open my mouth, but only to continue my protests. He’d succeeded in his singular mission. He entered my mouth, and with his tongue, he stilled my words.

He tasted of wine; he tasted of force. His will be done. The thought was as blasphemous as it was truthful for this man, when he set his rich mind to something, would see it to fruition. Even though he was intended for another, he would have me. I reminded myself of the vow I’d taken upon leaving Lowood. I would sip from all life’s experiences. I knew now the folly of that reckless promise. The thought of never seeing my love again was unendurable.

God insulate me from the pain of knowing this momentary pleasure!

I tried to pull away. Mr Rochester subdued me instantly. He forced me more firmly against his body. I felt the uncompromising strength of his chest against mine. To admit the truth to myself as well as others, I confess I didn’t put up much of a fight. I wanted to be mastered. My struggles were more internal than external. I should not want this, but I did.
He plundered my mouth; he demanded my compliance.

After a few more valiant moments of resistance—resistance that ended up being futile—I yielded.

He relented slightly in his hold on me; my shoulders were not forced so far out of position. The strength of his fingers relaxed on my wrists. Still he continued the sensual assault until my knees could hardly support me. If he would but release me, I would cling to him, throw myself on his mercy and beg him to have me.

Now that I was dazed by a sensual fog, Mr Rochester held me with only one hand. The other he moved to my head. He dug his fingers into my hair immediately disentangling the knot I’d so carefully constructed; and he tightened his grip and pulled my head backwards, forcing my neck to be exposed. With my body contoured into this unusual position, I was more open and revealed to him.

Very slowly—backing away the pressure by slight measures—he ended the kiss. “Open your eyes, fair one, and look at me.”

It was by far the most difficult of requests to comply with. I wished to remain in my cocoon of delirium, but Mr Rochester urged me, as always, to become the butterfly. At times such as these, he rarely allowed me the respite of my thoughts.

Eventually I opened my eyes to find him looking at me. His lips had punished mine, bruising them; breaths laboured in my chest, seeking escape.

“My penis is hard, Jane. That is what kissing you does to me. My body is filled with desire.”

His blunt words would have shocked previously, now they aroused me.

“Dare I hope you are similarly afflicted?”

I would have looked away to hide the flush that stole up my cheeks, but his grip on my hair prevented such liberty.

“Answer me directly and honestly, Jane.”

“Yes,” I whispered.

“Speak so the night can hear your words.”

I said firmly, “Yes, sir. I am aroused by the taste of your mouth.”

“I wish to receive proof of this claim. Lift your dress.”

During his adulthood, Mr Rochester had had many paramours; I knew I could never compare to the beauty of his French opera-girl. Even though I was but a plain governess, my master made me feel exquisite.

“Do I need to repeat myself?”

His tone had changed, sharpened somewhat. The sound of his voice could put me into a trancelike state in mere moments. I shook my head as much as I was able against the firm grip with which he held me.

“Jane, it is always my desire to hear your voice; it speaks to my heart. Your words and the way they are said gives me insight into your well-being. Thus I require you to answer me clearly and plainly. Tell me you understand.”

“I do, sir.”

“Very well. What did I urge you to do?”

“To lift my dress, sir.”

“Then do so.”

He loosened his grip enough that I could extract my hands.

I was grateful for the gloaming; I prayed it made the trembling of my limbs less visible, and it would help me feel less exposed to his gaze.
As he’d wished, I lifted the front of my black dress.

“I shall see you attired in the finest of fabrics, the loveliest of silks and satins.”

“No, sir.” This I had no problem saying firmly. I would always be the sensible Jane Eyre, even in my selection of undergarments.

“Defy me always, will you, Jane?”

“At every turn, sir.” Of course, he would expect nothing less. But in our more intimate moments, I would deny him nothing.

He unfurled his grip from my hair. Long locks fell over my shoulders, making me feel wanton.

