Passion in the Regency-Episode 1
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PASSION IN THE REGENCY – Episode 1
An Erotic Historical Polyamorous Romance for YP Erotica
by [email protected]
In London during the Regency Period, a young debutante’s reputation meant everything, and life in the elite world of the ton meant a young woman’s behavior was given the closest scrutiny, and even a hint of impropriety meant being excluded from the world’s most exclusive and closed societies. But Galina Papatonis, daughter of a wealthy Greek shipping magnate, is determined to live life on her own terms. So what happens when she falls in love with not one titled English prince, but two?
“Do you really think they’ll be here” Galina Papatonis asked, her voice hardly more than a whisper. Her heart was beating much faster than she felt it should.
Galina hated the uncertainty and anticipation in her tone, but if there was any woman on the planet she could be honest with, it was Harriet Kerner, her personal maid, and the one woman on the earth that she trusted completely.
“They’ll be here,” Harriet replied as she wound her mistress’s midnight black hair into a tight chignon twist at the back of her neck. “You’re much too beautiful for them to stay away.” She chuckled softly. “And they only get to see you once a week. That must seem like a lifetime to them.”
“But…the scandal,” Galina said, her words hardly more than a whisper.
“The scandal, as you refer to it, happened two years ago. And the wise men who can remember it have conveniently forgotten about it, and those who are stupid enough to remember it aren’t worth thinking about.” Harriet inhaled deeply, then let out a long, soft sigh. “I so hate it when people are small. Why can’t they let the past stay in the past?”
Galina raised her hand, then placed it gently over Harriet’s, which was on her shoulder. She glanced into the looking glass and wasn’t disappointed to see that Harriet was gazing at her with a rather forgiving look in her ocean blue eyes. In the reflection of the mirror, Galina gave the woman who was both her servant and best friend, a wink and a slight nod of her head.
“Do my hair especially well tonight,” Galina said, though she knew that she didn’t have to prod Harriet into particularly professional behavior. Harriet was the best maid servant that Galina had ever known, and she had had them her whole life. In fact, there was no one else who even came close to being Harriet’s equal to the task. “It’s always especially stressful when the ball is at our home,” Galina said.
Several seconds passed before Harriet said softly, “Your home, m’lady.”
Galina felt the heat rise in her neck and cheeks. While it was true that she always thought of the servants as equals—especially Harriet—the truth was that they weren’t, and not only did the servants know it, she knew it. She just didn’t like to think about their social distinctions very much, though she often did, and never took pleasure in the contemplation.
“Be honest with me now,” Galina said, her tone soft and almost conspiratorial, “which one do you think would be a batter match for me: Prince Alex, or Prince Edmund?”
“The fact that you have your choice of princes tells me that I really don’t—or at least shouldn’t—have a voice in the decision-making.” Harriet inhaled deeply, then exhaled slowly, to control her emotions. “Besides, men make all the decisions in England…whether we want them to or not.” She sighed again. “Either man will make you royalty. And I’ve really no doubt that either man will make you happy, and give you lots and lots of children.”
“You’re sure they’ll want to make love to me? I’ve heard stories…”
Galina had wanted the statement to come out playful, but the undercurrent of doubt, of hesitation, had shown through in her tone, and both she and Harriet had noticed it. She had heard that powerful men were much more passionate with their mistresses than they were with their wives.
“There is nothing in life that I’m more sure of than that Prince Alexander Dorsey and Prince Edmund Havergill will want to make love with you”—she paused a moment—“again and again and again.” Her gaze narrowed. “Morning, noon, and night,” she said, her voice lowering with each word she spoke. She got down on one knee so that she could whisper into Galina’s ear, even though the two of them were alone in the bedroom. “You don’t really know or understand how beautiful you are,” Harriet said into Galina’s ear, “but I’m telling you now, the moment you become a nobleman’s wife—especially if it’s either Prince Alex or Prince Edmund—that precious, sweet, innocent body of your is going to get…sweaty. It’s going to get ravaged. And unless I’m completely mistaken regarding the woman you are…it’s finally going to get satisfied.”
