Thursday, April 10, 2008

Servicing Lady Tremayne by Emma Wildes

The faint, elusive scent of lily of the valley drifted in the air. The effect was intensely feminine, as was the luxurious bedroom, all done in pale shades of rose and cream. Even the huge, carved armoire was an ivory color, with twining vines and roses painted on it, and the fireplace mantle was creamy Italian marble. Underfoot, the carpet was thick and sumptuous, and he made no noise as he walked.

Thomas Blake had been in this room several times before, and it always struck him how it suited the woman now laying in bed in her dressing gown, slightly propped up on the pillows, regarding him with her signature blue eyes. Daphne Tremayne was strikingly beautiful, with flawless ivory skin, shining hair so dark it carried sheen of blue in the light, and perfect features in an oval face. Her body, too, was slender, but full in all the right places if you were an appreciative male. As the young widow of a wealthy earl, Daphne was currently the reigning beauty of the haute ton, and by all reports London society was prostrate at her feet.

Thomas said courteously, "Good afternoon, Countess. I am sorry you are not feeling well."

Her lashes, lush and dark, lowered a fraction. "Thank you for coming, Doctor."

"Of course. Now, tell me what can I do for you? Your note was not very specific."

"That is because," she answered with her usual quiet composure, "I was not sure what to say exactly. I just thought perhaps if you could come see me it would help."

"I see." Setting down his case, Thomas sat down on the edge of the bed next to her and reached for her arm, expertly finding the spot in her slim wrist, checking her pulse. It was racing, and he frowned. Letting her arm go, he turned toward her and gave a reassuring smile. "Forgive me, please, but I'd like to feel your heartbeat, my lady."

Without hesitation, she pulled open the neck of her robe, revealing the top part of her chest and the lush upper swells of both creamy breasts. Placing his hand in the correct spot, he tried to ignore the fact that suddenly his own pulse had picked up and that the flesh under his palm was silken and soft. The beat of her heart was strong and steady--which was good, but it was definitely a bit fast.

He gently felt her neck then, his fingers moving, his lovely patient obediently sitting up a little more so he could examine her. As he probed and prodded, he asked, "Have you been having any symptoms that you can share with me? Headaches, pain in your joints, stomach upsets?"

"No, none of those." Her long hair, smooth and glossy, moved across her shoulders as she shook her head.

"And your female cycles, are they regular?"

Though some of the noble ladies he treated disliked discussing that topic with him because they considered it indelicate, she simply said, "Yes. That isn't the trouble."

"You may lay back again, Countess." Sitting beside her, he began to feel a little puzzled by her reticence. Having attended to her husband during his illness several years ago, he knew her to be intelligent, and she had been very frank about her husband's problems. What was more, her robe had opened further when she sat up, and now that she reclined again against the pillows, her left breast was completely exposed and she made no move to adjust her clothing and cover her nudity.

In fact, it occurred to him that she must be completely naked under the thin silk wrapper.

Good God, it was bad enough that he had always been unprofessionally affected by her incredible beauty, but having her practically naked next to him was extremely distracting. He was a physician, yes, but he was also a man.

Making it a point to look into her eyes and not at her tantalizing bare breast, he cleared his throat. "I don't find anything obviously wrong, other than you are a little highly-strung right now. You are not feverish or have any other visible signs of illness. Perhaps you could be a little more specific on the exact trouble?"

Her gaze was direct, her eyes so vividly blue that several young besotted poets had written sonnets to that unique color. She said demurely, "I am afraid it is a little ... embarrassing, but I have thought about this for a long time and I hope you can help me."

He lifted one brow encouragingly. "That is why I'm here."

"I am restless," she bit her soft lower lip, but held his gaze, "and cannot sleep. It is getting worse and I feel very ... frustrated."

"Ah, well, that is simple enough. I can give you a sleeping draught. You must be careful with it and follow the dosage exactly, but it will help." Relieved it was something so easily dismissed and he could leave, Thomas went to rise from the bed, surprised when she caught his arm, detaining him with the light clasp of her fingers.

"No ... that isn't it," she told him with just a shade of urgency in her tone. "Please, stay and hear me out."

He couldn't help it, for just a second, as he sank back down politely, his gaze strayed to her open gown. Her breast was as perfect as the rest of her, full and lush, the nipple a delicate coral, the same shade as her soft mouth. He could feel himself hardening, his erection swelling in his breeches even as he jerked his gaze back to her face.

What he saw there surprised him. A glimmer of something in those very blue eyes, triumph perhaps, or satisfaction, but there seemed little doubt she had noticed that he was unable to ignore her partial nudity and it pleased her. Since her reputation was as flawless as her beauty, he found it hard to understand. She lowered her lashes quickly, the thick fringe a contrast to her alabaster skin and striking eyes.

"I think," he said, hoping his voice sounded perfectly steady, "that I have heard everything there is to hear in my career as a physician, my lady. What seems embarrassing to you is probably very normal. Now then, tell me."

She took a breath, a small rueful smile curving her lips. "I am not exactly sure how to put this except in the most frank manner possible, so ... I will tell you that I miss ... well, conjugal relations."

A little off-balance and wishing she was telling this to anyone but him, Thomas said nothing for a moment.

Her gaze was still direct as she continued speaking quickly, but her cheeks had taken on color. "I am growing quite preoccupied with this need, it is very distracting. My late husband wasn't a particularly gifted lover, but he did desire me often, and though I never found sex to be anything beyond pleasantly enjoyable, I find now that my body craves that ... possession."

If she had used any other word, it could not have been more luridly effective. His cock stiffened further, and if she had been looking at his crotch and not his face she would certainly be able to realize what exactly she was doing to him.

Groping for a professional response, Thomas said, "It is in our nature to want sexual intercourse, man or woman. If you are worried it is unnatural, don't be. Your problem is easy enough to solve, Countess. I do not go out in society often, but even I know you have a host of admirers who would be more than delighted to oblige you."

"Yes, I know," she agreed, her incredible eyes still half-veiled, "but I need someone I am very attracted to, someone who will be discreet and not flaunt the affair, someone who will simply satisfy my body and not press me for anything else. I don't believe I want to marry again, neither do I want everyone whispering about me behind my back."

His mouth went dry.

"You," she added softly, "would be perfect."