How potent it was to feel wanted by this man.
He untied her stays, and they too fell to the floor, the wooden busk hitting the carpets with a thump. Her nipples were hard and aching, the stiff points visible beneath the fabric of her chemise. She was almost nude, clad in nothing but a whisper of fabric and her stockings.
“Beautiful,” he repeated as he hooked a finger in the knot of his cravat and pulled it loose before moving to the three buttons at the neck of his shirt.
He no longer looked like a gentleman. The elegant trappings fell away as he hauled the shirt over his head. And then, there was no coherent thought. Words were insufficient. Only her hands would do. They were on him. Touching his bare chest.
How hot and sleek and smooth his flesh, the tightly leashed strength of him never more apparent than now. Muscles corded his abdomen, his upper arms. There was a light dusting of black hair on his chest, and this intrigued her too. How different his body was from hers. And there was more. Her questing fingertips found imperfections. Puckers and slashes, places where new skin had replaced old.
She lingered on a scar at his side. “What happened to you?”
“Battle scars,” he said.
She wanted to know more. Everything. She never wanted to stop touching him.
“Does it pain you?” she asked, tracing the wicked-looking line with her forefinger.
“No, minx.” He caught her hand and brought it to his lips, kissing the knuckles and staying further examination of his torso. “You look as if you’ve never seen a man before.”
Her cheeks went hot. “That is because I have not seen one without his shirt before now.”
“Damn.” He released her hand, his gaze intense on hers. “Never?”
She shook her head, wondering if he was pleased by her lack of experience. “Never.”
He lowered his head and released a vicious oath. And then he cupped her face and kissed her soundly. As if he were voracious. Claiming her. She kissed him back, pressing her body to his, and felt the thick ridge of his desire against her belly.
Then they were moving together. Backward. Slow steps as one, over the carpets. Toward the bed.
Her innocence both astounded and inflamed Jasper. He had never bedded a virgin, and of all the times he had imagined Octavia naked beneath him, somehow, his overwrought mind had never stopped to consider she was a neophyte. Or that she would touch his scarred body with such worshipful caresses. Nor had he imagined the untutored stroke of her soft fingertips on his chest would nearly make him spend in his trousers before he was ever inside her.
His cock was painfully rigid, demanding more than the frustrating friction of his smalls as he guided her backward. Her lips were warm and silken, her tongue daring to play with his. If her kisses were any indication of what sort of lover she would make, his new wife was going to be the death of him.
But what a sweet death it would be.
He tore his mouth from hers, his breathing harsh
, his heart thundering in his chest, and took a moment to drink in the sight of her, face flushed, mouth swollen from his kisses. Those golden-brown eyes were shielded by the fall of her lashes, as if she were in a daze. The mounds of her breasts pressed against the nearly transparent chemise, her hard nipples standing out like offerings.
He caught fistfuls of fabric and lifted over her head. And then she was bare save for her stockings. He took a moment to admire the full swells of her breasts, the pink tips straining toward him. The curves of her waist and hips, the mound at the juncture of her thighs, shielded by onyx curls.
His. All his.
And he was ravenous.
Lightheaded with the wonder of his Octavia, naked and beautiful and elegant.
The remainder of his clothes could not be removed with enough haste. He did not even pull back the counterpane, just urged her to the bed and joined her there, covering her body with his. The feeling of her, small and feminine and so much more than he had dreamed, had him nearly wild.
He kissed her everywhere he could. Lips, jaw, throat. The curve of her shoulder. One breast’s swell, then the other. He sucked a stiff peak into his mouth and she made a sound of need, arching her back. Her nipples were sensitive. Something to remember. He swirled his tongue in circles, then flicked it over the bud.
“Oh,” she said softly, a sigh of approval he felt in his ballocks.
He was going to devour her. Introduce her to pleasure in painstaking detail. Even if it killed him. He had restraint. His cock could damn well wait.
He released her nipple, glancing up at her. Impossible to believe she was his wife, this decadent creature. He wanted to make her writhe with ecstasy under him. Wanted her desperate.
Jasper kissed down her velvet-smooth belly, intent upon his course. When he coaxed her thighs apart, she opened for him, giving him a glimpse of heaven in the pink, pouty bud of her sex, the slick folds already glistening with dew.