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LARAINA [from the Novella]
By Neale Sourna
Sunday, December 05, 2004
Rated "R" by the Author.
Native American Indian / Western / Cavalry / Cowboy/Biracial / Interracial / African American / Native American / Romantic Erotica
* * * *
Cres was always staring at her, and it made Laraina nervous. A white man constantly staring at a Negro girl, even a tan-skinned one born free in Ohio of mixed-blood, runaway slaves was rarely, if ever, a good thing. Laraina didn’t like being closely . . . observed. She made other people’s lives easier and comfortable, which usually kept everyone respectfully out of her personal business, as she ran the best dry goods store in the Dakota Territories. Her lazy, white stepfather, Stanley Speran, owned the store on paper, since there were still few assay offices that would register property in any woman’s name. But, “Laraina’s Dry Goods” was completely hers. She picked supplies, dickered with the teamsters, and handled all the finances and staff.
She fought a persistent urge, which fell constantly on Cres.
Therefore, Laraina Newman kept to herself and didn’t relish the officer’s attention; despite his excellent manners, his velvet-toned voice, or his extraordinary good looks topped by sun-streaked, cinnamon brown hair, and those changeable, startling, so often unnerving blue-gray eyes, perfectly offset by his deep blue, cavalry uniform. Cres was of the Boston Grandviews, who owned or controlled more in that city and abroad than was natural to man. Lieutenant Colonel Crestwood Elijah Dumas Grandview of the Boston Grandviews out of the New Orleans and Paris Dumases was securely wealthy in his own right from inheritances and his own shrewd, personal investments. Making his background all too similar to those who’d once “owned” her late, beloved parents.
Cres, however, was nearly indifferent to any of that, especially since the first time he’d lain eyes on her dark auburn hair of natural ringlets; her vaguely exotic hazel-caramel eyes; and her curvaceous form, even though many other women sought his attentions.
He boldly observed her every move, whenever in sight of her, and seemed too often to be wherever she was; as if he hadn’t any responsibilities within his care, these past six months, as newly installed commander of the cavalry outpost just southwest of town. It oddly seemed that his topmost priorities were to speak with her or merely to be within sight of her. “Odd” because this was yet “hostile, wild Indian nations territory”. Cres was a successfully ruthless and deadly Indian fighter, which was why he’d been sent to this location, which is why Laraina had chosen its remoteness—while her industry in supplying her neighbors their hard-won comforts lulled them all into not scrutinizing her too closely. Until him.
He had caught up with her on the nearly empty street, while she was delivering old Miss Jansen’s special order.
“Laraina, really, you shouldn’t keep turning me down.” He wanted her to step out with him, “for lunch or dinner at Mae’s”, “or a picnic” to one of the wide bluffs or lushly wooded nooks.
“You know you like me, Laraina. You blush every time you discover me looking at you. Which means you blush a very great often.” He had her semi-cornered across from Dita Jansen’s little house, the one her brother built for her comfort before dying.
“Please, come out with me. I’ll give you my Colt™ service revolver. You can shoot me, if I say or do anything you deem improper.” His statement made her wide-eyed speechless, while she still tried to skirt ’round him; but, Cres gently continued corralling the skittish beauty, while pressing his intentions.
“Have I ever been anything less than an exceptional gentleman with you, Laraina?”
She sighed and shook her head “no”. At least his attentions kept other men at bay; but, he’d been increasingly stepping up his romantic onslaughts; she was weakening; and he knew it.
“Colonel, your parents, your command, no one wants to see you with me. Not in public. They . . . they might expect me to receive you in private, out of their sight, but not in broad daylight. You may be liked and I may be liked—separately—but never togeth—.”
“I don’t care. Besides, there are too many here, who don’t feel that way about you and still wouldn’t, if you were with me. Although, I’m quite certain Miss Jansen knows you’re too good for me, I know old Marcus did, from the short time I knew him. But, as far as my family back East are concerned, if they had their way, I most certainly wouldn’t be ‘in this wild, uncivilized wilderness’, as mother calls it, doing a job ‘any common Welshman could do’, as father regularly telegraphs to say. You’re not part Welsh, are you?”
She was yet uneasy, avoiding his gaze and . . . him, making certain he did not even appear to touch her; although desperately wishing otherwise.
