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Monday Puzzler > Monday Puzzler: January 20

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message 1: by Okie (new)

Okie (okieb) | 2064 comments Mod
“Are you asleep yet, boy?”

She ought to be. She’d turned in more than an hour ago. But she was still wide awake. And she didn’t have the captain’s nakedness to blame for it tonight, for she’d kept her eyes firmly closed this time from the moment she climbed into her hammock. No, tonight it was just plain old curiosity keeping her awake, wondering if the captain really did know what was ailing her and if there really was a cure for it. If there was a cure, what could it possibly be? It was probably some vile concoction that would taste horrible. If it didn’t, he would probably make sure it did.


She considered feigning sleep, but why bother. A trip to the galley to fetch him something might tire her out, if that was what he wanted.


“I can’t sleep.”

She rolled her eyes, already having figured that out. “Can I get you something?”

“No, I need something to soothe me. Perhaps if you read to me for a while. Yes, that ought to do it. Light a lamp, will you?”

As if she had any choice, she thought as she rolled out of her hammock. He’d warned her she might be called upon to do this. But she hadn’t been sleeping, either, so it made no difference tonight. She knew why she wasn’t sleeping, but she wondered what was keeping him awake.

She lit the lantern hanging by her bed and took it with her to the bookcase. “Is there anything in particular you’d like to hear, Captain?”

“There’s a thin volume, bottom shelf, far right. That should do the trick. And pull up a chair. It’s a quiet, soothing voice I need, not shouting across the room.”

She paused, but only for a second. She really hated the idea of getting near his bed while he was in it. But she reminded herself that he was decently covered, nor did she have to look at him. He only wanted her to read, and maybe the book would be boring enough to put her to sleep, too.

She did as he’d instructed, dragging a chair over near the foot of his bed and setting the lantern on the dining table behind her.

“I believe there’s a page marked,” he said as she settled in the chair. “You may begin there.”

She found the page, cleared her throat, and began to read. “‘There was nary a doubt that I had ever seen such big ones, round and ripe. My teeth ached to bite them.’” God, what tripe. This would have them both asleep in minutes. “‘I pinched one and heard her gasp of delight. The other beckoned my mouth, which was panting to oblige. Oh, heaven! Oh, sweet bliss, the taste of those succulent…breasts…’”

Heroine slammed the book closed with a horrified gasp. “This…this—”

“Yes, I know. It’s called erotica, dear boy. Don’t tell me you’ve never read such garbage before? All boys your age do, those that can read, that is.”

She knew she ought to be one of all those boys, but she was too embarrassed to care. “Well, I haven’t.”

“Are we being missish again, boy ? Well, read on, anyway. You’ll find it educational, if nothing else.”

It was times like this that she hated the pretense of her disguise the most. Heroine wanted to blister his ears about corrupting the morals of young boys, but Heroine would likely welcome the corruption.

“Do you actually like this—garbage, I believe you called it?”

“Good God, no. If I liked it, it wouldn’t put me to sleep, now would it?”

That he sounded so appalled lessened some of her embarrassment. But not even the threat of torture could get her to open that disgusting book again—at least not while he was around.

“If you don’t mind, Captain, I’d rather find some other book to bore you with, something less…less…”

“Priggish as well as missish, are you?” A long sigh came from the bed. “I can see I’m not going to make a man of you in just a few weeks. Well, never mind, boy. It’s a bloody headache that’s keeping me awake, anyway, but your fingers can take care of it just as well. Come and massage my temples, and I’ll be asleep before you know it.”

Massage, as in touching and getting closer? She didn’t budge from her chair.

“I wouldn’t know how—”

“’Course you wouldn’t, not until I show you. So give us your hands.”

She groaned inwardly. “Captain—”

“Damnation, boy!” he cut in sharply. “Don’t argue with a man who’s in pain.

Or do you mean for me to suffer all night?” When she still didn’t move, he lowered his voice, though its tone was still brusque. “If it’s that ailment you’re worried about, lad, putting it from your mind will help. But whether it takes you or not, my malady takes precedence over yours just now.”

He was right, of course. The captain was all-important, while she was just his lowly cabin boy. To try and put herself before him would come across as the actions of a spoiled, thoughtless child.

