This Rogue of Mine by Amanda Mariel

Chapter 1

Lady Cordelia Daventry knew she should not be standing outside of the library door. She most certainly should not be pressing her ear to the mahogany panel. Ladies did not eavesdrop. Still, she could not help herself. The lure of raised voices had drawn her like a moth to a flame, and now that she was here, she could not pull away.

Besides, if she were not here, she’d be in the music room listening to the debutants demonstrating their aptitude with songs and instruments. Talents that she had never possessed. Not that Cordelia begrudged them, but all the same, she’d grown weary of having her shortcomings shoved in her face.

Cordelia cringed as Mother’s voice rang through her head. ‘This is why you remain unwed,’ Mother would say. ‘If only you could sing like Lady Gretchen,’ or ‘If you possessed Miss Hillary’s skill with the pianoforte, you’d be married.’ With each demonstration, Mother would add to the commentary on why Cordelia remained alone after four seasons.

It was enough to send anyone running, and so Cordelia had made her excuse and fled from the performances. She’d only intended to stroll the hall long enough to collect herself, then return to her mother’s side. Then as she walked past the library, the argument coming from inside froze her in her tracks.

Even though she knew the voices coming from within made her transgression all the worse, she could not refrain. Her neighbor and host, The Earl of Holloway, was giving his rogue of a son, Lord Wolverton, quiet the set down. Cordelia could scarcely imagine what had caused his displeasure and found herself compelled to find out.

“It is time to grow up,” the earl seethed, and Cordelia could only imagine his face burning red with the anger she heard in his voice.

She pressed her ear closer against the door and strained to hear Lord Wolverton’s response.

“It is not all that serious, Father. So what, I attended a lurid party. It is nothing new, and nothing other peers of my age refrain from either. I might add that I recognized many of our peers there. Both older and younger.”

The transgression did not surprise Cordelia. Lord Wolverton was well known for engaging in lascivious behaviors. One was hard pressed to read a gossip rag without coming across Wolverton’s name and he was often the topic of gossip in drawing rooms. A thump sounded from within, and Cordelia imagined the earl had pounded his fist against a table.

“Our peers are not my concern! You are a disappointment. A stain on the family name, and worthless to your country,” Lord Holloway bellowed, his yelling followed by another loud thump.

Cordelia cringed at the harsh set down the earl delivered to his son. She well knew how a parent’s disapproval stung one’s soul. Viscount Wolverton may be a rogue, a scoundrel with a blackened reputation, but he was still the earl’s son and heir. Perhaps if the earl treated his son with an ounce of kindness, Wolverton would behave better.

“It ends now!” The earl continued this tirade. “Should I hear of any more shenanigans involving you, you’ll be cut off… disowned, and cast out. You are lucky I cannot take the title and entailed lands from you, but mark my words, you worthless excuse for a son, I’ll see that you receive nothing else!”

“Father,” Lord Wolverton’s plea pierced Cordelia’s heart. She could only imagine how his father’s words must sting.

“Silence. I do not wish to hear anything you have to say on the topic.”

The sound of heavy footfalls reverberated, growing louder with each step. Cordelia’s heart raced as she pulled herself away from the door. Panic gripped her as she realized someone would soon step into the hall. If discovered she’d most certainly be turned over to Mother for a scolding of her own.

That could not happen.

Cordelia launched herself through the first door she saw, then pressed her back flat against the wall as the library door swung open. Lord Holloway’s voice muttered curses as he stomped away. She held her breath until his footfalls faded.

Compassion got the best of her as she pushed away from the wall, and once again did something she knew she ought not to. Cordelia swallowed hard as she turned toward the library.

She and Lord Wolverton were not friends, but they had been neighbors all her life. Cordelia knew him well enough—too well to ignore him when he was surely hurting. She had to go to him and offer her support, if for no other reason than she knew how it felt to hear such painful words from one’s parent.

Mother’s and Father’s are supposed to love you above all else. They are the people you love, regardless of how they hurt you. She pulled in a steading breath. Her heart breaking for Lord Wolverton, for she knew all too well how it felt when one’s parents berated them.

The words, no matter how well-meaning, cut straight through one’s soul. Yes, she had to go to him. Cordelia had to offer her support. Her friendship.

She stepped into the library, closing the door behind her. Her gaze met Lord Wolverton’s, and the hurt in his blue eyes caused her throat to tighten. She swallowed hard as he trailed his gaze over her. Finding her voice, she said, “I thought you might need a friend.”

His gaze narrowed. “And so you’ve offered yourself as the sacrificial lamb?”

“No.” she shook her head. “I offer myself as a friend, a confidant.”

He chuckled, a low, deep reverberation void of any genuine humor. “You should go.”

