The perfect wife, p.20
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       The Perfect Wife, p.20
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           Lynsay Sands
Page 20


  Avelyn rushed through herbath, thenwrapped herself in a linen andmoved to sit by the fireto dry her hair before the flames. She was still seated there several moments later when thechamber door suddenly opened and Paen entered.

  "Husband?" Avelyn turnedon herchair and stared at him with surprise, noting that hetoo wore only aswath of linen, though his was much smallerand wrapped around his waist.

  "Ihave figured itout," Paen announcedby way of greeting,and Avelyn stared at the wide smileon his face, unsure what to make of it. Her husband hadn't smiled much since she'd knownhim; forsome reason his wide grin just made her nervous.

  "You have figured what out,husband?"she asked with bewilderment.

  Paen crossed the room to the window. "Comehere, wife. "

  Avelyn felt her eyes squinching up with suspicion as she recalled his saying something abouthersitting on thewindowledge. Surely he didn't intendto - Nay, Avelyn told herselfas she got reluctantly to her feet. Theman had followed thatpictureupwithridiculous explanations about how it wouldhurt. He had goneon aboutdiscomfortshe'd already known she'd experience with orwithout his hands.

  Her mother hadnot left herignorant ofthemarriage bed. Expecting the marriageto beconsummated on the weddingnight, she'dexplainedtheordealquite thoroughly, andhadsaid that,while painful the first time,it could be quite enjoyable afterward if Avelyn was fortunate enough to havea considerate husband.

  Having listened withbated breath to her mother's descriptionsofwhat exactly wouldtakeplace, Avelynhad found it difficult to imagineanyof it beingenjoyable.

  Still,her mother was notprone tolie to her,so she'd given her the benefit of the doubt before the wedding night. Andeven though they'd never completed theact, Avelyn had experienced more thanalittle pleasure inher marriage bed underher husband'skisses and caresses. . . at least until theroom had gone up inflames.

  Avelyn pausedbeside her husband at the window and waited curiously.

  Paen smiled at her brilliantly and then suddenly nudged at his linen with his bandaged hand. The covering dropped to the rushes with aplop.

  Avelyn gaped. Hismanhood was hardas a rock and standing up like a pole sticking out ofthe ground. Shemanagedto tear her eyes fromhis hugestaff andlift them to his face for half a second, then let them drop down to hismanhood again.

  She hadseen it before, of course, on their weddingnight. Only Avelyn didn't recallit being quiteso big then. . . or. . . well. . . solid.

  Avelyn was suddenly gratefulthat he'd decided to waituntil recovering from his burns beforeconsummating their marriage. Shedidn't even mindso much ifhe had a disgust of her. . . And whatwasso wrong with aman having amistress?Why did men not just stabwomen with their swords?It surely couldn't be any worsethan having those great huge thingsimpaling them.

  Realizing she was becoming alittle hysterical over somethingshe needn't yet fear, Avelyn again forced her gaze upward andmanagedwhat she hopedwasa pleasant smile ofenquiry.

  "Why are you grimacing?" Paenasked, and Avelyn supposedshe hadn't managed a very good smile after all.

  "I. . . "She sought a viableexcuse, but nothingwascoming tomind, and after a moment Avelyn gave it up andinstead asked,"You said youhad figured something out?"

  "Oh, aye. " Turning,he drew the fur away from the window and forced it to the side,allowing moonlight into the room.

  Avelyn turnedto peer curiouslydown intothe bailey below,but couldsee very little. The ledge wasa good three feet deep,andshe would havehadto practically lie on itto get her head nearthe window itself, so she peeredatthe glass insteadand tried for asuitably interestedexpression. Glass was veryexpensive,such a rarity. It really wasimpressive that thewindows actually had glass in them. If she hadn't known she'd marriedinto a wealthy family, this wouldhave told her.

  "Well, this isa veryfine window, mylordhusband. Thank you for showing itto - Awk!"Avelyn squealed insurprise and grabbed athis shoulders ashesuddenly turnedhertofacehim, then caughther under the armpits and set her onto the ledge.

  "What areyou - "

  Avelyn's questiondied aquickdeath,silenced by Paen'slips ashegrabbedher by both knees, pushed themapart andstepped betweenthem to press a kiss toher mouth. Atfirst, she wastoo startled totry to pullawayand sayanything, but within moments ofhis mouthcovering hers,his tonguehad slid out tourge her lips apart andshe quite forgot what shewould have said as histongue danced with hers.

  By the time Paen ended the kiss, Avelyn had melted against him, her mind incapable ofholdinga thought.