“My family is a major patron of the Negro college at Oberlin and always have dinner with leaders of the Negro community. My mother’s Baton Rouge white Creole, y’know, and there’s a persistent family skeleton myth that there’s a Geechie or two on her side. Anyway, like you, I like it way out here. This is a new land for new beginnings. For a new, passionate people. Every day is different, every step an adventure—a dangerous one—but an adventure and . . . no inbreeding.”
She remained silent, solemn, and staring at a gold “U.S.” button on his shirt.
“I’d hoped I’d find something I couldn’t in the stuffy confines of toney Commonwealth Avenue, Boston. You’re the best of so many good things I’ve been so fortunate to find out here and you can’t keep me away from you or ever get away from me, Laraina, not without letting me try to win you first.”
He was uncomfortably close, as she glanced up at him, because despite what she logically thought, his inclusive and casual way with nearly everyone said otherwise. He was different. Many went daily out of their way, to mention it to her, as if they’d gotten together to campaign on his behalf. He was, after all, in charge of a garrison, whose survival rate and efficiency had improved noticeably in the protection of the citizenry, since his arrival. Most everyone wanted him happy.
Plus, a Boston bride wouldn’t want to remain in this savage wilderness.
No one, except Stanley Speran and Miss Jansen, seemed overtly disapproving of Cres’ interest. It said much about how both town and garrison felt about her and a great deal more about Cres Grandview’s power to remove opposition between himself and his goals. Plus, there was the other problem—she liked him . . . in the way he wanted her to like him. Which he obviously knew. He could tell she had very little “no” left in her, and stepped even closer, his gaze warmly caressing her like gentle hands, along with his soothing, confident voice.
“I’ll call for you to-morrow, at the time you close the store. I’ll even come to the back door, if that’s what you want. I’ll bring everything. It’s not everyday a girl gets a man to slave over a meal for her.”
“You won’t slave. You’ll have your post cook put it together.”
“True; but, I’ll have to keep an avid eye on him to make certain everything is perfect. Any special requests or just the usual?” She gently shrugged, overwhelmed.
“Cook’ll make your favorites. Yes, I know what your favorites are. Don’t let that frighten you though, because you never have to be afraid of me, Laraina. I’d never hurt you. I . . . .” Many things crossed his mind, hobbling his articulate tongue.
“I . . . I will see you to-morrow?”
He waited for her answer, and her modest nod wasn’t enough, as his silent, urgent gaze pressed her nearly inaudible voice into action.
He backed away a bit, keeping his hands to himself, and walked her the rest of the way to Miss Jansen’s. He respected the elder spinster a great deal, mostly because she treated Laraina as the daughter she’d never had; like now, having been watching for her, she opened the door before they fully arrived, then, protectively inhaled the young woman into her home. He tipped his buff-colored service brim, and Miss Jansen pointedly shut the door on him.
Cres wore his dress uniform and was promptly waiting with carriage and bountiful picnic basket for the nearly terrified Laraina at the back door of the residence adjoining her shop. He took the route out of town that followed the circuitous river for awhile, before crossing wide grassland to stop at the crest of a hillock crowned by the windbreak of a spreading congregation of fruit, wild chestnut, and other deciduous trees permanently bent from the perpetual seasonal winds. They descended into a protected little paradise to the sound of nesting birds, the river trickling and sparkling, and the rustling tree grove standing tall, sheltering the picnickers.
He sat in his deep blue vest, jacketless and hatless, leaning on an elbow and she sat bolt straight, as if in a high-backed Shaker chair, in her manner he mentally called “wary attentiveness”. Their benign conversation was of their separate days, of town and post; neither was inclined to speak about their past or of family, either distant or dead.
It pleased him that she’d taken off her sun hat, to enjoy the sun and the fruit- and earth-scented breeze lightly blowing on her flawless skin, colored what he mentally called “honey buttercream tan”, and she had relaxed enough to tease him, while yet seeking answers.
“My, what an expert peach skinning you are. Some even say you scalp as well as any wild Sioux warrior.”
“Really? I didn’t know Sioux scalped peaches for cobbler.” She took the juicy slice he gave her.
“I-I’ve also heard two entirely conflicting things about you, Colonel.”
“I’ll say it again. Please, call me Cres, at least when we’re alone?” She nodded, then avoided his personal name.
“One young lady told me you think yourself ‘too good for the average girl’ and another said you ‘like to hide’ what you do, that you come to her ‘late, many evenings asking for . . . attentions’. She said she ‘can’t bear’ to turn you away, because you’re a Grandview, the garrison commander, and . . . you. Which tells the truth, or do both?”