“Put your hand between your legs, rub yourself if you must, but show me the moisture gathered on your fingertips.” He kept his eyes on my face rather than looking down. In moments such as these—indeed in all moments—each act, each word, was deliberate.

It took some moments to fulfil his desire. Touching myself was still foreign to me. And touching myself while he watched was decadent; secretly, though I delighted in the act.
My fingers found moisture, but I rubbed myself, nevertheless, just for the joy of it.

“That’s quite enough,” he said. The words were almost ferocious!

“Yes, sir.” Always defiant, as I had given my word that I would be, I rubbed myself again.

“There’s a way to deal with wayward submissives, Jane.”

Before I could draw my next breath, my master had spun me around! The hem spilled from my hands with the haste.

“Hands on yonder branch!”

The branch he indicated was above my head and a bit far away, but Mr Rochester’s tone brooked no refusal. I quivered, but whether it was from fear or anticipation, I knew not.

He half pulled and half dragged me to where he wanted. His touch was masterful and intoxicatingly rough, leaving me breathless.

“Reach now, Jane, or rue the extra penalty for tardiness.”

“Yes, sir.” I grabbed for the branch and curled my fingers around it.

He lifted my dress, exposing my undergarments. I shivered from the evening’s cool air.

“Now to rid you of these garments to properly redden your backside.”

“Sir!” The word was more an entreaty than a plea for leniency; I had goaded my master to this very end.

How he did it, I wasn’t quite sure, but he secured my dress and at once loosened my undergarments so that they tumbled to the earth, acting as a binding for my ankles. Thus I was virtually trussed and tied, half-naked and dreading—nay, anticipating—the first sting against my bare buttocks.

“Ask for it, Jane. Ask for your master’s punishment that you might atone for your behaviour.”

Insisted I, “Indeed I shall not for I’ve done nothing wrong, sir.” Even though it meant my lower body was exposed to his wrath, I was grateful I was faced away from him so that he did not see the devilry playing in my eyes! “I am completely remorseless, sir. Do your worst.”



“Hate you! I was angry perhaps at first, but my anger soon began to take a proper direction.”

“I am almost afraid of asking what you thought of me, when we met at Pemberley. You blamed me for coming?”

“No indeed; I felt nothing but surprise.”

“Your surprise could not be greater than mine in being noticed by you. My conscience told me that I deserved no extraordinary politeness, and I confess that I did not expect to receive more than my due.”

“My object then,” replied Darcy, “was to show you, by every civility in my power, that I was not so mean as to resent the past; and I hoped to obtain your forgiveness, to lessen your ill opinion, by letting you see that your reproofs had been attended to. How soon any other wishes introduced themselves I can hardly tell, but I believe in about half an hour after I had seen you.”

He then told her of Georgiana’s delight in her acquaintance, and of her disappointment at its sudden interruption; which naturally leading to the cause of that interruption, she soon learnt that his resolution of following her from Derbyshire in quest of her sister had been formed before he quitted the inn, and that his gravity and thoughtfulness there had arisen from no other struggles than what such a purpose must comprehend.

She expressed her gratitude again, but it was too painful a subject to each, to be dwelt on farther.

After walking several miles in a leisurely manner, and too busy to know anything about it, they found at last, on examining their watches, that it was time to be at home.

“What could become of Mr. Bingley and Jane!” was a wonder which introduced the discussion of their affairs. Darcy was delighted with their engagement; his friend had given him the earliest information of it.

“I must ask whether you were surprised?” said Elizabeth.

“Not at all. When I went away, I felt that it would soon happen.”

“That is to say, you had given your permission. I guessed as much.” And though he exclaimed at the term, she found that it had been pretty much the case.

“On the evening before my going to London,” said he, “I made a confession to him, which I believe I ought to have made long ago. I told him of all that had occurred to make my former interference in his affairs absurd and impertinent. His surprise was great. He had never had the slightest suspicion. I told him, moreover, that I believed myself mistaken in supposing, as I had done, that your sister was indifferent to him; and as I could easily perceive that his attachment to her was unabated, I felt no doubt of their happiness together.”

