Seduction on WIP Wednesday

No heroine she, but I rather liked the expression on Joseph's face as he tries to reject Potiphar's wife.

No heroine she, but I rather liked the expression on Joseph’s face as he tries to reject Potiphar’s wife.

Well, maybe not seduction, precisely, because some of us write heroes and heroines who are far too well behaved to get up to that kind of mischief, at least on our pages.

But this week, I’m looking for excerpts that show one character being aware of their physical attraction to the other, especially if they act on it.

Mine is from A Raging Madness. My heroine has not just been compromised, but assaulted, and only the quick thinking of Alex’s father has saved her. Marriage to Alex is the best way to keep her safe, but her previous marriage has left her with bad memories. Never a woman to back away from her fears, she goes to see Alex in his room.

“Is something wrong, Ella? Can I help?”

She wore an ankle-length nightrail, and as she passed in front of the fire, he could see her legs outlined through the fine material. She dropped the shawl she wore and his mouth instantly dried.

“Show me I am not cold, Alex.”

His brain had emptied, too. Surely she could not mean…? Suddenly, he realised that he was naked, and the sheets were down by his hips. He shifted to pull them up and stopped. Too late. She had seen his scarred torso and had not run screaming from the room. That was good, surely?

She was flushing; shifting from one foot to another. “You do not have to if you do not wish to, Alex.”

She thought he was rejecting her? Without stopping to think about it, he threw back the sheets, disclosing his very male reaction to her suggestion, and her eyes riveted on it.

“Someone salutes the idea,” she said, with an entirely feminine smirk. Then her uncertainty returned. “If we do this, I want you to know… If it doesn’t work, if I cannot… I will go away, Alex. I will not burden you with a wife who cannot please you.”

That raised the stakes to a whole new level.

“You will please me, Ella. You please me very much. I thought to wait out of respect to the woman who will be my wife.” He gave her his best roguish grin. “But it occurs to me that bedding you might be the best way to make sure you don’t wriggle out of this, Ella. You really are the most elusive woman! Come here.” He held out his hand, and she took one hesitant step towards him, then another until her hand was in his and he could draw her to the side of the bed. Her colour had deepened as she walked, but he could not keep his eyes on her face with her dark aureole showing through the thin fabric of the nightrail.

Almost without volition, his other hand came up to shape one breast, to linger lovingly over a nipple that tightened and peaked as he touched it.

She trembled and sucked a breath sharply through her mouth, and he looked up into her wary eyes.

“Come here,” he said again, shifting sideways in the bed to make room for her.

She allowed him to help her up on the bed, sitting beside him, upright and tense.

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8 thoughts on “Seduction on WIP Wednesday

      • I meant to last night, but a certain baby decided to stay up until nearly midnight.

        This is an excerpt from The Bride Price. Emily and William have been married for over a week and knew each other as distant acquaintances growing up, but they have yet to take that final step…

        ***

        The sitting room had grown darker during her absence. She saw William, still in his chair near the fireplace, and she wondered if he had even moved at all during the time she had been upstairs. As she approached, she waited for him to give any sign that he was aware of her presence. When she came up beside him, he did not flinch, did not even blink. But she noticed the subtle movement of his lips as he breathed, almost a shudder, as if each inhalation took more effort than he had to give.

        “William,” she said, so softly she doubted he had heard. But he raised his chin an inch, his head turning just enough that she was able to see the glimmer of firelight dancing in his eyes.

        “You wore a yellow dress,” he said, his gaze never leaving the fire. “And your hair…” He licked his lips, and then he shook his head slowly from side to side. “I had been home from school for maybe two, three days at the most. My mother had cast the house into darkness, heavy drapes and shutters keeping out all the light, as if it had been an errant sunbeam that had struck my father instead of the branch of an oak tree.”

        Emily closed her eyes. His voice rolled over her, each syllable painting the picture of a day that gently teased the edges of her memory.