She changed positions slowly, sitting down very gingerly beside him on the bed.

Put it from your mind as he said, and whatever you do, don’t look at him.

She kept her eyes trained on the arched columns in the headboard behind him, so she started when his fingers closed over hers and drew them to his face.

Pretend he’s Mac. You’d do this willingly for Mac or any one of your brothers.

Her fingertips were pressed to his temples, then moved in very small circles.

“Relax, boy. This isn’t going to kill you.”

That was going to be her own next thought, but Heroine wouldn’t have put it quite as dryly as he did. What must he be thinking? That you’re afraid of him. Well, she was, though she couldn’t say exactly why anymore. Living so closely with him this week, she honestly didn’t think he would hurt her, but…then what?

“You’re on your own now, boy. Just keep up the same motion.”

The warmth of his hands holding hers was gone, but it made her notice the warmth of his skin beneath her fingertips. She was actually touching him. It wasn’t so bad…until he moved slightly and his hair fell over the backs of her fingers. How soft his hair was, and cool. Such contrast. But there was more heat. She could feel it coming off his body near her hip. It made her realize he didn’t have the thick, quilted cover drawn up, only the silk sheet, the thin silk sheet that would do no more than cling to him.

There was no reason for her to look, no reason at all. But what if he fell asleep? Was she supposed to just go on massaging when it was no longer necessary? But he’d snore once he was asleep. That would let her know. But she had yet to hear the man snore a single time. Maybe he never did. And maybe he was asleep already.

Look! Just do it and get it over with!

She did, and her instincts had been right…she shouldn’t have. The man looked positively blissful, eyes closed, lips curved in a sensual smile, and so handsome it was sinful. He wasn’t asleep. He was just enjoying her touch…Oh God! It came on her in waves, the heat, the weakness, a tempest set loose inside her. Her hands fell away from him. He caught them so quickly she gasped. And slowly he returned them, not to his temples, but to his cheeks.

She was cupping his cheeks, and staring into his eyes, piercing eyes, hot green, mesmerizing green. And then it happened, lips to lips, his to hers, covering, opening, flaming hot. She was sucked into the vortex, sinking, a whirlpool of sensation taking her deeper and deeper.

How much time passed she’d never know, but gradually Heroine became aware of what was happening. Hero was kissing her with all the passion a man could put into a kiss, and she was kissing him back as if her very life depended on it. It felt as if it did, but it felt right. Her nausea had returned worse than ever before, but it felt wonderful now, and right, too. Right? No, something wasn’t right. He was kissing her…No, he was kissing Heroine!

She went hot, then cold with shock. She pushed away from him frantically, but he held her fast. She only managed to break the kiss, but that was enough.

“Captain! Stop! Are you mad? Let me—”

“Shut up, you darling girl. I can’t play this game anymore.”

“What game? You are mad! No, wait…!”

She was drawn over him, then under him, his weight pinning her down in the soft bed. For a moment she couldn’t think again. The familiar nausea, not so familiar now, much too pleasant now, was spreading. And then it clicked. You darling girl?

“You know!” she gasped, shoving his shoulders back so she could see his face and accuse him properly. “You’ve known all along, haven’t you?”

message 2: by Okie (new)

Okie (okieb) | 2064 comments Mod
Hero was in the throes of the most powerful lust he had ever experienced in his life. But he still wasn’t so far gone that he was going to make the mistake of ’fessing up to that one, not when it looked as if what promised to be a prime temper was gathering steam.

“I wish to bloody hell I had known,” he growled low as he shoved the vest off her shoulders. “And I’ll have an accounting from you later, you may depend upon it.”

“Then how…? Oh!”

She clung to him as his mouth seared her neck to her ear. When his tongue swirled about her earlobe, she shivered deliciously.

“They’re not pointy at all, you little liar.”

She heard his deep chuckle and felt an urge to smile in answer, and that surprised her. She should be apprehensive over her unmasking, but with his mouth on her, she wasn’t. She should be stopping what he was doing, but with his mouth on her, she couldn’t. She hadn’t an ounce of strength or will to even try.

She did hold her breath when a single tug took away her cap and stocking both, spilling the dark mass of her hair out on the pillow and unmasking her in truth. The apprehension she felt now, however, was wholly female in nature, in hoping he wouldn’t be disappointed with what he saw. And he was most thorough in his examination, and very still as he looked her over. When his green eyes finally met hers, they were blazing with intensity again.

