After her presentation at Elsibet’s court, teenager Margaurethe O’Toole is overwhelmed and intrigued by her liege’s attentions.
Margaurethe sighed, and dropped her needlework into her lap. She had discovered another error in her stitching, ruining an hour’s worth of toil by the time she noticed the mistake. At the rate she was going, she would be embroidering this silly sleeve when she celebrated her hundredth birthday. She simply could not concentrate, her mind on the riot of sensation she had experienced the night before.
At the mere breath of memory, Margaurethe was back in her ruler’s bed, heated flesh against heated flesh, the heady taste of Elisibet singing along her tongue, and moans of desire filling her ears.
She schooled her features to calm, turning to her mother seated nearby. “Yes, mother?”
“Are you unwell? Your cheeks are flushed, and you slept so late this morning.” Orlaith O’Toole set a letter she was writing aside, and stood, gliding to her only child’s chair.
Margaurethe reddened further under her mother’s scrutiny, pulling away from the questing touch on her brow. “I’m fine, mother,” she said, doing her best to sound confident in the matter. “As you recall, we played in the garden until very late last night.”
Not to be denied, Orlaith rested her wrist on Margaurethe’s forehead. “Aye, that you did. And drenched yourself to the skin on top of it. As I said then–”
“You’ll catch your death of cold,” Margaurethe finished for her.
Her mother feigned irritation, gently tapping her fingertips on the top of her daughter’s head. “You never heed me. Too much of your father’s influence, I think. Headstrong, you are.”
“Aye,” she agreed with a smile, making no attempt to appear apologetic. As her mother turned away, Margaurethe sobered. She so wanted to speak to Orlaith about what happened, about Elisibet and the wondrous night they had shared. But she could not. Her parents did not approve of their vasilissa’s activities, neither the way she ruled nor her enjoyment of feminine flesh. If it was discovered Margaurethe had ventured into the Tyrannos’ bedchambers she knew no force short of the gods themselves would stop them from demanding bloody retribution.
And no one commanded anything from Elisibet.
Margaurethe began the arduous task of picking out her stitches. As she did, her mind faded to other, more prurient pursuits.
Startled back to the present, she realized she had been sitting with her work in her lap for some while. She turned to see her mother’s strange expression.
“Are you certain you’re all right?”
Exasperated at the scrutiny, partially worried her mother would be able to surprise incriminating evidence of her perfidy from her, Margaurethe smiled. “I am quite positive,” she said. Standing, she placed the needlepoint in her vacated chair. “I believe I simply need some air. It’s such a nice afternoon; I think I’ll walk in the garden.” Perhaps she would catch another glimpse of Elisibet on her balcony.
Orlaith made as if to rise. “Do you wish company?”
“No!” Margaurethe brushed at her skirts, pretending she had not snapped the response. “I’ll be fine, truly.” Before her mother could argue, she scooped up a light shawl, and fled the room.
Margaurethe sat on a marble bench, wondering if she were going mad. She could not get Elisibet out of her mind, no matter how hard she attempted to distract herself. Even here in the garden, she barely noted the muted sunshine peeking through the branches of the trees. Nearby, the fountain she had played in the night before continued to burble, and the scent of roses wafted on the summer air.
Above her was Elisibet’s balcony. She had stood near the fountain for the longest time, staring at the terrace, braving the irritating sunlight, willing her lover to appear. It was all for naught, of course. The vasilissa’s reputation was well known, even to a backwoods girl such as herself. Margaurethe could only hope for another night or two of rapturous pleasure before the monarch found another to warm her bed.
She plucked ineffectually at the lace of her gown, tears stinging her eyes. What would become of her now? The thought of marrying, a dream of all the young women she kept company with, palled in comparison to Elisibet’s attentions. By extension, there had to be other women who enjoyed lying with their own; yet the idea of experiencing last night with someone else was repugnant. Sooner or later, her parents would discover the loss of her virginity. Margaurethe never had cause to prevaricate with them prior to her current predicament. She was not even certain she could.
And the knowledge that Elisibet would do to another what they enjoyed last night made her blood run cold.
“Had I known my garden grew flowers of such magnificent beauty, I would visit them more often.”
The voice surprised Margaurethe, and she looked up, feeling vaguely guilty at her mean-spirited mood.