  "Ihave sorted it all out,"he whispered,his mouth moving to herearas he triedto nudge her hands fromwhere they were clutching thelinen to her chest.

  "That is nice,"Avelyn breathedon a sigh,turning her headfor him and pressing the side of her face intohis lips like acat under a caress.

  "Since I cannot use my hands to prepare you, I shall use my mouth," he explained. "But first you shallhave to let go of the linen. "

  "Mmm hmm. " Avelyn smiled. "Doyou think you could kissme again?"

  A slow,purely male smile curved his lips as he noted herexpression. "Do you like itwhenI kiss you?"

  Despitehaving asked the question, he looked as if he already knew the answer.

  Avelyn didn'tcare. Taking one hand away from the linens, she reached out to slide it into his hair and urgedhishead down foranother kiss. Paen obligedher, thistime starting slow and tender, then deepening it until it became almosta battleto see who could devour theother first. They were both panting when he finally moved his mouthaway and again kissed a trail across her cheek to her ear.

  Ashudder ran through Avelynas his tongue sweptoverand around her earand she turned her head to make iteasier for him, thensuddenly twistedher face backto catch his mouth with her own. Paen obliged her and kissed her again. The sensations hestirred inher made her arch mindlesslyagainst him, responding to herbody's demands. She wantedtobe closer to him, all of her seemedto ache to pressagainst him, and she shifted her bottom forward on the ledgeuntil shewas plasteredagainst him. The momentshe did, Paen brokethekiss andfollowed the length of herthroat withhis lips, forcinghertolean back so that hecould find and nibble atthesensitive hollow ofhercollar bone.

  Avelyn moanedand clutched his shoulders tohelp keep her balance, onlyaware that it left her linen free to drop to herhips when Paen continued hisdownward journeyunimpeded.

  When Paen's lips moved over the slope of her breast to catch one aching nipple inhismouth, Avelyn gasped. Her feet pressed flatagainst the wall as her bottom lifted rightoff the ledge,pressingher more intimately against him. She could feel his hardness rub against her through the linen still covering her lower body. It felt so good, she foundherself again grinding her lowerbodyagainsthis.

  Avelyn thought she heard Paengrowl;thenhe groundback against her and she let her head fall backwith a groan. Thenthecool air touched her still damp nippleand she liftedher head witha shiver, glancing down as he kissed a trail down her stomach that almost seemed tomake those musclesbuckunder her skin. Gasping for breath and feeling off balance as hisshoulders lowered out of herreach, Avelyn clutched at the fur that had covered the window. She didn't seemto have enough breathto protest as he kneltand usedone bandaged handto brush asidethe linen gatheredaround her hips.

  With her very center now revealedtohim, Avelyn opened her mouth ona gasp of protest, then nearly choked ashe urged her legs further apartand pressed hismouth toher.

  "Dear God!"Avelyn's hips lifted oftheir own accord, herbottom risingoff the ledge again. She was now a bundle of confusion and sensation. Her mother had nevermentioned this when instructing her aboutthe wedding night. Nor had she mentioned the burning tensionbuildingdeep inside her.

  Avelyn was positive that she would go crazy if Paen didn't stop whatever magic hewasworking. She wasequallypositive that if hedidstop she woulddie. She wanted to close herlegs andstop him, and at the same time to push hisface tighter against her and grind herselfagainst him. Hedidn't stop, and
- realizingshe was tugging thoughtlessly at his hair - she pulled that handfree and grabbed atthe fur hanging to the sideof thewindow, pullingon the materialand using it to lift herhips up again untilher body suddenly exploded with the pleasurehe hadbuilt in her.

  Screaming, Avelyn pulled on the furs and threw her headback. . . just intime to see the fur come tumblingdown over thethem both.


  Avelyn wasvaguely aware of Paen struggling topush the fur off of them with his bandaged hands; then he was standing between herlegsagain. She threw her arms around him,clutching him close andevenwrapping herlegs around his hips as she pressed her face into hisneck, her bodywracked with shiversand sobs. She felt as if she'd come apart,as ifhe were the only solid thingin the world to hold on to.

  Avelyn felthis arms wrapcarefully around her back as he moved in closer,and she groaned as hishardnesspressedagainst the stillsensitive area betweenher legs.

  Paen groaned too, then suddenly urgedherfaceupandclaimed her lips in akiss.

  Avelyn kissedhim back passionatelyand arched against him. Theybothmoaned as their bodies pushed even closer together. Theaction made herrealize that the pleasure mightnot yetbe over. Then Paen shifted and she felt him nudge against her.

