It had been a while since she’d had a good coffee. Strong, rich, bittersweet, and oh so bad for you. Like love, she thought, rather cynically. Emma was not a fan of love at that moment.
It had been two years, maybe three, since Kit had gotten married. His wife Mary was expecting their first child. Everyone had been invited to their mansion up in the country area of England for a house party that was to last ostensibly for over a month. Ridiculous extravagance, Emma thought, but then Kit Brandeworth was an enormously wealthy man and could afford to be extravagant. Emma had inevitably been one of those invited – her family and Kit’s had been lifelong friends, and though it had been a long time since Emma had last visited her family home up where Kit’s was, she was still a part of them and thus it would have been an unpardonable insult not to invite her. And while no one would have been surprised had she politely declined the invitation, she was not about to run away and hide like some snivelling coward and lick her wounds. No, she was better than that. She would show them that she had not been hurt, that Kit’s betrayal had not cut her straight through her heart…that she had not crumpled up and died.
And so, here she was, on the morning that the guests were to arrive, drinking her fifth fortifying cup of straight black coffee. She looked up as a thundering noise on the stairs indicated that her brother had come down. She smiled blearily at him. “Ready to go, Jordan?” she asked with false cheer, hoping he didn’t notice her bloodshot eyes or shaking hands.
Jordan regarded his sister for a moment, taking in the lackluster hue of her beautiful black hair, the redness of her usually bright sapphire blue eyes. She’d lost the plumpness he remembered she’d had at her vulnerable age of nineteen, and while her new slenderness undoubtedly suited her, she looked small and fragile, and ever so vulnerable. He felt a stab of rage at the man who’d left her at the altar, humiliated her, and broken her heart in front of the world, but quelled it quickly when he saw how weary she was. It would not do to cause a scene and besmirch her name further in any scandal – she would not be able to bear it. He forced a smile onto his face. “Shall we use my car or yours?”
They were all here, she thought, and wanted to cry. Every single one of them who had been at her wedding, who had watched her wait, and wait in vain, and then cry, and flee from the church once she had finally accepted that Kit was simply not going to come. And then they had all subsequently gone to Kit’s wedding, to watch him marry his chosen bride, the woman he loved, the woman he had always loved, and who had not been her.
She had wondered, sometimes, if Kit had ever felt any love, any tenderness for her at all. She had wondered during her engagement to him, and she had wondered after it had been broken. There had been times, when they were alone, and he had shown such love, such affection, she could have been in no doubt of his feelings. And yet, almost as soon as he saw her again, the next day or so, he would be like a polite stranger once again, dutiful, courteous, but distant. She had never understood it…even after the truth had come out and he had revealed his pining for Mary, his childhood sweetheart.
“Emma.” For a moment, she thought it was Kit coming towards her, and wanted to run. Then she realised that the hair was wrong, the expression was wrong, even the stance was wrong. It wasn’t Kit – it was James, his twin. James, with the same sculpted body, the same wide, broad chest and expansive shoulders, same muscular thighs and legs and rippling arms. She smiled faintly. James. She’d never liked him, and was quite certain her sentiments were returned, yet he had been strangely, her only support throughout her engagement with Kit – he’d been the one ally she had seemed to have within the walls of the wealthy, cold, and hauty Brandeworth family. The lesser of two evils, so to speak. The Brandeworths had all hated her – but he’d hated her the least. He’d cut his hair short sometime in the duration that she had not seen him – Kit wore his dark locks fashionably long and tied back in a que. James had lopped them off, and brushed them back of his forehead. His hooded, glittering green eyes were laughing mockingly as ever, the sensuous curve of his lips as sardonic as she remembered. His face was his brother’s, and yet it was not.
It was not just the superficial differences, but those engraved onto the planes of his face. Kit had always been sober, pleasant, dutiful. James, the older of the two was wry, cynical, always slightly mocking and a touch arrogant. Both were charming. Both were wealthy. But both were so very different.
“It has been a while.” His voice was distant, cultured, with a touch of hauteur.
She nodded. “It has. Are you well?”
“I am very well. And you?” he regarded her new slenderness with a frown. “You have lost weight, I see.”
“And glad of it,” Emma quipped.
“I am not,” he said abruptly. “You were perfect the way you were.”
There was an awkward silence for a moment, and then Kit strode into the room, Mary on his arm, and announced that lunch was ready.