Elisibet stood beside the bench, a smile adorning her lips. She was clad in leather breeches and a finely woven tunic, a worn sword belt around her slim waist. The laces of her deep blue shirt were loose, inviting visual perusal of the pale skin beneath.
“My liege!” Margaurethe gasped, quickly dropping her gaze. She wondered if it was possible for her heart to soar in the skies above and sink to the tips of her slippered toes simultaneously. Her head spun, and she decided perhaps not.
“Here now.” Elisibet sat, turned slightly toward her to accommodate the sword scabbard jutting from her left hip.
Margaurethe’s heart, already pumping fast, galloped at their proximity. She felt the flame where their thighs touched, felt a firm hand at the small of her back. A glove came into view, and fingers lightly grasped her chin, forcing her head to lift.
The smile on Elisibet’s face faded upon seeing Margaurethe’s expression. “What in wrong, minn ást? Why are there tears in your eyes?” Her countenance became fierce. “Tell me who has done this to you so I might give them the punishment they so richly deserve.”
Elisibet’s presence expanded, giving Margaurethe a first hand account of what those who angered the Tyrannos witnessed. She remembered sharing intimacies with this woman who now bristled with hostility for an unknown foe. Was Elisibet so adamant in her protection of her other lovers? If the rumors were true, that would mean she would be personal defender to a quarter of her people.
Was this just for Margaurethe?
She longed for it to be so and, as any idealistic woman her age, chose to believe it was. With a boldness she would not have attempted before last night, Margaurethe smiled through her tears, and brought her hand up to caress Elisibet’s fair cheek. “I was missing you, my liege. Now you are here, and I feel imminently better.”
Pale blue eyes lost their fury. A flash of something – was it wistfulness? – crossed them, and then was gone. She used her thumb to wipe away a tear, bemused. “I do not care for being the one to cause you pain, dear Margaurethe. But if I bring such joy to your face, I count myself quite fortunate.”
Margaurethe, her fears scurrying away in the light of Elisibet’s regard, sighed and leaned into the contact. Her only dismay was that it was leather and not the calloused palm against her skin.
Elisibet seemed to feel the same. She pulled away to remove the offending gloves, tossing them with little regard to the marble seat behind her. A kerchief appeared in her hand, and she daubed at the tearstains on Margaurethe’s face. When she was satisfied with the result, she let it fall to the ground, and took Margaurethe’s hands in her own.
Her touch was warm, as was Margaurethe’s face. She ducked her head, wondering at this sudden bashfulness. Considering her wanton behavior of the night before, she truly had no reason to feel this way. Perhaps it was the light of day shining on what had been done in the deep of the night. A gentle wave of want tickled her belly at the remembrance.
Her lover chuckled, as if able to read her mind, though Margaurethe had not allowed access. Elisibet rubbed her thumb against the small scab on Margaurethe’s wrist, a gentle reminder of their night’s passions. “I missed waking with you at my side,” she said, drawing the wrist up for a kiss.
“As did I, my liege,” Margaurethe whispered, glad to be sitting down. Her knees turned to water as those delicious lips caressed her flesh. “But my parents . . . they would not understand.”
“Oh, I think they would understand far too well.” Elisibet grinned. “But I did not forego sparring to discuss the O’Toole clan.”
“No?” Margaurethe asked playfully. A hand touched the small of her back, sliding along her spine, and she shivered at the combination of Elisibet’s heat and the tingling in her belly. Her sex, awakened from its childhood slumber the night before, throbbed in gentle time with her increased heartbeat.
“No.” Elisibet’s gaze was fastened to hers, her hand reaching the nape of Margaurethe’s neck, caressing as she applied pressure. “As I changed into my sparring outfit, I noticed the prettiest flower seeming to grow wild by the fountain,” she whispered. “I was so taken by the view, I found I had to immediately ascertain its scent.”
Margaurethe’s heart fluttered at the words as they neared one another, her senses focused on her lover.
Elisibet brought their heads together, nuzzling her temple, and inhaling deeply. She emitted a quiet moan that set Margaurethe’s already smoldering skin on fire. “Perfection,” she breathed into the young woman’s ear, following her word with a delicate swipe of her tongue.
“Oh!” Margaurethe exclaimed in response. Her body trembled with yearning, her breasts aching to have the same attention bestowed upon them. With little thought, she leaned forward, tilting her head to allow Elisibet greater access to her unprotected throat. She barely heard her lover chuckle through the roar of blood pounding in her ears.
