~sQ~ ~sQ~ ~sQ~
Nathan grinned as he watched
her move into the bedchamber, her dressing gown billowing around her legs.
He slowly moved into the room then shut and locked the door behind him.
Kristin turned at the sound
of the lock sliding into place and arched an eyebrow at him.
“I’m not taking any
chances on our being interrupted…”
Kristin giggled then felt a
rush of heat suffuse her entire being as she watched Nathan move his eyes up and
down her body. “Are you planning
on standing there and staring at me all night… or are you going come over here
and make love to me?”
“Oh… I am going to make
love to you all right,” Nathan told her in husky voice.
“Make no mistake about that.” He
pushed himself off the door and slowly walked towards her.
“Do you remember that night on the seaQuest… after our stop in Port
“I am going to love you as
thoroughly as I did that night…” Nathan said as he stopped within arms reach
of her then lifted his hands to the sash on her dressing gown and slowed pulled
it loose. “I am going to,” his
fingers moved up to the fasteners and began to undo them, “make sure that you are…”
Kristin lowered her eyes to
watch as the bottom stay on her dressing gown came apart.
second fastener came undone.
Kristin could feel the heat
of Nathan’s fingers through the thin layers of her clothing as he moved onto
the next stay.
“Totally…” the third
Kristin found herself holding
her breath as Nathan paused in his chore to look up and meet her eyes.
She shuddered with anticipation at the intense desire and love she saw
swimming in his cobalt depths.
“And utterly satisfied by
the time you close your eyes to sleep…” the fourth and final stay fell free.
breathed his name with longing as he slipped his hands inside the dressing gown
and cupped her breasts through her chemise, his thumbs playing over the
“Then… I am going to hold
you close and tight throughout the night until we wake in the morning…” a
slow smile spread across his lips. “And
then I am going to do it all again.”
“Mmm… I certainly am not
going to stop you…” Kristin murmured as she leaned into his caressing hands.
“In fact…” she lifted her hands to his shirt and began to release
the buttons. “I am going to make
you the same promise.”
“I love you, Mrs. Bridger.”
“And I love you, Mr.
Bridger.” She replied as one by
one the buttons slipped out of their holes.
Kristin slid her hands under the silk shirt and ran her fingers through
the soft curly hair on his chest.
Nathan moaned as she found
and teased his nipples before moving her hands up to his shoulders.
She pushed his shirt down his arms and he reluctantly removed his hands
from her breasts to let the shirt fall down his arms to pool at his feet.
“My turn…” he whispered
and grasped the edges of her dressing gown, slowly pulled it open and down her
arms. It fell in a whisper to join
his shirt on the floor. “And this
too,” Nathan smiled as he reached for the ties of her chemise and tugged.
Within seconds it too was on the floor in a puddle around her feet,
leaving her, for the second time that night, with the exception of her jewelry,
gloriously naked before him. “Much
better,” Nathan murmured. “Much
Kristin inhaled sharply as
Nathan once again cupped her breasts in his large hands, kneading the full
mounds tenderly while he circled her nipples with his thumbs.
“Nath…” she swallowed as he gently pinched the distended tips and
reached out to clutch his waist as a shockwave of pleasure vibrated through her
Nathan smiled and leaned in
to brush a soft kiss against her lips but stopped before he made contact.
“Hold that thought…” he whispered then stepped away from her.
“Nathan?” Kristin asked, confusion evident in her voice and on her face
as she watched him move across the room and duck into her dressing room.
Seconds later he came back out carrying a small chair.
“What are you…?”
“Still not taking any
chances…” Nathan said as he quickly moved over to the door and jammed the
back of the chair under the doorknob, “on
us being interrupted again.”
“Nathan… except for
Stephens and Elsie, we’re the only ones in the house… everyone else has the
night off,” Kristin told him with an amused smile as he slowly made his way
back towards her. “And both
Stephens and Elsie are way in the back of the house… and on the first
“Which is a damn good
thing…” Nathan replied as he stopped before her.
“Otherwise, they would be sure to get quite an earful…”
Kristin blushed, the red hue
spreading down from her face and over her breasts.
“It has been a while since
I’ve seen you blush so fiercely, my wife…” Nathan grinned at her and
reached out to trace a line over her collarbone and down between her breasts
then back up to cup one of the full swells.
“I love that I am still able to make you do so.”
“Something tells me… that
you will always be able to have that effect on me, my love,” Kristin replied
with a smile as she pushed him down onto the seat of her vanity and slipped to
her knees before him. “One day
though…” she grasped his left leg, and urged him to lift it then began to
tug on his boot. “I am going to
surprise you, and make you blush.”
“I look forward to that day.”
Kristin chuckled as she
pulled off his boot and tossed it aside then moved to do the same with the
other. As Nathan wriggled his toes,
Kristin slowly trailed her hands up his legs, caressing the sinewy muscles
beneath the cotton. She stopped
when she came to the noticeable bulge then glanced up at him as she reached out
to lightly outline his length with her finger.
Nathan moaned softly and
watched as with a gleam in her eyes, Kristin returned her attention to removing
his pants. She quickly released the
placard then paused with her fingers on the top button.
“I still find it hard to
believe that I am here… like this,” she released the first button then
glanced down at her naked body and the obvious swell of the child within. “Pregnant with a pirate’s child,” Kristin looked back
up and grinned at the amused smiled on Nathan’s lips then proceeded to undo
the next two buttons, “in the
process of undressing said pirate…”
The last button slipped out
of its hole and Kristin grasped the opening of his trousers then tugged them
down over his hips to puddle at his feet.
“And thoroughly enjoying
every moment of it,” she finished in a husky voice then licked her lips as his
erection sprang free, the hard muscle pointing straight at her.
Kristin reached up, circled her fingers around his member and began to
lightly stroke him.
Nathan groaned as a fissure
of pleasure shot up through his body then he reached down to cup her cheek.
“And I am very glad you enjoy it…that you enjoy our loving.”
“Oh… I do,” she looked
up at him. “Thank you for showing
me just how wonderful this could be.”
His thumb stroked over her
bottom lip. “You’re very
welcome, my… ooh… oh god…”
Kristin smiled around him as
she took the head of his shaft into her mouth and swirled her tongue around the
sensitive tip. Her hand slowly
moved up and down his length, once again marveling at the silky-steel feel of
him in her palm.
“Kris…” Nathan groaned
as she continued to move him in and out of the hot cavern of her mouth.
His hand slid from her cheek to entangle in her hair.
He tugged on the fiery auburn mass and fought the urge to thrust against
her lips. “Kris…”
Kristin looked up at him, the
hunger in his eyes sending a surge of moisture to her core. With one final pull on his length, she allowed him to fall
free of her mouth and with his assistance she stood before him; her body pressed
tightly to his.
“I love you…” Nathan
whispered against her lips before he took her mouth in a passionate kiss, his
tongue pressing for immediate entrance.
A low moan sounded at the
back of Kristin’s throat as she parted her lips and sucked Nathan’s tongue
into her mouth to tangle with hers. Her
hands slid up his chest, over his shoulders then into his hair as the kiss
continued and it was several moments before Kristin realized that Nathan had
been slowly walking them back towards the bed.
Nathan’s hands moved to her
waist and he lifted her off the floor, careful to keep their mouths together as
he set her on the edge of the bed. He
felt her hands tighten in his hair as she slowly lay back on the mattress,
pulling him with her so that his body was covering hers.
He rolled them onto their
sides and entangled his legs with hers as, still kissing, their hands began to
caress and explore each other’s bodies; relearning all that aroused and
delighted their partner.
Kristin pulled her lips from
her husband’s and slowly began to trail them along his jaw and down his
throat, pausing for several minutes to nibble at a particularly sensitive spot
on his neck.
