Home > The Gilded Cuff(16)

The Gilded Cuff(16)
Author: Lauren Smith

—New York Times, June 10, 1990



Emery’s lips brushed Sophie’s ear. She angled her neck toward him, offering more of her skin, hoping desperately he would continue that wicked play of his mouth.

He gave a throaty laugh. “Are you hungry for food? We have plenty of time to satisfy your other hungers.”

Disappointment at his stopping his kisses warred with the rumbling in her stomach.

“Food please,” she replied, still a little breathless.

He laughed again, only this time the sound was louder, richer. She laughed too. It felt good.

“Food it is. This way.”

He took her down several more corridors. As he led her on a winding trail through the massive labyrinth that was the Lockwood house, her eyes darted from the portraits on the walls back to Emery. His muscled body shifted and moved next to her, and the close tailoring of his suit displayed the finest figure of any man she’d ever seen. She licked her lips, ready to speak, to draw him into another sensual touch or kiss, but he stopped before a door and pushed it open.

“This is the original kitchen, built back in 1902 when the house still had over twenty servants and catered to huge parties.”

Emery gestured to the large marble bar and even larger countertops that filled the room. Sophie could almost see into the past—the hustle and bustle of ill-tempered cooks shouting for scullery maids to bring fresh water to the stove. The steam curling from the soup and the smell of fresh bread and roasted chicken. Her mouth watered at the thought. What a grand thing it must have been to have lived in such an era. She continued her study of the kitchen, noting the wooden rack that hung above the center marble island where gleaming silver pots and pans were attached by handles and strings amid garlands of various spices.

Emery peeled off his suit jacket and tossed it over the surface of one bar stool. Sophie licked her lips at the sight of his muscled shoulders and slender hips. Perfect for fitting between her thighs…

Down, girl. She shook her head at the way her body kept trying to take over. She’d never seen a man so good-looking. He shot her a look over his shoulder, a mischievous grin on his face. He had to know he could kiss her senseless, but there was no bravado, no arrogance in his manner. He seemed to know his very presence had her hungry for him. She wanted him to take her now, hard and fast. It was as though she could barely wait another minute to have him touch her again.

“I can read your face,” he teased. “Save those wicked thoughts for later tonight. Now, have you ever had breakfast for dinner?”

Sophie stifled a giggle as he spun to face her, wielding a spatula and carrying a big skillet. He waggled his eyebrows and smiled. Her breath caught. Gone was the tortured soul; in his place was a seductive man, all smiles and trouble. Despite her questions, her need to know his story, she wouldn’t wreck the miracle of his good mood.

“Promise me there’s bacon. I’ll do just about anything for bacon.” She meant it too. Bacon was one of her life’s little pleasures, just like chocolate. Her hips hated her for it, but bacon couldn’t be passed up.

Emery stalked toward her, eyes warm as honey. He circled behind her, wrapped his arms around her waist, and nipped her right earlobe. Sophie stiffened at the intimate contact despite the flood of wet heat between her legs. She wasn’t used to physical contact from a man, especially one she desired.

“Rule number one, relax into my touch. Unless I’m punishing you. Then you may anticipate me all you like. Now…relax.” He curled long, elegant fingers around her throat, not squeezing, merely holding her in place as he flicked his tongue into the shell of her ear. Sophie jolted up, only to be jerked back down by his arm around her stomach, to be held down, pinned helpless for his exploration of her sensitive spots…It was too much. She liked it far more than she should: the helpless feeling, the surrender to even so small a domination.

Sharp tingles stabbed her lower back, responding to the mind-bendingly erotic sensation of his tongue in her ear. He licked behind it, nibbled at the soft skin there, and she thrashed, desperate to get away, but wanting more at the same time.

“Mmm…,” she moaned as he repeated the delicious torture, and her nerves seem to fray. She knew she wouldn’t be able to take much more of this. Sophie dug her fingers into the skin of his arms, trying to alert him that she was at her wits’ end.

Finally, slowly, he relented. Fire still licked up her spine and she shuddered, trying to shake off the arousal that had nearly soaked her underwear. Emery took her by the arm, forced her to stand up from the bar stool. She squeaked in sheer surprise when he swatted the metal spatula against her bottom and then sighed when he set the spatula aside and ran his palm over her bottom, rubbing soothingly at the place where he’d spanked her.

It only made her wetter, hotter.

“Sweetheart, with me, bacon is always guaranteed.” Releasing her, he chuckled and walked over to the fridge. In rapid succession he tossed a stick of butter on the counter, slid a carton of eggs alongside it, and smacked down a package of bacon. He spun, nudged the fridge shut with the toe of his elegant dress shoe, and reached above his head to retrieve a grease splatter shield.

She gawked at him. He acted completely normal, as though he hadn’t just brought her to her knees, desperate for sex, and then whacked her on the ass with a kitchen utensil.

Closing her eyes, she drew in a fortifying breath. Then she expelled it and opened her eyes again. “You do realize this is insane, right? We’re total strangers…and this—” Sophie waved one hand in the air between them— “is crazy too. I don’t sleep with guys I haven’t dated and I definitely don’t let strangers spank me.” He raised one brow, that single action a challenge.

“Or boyfriends?” The soft stroke of his voice stirred honeyed desire in her.

“Not boyfriends either.”

One corner of his mouth kicked up into a rakish smile. “I’ll be the first man to lay my hand on you.” He played with the spatula, eyeing it in serious contemplation. “Maybe not just my hand…but don’t worry, sweetheart. You’ll love it when I give it to you.”

Her mouth dried up completely. And a heat wave flooded her from head to toe so badly that she braced herself on the counter to stop from toppling off the barstool.

Emery cracked two eggs over the skillet and flicked molten gold eyes on hers. “This was your idea, Sophie. You wanted to be my sub. Intimacy, both sexual and otherwise, is part of the bargain, at least for me.”

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