A Lady's PleasureBy: Robin Schone
It filled the storm, pounding and striking the night sky.
It filled the stranger, fueling and stoking a burning lust.
For a woman.
A woman who knew more of life than surviving one day at a time.
A woman with kindness and passion.
A woman who would share with him her soul as well as her body.
A woman who, perhaps, could give him back his own soul.
The man raised his face to the sky and cursed the icy rain. He cursed the wind that drove it into every pore of his body. He cursed the African Boer who had used his left leg for target practice, thus necessitating convalescence in the cold, drafty country that was England . He cursed the horse that had thrown him in such a godforsaken, isolated area. But most of all he cursed the need that had driven him from the warmth and comfort of his seaside cottage.
Need that a man like him, born on the streets of London , could not afford.
Need that, in a man like him, haunted by the nameless dead, could never be appeased.
A fork of jagged lightning split the sky; a warning shot of thunder echoed through the night.
The storm promised death, lost as he was with neither horse nor shelter.
The storm promised life, the dawning of a new day in the aftermath of pain and desire.
The stranger lowered his head. And saw the light.
"My desires were excited to the highest pitch. I depicted to her the pleasure she would experience when, after arriving at the chateau, I should deflower her of her virginity, and triumphantly carry off her maidenhead on the head of this, 'dear Laura,' I said, as I took one of her hands and "
A raging black wall of wind and rain turned candlelight into night, swallowing whole the illicit, newspaper-type print that was in that second the sum total of Abigail's existence.
Blindly, instinctively, she scooped up the forbidden journal she had been reading. Beside her, frenzied fingers rifled through the earlier installment of erotic literature, whipped it through the air. Behind her, china clicked and clattered in the cupboard. And before her
A dark silhouette, darker than the storm outside, filled the space where the cottage door should be. Where it had been but a moment before.
Abigail's heart slammed against her ribs as she made the mental transition from the fictional Laura who was being initiated into the pleasures of sex to the flesh-and-blood spinster that was herself.
Another explosion resounded through the one-room cottage the door slamming shut. Barring the buffeting wind and the drumming rain. Barring what light the night provided.
Barring Abigail inside the cottage with an intruder.
An intruder who, judging by the height and breadth of the silhouette that had filled the doorway, could only be a man.
A very large man.
Lingering desire pulsed through her bodyand dawning horror.
She was all alone and she had forgotten to bolt the door.
Abigail surged to her feetnaked feet, defenseless feet, where had she put her shoes? "Who are you?"
Her voice was loudtoo loud in the sudden quiet. Certainly it did not belong to the placid spinster everyone took her to be.
No more than it belonged to the wanton woman she had been but a moment before.
Hair rose on the back of her neck as she strained to see through the black abyss that was all that separated her and certain theft or death. "What do you want?"
Droplets of water pelted her in the faceas if some great animal shook itself dry.
"What do you think I want?" The low, masculine growl came from the vicinity of the door. "Lady, in case you haven't noticed, there's a storm outside. I want shelter."
Abigail's breath escaped in surprise at the blistering censure in the intruder's voice. His accent proclaimed that he was no local boy, but an educated man.
"I am fully aware that there is a storm outside, Mr. ..."
"Coally. Robert. Colonel," the disembodied voice curtly supplied.
White dots pricked the blackness in front of Abigail's eyes. "I am fully aware that there is a storm outside, Colonel Coally, but you can not possibly stay here. There is a"warmth flooded her cheeks at mentioning the unmentionable"a little house out back. You will find shelter there."
"Lady, I am soaked; I am cold; I am hungry. I am not going to spend a night in a privy. Light that candle before one of us does ourselves an injury."