Elizabeth could not help smiling at his easy manner of directing his friend.

“Did you speak from your own observation,” said she, “when you told him that my sister loved him, or merely from my information last spring?”

“From the former. I had narrowly observed her during the two visits which I had lately made here; and I was convinced of her affection.”

“And your assurance of it, I suppose, carried immediate conviction to him.”

“It did. Bingley is most unaffectedly modest. His diffidence had prevented his depending on his own judgment in so anxious a case, but his reliance on mine made every thing easy. I was obliged to confess one thing, which for a time, and not unjustly, offended him. I could not allow myself to conceal that your sister had been in town three months last winter, that I had known it, and purposely kept it from him. He was angry. But his anger, I am persuaded, lasted no longer than he remained in any doubt of your sister’s sentiments. He has heartily forgiven me now.”

Elizabeth longed to observe that Mr. Bingley had been a most delightful friend; so easily guided that his worth was invaluable; but she checked herself. She remembered that he had yet to learn to be laughed at, and it was rather too early to begin. In anticipating the happiness of Bingley, which of course was to be inferior only to his own, he continued the conversation for a little while. When he was convinced they were in no danger of being interrupted by the lovers he turned to Elizabeth and said; “As we now, I believe, are very much alone, would you consent to honouring me with a kiss?”

Elizabeth had no objections. It had been some time that she had wished for the same thing herself and she agreed eagerly with a nod of her head, words having failed her. Mr. Darcy placed his hands on her upper arms and leaned in slowly, his eyes intent on her mouth.

“You have no idea how much I’ve dreamed of your lips against mine,” said he. “The memory of your kiss often kept me awake at night and well into the morning hours and I have long since desired to be inside you again, to feel your heat engulfing me, to have your soft, beautiful body writhing in ecstasy beneath mine own.”

Darcy’s words set Elizabeth alight and when his lips finally descended on hers, she murmured her approval and opened for him willingly, her body becoming pliant in his arms. His tongue slid effortlessly into her mouth and teased her own into his. They kissed passionately for long moments and Elizabeth soon became aware of the wetness between her legs, of her fervent desire to have his sex buried to the hilt inside of her. The kiss deepened and Darcy crushed Elizabeth into his body, allowing her to feel the hardness of his manhood, to understand that his desire for her was as strong as it had ever been. When their mouths finally parted, Elizabeth trailed kisses along his throat and neck until she reached his earlobe and took it between her teeth.

“Please take me,” she whispered. “I need it. I ache for it.”

Her words were met with only a grunt of approval by Darcy. He pulled back from her and checked their surroundings, partly to assure they were alone, but also to discover a hiding place for them that was away from the road. He took hold of Elizabeth’s hand and pulled her away from the lane to the trees beyond. They walked on for a short time until they came to a small clearing and without another word, he pulled her to the ground, laying her down on the grass and covering her body with his. He thrust his hips against hers frantically, emphasising the urgency of his need to be buried inside her depths.

Much to Elizabeth’s relief and pleasure, Darcy lifted her skirts quickly and removed her undergarments, then fumbled to free himself from the confines of his own clothing. When his large manhood was revealed, it sat firm and proud against his stomach and though she had seen it before, the length and girth of it still surprised her, making her wonder again how it was possible it could fit. As he held it in his palm, his hand moving steadily up and down, a bead of moisture appeared on the tip and Elizabeth had the most curious desire to taste it. She remembered Darcy with his mouth on her sex and how wonderful it had felt, how much pleasure she had derived from the act, so, while he was still kneeling, she sat up, leaned forward and took it into her mouth.

The pained moan that tore from Darcy’s lips caused Elizabeth to pull back and look up at him in alarm.

“Oh God, did I hurt you?”

Darcy’s eyes were wild, unbridled, his lips parted as he drew in deep breaths. “Heavens no. Your mouth is...perfection. But I fear I may not be able to hold back if you do that for very much longer.”

