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Obsession (Regency Lovers 2) by Carole Mortimer (1)

Chapter 1

 

Wetherby House, London

June, 1817

 

“Fuck me again, Alex!”

“I’ve already done so three times during the course of this afternoon. If you want any more, then you will have to climb on top and take it. If I should fall asleep while you are doing so, try not to wake me when you leave.”

Miss Amanda Fullerton, standing outside the door of Lord Alexander Stirling’s bedchamber, did not pretend to be doing anything other than listening unashamedly to the conversation between the couple inside the room. She now heartily appreciated the advice of the strict but progressive-thinking Miss Marchment, her old headmistress, who’d told her “eavesdroppers might learn many secrets.”

Not that it was exactly a secret Alexander Stirling was a terrible flirt and an unrepentant rake. Several of the girls at school who were lucky enough to go home to family for the holidays often returned with scandalous stories of Amanda’s guardian.

A guardian she had met only once, three years ago, after her father died in battle and named the other man as her guardian. That brief meeting had culminated in Alexander Stirling immediately sending Amanda off to a boarding school in Portsmouth. Nor had she seen him since. Quite what Amanda had done at that single meeting to deserve such callous treatment as that, she had no idea.

Not that it mattered. She was now aged eighteen, almost nineteen, and much as she had enjoyed her time at Miss Marchment’s school, she had no intention of continuing to languish there for yet another summer.

Nor, hearing the resuming of pleasurable groans from inside the bedchamber—as evidence the woman had taken “Alex” at his word and “climbed on top to take what she wanted”—did Amanda intend to walk away simply because her guardian was engaged in a marathon of sexual relations with his latest mistress. Something which could go on for some time, judging by the lusty cries now audible through the closed door.

That being the case, Amanda felt no qualms in opening that door and walking into the room with her head held high. She did not intend waiting another minute longer before making her guardian aware of her presence in his home.

Despite it only being late afternoon, the bedchamber was shrouded in darkness from the half-drawn curtains at the windows. Nevertheless, Amanda could clearly make out the couple in the four-poster bed: a naked red-haired woman was straddling a handsome gentleman Amanda recognized as being her guardian.

Neither of them were as yet aware of her presence.

The woman was the one groaning and shrieking encouragement as she rode enthusiastically up and down on what appeared to be the thick cock buried inside her. Her mound, Amanda noted with some surprise, was both smooth and completely bare of the same red hair as was on her head. The man, his overlong hair very dark against the white pillows, already seemed to be asleep, his lids closed, his expression relaxed, his arms at his sides.

Amanda’s nose wrinkled as she breathed in air permeated with heat and sexual release. Not that she had ever smelled a man’s release, but—

Amanda stepped back as an even louder shriek filled the room followed by the woman pulling abruptly off that stiff and glistening cock. She held the top sheet in front of her bare breasts and mound as she glared accusingly at Amanda. A gold wedding ring gleamed on her left hand. One Amanda knew had not been given to her by the man whose cock she had been riding.

“Who the bloody hell are you?” the redhead demanded to know.

Hm, married or not, this woman was not exactly a lady in her manner even if her voice was refined—

“What the fuck…?” Alexander Stirling had stirred himself enough to roll over and sit on the side of the bed as he now glowered across to where Amanda stood. Which did absolutely nothing to hide the rampant erection jutting from between his legs. “Who the bloody hell are you?” He scowled darkly as he pulled another part of the wrinkled sheet across his own thighs.

It was no surprise to Amanda that Stirling did not recognize her. Three years ago, she had been a gangly but plump-faced fifteen-year-old girl, with her long auburn hair tied back with a pretty ribbon, and merely on the cusp of womanhood. Now she was fully matured.

Her hair was piled in a riot of curls at her crown. Her face was thinner, with high cheekbones either side of a petite nose, her lips full and pouting above a stubborn and pointed chin. Her figure was no longer gangly, her breasts having filled out above a slender waist and curvaceous hips. All shown to advantage in the peach-colored gown she wore, which perfectly complemented her creamy complexion.

She did not own many gowns separate from her school uniform, but Miss Marchment had believed every woman, young or old, should have at least one gown she could wear to any social occasion which might arise.

Although Amanda very much doubted that worthy lady had envisaged a circumstance like the present one when she made that declaration.

Amanda admitted, to herself, at least, that three years ago, her fifteen-year-old self had considered Lord Alexander Stirling to be one of the handsomest gentlemen she had ever seen. Indeed, she’d had a crush on him, with his tall and muscular body, overlong, almost-black hair, swarthy complexion, and that handsome face dominated by sparkling green eyes.

Looking at him now, with that overlong and disheveled hair and his body showing not an ounce of unwanted fat, he was still more handsome than any one gentleman had a right to be.

She lifted her chin as she straightened. “I am Miss Amanda Fullerton.” She gave a formal curtsey.

“I do not—”

“Whatever plans you had for the afternoon, Alex, I did not come here to be a part of a menage a trois,” the redhead told him furiously as she rose from the bed, taking the sheet with her and once again exposing Alexander Stirling’s now softening cock. The woman gathered up her clothes from the floor before disappearing into what Amanda could only assume was, appropriately, an adjoining dressing room.

 

Alex was more than a little dumbfounded by the appearance of this other woman in his bedchamber after what had been a very pleasurable afternoon of sexual dalliance with Lady Maria Dalrimple, the bored and sexually frustrated wife of one of the country’s leading members of parliament.

The newcomer was a very young woman, Alex corrected, and one whom he did not recall ever having seen before. Nor did he care for the way in which she had burst unannounced into his home and bedchamber.

