Ketteridge House, Leicestershire, England, end of February, 1816
Alex was aware of a certain fear in Rowena, and also an anticipation, albeit a subdued one. She was also literally fixing her gaze on his face and not on the nether regions of his body. She must be truly shocked, he thought, and not in the least accustomed to the sight of a thoroughly aroused male. He found this extremely unlikely since she had become a mother and had therefore known sexual encounters.
He sat down on the edge of the bed and stroked her face with the back of his hand. “Do I frighten you, my dear? I promise to be gentle and give you all the time you need to receive my touch.”
She blushed a scarlet red, which he found very endearing. “Th … thank you, Alex …” she stammered, closing her eyes for a moment before raising the covers and thus inviting him to join her there. He slid in bed beside her, taking care not to crowd her, but gently easing himself close to her. He put one arm under his head and with his free hand stroked her cheek again, this time with soft fingers following the curve of her chin and cheek. She shuddered and pressed her face against his palm, causing a rush of arousal to race through him at the sweetness of her gesture.
With slow, careful caresses, first on her face and cheeks, then her neck, his hand followed by his lips, he soothed her, and at the same time aroused her. Her soft intakes of breath were proof to that.
When she began writhing restlessly against his body, Alex let his mouth trail downward to her breasts, licking, nibbling until he reached one hard nipple. He took it into his mouth and sucked.
She arched upward, clenching the sheets with both hands. He explored her curves with ardent strokes, her exquisite breasts, swollen from feeding little Emma, her stomach, still slightly rounded from childbirth.
“You are so beautiful, Rowie,” he whispered, feeling heat wash over his entire body at the soft moans she uttered. “Tell me, my sweet, do you like this?” He cupped one of her breasts and kneaded it gently, rolling the nipple between his fingers.
“Yes … oh, yes …” she croaked, arching closer to him.
“And this, my beauty?” He slid his hand between her thighs, revelling in the little jerk she made. She was so wet, so ready for him, but he wanted her even more aroused and entered her folds with first one, then two fingers. He worked her, stroking inside, teasing the little swollen bud, until she whimpered helplessly. Again he closed his lips around one swollen peak of her exquisite breast. Her entire body broke into a light dampness as he drove her higher and higher until she cried out in ecstasy as she climaxed. Shuddering violently, she sobbed while the waves of pleasure assaulted her, and Alex felt ridiculously proud at what he had wrought in his wife.
The aftermath was sweet as she nestled into his waiting arms, still sobbing, still too overwrought to speak. When she did spoke, it was but a whisper, and he had to strain himself to hear it. “I did not know … I could never imagine it could be like this … so … beautiful …”
Alex blinked in utter surprise. “Are you saying that you never experienced fulfilment before now, Rowie? Surely, …”
“There was never time … it always lasted too … short a time for me to …”
Blast the blackguard. Johnston had only sought his own gratification without having a single thought for her. That was why she was crying, of course. She now realized that she had been abused by her former lover, poor thing.
He should let her sleep, Alex mused. She had to be comforted so that she would able to sleep. Gathering her closely to him, he stroked her hair soothingly while murmuring softly to her. “Sleep, my sweet. You need your rest.”
To his amazement, she sat up. “Oh, no! Please, stay with me … I … I know it is not over yet … that there is more to come … that you … you …”
Puzzled, he heard himself ask, “That I … what, Rowie?”
She vehemently shook her head. “Just tell me what position you want me to take, and I will comply.”
It took him a few moments to grasp her meaning but then, all of a sudden, it became all crystal clear. Johnston must have wanted her in all the unusual positions that gave the male the best gratification, without any consideration for the female pleasure. He gently drew her back in his arms.
“Come here, my sweet. Just rest here against my heart.”
“Shh, be still, my love.”
He could literally feel her hesitation and confusion, but kept her to him, softly stroking her hair, until she finally relaxed and sighed.
After a while, he asked. “Are you very tired, Rowie?”
“No,” she breathed, “no, Alex, not at all.”
He again began kissing her face and neck, the silken skin of her throat and shoulders, the onset of her breasts, and then at last, her peaked nipple. His need was still achingly present but he knew she had to be wooed all over again. He worked diligently until she was writhing and moaning, then assured himself she was lying on her back. Shoving at her nightgown until he could slid it over her head, he kept kissing her with every ounce of affection he could muster. It felt like sheer triumph when she widened her legs for him. He positioned himself between her thighs and slowly entered her.