After lunch, Emma found her way out to the old river, where she and Kit had used to sit, talk, and kiss sometimes. She sat for a while, lost in memories, and realised all of a sudden that while she was sad, and certainly mourned the days she had lost following a pointless dream, she was no longer bitter about Kit’s betrayal. In a way, the only reason she had felt so hurt was that he could have been so careless as to humiliate her in front of so many. She knew that if she had married him, she would not have been able to love him for the rest of her life. It was that simple – she had been in love with him for a short time, perhaps, but she would not have been able to love him for life. If she were, she would still assuredly be in love with him, and she was not. No, she was most definitely not.
She consigned her love, and her hurt, to the past. It had happened. It was over. She was still alive. She would heal, completely, given time, and one day she would love again. There was no use fighting against what had happened. Better to accept it with good grace…and save her pride, in the meantime. It would always hurt, perhaps, but it did not hurt quite so much anylonger.
“A penny for your thoughts?” a deep, masculine voice interrupted them.
Emma laughed. It was a strangely light, relieved sound. She felt no reticence at all towards him, strangely enough. “It will cost you a million pennies for these thoughts,” she remarked.
James smiled. “That profound, are they?”
“I was contemplating divinity and infinity.”
“Again? Do you never tire of it?”
“Never,” Emma smiled back at him. “How can one ever tire of it? It is a concept as such that the human mind can never grasp. It makes one’s mind want to fold in on itself, simply trying to understand.”
“That’s what makes it so tiring,” James said wryly. “One becomes weary of one’s mind being folded in on itself over time. Its dreadfully difficult trying to straighten it out once again.”
Emma laughed, and James stared at her for a minute, transfixed by the light in her eyes, the lushness of her parted lips. He had never seen her so carefree, so happy. Her only warning was the strange gleam in his glittering eyes before he kissed her.
His mouth was pressed, hard, against her own. Startled into immobility, and more than a little fascinated, she stilled. His tongue slipped out from between his lips, and slowly, languidly, licked over hers, finally slipping to the seam of her mouth. Her mouth opened, and he slid inside, tasting her. His tongue curled around hers, stroking it, enticing it, until he had lured her inside his mouth, where he trapped it, and sucked it lazily.
She gasped, pulled away. There was something curiously familiar about his kisses – no, terrifyingly so.
They were Kit’s kisses.
During dinner, Emma, seated next to James, could hardly bear to look at him. Her newfound relief gone, she found in place of them, suddenly a million complications and problems. Wonderful, she thought to herself. Well done, Emma. Trade one twin for the other, so he break your heart again. Heck, it would have been bad enough if they were simply brothers, but twins? My god, she’d be seeing Kit’s face for the rest of her life!
“Could you pass the salt, please?”
Emma looked up. The salt was directly in front of them, a mere foot away from him. “Get it yourself!” she snapped, uncharacteristically rudely, then felt ashamed almost at once.
“My apologies,” James said smoothly. “I merely wished to distract you from your thoughts. They seem to be rather distressing.”
His kisses were just like Kit’s. But of course – they had the same lips, didn’t they? Perhaps they kissed exactly alike. But even as she made the excuses, she knew they were feeble. Men did not kiss alike. To find, and kiss two that did was almost impossible. “How would you know?” she said waspishly. “You cannot read my thoughts.”
His raised brow made her think that he could.
“You have been quiet all evening. Is there perhaps something wrong?”
“No,” she almost snarled.
He smiled slightly. “Ah – is it perhaps that time of the month?”
He thought she had PMS! She wanted to scream. “No!” she said furiously. “Not that its any of your business. But since you seem so eager to talk about my menstruation cycle, I’ll take leave to inform you that I’m not due for another three weeks.”
There was a faint curve to his lips that she knew were signs of mockery. “But perhaps you are irregular? It has been shown that some women who have to face intense emotional distress do become irregular, if only for the duration of that distress. An influx of hormones, I believe is toted as the cause.”
“I am not irregular!” she hissed, and because she knew that any more of conversation in this vein would cause her to tip the entire contents of the dining table on his lap she turned resolutely to her soup and pointedly ignored him for the rest of the evening.
It was dark out, but Emma was resolute. She needed a walk, and by god, she was going to take one. She had to think. She had to relieve the stress that was building up inside her.
