Romantica Short Story ~ One Night of Passion

One Night Of Passion


Kate felt him grab her arm from behind her and yank her into the hallway. She offered no resistance. She did not even care if anyone had seen them. He led her down the dark hallway to the back of the house towards the east wing. He said nothing as he walked with angry force along the hardwood floors. His large black boots echoed throughout the empty space as they struck the floor.

The glass double doors to the conservatory creaked loudly when he opened them. Moonlight flooded the room filled with exotic vegetation, casting shadows all around them.

He whipped her body around to face him as he shoved her against the wall. His gaze was fierce and his body shook from frustration.

Kate felt herself grow breathless. In all the years she has known him, she had never seen him this angry before. Looking back on it now, she may have pushed him too far this time. He looked crazy.

He took a step towards her and placed his hands on either side of her head on the stone wall. Kate flinched slightly. He leaned in closer and starred at her with an intensity that struck to her core. At this moment she knew her plan may have been a bad idea.

His breath was labored like a bull ready for battle. It blew Kate's dark chestnut hair around her face as it tickled her cheek. She did not dare give it attention; she did not dare move her gaze from his.

The light green of his eyes looked so animal like in the moonlight or maybe it was the glare coming from them at her. They stood out against the black of his hair that was hanging in his face. He didn't blink. He didn't move. He just stood over her and stared at her, almost daring her to turn away from him.

His bare exposed chest rose and fell before her. The white shirt he wore had been ripped open. Kate saw a drop of blood strike it as it fell from his forehead.

"I-I think you may have miss understood what-" Kate's words trailed silent when his hands balled into fists on either side of her head.

This was beginning to make her uncomfortable. She wished he would just start yelling at her already and get it over with. The way he was looking at her was unlike him.

He never professed his love for me to anyone including myself. Am I to wait until he is fit to tell me and miss out on fun or meeting new people? So I danced with the one man he hates more than my brother. I do not see what all the fuss is about. Who is he to tell me who I am to accept a dance from? He never offered himself. I had told him last month I was not going to wait forever and he had said don't, and now he has the gull to become cross with me for listening to him. I have had about enough of this!

"Are you going to say something?" Kate asked. He didn't move. "I am not a mind reader you know." She searched his gaze for any change. "I will not allow you to treat me in this manner."

He leaned in closer to her face. "Oh no?" He finally said with a deep tone.

"No," Kate said. She narrowed her blue eyes at him.

"I think you will allow me to do what I please with you Katie." He glanced down at her lips. His body moved nearer to her. She could not push herself against the wall any further. The tense anger coming off of him was paralyzing. She needed to look away. His gaze burned into her, through her and left her fighting for a steady breath.

He slid his hands up the wall and rested on his elbows at her head. With the rise of her breath her chest grazed against his. He leaned a little closer. "So you like to flirt because that is what you were doing with Beckum, Katie." He watched her eyes closely.

"I most certainly was not!" Kate shouted.

"You were and you knew what you were doing!" He roared at her. Her lips parted at what he said. "You knew I was watching you too. You knew how I would react to it, but I suppose that's what you wanted to begin with, isn't Katie?"

She remained silent and gazed down at the floor. He wanted answers damn it.

"You like to play games and flirt. Ok then." He pulled her chin up to face him. "Then flirt with me. Come on Katie, tease me."

They were now almost nose to nose. He saw her tense at his closeness, but more than that he felt her quiver from his words to her. He had never before drawn this near to her, well not in this way. She glanced to his chest for a moment. He was doing exactly what he promised himself and her brother he would not do...give her false hope.

You have no idea what you are doing to me Katie. I could have killed a man tonight because of you. Why him? Because it was the easiest way to get my attention away from Martha Stonewell. Damn it Katie!

Kate gazed back up into his eyes. She said softly, "I'm sorry. Please forgive me-"

He leaned in and kissed her without another thought. She slid her hands up his bare chest and wrapped them around his neck. He didn't move. His hands remained on the wall behind her. He knew if they came off the wall they would explore every inch of her. It was insurance that it would not go any further than the kiss. He heard her let out a little whimper of his name. He knew she was trying very hard to make it seem like she knew what she was doing. It was apparent to him she had never kissed a man before., not like this.

Kate mumbled through the kiss. "Please touch me. Hold me tight against you." Her voice was a soft panting.

He felt his right arm leave the safety of the wall behind her and find its way to her waist. Within moments it found its way up her back into her thick her. He pulled it tilting her head to the side, gazing at her briefly, and then deepened the kiss. Kate's hands squeezed his hair into her fingers and pushed her body upon him further.

Do not ruin her. What the hell am I doing? This has to stop now! She is-

He felt Kate's hands run down the sides of his ribs to his waist. She slowly began to pull his shirt out. Once his shirt was free she unbuttoned what was left of them on his shirt. He felt the naked bare skin of her hands on his chest. She had removed her gloves and tossed them to the floor.

The grunt of a moan that came out of him did not sound like him. Her touch did not feel like any other woman's touch. His body burned for it, called for it, and was getting to the point of demanding it...her. God she was all he fantasized about for years and now it was real.

Kate whispered, "It has to be you. It has always been you and no other." She reached up behind her head and undid her light blue satin dress. Kate slowly pushed it down her body as she watched him watch her. It soon found the floor at her feet. Kate's under garment found the same fate until she stood before him naked in the moonlight.

"If you will not consider me for marriage than at least give me this. I know you will never tell me what you feel for me, so I am asking you to show me," Kate said.

She reached forward and slid his shirt from his body trailing it down his arms. Her hands were trembling. He took her hand in his and gazed into her eyes. "You do understand what you are asking of me Katie? You will never see me again after this night if we do this."

Kate fought the tears in the corner of her eyes from surfacing further. "You are to leave anyways are you not? I am not scared. I want it to be you-

He scooped her up into his arms and kissed her passionately. Kate suddenly felt dizzy from the force of his passion for her. She felt it in his kiss. Kate understood at that moment why he had not kissed her before. He loved her, she knew it now.

He pulled her leg up around his hip. His body was burning for her. It had always burned for her and now it was undeniable to them both. He could no longer hide it from her and he was not going to stop himself from trying. She deserved to be shown what he felt for her after all these years.

He laid her down on a chaise under the large tree at the back of the room. She watched him in the moonlight remove the rest of his clothes. He lay down next to her on his side. She looked beautiful. He could not help but gaze over her body for a moment.

He placed the tip of his finger on her neck and made a line down to her belly. His lips trailed along after his finger. Kate let her head fall back. He clasped her breast in his hand, placing his mouth over her nipple.

Kate ran her hand through his long hair and pulled him closer to her. The sensation of his tongue playing with her was unlike anything she had imagined it to be.

He took more of her into his mouth as he squeezed her flesh tightly in his hand. The thought of gentleness was not possible. He has wanted her for as far back as he could remember. And now she lay beneath him with a wanting that is matched to his.

His hand moved down across her skimming over to her thigh. Slowly he pulled her legs apart and ran his hand over her soft skin. He felt her body shutter under his touch. Her fingers pulled at his long hair.

The soft touch of his hand between her legs sent a surge of desire through her body. She mounded out his name in a pleading cry. Kate felt the tip of his finger at her opening. Her body stilled in anticipation and then she felt him slide his finger inside her slightly.

He watched her reaction to his touch. Kate's eyes were closed and she was in her own little world. He pushed in deeper and then deeper again until he reached her top.

She was already very wet but not wet enough for her first time. He leaned down and placed his mouth over the special spot every woman has. Kate moaned louder as he sucked her swollen flesh up into his hot mouth. His hand moved with force into her. Her body arched from the wonderful sensations he was giving her.

Kate's moans grew heavy and long. He knew she was almost there. He took his other hand and placed it on her hip as she began to climax he held her down. Her cries of pleasure were loud. Kate's body began to soften and relax. She did not open her eyes right away.


"Mmm," she answered.

He laid himself between her legs and kissed her softly. Kate wrapped her arms around him pushing her hips up towards his body.

His hard cock rested on her between both their bodies. He slowly began to move up and down against her...teasing her.

"Katie." He said with short breaths. "This is not going to last very long. I'm sorry."

Kate kissed him hard. He pulled his hips back and positioned himself at her opening.

"Oh please." Kate whispered to him.

He pushed the tip of himself inside her. His hands tightened around her shoulders. Kate gasped with pleasure. He stopped and gazed at her waiting until she looked back at him. Kate locked eyes with him and saw something she had longed to see forever.

He whispered softly, "Katie, I lov-"

They suddenly heard a loud crash at the front of the room followed by glass shattering.

"Kate! Kate! Where the bloody hell are you?" her brother shouted.

Kate froze and her gaze flew towards the front of the room. She knew it was Gary, her older brother. It would take a minute or so to find them in all the foliage.

He removed himself from between her legs and jumped onto the floor. His eyes scanned the dim moonlit room for something to cover Kate with as he struggled to put his pants on.

Gary took a step forward and caught his boot on something. He glanced down to see Kate's dressed puddle on the floor at his feet. "Kate!" He shouted with rage. "Where the hell are you, you bastard?" He paused for a moment to listen. "Kate Bethany answer me now!"

Kate stood up grabbing onto his arm. "You must leave now. Gary will kill you if he finds you here with me like this...please!"

He walked about ten feet towards the front of the room, disappearing in the foliage. He returned a few seconds later with his coat and wrapped Kate in it.

"Please, you must go," Kate said. The fear for him filled her voice.

He took her hand and pulled her to him in his arms and kissed her for possibly the last time. Pulling back from the kiss he whispered with his forehead to hers, "Come with me Katie."

Kate's eyes filled with tears and her heart leaped painfully. She did not need to consider her answer to him. "Ye-

"You bastard!" Gary screamed at him as he darted forward at both of them standing in each other’s arms.

Kate pushed him out of her arms and threw herself onto Gary. "Run!" She held onto him as long as she could. "Gary stop! Please don't!"

She was thrown to the floor by her brother. "Damn it Kate!" He had made it up the tree and out through a window to safety.

This was nearly two years ago almost to the day on Kate's birthday. Kate has not seen him sense. She has heard many stories since then about him. His best friend Jagger at times keeps her updated as best as he can. He has not received word from him for almost eight months now.


Chapter 1

So much had changed in last two years. Kate's father had passed on shortly after that night, leaving Gary head of the family. He has promised Kate's hand to Beckum, which Kate is still refusing. Gary, unfortunately for Kate, will not let it go.

In one week from now, Gary is throwing Kate a big birthday party. It is her twenty first birthday. She has been told she is to announce her engagement to Beckum.

Kate stood in front of the cafe starring in the window. She was to meet Jagger here in ten minutes.