“I ought to thrash you for hiding all this from me.”

The words didn’t frighten her. The way he was looking at her belied any serious intent toward thrashing. On the contrary. The meaning behind the words sent a pleasant thrill right down to her toes. The voracious kiss that followed sent the thrill rushing everywhere else.

It was quite some time before she could breathe again. Who needed to breathe? She didn’t. And she still wasn’t doing it right, was gasping really as those experienced lips moved around her face and neck. When her shirt was removed with such subtle finesse, she barely noticed. But she did notice the teeth at her breast bindings that started a tear his hands quickly ripped apart.

She hadn’t been expecting that, but then everything that was happening was so far out of her experience, there was no hope of anticipating anything. Somewhere in the muddle of her mind was the thought that disrobing her was a consequence of her deceit, that he was doing it only to make absolutely sure there would be no more surprises for him. Then why all the kisses? But she couldn’t hold on to that thought, not when he was staring at her breasts.

“Now this was a crime, love, what you did to these poor beauties.”

The man could make her blush with a look, but his words…It was a wonder her skin tone wasn’t permanently pink. It was a wonder, too, that she had any thoughts left, for no sooner had he made the remark than his tongue was tracing the red lines and grooves left from the bindings. And his hands, they had each covered a breast and were gently massaging, soothing, as if he were merely trying to offer commiseration for their long imprisonment. She would have done the same thing had she removed the tight bindings herself, so she didn’t even think to suggest he not do that. And then his hand plumped up one breast to offer to his mouth, and she had no more thoughts for a while, just feelings.

Unlike Heroines, all of Heroes faculties were working perfectly. They just weren’t very manageable. But then it wasn’t necessary to concentrate as he would with any other seduction, not with the darling girl cooperating so enthusiastically. In fact, he had to wonder who was seducing whom. Not that it made the least bit of difference at this point.

By God, she was exquisite, much more than he had supposed. The delicate features he had come to know were incredibly enhanced by the wealth of dark hair now framing her small face. And even in all his imaginings, he hadn’t guessed how luscious her little body would be. There had been no indication that her breasts would be so bountiful, her waist so narrow. But he’d known all along that the cute little derriere that had so intrigued him in that tavern would be perfect in shape and resiliency, and he wasn’t disappointed. He kissed each cheek as he bared it, and promised himself he’d devote more time to that adorable area later, but right now…

Heroine wasn’t ignorant of lovemaking. She’d overheard her brothers too many times discussing such things in plain and sometimes crude terms not to have gathered a general idea about how it was done. But she hadn’t associated that with what was happening to her—until now, when she felt his body with all of hers, skin to skin, heat feeding heat.

She didn’t even wonder how or when he’d finished her disrobing. She realized she was now as naked as he, but she was feeling too many other things to be embarrassed. He was on top of her, pressing her down, surrounding her in a purely dominant way. Vaguely she thought she ought to be crushed, brick wall that he was, but she wasn’t, not at all. His large hands were holding her face while he kissed her and kissed her, slowly, tenderly, then with scorching intensity. His tongue delved, tasted her, let her know the taste of him.

She didn’t want any of this to stop, what he was doing, what she was feeling, and yet…shouldn’t she stop it, at least make an effort to? To succumb knowingly, and she was reasonably certain now where this was leading, was to agree and accept. But did she? Really and truly?

How could she know for sure when she could barely put two thoughts together? Set her ten feet away from him, no, make that twenty, and she’d know. But right now, she liked the fact that there wasn’t even an inch separating them. Oh, God, she must have succumbed already. She just didn’t know it. No! She had to make an effort to be sure, for the sake of the conscience that was going to ask “What happened?” tomorrow.

“Captain?” she got out between kisses.


“You’re making love to me?”

“Oh, yes, my darling girl.”

“Do you really think you should?”

“Absolutely. It’s the cure, after all, for what’s been ailing you.”

“You can’t be serious.”

“But I am. Your nausea, dear girl, was nothing more than a healthy desire…for me.”