“Kris…” Nathan moaned
as she continued on her journey, her lips nipping their way across his shoulder
then down to cover his nipple. His
hands tightened on her waist as she grazed her teeth over the tender point then
slipped down to subject the other nipple to the same sweet torture.
Kristin murmured his name as
Nathan pulled back slightly and pushed her onto her back then loomed up over
her. She moaned as he reached out
to trace the edges of the sapphire necklace where it rested just above the swell
of her breasts.
“I love the way the
sapphires look against your skin,” Nathan told her in a soft voice. “But their beauty pales in comparison to the wearer,” he
finished as his fingers slipped down to circle her breasts.
gasped as his fingers finally made contact with her already hard nipples,
alternately teasing each one until she arched into his touch, silently begging
him to do more… to increase the pleasure.
Nathan smiled down at her
then swooped down to take the nearest nipple into his mouth.
“Oh yes…” she moaned
happily and brought her hand up to clench in his hair.
He suckled for long moments at her breast then kissed his way over to the
other and pulled the dark, rosy nipple deep into his mouth.
When she was certain she could take no more, he released the throbbing
tip, shifted on the bed beside her and began to kiss his way down her stomach.
Nathan’s lips lightly
caressed the swell of her belly. “Rest,
little one,” he whispered against her skin as he felt the child within respond
to his presence. “Daddy is going
to love mommy some more.” He was
answered with another flutter beneath his hand and then nothing more. He looked up at Kristin and grinned. “My little princess listens well.”
“Mmhmm… I just had an
image of a little girl with flaming red hair and dancing sable eyes…” he
told her. “Our daughter…”
“And I’ve had an image of
a dark haired little boy with laughing blue eyes,” she replied.
“Gee…” Nathan flashed
her an impish grin as he shifted to lie between her legs,
“maybe we’re having both…”
“Twins?” Kristin gasped as he trailed his fingers lightly through the
copper curls covering her center then gently pulled her open.
“Twins,” Nathan’s eyes
twinkled at her before he lowered his mouth to the quivering pink flesh and
pulled the sensitive muscle into his mouth.
All thought left Kristin in
that moment as Nathan’s tongue curled around her clit. She arched off the bed and pressed herself against his mouth
as the sensations shot through her body.
“Na… than…” she
moaned as he continued to move his tongue over her.
Nathan smiled against her
slick flesh as Kristin once again arched beneath him and doubled his efforts.
He teased her tender opening with his finger, spreading her moisture over
her folds before replacing his tongue with his thumb on her clit.
Nathan circled the hard bundle as he stroked his tongue in and out of her
“I love the way you
taste,” he murmured in between dips of his tongue.
“Mmm…” Kristin gasped
as the sensations began to grow. “You…
mmm, oh yes… you are much too skillful at that…” she felt Nathan chuckle,
the sound reverberating up through her body; her already overloaded senses going
into overdrive. “I… ooh…
Nathan could feel her inner
walls beginning to spasm around his tongue and increased the pressure and speed
of his thumb against her clit. He
delved his tongue as deep into her as he could then began to hum over her
“Oh… Na… than!!”
Kristin cried out his name as her orgasm suddenly slammed through her.
She rocked up against him, panting for breath as wave after wave of
pleasure coursed through her.
Nathan pressed his mouth
harder against her center as she came, lapping at and consuming her juices.
He groaned with delight as his thumb continued to stroke her pearl and
moments later, she cried out his name again, another deluge of her essence
flowing freely into his mouth.
Several minutes later, with
only the occasional tremor shaking her body, Nathan gave her sex one last,
lingering kiss then slowly crawled up over his wife’s body. He settled his hips in the cradle of her legs, his member
nestling against her wet, throbbing center and propped his torso up on his
elbows as he waited for Kristin to open her eyes.
Kristin’s eyelids fluttered
open to see Nathan gazing down at her with a smile on his face and smiled back.
“Hi…” he replied in a
soft voice as he stroked her shoulders with his thumbs.
“Have a nice trip?”
“Mmm… very nice,” she
laughed softly as she reached up to cup his cheek.
“Care to join me on the next one?”
“And every one after
that,” Nathan grinned then dipped his head down to catch her lips in a loving
whispered against his lips as she slowly slid a hand into his hair then deepened
the kiss. They parted breathlessly
several moments later and Kristin gazed up into his passion-darkened eyes.
“I love you,” she told him in a husky voice.
“So very much…” her hand slipped between the close press of their
bodies and wrapped around his hardened length.
“…Nathan… I need you inside me…”
“Yes…” Nathan nodded
then groaned as she guided him to her opening.
He shifted slightly then slowly sank into her until he was completely
sheathed within the hot, wet cocoon of her body.
He groaned and buried his face in her neck at the feel of her inner walls
quivering around his shaft. “Kris…”
After several minutes of
simply enjoying their joining, Nathan kissed his way along Kristin’s jaw to
her lips; and as the sweet kiss grew more passionate, Nathan began to gently
thrust his hips against her.
Kristin broke out of the kiss
with a gasp and wrapped her legs around Nathan’s waist as she matched his
rhythm, her hips thrusting up to meet his.
Her hands slid aimlessly up and down his back; one moment clutching his
shoulders, the next moment clenching his flexing rear.
“I… oh god…” she
moaned, shocked to feel the onset of her release coiling in the pit of her
stomach. “Nath… Nathan…
“I know…” Nathan
replied breathlessly as he continued to piston his shaft in and out of her.
“I know…” he repeated and slipped a hand between them; his fingers
seeking out and finding her clit. “Let
go…” Nathan told her as he began to circle the hard, swollen bundle.
“Come for me, Kris…”
“Come…” he thrust
harder and deeper.
“Kris…” he grazed her
clit with his fingernail.
Nathan continued to drive
into her as she shattered beneath him; her body writhing in pleasure as her
orgasm consumed her. He watched her
face contort with obvious delight and felt a surge of manly pride that he was
the one responsible for bringing her to this state.
Kristin slowly drifted back
down from the high of her release to find Nathan still moving in and above her.
“Nathan…” she whispered with a satisfied smile.
“Welcome back,” Nathan
grinned down at her as he slowed the speed of his thrusts.
“Mmm… thank you,”
Kristin replied and trailed her hands up his back then slipped her fingers into
Nathan’s hair as she lifted her head from the pillow to catch his mouth in a
Nathan responded to his
wife’s kiss with a soft growl as he tangled his tongue madly with hers.
He felt Kristin’s legs unwind from his waist and the next thing Nathan
knew he was on his back with Kristin on top of him.
Kristin broke off the kiss
and pushed herself up so that she was straddling him then moaned as the change
in position allowed him to press deeper within her.
“You are so beautiful…”
Nathan told her in a quiet voice filled with reverence.
He reached up to cup one of her cheeks.
“I love you so much…”
Kristin smiled down at him
and laid her hands on his chest as she began to circle her hips over him.
At Nathan’s soft moan, she rose up on her knees until only the tip of
his shaft remained within her body.
“Kris…” Nathan groaned
as she slowly sank back down on him. “Oh
god…” he moaned again as Kristin repeated the movement.
“…that’s it… like that…” Nathan encouraged her and met her
every thrust as she began to move faster on him.
Kristin’s smile grew as she
felt the tension in his body add credence to his words and worked even harder to
bring him over the edge. Her
fingers played with his nipples as she rode him, lightly pinching them with
every thrust of their hips.
“Come for me, Nathan…”
she encouraged him as ground herself against him and tightened her inner muscles
around his shaft. “Come…”
“Oh god… Kris…
tin…” Nathan panted her name and planted his feet firmly on the mattress
behind her so that he could thrust up harder into her.