A tremor went through Galina. No one had ever spoken such words to her before…and though she wanted to deny what had been said about her, Galina suspected that Harriet knew her better than she knew herself.
“We’ve only a few more minutes, then we must go to the ball,” Harriet said.
“The princes—they make me nervous.”
“I’ll be with you every minute,” Harriet said. “I’ll protect you. I know what it’s like to not have someone who will defend you.”
Galina thought of Prince Alex and Prince Edmund. She remembered how as they danced during the last ball their nearness had made her want to kiss them…and do so much more than just that with them. Harriet, at thirty-six, was already a widow. She dispensed her wisdom to Galina to protect her uninformed young charge.
Prince Alex and Prince Edmund are men of experience, Galina thought. They don’t amuse themselves with silly, almost-virgins who giggle too much.
Bitter memories returned to Galina of what had happened to her two years earlier, and for a moment she had to close her eyes, and then breathe deeply and slowly several times, just to recover her senses. She had been taught a lesson that she knew she must never forget for even a second.
She had let herself think th at a lustful man with a title meant what he said with honesty when he vowed love…but the moment that she had given herself to him sexually, he told everyone in the ton that he’d deflowered her. It took less than a week for the young man’s father to claim that Galina had seduced his son, and not another week had passed before Galina discovered that she was no longer being invited to the parties and social events that separated the upper class from those who weren’t.
Galina was just now, at last, once again being invited to the balls and parties in the ton that meant everything to anyone who was someone in London’s high society…and the fact that Prince Alex and Prince Edmund had so openly and brazenly been flirting with Galina was an ostentatious sign that Galina’s transgressions had been forgiven, and that she was once again a sheep in the flock.
Sooner or later, I’m going to have to decide on one prince or the other.
Galina didn’t have a clue on which prince she found more appealing. Both had kissed her rather chastely, and though Galina had thought of those kisses for endless hours afterward, she couldn’t figure out in her own mind which man’s kisses pleased her more. All she truly was certain of was that they both kissed infinitely more erotically than the man who had taken her virginity and destroyed her reputation.
“You’re beautiful,” Harriet said, her lips a scant inch from Galina’s ear. “Prince Alex and Prince Edmund will both be entranced the instant they look at you.”
“Do you really think so?” Galina asked softly. She was frightened that it might not be true.
“Allow them a kiss,” Harriet instructed, “but nothing more than that. We’ve talked of these things before. You can’t give a man everything he wants right away. That’s a rule. That’s a fact. It’s not written down anywhere, but that doesn’t make it not a fact.” Harriet kissed Galina atop her head. “Trust me. I’m older than you. I know these things. Let me teach you things so that you don’t have to make the mistakes that I have.” She kissed Galina on the cheek. “I only wish your father had sent for me sooner than he had. I could have been more help to you.”
Galina turned her face and kissed Harriet’s forearm.
“I can’t imagine what I’d do without you,” Galina said softly. “You’ve always protected me.”
“I’ve done what I could,” Harriet said.
“And that’s been more than enough,” Galina replied.
* * * *
She can’t be serious.
Prince Alex felt Dorothy Shiel’s fingers caressing the erection he had trapped inside his trousers.
“Darling, you don’t have to mean anything by it, and I promise you, mother will be an added surprise that you’ll find quite delightful.” Dorothy chuckled softly, and gave his cock another firm squeeze. “Just imagine what it will be like to have me and mother, either separately or together, whenever you want.” Her fingertips measured the length of Alex’s cock in a most erotic fashion.
Alex pushed the girl’s hand away from his erection. Her offer of sexual excess didn’t interest him. He was trying to pretend that was the case, anyway. His penis, however, had a way of thinking for itself. What his better judgment advised and what his cock wanted were often in disaccord.
“Come on now, darling, there something like forty or fifty bedrooms in this house. Surely you can find an empty room for you to have a little fun where we won’t be disturbed.”