"Lady Kate, are you considering a spot of tea?" Old Lady Gating asked.

Kate smiled kindly at her. "I have an appointment with someone soon." She felt awkward. Kate had promised Lady Gating she would stop in for a visit over two months ago. Every time she runs into her she again promises the same thing, that she will visit soon. "I would like to pay you a visit after I am finished here, that is if you will not be employed elsewhere Lady Gating."

Lady Gating patted Kate's arm. "I shall be sure to make all the time you desire me to, my dear. I was going to the hot house and then straight home. I will see you soon my dear."

Kate shouted to Lady Gating, "I'll be certain to acquire a few sweets for us."

"Splendid my dear!" Lady Gating disappeared around the corner to the hot house for fresh flowers. Something she did every morning.

Kate stood nervously in front of the cafe waiting for Jagger. He had requested the meeting this time. It scared her to death as to what he might tell her. Was he hurt? Dead? Kate squeezed her hands into fists around her coin purse. The worst thing she could hear from him is that he has taken a wife and it wasn't her. It would kill Kate to hear that.

The words he spoke to her that last night, "Come with me Katie," replay themselves every night as she falls asleep. Sometimes she dreams of their happy ever after ending. Married, happy, has lots of children. All the boys look like him and all the girls, of course, resemble her. A big estate surrounded with lots of family.

Kate felt a hand on her shoulder and it startled her, causing her to jerk away.

"My apologies Lady Kate. It was not my intention to frighten you," Jagger said.

Kate placed her hands over her chest and took in a couple of deep breaths. "My mind was elsewhere Jagger. No need for apologies." She then smiled and embraced him warmly.

"Kate are you chilled? You are trembling," Jagger said. His dark brown eyes full of concern.

She gazed down to her coin purse. "Honestly Jagger, I am terrified to what you are going to tell me." Kate raised her gaze to meet his. "Is he married?"

Jagger pinched his lips together and shook his head. "No." He could see she was too upset to go into the cafe. He offered her his arm. "Shall we walk for a bit?"

Kate took his arm. They remained silent for a while as they walked down the London Street lined with shops and specialty stores.

Jagger broke the silence. "I wrote to him three months ago about your upcoming marriage."

Kate stopped and turned to him. "Why would you do that? How did you know of it Jagger? I-I have no intention of taking Beckum's offer."

Jagger raised his eyebrows at the last one. "I am under the impression the choice is not yours alone to make Kate. Your brother has already been paid a great deal of money for your hand and I am led to believe he will not be able to pay it back if you do not marry Beckum."

Kate's mouth dropped open slightly. "Are you for certain Jagger?"

He pinched his lips together. "Yes. I'm sorry I thought you knew."

Kate shook her head no. "I don't want him Jagger. I do not love him in any way. He is conceded, rude and very loud." Kate looked to the sky. "What am I to do now?"

Jagger again took her arm and began walking with her. "I received word from our friend two months ago. His uncle past away, which means he is now the earl of White Wood. He was to return last month but had been detained in the tropics. He did not know for how long when he had last wrote me."

Kate immediately grew happy at the news, but Jagger was not smiling. "What Jagger? What is it?"

Jagger stopped and took a step closer to her. He gently took both of her hands in his and said, "Two weeks ago he was sailing home on the Madame Maria." He paused momentarily. "Kate, it sank in the tropical storm Wilma last week. There were no survivors."

Kate saw dark spots in her eyes. Her body grew suddenly very heavy for her legs and then everything went black.

© copyright 2011


Chapter 2

 Kate's eyes fluttered open she gazed up to see Jagger starring out the window of the carriage. His expression told her everything he had not yet spoken to her. He was gone. He was truly never coming back for her. She would never hear his voice again. Never experience again the way his neck smelled as she buried her noise in it. Feel his strong arms wrap around her pulling her close to him.

Tears began to blur her vision and she closed them tight. She felt as though she was choking, suffocating, being buried alive inside a box of her own pain.

Kate pushed her face into the soft red velvet cushion and let out the cries that she held in for two long years. The sudden outburst startled Jagger and he leaped forward to Kate's side.

"Kate, I'm so very sorry."

"I never told him how I truly feel and now I will never be able to Jagger," Kate said.

"Kate look at me," Jagger said. "He was never going to let you marry Beckum. He was coming back for you."

She wrapped her arms around Jagger's neck and thanked him. They spent the next three hours riding through the country talking. Jagger encouraged Kate to look towards the future. Kate had asked if Jagger would attend her party for moral support. She expressed he was the only other one who had cared for him as she does. Jagger accepted the invitation.

Jagger dropped Kate off in front of her London townhouse. After waving her good-byes she stood facing the townhouse. She didn't want to go in and face her brother who would certainly demand answers for where she has been all afternoon. Within moments she found herself walking away down the street.

She was positive she looked simply dreadful, but she didn't care. Her heart was breaking and if she had to at this moment step one foot inside her brother's house, she would lose it. Knowing how happy the news of his death would make her brother was too much to bear.

Kate turned the corner as she was staring off across the street at a happy couple arm in arm and she ran into a tall solid man.

"Oh!" She screamed right before her bottom found the ground.

The tall man stood over her. "Foolish chit! Next time do watch where you are going and not in another direction." He stepped over her and proceeded across the street.

Kate began to giggle out loud when she realized it was Beckum. "Perfect." She said in between her laughter to herself. Then she suddenly stopped. Out of nowhere came the question in her mind. How was she going to get out of bed tomorrow knowing he is gone forever? What was the rest of her life going to be like?

She remained sitting on the corner of Eastwood and Summers Set, just starring down at her lap.

"May I offer you some assistance my Lady?"

Kate gazed up to see a man holding out his hand to her. With the sun now almost disappearing into the horizon for the day, Kate could not get a good look at him. She noted his long untrimmed beard and well fitting clothes, fit for a gentleman.

She slowly raised her hand and slid it in his hand. The man carefully pulled Kate to her feet.

"I was in fear you were seriously injured. On my way into the cigar shop I saw you bump into a man and I assumed he was going to aid you. I was in the shop for quite some time and when I emerge you were still in the same spot I had last saw you in," he said.

Kate glance across the street to the cigar shop and said, "Well thank you for your concern and kindness."

"I shall like to escort you home mam," he offered.

Kate looked around her and then let out a sigh. She thought for a moment on how she would explain this to her brother and then said, "I accept your kind offer Sir..."

"You can call me Bellford," he said.

"I live down a few blocks this way." Kate pointed.

He held out his arm for her and they began walking. The first half a block neither of them spoke.

"I was surprised the man you bumped into did not offer you help. Any reasonable gentlemen would," Bellford said.

Kate shook her head slightly in agreement. "That is to be my future husband if my brother has his way." Kate said then laughed at the thought of it and his actions.

The man remain quiet for a second then said, "You could refuse him. I mean after all he did step over you and left you sitting on brick paves."

Kate stopped and looked at the man. "I don't love him. I don't want him. I despise him." After a moment Kate continued walking. "I'm sorry. I-I am not myself today and should not be in the company of others."

He chuckled softly. "I'm told that about myself often the last few years."

Kate looked to him. "You seem to me to be a pleasant fellow."

"Yes well people are not always who they seem to be at times. I did something dishonorable a few years back and have had to live with the regret of it." He said.

"Is it something you can set right," Kate asked.

"I fear it may be too late." He said.

After a second Kate asked, "May I ask what it was that you did?"

He remained quiet then said, "I ran away from the woman I love, the only woman I have ever loved. I nearly took her innocence and then left. I was scared and foolish in thinking she would always be waiting for me and now," he paused, "And now, she is to marry another man."

Kate squeezed his arm as she stopped him. "Do not give up Bellford. I am nearly certain she awaits you somewhere. If she truly loves you then she waits for you."

Bellford smiled at her. "Perhaps there is hope."

"Kate! Where the devil have you been?" Gary shouted from a few houses down.

"I'm sorry that is my brother," Kate said.

Bellford looked at him then at Kate. "I shall escort you the remainder of the way and introduce myself."

"Oh no that is not-"

"Do not worry Katie, it will be ok," Bellford said.

Kate starred at him. No one called her Katie but-

"Kate, I have sent out men looking for you all over London," Gary shouted at her.

"And here she is safe and sound at your door." Bellford said as he extended out his arm to shake hands with Gary. "I found your Kate on the ground a few blocks down. Apparently, her to be husband knocked her over and then proceeded to step right over her on the street with everyone watching. Quit a charming man was my first impression of him I have to say." Bellford looked to Kate. "Would you not agree Lady Kate?"

Kate tried to stop herself from smiling.

Gray took Kate's arm and said, "Thank you for seeing her home sir."

Bellford bowed to Gary. "It was my pleasure sir." He then winked at Kate as Gary turned to go inside with Kate on his arm.

Gary took Kate to the sitting room off to the left of the entrance. "Good God Kate! Why did you take off all day and then show up with that-that strange looking man?"

Kate sat down on the sofa. "I had many things to do and ran around all day and then I happened upon an old friend and received some news. He is not strange looking Gary."

Gary picked up the poker and jabbed it into the fire sending embers popping into the room. He took his shoe and pushed them back towards the fireplace. Gary turned to Kate and said, "You cannot run about London as you please. I will not allow it!"

Kate pinched her lips together. Then after a moment said, "I am a grown woman Gary and refuse to be treated like a girl in finishing school. You-"

"I, dear sister, am in charge of this house and everything in it,! No more running about London with strange men." Gary shouted.

Kate stood up. "I will not be held up in this house. I will not be used to pay your debit and I am not marring Beckum!"

Gary strode towards the sofa and slapped Kate across the cheek. Kate gasped and cupped her burning skin.

© copyright 2011

Chapter 3

Kate raised both fists in the air ready to strike at what she could hit on him. Gary grabbed her by the wrists and held them tight.

"You are a foolish woman Kate. He is not coming back for you," Gary said.

"Let go of me Gary," Kate snapped at him.

"You will marry Beckum and you will be agreeable on the matter," he said.

"Release me now Gary or I'll scream," Kate said.

Gary tightened his grip on Kate. "He never loved you Kate and you were stupid for giving yourself to him. Everyone knows you are ruined. Who else will take a used woman like you? No one that's who. We are lucky Beckum has waited this long for you."

Kate let out a loud scream of frustration that filled the room. "He did love me! And you are right; he is not coming back for me because he is dead!" With all Kate's might she pushed out of her brother's grasp. "It does not change anything Gary. I hate Beckum." Not waiting for his response, Kate turned and went up to the third floor to her bed chamber. By the time she made it to the door she was crying.

