Books and Bonbons: A Hint of Wicked by Jennifer Haymore

By SMW Staff

He’d never visited Egypt, though. When they were children, an Egyptian adventure had been his dream.

She rubbed her cheek against his chest and sighed. “Perhaps I have domesticated you after all.”

A soft murmur of contentment was his only response. His body pressed against her in all the right places, hint¬ing at the pleasure he could give. She slipped her hands from his neck to his shoulders. Muscles rippled beneath her fingertips, and keeping her fingers light, she skimmed lower, down his back to curve over his behind.

He stroked the slippery fabric of her robe and pulled her tight against him so his erection prodded her belly. When he spoke, his voice was husky in her ear. “Billingsly’s travels couldn’t hold my attention tonight. I kept thinking of you alone up here. Everything pales beside the promise of having you, love. Seeing you, touching you . . . taking you . . .”

The way he spoke to her, the way he felt against her . . . there was nothing like it in the world. The blood ran heavy and slow through Sophie’s veins, warming her, making her muscles languid. Her breaths came in shallow little pants. As hard as pebbles, her nipples pushed against the silk of her dressing gown. She sensed the change inside her body as it heated and opened, eager for his invasion.

Sophie reached between them and untied the belt of her robe. The silk slipped off her shoulders and pooled on the floor, leaving her bare. Cool air brushed over her sensitive skin, raising gooseflesh on her legs and arms.

She ran her lips along his jaw, speaking softly. “Make love to me, Tristan.”

Cupping her face in his hands, he brought his lips down over hers. “You taste so good, Sophie,” he murmured against her mouth. “I can’t get enough of you.”

He knelt lower, his lips drifting over her shoulder. “I thought I might lose you this morning.” His hands dropped to her waist and tugged her even closer, pressing her against him from top to bottom, and a deep shudder resonated through his body.

Sophie reached up to caress the masculine planes of his face. “I was scared, too,” she admitted. She slid the cravat from his neck and kissed him. She loved his lips. So soft and firm at the same time. Delicious.

The wool of his trousers was in the way, and she fum¬bled at the buttons of his falls, but he stopped her by cap¬turing her wrists in his hand.

She pulled away from their kiss. “No?”

“No, love. Not yet.”

Soft material slid over her skin and she glanced down¬ward to see he’d caught his cravat and looped it around her wrists.

Her heart pounding, she looked up at him, running her tongue nervously over her bottom lip.

His expression was serious when he met her gaze. But she knew him well enough to see the glint of anticipation lurking in the depths of his eyes.

“I’m going to tie you to the bed.”

Her lips parted as she stared at him. It was a secret desire of hers to be bound while he ravished her. She had told him of it once, late in the night when they had shared their most intimate fantasies, but he had remained silent. Later, she dismissed it, thinking her easygoing husband would never desire such a thing.

Then again, in the past months she had learned that his nighttime personality differed from his daytime façade. With the shift between his public and private existence, Tristan transformed from respectable and personable to dark and mysterious.

Her throat was so dry, she could scarcely speak. “Why?”

He held her wrists loosely in his hand, unmoving, studying her with eyes that bored into her soul. “It will please me.”

She released a shallow breath.

“I want you tied down. Helplessly bound.” His voice grew rough. “I want you focused on me alone.”

Sophie closed her eyes. In her daily life, she was a mother, a leader, a duchess. An upright model of society. She made important decisions quickly and with aplomb. She avoided showing weakness.

At night, though, Tristan relished exposing the secret fragile part of her. For whatever the reason, she gloried in it. When he exercised his power over her, it made her feel feminine and beautiful, cherished and protected. It was the ultimate release.

Nonetheless, if she told him no, he would stop. Instantly.

With her heart pounding against her breastbone, she looked up at him and made a small movement of her head. A nod.

The corners of his lips quirked upward, then he tugged her hands. “Hold them out for me.”

Biting her lower lip, she did as he instructed. She felt so vulnerable like this, with him still fully clothed and her naked and standing before him, offering herself to him to do with as he pleased. Yet it felt right.

She shivered from heat rather than cold as he wrapped the neck cloth around her wrists, twisted and looped, deftly creating an intricate knot.

“It’s a French bowline. Should keep you nicely bound,” he murmured with one final tug. “Now go lie on the bed and wait for me there.”

She walked through the door into their bedchamber and to their high, ornately carved antique bed, feeling his gaze on her bottom as she mounted the step and crawled between the rust damask bed curtains. The gold tassel brushed against her hip as she climbed onto the mattress. A chambermaid had turned down the heavy counterpane earlier, and the bed linens cooled Sophie’s heated skin as she settled over them. Her cheeks burned, whether with embar¬rassment or arousal, she wasn’t certain.

Probably both.

On her knees with her hands clasped together in front of her, she paused to look over her shoulder. Tristan stood at the threshold between the rooms, watching.

“Good. I’ll be right back.” Turning away, he vanished into her dressing room.