Rewarding the behavior, Elisibet obliged the unspoken request, her lips blazing a moist trail of fire along Margaurethe’s throat, her hand remaining firm at the base of her skull, fingers massaging.
Margaurethe could not believe how intensely her body responded. She already felt the slick evidence of her arousal between her thighs, and all Elisibet had done was kiss her. She wanted– No. She needed Elisibet’s touch like she needed air, needed water and food. No one else would do.
Her overloaded senses told her Elisibet’s other hand was at her waist, and easing upward with agonizing slowness. Before she became completely mesmerized, Margaurethe had a flash of her mother’s worried countenance. What if Orlaith came to check on her?
She gasped, mortified at the imagined expression on her mother’s face should such a disaster come to pass. With no little reluctance, she drew away from her lover’s enticements, scooting to the end of the bench, sobs rising anew as her sex throbbed in thwarted anticipation from the movement.
“Minn ást?” Elisibet asked, licking her lips, her lust filled gaze at odds with the dark temper threatening to return.
The combination served to entice Margaurethe further, though she barely had time to register the emotion. “I cannot, my liege,” she said, panting and fanning her flushed face with one hand. She cast her eyes to her feet, unable to look at the brooding woman. “My mother. She is concerned about me. If she should search me out, and see . . .”
She could not continue. The silence from Elisibet sparked a fear that skittered across her soul. The Tyrannos was never denied; it had always been so. Had Margaurethe inadvertently put her family and self in mortal danger? She swallowed against the lump growing in her throat, wondering how she would explain to her parents why they were being punished.
“A most reasonable fear,” Elisibet finally said, her tone mild. “Fortunately, I have the means at my disposal to allay your anxiety. There will be no inopportune meeting with Kyria Orlaith.”
Margaurethe dared to look at her monarch, amazed at the calmness she exuded. She watched as a guard was called.
“I am not to be disturbed for any reason. No one is allowed in the garden until I deem otherwise. Is that understood?”
The guard saluted. “Aye, Your Majesty. Consider it done.”
She dismissed him with a wave, and returned her attention to Margaurethe, not closing the distance between them. “Will that suffice, my flower from Eire? The only rooms overlooking this garden are mine, and your family will not be allowed entry here.”
Tears threatened once more for entirely different reasons. Margaurethe plucked at a ribbon on her gown, unable to keep Elisibet’s gaze. “You must think me foolish, a grown woman afraid of her mother.”
“On the contrary. Your concern for her intrigues me. It hints at a giving and compassionate nature, one that I am unfamiliar with.” She stood, and removed her sword belt, setting the weapon at her feet. Straddling the bench, she resumed her seat, a shade closer to Margaurethe, her knee barely touching the young woman’s leg. “I find myself enamored of you, dear Margaurethe. I can think of nothing but your touch, your scent, or your voice as you cry out my name. Our liaison last evening barely whetted my appetite for your charms.”
Margaurethe gasped as Elisibet brushed her knuckles along her cheek. It was if her fearful interruption of their lustful activities had never occurred. With a simple touch, her arousal crashed through the hastily erected dam of reason, obliterating all other considerations in its path. “My liege,” she exhaled as Elisibet settled strong hands at her waist, pulling them closer.
“My name, sweetness,” Elisibet said, her harsh voice sending thrills of desire along Margaurethe’s spine. She forcibly turned the young woman around until they sat at the end of the bench, Elisibet spooning against Margaurethe’s back. “Call me by my given name.”
Opening her mouth to comply, a groan issued forth instead as Elisibet’s hands claimed her breasts. Hips pressed forward in envy as she arched her back. Her hands scrabbled for a handhold, to find none. She reached backward, grasping leather clad thighs with determination.
Elisibet’s attentions were as thorough as their last dalliance. She located swollen nipples with little trouble, pinching them through the material of Margaurethe’s bodice. “I want to hear your honeyed voice, minn ást,” she growled, giving the nubs another vigorous squeeze. “Say it!”
Margaurethe cried out wordlessly, hips bucking though they found no release. Her mind opened to Elisibet’s, their joined sexual appetite fanning the bonfire of passion to a fever pitch. “Elisibet,” she moaned, her fingers digging into her lover’s legs.
