I would scold her roundly if she were not feeling so miserable, poor girl. Will you give her my regards? May I see her three days from now if she is recovered? He was of average height, slim and well-formed, fashionably dressed. His face was pleasant even if not startlingly handsome. His fair hair curled into no particular style, but it was soft and clean.
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I would scold her roundly if she were not feeling so miserable, poor girl. Will you give her my regards? May I see her three days from now if she is recovered? He was of average height, slim and well-formed, fashionably dressed. His face was pleasant even if not startlingly handsome. His fair hair curled into no particular style, but it was soft and clean. She appeared to come to a decision.
Would you care to see her instead of Sonia for this evening, Sir Gerald? I shall make the appointment for your usual time? But he hesitated as he turned to leave. If you do not wish to stay after seeing her, you need not feel obliged to do so.
If you do, well then, she is free. He held his hands out to the blaze. Perhaps it was time he tried someone new, he thought. He was indeed a creature of habit—he had told the truth in saying that. But he was also a man who feared commitment or obligation. He had avoided long-term relationships for all of his twenty-nine years and intended to do so for the rest of his life. Even his family relationships had never lasted long. Self-reliance was the only safe way to live, he had concluded long ago.
Yes, perhaps it was as well that Sonia was ill. Three months was quite long enough. Too long, perhaps. And when he thought carefully about the girl, he had to admit that there was nothing about her that he would miss. He turned when the salon door opened. She was small and dainty and dressed in a pretty green muslin dress, the neckline in a high frill beneath her chin, the sleeves puffed at the shoulders and then extending straight to the wrists.
Her face beneath her short dark brown curls was pleasant and smiling, her gray eyes candid. She was pretty in a wholesome way. Her skin was creamy with a blush of color high on her cheekbones. She wore no cosmetics. Her voice was light and musical, another discordant detail in the house. Would you like me to entertain you for this evening? The smile extended all the way to her eyes, so that he was given the feeling that she really was pleased.
There is a fire there, too. It is a chilly evening, is it not? And how lovely it is to see all the spring flowers in bloom when one steps out of doors. Daffodils are my very favorites. We used to pick them by the armful when I was a girl. She spoke in refined accents. She trained them to lose their regional accents and coarse vocabulary and to give the illusion of being ladies.
It was decorated all in shades of blue. It was pretty and comfortable without in any way being either fussy or oversensuous. Plain mid-blue curtains were looped back from the bed, which was turned down neatly, ready for use, to reveal crisp white bedsheets and pillowcases. She closed the door as quietly as she had the salon door earlier.
She turned to him with a warm smile. Her breasts looked small beneath the high bodice of her dress. So did her waist. Her hips looked as if they might be shapely enough, though it was difficult to know what exactly lay beneath the loose skirt of her dress, which fell from a fashionably high waistline.
She turned her back on him, presenting him with the long line of buttons that extended from the neck of her dress to the hips. As he opened the buttons, he could see that she wore nothing beneath. She turned when he had completed his task, drew the dress off her shoulders and down her arms, let it fall to the floor, and stepped out of it. Small breasts, but they were firm and uptilted.
As he had suspected, her waist was small, her hips shapely. Her legs were slim, her stomach flat. There was none of the voluptuousness he normally expected of a whore. And none of the wiles, either—at least, not yet. She stood quietly for his inspection, her arms at her sides. He shook his head. She did not cover herself. I like to take it slowly at my own speed. All I want you to do is lie still.
They seemed to feel that they were not doing their job if they did not use at least some of their considerable arsenal of arts until his control deserted him. Or perhaps it was in their own interests to make their encounters as brief as possible. She smiled that warm smile again as he climbed onto the bed and on top of her, reaching up her arms for him, accommodating her body to fit comfortably around his, easing up her hips so that he could slide his hands beneath her.
And she was as good as her word. Blessedly, during all the minutes that followed, she kept herself still, though she was relaxed and warm and yielding, very softly feminine. There were no tricks either with hands or hips or inner muscles. She allowed him to satisfy his appetite in the way he most liked to do it.
He sighed against her soft curls eventually and relaxed his full weight onto her. After a few minutes, when he was still hovering in the blissful state between waking and sleeping, he felt her lift one foot and reach down with one hand.
A smooth sheet and warm blankets were drawn up about his shoulders. He sighed again and slept. Fingers smoothing through his hair woke him. He did not know how long he had slept. He was warm and comfortable. Her hair smelled good. She smelled good and felt good beneath him.
A PRECIOUS JEWEL
The Ideal Wife Series This is the book of mine that seemed impossible to write but had to be written. I found myself not only fascinated by that relationship—Gerald had taken Priss from a brothel to be his mistress—but also obsessed by it. The problem was obvious. I was writing traditional Regency romances at the time, and it was clearly impossible to use a working prostitute as a heroine. And Gerald himself was a beta male, not the dashing, rakish rogue so beloved of Regency readers. But the story would not leave me alone. I finally wrote it—it took me two weeks!
A Precious Jewel (Stapleton-Downes Series #2)
A Precious Jewel