She threw her body to the bed face first and sobbed until she fell asleep. Kate dreamt of him on the ship. Men were shouting and jumping over board. It was night with no moon to give any light. It scared her. She awoke screaming for him just before dawn broke.

Later that morning Kate hid away from her brother and the rest of the house in her drawing room in the back. She gazed out the window over the garden. With fall rushing in faster than normal the garden was wilting more every day.

She could not get her mind away from her dream last night. The thought of him drowning or worse at sea was killing her. The memory of the last time she saw him was all she had now. The passionate way he had kissed her caused Kate's body to shiver. When she closed her eyes she was able to still feel his hands on her body. The way he held her tight kissing her neck as his finger slid inside her. The words that he whispered to her as he did it. She remembered how needy it had caused her to get, asking him for more, more of him. "Why did you have to leave me?" she mumbled.

The door burst open and Kate's cousin Susana stood in the doorway with her hands over her chest. Kate immediately spun around from the commotion her cousin caused.

"My dear dear Kate. I heard of the dreadful news." Susana walked with a brisk step to her side at the window seat. "Do you know he was to be the earl of White Wood? Could you imagine him an earl? Such a pity that he is gone."

Kate rolled her eyes. "I'm not up for company Sues. And yes, not even yours." She let her head rest against the chilled pane glass of the window.

Susana looked her up and down. "You look simple horrid Kate. I insist we get out for a stroll in the park." Susana stood. "Come on Kate I insist."

Kate did not move. "I need to be alone right now Sues. Please leave me be I beg you."

Susana grabbed her by the arm and pulled her to her feet. She gave her a closer inspection and winced at her appearance. Placing her bonnet on Kate's head she stated, "This will have to do. As for your puffy eyes," Susana wrinkled her nose at Kate, "Just squint if you see anyone we know."

"Sues you know the entire ton," Kate said.

"Yes, well, we can walk on the east side where not a lot of people go. Alright then let us put on your coat." Susana snapped her finger at the maid outside the door. The young girl rushed in and handed it to her and then bowed quickly. Susana obviously frightened her and just waved her away.

Kate took in a deep breath of the fresh air. It did feel good to get outside and stand in the cool autumn breeze.

Once in the park Susana did not waste any time with small talk. It just wasn't her style.

"You are going to give Beckum real consideration aren't you Kate?"

"I have no intentions on spending the rest of my life with a man I do not love nor can stand to be in the same room with Sues," Kate said without looking at her turning her attention to what was left of the summer flowers that lined the pathway.

"Lots of people marry with no love at first. Besides he is not that bad Kate. I've spoken with him on occasion and he-"

Kate stopped and looked at her. "For God's sake Sues, the man knocked me down yesterday, insulted me as I sat at his feet, and then proceeded to step over me as if I was no more than horse droppings!"

Susana said, "Yes well, I believe he must not have recognized you otherwise he would have assisted you in getting up, but that is besides my point."

"That is exactly the point Susana. He is an arrogant pig who speaks of nothing but himself," Kate said.

Susana let out a long dramatic sigh. "I believe it to be in your best interest to think about it Kate."

"You mean my brother's interest Sues," Kate replied sharply.

"Yes and you know why Kate? Because what effects him also effects you and your future. If he is penniless then so are you." Susana sighed again.

After a moment Kate asked her, "How much was he paid for me?"

"I do not see how that matters Kate," Susana said.

"It does to me Sues. What is my happiness worth to him?"

Susana stopped and sat down on a park bench. "Fifty thousand pounds."

"What!" Kate shouted.

Susana took her arm and pulled her down on the bench next to her. "There is no need to make a scene Kate." She glanced around her quickly.

"Has Beckum asked for it back?" Kate asked.

Susana fiddled with her gloves make certain the fingers were just right. "Yes and Gary no longer has all of it. He paid off a few debits I believe and the rest I am not sure of."

Kate sat back and said, "I know where it went and so do you Sues. His Madam Sasha received a big portion of it I bet."

"Kate you do not know that to be true and do not start accusing blindly. Our family's name has been dragged through the mud enough the last couple years."

Kate knew she was referring to the night her brother and half the ton caught her naked in the conservatory. Kate blushed slightly.

Susana gazed at her briefly. "It was obviously worth it from the way you are turning pink Kate." She turned to her and said with a straight face. "Now that you know he is not coming back for you I think you owe it to us, your family, to consider Beckum, otherwise we will lose everything Kate."

Kate pinched her eyebrows together. "Your country estate too Sues?"

"Yes almost everything Kate. Please promise me you will think about it," Susana said.

Kate looked away and then shook her head yes.

Susana hugged her. "I will inform your brother." She patted Kate's leg and said with a cheerful tone, "I am in the mood for some sweets."

Kate felt sick like she had just been kicked in the stomach by a donkey. She knew Gary had put Susana up to this, although, she is just as snobby as Gary so she was sure it took Susana little persuading to do so.

"I would much rather walk a bit longer if you do not mind Sues," Kate said.

"Well, I cannot very well leave you alone out here," Susana replied with a wave of her hand through the air.

Kate started to walk towards the shops on the other side of the park. Susana caught up to her. "Will you please slow down Kate? Ladies are not suppose to walk this fast," Susana stated.

"Well Sues according to my brother no one views me as a lady anymore as of two years ago," Kate said.

"I'm sure he was merely upset when he said it," Susana replied growing short of breath.

"Yes and I could give two pigs and a chicken what all of the ton thinks of me," Kate said. Her anger was beginning to show now.

"Will you please? Slow down Kate," Susana said. "Stop...please!"

Kate halted and Susana slammed into her side. Susana took in a long deep breath. "Now then." She said in a stern mothering tone. She continued as she brushed down the fabric of her attire. "If you insist on carrying on this way you may walk by yourself Kate. I will not be seen galloping through the park like a pony. I am a lady and I would like very much to be viewed as such." With that being said, Susana walked past Kate with her nose held high.

Kate rolled her eyes at her cousin's snobbery and followed slowly behind her. Susana was exactly like Gary and it mad Kate crazy. She was seven years younger than both of them and they always made it a point to remind her of that fact often. Both Gary and Susana were welcomed babies and Kate was an accident that had caused her Mother's death at birth. The doctor had said she was too old to bare children at forty six. Another thing Gary also held over Kate's head.

Susana greeted some friends outside the bakery and Kate took a seat on a bench under a tree within eye sight of Susana. She was far enough away to afford herself peace and quiet and close enough to appease Susana.

A gust of wind blew some of Kate's hair across her cheek. She picked up her bonnet sitting on the bench next to her. Kate was startled as she caught sight of the man's hand on the back of the bench next to her shoulder.

"You are far more stunning without your bonnet Katie." The man's voice was deep and soft and slow. She knew that voice well. She realized she was holding her breath. Kate slowly stood up.

© copyright 2011


Chapter 4

With her heart racing and her body thoroughly trembling now with shock, surprise, and excitement, Kate turned around.

He chuckled softly. “I have never seen someone so disappointed to see me before.”

Kate let her eyes fall to the flowers behind him. “I thought you to be someone else. It seems we have cross paths at another bad time,” she said. Her lips formed a straight line

“What could be so bad? It is a splendid day out and you are here in the fresh air with good company,” He winked at her then added, “That would be me of course.” Bellford then smiled at her. “May I join you Lady Kate?”

“If you wish to,” Kate said flatly. She sat back down on the bench slouching over with her head hanging in her hands.

He took a seat within respectable distance next to her. After a short moment he said, “What is it that has you so troubled Lady Kate?”

Kate let out a chuckle of sorts. “Where shall I start?”

“From the beginning I suppose. That is quit often where people start a story, although we could go backwards,” Bellford said.

Kate giggled and lifted her head out of her hands. “I do not even know where to begin. My family, my future fiancĂ© which I loathe, the man whom I thought loved me or the fact that I wish I was someone else.”

Bellford caught her eye and said, “Start with today and go back.”

“As you know, I am to marry Beckum. I have just discovered he has already paid my brother Gary for the match more than two years ago. Because he has spent all the money on his mistress and gambling he has no way to pay the funds back to Beckum.”

Bellford broke in, “Can you not borrow from a relative?”

Kate shook her head no. “Gary and Susana, my cousin, are my only family that I know of who are living.”

“I see. Was the sum large?” Bellford asked.

“Too great for me to pay back. I had no idea this exchange had taken place. My brother is selling me to pay off his debits not to mention the company of his mistress,” Kate said.

Bellford asked, “Is that all that bothers you Lady Kate?”

Kate gazed up to the sky. “It is the smallest part of what troubles me.” She paused then said, “I was informed the man whom I had loved has d…died and is not returning for me.” Kate took a deep breath. “I never told him how I truly felt about him. Without him I feel empty. He is all I have ever known and the only one I will ever love.”

“I am sad for you Lady Kate. Is there anything I can do for you?”

Kate’s gaze fell to the ground in front of her. “I fear there is nothing left to do Bellford, but thank you.

Bellford could not take his eyes from her. He felt a strong desire to cheer her up. “I need an escort for tomorrow, would you be interested in being my company for the day Lady Kate?”

Kate looked to him. “Where would I be escorting you to Bellford?”

He smiled a devilish smile then said,“That I cannot tell you.”

Kate’s head fell back with a hard laugh.“How am I to escort you if I do not know where I am to escort you to Bellford?”

The smile on Bellford’s face widened at the sight of her laugh. He chuckled as she glanced at him and laughed again. “I promise you will enjoy it…immensely Lady Kate.”

Kate looked at him. “Immensely?” She giggled again. “How could a lady turn down immensely with such promise?”

Bellford laughed. “I suppose a foolish one would.”

“Kate! Whatever are you doing? I can hear you from all the way inside the shop. Your un lady like behavior is causing gossip,” Susana said in a harsh hushed tone as she approached them. “And who might you be?” Her glare fell to Bellford.

He stood up towering over Susana and bowed before her. “I am Sir Bellford. It is a pleasure to meet your acquaintance.”

Kate rose to her feet. “I met Bellford yesterday Susana. He was kind enough to keep me company while you were visiting with friends.” She flashed Susana a wary smile.

Susana eyed him up and down. “Yes well it is time for us to return home.” She looped her arm threw Kate’s and began to walk away.

Bellford reached out and took Kate’s free hand in his. She turned quickly towards him with surprise. He laid a gentle kiss on top of her hand.

“Until tomorrow morning at ten, Katie,” Bellford whispered.

Kate’s eyes widened and her heart leaped. She watched Bellford smile at her and then turn and walk away.

© copyright 2012

Chapter 5

Kate did not sleep much that night. She ran through in her mind about the charming mysterious Mr. Bellford. He reminds her so much of the man she had loved her whole life. The man she was now forced to let go and forget. She tossed and turned in her bed. The covers were now twisted and tangled around her legs.