“Yes, my love…” Kristin
urged breathlessly then reached behind her, between his legs to grasp and fondle
his tight sacs. “Nathan…”
At the feel of her hand
fondling his balls, Nathan felt his juices rise up his shaft. He reached out, grasped Kristin’s waist and pulled her down
hard on him as he drove his length up into her.
“KRISTIN!” Nathan yelled out her name as his orgasm rushed over him, his
juices leaving his body in long, jetting ropes to wash against her womb; his
hips pumping furiously into her as he strove to empty himself within her.
Kristin collapsed on top of
Nathan, a soft moan on her lips as a small but intense orgasm rippled through
her body; triggered by the warmth of Nathan’s seed bathing her insides.
She felt Nathan wrap his arms tightly around her, even as his body
continued to shudder with the residual tremors of his release and slowly
stretched her legs out alongside his; taking care to keep his softening member
locked within her body.
Several minutes later, Nathan
turned his face and nuzzled Kristin’s temple.
murmured against his neck. “I…
“Good…” a large grin
split Nathan’s face at the extremely satisfied tone of his wife’s voice.
“And how is the princess?”
Kristin giggled against his
skin then lifted her head to look down at him, her smile growing at the grin on
his face. “Junior is fine.
How about you?”
Nathan chuckled and slid a
hand up to push her hair back out of her face.
“Better than I have been in months,” he replied as he pulled her lips
down to his for a loving kiss.
“Mmm…” Kristin sighed
as the kiss came to an end and she nestled back into his arms.
“So…” Nathan caressed
her back. “Do I need to have a
serious talk with that godson of mine?”
Kristin shook her head.
“They looked rather…
familiar,” Nathan gave her a pointed look.
“Are you certain they’ve not consummated their relationship?”
I had a long talk with Cynthia the night Will asked me for her hand.”
Kristin smiled against his
skin. “Do you remember our first
“Of course. I’ll never forget that moment.
You mean that Will forced Cynthia to kiss him for the first time?”
Do you remember what happened… during that kiss?”
Nathan’s hands stopped
moving. “You mean they…
Kristin started laughing.
“I’ll cut off his damned
hands!” Nathan exclaimed. “I’ll… why are you laughing?
This is your daughter we’re talking about.”
Kristin lifted her head off
his chest and smiled down at him. “I
know she’s my daughter… but after what we have done… who are we to
“We’re her parents…
“And they’ve both made
the decision to wait until their wedding night to consummate their
“But you said they…”
they’ve touched…” Kristin told him as she settled her head back down on
Nathan’s chest. “And I’ve no
doubt that my daughter has experienced her first orgasm…”
“One hand!? Let me just cut off one hand!”
“Nathan! We didn’t rescue him and work so hard to heal him just so
you could maim him now…”
“Okay… okay…” he
“If I know my daughter…
she will want to get married very shortly, especially now that you’re here,”
Kristin said then gently circled her hips against him and clenched her inner
muscles around his soft length. “Besides…
would you really want to deny them this pleasure?”
Nathan groaned as he felt his
member respond to her internal pressure and slid his hands down to still her
hips. “No…” he replied.
“I would not want to deny them this…”
“So… no more talk about
maiming our future son-in-law,” Kristin murmured with a kiss to his throat.
“All right…” Nathan
said as he resumed his caressing of her back.
“Now… that is one child taken care of.
What is the story between our son and Claire?”
“Why do you ask?”
“I could not help but
notice how attentive Lucas was to her, and it was more than apparent that Claire
is smitten with him as well.”
“At the moment… they are
interested in each other,” Kristin answered.
“However, they are both so young…”
“That they could change
their minds a hundred times over the next few years.”
“I remember those days…”
“And how many young
girls’ hearts did you break, my rogue?”
“None actually… it was my
heart that was repeatedly broken.”
Kristin laughed softly and
pressed a kiss to his chest. “Mmhmm…
“Really. I was never popular with the ladies.”
Kristin shifted against him
and pushed herself up so that she was once again straddling him. “Now I find that hard to believe…”
“It’s true,” Nathan
replied as he laid his hands on her thighs and began to softly stroke the smooth
skin. “I was never sophisticated
enough or charming enough for the society debutants and their mothers,” he
chuckled. “And I was never good
Kristin arched an eyebrow.
“How could they not find you attractive?”
“Because of this,” he ran
his finger down his nose. “The
result of a couple of fights with the local bully.”
“I like your nose,”
Kristin told him as she reached out and traced the same line down the bridge as
he’d just done. “It has
“You’re biased,” Nathan
smiled up at her. “You’re my
“Thought you were very
handsome even when I thought you were nothing more than a heartless pirate,”
Kristin interrupted with a smile. “Your
eyes…” she slid her finger from his nose to circle around his eyes,
“I was mesmerized by your eyes from the first moment I saw them…”
“Were you really?”
“Oh yes…” Kristin
nodded. “Your eyes are the bluest
I’ve ever seen…” she said then frowned as she cupped his cheek.
“What is it?”
“I miss your beard,” she
answered with a slight pout on her face.
Nathan reached up and stroked
his bare chin. “Do you really?”
“What is it?”
Nathan asked as he watched a soft blush creep up his wife’s chest and
“Nothing,” Kristin shook
something, or why else would you be blushing?”
Nathan said with a curious smile. “Come
on… tell me…”
The red hue of Kristin’s
skin darkened. “I… was just
thinking that I…” she shook her head.
“Kris… there is nothing
you can’t tell me,” Nathan told her as he slid his hands up to grasp her
waist. “Especially when you’re
straddling me and I am buried deep inside you…”
Kristin flushed even more as
she felt his shaft slowly harden within her and slapped his chest.
“I miss the feel of your beard… the way it… tickles my thighs when
you’re… when you love me down…” her voice trailed off as reached up to
run her fingers over his lips. “I
noticed the difference tonight…”
Nathan chuckled and sat up
beneath her then caught her lips in a ravenous kiss.
“God, I love you, my lady,” he spoke against her lips.
“I love you too,” Kristin
replied breathlessly then moaned as he rocked his hips against hers.
“But I still miss the beard.”
“I’m finding it a little
odd not having it myself,” Nathan told her.
“But a lot of why I had the beard no longer exists… my pirate days
“Is that why you shaved it
off?” Kristin asked as she
shifted in his lap, her legs moving to wrap around him.
“Actually, I shaved it off
before I left to confront Zellar… I figured it would give me a small
advantage, and it did…”
“Because he was looking for
a bearded man…”
“Right,” Nathan nodded.
“Gator… you sure you want to hear this?”
“Well… Gator blackened my
hair with some shoe polish just before we went ashore to Zellar’s
hideout…” he began then told her about the confrontation between himself and
Zellar. “…then I had him
pinned, and that is when Bill showed up and stopped me.”
“How did Zellar manage to
do this?” Kristin reached down
between them to trace her fingers over the angry scar on his hip.
“He… he was going on and
on about you…” Nathan answered in a quiet voice.
“I knew what he was trying to do, and for the most part, I was able to
ignore him… but then he…”
“He what?” Kristin asked softly as she cupped his cheek.
“Zellar said…” he shook his head.
“No… I can’t…”
“He… in as crude a way as
possible, told me he’d bedded you. And
while I knew he hadn’t…”
“It enraged you.”
“Yes,” Nathan nodded.
“You’re my wife… and just the thought of you being subjected to…
Kristin laid her forehead
against Nathan’s as his voice trailed off.
“My attention faltered for
just a moment… but it was enough for the bastard to get in a good hit.