Alex did not like it at all the way this conversation was going. He took note that she had said he could have fun, though she excluded herself in being pleasured.
He had known that Dorothy would be there—she showed up at every ball, and always with her mother, Margaret—but she wasn’t the eligible young woman that Alex was interested in spending time with.
“Mother is very interested in getting to know you better,” Dorothy said softly. “I sang your praises. I told her how much pleasure you inspire.”
Alex stifled a groan. It wouldn’t do to be openly insulting toward Dorothy and her mother. Even though everyone understood that they were gold-diggers, they still had connections in the highest ranks of Parliament, and even though Dorothy’s father was sick and decrepit, and his fortune was nowhere near what it had been, he still had a name that meant something on the ton. Alex had to respect that…whether he actually did, or not.
“I wonder where mother is?” Dorothy said, her voice a low, husky purr of carnality. She leaned forward, pressing her breast in the Empire fashion gown against Alex’s forearm. He wasn’t impressed. She had small breasts, and though she thought them quite beautiful, it wasn’t an opinion that Alex shared. “There are so many men who want to spend time with mother, especially at these gatherings…where all the right people gather.”
Alex swirled around the Scotch in his glass several times, then finished his cocktail with a single gulp. He wished like hell now that he’d never been so foolish as to bed Dorothy a fortnight earlier.
The mother and daughter had already burned through one fortune, and they were looking to do the same with Alex’s. They thought the road to his title and his gold travelled through his bedroom, but that’s where they were wrong. Alex had more than his fair share of willing lovers so when he chose to take a bride, it wouldn’t be because he had suddenly discovered that sex was an amusing pastime.
He wanted more than that. If romance was going to be permanent, the connection had to be more than just sex.
Alex scanned the enormous ballroom, looking for the young woman who had so grievously been wronged two years earlier when she was foolish enough to believe that the Barrett boy was in love with her, and wanted to marry her…so shouldn’t she give up her virginity for him?
“Alex,” Dorothy said as her fingers tightened on his erection, “I’ll let you put it in my mouth this time.”
The tone of her voice suggested that she was making an extraordinary concession to make Alex happy. He glanced at her, and it was clear to him that she thought he would leap at the opportunity. He could hardly imagine what it would be like to get boring fellatio, but if ever there was anyone who could do it, it would be Dorothy. He found the entire prospect of oral sex with her uninspiring.
“Have you seen Edmund?” Alex asked, entirely ignoring the slender, pale fingers that were at that moment stroking the length of his arousal, from stem to stern. “I’m surprised that he’s not here yet.”
“Perhaps you and Edmund would want me…together?”
Alex could hear the undercurrent of anxiety in Dorothy’s tone. She knew that she was running out of trump cards that could be played. The fact that she included her mother in their next sexual romp no longer seemed like such an inducement. His degage attitude had apparently rattled the young woman’s confidence.
Alex felt a glimmer of remorse…but only a glimmer. Dorothy and her mother had set a trap for him, and now they were shocked that the jagged, steel jaws of the leg-trap hadn’t closed around him. He had heard the stories of other men—always well-heeled and inclined to let their balls do their thinking for them—who had fallen under their spell. Every time this happened, it was always a father of the naïve and lusty young buck, who had to fork over plenty of gold to keep the scandal from making it into the more lurid broadsheets.
Alex took Dorothy firmly by the wrist and pulled her hand away from him.
“You’re dangerous,” he said quietly. “But not nearly as dangerous as your mother. You see, you’ve got youth going for you, and that’s quite an attraction, but your mother is twice as smart as you are, and the truth is, I’m sure she’s five times more entertaining than you are in bed.” He rose to his feet and declared to anyone who wanted to hear, “I need a drink. By God, I need a drink like never before.”
* * * *
“You’re so beautiful,” Harriet said, looking at Galina. “You’ll dazzle them.”
Galina turned to her, and in a softer voice, said, “So will you. That dress is lovely on you.”
