Lady Thief
Author:Rizzo Rosko

Chapter Ten





William’s eyes flashed. “Careful with your words!”

Color traveled up Blaise’s neck, as though just remembering he was accusing the wife of his father. Even so, the scowl remained.

“Several gold and silver plates are missing. The cooks and the sewing-maids have also informed me that spices and silks are gone as well.”

Marianne felt the rage from William burning as though she stood next to a blazing fire. She let it spread into her, consume her. This weasel was accusing her of theft!

The old feeling of wishing to claw his eyes out returned with a mad vengeance, and she forced herself to remain at William’s side. If she took one step towards Blaise she would do just as she wished. “What makes you think I would steal from my husband?”

His gaze on her was cold. “Your father is missing, and so are my father’s horses.”

The violent feeling inside of her intensified. “You pathetic swine! ‘Tis not enough that you insult me at every opportunity but now you try to drag my father in mud as well?”

Blaise’s face reddened like fire. “He drags himself in the mud!”

“How long has he been gone?” William demanded above their raging voices.

Marianne whipped her head around. He would not look at her.

“No one has seen him since early this morn.”

William scratched his jaw. “I had just arrived, and was also preoccupied with Archer and Clovis while Robert returned the animals to the stables.”

Marianne could not believe what she heard, but William continued his pondering, pretending not to notice her open staring.

“I will need to speak with Robert.”

“I already have.” Blaise said quickly.

William waited. “And?”

“He has told me that he did not see Holton with any valuables, but that he was acting strangely and said that he might wish to take a ride later.”

“So Robert did not help him to saddle and pack the horses?”

Blaise shook his head. “Nay, but another young stable boy did see Holton trying on his own, and assisted him with it. He told me that Holton rode off by himself.”

William seethed. “He could have packed all those horses with valuables.”

Marianne did not want to believe it. She could not believe her father was capable of theft, and while at first she could not, within seconds of the accusation she found her way of thinking to be swayed to what could only be the truth. She knew that trying to defend her father’s honor would only result in naught but more hot temper, so she remained silent.

Even though her father was a man who rarely thought of anyone but himself, she had an inkling of his plan.

“Perhaps he wished to sell the items for land?”

Blaise sneered at the idea. “What land could he purchase with stolen goods? Once he was accused everything he purchased would belong to my father in the end.”

“Unless he went abroad,” said William. “Still, we do not know how much he took, and whether it would be enough to buy him a sizable amount of land to live off of.”

Marianne did not believe that was what her father’s intention.

Her face must have given her away because Blaise was quick to attack her again. “Do you know something that perhaps you are not telling us, my lady?”

William looked at her as well, apparently awaiting an explanation.

Marianne’s mood deflated. Only a moment ago her husband spoke of making love with her. But of course, why should she think that his lust would lead to mutual trust? He wanted her in his bed. He had not forgotten that she forced him into the marriage.

Marianne cleared the lump of pain from her throat. “I believe he might wish to give whatever stolen items he has to sir Ferdinand. Perhaps to regain some of the land surrounding Holton House.”

The brows of both men raised high at her.

William was the first to speak. “Why only some of the land? Why not try to bargain for the house and the land?” He shook his head, as though dismissing the idea. “Even if Holton had twice the amount required for a house that size, Ferdinand would never sell it back to him.”

She looked away from the both of them. She still felt William’s eyes on her, as though he wished to hear what she thought her father would do since she knew the man best. “My brothers, all of them, are buried on that land.”

A small gasp left William’s mouth as though it had been pulled from his throat. “I was unaware you had any.”

Even Blaise was silent, though his eyes not any less accusing.

Marianne nodded. “Aye, five of them,” her voice became smaller. “All gone.”

William sighed and rubbed his face. “Send some men out to find him, but he is not to be harmed.”

“The man is a thief!” Blaise was spitting with shaking rage.

William refused to lose his calm the way Blaise did so easily. “And those items could have easily been misplaced. I do not wish to send men off to beat him on the chance he really is just gone for some air.”