“I don’t get a choice of false?” She didn’t laugh. “I know of whom you speak. Others . . . have mentioned it to me. Both women are not worth your concern, especially, the latter. I really have no true interest in either. One is a complete ninny, whom I’ve barely spoken to and the other is . . . indiscreet, and unhappy about my continuing preference for you, over her.”
He observed Laraina’s reaction.
“I hope what I’ve said doesn’t shock you. I’ve seen that neutral, patient look before, when your customers . . . or you are upset. If you are troubled by my past actions and my words, say so. But, I won’t lie to you. I am a man, quite grown and of the world, Laraina, and I know you think . . . that you are afraid I will be frivolous with you, that I’m not actually serious about you. And pardon me for saying so, but you’re wrong in thinking so. Make no mistake—you’re the only woman I truly want.
“Hell, if I wanted a ninny or a floozy, I’d visit Philadelphia, Charleston, or Richmond for a better quality one, with impeccable family and business connections. I require more than that in the woman, whose delicate, snow white, Chantilly lace veil I will remove, to kiss her; whose soft hand I’ll place on my arm before proudly walking the bowered aisle. Because that woman, who will wear my name and bear my children . . . is already priceless to me.”
His words and intense gaze bore into her, softly, yet insistently, piercing her armor, causing her to frenetically, abruptly stand; leaving the forgotten Colt pistol on the picnic blanket, to walk in what ended up being a small, erratic circle before the spreading chestnut that shielded them like a parasol.
She placed hot palms on the tree’s rough, cool bark to reorient the tumult within her, then felt him behind her, gently slipping his hands around her corseted waist to hold her against him. Taking her breath away. Making her ache “down there”. The matter worsened when he placed his freshly shaved, hot cheek against hers. He couldn’t resist—nuzzling, then kissing her tender cheek, ear, and honeysuckle fragrant, pulsing throat.
Her sighing breaths signaled a personal triumph in him, as he pulled her even closer; hearing the rustle and feeling the crush of fabric in her voluminous skirt. He kissed her neck more ardently, entirely cognizant of her not actively resisting him. His lips brushed hers, but the angle was inconvenient; he gently turned her around by her cinched waist and clearly saw her waning doubt and flagging opposition, as he was winning her body.
He took her mouth delicately—not unlike a sneak attack—before pressing his command forward, harder, to make her succumb to him; his insistence parting her lips, his hard thigh cleaving hers, breaching her outer defenses. Assaulting all her senses. Laraina breathlessly shoved him away; but, the distance he allowed her was minimal, and again he was rewarded by her look of not being fully committed to the task of entirely freeing herself from him.
“We should go back?”
“Not just yet.”
He glanced around; taking her hand, coaxing her to follow him deeper into the small woodland, out of the easy sight of any casual passerby. A fear skittered across her heart, with the realization that he’d reholstered the Colt, which really didn’t matter so much because he could use his body as a weapon against hers. She stopped in panic, trying not to look afraid.
She knew of men, who enjoyed frightened women.
Cres didn’t fight it. There was a limit she would not, could not pass, without a chaperone, as he situated her behind a tree, giving him a commanding view of the path up to them, and command of Laraina. He resumed kissing her, slowly and gently wooing her fear and reluctance from her, his desire for her becoming more hotly ardent, fired by her gripping him tightly to her.
He languidly kissed down the front of her dress, over modestly covered bosom, bending knee to kneel before her, before gazing back up to see if she were still following were he was leading, before slipping a hand past her dress’ weighty hem and many petticoats. She didn’t stop his journey, as he felt past the outer side of her high-laced boot, past full calf and delicate knee, and past the outer top of her long, silk stocking; to touch hot, bare flesh. He still held her gaze with his own, as his inquisitive probe moved from to the inside. She immediately closed her legs, against intrusion. Cres loved her perplexed, innocent look, at the realization of successfully and unexpectedly capturing him, in that vulnerable position, which was as much reward as punishment.
She shook her head “no”; he removed his wayward appendage, dropped her skirttail, but remained kneeling before her.
“I would have you as my wife, Laraina.” He stopped her interjection. “I’ll accept no interference from anyone in the matter; not my family’s, not even yours.”
“C-Cres . . . Colonel Grandview, what you say . . . isn’t possib—.”