It's not far. Bellford should not be the one calling for me tomorrow. She closed her eyes and saw his smile peak out from under his over grown beard. Mr. Bellford.

Kate threw back her covers and got out of bed. Shuffling her way over to the double french doors she pushed them open, letting the cool breeze in around her. The balcony over looked the gardens below. Dew covered vegetation bounced the moon light off it's delicate parts. A big brilliant moon flooded over the earth with a cool pale silver light. A twinkle now and then added to the magical feeling of the night.

Is this right? Could this be what I was meant for? Mr. Bellford seems to good to be true. Kate's mind stilled momentarily. What if I fall in love with him and he is taken from me like... She silenced herself from speaking his name. The pain it caused from just thinking it was too much right now. Kate gazed up to the stars and whispered, "I would have waited a life time for you. Please believe me. I have to move on now. I wish so very much it was all different, that it was all what I had always dreamed it to be. But, it isn't and never will be." A large tear dropped from her eye missing her cheek on it's way down, landing on her hand. I want this to be the last time I cry for you. From this point forward I want to think of you, us, and it bring about a smile to my face and fill my heart with happiness.

Kate left and walked back threw the french doors. Turning to close them, she decided at that moment when the doors shut it would be the end of her mourning for him. Tomorrow will be a new beginning. The doors clicked shut and she rested her forehead on the frame. "Ok, this is going to be hard. I can do this. I have to do this."

Within a few hours the sun was beginning to rise. Kate had finally fell asleep and was woken by the birds outside her window. "No. Go away birds. It's not time yet. Let me sleep just five more minutes." Five minutes turned into three hours. Her eyes flew open and she looked at the clock. "Oh no!" She jumped up. It was now nine a.m. Mr. Bellford is set to arrive at ten.

Kate saw her close laid out and a bath already for her. How on earth could Nelly have known I was to got out this morning? Standing there baffled she heard Nelly in the hall. Kate rushed to the door.


"Yes my dear?" Nelly turned toward Kate in the hall. "You are still not bathed?" She shook her head at Kate and shooed her hands at her to go back into the room. "On with ya little lady. You will surely be late now."

Kate stopped once in the room and asked, "How did you know I had an appointment this morning Nelly?"

Nelly fussed with the bedding and answered with out looking at her, "Well the note of course my dear. Now get in the tub before it goes-"

"What note?"

"The one sent to my room yesterday evening. What do mean what note child?" Nelly looked at her with confusion.

"I did not send you a note Nelly."

"Well someone did my love. Now get in the tub. It is a quarter past. Time is a wasting." Nelly turned Kate around and removed her nightgown. "I will return in fifteen minutes to dress ya child."

Nelly closed the door and Kate sat down in the tub. Maybe it was Sues who sent it to her. Yes it would have to be. Kate washed her hair quickly and before she could finish with the rest of her Nelly came bursting in.

"Alright my dear up and out with ya. I lost track of the time and it is nearly quarter to ten."

Kate rushed into her close and Nelly fashioned a lose bun on top of her head. "My child you are stunning. I do not know of another woman in all of London that can look as you do with only fifteen minutes to dress." Nelly kissed the top of her head and softly said into her hair, "You look like your mum my love."

She loved it when Nelly told her this. Nelly had loved her mother as much as she did. Kate smiled. "Thank you Nelly."

"Yes, well, alright off with ya now. Go enjoy your day." Kate placed a sweet kiss on her chubby cheek and left the room.

Descending down the grand staircase, Kate saw Mr. Bellford standing with her brother Gary. She paused until she heard Gary laughing with him.

"Good morning," She said cheerfully.

Gary looked at her and smiled. Kate saw the bottle of expensive brandy in his hands. Her gaze flew to Mr. Bellford. He winked at her discreetly which made her smile too much.

"I have not seen you smile like that in a long time Kate," Gary said.

"Yes well it is a beautiful morning," Kate replied. After a moment she stepped forward. "We should be on our way now. Have a wonderful day Gary."

Gary nodded and left to his study.

Bellford escorted her to the carriage. He held out his hand for Kate. She gazed up at him and slid her hand into his which caught her breath unexpectedly. The carriage pulled away from her home and she suddenly felt nervous.


She glance to him.

"Why are you nervous?" He asked her softly.

"I am not nervous Mr. Bellford,." Her statement was followed by a nervous laugh.

"You are and I know you are because you bit up the corner of your lip." Kate stared at him. "And that laugh was a nervous laugh too."

Kate finally blinked. "Perhaps I am slightly nervous Mr. Bellford."

"Kate. Please stop calling me Mr. Bellford. You can call me just Bellford."

She burst out laughing. "Not much of a difference. Ok then Bellford. So may I ask where you are taking me?"

He flashed her a devilish smile. "You may but that does not mean I will answer." He watched her head fall back as her laughter deepened. "It is a special place that I thought you might enjoy."

Kate composed herself and gaze to him. "What is different about you today?" She studied him a few seconds longer. "It is you beard." She motioned with her hands to her own face. "You have groomed it."

"I did. As beautiful as you are Kate I was embarrassed to stand next to you yesterday looking as I did," He said.

Her cheeks warmed the instant he said it. "I thought you to be handsome either way Bellford." I can not believe I just said that to him. Why am I being so bold?

He smiled at her. "You did. Well I wish I would have known that this morning. I would have left it." He chuckled as he saw Kate's mouth open slightly. "Katie I'm just teasing." She smiled at that.

The rest of the ride was comfortable and their conversation went smooth, easy, too easy for them. Kate noted out loud to him it felt like they were old friends reunited. Kate of course blushed again when Bellford replied he could have never seen her just as a friend.

Kate gazed out the carriage window as it pulled up to a large building. "Where are we Bellford?"

© copyright 2012

Chapter 6

Bellford helped Kate down from the carriage. She turned to see a grand stone stair case leading up to a castle. "My goodness Bellford, this is your home?"

He chuckled. "No, it is a close friend of mine. He has graciously allowed he to stay her until I secure more solid residence once I figure everything out."

A warm sensation engulfed her hand. His touch was gentle as he held hers. It caught her breath momentarily. She has not felt a man's touch in this way in two years and she fought the feelings to hide it from him.

Bellford gazes back at Kate following behind him linked with his hand. He chuckled silently to himself. Katie, you are biting up the corner of your lip again. "It is right up ahead," he announced to her.

"What is Bellford?"

He stepped aside to show her and felt Kate give his hand a sight squeeze. "You approve?"

"I'm speechless Bellford. The colors are magnificent." She took in a deep breath. "So fragrant. I can imagine it must be what haven smells like." Kate looked up to him. "How did you know I love gardens?"

"Your spirit says a lot about you Kate," he said softly. "Will you wait here for just a moment?"

"Oh of course," Kate said. His hand released hers and she was suddenly filled with an emptiness. She watched him disappear into the castle. Kate turned her attention out over the stunning gardens. Who is he? Why does he make me feel as if I am the only woman in the world when I am with him? This is moving too fast for me. God, the way he says my name is seductive. He causes me to forget my thoughts.

"Oh good you are still here," Bellford said as he approached her.

Kate gazed at him coming towards her. How am I to stop myself with him? He causes so much desire buried deep within me to surface. Since the moment I met him I've lusted desperately to kiss him, explore him, tease him, seduce him, and now at this very love him.

"Kate?" Bellford leaned in closer to her. She was still gazing out over the lush gardens. "Kate," he whispered.

She turned abruptly to him. "Yes," she whispered back. His hand found her cheek and Kate closed her eyes. She felt his lips find her other cheek and he ever so softly told her "Time is ours today and only ours. Follow me Katie. His words where so gentle and rhythmic ever one surged through her as slow as they came out of him, leaving her dizzy. He took her hand in his and lead Kate down a path over grown with flourishing greens.

Neither of them spoke the duration of the walk. She noted his steps were paced so she would not struggle to keep up with him. This gave her a smile. He is thoughtful and considerate. His eyes are honest. Why should I not begin a new life with consideration with him in mind. Although I should at least find out if I like his kiss first. Oh what am I saying? I can not kiss him yet. I do not even know him. I feel as if I've known him my entire life. I could not possible kiss him. Ok, if he kisses me I will allow it but I will not encourage it nor kiss him first. Just one kiss or two maybe. Kate gazed at his back and observed his structure. You are so tall and strong. I want to feel his arms around me. I really want to kiss you Bellford.

"What?" Bellford asked as he stopped and turned around. Kate slammed right into him and fell in his arms. He dropped the basket he had grabbed from the castle and caught her.

"Are you alright?" he asked.

"Mmm," Kate replied while gazing up into his eyes.

Bellford smiled widely at her. "We are here." She did not remove her eyes from his. Bellford's smile softened to a more serious expression. "Your eyes are searching for something Kate when you gaze at me. What are they looking for?" She didn't move. She didn't answer. He placed his thumb over her bottom lip gently stroking her. "Beautiful," he said. Looking back to her eyes her cleared his throat. "I have brought food and wine with me."

Kate stood up straight rather quickly and took a few steps back. Pushing down the material of her dress seemed like a good task for her hands to hide their obvious tremble. She was not sure yet if it was from his words he so seductively spoke to her or the way she felt in his arms or the fact he was so close and did not kiss her.

Bellford patted a spot next to him on the blanket he had spread out. Kate elegantly took the place next to him. Bellford Chuckled at her. "Suddenly so lady like Kate when just moments ago you had stumbled over your own feet and into my arms."

Kate stopped her lips from curling up as she knew he desired them to do. "I believe it was you who stopped abruptly in my path, thus, causing my stumbling into you Mr. Bellford."

His laugh was deep at her glance she threw to him. "I had only turned to ask what you had said Kate." He raised an eye brow to her.

She let a smile slip as she gave him no attention. Bellford opened the wine and Kate held the glasses for him. "Are you hungry?" she asked.

"I am always hungry." He reached over past Kate brushing her arm as he did into the basket. "I did not pack this. One of the maids did so I am not sure what is in here. He pulled out a cloth pouch of big red strawberries. "Fruit is always good."

Kate reached in and pulled out a ceramic bowl wrapped up tight. "I wonder what this is?" she said. Kate removed the wrapping and saw a glop of brownish red pudding. Her mouth made an awful expression which cause Bellford to look. Kate brought her hand up to her nose attempting to block the stench.

Bellford chuckled, "Liver pudding I think."

Kate shook her head in wonder. "I am not eating this."

He reached in and took out a jar of honey. "Well I'm curious to what this will go with."

"Not the pudding!" Kate stated with a giggle. Kate pulled out a plate and took off the cover. "Oh!" she dropped the plate and jumped over. "Dear God Bellford what is that thing?"