Reassured she had not harmed him, Elizabeth’s smile returned and, while holding his gaze, she leant forward again and swept her tongue across the tip of his sex, capturing the drops that were leaking there and savouring them. Darcy squeezed his eyes shut, let out a low moan and placed his hands on her head, his fingers tangling in the soft strands of hair as he held her in place. With nothing to guide her but instinct, Elizabeth closed her mouth and slid it down his length, but the tip of him nudged the back of her throat and she had to pull back or choke. The action drew a primal grunt of pleasure from Darcy’s lips and so Elizabeth repeated the action, moving up and down on him, letting his wordless moans and contented sighs direct her. She was only permitted the pleasure of the act for a few short moments before she felt a tug on her hair and heard Darcy’s breathless words.

“Elizabeth, please stop. I beg of you.”

Reluctantly conceding to his request, she let his manhood slip from her mouth and she sat back, looking up at him for direction. He grabbed her face and kissed her furiously, devouring her lips and laying her down on the ground in one fluid motion. When he came atop her, his sex rubbed against her thigh and she parted her legs to allow him entrance to her body. He pressed against her, but instead of pushing his way inside, he lifted his head and met her gaze.

“Tell me you want me,” he demanded. His voice was a deep rumble, husky and full of the promise of what was to come. “Tell me what you want from me.”

Elizabeth brushed aside all lingering reticence and held his gaze as she replied. “I’ve never desired anything in my entire life as I desire you now. I want you inside me. I need it more than I need air.”

His breath left him in a rush and without preamble he did as she asked, pushing his way inside, filling her so beautifully and so completely that she cried out at the sheer delight of it. Relief mixed with anticipation as he took her, sliding in and out of her body over and over again, gaining speed and intensity with each thrust of his hips. Fire blazed in his eyes as he looked down at her and she felt overwhelmed by the possession she saw in their depths – astounded, but perfectly at ease as though she were right were she needed to be. Her heart pounded as she breathed in the scents around her. The fresh, earthy smell of the forest, the pine trees, the grass beneath their bodies combined with the delicious scent of Darcy. Hot, spicy and all man. She tilted her hips and met him thrust for thrust, her back arched, her feet digging into his hips. His mouth trailed hot, wet kisses down her throat as he penetrated her deeply, stretching her wide and Elizabeth loved every glorious second of it. Their coupling became fast and furious and the harder he drove into her, the harder she wanted it.

Deep inside her body she could feel the build up to the earth-shattering release she had experienced before and she chased it, pleaded for it, her fingers digging into his buttocks as she gripped him tightly and tried to pull him deeper inside. He was close too. She could tell by the irregular, somewhat frantic movement of his hips that had previously been in perfect rhythm with her own. The tingle started in her core and the base of her spine and she cried out as it reached a crescendo, blanketing her entire body with ecstasy which left her blind to everything but its power over her. At some time during her pleasure she was aware of Darcy calling out her name, his fingers digging bruisingly into her hips as he held her to him and emptied his seed into her body.

When they had both stopped trembling, Darcy slipped out of her body and rolled her onto her side, his arms coming around her shoulders and holding her close. They lay like that for some time until the realisation that they would soon be missed came to them both.

“I wish we could stay here all day,” said Elizabeth as she pulled on her undergarments and righted her dress.

“When you become Mrs. Darcy we will,” replied he.

Elizabeth smile was bright. Mrs. Darcy. She liked the sound of that very much. When their clothing was in order, they retraced their path through the trees and made their way back to the house. Darcy kept hold of Elizabeth’s hand until they were nearly in sight of it. When they reached the house offered him a secret smile and in the hall they parted. Elizabeth had never been as happy.



