What She Wants Chapter fourteen

Willa was watching a group of children play when the sound of an approaching horse made her turn. She found herself staring up at her mounted husband.

"My lord," she greeted, then glanced past him toward the stables, wondering what was taking Baldulf so long. He had suggested she wait outside while he saw to things in the stables. Willa expected to see the soldier come from the stables leading five mounted Hillcrest soldiers and a saddled horse for herself. She was completely surprised when Hugh rode up by himself and suddenly bent down to catch her about the waist. Willa gave a startled gasp as she found herself settled on the saddle before him, the sack of meat she carried banging against her leg.

"Hook the sack to the pommel," he ordered. He shifted her, rearranging his hold on his reins.

"Where is Baldulf? Why - ?" Her questions stopped abruptly as he took the sack from her and hooked it to the pommel himself.

"I gave him the morning off. I am accompanying you."

"But what of the six guards you insisted on?"

"I shall do." He cut off any further questions by urging the horse into a trot across the bailey.

Faced with the possibility of biting her tongue off, Willa refrained from asking anything more and grabbed at his arms to help keep her balance as they rode through the castle gate.

It was a beautiful day, made more so by the fact that they had been trapped in their room for three days. Willa had enjoyed getting to know her husband, but staring at the same four walls had quickly grown tiresome. She was used to being out of doors most of the time. Long walks, swimming in the river and just lazing at the river's edge with Wolfy and Fen had formed the pattern of her life for many years. Being locked inside did not sit well with her.

She leaned back against Hugh's chest and breathed in deeply of the fresh air, simply enjoying the sunshine on her face at first. But then she became aware of a lump at her back, nudging against her bottom, and she shifted to try to find a more comfortable spot. It did seem that Hugh had a most uncomfortable saddle. Willa was quite sure that if this were still the saddle Lord Hillcrest had purchased for him, then its lumpiness must be due to age. Or perhaps the old saddle had worn out and Hugh had replaced it with a much more inferior one. The man who had raised her certainly would have insisted on top quality, and the lumpiness of this saddle left much to be desired.

Willa had barely had that thought when she became aware that Hugh had shifted the reins to one hand and was holding her in place with the other. He'd splayed his hand flat against her stomach and was pressing her firmly back against his chest. Willa considered telling him he need not bother, that she was well-seated and would not fall, but she rather enjoyed the warm and safe feeling his touch gave her, so she held her tongue.

They were moving rather swiftly and the motion jostled his hand so that it drifted upward. Willa found herself holding her breath as it drew closer to the bottom of her breasts. When his fingers finally brushed their roundness, she let her breath out on a whoosh that pressed her breasts more firmly into his hand. Her nipples began to tingle under the unintentional caress and she bit her lip, wiggling against the hardness behind her.

Willa was terribly disappointed when he began to slow his mount and she realized that they were nearing the cottage.

"Where did you wish to go?" His voice was husky and Willa wondered if he weren't getting his cold back.

"The river," she said quietly.

"How do you know they will be there?"

"They will follow us. They have been following us ever since we left the castle," she told him. Glancing over her shoulder, she saw surprise cross his face, but he merely turned in the direction that would lead them to the river. They rode in silence again.

Moments later they broke out of the woods at the edge of the river and he slowed his mount. Willa slid from the saddle the moment he'd brought the animal to a halt, catching her breath as his hand unintentionally brushed her breasts while he helped her down. Leaving him to tie up the beast, she moved to the water's edge and opened the sack Alsneta had given her. She'd nearly finished dividing the meat scraps it contained into two even piles when he joined her.

Setting out the last of the meat, Willa straightened. She moved to the river's edge to wash her hands in the cool water, then sat back on her haunches to stare at the slow-moving water. She wanted to swim but was too shy to do so in front of her new husband. Which was silly, she supposed. He'd seen her completely naked. She glanced back at him uncertainly to find that he'd settled on the rock Baldulf usually occupied.

Catching her glance, he arched his eyebrows. "What?"

"I thought I might swim," she admitted shyly.

He opened his mouth in what she suspected would be a refusal to allow it. She was still recovering from a cold, after all, but then he paused, his gaze drifting down over her. He was looking at her as if she were a tender morsel and he a starving man, she thought with discomfort. Then he smiled. It was a rather wicked smile that sent shivers over her skin.

"Aye. You should swim."