He poked it with his finger. "Honestly I do not have a clue. I see veins though."

Kate's face bunched up. "Why is it I who are pulling all of the uneatable food out of the basket and who packs these items for a pic nik?"

Bellford took another item from the basket. "These are my favorite. I have a wicked sweet tooth for cake."

"I do also," Kate said. She reached in and pulled out a jar. Her eye brows pinched together.

Bellfore grabbed them from her hand. Kate looked at him with surprise. He place them over with the other items Kate pulled out of the basket.

"What on earth did you do that for Bellford?"

"I did not want you dropping them and breaking the jar open once you realized what you were looking at," He said with his hand reaching into the basket again.

"Well, what are they?" Kate asked.

"Cow's eyeballs," he stated calmly.

"Do you have a witch working for you?" Kate asked with disbelief.

Bellford chuckled. "I told you I am just a guest here." His hand emerged from the basket with a hand full of grapes. he gazed over to Kate with a smirk. "Grapes."

Kate shoved her hand into the basket once more. "I will get something worth eating from here." She removed a small dish wrapped in cloth. "Why is this thing oily?"

"Perhaps I should open it Kate." He reached his hand out for it and she pushed it away.

Slowly uncovering the dish she peak in. "Ah see not so bad."

Bellford leaned forward to see. "What is it?"

"Eggs and they do not smell nor look dead."

He chuckled in her ear as he leaned closer. "Are you going to try one?" he asked.

"Yes I think I shall." As she held one up he say the other side she had not seen.

"Kate no don't" He snatched it from her hand. "It is balut and up do not want it. Trust me."

"And why not?" She took it back from him.

"Because," he reached out and laid his hand to hers," It is a half developed duck."

She dropped it in his hand. "No more pic niks with you Bellford."

He reached behind his back and picked up a strawberry. He placed it close to Kate's mouth. "What if I were to just feed you these on our next outing?" He watched Kate smile and then slowly opened her mouth for him. He placed the tip of the strawberry in her mouth and Kate closed her lips around it. She gazed into his eyes and then very slowly bit down. She saw Bellford's mouth open slightly and she shook her head no.

Kate pulled away slightly and said, "Never." He offered the rest of the strawberry to her. Kate again took it into her mouth and as she bit down the juice trailed down her chin. Bellford leaned in and licked it from her neck and ran his tongue up stopping at her chin.

"Mmm. I'm not sure if it's you or the strawberries but I have never tasted such a sweet lushes fruit before." He heard her let out a small mumble of something he could not make out. Reaching behind him he grabbed another one and bit into it. His lips were nearly touching hers. He placed the bitten strawberry to her wet lips. "It is definitely you Katie." She bit into it again in such a way it forced the juices to flow down over her chin past her neck and onto her chest.

Bellford reached up and traced the stream from her lips down to her chest and back up again. He rubbed it over her lips with his thumb. Kate opened for him and took his thumb in sucking rather softly on it. Bellford moaned as he watched her and felt her tongue play with him.

He slipped his thumb out and slid his tongue in and Kate welcomed him passionately. Her hands ran up his chest and around his neck. Bellford turned her under him laying her down. Neither of them broke the kiss.

She drew her knees up further round his hips pulling him closer as she did. He moaned into her mouth. Kate ran her finger threw his thick long dark hair. It was fierce with passion and a longing she had only once felt before.

Bellford broke their kiss moving his eager tongue down Kate's neck. His hand found her buttons on the front for her dress and could not get them undone fast enough. Finally Kate felt a cool breeze skim across her chest.

He gazed down to her bare skin beneath him and paused. The sight of her naked breasts caused his cock to throb harder then it already had been. Placing his mouth over her nipple her took her in with a fierce longing he would not hold back from. Kate's grip on his hair tightened as she gasped with pleasure.

"Be...Bellford," she moaned. She opened her eyes and watched him move from one breast to the other. He pushed them together flicking his tongue between them. Her body began to thrust up towards him with a rhythmic desire as he pushed back on her. She wanted his hard long cock to push it's way deep up inside her.

Bellford moved his body off to the side of Kate. Reaching down he pulled up her dress and tugged away the material from her body.

Kate said in a breathless frenzy, "Hurry." She felt the warm of his hand on her between her legs.

"Kate you are so wet," he said. His lips found hers once again and he kissed her so deeply that his hand paused where it lay.

"Bellford?" They heard a man's voice say.

Bellford quickly removed his hand hidden from the man and turned around the best he could as Kate covered her breasts. She began feverishly buttoning up her dress.

The man caught sight of her. "Kate?" he said a little louder.

© copyright 2012

Chapter 7

Kate was mortified. She knew who it was without even looking. It was the man who's words she had hung on for the last two years. How could I have let this happen? What am I doing?

"I-I am terribly sorry," he struggled and abruptly turned about. "Had I known I would have never approached."

Bellford rose to his feet and held his hand out to Kate. She stood on her own and turned from both of them. Occupying herself in an attempt to hide her whelming tears she brushed out the mangled dress draping her body. The murmurs of the two men at her back were trailing off. Kate closed her eyes tight with dread. So many things ran through her mind right now. Questions of what she was doing with a man she barely knew ran rampid. The embarrassment of what was witnessed by a man she called a close friend.

Their voices vanished from behind her giving her the courage to turn around. Kate quickly gathered her possessions by the large tree next to her. She gazed down at the blanket where she was just laying in a strangers arm. She imagined it was still warm with a passionate fire that was minutes ago all she wanted.

Kate bit up the corner of her lip for a brief moment then slowly stood straight. As she did her gaze locked with his.

Her wide glassy eyes told him everything. "Are you alright?" Bellford asked softly. A long silence filled the space between them. Nervously his fingertips ever so slightly brushed back and forth against his palms catching Kate's attention. He watched her eyebrows pinch and she studied his hands. He immediately stopped.

The questioning look she gave him caused him to turn from her and begin to pick up the blanket. He could feel her gaze on his back burning into him. Finally he said, "I thought we had the property to ourselves. He has given his word for silence. I have known him my whole life so I can feel secure in the fact he will honor it."

The sound of rain drops made a loud ticking sound on the canopy above his head. The unexpected pouring from the heavens was not welcomed in Bellord's mind. "It would appear we may have to wait out the rain here. I have always loved this big old tree." He gazed up at it from it's base. Idol small talk is not going to bring her any comfort right now. She must be upset because she has not uttered a word yet. I knew how difficult this was going to become from the beginning with her. Bellford's mind drew silent. His heart was pounding with fear and confusion of his truth and what he was going to have to tell her. Damn it! I need to tell her. She deserves to know the truth about me.

Bellford turned to her a he said, "Kate I want to tel-"

She was gone. Letting the basket fall to the ground he took off running down the path. Stomping through puddles that quickly filled back in after his boot exited them he imagined she would be not that far ahead. The earth under his feet was growing soft and slick with every passing second.

Through the haze of rain he saw her up ahead. "Kate!" She did not stop and turn to him. "Kate! Wait!" His voice bellowed in the mist out to find her.

Kate felt hands close in around her upper arms seizing her from moving. Their bodies emerged as one. Bellford did not release his grip from her. He held her back against his chest in the pouring rain on a muddy path among the wild flowers around them. A soft panting escaped past her lips and it caught his breath.

He watched the rain cascade from her sodden hair to her neck. His lips touched her moist chilled skin gently. Against her whispered, "Katie please."

Tears hidden by rain drops fell from her eyes. The warmth of his lips kissing her name to her skin felt so right to her. Torn by the love of her past and the man who held her in the present left her numb. How could she feel so much for a man she had just met? A man who reminded her so very much of the love she had lost.

"Don't run from me, from us Katie."

She turned out of his arms and gazed up to him. "You remind me of him Bellford, but you are not him. I can't let him go. I thought I was ready to. I do not think I will ever be able to." Kate took a few steps back. The look in his eyes was saddening. She could see she hurt him. "I'm sorry," she whispered to him through the roar of rain.

He watched her disappear down the path towards the house. Stunned by her words he stood there letting them repeat them selves in his head.

Kate opened the carriage door and took a seat. The man waiting for her in there was quiet avoiding any eye contact with her. He handed her his coat.

She reached out and took it from him slowly. He felt her hands trembling as they touched. He looked to her and saw a deep despair in her eyes. "Kate, you have every right to move forward."

Kate's lips started to quiver and she felt the tears stream down her face. He moved off the seat from where he was and sat next to her. He pulled her to him.

She let her head rest into his chest and she let out every emotion she kept guarded to herself.

"Jagger, I can't let him go. I don't want to. I miss him every moment of every day I breath," Kate cried the words into his chest.

© copyright 2012

Chapter 8

Jagger rubbed Kate's arm as she sobbed into his chest. Damn you. She never deserved this, any of this. You should have told her.

Kate composed herself as the carriage arrived at her home. "I feel so foolish. Please promise me you will forget what you saw."

"I would have never went to find Bellford had know what? Let us not have further mention on the subject Kate." Jagger tried his best to smile for her comfort but inside her was mad, bloody mad.

Kate said her farewells, darted to the front door and then stopped. She turned and gazed back out over the street. I could've swore I felt someone staring at me. The sidewalks were empty not a soul to be found. A rush of air blew her skirts and Kate spun around.

"Little lady you are going to catch your death standing there like this," Nelly scorned her all while yanking her inside. "Honest to Betsy you are soaked clear through Kate." Nelly untied the ribbon on Kate's bonnet. "Do not move child. I will run a bath."

"I think you to be a mind reader Nelly," Kate said as she watched Nelly disappear around the corner. Standing there in the foray she was quiet. Almost feeling like a stranger in her own home or a child waiting for directions.

Before Nelly returned Kate had removed all items except for her dress and piled them neatly for Nelly to take. Catching her own reflection in the mirror she noticed her dress was not quit right. Oh dear God. She heard Nelly's heavy foot steps approaching. Kate took a shawl off the coat rack in front of her and wrapped herself, just barely get it around her as Nelly turned the corner. She offered Nelly a sweet smile.

"Alright dear, up the stairs with ya love," Nelly motioned with her hands.

Once up in her room Kate quickly unbuttoned her dress and striped it from her wet skin. Before long she was in the tub and alone. Although it was late afternoon the room was dim. The candle light played with the slight motion of the water around her. Soft glimmers danced on top of the water. Beneath appeared black and bottomless, much like the way she was feeling at the moment.

Nelly dashed in startling Kate to death. "do you no longer posses the gaging of time child?" She strode towards her tipping her fingers into the water. "Out with ya," she snapped. "Sitting a chilled bath water is no better than standing in the poring ran child."