Blaise glared and William glared back, his spine as stiff as his tone and fists clenched. “I will not be moved by you. You are finished doing as you please, and I shall not change my mind. Send the men, and if I hear that you twisted my words to have him harmed then you shall sleep in the barn until the first snow.”

Marianne stood stunned, her face mimicking that of Blaise’s, who rocked back on his feet at the threat. The image melted into the shocked outrage she witnessed the day William grabbed a fistful of his orange hair when he defended her from his son.

Body tight, Blaise did as he was bid and stalked away with all the bluster of a winter storm. There was no pout on his face or an ungentlemanly slouch in his back. The air around him did waft thick, however, and passing maids and children scurried out of his way.

Marianne wished she could ask William about the true relationship between him and Blaise. She could not for a moment believe that William was Blaise’s father, not when he had Robert’s orange head of hair and face. So then why did William keep Blaise under his roof and call him his son when he so obviously was not?

Marianne sighed. If there had ever been a chance for her to convince William that she did not need a squire to follow her, this event surely destroyed it.

Why did her father have to bring ruin to her happiness? He always seemed to be around the corner with a piece of bad news to spring upon her.

The deaths of her brothers, Reggie slipping from his horse, Blaise’s insulting letter, her engagement to Sir Ferdinand, and now this.

The anger bubbled inside her like boiling water. Her body shaking with effort to contain it.

“I am not a thief.” She spoke the words without thinking.

“I never assumed you were, my dear.”

She wished he would refrain from calling her that. A sweet pet-name was meant for lovers, not strangers.

They would have been lovers had Blaise not stormed in on them and made that horrible accusation.

“I do like seeing your cheeks that color, my dear, but knowing ‘tis not I making you so angry upsets me.”

Marianne ignored him, spun and tried to storm away. She should have known he would not let her.

He grabbed her and forcefully turned her. Marianne found her entire body pressed closely into his chest, his chin resting atop her head in his attempt to contain her anger. “No more will you stomp around like a spoiled child.”

“Spoiled child?” She raged, now wishing to claw out his eyes instead as her voice rose. “Blaise accuses me of stealing from my new home, and you—”

Her words stalled on her lips when William dragged her into the next room. He returned her to her feet before he slammed the door.

She knew the room without turning around. ‘Twas one of the rooms she had yelled and screamed for the servants to clean, and in the end she had to help clean it because the few maids willing to get back to their work straight away had been scattered all over the castle with other chores, and completing them as slowly as possible.

The large bed in the center of the room with its clean sheets took up all of her attention, and she flushed with the recognition of where William’s thoughts had gone.

“If you think for one moment that we are going to do this now—”

William went to her, wrapped his arms under her bottom and lifted her into the air as though she weighed less than a girl’s doll. Marianne shrieked, her fists pounded his shoulders and back uselessly, but he held firm until throwing her onto the bed where she bounced helplessly.

She nearly slipped off, but he was on her in an instant, clasping her wrists and holding them above her head with only one of his much larger hands.

She blew locks of red hair out of her eyes and glared at him. “If you do this, I shall never forgive you.”

He was neither smiling nor scowling. “You certainly think highly of yourself.”

“I think no such thing.”

“And you obviously think very little of me.”

“What?”

“I would never force myself on you, and have never done so to any woman. Ever.” His grip on her wrists tightened. “I would have thought that after sharing my bed with you all this time, you would have a little more sense than that.” He paused. “And respect.”

She snarled and struggled despite knowing he was much too heavy for her to move, ‘twas more for him to see that she would not give in to him so easily. “Forgive me if my wits have abandoned me while you press me into the bed.”

William dropped her wrists and moved to close the curtains surrounding them. Marianne’s shock took hold of her with this new movement. Her confusion gripped her as tight as William’s hands and she could not lower her arms from where they had been held.

He returned and settled himself next to her, laying one hand palm down on the blanket beside her head. While he did not put his whole weight onto her this time, there was enough of him there to make her aware that she was still under his power.

“If you would like to scream as you are prone to do, I would prefer that you not do so in front of the servants.” He reached out for a pillow and handed it to her. “Screaming and shrieking into this should stifle most of the noise.”