Feeling suddenly uncertain, Willa debated the matter. In the end, she took her courage in hand and began to work on her lacings. She was slow at the chore, her discomfort making her clumsy as he watched her. Eventually she managed the task and shrugged out of the loose gown Eada had made her. Willa considered removing her shift, too. She usually kept it on if Baldulf were there, but Hugh had seen her naked and the pleasure of the water against her naked skin was tempting. Unfortunately her courage did not extend that far. Leaving the shift on, she shucked her shoes and started into the water. It had felt refreshingly cool on her hands, but it seemed colder on her feet and legs. Willa moved slowly, easing out an inch at a time. She was terribly aware of Hugh's eyes burning into her back.

Willa walked out to her waist like that, then she could no longer stand the strain of his gaze and dove under. She came up squealing at the shock of the cold water. Pushing her hair back, she hopped about, trying to adjust to the temperature.

The sound of chuckling from the shore drew her head around and she made a face at Hugh. He was still sitting on the rock, but was now laughing at her antics.

"You may laugh," she called out. "But I do not see you braving the water!"

He shook his head, his amusement fading into a grin. "I do not swim. 'Sides, I am standing guard."

"Ha! A likely excuse, my lord." She splashed water in his direction, falling far short of hitting him. "You should just admit that you are afraid you might catch a chill."

He continued to grin at her and shake his head; then his gaze lowered to her chest and paused. The grin faded. Willa followed his glance downward, blushing as she saw that she might as well have left the shift off. Wet, it was completely transparent. She dropped until the water covered her to the neck.

"Perhaps I shall join you." He began to rise.

"Nay! Do not move!" The urgency in her voice made him pause, his look becoming wary.

"What is it?"

"Wolfy and Fen," she breathed, but he heard her. Either that or he read her lips, for he relaxed back on the rock.

"Where are they?" he asked. Willa wasn't surprised at his curiosity. He really hadn't seen them up close in the light of day. This was the first time they had approached while he was present.

"They are coming out of the woods," she told him. "To your right."

He turned his head and they both watched the animals' cautious approach. They were normally more relaxed than this with her. Hugh's presence made them wary, she supposed. But then she was shocked that they would approach at all with him there.

"What do I do?" Hugh asked. He didn't sound frightened, just concerned that he might scare them off.

"Nothing. Just sit still and watch them. Are they not beautiful?"

Hugh nodded silently, his gaze moving from one to the other. The wolves were watching him too, eyeing him warily as they approached the food. Deciding that her own tension probably was not helping the matter, Willa forced herself to relax and began to splash about in the water. She swam a bit, floated some, then grew bored and decided to get out. Wolfy and Fen were just finishing their meal. Willa walked calmly out, pausing to stroke first Fen then Wolfy, before moving over to collect her gown and shoes.

"You will catch a chill if you don your gown over that wet shift."

Willa paused and turned at Hugh's quiet words. "I cannot return to the castle like this."

"Nay." He looked thoughtful for a moment, his gaze moving over the damp, clingy chemise. "We shall go to the cottage and start a fire. You can dry your shift and hair before it."

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Willa nodded and glanced toward the wolves, but they were gone. Every scrap of meat had been eaten.

"They are quick and quiet," Hugh commented, standing now. "Why did they not stay?"

"They will not have gone far," Willa told him, folding her gown over her arm. "They will go find somewhere to sleep. They always sleep after eating."

He nodded at that, then untied his horse. They walked the short distance to the cottage in silence.

Her childhood home looked different somehow when they stepped into the clearing. It had always appeared warm and inviting to her. Now, however, it seemed forlorn and abandoned, Willa thought as she moved toward it.

Aware that Hugh was no longer at her side, she paused at the door and glanced around. He was leading his horse to the small building they had used as a stable. Leaving him to it, she opened the door and stepped inside, frowning at the musty scent. They had only left a few days ago, yet they could have been gone for months. Her gaze slid around the dim interior, landing on the table, then the cot, the only two furnishings left. The small cottage looked barren without the chairs, the linens, the flowers...

She walked into the room and ran a hand lightly over the rough surface of the table that had been the heart of this home. Eada had sat there sewing a new gown or mending old ones. Baldulf had sat opposite her, polishing his armor or making Willa shoes. She'd eaten, done her lessons and grown up at this table.

"I meant to have this place burned down. I should have." Willa turned with a gasp at that comment from Hugh. He stood in the open door, frowning around the dim interior; then his gaze returned to her. " 'Tis making you sad."

"Nay," she said quickly. " 'Tis not the cottage. 'Tis just..." She shrugged helplessly as her gaze slid around the dim interior. It would never be home again. She'd lost that too. Willa promptly berated herself for such thoughts. After all, Hillcrest was her home now. Still...

She heard the door close, then felt Hugh's heat as he moved up behind her. He brushed the still damp hair away from her cheek and neck, and brushed a kiss across the sensitive skin below her ear.