"I had not realized it had draw cold," Kate said softly. She watched Nelly pull out her evening dress for her. "Nelly."

"Yes love," Nelly said.

"I do not feel much like having dinner tonight. I am quit spent and would like to go to bed early."

Nelly walked over to Kate and placed her lips to Kate's forehead. "Well, you are not running a fever." She turned and pulled out her nightgown." She helped Kate dress. "Get into bed and I will send for a spot of soup," Nelly raised her eyebrows,"That you will eat love."

Kate knew better then to protest Nelly's orders. She has yet win an argument with her.

Three days later Kate was still in bed and now with a cold. "Nelly what day is it?"

"It is nearly Friday," Nelly said.

"Oh no. How am I to attend my own birthday party like this in two days time? Do I look as retched as I feel?"

Nelly giggle. "Well love aside from your swollen runny nose causing you to sound like ole man Drowsing, puffy eyes, paler than usual completion, and let us not forget you are breathing like a are breathtaking."

Kate let her head fall back to the pillow. "I'm doomed," she mumbled.

"Do not fret child. I have sent word to my sister and she has made you a special tea," Nelly said.

"As cheerful as you are by the news Nelly, I prefer to wait out my cold." Kate sneezed into her pillow. Nelly pinched down her eyebrows to Kate at that. She took it in her weak hand and slide it to the edge of the bed. "Auntie Fern's last concoction put me to sleep for two days. If you not remember you thought me to be dead and Gary was furious with you."

"Oh hosh posh child! This one will be fine. Your brother need not to know of it." Nelly gazed at Kate with a smirk.

Kate let out a sigh and buried her head under the covers.

"Besides love, your brother has invited company for dinner tonight and you are expected to be in attendance," Nelly added.

Kate flew out from under the covers. "What!" She grabbed the pillow at the edge of the bed and sneezed twice into it and then threw it to the floor. "Who is coming?"

"Child you have a cloth on the bed side table for that."

"I cannot reach it," she answered quickly. "Who is to attend?"

Nelly laid out her clothing on a chair fearing Kate may grab it to sneeze into. "i was not given the pleasure of that information even though I had inquired. He gave me a number of four extra."

The knock at the door drew their attention. Nelly opened the door. Kate watched a maid come in caring a tray and pinching her nose closed.

"Thank you dear, "Nelly said.

Kate sniffed the air. I cannot smell a thing. She watched Nelly pour a cup and then hand it to her. "Why was the maid holding her nose?" She asked gazing into the tea.

"I have no a clue love now drink it," Nelly ordered. "You must drink the whole pot of it within the hour and one more beginning an hour after."

"What odd name has she given this one? The last one she named was sleep away."

Nelly poured Kate another cup. "I cannot say."

"Kate laughed. "Can't or won't Nelly?

"My love just drink it and hush your your mouth," Nelly said.

Three hours later Kate was dressed and ready for the guests. "I feel amazing Nelly. I look even more amazing!"

Nelly smiled at her in the mirror. "Yes you do love now it is time to await your guests down stairs."

"No I think I shall make a grand entrance after everyone has arrived." She smiled at her own reflection. "I am beautiful aren't I?"

"Nelly pulled out her chair and said, "Everyone is awaiting you now child."

Kate turned to Nelly and hugged her. "I love you so very much. I think you to be the sweetest, cutest, little chubby woman I know Nelly." Kate released her and walked towards the door with dramatic fashion. "I think I shall be the talk of the party tonight Nelly."

Nelly picked up the tray after Kate had left and gazed down at the empty tea cup. "Good lord what was I thinking?"

Down in the kitchen one of the staff approached her. "Nelly, what are we to do with this tea labeled Conceded Truth from you sister?"

© copyright 2012

Chapter 9

Kate stood at the top of the spiral staircase gazing down at all the guests.

"Kate, will you not come down and join us?" Susana asked.

The men in attendance all gazed up to Kate. Gary glared at her funny. Kate responded with a smirk of sorts. She was feeling happy and free and she was not going to allow Gary or anyone else for that matter to hamper her good spirits tonight.

As she began to descend the stairs Bellford appeared in the doorway to the music room. Kate paused and stood there half way down the stairs. He was leaning against the doorframe just watching her.

What is he doing here? Gary! Oh of course, he plans on playing me to the highest bidder. She glanced over to Gary who was still starring at her. He squinted his eyes at her. Kate plastered a wide smile across her face, tilted her head and squinted back. Ok then Gary. You will regret this.

"Kate." Susana said as she climbed the stairs.

"Yes Sues," Kate said.

"What are you doing? Your guests are awaiting you."

Kate walked past her. "They are Gray's guests not mine Sues," Kate said. She could feel Bellford's eyes on her as she made her way to Jagger. "What a wonderful surprise," Kate said as she embraced him sincerely.

"You look lovely tonight Kate," Jagger said.

"Thank you," she replied. Looping her arm through Jagger's she led the way into the music room off to their left. "Will you join me in a toast?"

"What are we toasting too?" Jagger asked.

Kate released his arm. "I think we shall toast to wonderful friends and to my upcoming birthday." She took a wine bottle from the server table and unwrapped the foil.

"Kate my Darling, the servants are more than capable for serving our guests," Susana said with a fake amused tone. She held out her hand to Kate.

"I also am perfectly capable of serving them as well, thank you." She turned her back to Susana as she struggled to pop the cork. "Jagger would you please get some glasses." Just then the cork popped. Kate smiled as she filled every one's glass.

After pouring her glass she lifted it and said, "Let us give thanks to Gary for bring us all together tonight." Kate gave him a slightly evil smirk. "Here's to you Gary." She said and then chugged her glass of wine. Before Susana could object she poured another one for herself.

A few more guests arrived. Susana had invited a handful of people. Kate was acquaintances with some of them.

Jagger walked over to her and offered to top off her glass. "You are in quit an odd mood tonight Kate. One would think that you being in a room full of people you don't really know and your future husband you would be nearly this chipper about it."

"Standing at the top of the steps tonight Jagger, I realized you are the only one in attendance tonight that is a true friend," she turned and faced him, "And that is enough for me to smile tonight."

He chuckled softly as he raised his glass to her and toasted to that. "Your brother is a smart man Kate."

"Smart? More like sneaky. Look at him. He cares nothing for what I want. What interests him is who is willing to pay the most money for me." Kate sipped her wine.

Jagger gazed out over the crowd. "He has to do his best to secure your future Kate."

Kate titched. "We both know that is a lie Jagger. He needs to pay his whore." She said it a little loud and drew the attention of some of the others.

Jagger could not help but chuckle. "I agree Kate but you will benefit. You need to move forward with your life."

Kate remained quiet. She did not want to think about him. If he had come back she would not be standing here right now being sold for her brother's debits. She would be happy in the arms of the man she loved.

Out of the corner of her eye she saw Bellford approaching her. Kate turned to him. His dark hair swirled in waves as it feathered perfectly back. His eyes sparkled in the candle light. She remembered how soft his closely trimmed beard felt against her skin. The way he smells. His eyes. The way he calls me Katie. Her eyebrows pinched together as she tilted her head.

Bellford saw Kate studying him hard. "Good evening Kate."

Her expression hadn't changed. She remained quite as she looked at him.

Bellford nodded to Jagger," Glad you were able to make it."

"Who are you?" Kate asked.

Bellford's eyes darted to her. "I'm sorry?"

Kate moved closer. She searched his eyes for a long moment. "Who are you?"

"Kate I realize you are upset with me." He lowered his voice. "I want to apologize for the other day. It was impulsive on my part and I should have-

"I believe I kissed you as well but that has nothing to do with what I just asked you," Kate said. "If I'm truly honest, I will admit I seduced you with the way I was eating that strawberry." She watched Bellford's mouth drop open slightly. "Would you not agree I aroused you by that?"

Kate heard gasps coming from behind her and Jagger walked away trying to hide his laughter.

"Excuse us Mr. Bellford." Susana said as she pulled Kate out of the music room and into the hallway. "What do you think you are doing Kate? You are making a spectacle of not only yourself but this family as well." She released her grip from Kate's arm.

"This so called family is trying to sell me off!" Kate said.

Susana glanced at the people starring at them through the doorway. She walked Kate down the hall further out of ear shot of others. "I understand this is difficult for you Kate. There is just no other way darling." She turned to look at her. "We will lose everything."

Kate met her eyes and said, "It should have never fallen to my shoulders Susana. I am not the one with a whore and I have no interest in spending money to keep up with a false facade for my so called friends." Kate walked away back to the party.

Gary was clever enough to distract the guests by asking Mr. and Mrs. Hasselt to play a piano forte. She entered the room with every intention of finding Bellford. She spotted him standing in a crowd of giggling women, most of them young and single.

Kate found her glass of wine and filled it up again. Gary watched her from across the room while he stood with a small group of men.


Oh dear god. Kate rolled her eyes before turning around. "Yes Beckum."

"Has Gary spoken to you about your birthday party?" he asked.

She looked up into his eyes. They were empty. Kate raised her glass to her lips and began to drink. Beckum reached up and took the glass from her and placed it down rather rough on the table next to them. "I asked you a direct question and I expect an answer when I do." His voice was harsh.

"I may choose to answer you and I may choose not to. You do not own me, Beckum."

"Yet," Beckum interrupted.

Kate went to take her wine glass and Beckum covered her hand with his and pressed down firmly. She looked to the base of the glass.

"You will learn to respect me and abide by my word," he hissed at her.

Kate saw another hand cover theirs. "If you ever lay your hand on her again I will have no problem doing the same to you." Kate gazed up to see Bellford standing before her.

She felt the sting of tears peaking at the corner of her eyes. The rest of her life flashed in her mind. The way his words came out at me is only the beginning. He spit on me as he spoke on purpose. She glances over to Gary and Susana who were watching intently at them. And worse yet, they know it. Both of them. They are willing to give me up to a man who has no problem hurting me in front of these people. She gazed back to Bellford who now had her hand free from Beckum's and had his back to her. The men were arguing but she could hear them. Kate was numb. Utterly numb.

She turned and left the room and headed for the back hallway. The part of the house she seemed to forget about since that night two years ago.

"Kate wait," Bellford shouted.

She didn't pay him any attention and turned the corner towards the library. He caught up with her and gently took a hold of her upper arms. "Katie please wait."

"Stop calling me Katie!" She whipped around to him. "You cannot call me that. O-only he can call me that."

He watched the tears flow down her cheeks and he slowly walked towards her. "Only who can call you that Kate?"

She took a deep uneasy breath. "He did and you can't. He always called me Katie."

He reached out for her. "Who?"

"J-J." Kate choked on her own words. She fell to her knees. "It hurts so much. He never came back for me. He never really loved me."