She dragged on a robe, tied it up, and crept out into the hallway. She stopped and listened for a moment. Silence. All the other houseguests were asleep. Jordan was too, presumably, since she could hear nothing from his room, which was next to hers. Slowly, she began slinking down the hallway. Just as she reached the secluded, almost empty wing of the house where she thought the coast was clear and she could begin to walk normally, and quickly out of there, a door opened and she was dragged inside.
A blindfold was pulled over her eyes, tied with quick precision. Her wrists were clasped in powerful hands, and she suddenly found herself handcuffed, and pulled back against a powerful, muscular chest. A powerful, muscular bare chest if she was any judge. She was flung down onto the bed, her wrists restrained to the bedpost, and suddenly, quite helpless. It had all happened so quickly she had had no time to react, and even if she had, what could she have done? This part of the house had been built for privacy – almost living here for the duration of her engagement to Kit, she knew almost all its nuances and secrets. No one would hear her scream, and her captor was a powerful man – he would overpower any attempts at escape easily.
“Who are you?” she demanded, having struggled for a while and found that the only thing that accomplished was to scrape her wrists raw.
“I think you know,” he said, and she could almost hear his smile. James. Incredible. First he kisses her, now he abducts her. Was there something wrong with the world?
“What are you doing?” she said angrily. “Let me go at once!”
“No,” he said simply, and kissed her.
She struggled. She really did, but after a while, could not seem to be bothered. His kisses were drugging, illicit, delicious. Even while she protested, she craved for more. She wrenched herself away.
“Let me go!”
“I have said already – no. I cannot. I must show you something.”
She felt cool air, and discovered to her dismay, her robe had been cut away, and with it, her nightdress. He tugged, and she was naked.
“Ah,” James murmured. “That’s better.”
He’s insane, Emma thought wildly. I am in the clutches of a lunatic.
“I’ll scream,” she threatened shakily.
“Please do,” he replied coolly. “It turns me on.”
“What are you, sadistic? Do you torture people just to hear them scream?”
“Not at all,” he said, a laugh in his voice. “I will torture you, and you will scream, but not in the way you think. You will like it, you see. And nothing is more erotic than a screaming woman in the throes of pleasure.” He traced a finger down her body as he spoke, and a shiver coursed through her.
“You’re going to rape me.” It was not a question.
“It is only rape if you are unwilling,” he countered softly. “And I promise, you will not be unwilling.”
“Over my dead body!”
He took her breasts in her hands. Her nipples were tiny pebbled peaks of arousal. He kneaded gently, and she caught her breath. “Would you care to make a wager on that?”
She was aroused, Emma knew. Even now, she could feel the wetness between her thighs, feel her sex gaping. She only hoped that he could not. “Don’t,” she said weakly, as he caressed her nipples with his thumbs.
To her surprise, and relief, he obliged. She felt his hands leave her breasts. Her relief was shortlived, however, for his mouth was suddenly on it. Heat. Wetness. Hunger. She cried out at sensation, involuntarily arching her back.
James smiled in satisfaction and sucked harder. He bit down gently, then harder. A whimper escaped her throat, and she writhed, unable to bear the pain, and the pleasure.
He moved to her other breast, licking first everywhere but the nipple, then circling it until she thought she would go mad. Finally, he sucked it intil his mouth, suckling so hard she thought he meant to devour her entire breast.
“Shall I stop?” he asked, lifting his head.
“Yes,” she said reluctantly. She felt him shift, move, and knew not whether to be relieved, or disappointed.
His fingers plunged inside her. She screamed.
“Ah,” he said in satisfaction. “Music to my ears. Do you scream when you come? I think you do – scream for me, darling. Scream when you come.”
His fingers were plunging in and out of her rhythmically, roughly, steadily. She panted, gasped, fought not to buck against his fingers. His thumb rubbed at her clitoris. She moaned, writhing.
He withdrew his fingers, put them into his mouth, and suckled, drinking in the sweet taste of her. She whimpered at the loss, only to scream again, as she felt his mouth on her. His tongue was lapping at her, licking and devouring at her lips and sliding up inside her as if he were starved. His tongue was slick, hot, wet. His mouth enclosed her clitoris, and she felt his fingers sliding inside her again. She moaned in pleasure as he began to suck at her clitoris, moving his fingers inside her all the while.