Cordelia steadied herself, then began walking toward him. Her steps slow, measured. “I would rather stay.” She knew her reputation was in peril, but what use did a spinster have for a reputation?

It was not as if she had marriage prospects storming her door. Not a single gentleman had dared to court her since her second season. But here, in this room, there was a flesh and blood person—a man—who needed her.

With a boldness she did not know she possessed, Cordelia laid her hand to his chest. “I am here for you. Use me. Talk to me. Vent. Allow me to hug you close. Cry on my shoulder if you need to.”

He backed her up against the wall, then caged her in with his arms. Bracing his hands against the wall on either side of her shoulders, he leaned in. “You do not know what you are offering,” he said, his voice holding an unfamiliar edge.

Heat spread through her. But she refused to be dissuaded. “I am offering myself,” she said, her voice confident, though her hands shook. “I know the pain of a parent’s disapproval. Let me comfort you.”

He brought his lips to hers in a bruising kiss. One that was no doubt meant to send her running. Cordelia met his fury with passion. She’d not intended to kiss the man, but neither did she regret what was happening. In all her three and twenty years, no one had ever kissed her.

She warmed all over, her pulse racing and knees going weak. It was exhilarating. And she wanted it—wanted him. The realization sent a fresh wave of heat coursing through her as she wound her arms around his neck.

This was her chance. Perhaps the only opportunity she would ever have to experience passion, desire, the touch of a man. She’d not planned to kiss him, but now that she was, she had no intention of stopping.

Leastwise, not soon. Not before she had her fill.

Cordelia wound her fingers into the thick sandy curls near his temple and parted her lips in a breathy sigh. She delighted when Lord Wolverton slid his tongue against hers, sending delightful new sensations racing through her.

He pulled her tight against him. The hard ridge of his desire pressed against her as he cupped her bottom in his powerful hands.

She pressed herself tighter against him as a pleasant ache sprang to life between her thighs. With brazen abandon, she wriggled against him and thrust her tongue against his.

He explored her body with his hands, cupping her breasts and trailing his touch over her hips and thighs.

Cordelia burned with a need she never could have imagined. A desire so strong, all she cared about was satisfying it.

Lord Wolverton tore his lips from hers, and she protested, pulling him back. “Please,” she gave a breathy plea. “Don’t stop.”

* * *

Nathaniel Lowell, Viscount Wolverton, could scarcely wrap his head around what was happening. Was the spinster next door truly begging him to bed her? Had she honestly offered him the use of her body?

Lady Cordelia Daventry, the proper miss who could not capture the attention of a single gentleman for her shy nature and overbearing mother, was indeed kissing him. Not merely kissing him, she was burning with desire.

He recognized it in the way she held him close, the way she pressed against him, and her breathy moans of pleasure.

She wanted him—needed him.

‘Use me.’ Her words echoed through his mind. Had this been her intention from the start? Had she come in here to seduce him?

The vixen was pressing against him, begging him to devour her. Had she come to him, intent on bedding him? Was she endeavoring to trap a husband before she found herself truly placed on the shelf? Or was she chasing a thrill? Reaching for a memory to hold close in her dotage?

Did he even care?

The woman kissed like the devil and looked like an angel. He could lose himself in her for a brief time. Take his aggravation and hurt out on her soft curves and welcoming flesh. Her full lips and sweet little cuny might be precisely what he needed.

Besides, when had Nathaniel ever turned away from a willing woman? If she wanted to play the strumpet for him, he would oblige her.

Wickedness sunk its Sharpe claws into him, and he determined to do more than oblige her. By the time he was through, she’d be panting his name and quivering with satisfaction. If it was a memory she sought—she’d have it.

Nathaniel was not worthless. He knew his way around a woman’s body. Knew how to bring them pleasure and leave them both satisfied and wanting.

He lifted Cordelia, wrapping her long legs around his hips as he carried her to a nearby table. The friction between them caused her to moan as he lowered her bottom to the table’s edge. His cock pulsed and strained against his breeches as he trailed kisses down the column of her neck.

She tilted her head back, her breasts thrusting forward as a tiny sigh of pleasure drifted from her rosy lips. Her sable curls came loose from their pins and brushed against her neck and cheek, and her blue eyes were glazed with passion.

Nathaniel could scarcely control his passions as he worked to free her breasts. He drew one dusky nipple into his mouth, and she stiffened.

For a moment, he hoped she would stop him. Then a husky moan left her kiss-swollen lips, and he reveled because she did not push him away.

He gathered her skirts, sliding them up her thighs to her waist, and pressed his erection against her core as he suckled at her plump, rounded breasts. Cordelia rocked against him, her fingers tangled in his hair, holding his mouth to her.