Bellford kneeled down and took her up into his arms. After a few minutes he whispered, "Kate I want to tell you something."

She pulled back and looked up into his eyes. The hallway was dim and only lit by the moonlight coming through the windows. "You are so handsome. So many things about you remind me of him Bellford." Kate couldn't help herself, she kissed him. He restrained from it and she could feel it. Kate found herself pushing onto the floor and climbing on top of him.

He pushed her back slightly. "Kate I do not think we should be doing this."

She kissed him again. Her hands moved to his shoulders under his coat.

"Kate please. I really can't do this." Bellford pleaded with her.

"Yes you can. Now kiss me back," Kate said. She took a hold of his shirt and ripped it open.

"Holly shit Kate," he shouted.

"Shut up and kiss me Bellford." She threw herself on him again.

He grabbed Kate's arms. "Stop."

She leaned back on her knees. "Why? You were so willing to the other day so why not now?"

"Because it is not right for us to do this Kate. It is wrong of me to allow you to want this when you truly don't," He said.

Kate stood up. "Okay, I understand then." She stormed down the hall around the corner and towards the music room.

Bellford ran after her as he buttoned his coat. "Kate wait you didn't let me finish."

She entered the music room and walked straight up to Jagger who was standing with a number of other people in the room.

"Jagger I need to speak with you," She said.

The others in the group simmered down and waited. Kate was a mess. He dress was out of sorts almost as much as her hair was.

Jagger's eyes darted to the doorway where Bellford just entered. He heard her say his name but did not look to her. "Yes."

Kate cleared her throat. "Jagger." He gazed down to her. "Will you marry me?"

© copyright 2012

Chapter 10

The room fell silent. A deafening sound that choked Kate. She starred at Jagger's expression that was nothing but blank. No shock or panic, just simply blank.
Her own voice rang out again in her head. Feeling her bottom lip start to quiver, Kate just gazed at him waiting, even hoping for salvation from herself at this point. He had to say something. She felt the sting of a salty burn emerge.
What have I said? What have I just done? A single tear fell down her cheek dropping to the floor. She watched Jagger follow it as it fell. His gaze slowly drew back up to meet her. Jagger please don’t look at me like this. I don't need your pity. I need help. I need-
A hand closed around Kate's arm and she knew who it was. "Come with me Kate." Her gaze never left Jagger's as she was pulled out of the room, she also did not shed another tear. Her fate was sealed and the reality of it smothered her quickly. The grim notion that the man who was unfit to be a husband to any woman was her future now.
Within seconds she was guided rather roughly into the study and sat in a chair facing the desk. "Explain to me what the hell you think you are doing?" Gary shouted. "You better pray Beckum has not changed his mind Kate."
She closed her eyes. The pungent stale cigar smoke rose up filling her senses. I could run away before the party. I can tell him it is my fever and I am sorry. Perhaps my fever will return and I will be lucky enough to be taken by it.
"Kate!" He slammed his fist to the desk.
Her eyes flew open as she was startled by the sudden noise. She stared at him with wide eyes not having a clue of what he just said.
"Beckum wants a word with you," Gary said.
"I-I am not feeling well Gary. Can you arrange for him to visit tomorrow?" Kate gazed down to her hands in her lap. They were trembling with fear, anger, uncertainty, and sadness. "I will give my sincere apology to him. Right now I feel quit nauseas to be honest." Without looking at him she awaited his answer. He had not sat down and was pacing the floor behind her.
"I will take your apology now," Beckum said from the doorway.
Kate heard the door slowly creek as it began to shut and then the click of the gadget locking in place as it closed with an echo. The sound struck her like a death sentence. She stood and turned to him. The room was dim and Gary was gone. His dark figure shadowed the door behind him.
Beckum's arms crossed over his chest. His stance was solid. A hard cold glare set on Kate. She knew this was going to be the moment that would change the rest of her life.
"I am sorry." She said with a steady tone. He didn't respond or move. "Please understand I was not aware of Gary's plans to marry me off. It was brought to my attention only recently."
"You have known for two years. I have paid a considerable amount of money to secure the marriage. At the time I was assured you would be agreeable. At this point I could care a less what you want. We will marry and you will be agreeable to it," Beckum said.
"Why? Why would you want to marry a woman who has no desire to marry you?" Kate asked.
"It is not a matter of what you want Kate. I have paid for you and you are now mine. I own you," he said. Beckum took a few steps closer to her. "I could have held out longer but I felt I had waited long enough." He chuckled softly almost as if to himself. "I was the one who sent word to him Kate. I was the reason he left the island. I was also the one who had him killed."
Kate couldn't speak. A thousand things raced through her mind and all she heard was he killed him.
"He was never on that ship. He boarded the ship I sent for him. The one I own. To ensure I would not lose my investment...I had him thrown overboard where he meant his fate," Beckum said.
Kate rushed towards the door and he took hold of her arm swinging her around towards him. "Do you know how easy that was for me Kate? So easy I can arrange for others around you to disappear as well, and no not your brother. People, um, let's say more dear to your heart."
"You are a monster," Kate whispered.
"I've been called worse. You are going to announce our engagement and you will also from this point forward be quiet and respectful," Beckum hissed.

Kate struggled in his grasp. Beckum chuckled loudly at her feeble attempts. She stomped on his foot and twisted the skin on his arm between her fingers.

He shook her violently and then raised his hand to strike her. The door opened and Kate turned her head to see Susiana standing there.

Susana locked eyes with Kate and held it briefly. "Pardon me." She said and gazed up to Beckum. She turned and walked back through the door. Before it clicked shut she heard the slap Beckum gave Kate across her face. Susiana paused, straightend out her skirts and patted her hair in place at the sides of her head. She than continued down the hall passing Gary on the way. "He is nearly finished with Kate."

© copyright 2012

Chapter 11

The ticking of the clock on the mantle filled her bedchamber. Sitting in a chair in the dark tucked into a corner, she stared at the bed with visions of Beckum on top of her. The instinctive reaction caused Kate's body to shutter to her core. Closing her eyes she tried to shut out the retched thought and turned her head quickly away from the bed. Unfortunately his words trailed around in her head, "I had him killed." It was all for her or maybe the game of winning. Had she known she would have just agreed to marry him.

Her nails clenched into the palms of her hands. She could still smell his breath on her face as Beckum hissed in a low tone smothered with amusement, "Did you honestly think I would let him take what is mine?" Beckum grabbed Kate's face. "You have until tomorrow night to say farewell to your old life because you will never again be that woman."

Kate's eyes flew open and she rose to her feet. She quickly walked over to the wardrobe chest and pulled out a few clothing items and then turned her attention to her dressing table. A beautifully carved ivory box sat on the right side of the table, where it always had for the past two years. Kate had not opened it since the night he left. With shaky hands she slowly opened the lid. Kate ran her finger over the soft gold engravings on the back of the heart shaped locket. It had been a birthday gift he had given her earlier that night two years ago.

Taking it out of the box she slipped it over her head and tucked it into her dress. Gazing at the door to the hallway she worked up the courage to walk over and take hold of the knob, turning it she opened it and took a step out into the hallway only to come face to face with two men. Kate realized she was being guarded and stepped back swiftly slamming the door and locking it.

"The terrace," she whispered. Running over she pulled open the french doors and darted to the balcony and peered down. Four men lined the ground beneath her. Kate dropped her bag to the floor at her feet.

"It would seem you are trapped Katie." Before she could react he covered her mouth with his hand and whipped her around away from the edge of the balcony. "Shh, you do not want to be discovered. It may ruin your plans for an impossible escape Katie." He gazed into her wide eyes as he let his hand slip away from her mouth.

"How did you get up here Bellford?" Kate asked.

"I snuck around the back and climbed up before the party ended," he said. "The guards came after I was already up here. The french doors were locked and I could not enter without making noise so I waited for you to come out, as you do every night."

"I see...wait, how do you know I come out every night onto the balcony?" Kate asked.

Bellford smiled at her. "Perhaps I was merely guessing and got lucky."

"Or you could be spying on me at night," Kate stated as she tilted her head and smiled back.

Bellford paused for a moment and just stared at her in the moonlight. "Possibly but not entirely true." He moved closer and took her face in his hands. He whispered in her ear, "I know you better then you think I do. I know you gaze up at these stars every night and release your day to them. I know before you say good night to them, you ask for salvation and love." He heard Kate take a deep breath. Bellford reached down and took Kate's hand up in his and placed it over his heart. "Do you know what your hand covers right now?"

"No," she barely whispered.

He moved away from her ear and faced her. "Your salvation and all the love you long for. It's never left you Katie. My heart has been forever and always yours to hold and keep alive for the both of us." He felt her body begin to tremble.

"J-Jake." Kate said. The air around her grew thin and the stars above started to spin.

He caught her as she struggled to stay standing, swooping Kate up into his arms. Jake laid her down on the bed.

"Katie can you hear me?"

She had to be dreaming. Did he say what she just thought he did? "You are suppose to be dead," she mumbled.

"Beckum is not as clever as he thinks himself to be." Jake chuckled. He watched her eyes flutter open. She sat up and hugged him tightly. "You are not going to start...okay you are."

Kate's tears streamed down her face landing on his shoulder. "I will never let you go again, Jake."

He wrapped his arms a little tighter around her and said, "Please don't."

She pulled back far enough to see his face and leaned in and Jake met her half way. Their lips touched. Kate ran her hands up threw his long hair. Jake's body tensed as she squeezed it into her fingers.

His hands slid slowly up her sides and around to her back. Kate deepened their kiss as she reached down and started to unbutton his shirt. Jake ripped open the back of her dress straight down all the way to her waist. Kate let out a giggle. Jake felt the tug of the material across his chest as Kate tore away the last of the buttons on his shirt.

"Sweet Katie so aggressive now," he said teasingly.

Kate pushed him down on the bed and climbed on top of him. "You owe me two years." Kate said as she straddled him.

Jake watched her slowly pull the collar of her dress down over her shoulders and while holding it over her chest, she slid her arms out.

He suddenly grew a little nervous like he had that night two years ago. The past few weeks she believed him to be someone else which for some reason was easier. No expectations or disappointments so he had thought until tonight when he saw her again at the party. It was then when he saw the way she gazed at him, he realize it was time to become who he should have been for her two years ago.


He was staring at the heart shaped locket he had given her. He sat up and pulled her to him and whispered, "I'm sorry for leaving you. Do you forgive me. I should have stayed and married you."

"I love you Jake and never stopped loving you."

"I love you Katie, marry me," Jake said.

