She Whom I Love – excerpt

Christmas time is here, by golly – let’s play ‘naughty and nice’.

It’s two weeks until release day for She Whom I Love – as a teaser, have an excerpt from a spicy scene. James is in trouble, and Meg is determined to make him pay. Bordering on NSFW, about M-level.

To read the rest of the scene, grab a copy of She Whom I Love on pre-order now, and have it delivered directly to your device on December 29th.

Copyright © 2015 Tess Bowery

All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication

Oooh, drat that man! He was as hard to resist as Sarah was, when he looked at them both with his big blue eyes and that curl to his bottom lip that made it look like he was pouting. Meg sipped her brandy, no tea left in the cup at all. It burned going down, not nearly as awfully as the first sip always did, and she felt her heart thaw in crinkles around the edges.

He could still be lying, of course, but his reaction had been one of such direct and immediate apology, accepting his correction and admitting to it—there had to be some reward given for that, however little it changed the facts.

For shoulders like his, though, broad and strong, the taper of his torso down to his narrow hips; for the way his honey-gold hair swept across his brow, the way it would likely feel to have those broad hands on her body—yes, his apology was adequate. She did like men for some things, after all, and he was one of the more perfect specimens she’d seen.

Montpress had never apologized, even when he had been undeniably in the wrong.

Now, how did Sarah feel? That was the main thing. She was the one who had been counting on him for marriage—that was a whole lifetime! How could Meg’s little hurt compare to that?

They locked eyes, and Meg sent out her question to the universe. Sarah had reacted to Meg’s plan with surprise and some indignation, at first, but then today responded with a kiss, gentle and sweet, and she had slowly nodded instead. “Let him feel our humiliation for himself,” she had said, and Meg had laughed and kissed her again.

That had been all, barring the brandy in their cups for courage, until James had walked in the door.

Sarah tilted her head, a smile creeping over her lips. She nodded. Time to make him pay.

“Possibly,” Sarah finally answered James’s question, breaking eye contact to turn her attentions toward him. His shoulders pulled back as he straightened, his clear blue eyes filling with trepidation and concern. “Next time you send gifts,” she continued, “I should like a book, if you please, and Meg deserves all of the prettiest words ever set to paper in a love letter of her very own.”

That had caught him off guard. He gaped like a fish in a pond, and Meg burst into giggles both at the sight and the images that sprang to mind. “I—yes?” he replied, sounding so dumbfounded that Meg could have said anything next and he seemed like he would have accepted it as a natural follow-on.

“Good boy,” Meg laughed, setting her cup aside on the end table and rising from her chair. “Fair is fair, after all, and there must be some consequences for trying to play us falsely.”

“I never intended to cause hurt to either of you,” James protested, unclasping his hands and following her with his eyes. “That I will swear until my dying day.”

“Intention doesn’t matter,” Sarah pointed out, while Meg dug in her trunk for the item she needed to have on hand. “Not when it comes to hurting the people you claim to have such affection for.”

“What will prove to you that I care?” James asked, glancing back over his shoulder at Meg, before crossing the floor in two long strides. He went down on one knee before Sarah, taking one of her hands in his. “Shall I serenade you? Woo you with flowers and books?”

“You will take your punishment like a man and not a boy,” Meg replied, drawing the long ribbon from the clothing trunk and letting the lid fall closed. She stroked the length of amber silk between her fingers, twisting it and toying with it, and James’s eyes went wide and uncertain.

“What do you intend to do with that?” he asked, standing and raising his hands before him in warning. “Tie me and leave me in the public square with a sign announcing my misdeeds?”

“Creative,” Meg approved. Sarah snorted again, and James looked vaguely offended. “But no.”

“You can leave now, if you wish,” Sarah added, rising to the occasion and gulping down the last of her drink in one long swallow. She stood, resting one hand on the back of the simple wooden chair sitting by the fire. “But if you do, you won’t have a chance with either of us again.”

“And if I stay?”

“You won’t be harmed,” Meg reassured him, a sharp edge to her answer. She angered quickly and could forgive quickly, but even that only went so far. “Only you’ll have a chance to learn what it feels like, to see the object of your desires betray you.”

“I don’t think I like this offer,” he murmured, a vein working at the side of his jaw.

Sarah shook her head and, daringly, trailed her fingers across the lapel of his jacket only to poke him in the square chin. “Now imagine how we felt, who had no choice in the matter.” The roughness in her voice betrayed more of her feelings than anything, and a lump formed, thick and heavy, in Meg’s throat.

He paused, opened his mouth to speak, then shut it again. “I am duly chastened.”

“In that case,” Meg said, pretending to a certain amount of cheer, and gesturing to the chair, “sit yourself down, sir, and be corrected.”

He sat, everything about him stiff and tense. Meg drew his hands behind the back of the chair, and with a few deft movements, bound his hands snugly in place, then his ankles to the chair legs.

“Is this painful?” she asked, tugging on her knot to make sure that it would hold.

He twisted his hands, his face set in what had to be a permanent state of shock and surprise by now, and coughed. “No. That is, I am well comfortable, thank you, albeit extremely confused. Tell me, ladies, please—what happens next?” he asked, his voice strained.

Sarah stood still, her arms folded across her slim waist, and Meg stalked across the floor toward her. “To you?” Meg cast a look back over her shoulder to smile wickedly at him. “Absolutely nothing.”

“I’m afraid I don’t foll—”

Sarah took Meg’s hand, and her palm was so warm, though rough spots on her fingers betrayed the hard hours that she spent at work. James’s hands were so similar, calluses from his needles and his shears, scars from slips with the whalebone and the knife. No wonder Meg was drawn to them both. Sarah’s eyes flickered closed for a moment, and when she opened them, it was as though Meg were the only other person in the room.

“Look at her,” Meg commanded, keeping her eyes on her beloved Sarah alone. “Look at how beautiful she is, and how precious. Think of how you intended to deceive her.”

“Oh,” James said. And “oh,” again.

“Please,” Meg murmured softly, this time to Sarah. Meg tipped her chin up, her hair falling down her back. She set her hands on Sarah’s hips, the gentle slopes of her curves warm and solid beneath Meg’s fingers. James stopped talking, and she heard a suck-in of air come from his side of the room.

Sarah kissed her. Nothing else mattered except this: the taste of brandy on her lips, the hot press of her mouth, Sarah’s hands finding their way to Meg’s waist and holding on as though she might fly away, or fly apart, at any moment. Meg kissed her back, tasted the seam of Sarah’s lips with the tip of her tongue, coals igniting to fire in her groin.

The firm pressure of Sarah’s hands fell from her waist as they broke the kiss, and Meg’s heart thumped painfully in her chest. Had she said or done something to give offense? “We can stop,” she murmured softly. “Only say the word and all will be as it was.”

Sarah kissed the question from her mouth as she asked it, growing bolder and fiercer with each sigh and play of teeth against her inner lip. Her fingers worked at Meg’s back, because of course she would know how to dress and undress another woman, even like this, distracted and sight unseen.

Meg turned a little to present their best side to their audience. From where he was tied he would be able to see their breasts above their stays. The firelight would soon be shining through their shifts, displaying everything he had wanted to keep only for himself.