Darkness impenetrable and immovable filled the room. A violent gust of wind, rising with sudden fury, added fresh horror to the moment. Catherine trembled from head to foot. In the pause which succeeded, a sound like receding footsteps and the closing of a distant door struck on her affrighted ear. Human nature could support no more. A cold sweat stood on her forehead, the manuscript fell from her hand, and groping her way to the bed, she jumped hastily in, and sought some suspension of agony by creeping far underneath the clothes. To close her eyes in sleep that night, she felt must be entirely out of the question. With a curiosity so justly awakened, and feelings in every way so agitated, repose must be absolutely impossible. The storm too abroad so dreadful! She had not been used to feel alarm from wind, but now every blast seemed fraught with awful intelligence. The manuscript so wonderfully found, so wonderfully accomplishing the morning’s prediction, how was it to be accounted for? What could it contain? To whom could it relate? By what means could it have been so long concealed? And how singularly strange that it should fall to her lot to discover it! Till she had made herself mistress of its contents, however, she could have neither repose nor comfort; and with the sun’s first rays she was determined to peruse it. But many were the tedious hours which must yet intervene. She shuddered, tossed about in her bed, and envied every quiet sleeper. The storm still raged, and various were the noises, more terrific even than the wind, which struck at intervals on her startled ear. The very curtains of her bed seemed at one moment in motion, and at another the lock of her door was agitated, as if by the attempt of somebody to enter. Hollow murmurs seemed to creep along the gallery, and more than once her blood was chilled by the sound of distant moans. She began to wish for Henry Tilney to find his way secretly to her room to help allay her nervousness.

When the door to her room opened slowly she searched frantically for something with which to defend herself, not knowing if it was ghost of human who trespassed. When she saw Henry slip into the room, fingers to his lips, she poofed out a sigh of relief. Had just thinking of him conjured him up?

“What are you doing here?” she whispered as softly as she could, noticing that he had divested himself of all his clothes save a thin pair of breeches and a loose shirt.

“I feared the storm would disturb you and wanted to ease you through it.”

“But—But—But what if someone sees you walking around like that?” Her fingers gripped the bedclothes.

“General Tilney and my mother are long fast asleep,” he whispered back, “and I hope the same for my sister. However, since she sleeps two doors down we must be careful not to do anything to call her attention.”

“And what would we be doing?” she asked.

With a smile Henry approached the bed and eased himself down on top of the covers next to her. “I hope many things,” he told her. “I have felt this strong attraction between us from the first moment of our meeting and I have seen in your eyes a like feeling. If I am mistaken please advise me of it and I will leave at once.”

Even as the blood stirred within her and her pulse rate accelerated, she felt compelled to offer at least a token protest. “I assure you that I am still an innocent, an unsullied and respectable female.”

His hand cupped her cheek, turning her face to his. “My dear sweet Catherine, I am fully aware of that. I would take no advantage of that if you bid me leave. And if you bid me so I will be gone and this will be as if it never happened. But understand that you have my full respect as well as a number of other emotions that far surpass it. From our first meeting I have dreamed of being the one man to show you the pleasures of the body. I care for you so much. Please do not turn me away.”

She could have demurred further but she was so eager for his touch that it seemed to her a waste of time so she simply smiled and placed her hand over his. “And I have dreamed of the same things.”

Henry leaned his head closer to her face and placed his lips on hers. They were firm and moist and the touch was utterly pleasant. He brushed his mouth lightly over hers in a back and forth motion, teasing her, until his tongue peeped out to trace the seam of her lips.

“Open your mouth for me, sweet Catherine,” he urged. “Let me in.”

She did so and when his tongue swept inside it filled her with a sensation of pleasure that danced through her body. Her nipples tingled and at once the sensitive muscles in her cunt trembled. She felt the liquid of her arousal soaking the crotch of her nighttime bloomers and had to press her thighs together. All this from a kiss! Imagine! But it was far beyond any kiss she’d ever imagined. Henry’s tongue touched the inside of her mouth everywhere, sliding over her own tongue in a movement that coaxed her to let hers dance with him. He thrust it in and out, mimicking the act of sex she and Virginia had read about and arousing her even more.