Kate smiled and shook her head yes. He kissed her hard. His hand's wrapped around her bottom drawing her closer to him. Kate let go of her dress letting it fall down her chest. Jake broke their kiss running his tongue along her jawline stopping at her chin. He kissed it twice then trailed his lips down the middle of her neck straight down between her cleavage.

She gasped deeply at the sensation. Her hands grabbed at his shoulders under his open shirt. it was different this time for her. She wasn't tricking him into exposing his feelings for her or begging him to show her. Jake was all hers willingly.

The warmth of his mouth found her nipple and she arched up towards him allowing her head to fall back. Her hands again found themselves running up through the back of his hair and he pulled him to her. Kate felt his mouth open and then took more of the breast in his mouth as he deepend his sinful kiss on her.

He cupped her other breast and rolled her nipple between his thumb and finger gently. The noise that came out of Kate nearly made him stop with the surging throb that shot threw him. Pushing her breasts together he wickedly flicked her with his tongue.

Kate's finger tips dug into his skin as she moaned between her short gasps of breath. A deep desire was pulling from her belly and lower yet. She felt the warmth of his hand skim across her outer thigh up to her bottom. He took hold of her undergarments and her dress yanking them completely off somehow. She sat on top of him naked, panting, and ready for whatever he wanted of her.

He had never been more turned on then he was at this moment. The thought of teasing, exploring, and seducing her all night was so tempting but he knew at some point her body would demand more. Jake reached down between her legs and gazed his hand across her wet skin. He heard her moan his name as his finger slid deep inside her.

She was gasping from pleasure as she felt his finger move in and out of her. It was not enough. The deep desire to be filled was overwhelming and she called out to him. "Jake please."

He knew what she was asking. Jake wrapped his arms around her and turned her body to the bed and pulled off his clothes. As he kneeled between her legs he leaned down and kissed her. His body rested between her legs and he positioned himself at her opening.

Kate laid her hands on his back waiting for him to enter her. He slowly pushed in and he felt Kate freeze under him.

"Are you okay?" he asked.

"Yes," Kate answered as she gazed up into his eyes.

He held her gaze as he pushed further. The demand of his body was almost over powering his control. He pushed slowly one last time and reached deep inside of her.

"Jake!" Kate moaned. She never knew something could feel so pleasureful. It made her wonder if it would always feel this way every time he entered her.

As he began to push in and out he had hoped she wasn't in too much pain. She was very wet but this was her first time and she was so tight that he knew she would be sore.

The faster and deeper he pushed within her the stronger the tingling odd pull from her lower belly became.

He wasn't going to be able to last much longer and the way she was panting and moaning he knew she was almost there. He felt Kate push her hips up to him and after a moment she moaned one long loud cry and it was all he could do to hold off for another ten seconds. He spilled himself into her so deep and hard, it took over all his functions as he called out her name. Something he had never done for any woman in the past.

Jake lay motionless on top of her.

"Are you okay Jake?" Kate asked with a giggle as his labored breathing blew into her hair.

"Ya." Was all his answer was. After a few more seconds he said, " Kate, I want you to know I-

"Kate open this door!" Gary screamed as his fist pounded to the door.

Jake and Kate looked to one another and he jumped up. Kate flew off the bed and grabbed her robe.

"I know you are not alone in there now open this door!"

Jake had his clothes on and was pulling on his boots. Kate could not believe this was happening all over again.

"Are you leaving?" Kate asked.

Jake stood up and walked to the french doors. "No I'm staying this time."

Just then Gary and the two guards busted threw the door. Kate jumped in front of Jake. "Gary you have no right to do this!" Kate screamed at him.

"You foolish girl move," Gary demanded as he pulled out a pistol.

"Gary!" Kate shouted. She turned to Jake and screamed, "Run!"

Jake saw why she said it and pushed threw the french doors and jumped down over the railing, landing on a guard below.

Kate watched him run off threw the garden.

Gary grabbed her arm and spun her around. "Who was that?"

© copyright 2012

Final Chapter

Kate stared into the fire as she sat motionless in front of it. All it's popping and snapping was mere background noise for her thoughts, she hadn't even heard Nelly enter the room.

"Time to dress my love. You do not want to be late for your own birthday party do ya?" Nelly asked.

"No I suppose not." She answered all the while gazing into the dancing flames. Clueless to how long she had been sitting quietly, she drew her gaze to the clock. Three hours. To Kate it had felt like mere minutes. She refused to entertain the thought of him leaving again although it was doing nothing but toying with her mind.

Kate stood up swiftly and walked to were Nelly was at her dressing table. Without a word she turned from Nelly for her to unfasten her dress. Last nights words, his words, replayed over and over in her mind.

"Your salvation and all the love you long for. It's never left you Katie. My heart has been forever and always yours to hold and keep alive for the both of us."

Romantic and breathtaking as they were, it left Kate wondering why he had not just revealed himself from the start. Why the disguise and charade of an identity? Who was he hiding Questions she did not get the chance to ask and now she was uncertain if she would ever get the chance to do so.

Before she knew it Nelly had her dressed and was now ready for the final touches. Kate sat down before the mirror as Nelly began on her hair. Her thoughts were still running ramp id with doubt. She couldn't bring herself to gaze at her own reflection. Maybe on some level she was scared to see what her own eyes would tell her.

"All done my love," Nelly said. She picked up a box lined with royal blue velvet and said, "Mr. Beckum had this sent over for you this morning."

Kate drew her hand up to her locket around her neck. With her eyes still focused on the dressing table she said, "Keep it for yourself. I don't care for it."

Nelly's mouth dropped open. "You must Kate. He is to be your husband and to refuse such a-

"He will not and I can refuse it!" Kate snapped. If she were honest with herself she was more snapping with herself then at poor Nelly. Closing her eyes tightly she said, "I am sorry, Nelly. You may keep it and do what you like with it. I have no need for the necklace."

Before Nelly could ask why a knock sounded on the door. One of the staff informed them Gary was asking for Kate's presence now. Nelly without a word walked over to Kate and kissed her about the forehead and gave her hand a gentle squeeze.

The room was now empty. Chimes of the small bell her cousin, Susana, insisted the doorman use to announce every guest, found it's way up the stairs, down the hall, and into Kate's room. She closed her eyes again. "Please don't leave me again. Be here tonight Jake, please," she barely whispered. Raising her head she opened her eyes and looked herself in the mirror. Fear, uncertainty, and hope filled her eyes. Kate slowly rose to her feet making her way to the door. With her hand on the door knob it took all the strength she had within her to turn it. The latch sounded and the door opened freely into the room. Kate took in a deep breath, wiped away a single tear that had fallen down her check and left her room for the party.

All eyes were upon her as Kate walked into the music room. Numerous candles lit the room. Extra lavish furniture was rented for the celebration. Kate did note the red velvet runner at the entrance and assumed Susana had everything to do with it. The old piano had been replace with a larger expensive piano. Family portraits had been freshened up as well as new deep blue drapes trimmed in gold on the windows. No expense was spared and she only assumed Beckum paid for it all.

Smiles, birthday wishes, and the occasional congratulations on the engagement were thrown about from all around her. Kate could not even feel her feet moving. A numb tingling feeling washed over her and seemed to sink it's self in the pit of her stomach were it sat like a rock.

The room appeared to be moving in a sluggish motion or maybe it was her own movements. Either way it left her feeling heavy as if she was dragging behind her the weight of the world. The weight of a dim unhappy world at that.

Twenty steps in front of her stood Gary and Beckum shoulder to shoulder. Both watching Kate's every move as a beast watches it's prey. She had not even looked for him in the crowd. if he was there she would have known it by now.

"Kate, are you okay?"

A welcomed voice rang out a song in her heart causing a small smile to form. "Better now that I have you here, Jagger." Kate felt the sudden comfort as he held her arm. "I believe all of London my be in attendance tonight."

Jagger chuckled. "I believe Susana sent out invitations and then two separate reminder invitations." He then gazed down to her with a smile. "Happy birthday, Kate." He pulled out a small box from his pocket.

Kate held out her hand and said, "Oh Jagger, you did not have to get me anything." She took it from his hand.

"I didn't," he said. Kate's eye darted to meet his. "Open it," he said.

Kate ripped at the white silk ribbon securing the red box. Her hands were shaking but she finally freed it. Taking in a deep breath she lifted the hinged lid of the small present. She didn't speak. She didn't blink.

The gasps and murmurs coming from the crowd around her began to echo throughout the room as word spread of what she held in her hand. She looked up to Jagger who was smiling a wide foolish smile for her. She watched his head turn towards the entrance. Murmurs turned into loud whispers as she watched the crowd begin to part at the doorway.

Kate's heart raced with hope and fear. Through the large gathering he emerged. Tall, well dressed, shaven, and just as she remembered him. He caught her breath at that moment just as he always had.

Beckum and Gary raced towards Kate shouting objection. Jagger reached out and grabbed both the men by the throats. "I believe we need a private word gentlemen." He dragged them into a side room and shut the door. Kate hadn't even taken notice. Her gaze was else where.

She wanted to run to him. To leap into his arms but she couldn't move. She stood waiting for him, for this, for two long years. A steady stream of tears cascaded down her face.

"Katie," he said when he reached her. Before her and before everyone he dropped down on one knee. Taking the brilliant engagement ring from the box in her hand, he held her other hand in his. The room drew so silent you could hear the carriages outside the estate.

"I need you to know within your heart I have always been yours, Katie. The vast distance of the ocean never stopped me from loving you, not for one single second of any day. The feelings I have carried for you since I was a child have only grown over the years and that night two years ago to this day, was the most amazing and scariest nights of my life. I realized how much I love you and when I left, the thought of living without you paralyzed me with fear. I was terrified to love you and at the same time could not bear the thought of living without you. I fought for two years to get back to you hoping every second you had not given up on me, and you didn't. Katie, if you take my hand I promise to be your salvation everyday from this day forward. Every breath I take...will be for you."

"You have always been my salvation, Jake. For me there is no other. I love you," Kate said.

Jake slid the ring onto Kate's finger and placed a long gentle kiss on it. Kate finally jumped into his arms and kissed him with a passionate flame that had always burned for him. Finally after two very long years, he was the birthday wish she had wished for a lifetime ago.

Kate and Jake were married one week later in a small chapel outside London. Kate gave birth to a health baby boy named, Jagger. Within five years time they had two more boys and a little girl. Jake paid off Gary's debts and then Kate cut all ties with her family. Once a week Kate takes her husband on a pic-nick in the gardens, weather permitting.

There loyal and dear friend "uncle Jagger" as he is known now, visits weekly and spends every holiday with them. Although, he missed Easter with them and last Sunday diner leaving them wondering why. But, that's a whole nether isn't it.

The Happy Ever After End
© copyright 2012

by Pages of Romance Publishing

Another Short Story


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