The dress was new, bought by Galina’s father who wanted her to be in proper attire when she chaperoned his daughter for the weekly balls. Appearances meant everything on the ton. Harriet was only an employee, but still a reflection of her employer, and Galina’s father wanted her to be clothed in a manner that not even the highest borne on the ton could condescend to.
Harriet’s hands felt a little clammy, and she knew why. During the last two balls, she had slipped away from Galina just long enough to meet with the valets—who were really bodyguards—of Prince Alex and Prince Edmund—and spend several minutes kissing, and so much more…but not nearly enough more.
Harriet was no naïve virgin. She wasn’t new to the game of amour, but everything that Hugh O’Malley and Cecil MacDonald made her feel was as though she hadn’t ever been touched before. Their kisses ignited in her a fire that she had never before experienced. And even though they had only touched her breasts and her bottom through her clothing, they had brought her tremblingly close to an orgasm each time they did it. Only time restrictions had kept her from climaxing.
She thought of her past, and a foul taste came into her mouth. She had married young at 18, because her father said she had to. He had no dowry for her, and he was quite tired of paying for her food, and providing the roof over her head.
At first her husband seemed genial enough. But that notion didn’t last long. Soon Harriet discovered that he wasn’t gainfully employed. At best he was sporadically employed. And each time he changed jobs he took a cut in pay.
And there was his drinking. Harriet had no problem with a good man having a pint of ale or having a strong libation or two after a hard day’s work, but when the liquor consumption started around noon, and didn’t stop until the bottle was empty and her husband was passed out, she realized that what was a habit was really an addiction.
She was willing to cope with that. After all, men can change, and she was quite capable of helping her husband become a better man.
But soon she realized that alcohol was not the worst of his character flaws. In the grand scheme of things his issue with gin meant nothing at all to her—compared to his gambling addiction.
First, he got in debt with the men he gambled with. It was only a little to begin with. Generally nothing more than a week’s worth of groceries so that they could eat. But it wasn’t long before he started losing an entire month’s rent payment playing cards. And sometimes, even more than that.
It wasn’t until he was several months’ rent in arrears that men—men he owed money—started showing up at the door, demanding the money owed to them. They were unsmiling men and wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer.
One creditor drew a gun, held it to her husband’s head, and said he was going to get payment that night, or else.
Her husband turned to Harriet, pointed at her, and said she could help make right with what was wrong. Perhaps she couldn’t completely wipe away the debt, he said, but at least she could pay the interest so that guns wouldn’t be necessary.
In love with her desperately flawed and abusive husband, Harriet accepted her fate stoically.
She did not know at the time that she had opened the floodgates to more debauchery than she could imagine.
Her husband kept gambling, always telling her that he would win back his losses, and then make everything right by her.
He never won back his losses. And when word got around that his lovely wife was collateral for any losses, Harriet’s husband was invited to every private gambling table in London.
And since he always lost, Harriet always paid the price.
It wasn’t until someone—Harriet didn’t know who, but if she did, she would have thanked him—walked up behind her husband, pointed a pistol at his head, and squeezed the trigger. That’s when Harriet’s nightmare finally came to an end.
Without a husband bartering her sexual favors in payment for his gambling debt, she no longer had daily visitors that she had to accept, but certainly didn’t welcome.
With her husband’s assassination, Harriet was without a shilling in her purse, but at least she wasn’t obligated to pay with her body debts that weren’t hers.
“Harriet…are you with me?”
Harriet blinked her eyes several times, and then looked at her mistress, Galina. The memories that had come flooding back into her consciousness had not been pleasant ones, so she was pleased that Galina had drawn her out of them.
When she gave Galina a beaming smile, it was an honest one.
“I was just thinking about something from my past.”
“Your past is behind you,” Galina said. “If ever there’s anyone who understands that, it’s me. Is there anything else I can do?”
“Nothing other than let me escort you to the ball,” Harriet said quietly, quite relieved that Galina was too distracted with other things to want to continue the conversation that Harriet most certainly didn’t want to have.