Reckless in Innocence ~ A #Free Historical Romance story ~ Part Twenty-three

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

Reckless in Innocence


Read the earlier parts 

one , two,three,four,five,six,seven,eight,nineten,eleven,twelvethirteen,fourteen,fifteen,sixteenseventeen,eighteen, nineteen, twenty, twenty-one, twenty-two





Marcus stood in front of her, the top of his thighs leaning against the table, where she sat cross-legged. As she held his deep brown gaze, his hand relaxed in hers. The air seemed too thin to breathe as his thumb drew circles on the palm of her hand. She had never really liked the notoriety, what she liked was him.

“Notoriety is not as nice as people claim,” Elizabeth only spoke to distract her senses from his touch. “I do not like the way people judge me when they do not even know me, and men assume I am fast. I am not.”

A wicked grin cut across his face as his eyes caught the candlelight and sparkled from the quantity of liquor he’d drunk. “You behave as though you are. You lead them on. What are men to do when a woman smiles and stares at us so openly?”

“I have found,” Elizabeth continued, ignoring his words, “I was happier alone, leading a quiet country life. I shall be very glad when it is time to retire to the country again.”

“What of marriage, then? Do you intend to find a husband among the country squires? Have you given up on the men who fawn over you in town?”

“Alas for them, they never stood a chance. Marriage is not for me.” He smiled as though he did not believe it, his thumb still drawing circles on her palm, enchanting her, despite her better judgement. She could feel the touch in her stomach too, making it queasy. He must have thought she wanted marriage when they’d been together, because he had made sure afterwards that any expectation she’d had, had been quashed. “I never had hopes, Marcus. I only ever wanted one season, just one, to see what life in London would be like. It is the hope of any girl from a country manor to spend at least one season in town.” Her free hand lifted to his cheek  “I am grateful to you for making it what it was, but I am content to accept spinsterhood.”

“What of Percy and the others who trail about behind you?”

A defiant grin broke her lips. It was time for honesty. He had told her the truth about his childhood and now she would be open with him. “You need never have feared for me over them.” Her hand slid away from his face, and she freed her other hand from his, leaned back and rested her hands behind her on the green felt of the billiard table. “I have never liked Lord Percy. He makes my skin crawl, but speaking to him seemed to make you so wonderfully churlish. I’m sorry, I could not resist doing it. The others were only there to prevent me standing against the wall. I wanted to dance.”

His expression darkened and a heavy breath dragged across his lips. “You make me mad with anger and desire in equal measure, Elizabeth. I have warned you not to play with him. Speak to Angela if you do not believe me.”

Despite the strong emphasis of his words, his hands surrounded her face, gripping gently and he lifted her head so she looked into his eyes. Elizabeth’s heart melted as the dark brown shone, expressing affection for her, even if that affection was hazy from liquor. She straightened up.

“Promise me you will leave Percy alone when you return to town?”

“I promise.”

The dark intensity in his eyes hung on to her. “You have no idea how beautiful you are.” The words were passionate, spoken on a ragged outward breath, and they touched her lips as heat as his head lowered towards her.

The kiss seemed full of emotion, when their kiss that night in the conservatory had held little bar need. She reached up, wrapping her arms about his neck as Marcus straightened, his hands gripping her sides and lifting her so she ended up kneeling on the table, equal to him in height.

I love you. The words rang in Elizabeth’s thoughts, but there was no point in loving him. He did not love her; or want her to love him – but he was kissing her, and it was beautiful. His lips touched her cheek, her neck, and then returned to caress her own. She kissed him back with desperation, her fingers in his hair, unable to think beyond the touch of his lips and his hands.

This was foolish, but she would find work soon and then she would never see him again. These were her last few days in his world, and he’d seduced her again tonight, offering her pieces of himself, insights which helped her understand why he kept himself so distant. She did not want to be distant from him now. She did not want him to run from her – or to run from him. Let this be her last reckless choice.



Marcus ran his hand across her linen nightgown and felt her breast loose beneath the thin garment. Her nipple rose to a hard bud when he touched her there. She was a liar, she would never be happy as a spinster.

He broke the kiss and bent his head to nip the peak of her breast through the coarse-feeling cloth, with his lips. She rose higher on her bent knees, and pressed against him, gripping his hair. She was aroused, and as hungry as he was, no matter her denials earlier, and he knew that he was being greedy, taking this too far, but tonight he needed her too much. Tomorrow he would repent. There were too many ghosts in his head.

He straightened again, meeting her gaze at equal height. Her pale lashes flickered down when she blinked, then lifted revealing turquoise seas. His heart rapped out a harsh rhythm in his chest, the air in his lungs thinning so he felt as though he had not breathed at all.

Her fingertips touched his cheek.

He did not remove her hand. It was cool and soft, and the comfort touched more than his skin.

She looked so youthful, so beautiful. His Elizabeth. The woman that was his and only his. No one else knew this version of her. She belonged to him.

