Paris, Summer 1741
Annalise stood on the pedestal in a translucent nightgown, which was cut in strategic places and barely covered any part of her body. Her breasts were peeking out of the décolletage, her creamy white skin was covered in goosebumps. Blake fought to keep himself in check and not ravish her right then and there. He wished he could go over to her and lick her from head to toe.
He wouldn’t have bothered fighting his urges, except the modiste hopped around Annalise, pinning her with needles and taking measurements.
The first few days of their wedding trip weren’t ideal. Blake hadn’t felt very calm on the ferry. He cursed his idea of traveling the moment he saw the damned vehicle. The memories of his tortures were still fresh in his mind. At least Annalise was by his side.
Or that’s what he tried to calm himself with. He convinced himself that with Annalise by his side, he could conquer the world. And perhaps he would if she didn’t spend most of the trip casting up her accounts.
At first, they thought it was from the voyage, but after a few days in Paris, the sickness didn’t abate. Blake had been frightened out of his mind. After all, Annalise hadn’t felt sick before their damned trip. So they saw doctors and healers in Paris, but everyone said that this was a regular part of being in delicate condition. They also said that perhaps they shouldn’t have traveled while Annalise was with child. However, they reassured that Annalise and the babe were healthy. And the only thing to do was to rest and wait.
That is how three weeks after they left the English shores, they found themselves exploring the streets of Paris instead of enjoying the opera houses in Italy.
As Annalise started feeling better, she reminded him that she wanted to visit the modistes while in Paris. So there they were, with her putting on salacious outfits and tempting him.
Modiste straightened and looked Annalise over. “I need to bring more fabric from the back,” she said in French and disappeared into the back room.
Blake stood, his muscles protesting after having spent a couple of hours in a sitting position, and walked toward his wife.
“You look exquisite,” he said in a low voice and placed his hand on her slightly rounded belly.
“Do I?” Annalise turned her vulnerable eyes toward him. “I feel like a stuffed turkey.”
Blake gave a bark of laughter. Then he dipped his head. “But you are my stuffed turkey,” he said and kissed her on the lips.
Annalise melted against him before a muffled laugh escaped her lips. “That is not a compliment.”
“Isn’t it?” Blake’s eyes didn’t leave his wife’s mouth.
His hand traveled toward her back, then he grabbed her by the buttocks and moved her closer to his body so that his aroused length poked against her stomach. “I think it is,” he said and kissed her deeply.
Annalise quickly gave in under the onslaught of his kisses and was soon moaning into his mouth. There was a sound behind them and Annalise jumped back, her cheeks heated with embarrassment. Her eyes glowed and her lips were puffy from his kisses.
She looked absolutely delicious.
“Pardon, madame,” Blake addressed the modiste. “My wife looks too enticing in this new gown.”
“Oh, no pardon necessary, monsieur. Not for a kiss.”
Blake winked toward Annalise, and she narrowed her eyes at him in disapproval.
“I want ten… no twenty more gowns from you, madame,” Blake said grinning.
“Twenty?” Annalise’s mouth slacked open.
“Yes,” Blake drawled. “In various styles, colors, and… sizes. My wife is about to grow to the size of a stuffed turkey.”
“Blake!” Annalise’s cheeks turned the color of deep red.
“Oh, I understand.” Modiste laughed and continued taking the necessary measurements while Blake’s wife threw daggers with her eyes.
A few minutes later, they walked toward their hotel with unhurried steps.
Annalise took a breath and looked around. “I like it in Paris.”
“Yes? Aren’t you glad we didn’t go to Italy?”
Annalise sputtered a laugh. “No, not glad, but not upset, either. I relish having the time for just us wherever we are.” She smiled at him slyly.
Blake leaned in and kissed her on her temple.
Annalise gasped in surprise. “Blake! We are out on the street!”
“It is Paris, my sweet countess, not stuffy England. I can kiss you wherever I want.”
Annalise chuckled and tapped his fan on his arm in reproach. “Mind your behavior, my lord. Or we are to become the most scandalous couple in England.”
“We aren’t yet?” Blake frowned. “Then we have some catching up to do.”
Annalise laughed, and they entered their hotel, giggling.
“Monsieur le Comte! Une lettre pour vous!” The hotel owner stopped Blake and Annalise in their tracks.
“A letter? Merci!” Blake took the envelope and read the front. “It is for you,” he said and handed the envelope to his wife.
“It says from Lady Caroline.”
“Oh!” Annalise’s features cleared, and she took the letter from Blake’s fingers.
The touch sent tingles over his body, and Blake couldn’t wait to go up to his room and have his way with his wife.
Annalise didn’t seem to share his excitement. She was too preoccupied with the letter. She opened it in the hall and read, her eyes running over the page.
“Oh, my!” she exclaimed. “We need to go back to England!”
Blake frowned. “Why? What is the matter?”
“Caroline is to marry Kensington in a week!”
Confusing emotions overwhelmed Blake as he thought about what that meant. All right. A quick romp in the sack and then back to England, he decided.
Thank you for reading the second epilogue of “A Return of the Wicked Earl.” I hope you enjoyed it!
Be sure to get book 2, Secrets of the Wicked Viscount