I didn’t feel it…”
A small smile touched his
lips as he continued. “I just
kept fighting. All I could think
was that I had to protect you… that I couldn’t let him escape to try and
Kristin grasped Nathan’s
face in her hands just as the first tears splashed on the top of her breasts.
“And you did…” she brushed her lips over his.
“You stopped him… you protected us…” Kristin dropped her hand
between them to grasp his and laid it on her abdomen.
“You protected us both…”
Nathan nodded slowly as
Kristin pressed a series of soft breathy kisses against his lips.
“He didn’t succeed,
Nathan…” Kristin told him. “He
did not have his way with me… you are the only man I’ve been with since
Oliver… and you are the only man I will ever be with again,” she moved her
lips over his. “You and only
Nathan flexed the hand still
lying on Kristin’s belly then deepened their kiss, his tongue tangling
ravenously with hers. He brought
his hands up to cup her breasts and smiled against her lips at the low groan
that sounded deep in Kristin’s throat as he moved his thumbs over her pebbled
“I want you again…”
Nathan whispered against her lips.
“I want you too…”
Kristin replied and tightened her legs around him.
Taking care to keep their
bodies joined, Nathan wrapped his arms around her and slowly shifted onto his
knees then gently lowered Kristin back onto the bed.
He pressed her into the mattress, his hips already thrusting against her.
“Need you… so much…”
Nathan murmured as he pulled a rosy nipple into his mouth while he continued to
move inside her.
“Mmm…” Kristin moaned
and clutched at his shoulders as she moved her hips in concert with his.
Kristin could hear the
urgency… the almost desperate need in Nathan’s voice and tightened her legs
around him. “I’m here,
Nathan…” she whispered to him. “Love
“Always…” Nathan vowed
around her nipple. “I will always
~sQ~ ~sQ~ ~sQ~
“Do you think anyone would
mind if we tucked ourselves away in here for a little while?”
“How long is a little
“A week… or two…”
A soft giggle floated
throughout the room.
“What is so funny?”
“You are,” Kristin
replied as she snuggled closer to Nathan, as they lay entangled upside down on
the bed after their last round of lovemaking.
“Why?” Nathan asked as he stroked her back. “What is wrong with not wanting to face society just yet
and hole up with my wife?”
“Not a thing, but I don’t
think we would be able to do that up here.”
“Because everyone will want
to meet my handsome husband if only to see that I wasn’t making you up.”
Nathan nodded his head.
“That makes sense… so, we have your parents throw another party… we
circle the room, let everyone see us together then leave to come back here and
shut the world away.”
“I like all that…
however, instead of returning here, why don’t we head out to our country
Kristin nodded against his
What’s mine is yours,” she told him.
“So, as I was saying, after the party we will have my parents throw…
why don’t we head out to the country house?
All of us. The children,
Bill and Janet…”
Kristin giggled. “Just family. It
will give us a chance to plan Cynthia’s wedding.”
“And we can also start to
think about names for the princess,” Nathan interjected as he slipped a hand
around to caress her swollen belly.
“Nathan Hale Bridger the
second,” Kristin said matter of factly. “That
is what I want our son’s name to be.”
“Do you really?”
“We’ll discuss it,”
Nathan replied then grinned against her temple as he ran his hand down over her
hip. “And you can try to…”
his hand curved around to cup her rear, “convince
Kristin exclaimed as she buried her face in his chest, her shoulders
shaking with laughter.
“I try, my lady.
I try,” Nathan replied with a chuckle as he kicked the pillows at his
feet. “So… how big of a wedding
is my new daughter planning on having?”
There was no response.
“Sweetheart, are you asle…”
just as he was asking the question, Nathan realized that he could still feel her
shoulders shaking and at that moment, he felt the splash of hot tears against
his skin. His arms tightened around
her instinctively as he realized she was crying.
“What is it, Kris?”
Kristin shook her head, too
overcome with tears to even speak.
“That’s all right… let
it out…” Nathan said in a low, soothing voice as he stroked her hair and
back. “Let it out…”
Kristin nestled deeper into
his arms as she began to openly sob, her tears soaking his chest as they flowed
down off her cheeks. After several
long minutes, her tears finally tapered off, leaving her with only the
occasional hiccup with each shakily indrawn breath.
“Can you tell me now what
brought that on?” Nathan asked in
a soft voice.
“I… it just really hit
me…” Kristin replied; her voice muffled against his throat.
“This isn’t a dream. You’re
here. You are really here.”
“I’m here…” Nathan
confirmed and pressed his lips to her temple.
“You know… I think a change of plans is in order.”
“How so?” Kristin asked.
“I think you and I need
some alone time. Just the two of
us,” Nathan told her. “No one
else… not Lucas nor Cynthia. Not
Bill, Janet and Will or your parents. No
servants. Just us.
You and I.”
“No buts. We need this time, my lady.”
Nathan said. “We need to
“I thought that is what
we’ve been doing for the last few hours,” Kristin quipped as she sniffled
against his chest.
“Mmm… we have been indeed. But
I think we need to reconnect on every level… physical, emotion,
intellectual… We need to get back
Kristin pulled her head from
his chest to look down at him. She
smiled at him and nodded. “You’re
right… we do.”
“Well then… the day after
tomorrow we’ll head out to the country house,” Nathan said. “Lucas and Cynthia can stay with Bill and Janet… which I
am more than certain both will have no problem with.”
“Bill and Janet might though.”
“How many servants are on staff at your… our country home?”
answered and couldn’t help but smile at the slight frown that flitted across
her husband’s face. “However…
there is the hunting lodge…”
“Yes… a small cabin out
in the forest,” Kristin replied. “It’s
kept well stocked, and is well away from the main house.”
“Far enough that we won’t
be bothered by anyone, but near enough that should we need to get back… we
A slow grin spread across
Nathan’s face. “Well then… we
can still go with our original plan. We’ll
just alter it slightly.”
“Let everyone stay at the
main house while you and I go hide ourselves away in the hunting lodge for a few
“Exactly,” Nathan said.
“And we have the party when we return.”
“I like that idea,”
Kristin replied then yawned. “Oh…”
“I think someone needs to
“No…” Kristin shook her
head as she yawned again.
“Yes,” Nathan nodded.
“But I don’t want… you
just got home,” her voice trailed off and she bit her lip.
Nathan smiled and reached up
to cup her cheek. “And I am not
going anywhere… and should I have to go anywhere at anytime in the future…
you, Mrs. Bridger… are coming with me.”
A slow smile spread across
“We will never be apart
again, my lady…” Nathan told her as he sat them up.
“There is no force on this Earth that can remove me from your side ever
again.” He grinned at her.
“I’m afraid, Countess of mine, that you are going to have to put up
with me for the rest of your life.”
Kristin’s smile grew.
“Mmm… and I cannot tell you how happy that makes me,” she replied
then yawned yet again.
Nathan chuckled as he leaned
in to brush a soft kiss against her lips.
“It’s the pregnancy…”
she told him as he carefully maneuvered them so that they were laying the right
way on the bed, snagging the blankets as he went.
“Of course it is,” Nathan
replied as he pulled the quilts up over them and settled back against the
“It is,” Kristin insisted
as she snuggled into his arms, releasing a yawn against his chest.
“I know, love.
I know.” Nathan said as he
pressed a loving kiss to the top of her head.
“Good night, my lady.”
“Good night, my rogue…”
Kristin replied sleepily. “…lvyu…”
“I love you too…”
~sQ~ ~sQ~ ~sQ~
A smile slowly formed on
Kristin’s face as she worked her way towards consciousness. She stretched beneath the blankets and as she settled back
against the pillows Kristin opened her eyes to find Nathan propped up on his
elbow beside her, watching her.