 Pulling the gown up far enough, he proceeded to pull one nipple into his mouth. Catherine’s breath caught at her throat as he sucked deeply on it then gently scraped it with his teeth. He cradled her breast in his warm palm kneading it gently as he continued to suck and nip at the stiff peak. Her blood heated and the fire roared straight to her cunt to meet the insistent throbbing in her already wet tissues. He gave equal attention to her other breast until she was arching up to him in delight.

When Henry lifted his head she cried out. “Oh, continue, please, I pray you. I cannot bear it if you stop.”

His smile was mesmerising. “If I am to continue we must move all this fabric out of the way.” He plucked at her gown, rucked up around her neck, and ran a finger around the waist of her drawers. “I wish to see your body in its entirety that I may worship every inch of it.”

No one had seen Catherine naked since she was a child with the exception of her good friend, Virginia. But she trembled in anticipation of Henry’s gaze taking in every inch of her and hoped she would not be found wanting. Mutely she nodded and allowed him to assist her with the removal of her nightwear, shivering slightly as the cool night air wafted over her.
Henry placed a kiss between her breasts. “I am not shy of my own abilities to warm you up but I think a fire would help us along.”

Catherine lay nude with her arms crossed over her breasts, her eyes glued to Henry as he built up the fire until it leapt into a nice flame. But the fire was not the only thing that heated her as Mr Tilney began to slowly remove his own clothing, draping it over the arm of a boudoir chair. She was stunned at the sight of his magnificent body, gleaming in the firelight, the curled hair on his chest slightly darker than that on his head and darker still as it clustered around his cock which stood straight out in all its glory. Her fingers itched to touch it, to rub herself against it. To see if it would fit within her as the book had described.

Henry Tilney smiled at her as he stood beside the bed, what she could only describe as hunger flaring in his eyes.

“Go ahead,” he urged. “Touch it. I can see that you want to.”

She reached out her hand and closed her fingers around silky skin over a hard as steel core. “Oh! It feels hot!” Experimentally she slid her fingers up and down, from tip to root and back again. It flexed beneath her touch, a most pleasant feeling so she did it again and yet again. The soft wiry curls surrounding it brushed sensually against the edge of her hand and by the third slide a small drop of fluid eased from the tiny slit in the head. Catherine stared in wonder and before she could help herself touched the tip of one finger to it. Bringing her finger to her mouth she licked slowly, enjoying the slightly salty taste of it.

Tilney’s expression heated as he watched her. Do you fancy the taste, then?”

Catherine nodded mutely.


I’m writing of this bold companion as I currently know him. Because we’ve become something far more than friends, united in that most intimate of partnerships, a permanent comradeship born and cemented during a the most frightful crisis! Ah, my gallant Ned! I ask only to live 100 years more, the longer to be with you!

Was our flirtation noticed? I doubt it. Our crew members were too vigilant in their quest for Captain Farragut’s $2000.00 bounty, and I dare say, when they weren’t doing that, they were pursuing amorous quests of their own. There is little to occupy men on a ship, and even the most stalwart of the crew grew tired of manning the masts eventually. I quickly learned to make as much noise as possible when descending to the hold, lest I interrupt two young lads trysting. Had mine and Ned’s growing intimacy been noticed, it would have been politely ignored.

 And now, what were Ned Land’s views on this question of a marine monster? I must admit that he flatly didn’t believe in the unicorn, and alone on board, he didn’t share the general conviction. He avoided even dealing with the subject, for which one day I felt compelled to take him to task.
During the magnificent evening of June 25—in other words, three weeks after our departure—the frigate lay abreast of Cabo Blanco, thirty miles to leeward of the coast of Patagonia. We had crossed the Tropic of Capricorn, and the Strait of Magellan opened less than 700 miles to the south. Before eight days were out, the Abraham Lincoln would plough the waves of the Pacific.
Seated on the afterdeck, Ned Land and I chatted about one thing and another, alternately sneaking glances at the other and staring at that mysterious sea whose depths to this day are beyond the reach of human eyes. Quite naturally, I led our conversation around to the giant unicorn, and I weighed our expedition’s various chances for success or failure. Then, seeing that Ned just let me talk without saying much himself, I pressed him more closely.

