“Take it off,” he said.
Juliana slid the bodice from her body and draped it over a chair. Her arms were bare, the corset hugging her br**sts and waist.
“Keep going,” Elliot said.
Juliana flushed, pink spreading from her cheeks all the way down her neck. In addition to the ten freckles on her nose, freckles also ran down her throat to her chest, the pattern forming a point between her br**sts. The blush emphasized it.
She unhooked the corset cover and reached behind her to unlace the corset. That came off—she exhaled in relief—to reveal the little top of her combinations.
“The skirt as well?” she asked, setting aside the corset.
“And the petticoats and whatever contraption you’re wearing beneath.”
“I have to wear at least a small bustle with this, or the dress will sag.” Juliana unhooked and untied the skirt from around her waist and pulled it away. She untied and stepped out of the petticoats as well as the bustle.
She stood bare but for her combinations, stockings, and low-heeled shoes. Her hand went to the fastenings of her combinations. “Shall I take this off too?”
Elliot’s memories shot back to a time when he’d been painfully young and shipping back to India after brief leave. He and his mates had ended up at a cabaret in Marseilles, where young ladies pranced about a stage in their underwear and called out, “What shall we take off next, messieurs?”
That glimpse of blatant sin had been nowhere near as erotic as Juliana in her combinations shyly asking, Shall I take this off too?
“Shoes and stockings,” Elliot said. His entire body was at peace, except for his cock, which was rigid as a maypole. But, after all, what did a maypole represent?
“Oh yes.” Juliana slid out of her sturdy workday shoes and slipped off her stockings.
“That’s enough,” Elliot said when she finished. “Come here.”
Juliana walked hesitantly to the tub. One step, two, three…
Elliot reached out, hooked his arm around her waist, and pulled her down to him.
No squealing when she got wet. Juliana laughed.
Her laughter was so dear to him. The fact that she laughed with him, better still.
Elliot pulled her all the way into the tub, onto his lap with its stiff erection, closing his arms around her and holding her close.
Juliana leaned against him and decided that Elliot wet was a grand sight. His eyelashes were beaded with water, his hair darker gold with it. From behind his lashes his light gray eyes were almost silver, his look heating her even in the cooling water.
Water droplets glistened on his shoulders and beaded in the hollow of his throat, sliding over the lines of his tattoo. Water curled the hair on his chest, darkening the golden strands.
Elliot stroked her with big hands through her wet combinations, molding her waist, her back, up under her br**sts. His eyes were heavy with his lack of sleep, but his touch was sure and strong.
He cradled her in his hands, thumbs moving along her jaw to tilt her head back. He kissed her lips, his tongue taking the water from them.
Juliana lightly licked his cheekbone, liking the way her touch drew color across his tanned skin. He caught her mouth with his again, his kiss turning deeper, less playful.
She was soaking wet, her combinations forming to her body, the thin lawn hiding nothing.
Elliot slid his hands over her, cupping her br**sts, her ni**les tight against his palms. He kissed her with slow deliberation, a man seeking comfort.
He was aroused, the blunt hardness of his c**k a firm line. Juliana wriggled against it, liking the feel of it.
“Wicked lass,” Elliot whispered.
He skimmed his hands down her waist, tugging open her drawers and peeling them from her body. The drawers landed with a wet splat outside the tub.
There wasn’t room for Elliot to make love to her here. He kissed her again, licking the water from her lips, stroking into her mouth. Juliana rubbed his slippery shoulders to his back, pulling him to her for a harder kiss.
Elliot’s hands went everywhere—her thighs, bu**ocks, waist, br**sts. He kissed her with longing, lips caressing then commanding.
He was lifting her up, up, rising out of the tub with her. Water crashed from their bodies back into the bathtub and all over the floor. Elliot pushed Juliana’s camisole up and off, pulling her naked, wet body against his.
More kisses, Elliot lifting her against him, cradling her bu**ocks with one arm, while he hungrily took her mouth. He locked her legs around him, the ridge of his arousal nestled against her thigh, and stepped out of the tub.
The bed was two strides away. Juliana landed on her back, ever so gently, then Elliot covered her, warm and wet.
He never stopped kissing her. He parted her legs, his callused hands rasping her skin, and entered her.
The bedsheets quickly became soaked as he moved inside her, his eyes darkening as he loved her as hungrily as he’d kissed her.
Elliot came apart in tight little jerks, Juliana’s cries heartfelt. Elliot kept loving her, his eyes growing heavy, until he finished, gathered Juliana against him, and fell into an unmoving sleep.
When Juliana woke and ventured downstairs, the house was again full of men from the village, returning for another day of putting McGregor Castle to rights. Juliana had heard them arrive while she lay against Elliot, so she’d taken special care in front of the mirror to make sure her hair was perfectly to rights, the clean dress she put on nowhere near the water that coated the floor.
Elliot lay back in the bed and watched her, the sheets sagging down his hips. He regarded her with a half smile that was positively sinful.