“Good morning…” Kristin
Nathan leaned over and caught
her lips in a gentle kiss. “Now
it is,” he whispered back then kissed her again.
Kristin moaned and reached up
to thread her hand into Nathan’s hair as she turned her body into his then
deepened the kiss. “Mmm…” she
sighed happily as the passionate kiss gave way to a series of breathless
touches. “So… how long have you
been awake and watching me?”
“Since the sun came
up…” Nathan replied with a grin then reached out to tuck a lock of her hair
behind her ear. “I’ve missed
watching you sleep… watching the rise and fall of your chest, listening to the
sound of your breathing…” his hand trailed down over her cheek and he traced
her lips with his fingers. “I’ve
A low rumble beneath the
sheets sounded before Kristin could reply causing Nathan to burst out laughing.
He eased her back against the pillows then flipped the blankets off her
as he slipped down the bed.
“Good morning to you too,
princess,” Nathan spoke against her swollen belly before he pressed a couple
kisses to her skin. “Are you
trying to tell us you would like for mama to eat?”
“I think that is exactly
what he’s telling us,” Kristin chuckled as her stomach growled again.
“And I think our child would really, really like some of Elsie’s
“Mmhmm,” Kristin nodded.
“With some lemon curd…”
Nathan wrinkled his nose.
“I am going to assume this is a by-product of being pregnant as
“Yes…” Kristin laughed
“What is it?”
Nathan asked, alarm in his voice as he immediately moved back up the bed,
his hands gripping her shoulders. “Is
it the baby? Are you all right?”
Kristin reached out and
cupped his cheek. “I’m all
right… the baby is all right,” she told him.
“He’s just sitting on my bladder… another by-product of being
Kristin grinned as she sat
“Well…” Nathan climbed
out of the bed. “Why don’t you
go tend to the matter at hand while I get dressed and slip downstairs to get you
your rhubarb tarts…”
“And lemon curd,” Kristin
reminded him as she slipped out after him.
“And lem… oh good god!”
“I don’t think you’re
going to be able to hide the princess’ existence any longer,” he answered as
he splayed his hands over her gravid belly.
Kristin glanced down and her
eyes widened. “I… oh my…
pregnant,” Nathan said. “I
thought something was different when I was saying good morning to the baby…
you seemed… bigger… but…” he looked up at her.
“Can… is this possible?”
“Yes,” Kristin answered.
“It is actually quite normal. I
just didn’t expect it to happen so quickly.
I am not as young as I used to be. I
guess my abdominal muscles just gave up and decided to give the baby more
Nathan grinned and circled
his hands over the smooth skin of her stomach.
“This is so… fascinating… I cannot wait to watch our child grow
“Well… you’ll have to
wait a few minutes, because I can no longer wait…” With that, Kristin
stepped away from him and padded across the room to the bathroom.
Nathan chuckled and looked
around for his pants. He spotted
them on the floor close to the door and moved over to grab them.
He’d just finished fastening the last button on the placard when
Kristin emerged from the small retiring room adjoining the bedroom.
A large grin spread across his face as he watched her climb back into the
“What are you grinning
about?” Kristin asked as she
propped the pillows up behind her then pulled the blanket up over her breasts.
“What about me?”
“Six months ago you were
absolutely horrified at the thought of me seeing you without your chemise,”
Nathan told her. “And now…
you’re pregnant and walking around in your all together without even batting
“You, my rogue are a bad influence.”
Nathan waggled his eyebrows
at her. “Yes I am,” he agreed
with a sweeping bow. “Now, I must
go see about my lady’s breakfast. I
shall be back in a few minutes.”
“I will be here.”
Nathan grinned and walked
over to the bedroom door. He slid
the lock back then opened the door and stopped.
“Does the man sleep?”
“What is it?”
“This…” Nathan bent
over and lifted a covered tray.
Kristin giggled as he kicked
the door shut and carried the tray over. “I
wouldn’t read too much into it, Nathan. It
is not unusual for Stephens or Elsie to leave me a breakfast tray.”
Nathan didn’t reply as he
sat on the bed and placed the tray between them.
He pulled off the cloth cover and glanced down at the food.
“So, what did they bring us?”
Kristin bit her lower lip for
a moment before answering. “Rhubarb
tarts, lemon curd…” she answered in a quiet voice as she reached for one of
the small pastries. “And… what
looks like a bowl of porridge for you…”
Nathan shook his head in
amazement. “How does he do it?”
“I don’t know,” Kristin
replied around a mouthful of tart as she reached out for a spoon then dipped it
into the curd. “This is…
mmm…” she moaned happily as she slipped the spoon into her mouth.
Nathan groaned as reached for
his bowl of porridge and took a spoonful. “Hey…”
he muttered in surprise as he quickly chewed and swallowed.
“This is great. Just how I like it!”
Kristin smiled as she spread
some of the lemon curd on her tart.
“Stephens would give Bess a
run for her money,” Nathan quipped as he took another spoonful.
“I’m going to tell her
you said that,” Kristin told him as she shoved the final bite of the tart in
“No you’re not.”
“Oh yes I am.”
“Yes…” The argument
continued between bites of tart of porridge until they were nearly done.
“Bess will know as soon as I see her,” Kristin replied smartly as she
swallowed the last bite of lemon-coated tart and licked her fingers with relish.
Nathan shook his head as he
ate the last spoonful of porridge. He
returned the bowl to the tray then picked the tray up, carried it over to the
vanity and put it down.
“Now…” he turned to
face her. “I believe we were
discussing whether or not you will be telling Bess what I said about
Kristin laughed softly and
shifted up onto her knees near the edge of the bed, facing him; the sheet
clutched to her chest. “I believe
that we were.”
Nathan grinned as he slowly
walked towards her. “Good.
So shall I tell you why you will not be telling Bess?”
“Please do,” Kristin
nodded and let her eyes wander down his body as he approached. She licked her lips at the bulge she could see growing in his
“It’s simple really…”
Nathan told her as he stopped mere inches in front of her.
He traced his fingers up her bare arms until his hands were resting on
her shoulders. “All I have to do
is keep your mouth occupied…”
“Mmhmm…” he murmured as
he stepped closer and slid his hands down her bare back to cup the firm globes
of her rear. “And it is not like
it would be a chore… because I could kiss you forever and a day…”
Kristin smiled and placed her
hands on his chest, the sheet she held falling back to the bed as her fingers
played through the graying hair. “Mmm…
me you too…”
“Shall I demonstrate?”
whispered and leaned in to meet his lips in a hungry kiss.
A loud shriek filled the air,
pulling the two lovers apart. Kristin
quickly reached down for the fallen sheet and yanked it up as she turned to see
an open-mouth Lizzie standing in the doorway.
“For heaven’s sake,
Lizzie… shut the bloody door!”
Much to Nathan and
Kristin’s amusement, Lizzie stepped into the room, closed the door behind her
and continued to stare open-mouthed at them.
“It is all right,
Lizzie…” Kristin began as she adjusted the sheet around her body. “This is my husband… Captain Bridger.”
“C… c… captain,”
Lizzie stammered then looked to Kristin. “I’m
so sorry for intruding, milady. I
did not know that you were… that you were not alone… I…”
interrupted the obviously flustered girl. “It
is all right. It’s not your
“I should have
“And I should have locked
the door after I retrieved the tray,” Nathan replied.
“I’m normally here
earlier… but with the party last night… I assumed the mistress would want to
Nathan and Kristin shared
another amused look as Lizzie rambled on.
“Lizzie!” Kristin called to the girl in a loud voice.
“It is all right… just… from now on, I think it best if you knock
“Yes, milady,” Lizzie
“Good,” Kristin smiled at
her. “Now, would you please bring
the breakfast tray back downstairs.”