His outward expression scarcely changed, except the color of his eyes drastically darkened, from bright sky to storm cloud, which had never been directed to her. His own troopers, had often mentioned their fear or elation at his expressions; depending on whether they were to receive his wrath or his blessing. Cres stood abruptly, and she felt his potent, coiled presence, as the vibrantly alive, inescapable thing it was.
“Col . . . C-Cres. I’m sorry; but, it’s just . . . just . . . .”
When he finally spoke, his voice was husky, soft, as he desperately strove for emotional distance.
“I’ll take you back, now, before the sun’s full gone and . . . .”
He stopped, causing her to fear he was angry with her; but, he gently stroked her curly hair back with his warm palms, then cradling her face, kissed her again. His body, unable to resist, pushed against hers. When she gasped, he stopped but didn’t pull back from her, knowing she felt, through all their layers of clothing, his intense, intimate desire for her pressing large and hard against her.
It was bad form, he knew; but, she needed to know how very much he wanted her and—.
She was trembling, so he stepped back, leaving her still feeling and wanting him against her.
“I’ll never force from you what isn’t mine. Never fear me, Laraina. I truly love you.”
He said it again, once she looked up at him; knowing she needed to hear the words again and to see the unblemished sincerity and soul of the man speaking. He wanted to say more, yet was afraid to, knowing he was fast losing control over his feelings for her, in his heart . . . and body. He gestured that they return; without speaking, without touching her. He was certain, that if he touched her again, flesh to flesh, that he might possibly make himself a liar and thought, “My god, give me strength. I can’t believe how much I want her.”
He put his gloves on before handing her up into the buggy. The gauntlets distanced her flesh from his own; but, her scent, her silken hair and skin, especially, the burning invitation that was the inside of her thighs remained imminently arousing. All the way back to her home. All the way back to his fort, where, even after managing several late duties and dispatches, his entire body remained tensed in memory of hers. He finally took the matter in hand, twice, before he could sleep in relative peace; with lush, soft dreams of her, on their first night together, as his bride: unveiled, virginal, and unrestrained as a whore. He awoke to reveille and sheets soaked with his longing.
* * * *
Laraina’s subsequent avoidances of the Lt. Colonel were in vain, as she was breathlessly swept up in the powerful, swirling tornado known as Cres Grandview in full romantic campaign mode. Her only respite came when he left with a column of soldiers for a four-day rescue mission to successfully retrieve two white children, who’d wandered too far afield near hostile Sioux country. But, even with that small detour, Laraina became inexorably “officially engaged” within, what seemed to her, little to no time—he wanted her “in the least possible, reasonably respectable time”, and since they were “far west of Boston, instead of six months or more”, he felt he could wed her within the month, and he would take care of everything. As usual.
Exciting and scary. Highest Heaven and Lowest Hell.
It wasn’t just his zeal that unnerved her but one specific thing she did not want spoken aloud to him or anyone. Her stepfather, Stanley Speran, threatened daily now, since her engagement, to tell, which most certainly would destroy her in eyes of Cres and Miss Jansen.
Thus, Cres misinterpreted Laraina’s apprehension and so allowed her more respite from him than he actually wished to give, because normally he wanted to be with her whenever his duties permitted; but, he turned his formidable attentions elsewhere, giving her a breather from him. He, therefore, was grudgingly winning Miss Jansen, as the two found a strong common cord binding them against Speran, whose worsening offensive behavior in comparison to Laraina’s impeccability was scandalous.
Cres had seen Miss Jansen earlier, having several days previously “begged” with easy ingenuousness for her to at first correct his plans, then for her to take over all formal planning of the wedding details. It was inspired genius on his part, as she dove into the opportunity, entirely committing herself to the task. He’d received upon returning to the fort, several reports, including the activity of a rogue band of hostiles, and a much awaited letter and small package from his sister, Honore.
So, although a little late for the evening, he happily went to Laraina’s, and found the back door of her residence ajar, with a torn swatch of Laraina’s dress on it. His hot blood turned to ice, and wanting to call out for her, he ruthlessly silenced his tongue, and entered—.
“Get out, Colonel!! You have no rights here! Not yet!”
“Oh, I very much beg to differ.”
The older man held Cres’ betrothed viciously bent forward over and pinned against the sideboard. Her dress lay torn and cast aside, her half shredded petticoats hiked up, her pantelet covered legs wedged open by Speran’s intrusive body, dressed inappropriately in nothing but full long johns with his half hard cock hideously exposed.