“Ned,” I asked him, “how can you still doubt the reality of this cetacean we’re after? Do you have any particular reasons for being so sceptical?”

The harpooner stared at me awhile before replying, slapped his broad forehead in one of his standard gestures, closed his eyes as if to collect himself, and finally said:
“Just maybe, Professor Aronnax.”

“But Ned, you’re a professional whaler, a man familiar with all the great marine mammals—your mind should easily accept this hypothesis of an enormous cetacean, and you ought to be the last one to doubt it under these circumstances!”

“That’s just where you’re mistaken, professor,” Ned replied. “The common man may still believe in fabulous comets crossing outer space, or in prehistoric monsters living at the earth’s core, but astronomers and geologists don’t swallow such fairy tales. It’s the same with whalers. I’ve chased plenty of cetaceans, I’ve harpooned a good number, I’ve killed several. But no matter how powerful and well-armed they were, neither their tails or their tusks could puncture the sheet–iron plates of a steamer.”

“Even so, Ned, people mention vessels that narwhale tusks have run clean through.”

“Wooden ships maybe,” the Canadian replied. “But I’ve never seen the like. So till I have proof to the contrary, I’ll deny that baleen whales, sperm whales, or unicorns can do any such thing.”

“Listen to me, Ned—”

“No, no, professor. I’ll go along with anything you want except that. Some gigantic devilfish maybe…?”

“Even less likely, Ned. The devilfish is merely a mollusc, and even this name hints at its semiliquid flesh, because it’s Latin meaning, ‘soft one’. The devilfish doesn’t belong to the vertebrate branch, and even if it were 500 feet long, it would still be utterly harmless to ships like the Scotia or the Abraham Lincoln. Consequently, the feats of krakens or other monsters of that ilk must be relegated to the realm of fiction.”

“So, Mr. Naturalist,” Ned Land continued in a bantering tone, leaning close so that we were nearly forehead to forehead, “you’ll just keep on believing in the existence of some enormous cetacean…?”

“Yes, Ned, I repeat it with a conviction backed by factual logic. I believe in the existence of a mammal with a powerful constitution, belonging to the vertebrate branch like baleen whales, sperm whales, or dolphins, and armed with a tusk made of horn that has tremendous penetrating power.”

“Humph!” the harpooner put in. He backed away a bit to smile at me, shaking his head with the attitude of a man who doesn’t want to be convinced.

“Note well, my fine Canadian,” I went on, “if such an animal exists, if it lives deep in the ocean, if it frequents the liquid strata located miles beneath the surface of the water, it needs to have a constitution so solid, it defies all comparison.”

“And why this powerful constitution?” Ned asked.

“Because it takes incalculable strength just to live in those deep strata and withstand their pressure.”

“Oh really?” Ned said, tipping me a wink.

“Oh really, and I can prove it to you with a few simple figures.”

“Bosh!” Ned replied. “You can make figures do anything you want!”

“In business, Ned, but not in mathematics. Listen to me. Let’s accept that the pressure of one atmosphere is represented by the pressure of a column of water thirty–two feet high. In reality, such a column of water wouldn’t be quite so high because here we’re dealing with salt water, which is denser than fresh water. Well then, when you dive under the waves, Ned, for every thirty–two feet of water above you, your body is tolerating the pressure of one more atmosphere, in other words, one more kilogram per each square centimetre on your body’s surface. So it follows that at 320 feet down, this pressure is equal to ten atmospheres, to 100 atmospheres at 3,200 feet, and to 1,000 atmospheres at 32,000 feet, that is, at about two and a half vertical leagues down. Which is tantamount to saying that if you could reach such a depth in the ocean, each square centimetre on your body’s surface would be experiencing 1,000 kilograms of pressure. Now, my gallant Ned, do you know how many square centimetres you have on your bodily surface?”