In reward, Elisibet continued her attentions, her lips and teeth tasting Margaurethe’s neck. Margaurethe felt a slight sting, the smell of copper mixing with the heady scents of arousal and roses. She knew Elisibet sampled her blood, tasted her in ways no one ever had before. With guttural words and bodily urgings, she pleaded with her lover to apply her touch lower, to bring pleasurable release before she died from need. Elisibet was of another mind, remaining fixed upon the breasts she massaged, almost daring Margaurethe to take the next step.
Frustrated, Margaurethe attempted to pull her lover’s hand from its task as she spread her legs as far her gown would allow. Elisibet’s denied her, refusing to move on, clamping the nipple under her fingers with a vicious pinch that elicited a sharp cry in response.
Elisibet disengaged from Margaurethe’s throat, licking the sluggish wound. “Show me your vitality, my budding flower. I wish to see everything.”
Flushing hot from desire and shame, Margaurethe paused, hesitant.
“Show me your passion, Margaurethe.” Elisibet’s touch gentled, allowing her time to think. “Please.”
Via their connection, Margaurethe felt the shiver of uncertainty at the word. Had Elisibet never used it before?
Emboldened, Margaurethe began to stroke her thighs, smiling at Elisibet’s undivided attention. She felt the raw craving of her lover increase as she began to lose herself in her touch. The caresses upon her breasts renewed, gently following her lead, and Margaurethe felt hot breath along her shoulder where Elisibet rested her head in an effort to gain a better view.
It was an odd dichotomy, the familiarity of her touch coupled with the unfamiliar caresses of another. Margaurethe lightly scratched mindless patterns upon her outer thighs, intent on the woman holding her body and soul in easy sway. What did Elisibet see as her eyes took in Margaurethe’s activities? As the question flickered across the lowest levels of her awareness, Elisibet answered it. For perhaps the first time, Margaurethe saw herself as sweet, honest, feminine, and imminently provocative; a vessel of raging passion hidden beneath the proper decorum she displayed to the world. She saw herself deny the docile and chaste child she had been in favor of writhing sensuously in the arms of her lover, beneath a blue sky where anyone could chance by. Her bawdy behavior was sinful, naughty, and thoroughly decadent.
It excited her more than she had ever dreamed possible.
Margaurethe followed a path upward, across the slight roundness of her belly, to entangle her fingers with Elisibet’s. Her hands on her lover’s, she squeezed her breasts together, moaning at the twisting, burning desire that pierced sharply through her body. Elisibet’s breath rasped in her ear, and Margaurethe smiled, knowing she was the cause. Her breath hitched when her lover firmly took hold of her nipples, and her nails dug into the back of Elisibet’s hands as her hips once more surged forward to be denied.
With legs spread as far as they were able, her dress was taut across her lap, making further play in that area impossible. Bringing her thighs together allowed some access, but not enough for the attention that Margaurethe needed so badly. She doubted Elisibet would release her long enough to allow her to properly disrobe, and her long gown precluded the ability to simply hike up the cloth. Like quicksilver across their mental connection, she came to the realization that Elisibet, regardless of a natural impatience and a rabid hunger for the woman in her arms, held back, effectively leaving the decision of what to do to Margaurethe.
Margaurethe saw two solutions to the puzzle. She could stop this delicious seduction from reaching its expected and satiating conclusion. Or she could choose to bare herself, not just to the questing hands of her lover, but to show one and all the depths of her scandalous behavior. Her parents would have no doubt about her recent activities. The thought, while mortifying, was not nearly as ghastly as the possibility of desisting. Her sex was hot and slick, her movements causing just enough friction to persuade her further. She felt a tickle as she squirmed, her natural lubrication flowing down to wet her buttocks, staining the gown where it met the marble bench.
Her hands still remained upon Elisibet’s. With some effort, she forced her lover to disengage the sensual massage, calling upon the strength of her Sanguire heritage. As soon as her bodice was unencumbered, she slipped her fingers beneath the collar, and pulled mightily. The sound of rending cloth seemed loud to her ears, as did the sudden gasp from behind her. Now that the deed had been begun, there was no stopping Margaurethe; she continued to tear her gown, baring her body to the dappled sunshine and tender breezes cooling her skin.