“Yes, Countess,” Lizzie
replied and moved quickly across the room to grab the tray. “What time shall I return to help you dress?”
Nathan glanced at Kristin
then moved over to the door and opened it for the young maid. “The countess will not be needing your help today,
Lizzie’s eyes grew wide and
she stumbled. “Milady?”
“It’s all right… my husband will assist me this morning.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Lizzie
replied, shaking her head slightly as she left the room.
“Her husband will assist her,” she repeated under her breath.
“I wish I could find me a husband like that.”
Nathan shut the door and slid
the lock into place. He turned and
slowly made his way back to the bed. “So…
where were we?”
“I believe…” Kristin
dropped the sheet then laid back on the bed, her arms held out to him in
invitation. “You were
demonstrating how easy it would be to kiss me all day.”
“Ah yes,” Nathan grinned
as he quickly removed his pants and climbed into the bed beside her then pulled
her into his arms. He brushed his
lips over hers as he smoothed his fingers through her hair.
“So… let the demonstration begin…”
~sQ~ ~sQ~ ~sQ~
“Oh my lord!” Janet’s
eyes bulged as she stood in the open door, her eyes glued to Kristin’s swollen
belly. “I was teasing Malcolm
when I said you were having twins but I swear that you look twice the size you
“Thank you so much,
Janet.” Kristin wryly answered as she stepped over the threshold and let
Nathan take her cloak.
“I’m sorry… I didn’t
“It’s okay, Janet.
I realize that overnight my condition has become more than obvious.
It’s as if my baby decided that since daddy was home he could come out
and be seen.”
“He certainly did.
I saw you in that dress last week and you weren’t noticeable at all.”
“I am going to have to call
Madame Dussault and have some new gowns made before much longer.”
“Or we could just stay in
bed for the next few months.” Nathan murmured and wrapped his arms around her
“I’m amazed that you
managed to get out of bed to make it to dinner this evening.” Janet retorted.
Nathan barked with laughter.
“I’m sure that the sleeping quarters of Admiral and Mistress Noyce
saw quite a bit of loving last night as well.”
Janet blushed prettily as her
eyes softened. “Just because we
have been married thirty years doesn’t mean that we aren’t happy to see each
other when we’ve been apart… and that reminds me, Nathan Hale Bridger, I
have something to discuss with you.”
Nathan recognized the tone in
Janet’s voice and knew that he was in trouble.
“Of course, Janet, but I
think that we should get Kristin to a chair.
She shouldn’t be standing this long in her condition.”
Janet rolled her eyes at
Nathan’s obvious diversion but gestured toward the parlour entrance. “I won’t forget.” She hissed at him as he led Kristin
Bill and William rose to
their feet as the Bridgers entered while Lucas rushed to take Kristin’s other
arm. She couldn’t help but smile
at the solicitous way her son treated her.
Once she was seated Lucas pulled an overstuffed footstool in front of her
and carefully lifted her ankles and propped them up.
“Thank you, my son.”
She ruffled his hair as he bent over for a hug.
“You’re welcome, Mama.
You look ever so much bigger today than you did yesterday.”
“Lucas!” Nathan snapped.
The boy looked up with confusion in his eyes.
Did I say something wrong?”
Kristin made a little motion
toward Nathan. “Why don’t you
explain it to your son, my love?”
Nathan nodded, knowing that
Kristin was giving him the opportunity to spend a little time alone with the
boy. “Let’s go out into the
garden and have a little talk, shall we, Lucas?”
As soon as the men departed
Cynthia slid into the chair at her mother’s side.
“Lucas may be lacking in tact but I understand his meaning.
You do seem to have… expanded a bit in the night.”
Kristin slid her hands down
her belly. “Your baby brother is
happy to have his father home.”
“Sister… and I think that
her mummy is happy that her daddy is home as well.”
“Very happy, my dear, very
happy indeed.” Kristin’s hands
clenched on her belly suddenly.
“Mummy?” Cynthia asked,
Kristin grabbed her
daughter’s hand and pressed it into the tight flesh of her abdomen, just as
the babe within kicked. In awe,
Cynthia raised her other hand to join the first and carefully followed the
ripples of movement.
“Your baby brother or
sister.” Kristin confirmed. “He
is very active this afternoon. I
promised that you would be the first one to feel him move after his father,
Cynthia was fascinated at the
way the baby reacted whenever she pressed one hand or the other firmly into her
mother’s womb. “So Nathan is
happy about the baby?”
“Very happy… Although he
had already heard the rumours, thanks to Malcolm Lansdowne. Nathan is as fascinated as you are with this little one…
and the way that the baby responds to his father’s voice is amazing.
He was jumping around last night while his papa was talking but then
Nathan leaned close and asked the baby to go to sleep for a while… and he did.
Just like that,” Kristin snapped her fingers,
“the movement stopped.”
“There’s my lamb.”
Kristin looked up at the sound of Bess’ voice, a wide smile on her face as she
watched both Bess and Raleigh cross the room toward her.
To her surprise instead of speaking to her, Bess leaned low, her hands
replacing Cynthia’s as she stroked the contours of Kristin’s belly over and
over. Finally she straightened and
“All happy and healthy.
I hoped that you’d finally started eating good.
You weren’t eating near enough before you went away.”
“Bess, I was eating like a
horse.” Kristin returned the old
woman’s embrace as she held her hand out to Raleigh. “Nathan tells me that you insist you knew about the baby
before I left the island. But I
didn’t have a clue. How could you
“I could see it of course.
You was growing rounder and you had that special glow that women who are
carrying have. I suspected from the
time I first met you but I knew for sure the morning you got married when I
watched you eating that biscuit. Those
weren’t wedding nerves.”
“Why didn’t you say
anything to me?”
“You needed to find out on
your own. I almost did that last
morning… but you and my boy was going through enough without adding that
sorrow to the parting.”
“No, Nathan didn’t need
another distraction while he was dealing with Zellar.
Perhaps it was best this way.”
“Everything is put right
now,” Bess agreed. “You and the
boy are together.”
“Thanks in no small part to
you. Thank you for caring for him
while I wasn’t there, Bess.”
“It wasn’t no easy task.
He’s stubborn. Course he has been stubborn since I put his very first diaper
on him. But wanting so desperately
to get back to you is what kept him going.
My heart almost broke listening to him calling for you, wondering if I
had made a mistake by refusing to let the Admiral send a letter to you.”
“The wound was bad.
I could tell that from the amount of scar tissue.
He would have died if you and Bill hadn’t looked after him with so much
“Not with you depending on
him. Nathan would have found his
way back to you no matter what. He
made you a promise and he always keeps his word.
Besides, that house is meant to have a family in it.”
“I don’t think that will
be a problem. Our family is growing
in leaps and bounds.” Kristin
nodded toward the corner where Cynthia had joined Will and the two were chatting
“It’s a good match.
I spent a long time talking to your girl this morning and she has a good
head on her shoulders. Young Will
can sometimes be a bit of a dreamer. She’ll
steady him and he will help her loosen up a bit.”
“That is a very good
characterization, Bess. I think
that you are right. They are good
for each other.”
“And their babies will join
yours in filling our island with laughter.
Then someday Lucas’ babies will add to the joy.” Bess eyed Kristin
closely for a moment then continued in a low voice.
“You have nothing to worry about, child.
I didn’t lie before. Your
babe is healthy. I know.”
“I haven’t mentioned it
to Nathan but I have been worried. My
age could lead to some complications but… I believe you, Bess.”
“Kristin, my dear.”
Millicent Westphalen moved in toward the chair that Cynthia had vacated.
“You have an air of happiness like an aura around you. You look wonderfu… Did you pad your dress?”
