Reckless in Innocence
for my Historical Romance readers ❤
© Jane Lark
Publishing rights belong to Jane Lark, this should not be recreated in any form without prior consent from Jane Lark
Reckless in Innocence
Read the earlier parts
Elizabeth’s heart thundered. She had the power to move, he’d made no attempt to restrain her, but she did not because her body tumbled into the pool of his charm and refused to step away.
Marcus’s lips pressed against hers and his hand slipped to the back of her neck and held her steady. For a moment she kept her lips tightly closed, unable to understand the sudden shift in his behaviour, or the turmoil in her head. What was this? Her lips parted and his tongue entered her mouth, she had only kissed him once before, in a dark conservatory, and then it had become much more. Her hands gripped his upper arms. But there was no harm in kissing, she had enjoyed kissing him. She did now.
His free hand slid over the bodice of her habit, up her side and then closed over her breast, squeezing it gently through the cloth. He was like a snake-charmer, the way he inspired sensations within her. A spiral of need twisted through her stomach to the point between her legs.
Her fingers gripped his nape as his began releasing the buttons of her bodice. He slipped them free to a point below her bosom, and his cold fingers were within it, slipping under her chemise and touching her breast.
A pressure at her lower back, his hand, urged her down, as his other hand left her breast and braced her head. He kissed the edge of her lips, her jawline, her cheek and then her closed eyelid and her temple as he they knelt and then he lay her down. Damp seeped through back of her bodice as his hand slipped within in it to touch her breast again, and his lips returned to hers, his tongue delving deep into her mouth. She had not sensed need in him in the conservatory, as there was now. Now there was hunger and thirst in his kiss.
The autumn breeze touched her skin as his head lifted and then his hand raised her breast from her bodice, the breeze made her shiver in the moment before his lips surrounded her nipple. His mouth was warm.
The sensation of his suck on her breast slipped through her blood like ripples on a pond. A sigh of pleasure escaped her throat. His hand left her breast and reached to her thigh and began raising her skirt.
“No!” Her hand covered his. “No.” Was she mad. “You cannot. I did not intend for this.” The pond within her that had felt ripples was now icy water surrounding her, stealing her breath. What had she let him do? she had been an innocent fool again. He thinks nothing of me.
He rolled to his back, sighing as he looked up at the sky. He did not even regret attempting it.
Heat burning in her cheeks, Elizabeth’s fingers shook as she secured her buttons. She stood, “Did you bring me because you thought I would allow it. No. I learned my lesson. You will not have that from me again. I know I offered it to you before, but you have taught me very thoroughly how wrong that was.”
He stood up.
“I want to go back,” Elizabeth stated.
“As you wish.” His gaze did not meet hers, he looked at the woods.
Elizabeth looked down at the riding habit, there was a dark stain on the scarlet velvet, from the damp grass. “What will Lady Campbell say?”
“Angela will say nothing. She has a hundred gowns.”
That was not the point. It was not that which concerned her. Her gaze searched his face. She saw no remorse.
She had convinced herself she no longer loved him, that he was not worthy of her love and she had taken great pleasure in hating the man over the last few weeks. Yet yesterday she had known it was a lie, and today he kissed her once and she was his again, for him to do with as he wished. Yet Marcus Campbell was a selfish, arrogant pig; he could kiss her and forget her on a whim.
She wished she could forget him.
She would be left with a lifetime of misery, because she would never forget.
“You should not have brought me here!” She bent down and retrieved her gloves.
Marcus turned away from her. “Out riding?” He was deliberately being ignorant as he picked up his hat and gloves.
“To Larchfield. I have no place here, I should not be here.”
“Strangely enough, despite its beauty, that is just how I have always felt.”
She threw him a bitter look, she did not welcome his sarcasm. “I meant it is not right for me to be here with your friends.” Oh, she had an urge to slap his face.
When his hands raised to hold her waist and lift her on to the horse, she pushed them away and stepped back. “I need no help from you, Your Grace. I can manage quite capably alone.”
Elizabeth snatched up her reins and walked her horse to a fallen branch, leaving Marcus behind.
She had kissed him back. Her participation had been utterly entrancing. He loved the way the caress of her lips was so uncertain, the feeling of exploration and discovery so evident in her touch and she desired him. He could haul her into his arms and kiss away her temper if he chose, if he said the right words to accompany it. But he did not speak. The words would be a lie and he should never have kissed her.
In fact, he was uncertain who he ought to be angry with.. Himself for being fool enough to begin it, or her for having finished it.
Watching her place her foot onto the broken limb of the tree, Marcus saw her slip and catch herself from falling with her gloved hand.
Slotting his foot into a stirrup, despite the massive height of Titan, Marcus lifted his weight, swinging into the saddle with athleticism.
He walked Titan towards where Elizabeth was climbing up on to the fallen branch once more. On this occasion she was more successful and she used the extra height to reach for the pommel of the saddle, placing her foot into the stirrup so that she could lift herself up into her seat. She tried to set her skirts to hide the damp stain but did not succeed.
“Marcus, how can I return like this? Your servants will believe that, that…”
He did not respond. His eyes had reached to the wood, and as Titan paced, he looked up into the branches.
“Marcus, what is it?”
Nothing. It was nothing, just his father’s bloody ghost haunting him again. Masking his expression he turned Titan sharply. “Nothing, Elizabeth. You are right, it is time to leave.”
Elizabeth urged the mare to reach his side, and as she did so, he looked across to bestow a benevolent smile on her, casting all else aside. “There is no need to worry, Elizabeth. Angela will think nothing, except that she is an appalling chaperon. She will, if anything, berate me for trying to seduce you and most likely not allow us to spend any time alone again. Believe me, she thinks highly of you. She will never for one moment believe that you succumbed to such a scoundrel as me and the servants will think what they wish but say nothing.”
Elizabeth blushed, and he say memories and embarrassment in her eyes.
He reached across to squeeze her fingers. “Our secret, remember.” He had told no one, he would not, and he presumed she had not either. To the world she was still innocent, and yet just now, in the heat of the moment, he had been willing to defile that again. His conscience kicked within his chest.
To be continued…
If you cannot wait until next week for more of Jane Lark’s writing there’s plenty to read right now 😀 And if you have read them all already, then there’s another treat out now, you can begin devouring, The Dangerous Love of a Rogue
To read the Marlow Intrigues series, you can start anywhere, but the actual order is listed below ~ and click like to follow my Facebook Page not to miss anything…
The Lost Love of Soldier ~ The Prequel #1 ~ A Christmas Elopement began it all ~ The paperback would be a lovely stocking filler 😉
Capturing The Love of an Earl ~ A Free Novella #2.5
The Desperate Love of a Lord ~ A second Free Novella #3.5
Jane’s books can be ordered from most booksellers in paperback and, yes, there are more to come 🙂
Go to the index
- the story of the real courtesan who inspired The Illicit Love of a Courtesan,
- another free short story, about characters from book #2, A Lord’s Scandalous Love,
- the prequel excerpts for book #3 The Scandalous Love of a Duke
Jane Lark is a writer of authentic, passionate and emotional Historical and New Adult Romance stories, and the author of a No.1 bestselling Historical Romance novel in America, ‘The Illicit Love of a Courtesan’.Click here to find out more about Jane’s books, and see Jane’s website www.janelark.co.uk to learn more about Jane. Or click ‘like’ on Jane’s Facebook page to see photo’s and learn historical facts from the Georgian, Regency and Victorian eras, which Jane publishes there. You can also follow Jane on twitter at @janelark