She wanted him? But she didn’t even like him. Yet that would explain perfectly why she was enjoying this so much. Obviously, one didn’t have to like the object of one’s passion. And she had her answer. Talking, concentrating, getting her mind off what she was feeling, if only for a minute, hadn’t made any of it go away. It was all still there and wildly exciting. Yes, she wanted him, at least this one time.

You have my permission to proceed, Captain.

She didn’t say it aloud, for he would only be amused, and she didn’t want to amuse him just now. The thought had been for her conscience anyway. She communicated the same thing, however, subtly, by wrapping her arms around him. And he took the hint, quite swiftly, in fact.

Exciting? Not nearly explicit enough. He settled between her legs, and everything inside her seemed to roll over to make room for him. His lips returned to hers, then moved down her neck, down to her breasts. He raised himself. She regretted that. She liked his weight. But there was compensation, more pressure below, and, God, the heat there. And she could feel him, thick and hard, pressing into the heat, so tight, filling her, thrilling her. She knew his body, knew just what was entering hers. She wasn’t afraid…but then, no one had ever told her it would be painful.

She gasped, mostly in surprise, but there was no denying it. That had hurt. “Captain, did I mention that I’ve never done this before?”

His weight had returned to her, had more or less collapsed on her. His face was turned toward her neck, his lips hot on her skin there.

“I believe I’ve just discovered that on my own,” she just barely heard him say. “And I think it would be permissible for you to call me Hero now.”

“I’ll consider it, but would you mind terribly if I asked you to stop now?”


Was he laughing? His body was certainly shaking.

“Was I too polite?” she wanted to know.

There was no doubt that he was laughing now, loudly and clearly. “I’m sorry, love, I swear I am, but…Good God, the shock. You weren’t supposed to be…that is, you were too passionate…Oh, bloody hell.”

“Stuttering, Captain?”

“So it seems.” He raised up to lightly brush his lips across hers before hegrinned down at her. “My dear, there’s no need to stop now, even if I could. But the damage is done, and your virgin’s pain is over.” He moved in her to prove it, and her eyes flared, for the movement was nothing but sensually pleasant. “So do you still want me to stop?”

This is for you, conscience. “No.”

“Thank God!”

His obvious relief made her smile. The kiss he treated her to then made her groan. Accompanied by the slow movement of his hips, the sensations built again gradually, but escalated and surpassed anything she’d felt before, until the crowning glory was upon her, exploding in tiny shocks that left her dazed. She’d cried out, but the sound had gone from her mouth to his, and as his own climax was reached, was given right back to her.

Still dazed, Heroine was having difficulty believing she’d felt what she did, that anything could feel like that. But she held fast to the man who had shown her what her body was capable of. Feelings of gratitude and tenderness mixed with something else that made her want to thank him, kiss him, tell him how magnificent he’d been, how euphoric she felt now. She didn’t, of course. She just continued to hold him, occasionally she caressed him, finally she kissed his shoulder so softly, he couldn’t possibly have noticed.

But he did notice. Hero Last name, connoisseur of women, jaded aristocrat, was in such a state of heightened awareness, he felt each and every little movement the girl made, and was touched by her tenderness more than he cared to admit. He’d never felt anything like it, and it was bloody well frightening.

message 3: by Okie (last edited Jan 19, 2020 07:23PM) (new)

Okie (okieb) | 2064 comments Mod
Many of y'all have read and re read this author's reads. I cut my teeth on her romance novels. The news of her passing was incredibly sad. This read is one of my favorites.

message 4: by Amber (new)

Amber | 161 comments Great choice! This was my first by this author and was the book that basically hooked me into romance. She will be missed.

message 5: by Leigh-Ayn (new)

Leigh-Ayn | 1149 comments Good choice!

message 6: by Susan (new)

Susan (susaninaz) | 1001 comments Was this really consensual? I'm not sure.

message 7: by Daniellegn (new)

Daniellegn | 212 comments I believe I've read this one, though I can't recall the title.

message 8: by Okie (new)

Okie (okieb) | 2064 comments Mod
The Monday Puzzler is- Gentle Rogue by Johanna Lindsey.

message 9: by Susan (new)

Susan (susaninaz) | 1001 comments I read this years ago. I still am not so sure that first sexual encounter was entirely consensual, but our Girl did not really know her own mind at the time.

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