“No, Mummy. It’s all baby.”
Lionel moved in beside his
wife, eyeing his daughter’s belly suspiciously.
“Thank God that man showed up here when he did.” He muttered.
“I feel the same way,
daddy, although admittedly for a much different reason.
Have the two of you met Raleigh and Bess Young?
Bess was Nathan’s childhood nurse and now they run our home on
“I keep hearing about this
island. What sort of crops do you
grow? Is there any profit in
foodstuffs or do you grow cane for making rum?”
Lionel and Raleigh slowly drifted away from the women as they began a
“You know that my husband
is pumping yours for information about our new son-in-law’s finances, don’t
you?” Millicent asked Bess.
“I suspect that my man is
doing some careful sizing up of your husband too if truth be told.” Bess
responded in kind.
Kristin leaned back in the
chair and closed her eyes as the conversation in the room drifted along without
her. She caught snatches here and
there but nothing interested her enough to hold her attention. Her eyes popped open briefly when she sensed that Nathan had
returned and she smiled as he worked his way toward her.
Once he had taken up a protective position behind her chair, one hand
draped over the back to lock with hers, she felt her lids grow heavy again.
“Well, you certainly
blossomed overnight, daughter.” Lavinia’s
voice pulled Kristin out of the light doze she had slipped in to.
“Many a wager will be collected on the next time that you step out into
“I am so glad that you
changed your mind and decided to join us, Lavinia.” Kristin told her
mother-in-law truthfully. The
elderly lady had sent a note round to Kristin’s house earlier begging off of
the dinner with the excuse that she didn’t want to intrude on family time. To Kristin’s delight Nathan had penned the reply and sent
it with Ben and Katie, along with instructions that the young couple wasn’t to
show up at the Noyce’s without the dowager countess.
“How much did you bet?”
Lavinia barked with laughter.
“Up near one hundred pounds, I expect.
I shall make it a gift to your child, who looks as if he is rather
anxious to arrive.”
Kristin rubbed her hand over
her belly. “He has grown a great
deal in a very short period of time.”
Nathan turned behind her and
slid his hand down her arms to join hers in stroking her belly.
“We are very glad that you decided to attend, Lady Carruthers.”
“As if you gave me any
choice. You are a very persuasive
young man, Nathan Bridger, and I thank you. Now, if you will excuse me, I am
going to have a few words with my granddaughter and her young man.”
Kristin glanced up.
“What did you say to her?” She
asked as Lavinia’s cane tapped out her departure.
“I just used that magical Bridger charm.”
Kristin brought Nathan’s
hand to her mouth and brushed her lips lightly over his palm. He smiled at her, his eyes full of love then turned back to
his conversation, his hand sliding to rest on her shoulder.
Approximately half an hour
passed before Janet had a whispered word with Beatrice then announced that
dinner was ready. Since the meal
was informal she sent the children through first and the older adults followed.
She sent Bill ahead, telling him that she would bring up the rear then turned to
find Nathan standing in the middle of the room, staring at his sleeping wife.
Nathan turned back to Janet
and shrugged, not really knowing what to do.
“You should have let her
get some sleep last night, Nathan.” Janet whispered as she moved to his side.
“She slept… perhaps not
as much as she should have but she slept. Do
you think that she is okay?”
“Your woman is okay, my
boy.” Bess told him as she moved in to join him.
“She is just weary. You
are gonna have to be extra careful with her.”
“She has had a very easy
pregnancy thus far, Nathan, which is amazing if you consider all of the stress
that she has been under.” Janet said.
“That doesn’t mean she
will have an easy delivery. Her age
is against her in this,” Bess cautioned.
“What can I do to help,
The look that Bess and Janet
shared told Nathan that they had already been discussing this topic.
And he suspected that he knew why.
“The talk has already
“The gossip isn’t necessarily bad.
Most people are thrilled with the romance of the story.
The two of you will be the toast of society.
Invitations will start pouring in.”
“But we won’t be around
to accept any of them.” Nathan stated firmly.
“Kristin and I are leaving for her country home as soon as arrangements
can be made. We hope that all of
you will join us there. The estate
is close enough to London that Bill could travel back and forth most of the
Smiles of relief touched both
women’s lips. “That sounds
wonderful. I’ll speak with Bill
tonight but I am sure that he will agree. The
children couldn’t stand to be apart at this stage and there are so many
wedding plans to make.”
“I know that Kristin wants
to be a part of those plans as well but we are going to spend the first few days
alone at a hunting lodge on the property, just the two of us.
That may seem selfish and I do want to spend time with Lucas and get to
know Cynni but…”
“Your children recognize
that their parents need time alone together.
They will understand.”
“But, Nathan,” Bess
cautioned. “Please be careful
with Miss Kristin. She needs a lot
of rest and good food, loving in moderation and only if it is comfortable for
Nathan patted his old
nurse’s arm. “I know that,
Bess. I would never do anything to
endanger Kristin or our baby. I am
going to pamper her until she yells at me to stop and then I am going to pamper
her some more.”
Kristin’s eyes fluttered
open as she flung her arms out and stretched.
She blinked rapidly as she looked around the room and realized that it
was almost empty.
“Did I fall asleep?” She
murmured as Nathan moved to her side. “I’m
“Nothing to be sorry about,
my love.” Nathan gently smoothed the curls that had escaped her upswept hair.
“We all know that you need your rest.
Shall I call the carriage and take you home?”
accepted his help as she stood. “I
feel fine; very well rested after my little nap.”
“You could go upstairs and
lay down if you need to?” Janet offered.
“Oh no you don’t!”
Kristin stopped cold, her fists resting on her hips.
“I will not be coddled by any of you. I know my limits.
I am perfectly capable of judging what I can and cannot do.
Trust me to recognize them.”
Nathan gave Kristin his best
little boy grin. “I will trust
you if you will trust me. If I
think that you are doing too much I am going to tell you.”
“Very well.” Kristin
“And then I am going to tie
you to the bed.” Nathan whispered into her ear.
Kristin smiled seductively as she followed Janet and Bess out of the room.
Nathan quickly followed, a silly grin on his face.
~sQ~ ~sQ~ ~sQ~
The heavily laden carriage
slowed and halted at the side of the busy street causing many strange looks
passersby. The handsome gray-haired
man who emerged from the interior also garnered many glances, especially from
the females meandering along the shopping row but any hopes they might have
harbored were dashed when he helped an obviously pregnant wife from the coach.
“He has to have an ice
right this moment? He couldn’t
wait?” Nathan grumbled.
“Yes, he does.” Kristin
stopped and planted her hands on her hips.
“I don’t even like sweets that much.
This is entirely your child’s craving, not mine.
Besides, this is our last chance. Ices
are not to be found in great abundance in the country.”
Nathan grinned as he watched
the stream of ripples flow through the material of Kristin’s gown just below
the ribbon sash. “Then my child
shall have all the ices that his heart desires… and his mother as well.”
He glanced up at the driver. “We
shall be back soon.”
Kristin felt the eyes of
society on her as they entered the posh ice shop but she ignored them all as
Nathan led her to a small table in the corner and held her chair.
“What flavor would my baby
lemon… Perhaps you could ask if they would blend the two?”
Nathan shuddered at the
thought of a mixture of the two tart flavours but soon returned with the foul
concoction in hand. He was amazed
at the enthusiasm with which Kristin dug into it.
“You know, I am beginning
to worry about our child’s taste in food.”
“So am I. You can’t know how badly I hope that these strange cravings
don’t continue after the birth.”
“Well, well, well!
Isn’t this a cozy picture?” Lexie’s
shrill voice penetrated every corner of the small establishment.