        “And there you were,” he went on. “Illuminating the entire room, despite the absence of candles, of any natural light. I spoke to you, or I tried to, but everything I said turned to lead on my tongue. That was your effect on me. And even now…” He lowered his chin to his chest, and she saw his eyes close, while the corners of his mouth lifted in a smile. “But I devised a plan, that day. Quite straightforward, in fact. I would finish school, get myself set up in some dank little solicitor’s office,” he scoffed and again raised his chin. “That was my father’s dream for me. Did I tell you that? To go into law, to spend all of my days poring over dry documents and arguing with even drier old men. But I had every intention of doing that, of making something of a gentleman out of myself. And then my plan would conclude with my return to Bodmin, and then to your father’s house, where I would ask him for your hand in marriage.”

        Her fingers found their way to the back of his chair, her knuckles turning white as she gripped the edge of it.

        “But then my father died. And your mother…” He made a small gesture with his hand, a brush of his fingers that better demonstrated the pain, the helplessness they both had felt more than any words would have managed. “When enough time had passed, when I no longer feared that I would be trespassing on your grief, I discovered that you had already gone off to London, in search of a husband.”

        “And we both know how well I fared upon my first introduction to society,” she said with no small amount of bitterness.

        William sighed. “I am sorry. I would give anything to somehow go back in time and spare you that.”

        “But then we would not be here now, would we?” Emily leaned against the side of his chair and began to tug at a thread that had worked its way loose from the upholstery. “As simple as your plans must have seemed in your imaginings, my father… Well, he would never have entertained the notion of a farmer’s son as a potential suitor for one of his daughters, at least not while we were still possessed of reputations worth recommending us.”

        She wondered, fleetingly, how well her sisters would muddle through the marriage market, now that her own scandal had already been pushed aside for the juicier tidbits of gossip currently floating around London. But her thoughts were interrupted by the touch of William’s hand on her own, before his fingers circled around the slender line of her wrist.

        A gentle tug from him, and she moved around towards the front of the chair. He took her other hand, so that she stood facing him, her back against the warmth that radiated from the fireplace.

        “I would not have let him stop me,” he whispered, his words igniting the gooseflesh on her skin. “Not your father, not anyone.”

  1. I just finished this bit from The Reluctant Wife’s trip from Calcutta to Suez. They are posing as man and wife:

    With both hands on the railing she closed her eyes and tipped her head back, enjoying the feel of the wind in her hair.
    Soon, she thought. Six weeks, two months at most we’ll be in London and I can—
    “Glorious isn’t it.” She jumped at the sound of Fred’s voice next to her ear. He clamped an arm around her and pulled her against his rock hard chest. “Easy. Don’t go tumbling over that railing. I don’t want to have to jump in and fetch you,” he laughed, his breath warm against her cheek. After a moment he added, “I can feel your heart pounding.”
    Pounding? It feels like it is jumping out of my chest.
    She sagged against him. “Of course it is; you startled me!”
    “Are you sure that’s all it is,” he murmured.
    No damn it.
    She resented the effect he had on her. She turned to reprimand him for teasing only to find his face little more than an inch from hers. A hard lump formed in her throat making speech impossible. She took a breath and the scent of salt water, sandalwood, and male made her knees weak.
    Hasty whispers behind his back stopped her unruly thoughts, and she felt her eyes widen. She tried to push back, but he held he fast.
    “Have an audience do we?” he murmured. “We may as well give them something to gossip about, wife.”
    ###
    Fred slid his hands to Clare’s shoulders, held her close, and dove forward for quick kiss, a chaste enough salute that left him wanting more.
    That should keep the biddies busy for a week, the remaining sane part of his brain told him. He planted one more quick kiss before taking a step back, holding her at arm’s length, and dropping his hands to put more distance between them while he still could. “I’m glad I suggested a sea voyage for our honeymoon,” he said out loud. A scuffle indicated their observer’ departure.
    Clare ran a shaking hand over her lips. That and the memory of her breasts against his shirt almost finished him.

    A creative man would find a way to get her alone in some private cranny of this vessel. An honorable man would keep his distance.

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