Not that there was anyone who could announce her as yet. He had only recently bought and moved into Wetherby House, after his older brother, the Duke of Hawkwood, had recently married. Alex had preferred to establish his own home rather than remain with the newlywed couple at Hawkwood House. He had not as yet had opportunity to employ all the servants necessary for the smooth running of such a large house. A butler being one of the servants he had yet to engage.

But someone had obviously allowed this young woman to enter Alex’s home. Someone who would very shortly find themselves unemployed.

Aged two and thirty, Alex possessed almost as much arrogance as his older brother, and he did not care for the way this young woman was looking down her pert nose at him with such disdain.

Amanda Fullerton.

Why did that name sound so familiar?

“I am your ward, my lord,” she supplied dryly.

His…?

Bloody fucking hell!

Amanda Fullerton had almost certainly had hair of that deep auburn shade. She also, Alex recalled, had the most unusual turquoise-colored eyes surrounded by thick dark lashes. Not that he could currently see those eyes in the shadowed light of his bedchamber.

But this was not the coltish miss from Alex’s memory. This young woman possessed an air of unmistakable maturity, full breasts swelling temptingly above the low neckline of her pale-peach gown, the rest of her body slender.

“We last met three years ago,” she added as if to jolt his memory of her.

Three years ago?

Was it really so long ago that he had sent Miss Amanda Fullerton packing to a young ladies’ boarding school after learning he was to be her guardian, and breathed a deep sigh of relief after having done so?

Lord Samuel Fullerton had been a fellow officer in the army during the war against Napoleon, Fullerton having fallen when they captured Paris in March 1814. To Alex’s surprise, having no relatives living, the other man had named him as guardian to his young daughter.

Fullerton, more often than not having accompanied Alex on his nights of drinking and whoring, must nevertheless have seen something in Alex of which he was not aware himself to have named him guardian to a fifteen-year-old girl on the brink of womanhood.

A brink, in the three-year interim, she appeared to have leaped over rather than slowly climbed.

Even so, the impertinent miss had no bloody business invading Alex’s home in this way, let alone bursting into his bedchamber when he was in the middle of—

A door slammed out in the hallway, telling Alex that Maria had decided to depart out of the dressing room rather than returning to say goodbye to him. But he did not doubt he would hear more on this subject from her at a later date.

Even the brief affairs with married ladies that he preferred to indulge in could be wearisome and complicated at times.

He should have learned his lesson, of course, after Jaunita Millbrook, another of Alex’s brief affairs earlier this year, had attempted to cause bodily harm to his brother’s future wife. Something Hawkwood had, quite rightly, taken great exception to.

“It would seem your married guest has departed, my lord, no doubt with the intention of returning to her husband.”

Alex narrowed green eyes on the young woman claiming to be his ward, something he intended to confirm with Miss Marchment, headmistress of the School for Young Ladies of that same name, at the earliest opportunity. She had written to him a week ago asking what he wished to do in regard to his ward, who was now no longer of an age where she could remain as a pupil at the school. But Alex had not yet found the time to reply to that missive, and he did not appreciate the headmistress having allowed—

“Miss Marchment has no idea I left the school with the intention of traveling to London.”

How the fuck did this baggage manage to read his mind so easily and correctly?

His mouth thinned. “Then where does she think you have traveled to?”

There was a shrug of creamy shoulders. “School has closed for the summer and my friend and I managed to persuade our headmistress into believing I was spending the holiday with Barbara and her family.”

“In other words, you lied.”

“By omission of the truth, yes,” she confirmed without apology or discomfort.

“How did you travel to London?”

“By public coach.”

“Alone?”

“Yes.”

“Where did you get the money to pay your fare?”

“I saved it from the monthly allowance you give me.”

“I do?” Alex gave an irritated shake of his head. “I meant to say, how enterprising of you.”

Mockery gleamed in those pale eyes. “You had no idea you paid me a monthly allowance, did you?”

Alex detested feeling in the least wrong-footed, and this prepossessing young baggage had now succeeded in doing exactly that. Several times. Not least by finding him buried balls-deep inside another woman’s cunny.

His nostrils flared. “I have duly paid the fee demanded each term but saw no reason to question Miss Marchment as to what she did with it.”

“As you saw no reason to question, even once, whether or not I was happy at the school.”

His eyes widened. “I assumed I would have been informed if you were not.”

“Indeed? Then you must also have assumed I did not care to leave the school for holidays, either during the summer or at least for Christmas.”

Alex bristled at this continuing list of his shortcomings. “How did you know to find me here rather than Hawkwood House?”

She shrugged. “His Grace’s butler was kind enough to redirect me to your new establishment.”

Alex must be sure to thank Dilley when he next saw him. Although, to give the elderly man his due, he probably thought Amanda was another one of Alex’s dalliances who had not yet been informed of Alex’s move to Wetherby House.

He also heard the underlying rebuke in Amanda’s tone at his not having informed her as to his change of address.

“Have you lived here very long, my lord?” She wrinkled her nose. “Most of the house seems to be in disarray, filled with packing boxes and furniture not in its rightful place.”

Because Alex hadn’t yet found the time or the inclination to do that either. “I suggest you return downstairs and allow me to dress,” he bit out irritably. “After which I will join you in my study.” That room, the dining room, and this bedchamber were the only ones that had taken on any semblance of order since Alex moved in two weeks ago. “Where and when we shall continue with this conversation,” he added grimly.

“As you wish, my lord.” Another polite curtsey saw the departure of Miss Amanda Fullerton.

A politeness and deference Alex had every reason to believe was not even skin deep.

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