The Flighty Fiancee(6)

By: Emma Shortt

The noise of the ballroom washed over them as they entered and India made to move her arm from his. Bartholomew had no intention of letting her go yet, so placed a hand over hers. A shiver ran through his body at that one small contact. Her hand, so tiny and delicate beneath his, was enough to remind him of all the places he had yet to touch. Blood flowed to his breeches and he bit down on his lip to halt the stiffening of his cock. He had no hat handy to cover it.

He needn’t have worried she’d notice though. Ignoring him completely, India smiled and curtsied at various acquaintances. Bartholomew sighed. It didn’t help matters that everyone in the capital knew of their engagement, and her less than happy response to it over the last couple of months. The scrapes she insisted on getting into were becoming increasingly difficult to cover up. Riding too fast in the park, dresses scandalously short around the bosom, seen leaving the theatre unescorted. Nothing that would ruin her but she played dangerously close to the edge. Bartholomew wondered if she knew how much his protection counted. No one would shun his future Lady…but they would express themselves in other ways.

The pity he saw in his friends eyes niggled at him every day. How much more does she expect me to put up with?

“Are you planning to spend the entire evening by my side?” India asked, as she waved at a group of passing debutants, her tone saying quite clearly that she hoped not.

“I hope to enjoy some of my fiancée’s company, yes,” Bartholomew replied. Lady India was clearly spoiling for a fight, though he had no idea why, and he had no intention of giving her the satisfaction of one.

“How…fortunate I am.”

Her mocking tone did nothing to ease the feeling that once again prodded him in the gut. A feeling that had been teasing him for weeks. Take her now. “I like to make you happy, my dear.”

She looked up, her head titled to one side. “Do you?”

“Of course. You need only to tell me what you desire and I will see that it is yours.” Did she not realize he would do anything to bring the back the smiling lovely he’d fallen for? To see her run her fingers along his arm, down his chest, to his breeches….

“You have no comprehension of what I desire, Lord Bartholomew,” India said.

He coughed, desire warring with anger. So the claws are out. “Perhaps you would care to enlighten me?”

“What would be the point?”

“The fact that we’ll be spending our life together, perhaps?”

A smile so false it may well have been a scowl split her face. “How fortunate I am.”

In that moment, with India’s words ringing in his ears, his cock straining for release, and she smiling openly at the passing Lord Rockwell—the rake—Bartholomew knew that enough was enough. She was his. She shouldn’t be smiling at another man. The feeling would no longer be denied. The end of the season was far too long, ready or not, honor be damned, it was time for India to submit.

Gently steering her into an alcove Bartholomew cleared his throat. Exhilaration and desire thrumming though him. Why did I wait so long? It was all clear to him now. “It is my intention to call on you on the morrow to discuss plans to move out betrothal forward.”

“Surely we can discuss this at the end of the season, my Lord?” she said without looking at him.

“I have decided it is preferable we wed before then.”

Her eyes widened in shock and Bartholomew felt a small measure of satisfaction slither down his spine. India had been spoilt and pampered for far too long by Lord Grayson. It was his turn now.

An image of her bent over his knee, voluminous skirts lifted assailed him and he shuddered. It was surely wrong to think about spanking his fiancée’s rounded buttocks, but he couldn’t help himself. India did that to him.

“But why?” she whispered, her gaze finally meeting his.

“The end of the season is still several weeks away, it no longer makes sense to wait,” he said, for what else could he say? ‘I can wait no longer to bed you?’

“But I—”

She looked suddenly much younger than her years and Bartholomew felt a slight twinge of guilt at his hasty actions. You should have told her she looked beautiful, that you’ve wanted her for so long. He didn’t of course; men of his position did not talk coarsely to the women they were betrothed to. They thought it yes, but did not say it. That sort of thing was reserved for mistresses. Not that he had one—maybe if he had he wouldn’t have spent the last several months walking around with a perpetual erection. “It’s been a whole year since you accepted my offer,” he said instead.

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