“I haven’t the foggiest notion, Professor Aronnax.”

“About 17,000.”

“As many as that?”

“Yes, and since the atmosphere’s pressure actually weighs slightly more than one kilogram per square centimetre, your 17,000 square centimetres are tolerating 17,568 kilograms at this very moment.”

“Without my noticing it?”

“Without your noticing it. And if you aren’t crushed by so much pressure, it’s because the air penetrates the interior of your body with equal pressure. When the inside and outside pressures are in perfect balance, they neutralise each other and allow you to tolerate them without discomfort. But in the water it’s another story.”

“Yes, I see,” Ned replied, growing more interested. “Because the water surrounds me but doesn’t penetrate me.”

“Precisely, Ned. So at thirty–two feet beneath the surface of the sea, you’ll undergo a pressure of 17,568 kilograms; at 320 feet, or ten times greater pressure, it’s 175,680 kilograms; at 3,200 feet, or 100 times greater pressure, it’s 1,756,800 kilograms; finally, at 32,000 feet, or 1,000 times greater pressure, it’s 17,568,000 kilograms; in other words, you’d be squashed as flat as if you’d just been yanked from between the plates of a hydraulic press!”

“Fire and brimstone!” Ned put in.

“All right then, my fine harpooner, if vertebrates several hundred meters long and proportionate in bulk live at such depths, their surface areas make up millions of square centimetres, and the pressure they undergo must be assessed in billions of kilograms. Calculate, then, how much resistance of bone structure and strength of constitution they’d need in order to withstand such pressures!”

“They’d need to be manufactured,” Ned Land replied, “from sheet–iron plates eight inches thick, like ironclad frigates.”

“Right, Ned, and then picture the damage such a mass could inflict if it were launched with the speed of an express train against a ship’s hull.”

“Yes…indeed…maybe,” the Canadian replied, staggered by these figures but still not willing to give in.

“Well, have I convinced you?”

His thoughtful gaze turned flirtatious, and he grinned wickedly at me. “You’ve convinced me of one thing, Mr. Naturalist. That your mind is as tempting as the rest of you.”
I felt myself blush, but I met his gaze. “And on the matter of the creature?”

He leaned close, allowing his hand to land on my thigh. “I think it merits further discussion. Perhaps in my cabin later tonight?”

My pulse suddenly raced, and my cock began to stiffen. He was so close, I might easily have kissed him. I was still fumbling for a reply, but like any good hunter, Ned knew when to allow his prey time to hide. He merely chuckled and left me to shift uncomfortably upon the deck until my arousal had abated.

That night, when the ship was dark, I slipped quietly from my bunk.

“Where is Master going this time of night?” Conseil asked.

“Nowhere,” I assured him, as I had many times in the past. “I’m still asleep in my bunk, and so are you.”

“Quite right, Master.”

He was not done speaking though. I could sense that. Conseil was ever my advisor and my confidante. He was one of those rare men who seem to be completely without attraction or desire, for women or for men. Although he certainly didn’t share my proclivities, he had never condemned me for them either. “Speak, Conseil,” I said at last.

“Master, the men on board pursue their pleasures, and we’ve all seen that buggery among sailors is common. But my Master would be wise to remember that he’s not one of them. Men like Master have a larger place in society. They must be careful of their reputation.”

I nodded, although in the darkness of our cabin, it was likely he couldn’t see it. What he said was true. A common sailor had more liberties than a man of my stature. It would not do to have stories spread. “I’ll be careful.”

I crept quietly through the cramped corridor of the ship. Ned’s door was unlatched. My heartbeat thundered in my ears. I took a deep breath. My hand shook as I edged the door open and slid through the narrow gap into the dark room.

No sooner was I inside than he had me. His strong hands pushed me backward. He pinned me to the wall and his lips found mine, hard and questing and urgent. It was sudden and frightening. I was momentarily overwhelmed by the terror an animal must feel when the trap is sprung. But no trap had ever been as sweet as this.


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