“The happy couple on an outing. I’m
surprised that you could tear yourselves away from your bedchamber since that is
obviously your favourite place to be.”
Nathan rose slowly to his
feet. “Curb your tongue, Mrs.
Smith.” His tone held an obvious
warning but Lexie either didn’t notice or chose to ignore it.
“So formal now, Nathan.
But just a year ago you led us to believe that you would soon be part of
“You know that isn’t
true. Or have you started believing
your own lies? I never made any
offer for your daughter. I never
even hinted at it. Nothing could
have induced me to make an offer for your daughter.”
“Nathan, I think that we
should go.” Kristin rose to her feet.
Lexie’s eyes widened at the
sight of Kristin’s protruding abdomen. “You…
you’re…” Her hand flew to her mouth as she began to comprehend.
“Lady Kristin Westphalen, Countess of Kilhairn… the same countess
that was abducted by pirates.” When
Kristin would have moved around Lexie, the older woman moved into her path to
stop her. “That’s why he married you… to give your little bastard
a name! Do you even have any idea
who the father is or did you give yourself to every brigand on your captor’s
“I would cease and desist
your inane prattle immediately, Alexandra, or I promise you that you won’t
like the consequences.” Nathan hissed as he moved to his wife’s side.
The way that Kristin grabbed his arm and the paleness of her skin worried
“Did she convince you that
the child was yours? She had to
give her body to you so that you would believe she was carrying your baby.
Can’t you see that, Nathan? She
is much too far along for the bastard to have been whelped while she was on your
“ENOUGH!” Nathan roared.
The entire room fell quiet immediately.
“Now you listen to me, you
hard-hearted bitch, and listen well. We
don’t owe you any explanation but since you decided to drag your pathetic
vendetta out into the public arena you will get one. The pirate Zellar abducted Lady Westphalen for ransom.
I also rescued her that very day. She
was not mistreated in any way on the pirate ship.
We married soon after that, and to our great joy we have been blessed
with a child.”
Lexie took a step back as
Nathan moved in close to her, his eyes as threatening as his tone.
“You will stop spreading
your poisonous rumours or I will have you hauled before a magistrate and charged
with trying to slander both my wife and my good name. I
don’t make idle threats. If I hear one more rumour… just one more tiny
whisper… I will have you prosecuted and sent to Newgate.
Do you understand me, Mrs. Smith?”
Lexie nodded, speechless for
one of the few times in her life.
Nathan turned back to Kristin
and wrapped his arm around her waist. “Come,
my love. We will find another place
to buy ices for you. I don’t care
for the clientele in this establishment.”
Kristin managed to hang on to
her composure until they exited the building but when they reached the street
she sagged against Nathan as she dragged in great gulps of air.
“Are you all right?
Do we need to find a doctor?” Nathan
struggled to keep his fear out of his voice.
“No, I’m fine.
I just can’t believe that woman had the nerve…” The fresh air was
reviving Kristin and her anger was rising.
“It’s over and done.
Wendell Smith will have to find new transport for his goods as of right
now. I want nothing more to do with
any of them. They are no longer welcome on our island and we will not
attend any function where they are present.”
“But your friends in the
“Can’t stand Lexie
either. I think that we’ve all
been waiting for someone to stand up to the witch.
Let me help you up and we can find another ice shop.”
“No,” Kristin smiled.
“I think that your child has had enough ice for now.
Let’s continue on our journey.”
Nathan handed Kristin into
the coach as carefully as if she were delicate porcelain then followed.
He had one foot on the step and was just about to hoist himself up when
he felt a tug on his jacket. He
turned then slowly lowered himself back to the pavement beside Wendy Smith.
“Please, Nathan,” she
started when Nathan resumed his climb into the carriage.
“I just need a moment of your time, please.”
“If you think that I am
going to stand here and listen to more of your venomous babble about me and my
wife you are sadly mistaken, Miss Smith.”
“No… I don’t want to
say anything bad. I just wanted to
know… what you said inside about never making an offer for me… am I so
Nathan’s stance softened
just a bit. “You aren’t hideous
at all, Wendy. You are a very
attractive woman. You just aren’t
the woman for me.”
You are married now… but you can’t find your wife attractive any
longer… not as heavy with child as she is.
Perhaps I could be the woman for you yet.”
Nathan just stared,
dumbfounded, unable to speak as Wendy continued.
“I know that you can’t
marry me but I don’t mind that, really. I’ve
wanted you for so long… Your wife wouldn’t have to know.
You could set me up in a house somewhere.” She moved in close to him and ran a finger down the fine
linen of his shirt while gazing at him with open lust.
Nathan thrust Wendy away from
him, repulsed by her lecherous gaze. He
opened his mouth to speak but was quickly cut off by a furious English accent.
“No he most certainly could
not. You are nothing but a bitch in
heat, Wendy Smith, but my husband won’t be needing any woman but his wife.
I keep him very satisfied, in every way, and I intend to keep right on
doing so. Go sniff somewhere else.”
The carriage rattled down the
street as Nathan slammed the door behind him leaving Wendy standing alone on the
~sQ~ ~sQ~ ~sQ~
The contact of the carriage
wheel with a large hole in the road caused the occupants of the coach to bounce
around the padded interior yet again. Kristin
moaned in her sleep as Nathan tightened his grasp on her, trying to keep her
from the worst of the jolting. Seconds
later they hit another bump.
Kristin pushed out of
Nathan’s embrace and shifted around in her seat.
“Do you think that we could stop again for a while?”
Nathan sighed and pounded on
the top of the coach. Moments later
they came to a halt on a dusty country lane.
“The countess needs to walk
again.” Nathan told the driver as he helped Kristin out.
“Very good, sir.” The
“How much longer do you
think?” Nathan questioned as Kristin moved toward the hedgerow and bent,
ostensibly to check a flower but Nathan knew that the move was meant to stretch
“Not more than a few more
miles now, sir. We should arrive
within the hour.”
“We are going straight to
the hunting lodge.” Nathan checked once more.
“I’ll drop you and the
countess there then take the bulk of your bags up to the manor.”
The driver confirmed. “I’m
sure that Lady Westphalen’s message arrived this morning so the lodge should
be fully stocked by now. Oh…
sorry, sir. Mistress Bridger, I
Nathan grimaced jokingly at
the driver. “That is quite all
right. I don’t expect habits of
twenty-five years to change overnight.” The
conversation was cut short as Nathan saw Kristin stumble out of the corner of
his eye. He ran to her side,
reaching her just in time to catch her.
Kristin smiled at him
gratefully. “I’m sorry.
One of my legs is slightly numb. I
think that your baby has been sitting on a nerve.”
“Perhaps we shouldn’t
have undertaken this journey right now. It
is too much for you.”
“Nonsense. I am fine, Nathan. I
just need to stretch my legs a bit more.”
“The driver says that we
should be there soon,” Nathan glanced up at the dark clouds on the horizon.
“I hope we get there before the rain arrives.”
“We will,” Kristin
reassured him. “I am ready to go
now. I can walk more once we reach
Nathan didn’t argue, worry
about the storm causing him to hurry Kristin back to the carriage and rush her
“Thank you for being so
understanding,” she whispered once they were moving again.
Nathan wrapped his arms
around her and she snuggled into his chest.
“It’s partially my fault
that you are in this condition so I have to be understanding, don’t I?
Don’t I? Kristin?”
Her sleepy mumble made Nathan
realize that his wife had fallen asleep again.
‘She needs a lot of
Bess’ words kept playing
over in Nathan’s mind.
“I promise that you will
get all the rest you need, my love.” He
murmured against her silky hair. “No matter what I have to do, I will keep the
two of you safe.”
~sQ~ ~sQ~ ~sQ~