Marianne lowered her hands but did not take the pillow. “Nay, I think I shall not scream today.”

He raised a brow at her, tossing the pillow away. “And you will not try to gallop off into the forest?”

She glared again, but she did not put her usual spirit into it. “You have made that quite impossible already, dear husband.”

She did not use the name with any of her earlier sarcasm. In fact she shocked herself with the playful tone she heard there.

William smiled, tracing her jaw with the tip of a large finger. “Simply because you decide not to scream does not mean I wish for you to contain your anger. You are allowed to be cross with Blaise.”

Marianne eyes widened. How had he seen through her like that? “What gave you the impression I was not going to be angry with him?”

His pleased smile turned from innocent to wickedness. “My dear, whenever the world vexes you, you either scream at the top of your lungs, or you run away from it.”

“You will haunt me with the forest incident for the rest of my life, won’t you?” Marianne shut her eyes against him, exasperated and willing for her strength to not leave her. “I’ll have you know that was a singular moment of foolishness.”

William’s brow nearly touched his hairline. The vision of her running from the church upon discovering that he was not who she thought he was flashed in his memory. ‘Twas no singular incident, but he said nothing of it.

“Very well,” he said.

Marianne worried her bottom lip. “If your men find my father, and bring him back, and if he did steal those things from you, what will you do to him?”

William clasped the bridge between his eyes, as though he searched for the proper words. “‘Tis a difficult question. He needs punishment, I cannot pretend he did not steal from me simply for your sake and allow him to stay.” He looked down at her. Marianne squirmed as he continued. “Yet for your sake, I do not believe I can not turn him out into the cold.”

Marianne hesitated. Actually, he could do whatever he wanted to the man and Marianne could say naught about it. She certainly did not want her father to freeze during the winter months, but at the same time…

“You could always give him a thrashing.”

He sputtered. “What is this?”

Marianne did not know if he was shocked by her statement or the predatory smile on her face.

“Or you could put him in the barn and have him clean the stalls until he has learned his lesson. But you must wait until they are good and full, with no one there to aid him.”

William laughed. “Aye, I can see him in my mind doing that. He will need to be watched of course,”

“Naturally. We cannot have him trying to run off again.”

“Aye, when he returns I shall have to order the men at the gates to not only refuse to open the drawbridge for you, but now for him as well.”

Marianne laughed. How was it possible he could still her anger like this? The tension was no longer in her body, and their closeness did not stir a worry in her gut either. The old warm feelings in her belly returned, the air surrounding her became hot and comforting. How could she tell him that she wished to make love again without humiliating herself?

His face was close to hers, breath warming her cheeks further. The heat traveled into her lungs, which worked harder to take in more air. Slowly, hesitantly, Marianne reached up to touch his lightly colored hair, holding the strands between her fingertips like he had done to her.

The few threads of gray made him handsome, and she wondered if he had been just as handsome, or more so, before the small lines creased under his eyes.

Nay, she thought after some seconds of study, smoothing the hair the dropped to his forehead. He could never have been more pleasing to the eye at any other time. He was perfect now.

Marianne shifted, embarrassment gripped her body and she bit her bottom lip to regain control. She wanted to ask him to touch her, but she could not speak, nor did she need to. William, having somehow sensed her inner conflict, dropped his head and covered her mouth with his.

What had begun as soft and feathery kissing, lips massaging lips, became rough and wanting within seconds. Teeth met teeth, nipping gently before becoming rough in their play.

William’s larger hand cupped her face, then burned down her neck, over her breasts and stomach, trailing fire with it as he lifted her green gown.

Frustration swelled inside her. She did not want him to lift it, she wanted him to take the damned thing off. If she could burn so much with his touch through her gown, she needed to feel his touch to her flesh.

She jolted when his fingers reached between her legs. They were cold and shocking, but then her back arched with the spasm that came with them. The cold was promptly replaced with severe heat that made her sweat. Her mouth opened though there was naught she wanted to say, and nothing emerged but tiny squeaks.