She wondered why he had left her, but she knew he wouldn’t keep her alone for long. Relishing each scrape of the sheets on her sensitive skin, she settled onto her back. A puff of warm air washed over her as the fi re hissed and crackled. By the time she’d situated herself, Tristan had reentered the bedroom with a pair of her silk stockings dangling from his fingertips.

“For your ankles.” He arched a questioning brow at her.

Pressing her lips together, her heart beating wild with anticipation, she nodded again. She would do anything he asked—anything for him to touch her, satisfy her. Fo¬cused solely on the man she loved, she had nearly forgotten her melancholy. How had Tristan known how much she wanted this—needed it—tonight?

Silently and with exquisite slowness, he bound her hands to a bedpost, then followed suit with her ankles, using a stocking to tie each one to an opposing post. He paused to brush soothing fingers near the lurid bruise on her thigh, his face darkening at the memory of her fall.

Finally he stepped back to survey his handiwork. The ties dug into the flesh of her wrists and ankles enough to make her very aware of them but not enough to cut off the flow of blood. She lay with her arms overhead and her hands clasped, her legs spread and her center pulsing hot. Her breasts were heavy and tender, her nipples flushed dark. From her toes to her fingertips, her skin prickled with sensitivity and ached for his soothing touch.

He walked around the high bed, scrutinizing her body.

He cupped her mound in his palm and pressed gently. She fought against the urge to wiggle, to beg him for more. “It’s what you want, isn’t it?” He said in a low voice. “To be bound to my bed, subjected to my will?”

“Yes,” she breathed.

His dark gaze snapped to her mouth. “What was that?”

“Yes, Tristan. It’s what I need. What I want.”

His lips curled into a predatory smile.

Never breaking his focus from her body, he removed his waistcoat, taking time with each cloth-covered button, and finally pulled off his shirt, exposing his lean torso. If she’d been free, nothing could have stopped Sophie from touching him, from running her hands up and down his body, over the smooth, taut skin of his chest.

He doused the two lamps—one on a round table by the hearth and the other near the doorway. Now, the fire and a single burning candle on the bedside table provided the faint, flickering light in the room.

He climbed onto the step. She turned her head toward him, at eye level with his falls, watching as he slid the buttons through their holes and pushed the trousers down his narrow hips.

Just then, a crashing noise sounded from below. From the entry hall, perhaps. Sophie froze, and Tristan did as well, but he relaxed when there was no further sound. “The servants must’ve dropped something.”

“I should make sure everything is all right.”

He frowned, and his eyes sparked. “Now?”

“Well . . .” She hesitated, unsure, her desire to please him warring with her need for control in her household.

“No,” he said flatly. “You’re mine now, you know that.”

He paused. “You’re not to worry about anything else, not until morning. Do you understand?”

His words sent a thrill of pleasure through her, and any lingering desire for control fled. She shuddered, warm and wet and wanting. His fingers tightened over her jaw, hard enough to leave pink imprints on her cheek. She didn’t care about the crash downstairs. She needed only him.

“I understand.”
His fingers loosened, and he ran them down her cheek, light as a feather. He skimmed her jaw line, then moved downward. She arched her neck to welcome his touch as he found her pulse point and murmured, “Your heart beats so fast, Soph.”

He focused intently on the path of his hand as it traced her collarbone and then smoothed down the center of her chest before curling around the breast closest to him, squeezing gently. Sophie strained toward him. A muscle moved in his jaw. His lips, even pressed together in concentration, were full and soft. If she were free, she would pull his head down to her so she could kiss him. She would tug his body over hers and feel him everywhere she could, reveling in the contact of their skin in all the possible places it could touch. But she couldn’t. She couldn’t kiss him, couldn’t touch him. She could only be patient and wait for him to give her more.

He rubbed his thumb over her nipple, and Sophie drew in a sharp breath. She was so needy, so sensitive. Light flickered over his torso, capturing her focus as shades of bronze spattered across his olive-toned skin. Tristan was not a bulky man, but he was an active one, and taut muscles enhanced the shape of his body from his wide shoulders to his flat stomach and narrow hips. His chest expanded as he took a deep breath and stroked her nipple again.

“Tristan . . .” Her eyes fluttered shut as his touch rebounded through her. When she opened them, she let her gaze roam lower.

His waist tapered into his hips, the edges of his buttocks hollowed. Rising from its nest of dark curls, his erection strained upward. Gooseflesh broke out on her arms and legs. She was hot and cold and achy . . . and she wanted him.

He squeezed her breast, and she squirmed against the resulting vibration between her legs. “Don’t do that again, Sophie.”

“Don’t . . . what?”

“Scare me like you did this morning.” His eyes narrowed at her, his jaw tight, his posture stiff. He was dead serious.

“I’ll . . . try,” she breathed as he palmed her breast.

“I can’t lose you,” he said from between gritted teeth. “Do you understand?”

“Yes . . . Tristan . . . I need . . .” But she couldn’t finish the thought, because his hand left her breast and slipped between her parted legs.

“I know what you need, love.” He groaned as he slid two fingers deep inside her. “You’re so wet for me.”

