Lady Eloisa is being brought to the darkside of sex and the Duke is more than eager to show her the way.
A/N: Slow in starting but building up to it.
Kneeling for the Duke- Chapter One
Why he made her feel so alive, he had no idea.
Eloise had been looking across the room for the last quarter hour since he had come across her line of vision, well staring would probably have been a more accurate word for it. She just couldn’t seem to help it. For two years now she’d been a debutante fluttering across the aristocrat adorned ballrooms that made up the London Season and for two years she had watched men and women come and go, marry off or fall into scandal and none of them, not a one, had even remotely perked her interest. Not like this. Not the way this newfound gentlemen had caught it, making her delicate skin tingle without ever being introduced or even meeting his eyes.
Taking out her blue laced hand fan she fanned herself, subtly staring at the man over it. He was tall, brown eyes with thick black hair that was just lengthy enough to both be accepted with modern fashion and be noticed as an oddity. Clearly the man needed a trim. His face was clean shaven beneath a large, straight nose and thick lips that seemed most seductive even from across the room as he spoke to this Lord or that Lady. He was also broad shouldered and surprisingly fit to be a peer of the realm which, if all the sycophants surrounding him were any indication, he most certainly was.
Funny, she had thought to have known all the eligible bachelors that were available, in fact her mother had insisted on it determined as she was that this was the year she would be married off. Eloise wasn’t so sure. With her older brother firmly holding the title of Marquess passed on by their dearly departed father nearly two years prior, she was given an uncommon leeway that so many of her class were not allowed - her brother was allowing her to choose her own husband. A peculiarity considering the times they lived in and the act that by every right her brother, as her provider, had every right to select and present her with her future husband and Lord. It was kind of him, she would freely admit, but were she to bother being honest with herself she would recognize the increase in balls and house parties he insisted she attend that he was tired of waiting and funding her seasons which had yet to prove fruitful.
A shrill laugh caught her attention across the room bringing Eloise’s attention from her own inner thoughts and back over to her mystery man. The men and married women who had formerly surrounded him had given leave to a group of young, upstart hopefuls that had her fighting a frown fighting down both jealousy at not being one of them to be introduced and annoyance that they were crowding his space. A man like that deserved to be given room, to see gazed upon with respect not being crowded by foolish girls who couldn’t keep their hands to themselves.
Snapping her fan closed, she pursed her lips and gave the girls a disapproving look. No, she would not join the masses nor introduce herself so improperly. She was a Lady and would await a proper introduction as such. Instead, she turned for the beverage table and sought out a refreshment to cool down her overly heated skin.
Eloise startled at the loudness of her calling but immediately plastered a cool smile on her face and turned to a man she knew well. Mr. Samuel Quinn was nothing special and much to young for her tastes at a mere one and twenty - really, he was the same age as herself. They could have been childhood playmates! - and much too appeasing with his eager face and bumbling manner. But he was a kind gentleman and so deserved no less from herself.
“Why, Mr. Quinn, how are you? I was wondering if I had missed you,” she said, setting down her beverage and accepting the offered arm when the man offered it. Following his usual routine, she began a leisurely walk around the edges of the ballroom with the man. Because she was so used to this routine she was rather surprised when he led her out to the garden balcony just off the ballroom. “Mr. Quinn, I had no idea our trip would lead outdoors, I would have requested a servant bring my shall.”
“Oh, dear! I hadn’t even considered it, my lady,” Samuel flushed. “I shall retrieve it for you without delay-”
“No, no, it’s quite alright. As it happens, its not nearly as cool outside as I would have imagined,” she patted his hand reassuringly as she moved over to the stone rail. “In fact, I do believe a bit of air is much appreciated. I must thank you for that.”
“You’re most welcome,” he smiled, pulling away to rub his hand nervously against his thighs. “I, um… That is, I would enjoy seeing to your needs on a more permanent basis, my lady.”
Eloise’s brows flew up at that. Dear Lord, the fellow wouldn’t possibly be-
He fell to one knee. “Lady Eloise Langton, I have watched you and been a companion to you during near every ball these last two years. I realize there is still much we have to learn about one another but I think - I know - that nothing would make me happier than your hand in marriage.” That said, he took a deep breath and reached for her hands.
Saddened by what she was forced to do, she placed her hands behind her back and smiled softly. “Oh, Mr. Quinn-”
“-Samuel. I do value you as a friend, more so than you will ever know, but my feelings do not follow the same path as yours do, I’m afraid.”
Samuel’s face immediately flushed red and he quickly stood. He stared at her with a mix of hurt and confusion. “But I thought… I thought you cared for me!”
“I do. As a friend, Samuel. But for me that is all you and I can ever be.”
“But why?” he exclaimed, eyes searching her face as if the answer would suddenly appear on her forehead. “You’ve accepted no other offers, I have assumed you’ve been waiting for me to come up to snuff. Are you telling me I’ve been a bloody fool all these years?”
“I’m sorry,” she offered with a regretful look. And she was truly. She may not have been attracted to Mr. Quinn as husband material but a friend in this cut throat world of marriage and power was rare and much appreciated. “But my friendship is all I can give you.”
He stared at her a moment more before drawing himself up and excusing himself before walking back inside the building an away from her.