William took advantage of her mouth then and kissed her again. Marianne threw her arm around his neck to anchor her, using the other to keep her propped up, and kissed him back. Wordless noises continued to erupt from her mouth through their kiss but she did not care. All she wanted was for him to keep touching her, keep rubbing that spot, never stop until she reached her destination. Where she did not know but again all that mattered was that he never stop.

Abruptly he pulled away his entire body to stand on his knees before her, and Marianne fell back on the bed, panting, unsatisfied and confused.

She was so close! She could not say what it was that she was close to, but something almost happened and she nearly burst into tears because he had the audacity to stop.

She was going to tell him what she really thought of him for presenting her with such a cruel punishment, but he was preoccupied with the removing of his blue outer robe, and then loosening his pants.

“What are you—”

His voice was hurried as he threw away his tunic. “If you are going to reach your pleasure so soon you will do it with me inside you.”

The needful rumble in his voice excited her, the interest between her thighs again aroused. When he guided her legs apart she lifted them and allowed him to settle in between without fear.

Without notice he stopped. “This will hurt for a few moments,”

Marianne felt the hard shaft of his manhood waiting to enter her and felt a new rise in her excitement. She doubted very much that anything could hurt her at this point and ignored the warning.

***

William thrust into her quickly and felt Marianne tense beneath him, heard the stunned squeak escape her lips and watched her eyes flare open.

He pulled her closer and rested his face in the crook of her neck, calling all of his willpower to keep him from moving.

She clutched at his shoulders, horror nearly took him with the idea that she would tell him to stop, that he was hurting her far too much for her to handle and that she wished him to lift himself off and leave her.

But then she relaxed in his arms. He returned his hand to the spot between her legs and massaged the tender flesh through her curls while he thrust into her.

Marianne opened her mouth and released soft, throaty mewls that went straight to William’s cock. The whole of her body seemed to squeeze him, an encouragement that could only mean any pain she had felt had vanished in favor of the building pleasure.

Then he found that little spot inside her and she truly let the noises come out.

“Again! Touch me there again,” she demanded, eyes wide and mouth open with intense excitement.

Encouraged, he complied to her wishes with a grin.

Marianne clutched the bed sheets and lifted herself to meet his thrusting hips and fingers, once, twice, and then tensed when she finally made it there, the lips of her sex contracting around William’s manhood.

He could not hold himself off as her contracting inner walls pulled him along with her, and he could only pump himself faster, harder, bringing her wave after wave of the most exquisite feeling either of them had ever experienced until they finally made it to shore and rested there, out of breath from the intense exercise, slick with sweat.

William collapsed on top of her and Marianne released a light hearted giggle, a smile on her rosy lips.

He pressed his lips to her shoulder. “I take it you are satisfied?”

“More than satisfied.” She purred, clinging to his chest and snuggling there like a content feline.

“Good. Next I will take you to the same place and show you how much more wonderful it could be.”

Later, he promised himself, later.

Strange, how loving her could cause him to be so clumsy in bed.

His breath caught at the thought.

He had not thought of loving her in the physical sense, but the kind that stirred his silent heart.

Did he love her? ‘Twas the first time he had ever outright asked himself that question. He had not loved in years and nearly forgot what it felt like, along with the consequences of it.

William sighed and settled himself again. He would sort out his thoughts when he was no longer in a pleasure filled haze.

He lifted his head enough to admire Marianne’s still glowing face.

He lazily traced her jaw with his finger. “May I ask what it is that you find so amusing, my dear?”

Her face brightened. “I used to hear women speak of how horrible the physical act of loving a man could be.”

William looked at her, stunned that she would ever hear such talk.

“Gossiping of servants.” She said by way of explanation. “They were trying to console their soon-to-be wed daughters while other, less merciful servants, taunted the poor girl with the pains and chores of the bed.” Her wide smile returned. “Ye have proved them all wrong.”

William’s insides warmed at the admission. “There was no pain?”

She shook her head. “Ye were very gentle. Those girls were silly cowards.” She continued to smile at him. “We will do that again.”

William felt his shaft twitch in response. Amazing. “As you wish, my dear.”





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