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“Amanda,” Lady Ward said, “Allow me to present my nephew, Noah home from the Caribbean.”
Amanda tried to keep her face impassive and offered the young man her hand. “A delight to meet you,” she murmured wanting nothing more than to get away from him before he revealed what he knew of her.
Of course, the band started up, and Noah asked for her first dance. There was no way to refuse without being churlish, so she allowed him to lead her to the dancefloor. As he swung her round, she noted that he was quite a good dancer, and he seemed to not recognize her or was not going to force her to talk about their first meeting.
At least until midway through the dance, when he leaned in closely and whispered, “Would you like another fortune?”
She felt her face flame, as she recalled her disclosure of depraved fantasies to this man. At the time, she’d believed him to a poor fortune teller, not a man she’d run into in the highest echelons of society. She considered pretending that she didn’t recognize him but decided to play at his game. She leaned into him during the next turn of the dance. She whispered, “I’ve heard stories about the depraved happening in the Caribbean, are they true?”
His hand tightened on hers and the hand on her waist inched a little lower, resting almost on her hip. Not enough to be scandalous, but enough to be improper. “I can image you on one of my beaches,” he purred into her ear. “All your fine clothing discarded, and the warm waters lapping at her naked flesh.”
Amanda gasped at his words and the brush of his lips against her ear.
“You’d look like some wanton Greek nymph or mermaid, naked and seductive, luring men to salacious deeds before drowning them for their impertinence. His fingers stroked her hand, and she recalled how much his touch had aroused her before. “You’d rise from the water like Venus, and let the sun kiss your blushing nipples.”
Amanda leaned forward, eager to hear more. “And I suppose you’d be off in the jungle watching my lascivious ways?”
He chuckled softly, “I love watching a woman pleasured by a lover.” He paused a moment, “I host regular parties in my plantation for those select few who share my predilections.” His fingers clamped tighter on her waist, “I imagine you’d enjoy such parties, and I’d love to lead you down to my beach and watch you pleasured by my party guests. Laid out on the sand, your sex spread open to the sun and sky and of course me and my guests.”
Amanda bit her lip. She knew she’d gone too far with this game. This type of talk was dangerous, at least for her. If he repeated this game to the wrong sort, her reputation would be ruined. And for a woman like her, reputation was the only thing she had to sell in the marriage market. But, she felt the slickness between her legs, and she was shocked and so terribly aroused by his descriptions. Even if he simply making up shocking stories, the very idea of being taken, nude on a beach and used by a host of party guests had her panting.
Before she could retort, the dance ended, and he took her arm, leading her back to Lady Ward. He said nothing more about their licentious talk and offered the expected blandly polite talk before excusing himself.
She caught sight of him a few more times that evening, sometimes dancing but more often standing off to the side and watching her.
The next morning, when her maid brought breakfast, the tray held a small package.
“This arrived for you this morning, ma’am,” the young woman said.
Amanda waited for the maid to leave before tearing open the wrapped box. She removed the object from the box, finding a finely carved mermaid, on a short staff? It took her a moment to recognize the aides d’amour she’d only seen in books. It wasn’t a staff the mermaid sat upon, but a carved phallus. She held the object in her hand, slowly running her fingers over it. A note rested at the bottom, asking for her consent for Noah to enter into marriage negations with her father. He asked her to consider the gift a hint of the debauchery she could expect from a union with him, but that he would wait and respect her answer.
Amanda placed the mermaid back into the box and called for her maid to bring her paper and ink.