"I will not have you sad." It sounded almost like an order, and Willa found herself smiling, then murmuring with pleasure as he kissed her neck again. Hearing the sound made her frown. She bit her lip against releasing another one as he continued to tease the skin of her neck. If she were to turn her head just a bit, she could find his lips with her own. She wanted to, but she wasn't sure if she should. Willa was grateful when Hugh removed that dilemma by turning her head for her with a finger at her chin. He claimed her mouth in a questing kiss and Willa kissed him back enthusiastically.

She did so enjoy his kisses, she thought vaguely, then stiffened as she felt his hands at the neckline of her shift. He tugged it down, baring her damp breasts to the chill air, then covered them with his callused hands, immediately warming them. Willa squeezed her eyes closed, some of the pleasure diminished as she concentrated on remaining silent and unmoving as Eada had instructed. It was terribly hard. He was cupping and squeezing her breasts, his thumbs rubbing excitingly across her nipples. She had the almost irresistible urged to arch into that caress and grind her bottom against him, but she managed to restrain herself.

Continuing to kiss her, Hugh turned her in his embrace, backing her up until her behind bumped against the table. Then he cupped her breasts again. Moments later, he broke the kiss to bend his head to claim one erect nipple. Willa stared down at his bent head and ached to run her hands through his hair, but forced herself to remain still. When she did not respond, he raised his head, a perplexed expression on his face.

"Do you not like when I do that?" he asked, his voice husky with passion.

Willa nodded silently but fervently, and his perplexity seemed to deepen. He pushed the chemise that had caught at her waist down over her hips until it dropped into a damp pile on the floor. His hand slid between her legs and he touched her intimately. Willa bit her lip and stiffened at the caress.

"Do you like that?" he asked uncertainly, and she nodded her head ardently again. He seemed all the more confused.

"Then why are you so quiet?" he asked at last. "Why do you not hold me or touch me back?"

Willa's eyes widened at the almost hurt confusion in his voice. "Eada," she croaked, then had to stop to clear her throat.

"Eada?" he prompted, a touch impatient.

Willa nodded. "She said that men did not like babbling women and that you would tell me if I should do anything."

Hugh went still at that, his eyes taking on a dangerous quality. "Do you mean to say that when we consummated the wedding you were so still and quiet because Eada said you should be?"

"Aye," she admitted, then babbled. " 'Twas the most horrible experience I have ever had... and the most glorious. I wished to scream and thrash and I wished to hold you close and - But I thought I had to await your instruction and remain still. I did not wish to displease you. Where are you going?" she added with concern as he groaned and suddenly turned away. He answered the question by moving to the door and banging his head against it several times. Willa bit her lip, then asked uncertainly, "My lord? Are you alright? Have I done something wrong and angered you?"

"Nay." Hugh stopped banging his head to give it a shake. Then he chuckled and turned to face her. His voice was very calm and clear as he said, "Eada was wrong."

"She was?" Willa asked uncertainly. "Are you sure? Eada is never wrong."

"Well, she is wrong in this case." Moving forward, he cupped her face in his hands and said, "I wish to hear your pleasure, wife. How else am I to know that I please you? And God! Please do not wait for me to instruct you. Touch me. Hold me. Claw me if you wish."

Willa jerked in shock. "I would never claw you, my lord. I would never hurt you."

A determined sparkle entered his eyes. "We shall see about that."

"My lord?" Willa asked, backing uncertainly away as he moved forward. "You sound almost as if you should like me to claw you?"

" 'Twould be a high compliment," he assured her, and then Willa found her retreat ended as she bumped up against the table. The rough wood against her backside reminded her that her shift was gone and she was naked. Then Hugh swooped down to kiss her again. This was no questing kiss. This time his mouth seemed intent on devouring hers. Willa was, at first, too stunned to respond, but gradually she inched her hands up around his neck. She heaved a gusty sigh into his mouth and began to kiss him back.

It was so glorious to be able to hold him. Willa squeezed her arms tight around him, then ran her hands up into his hair, her fingers brushing against his ears. Hugh's response was immediate. His own hands dropped to cup her bottom, urging her forward as he thrust a knee between her legs. Willa gasped into his mouth as the rough cloth of his braies rubbed against the center of her. She could feel his erection against the front of one thigh and squirmed against him, gasping at the excitement caused by the friction of his leg between hers.

Still pressing her lower body tight to him, he slid his other hand between them to fondle one breast. When he next tried to pull his mouth free, she caught his head and held it in place. She knew he was probably intending to seek out her breast to suckle it, but the sensations he was causing between her legs were already too much and she desperately needed his kisses. She needed his tongue in her mouth.