Speran mistakenly glanced from Cres’ glacial, still demeanor to the squirming yet mortified Laraina, until feeling the “spoiled, rich bastard’s” hands on him. Pounding him, kicking him, hurling him, like a demon possessed. And, despite having many times said he could beat the “pampered Bostonian into the ground”, after less than two minutes, the cur also know as Stanley Speran scrambled on all fours from his house, paid for by Laraina’s hard work, unsure he’d make it, as he heard the heavy cavalry boots striding hard and fast to retrieve him, when she shrieked.
Cres halted pursuit and watched the begging coward scurry off into the dark.
“Are you all right, Rain?”
He’d spoken without turning, seeing her out the corner of his eye disappearing into the back of the house. He quietly shut the door, bolted it, then made certain every last window and door in the house and store was secured. Because he wanted to protect her. Because he wanted to cool the molten edges of his rage. But, mostly, because he was fiercely unhappy. He decided, without fully thinking, that, if need be, he’d force her door to get an answer.
Her door was closed, but not secured—a door would need a full jamb and lock for that. It’d been kicked in some time ago and not repaired. The Lieutenant Colonel, fiancé, husband-to-be unhurriedly shoved her broken door open. She was crying in muffled, stifled sobs; however, in realizing he was there, that she wasn’t properly dressed, and on her bed, she quickly rose, keeping her back to him as she slipped her robe over her disarrayed nakedness.
He gave her credit for facing him, even if she couldn’t meet his eyes.
“How many times has he taken you?” Her answer was a sobbing choke from deep within her throat. “Answer me!”
The warm velvet in his voice was gone, replaced with cold, tempered steel. She shrank from him; but, he went after her, forcing her face to his.
“Look at me, woman. Answer me. How . . . many . . . times?” She shook her head. “Tell me. How many?” Her answer was a hoarse, tear-laced whisper.
“I don’t know.”
“How the hell could you not know?!”
“He forced . . . . Since just before Mama died . . . . Sometimes . . . I can keep him . . . off me . . . distract him . . . with other activities . . . drink . . . anything but me.”
He glanced back at the broken doorjamb.
She finally spoke in a sobbing whisper but he heard her.
“Four. No. Five months; but, altogether, I really don’t know . . . .”
He let her break away, and she ran, until coming to a wall, and leaned her hot, troubled forehead against the cool façade. Cres abruptly left; but, she never heard him leave the house, instead, she heard something crash with great force, shattering to pieces.
He eventually came back, without coat, cinnamon brown hair disheveled, with a bottle of Speran’s whiskey. She gazed surreptitiously at him through her lashes, he never looked at her as he filled a cup—her stepfather had broken all the glasses two weeks previous, when she’d last successfully “distracted” him. She vaguely realized Cres must have destroyed the crystal centerpiece his cousin had sent, one of many wedding gifts so quickly conveyed to her, like their fast engagement, as he now gulped the full cup then downed another, before sitting in the armchair, the bottle and cup placed atop the side table and her sewing.
He moved once, to loosen the collar biting deeply into his pounding, constricted throat and she noted that besides being clearly angry and disappointed, he was staring at her bed.
“Laraina, come to me.”
She didn’t want to; but, she knew the sharp, quiet tone of his command. The most contrary of his men, both soldier and Indian scout, answered that particular tone promptly. She went near him, hopefully close enough to please him but far enough away to run, if need be.
“I still want you, Rain.”
Her heart fluttered, then sank because the evening’s revelations hadn’t made him leave, and because he had not specified if his “want” was benign or spiteful. She knew quite well that certain men, even one, who’d treated a woman with only respect and delicacy, once disappointed by that woman, especially if he desired her sexually could become an unthinkably vile—.
“I’m not going to hurt you. Come closer.” Speran always said that; she was too afraid to move and in finally forcing herself to obey, managed to move away instead. Laraina regretted it immediately when his reaction was obvious annoyance.
“This is for you. It came today, so I . . . .”
He opened a small box of gold rings, two marriage bands and an engagement ring, which he removed, before closing and pocketing the rest. Cres rose, reaching for her; she instinctively backed away and immediately regretted the fearful move, mostly because of the hurt in his eyes and also because she’d backed into a bedpost.