She tilted her hips, angling for him to press his fingers deeper.
He pulled out until his fingertips feathered over her sensitive folds. “Do you want me, Sophie?”


He rewarded her with a thrust of his fingers so deep it made her toes curl.
“Over you?”


Another thrust. She moaned, squeezing her eyes shut.

“Do you want me inside you?”

“Yes, Tristan. Yes, please.”

In seconds, he was looming over her, his muscles flex¬ing as he supported himself on his arms. Spread and trussed as she was, she couldn’t wrap her legs around him—she could only take whatever he chose to give. But she didn’t care. Tristan on top was her favorite position. She loved watching the raw, intense need on his face as he moved inside her.

She looked into his eyes as he arranged himself at her entrance. He didn’t need to say he loved her. Words were unnecessary. Love poured from his expression, from his actions, from his pores. Her love for him, she knew, was equally evident. In every movement, every blink, every gasp she made for him, she loved him. How he made her feel, the sublime intensity of his caresses, could only be explained by the depth of their affection for each another.

He inched into her, making her whimper with every slight movement that pushed his sex deeper inside. Her channel was slick and tight around him, and so sensitive.

Finally he was fully seated. They throbbed together, their bodies held immobile by the sensation. Whose heart¬beat was beating so deeply between her legs? Hers or his? Both, perhaps, joined as they themselves were joined, in body, heart, and spirit.

Holding his hips still, he bent to flick his tongue over her nipples. When she was reduced to gasping and squirming with need, impatient for him to let go, he rose to face her. Bracing his elbows on either side of her head, he slanted his lips over hers as he moved inside her, deep enough to make her pant uncontrollably at the end of each thrust as the tip of his shaft nudged against her womb.

His lips slid softly against hers, gentle in contrast to the hot, slick hardness between her legs. She sucked his bottom lip between her teeth and nipped. He deepened the kiss, strengthening his penetration, exploring her mouth with his tongue until the thrusts of his tongue matched the thrusts of his body.
He pushed into her again and again, brushing her in¬side, stroking her most sensitive spot. The pleasure spread through her, hot and piercing, building until her every muscle tightened and trembled from the tension.

Until, all at once, she shattered.

Her eyes squeezed shut, she gasped as waves of plea¬sure crashed through her body, making it undulate so fiercely, the silk and linen binding her strained against the bedposts. Some part of her pleasure-drenched consciousness heard a second crash and registered that it was much closer than the first.

And then Tristan shouted, but it was a cry of surprise rather than fulfillment. His body was ripped away from hers. Cold air washed over her skin, and with her limbs still shuddering from the aftereffects of the orgasm, she opened her eyes, squinting against a harsh light.

A shadowy male figure held her naked husband by the neck. The man’s fists flew, pummeling Tristan as he cursed at him in a low, hate-filled, growling voice, calling him a bastard, a perverse bloody rapist.

Light came from the doorway and haloed both men, making them appear as black figures silhouetted by the stark brightness behind them.

One big fist clipped Tristan in the jaw, snapping his head back. Tristan grunted in surprise, and Sophie yanked against her bonds with all her might. “No!” she cried. “Stop! Stop at once!”

She had to break free, save Tristan, separate him from the intruder, the lunatic was trying to kill him . . .    A crack resonated through the room as another fist smashed against bone.
Not Tristan. Please . . . She writhed, her skin burning where the twisted fabric dug into it, the knots unforgiving.

More muffled curses and the thump of connecting blows made her struggle harder—she had to get loose, if it meant tearing the bed apart, ripping the fabric . . . But Tristan had bound her expertly, and no matter how desperately she fought, she couldn’t free herself.
A group of figures huddled at the threshold beyond the fighting men. The servants, she realized, most of them holding lanterns. Watching the scene, mouths agape—her naked and tied to the bed, the stranger attempting to kill their master.

Oh, Lord, no. This couldn’t be happening. Her shouts faded, the fight in her body drained away. With effort, she focused on Tristan. He had wrenched himself free from the man and was defending himself, now striking at the man’s ribs . . . his head.

His face.

Sophie froze. His face swam in her vision as her eyes adjusted to the light, blurring and then snapping into focus.

She knew that man. She knew the way he moved, knew the shape of him. She knew the broad cheekbones and the stormy look in his blue eyes.

It was her dead husband.

It was Garrett.




As a child, Jennifer Haymore traveled the South Pacific with her family on their home-built sailboat. The months spent on the sometimes-quiet, sometimes-raging seas sparked her love of adventure and grand romance. Since then, she’s earned degrees in Computer Science and Education and held various jobs from bookselling to teaching inner-city children to acting, but she’s never stopped writing.

You can find Jennifer in Southern California trying to talk her husband into yet another trip to England, helping her three children with homework while brainstorming a new five-minute dinner menu, or crouched in a corner of the local bookstore writing her next novel.

A Touch of Scandal copyright © 2009 by Jennifer Haymore All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher. Excerpt reprinted with the permission of Grand Central Publishing.