She drove him mad with desire. Perhaps she was not an innocent after all. The woman certainly did not behave as one would expect of a chaste lady.

“Oh, god. Oh, Nathaniel,” she cried out as her body worked against his.

Desperate to feel her release, he found the slit in her drawers and slid his finger deep into her. Cordelia’s inner muscles grabbed him as he stroked in and out of her.

Before long, she threw her head back and moaned his name as she came apart in his arms. Her orgasm crashing through her.

Nathaniel stilled for a moment and simply stared at her as her cuny pulsed around his finger. She really was stunning. Not a traditional beauty, certainly stunning in her own way. How had so many gentlemen overlooked her?

Perhaps they had not. Maybe she made a habit of bedding without wedding. After all, there was no need to marry a woman who gave herself so freely. The thought should turn him off, but for some God-forsaken reason, he did not care.

Nathaniel wanted her with a need so great it almost scared him. He was desperate to bury his cock in her, to touch her, kiss her, and taste more of her. The desire was greater than any he’d felt before. The need to possess her out of his control.

He pressed a kiss to the side of her neck, just behind her earlobe, then whispered, “Did you like that?”

“Yes,” she replied, her voice soft with satisfaction.

He stroked his finger inside of her cuny, the silken walls and tightness of her pushing his own desire to the brink. “Do you want more?” He asked, his own voice husky.

“Please,” she murmured the reply as she rocked against him. “I want it all. I want you.”

Her words heightened his need, and he slid his finger out of her. Nathaniel sucked her essence from his flesh as she watched.

Her eyes blazed with renewed passion, and his cock jumped, demanding to feel her. “I need to be indie you.” He reached for the fall of his breeches.

Cordelia nibbled her lower lip, a slight blush creeping across her cheeks as she spread her legs in wanton invitation.

In one swift move, he thrust his cock deep within her.

“Ah!” She dug her fingernails into his shoulders and cried out—in pain!

Nathaniel stiffened his gaze, remaining firmly on her breasts. His muscles strained with the need to move, to thrust in and out of her tight passage.

Devil take it Cordelia had been a virgin. He should say something. Sooth and comfort her. At the least, he should meet her gaze. She’d been chaste, untouched, pure. And he’d just deflowered her like a savage beast.

His mind raced. What had he done? Why had she allowed him such liberties? Should he pull out and leave her? He did not think himself capable of parting from her. Not when his body wanted her so badly.

“It is okay. I’m alright,” she said, then tentatively moved her hips. “I don’t want to stop.”

The feel of her tight little cuny squeezing and stroking him drove away all of his thoughts. He could no more resist her than one could stop a coming storm.

He pressed his lips to hers, then moved with her. Passion burned through him as he pumped in and out of her, holding her close with one arm and palming her breast with his free hand.

She arched her hips and trailed her hands down his back, over his shoulders. Sweet little moans filled the library and penetrated his soul.

Cordelia met his desire thrust for thrust, kiss for passionate kiss. And when the precipice gripped him, she went over the edge at the same time. Her long, Shapley legs shaking as her cuny quivered around him.

Nathaniel’s muscles shook as he held himself above her, one hand braced on the table while he held her in his other arm. He had never felt so sated, so drained and satisfied. He did not know what to make of it.

But he knew his responsibility.

He met her gaze, then swallowed hard. Clearing his throat, he eased out of her.

She whimpered at the loss of him, but did not stop him. Instead, she gave a sweet smile as she pulled her gown up over her breasts, then righted her skirts.

“We will marry at once,” he said, fastening his breeches.

“We will not!” She exclaimed.

He glanced up in time to see her jump from the table, blue eyes sparking.

Nathaniel raised one incredulous brow. “Of course we will. I ruined you.”

She strolled toward him, her posture stiff and eyes full of defiance. “I wanted to be ruined.” She crossed her arms over her chest. “I do not want to be wed.”

“You cannot be serious.” His jaw ticked as he studied her.

She moved her hands to her hips and stared boldly at him. “I am most serious. I will not marry a man who does not truly want me. My actions were not meant to trap you, and I will not hear another word of this. We both got what we wanted. Let it end here.” She dropped her hands from her hips, and her expression softened. “Do not ruin this moment with talk of honor and marriage.”

Nathaniel heaved a sigh. He did not know what to make of her, but she obviously did not wish to announce their engagement. He should be pleased.

Still, her reaction somehow stung. He was a future earl, after all, and she was a spinster. The woman should be more than eager to shackle herself to him.

And yet, she refused.

He took a step closer, ready to argue further, but when he opened his mouth to speak, his words betrayed him. “Very well then,” he said, before giving a bow. “Enjoy the rest of your evening, Lady Daventry.”