This surprised Eloise. Certainly the pair had not been entirely without a chaperone when an entire ball filled with people was just within the doors but leaving an innocent lady - or any lady really - unattended was not something a well-bred gentleman would do. Obviously she had hurt Samuel more than she had anticipated. Sighing, she turned back to the rail and stared out over the torch lit garden of roses and stone walkways. Why, if she looks hard enough, she could even make out a small waterfall on the backside of-
“A Lady should take care not to lean over the edge of the rail so far, something might fall… or pop out.”
Eloise gasped and immediately whirled around to glare at the owner of that deep, suggestive voice. “I beg your pardon, Sir?” she asked stiffly just before seeing it was the fellow from earlier. The Lord she did not recognize but had so much interest in. Why, even now her skin tingled. No, more than that, burned at the nearness of his hard body to hers.
Ignoring her pompous question, he took a step closer and murmured, “I saw you earlier. Saw you standing there with your delicate fan and perfect poise. You would do well not to give a man a look like that. It could lead one to think you want more from him than you are willing to give.”
“I-I don’t know what you are possibly speaking of,” she said breathily as his hooded eyed went from her face to her heavy cleavage which was clearly on display in her high fashion gown that was the current style in London. “Who are you?” she asked then, her hand coming up to her shoulder in an unconscious attempt to cover he bosom with her forearm from his roaming gaze.
He thought nothing of reaching out and grasping her wrist, tugging her arm away from her pale flesh. Staring just long enough to make her uncomfortable, he moved his gaze back to her face. She was pretty enough, he supposed, with her wavy brown hair and deep blue eyes. Even her pixy nose and bow mouth appealed to him but it wasn’t really his looks that had captured his attention when it came to this one. No, he’d seen women aplenty, some beautiful some less than such, and he had also seen that look. The look those eyes had given him earlier when she thought she was being discreet and even now as she stared at him in outrage over his high-handedness in gripping her wrist.
She was spoiled, no two ways about it, and spunky but he could see past that, past what was on the outside. This woman had been trained to be the proper English lady she was, trained to perfection to do as society demanded of any woman in her social class. She could be trained to do more, to excel at it and more, she held a passion within her that he could clearly see through her narrowed eyes and the way she attempted to jerk her wrist from his larger, stronger grasp. She would be a challenge, this one, but the payoff would be wondrous.
“I am Gregory St. James, the Duke of Glastonbury,” he finally spoke, stepping so close to her that her breasts nearly brushed his own chest. “And someone of acute interest to you. Now, your name?” It came out as an order and he had meant it as such.
Eloise found herself answering immediately at the tone only to frown up at the man afterward. Really, she was not a trained pet to bark at her Master’s order! Tugging at her wrist, she raised an arrogant brow, “Do you mind?
Gregory frowned and moved closer, pressing his chest to her full breasts and forcing her to bend backwards just slightly over the rail. “You will address me properly, child, or not at all.”
“I choose not at all - now remove yourself from my person!” she gasped out.
He grunted at that and slid his free hand up her midriff and over the side of her breasts to grip the tightly bound hair at the nape of her neck. Yanking her head back, he stared her hard into her eyes. He saw the fear there and the fire of her willfulness as well and God did it arouse him.
“Release me or I’ll scream,” she whispered a moment later, the air behind her back keeping her in place and from struggling. The thirteen feet or so to the garden floor would not be an easy fall to make.
He gripped her wrist tighter, moving it behind her back and up just enough to cause a bit of pressure to the limb. “This you may do. But I sincerely doubt you will. Most of you society sluts are the same, scared to death to face a scandal and the supposed shame that will come to your family. Your family will cry for marriage and where will you be then, dove? But right where you are.”
Eloise gasped as her head was pulled farther back and his hot tongue trailed up the column of her neck. “You are wrong, you cad! My brother is the Marquess of Rothston, a peer in high regard with the Prime Minister. You will release me or-”
He shut her up with a hard kiss to her lips, smashing the delicate skin in a most delightful way that had her jerking away and nearly tipping them both over into the garden. He never let her go and instead used her frightened gasp to his advantage by thrusting his tongue into her heated mouth only to jerk away with a chuckle when the minx actually tried to bite him. It was expected and yet not. Not from this well bred piece of baggage.
Sounds of the party began to get louder as voices grew nearer making Gregory pull the woman back to safety. Once her feet were firmly planted and her arm released, she gave him a hard and moved to hurry away shove only to wince and come back to him when his hand stayed gripped in her hair.
“Let me go!”
“There is more to this, Eloise,” he said, tightening his grip until she whimpered. “More to the two of us. I will see you again, Dove, and I will have you.” He released her and walked away and down the stone stairs to the garden beneath just as a group of debutants and young Lords made way to the terrace.
Eloise stayed planted where she was, her heart pounding and her body throbbing with awareness. It was a confusing feeling and shameful that the man’s deplorable behavior would make her body hum in a way it never had. Something surely must be wrong with her! All she knew is that she had to do her pointed best in the future to avoid such a man lest her sickness spread and worse, he go farther than he had only moments ago.
Shakily patting her hair in a vain attempt to straighten back into the perfect coiffure it had once been, she flaunted back inside with her head held high, daring anyone to accuse her of sneaking off into the gardens with anyone - much less being accosted by them. Though, in truth, the latter is what she should even now be screaming out to the top of her lungs. She didn’t though and merely made her way to the convenience, gesturing a nearby maid to repair her hair as she went.