Willa felt his hand drop away from her breast, but didn't really care until she felt it nudge its way lower. She broke the kiss then, tossing her head back and gasping for air as he touched her. He slid his knee free and she promptly closed her thighs around his hand, squeezing to increase her pleasure as she rode it.

She was groaning and moaning and grunting and didn't care. Hugh had said he wanted to hear her pleasure. She let him hear; she was begging incoherently for the release he could give her.

"Thank God! You are babbling." He sounded exultant, though Willa didn't know why that pleased him so. Then he withdrew his pleasure-giving hand and suddenly lifted her to sit on the edge of the table. Willa had barely registered her disappointment when he slid into her.

Crying out, Willa arched and closed her legs around him as he cupped her bottom. She clawed at his shoulders and chanted, "Please, please, please," by his ear as he pounded into her. Cursing, he tugged her tighter to him with his hold on her bottom, grinding himself against her with each thrust until she stiffened and shrieked as she convulsed in his arms. Lost in a world of sensation, Willa was barely aware of his stiffening and shouting as he joined her in that release.

When next she became aware of her surroundings, it was to find herself still seated on the table, leaning limply against her husband's chest. She heard him groan; then he pulled back slightly and she felt him press a kiss to the top of her head. Lifting her head, she met his gaze briefly, then blushed as she recalled her abandon of moments ago. Willa started to duck her head, but he caught her chin and pressed a kiss to one flushed cheek.

"You pleased me," was all he said. It was enough. Still inside her, Hugh scooped her up off the table and turned to walk to the cot in the corner. She felt him move inside her and grow stiffer with each step, and then he eased her onto the bed and slid out of her as he straightened.

Willa watched in silence as he removed the open braies hanging off his hips. He was fully erect again, or so she thought until his manhood grew even larger under her gaze. She found it rather shocking that something so large had fit inside her and felt good in the fitting. Then her gaze moved up to admire the broad expanse of his chest as he tugged his tunic off. Willa's hands reached up of their own accord to smooth over his torso as he joined her on the cot. She closed her eyes and enjoyed the feel of him under the sensitive tips of her fingers as he lay half on top of her, holding most of his weight with his arms. She allowed her hands to drift to his nipples, rubbing her thumbs over them as he did to her. Her eyes opened at a sound from him. Hugh was smiling. He seemed to enjoy her touch, so she slid her hands down across his stomach, then to his hips. She caught him there and tried to pull him against her, but he resisted, looking a bit vexed.

"What is it?" Willa asked.

"This cot is small; 'tis hard to find purchase. I may crush you." He hesitated, then lay on his side. He shifted until he lay on his back and had maneuvered her on top of him. Willa lay there uncertainly for a moment, then pushed herself upright until she straddled his hips. She felt him hard beneath her and blushed, then began to run her hands curiously over his chest as her drying hair slid down to curtain them.

Smiling, Hugh caught several strands and used them to tug her down for a kiss. Willa sighed against his mouth as the movement rubbed her across the hard flesh of his erection. Then she kissed him eagerly as he let go of her hair to clasp her hips and draw her across his flesh in a deliberate caress. Enjoying the sensation, Willa took over the movement, sliding along his shaft as Hugh shifted his hands to cup her breasts between them. She was enjoying the sensation so much that she was almost disappointed when she angled herself too much and he slid into her. Willa hesitated, then sat up and clasped his hands over her breasts as she began to ride him. She was awkward at first, and uncertain, but she was also in control and quickly found just the right position and angle to gain the most pleasure.

Hugh pulled one hand away from her breast to grasp her hip, attempting to urge her to a faster motion, but Willa resisted, driving them both mad with her slow pace. As her excitement mounted, so did a frantic need to kiss him, but she was unable to reach his lips. Finally she grabbed the hand at her hip and drew it up to her mouth, licking, nipping and finally sucking on it in her urgency. This just seemed to make Hugh move more desperately beneath her.

This time it was he who begged in an incoherent plea, and he who first arched, raising his back up off the bed with a shout as he poured himself into her. Willa followed quickly, biting down on his finger and arching into her own release. Then she collapsed on top of him, feeling completely drained and thoroughly satisfied.

Hugh mumbled something that might have been a compliment or an endearment as he wrapped his arms around her to hold her close, but Willa was too exhausted to ask what he'd said. Snuggling close, she sniffled, frowning slightly at the scent of smoke in the air. It reminded her that Hugh had meant to light a fire for her, but they had forgotten. She didn't suppose she needed it anymore and drifted into sleep.
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