  "Hold on," he whispered, then plunged into her. Avelyn cried out, her body instinctivelyrecoilingandrising upward away from the pain she knew to expect.

  Paen inhaled deeply, forcing himself to remain completely still. He wanted to move. His body was buried deepinher warm heat,and he desperately wantedto move, butheknew he shouldn't For Avelyn's sake it was better if he gaveher a moment to adjust.

  "Why, that hardlyhurtatall,"Avelyn saidwith surprise, and Paen pulled back enough to peerdown at her face. Her expression was one of amazement.

  "Iwas expectingrealpain, butthat wasbarely more thana pinch," she explained and smiled widely, then wriggled experimentally against him. "It does feel odd, though. "

  Paen ground histeeth together as shewriggled again; then he leaned his forehead againstthe top of her head and breathedslowly in and outto stopfrom pounding in andout of her likehis body wasurging him to do.

  "Husband?" she asked suddenly.

  "Aye?"he got outbetween clenched teeth.

  "Isthatall, then? Are wedone?"

  A short laugh slipped from hislips and he straightened,drawinghimself out ofher as he said, "Nay. "

  "Oh," Avelyn gasped. "That is. . . er. . . nice. "

  She looked perplexed, and then surprised when he plunged back into her.

  "Oh, thatis. . . er. . . "Shepaused as he withdrew againand murmured another "Oh. "

  Recalling hiswife'spenchantfor chatteringonthe ridehere, and fearing she might feela need todo the same while riding him, Paencaughther mouthina kiss as he withdrew again.

  Paen's baser instincts werestillurging him forward, andPaen was still tryingto restrainhimself for hersake. Avelyn didn't appear toappreciate that. Herlegswere wrapped around hiships and her hands clutched at him. Hecould onlycontrolher with hisarms, andthen only cautiously, because he was hesitant tobang his injured hands and allow pain to dampen anyof thisfor him.

  Paen's good intentions died abruptly when his wife suddenly dugher nailsinto his behind, very obviouslyurging him tomove faster. Hegave in to his desire then, drivinghimself into her with quick, hardthrusts, encouraged by Avelyn'smoans into his mouth and the way she wasarchinginto him. Thensuddenly shetore hermouth from his and threw her head back with a scream as shebuckedagainsthim. Paenfelt her squeeze around him, drawing himdeeper into her, then roared with his own release.

  It wasn't until he had collected himself enoughso he could stopleaning on his wifethatPaen glanced over her shoulder atthewindow. The parchment wasopen a crack. Someone must have opened ittoair the room on theirreturn and forgottento closeit. He wondered if anyonehad heardthem. Paen's gazedropped to the bailey, and hestiffened at thesight of the audience below. It looked as if half his father's men were standing staring up at the window,and he found himself grateful that the fire across theroom had burnedlow enough that allthey could possibly seewere shadowy figures. Then one of the men moved forward, separating himself from the restandPaen squinted at the familiar form. it wasn't until the man heldup histhumb in a gesture of approvalthatPaen recognized his father.

  Groaning, he briefly dropped his forehead to his wife's shoulder, then was suddenly gripped by concern that she might glance over her shoulder and realize they had been seen. Knowingthat Avelyn would be terribly embarrassed to realize their first time had notexactly been aprivateaffair, hetightened hisarms aroundher waist and lifted her offthe ledge.

  "Husband!You will hurt your hands!" she cried,tightening herarms around his shoulders and knotting her ankles around hisback to keep from being dropped.

  Paen said nothing, but backed away from the window until thebacks of his legs bumped the bed; then he fellback, tumbling themboth on top ofit. Avelyn squealed as they fell,then laughedbreathlessly as he turnedthem on theirsides to face each other. He staredat her, noting that her facewas flushed withcolor, her eyes relaxed and smiling. He was just thinkinghow beautiful she looked when Avelynsuddenly frowned.

  "What is it?" Paen asked.

  "We did not. . . the linen. . . it. . . " Shepaused, flushing withembarrassment,then managed to get out. "The linens are usually hung up as proof of the bride's innocence, and so thatall may know the marriagewas consummated, but we did not. . . "She let her words trail away and glancedtoward thewindowledge.

  "Ah. " He bit his lip. "Well, Iwould not worry. Ido notthink anyone willdemand proofthat the marriage was consummated. Iam sure they will accept my word for it. "

  "But - " Avelyntriedto protest, but Paensilenced her with a kiss, then slid his arms out from under her and shifted to lie properly on the bed. Oncecomfortablyon his back,he held hisarms open to her.
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