“Minn ást,” Elisibet murmured, pride coloring her voice. “Such exceptional daring deserves an extraordinary reward.”
Margaurethe was tugged backward, and she shivered as her lover’s hands returned to her heated flesh. She moaned at the shock of skin on skin, enjoying the fresh sensations coursing through her body as Elisibet flicked her tightly swollen nipples. Her legs, no longer encumbered, spread wider, and she returned to caressing her thighs and belly.
Elisibet drew a deep breath, humming with pleasure. “Your fragrance is superior to any I have ever enjoyed.” Her hands began to stray along other paths, enflaming Margaurethe’s ardor. Elisibet caught one of the restless hands, guiding it down the young woman’s leg, and then up her inner thigh.
Lost to the caress, her mind a red haze of lust, it took a moment before Margaurethe registered Elisibet’s voice again. Their fingers, not quite touching her throbbing sex, played it the slick overflow of her craving. A gentle pinch of the sensitive flesh woke her to her lover’s instructions.
“I said lift your other leg, minn ást. Place your foot upon the bench.”
Eager for release, Margaurethe did as ordered, no longer caring for propriety. The light wind blew across her sex, cooling and teasing her, driving her to distraction. She cried aloud as Elisibet brought their joined fingers to the juncture of her thighs, her hips thrusting in an attempt to increase the pressure of their touch.
“Ah, yesss, my love,” Elisibet whispered, gently tracing the wet folds under her touch. “I can feel the delicate petals, moist with your nectar.” She drew forward, and caressed the swollen bundle of nerves that so begged for attention, keeping her presence light though Margaurethe surged forward. “And there, the pistil, alert and awaiting attention.” Her thumb and forefinger squeezed the nub with insistence.
Margaurethe groaned at the torture, her blood throbbing in time with her need. Her nipples felt stiff, almost painful, and she could not help but attend them. Elisibet’s responses were firm caresses between Margaurethe’s legs, and a nip her at neck.
“Touch yourself, Margaurethe,” she whispered, her breathing strained. “Let me see your passion.”
Unable to disobey, she continued to massage her aching breasts, alternating between them. Elisibet released the hand at her crotch, and for the first time she explored herself. Intellectually, she could feel the differences between her sex and her lover’s, noting that the flesh beneath her fingers was slightly thicker, a bit longer. The rational comparison fled, however, as she slid past the delicate hood hiding the tiny nub. Her fingers, slick with her juices, easily circled the velvet skin.
Breath coming in pants, Margaurethe’s head lolled back, her hips straining forward for something more as she caressed herself.
“Gods, you’re magnificent!” Elisibet growled, before allowing her teeth to scratch the surface of the woman’s neck.
Margaurethe barely registered the words, caught in the sway of the rampaging desire. Elisibet’s fingers rested lightly atop hers, a physical voyeur to her vigorous stroking. She vaguely noted the other was at her throat, randomly following the curve of her collarbone and jaw line.
“I must have you for myself.”
With an abrupt fury, Elisibet’s fingers left her to her own devices, and thrust inside Margaurethe. Shocked to a higher level of need, she cried aloud, barely noting the sound of her voice ringing in the enclosed garden. Her body pushed backward, and Elisibet accommodated, continuing to fill her, going deeper with her improved access.
Their joint efforts threw Margaurethe into a rutting spasm. There were no thoughts along their bond, only a combination of need and want, ice and fire. They fed off one another, each new sensation urging them closer to orgasm. Margaurethe’s cries mingled with birdsong, the whisper of trees, and the wet sound of Elisibet’s activities.
In little time, Margaurethe felt her forthcoming climax, her attention focused solely upon the fingers frantically pumping within, the undulation of her hips, the pinching of tender nipples, her furious manipulation of her sex. As she burst with release, Elisibet bit her once more, the sharp pain mixing with indescribable pleasure. Margaurethe swooned from the combination, losing herself.
She did not know how long she had been unconscious. They remained where they had been, Margaurethe cradled on the bench, her lover’s warm length along hers, lethargic in the aftermath of their copulation. Elisibet had removed her fingers from inside. They idly caressed the feminine swell of Margaurethe’s belly, occasionally dipping to play among damp curls.
This was where Margaurethe belonged; she had no doubt. Nestled against her Elisibet, protected, loved, thoroughly spent in such carnal pursuits.
This was her need.