Jeff caught her around the waist, and the desire rising his eyes was incendiary. It burned. It burned beautifully.
Emmalina tipped her head and felt his lips at her neck. She whispered, "First, you must free me from this dress, Sir."
He started where she'd left off, with the softness under her chin. And if she thought her own knuckles had felt startling against her skin, then she didn't know what startling was.
His hands were hot and deft, but she could detect a hint of unsteadiness in them, and it unlocked something in her. A flower opened in her depths, its iridescent petals unfurling like a water lily. The sensation shivered brightly. Too brightly. He'd barely begun and she was already wanting to whimper.
This was how they felt, she thought. All those sexually crazed women she'd read about in the erotic Victorian novels. Now she understood the squealing and squirming, except that they were helplessly writhing in silken restraints, and her tormentor was doing nothing but unbuttoning her blouse. He didn't linger long, even when she wished he would. Her breasts tingled with anticipation, but he only grazed them lightly in his quest to finish the task. He was approaching her waist now, but the buttons on her skirt went all the way to her knees. How would she ever last?
Emmalina was quite certain something must be wrong . . . and then she remembered what she'd gleaned from books about the sorts of things that Victorian men liked.
She stopped him and held out her wrists, daintily crossed in front of her.
"What are you doing?" he asked.
"You've forgotten to bind me," she said. "Unless, of course, you'd rather that I finish undressing while you watch. I know men find that very exciting. You seemed to last night."
She colored slightly, waiting for him to do something other than stare at her with a furrowed brow.
"Yes, there are silk scarves in the chiffonier against the wall. Take your pick. You'll also find feathers in the vase on the whatnot and a rocking horse in the corner. I think I have everything you'll need, unless"--she shrugged amiably--"you'd rather spank me for being rebellious."
"Spank you?" He turned in confusion and gave her parlor a quick onceover, taking in the paraphernalia she'd pointed out. "Hey, I'd love to--I mean, don't think I don't appreciate the encouragement, Emmalina, but all I really want is you."
"Me?" She beamed. "Are you sure? Because from everything I've read, men are very aroused by that sort of thing, and last night-"
"I think you read too much."
He rose to his full height and took hold of her arms, quite firmly. "I don't know what we need scarves for because I can hold you down if that's what you want. I can hold you down just fine. You couldn't weigh more than a hundred pounds, and once I'm on top of you, once I'm inside you, you won't be going far."
"Except to heaven," she whispered.