She screamed when she came, pouring into his mouth. He lapped at her, swallowed, and smiled.
“Are you still unwilling?” he asked, and Emma felt something nudge at her.
“Yes,” she gasped, defiant to the last.
“Well,” he said softly. “I’m afraid that can’t be helped.”
With a great lunge, he shoved his cock inside her, and she moaned, arching up against her will.
“I love it when you moan,” he said, panting. He gripped her hips and pumped inside her, closing his eyes at the exquisite pleasure of having her, hot and tight and wet, wrapped around him. His fingers cradled her buttocks, squeezing and kneading in tune to his thrusts.
“How does it feel?” he demanded.
“Full,” she gasped. “So full.” And it was – he seemed to fill every inch of her as he plunged inside to the hilt. She was mindless, out of control. Every thought seemed to centre on the incredible sensation of being filled, being taken, again and again. She was wet, could feel her wetness running down her thighs, could feel his enormous cock pumping inside her, and it seemed that it was all that she could feel. She could feel herself coming, could almost taste the pleasure of her orgasm. She bit her lip, moaned again and bucked against him.
She was close, he knew. He revelled in the expression on her face, one of mingled pain and pleasure. He was being rough, and he knew it. She didn’t seem to care though. Her mouth opened – he withdrew.
She cried out in dismay. James cocked his head. “What is this – you are perhaps willing, after all?”
“Yes,” she said, almost screaming in rage. “Yes, I’m willing, you bastard. Finish me!”
He crawled up her body until his face was level with hers. He kissed her, openmouthed, and she reciprocated in passionate desperation. He pulled away after a moment with a sneer. “Beg me,” he whispered.
She whimpered and shook her head. He sighed, then moved up until his cock was level with her face and nudged at her lips. “Take me inside your mouth,” he commanded.
Dazed, she opened her lips obediently and he slipped inside, emitting a heartfelt groan of pleasure. Her tongue flicked at him and he almost came right then. “Suck me,” he said harshly. She did, and he groaned again, letting out a moan of pleasure as he began to thrust inside her mouth. “Harder, sweetheart. Harder.”
Emma closed her eyes and did as he ordered. She seemed to have lost all capacity for thought. She was sucking on him, and that seemed to be all that mattered, that and fire between her legs. She sucked harder, and he suddenly withdrew. “Enough,” he said. “Now, beg me.”
“Please,” she whispered.
“Tell me you want me.”
“I want you.”
“Tell me you want me to fuck you.”
“I want you to fuck me. Please.” Even at the last, she was polite, he thought wildly.
With a laugh of triumph, he shoved himself back inside her, and started thrusting again, mating with her with vigor. She moaned with pleasure, and he felt her tightening around him. As she contracted in orgasm, she let out a scream, and he too let go, pouring into her in hot gushes, coming with a roar of pleasure, emptying himself inside her. He collapsed onto her, exhausted, feeling sleep creep over him. At the last moment, he wrapped his arms around her and gathered her close, drawing her into the protective cocoon of his body before dropping off to sleep.
He was still inside her.
Emma woke to the sensation of something nudging against her buttocks. Her bare buttocks, she realised blearily, eyes still half closed. In fact, her bare, rather warm buttocks.
Her eyes opened like a shot and she made to bolt upright only to feel two arms wrap around her and pin her down again. “Hush, sweetheart,” a voice murmured warmly in her ear. “I’ve waited for more than three years for this and I’m not about to let you get away that easily.”
The memories came flooding back in a rush and she smothered a whimper of mortification, remembering her wantoness, the way she had responded, the way she had screamed and cried out for him. Her face went scarlett and she lay still, completely at a loss.
James’ lips feathered over the back of her neck, and she knew without a doubt that it was his penis that was nudging so boldly against her posteriour. His tongue flicked out, licking her, then she felt the scrape of his teeth as he bit gently into her, then harder. She gave a little whimper of mingled pain and pleasure and he chuckled. “You like it rough?” he remarked. “I think we can manage that…”
“Don’t hurt me,” she said softly, her voice small and vulnerable.
James’ demeanor changed abruptly. “Never that,” he said tenderly. “I’d never hurt you. Never.” His hands slid over her body to cup breasts that had tautened and peaked with arousal. “I want only to love you again…if you’ll let me.”