“Cres, you don’t want me. I’m . . . I’m . . . .”
“‘Damaged goods’? That is what people will say, isn’t it?” She looked away. “‘Damaged’ or undamaged, ‘ruined’ or virginal, you, Laraina, are mine. You are my wife . . . will soon be my wife. Nothing and no one will stop that.”
His placed his hard body between hers and escape, cornering her between bedpost and bed chest, as he slipped the elegant diamond, ruby, and sapphire ring on her finger, then kissed it. His action seemed to relax a part of him, having achieved that much of his goal.
“Sapphire’s fidelity. Ruby’s passion. Diamond’s purity.”
He kissed her, softly, then so hard she turned her face away.
“I don’t think so, woman. You warmed to me, and I daresay, almost capitulated on our picnic; but, since it’s all too clear I’m not the first, I will at least be certain the damage is not irreversible.”
“I would know, before I marry you, whether you have avoided me because he has ruined you to any man, or because, despite him, your modesty in the face of your own waxing ardor was genuine.”
“You have no right this night to say ‘no’ to me. Say it again and I’ll leave. And he’ll come back to reclaim you. You know as well as I do, he’s out there; skulking, waiting for me to leave. Try saying ‘no’ again to him.”
He let that sink in for awhile, then softened. A little.
“You’re mine. Frigid and stiff or warm and compliant, you’re mine. And I’ll still be marrying you in near record time. But, in light of this new revelation, I will take my prerogative, as your betrothed and taste of you. I will know beforehand if I’ll be enjoying you warmly in the coming years or taking my husbandly needs of an iceberg.”
He let go to flip down his braces and pull his shirt off from over his head, then put her nervous, awkward fingers to work on the buttons of his step-ins. He stripped to his trouser waistband, exposing his sun bronzed torso. She averted her eyes, as he unbound her mahogany hair.
“Look at me, Rain, touch me. Please. Touch me.”
She hesitantly, visibly tried to make a decision of where on his silk furred, naked, well-muscled flesh she could make decent contact. Cres was glad that touching a man’s naked body was evidently so foreign to her. Perhaps rape wasn’t but making love was.
He flattened one of her palms full against him, then the other, before showing her how to touch him, until she began exploring of her own accord. His aroused flesh shivered at her touch, which at first startled her, then excited her . . . but—.
“It’s all right, Rain, if I please you, you don’t have to hide it. It’s not wrong, or wicked, and I want to see it.”
She smiled shyly and he kissed her again, while sliding his palms over satin corset and curvaceous, bare buttocks. He loosened but didn’t remove her corset and untied her chemise beneath it, to kiss and lightly nibble the fullness of her breasts swelling and straining against the corset top, before removing the constricting thing. He deposited her on her bed; then watched her, gauging her mood, while removing his boots. She was no longer completely frightened of him but he feared still that Speran’s influence might . . . . He let frightening thoughts of Stanley Speran go because for now her anticipation of his actions made him slow down while undressing and pause long enough to see if she were fully with him—she was. He enclosed her palm on the growing bulge in his trousers. Her eyes widened, and she attempted pulling away.
“You’re mine, Laraina, all of you, every bit of you. And all of me . . . is yours. When someone belongs to you, you needn’t be afraid or shy.”
He quickly slipped a fingertip into her chemise and flipped out perfection—a mahogany tipped creamy tan breast. He saw her delighted shock before putting his hungry mouth to the sweet pap and claiming it for his own . . . and its companion.
“Cres . . . .”
He abruptly stood but slowly stripped his trousers off for her; revealing pale skin over hard muscle and bone; revealing—his vulnerable, great, naked need at full cockstand. She pulled back.
“You’re so big.”
“I’m not him. Touch me.” Eventually, she reached for him, touched him, enclosed her fear-cold palm around his burning flesh, which twitched, responding to her. His cocktip pearled, and he sighed deeply.
“Darling, open your legs. Open to me, Rain.”
His hard knee insistently pushed to part her thighs; but, she stiffened and shied away, shutting her eyes.
“Rain, it’s me. Look at me. Look at me!” She looked, but didn’t relax. “Do you want me, Rain?”
She nodded, too full of emotion.
“Darling, I want . . . I need to be inside you. Take me in your sweet hand, Laraina, and show me the way. I can do it; but, I’d prefer if you’d welcome me. Can you do that?”
Her timid answer was....
—Novella in progress for future sale—
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