His fingers slipped to the hem of her nightgown at her knees and drew it up, then his touch slid over the silken, china like skin of her inner thigh to find the rough curls of hair between her legs.

Her fingers fell away from his cheek and gripped his wrist as her eyes asked what he was doing. But she knew, she knew because they’d done this before. “Elizabeth.” Her name was a question, he wanted permission. He was starved – thirsty. Elizabeth’s company was a headier liquor than the wine, the port or the brandy he’d drunk. They had lain together months ago, but he could recall every detail of how she’d felt.

“Please.” He had never begged a woman for sex before, women begged him for it.

Her eyes were bright in the candlelight, shining, but she didn’t answer, not with words. Yet with her body. She leant forward and kissed his lips, her eyes closing, and then she let his wrist go and her hands gripped his hair.

He kissed her as he touched her for a while, she was wet and hot, and she pressed against his fingers answering a natural call because she was too inexperienced to be doing it out of a coy seduction. That was the memory he had clung to for weeks, the innocent way in which she moved and appreciated whatever he did. He broke the kiss as his fingers dipped within her, nipped her nipple through the cloth of her nightgown, then closed his mouth about it and sucked her through the material.

With a deep sigh, wanting the relief he longed for, he lifted his head, his fingers sliding out from her, and then he gripped the back of her thighs. “Come forward, to the edge.”

Her arms wrapped about his neck as she slid her legs over the rim of the billiard table, one at a time. Then she sat on the lip, her thighs about his waist and her arms around his neck. She had not taken more than a sip from her drink, she was sober and sensible, and yet she was still choosing to do this with him. Gratitude, respect – fondness – ached in his chest, as other emotions gripped at his groin.

“Dear heart,” he whispered the words of affection and brushed a lock of her hair from her brow, which had come loose from the plait hanging over her shoulder. Her eyes were full of emotion as much as desire as he freed the first button securing his flap. There was fear in her eyes too. He’d hurt her the first time, this would be a moment to heal what had happened then.

When he pressed into her, her hands came beneath his shirt gripping his skin at his waist, and her nails clawed into him as he gripped her bottom, withdrew and pressed back in. Her hand fell down a little to the first curve of his buttocks.

It had not been like this in the dark conservatory. That night she had been afraid and hesitant, tonight she was not hesitant, she gripped at him as he moved. Truly reckless.

He withdrew and pressed back in, keeping his movements gentle.

It was beautiful… He had never thought intercourse beautiful before. Intercourse had been a path to an end for him, always. A chance to escape. But this was a moment of discovery.

Marcus leaned forward, leaning her back and laying her down on to the gaming table, his hands at her ribs. Then when she lay there, he straightened and thrust into her more forcefully, his hands running up and down her soft thighs. Her eyes had shut, and she breathed in short sharp pants of sound each time he entered her. He increased his tempo to allegro, pressing into her more urgently, as her gentle natural sounds filled him up. There was no artifice in Elizabeth. She was sweet innocence, and beautiful within and without – and she was letting him do this.

The heat increased within her, while sweat rose on her skin. It made her linen nightgown cling to her stomach and her breasts. She was close to the little death. He touched her, feeling where he entered her, rubbing a thumb across her. She broke as heat and fluid about him, and her body clawed for him to follow her as her body arched into pleasure. He ran his hand beneath the linen covering the outward curve of her stomach, and slid his hand over her soft skin.

He pushed into her three more times, then cried out as he broke with his own end. He pulled her up into his arms and clung to her as ecstasy chased through his blood.

Elizabeth was special.

For a moment he just held her as his blood cooled. Then he swept the damp strands of hair from her brow and kissed her there. He sighed, then stepped away buttoning up his flap, before sliding her nightgown down as far as it would go.

“You need to go to bed,” he said, “Put your arms around me. I’ll carry you upstairs.” She looked tired and a little lost as she wrapped her arms about his neck. He lifted her and carried her over the broken glass, stopping to blow out the candles but keeping one to light their way. He would sleep now.


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 here’s the latest treat, ready to be devoured, The Dangerous Love of a Rogue


Dangerous Love of a rogue from Zoe

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 Marlow Intrigues



The Lost Love of Soldier ~ The Prequel #1 ~ A Christmas Elopement began it all ~ The paperback would be a  lovely stocking filler 😉 

The Illicit Love of a Courtesan #2 

Capturing The Love of an Earl ~ A Free Novella #2.5 

The Passionate Love of a Rake #3 

The Desperate Love of a Lord ~ A second Free Novella #3.5 

The Scandalous Love of a Lord #4

The Dangerous Love of a Rogue #5

The Secret Love of a Gentleman #6

Jane’s books can be ordered from most booksellers in paperback and, yes, there are more to come

About janelarkhttps://janelark.wordpress.coma writer of compelling, passionate and emotionally charged fiction

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