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In the semi-darkness of their large bedchamber, she sat silently, her heart beating with a gentle urgency in anticipation of the night to come. Maids aplenty had rid her of the soft ivory satin of her wedding gown and packed it away in folds of paper to be stored away, her body rid of layers and layers of petticoats and undergarments. She had been refreshed with lavender and rose water, her hair brought down and brushed until it was a rolling, river of flame. And so now, clad only in a froth of lace and ribbons, the tiny flowers of the embroidery catching the flickering gold of the candlelight from candles scattered around the room, she waited for her husband, a tiny smile decorating her lips.

The irony of the juxtaposition did not escape her. Their first marriage had only been a few, short weeks ago and she and Ezekiel had fumbled through hers and his clothing as best as they could before finding the necessarily limited pleasures of the skin underneath. Here, in England, she was unwrapped and wrapped again in a dressing gown as elaborate as the most complex confectionery, scented and readied, nearly placed upon the bed against her will. No friends to help her dress, only maids new and properly distant who had dressed and undressed her as needed with cool efficiency. She had shooed them away once she had slipped her feet into the matching slippers to her gown. Katherine was certain that the maids would be scandalized were they to know that she had removed the simple, but equally embroidered nightgown once they had left her. Even more horrified to know that she only wore the lacy dressing gown tied with simple ribbons, scandalously bare underneath. But she was twice married now and she could be as eccentric as she desired.

This time I didn't forget, she reflected with a toss of her head. She had woken up with a laugh, knowing this time that she was to be married this morn. And like before, her heart had nearly exploded with joy as her father had placed her hand in Ezekiel's. And again, the peace of the simple pleasure of looking into his face and eyes as the Host's blessings were showered upon them. She was his and he hers, no questions, no doubts, and together there was nothing that they could not weather. She knew that married once, a thousand times or even if they had never married, that they were meant to be together on this journey called life.

This wedding had been different than the first in many ways and similar in others.

But no less special.

He was being plied with cigars and port somewhere downstairs in order to allow Katherine time to be readied for him. She giggled a little, turning the slender, fencing blade in the light, admiring its clean simplicity. Mr Ezekiel Drake would have to work for his pleasure, much like before. And it might a bit harder than removing the shielding layers of women's clothing that he had faced before. But he was a master at the blade. And she looked forward to losing.

Ezekiel walked up the steps, the clacking of his cane echoing in the stairwell. The men had judged enough time had passed and had sent him on his way. And he was thankful, for he found the entire ritual tiresome. He would have never said anything or acted in any way that would've indicated his true feelings, of course. But he had little interest in cigars. And while the port was enjoyable, the conversation, as it always did in these types of situations, ended up turning around to politics. And while he was not ashamed of his political positions, the night of his wedding was perhaps not the night to get into an argument with his future father-in-law.

But that is past me, he thought as he finished ascending the steps and stood in front of Katherine's bedroom door. He swung it open slowly to reveal his wife, her red hair tumbling over a lace nightgown that clung to her luscious form in all the correct places. The sight of her caused him to intake a deep breath and it was only after that he saw the sword at her side. He tilted his head, first in confusion, then in amusement and understanding. Letting his weight rest on his cane, he stood there silently for the moment, letting his eyes drink in the sweet nectar that was his young wife's body, to the point where he finally saw her blush. And the first blow goes to me, my love.

"The very sight of you almost caused me to lose my senses and rush at you in a fury of lust." Ezekiel glanced over at the blade in Katherine's delicate hand, the sharpness of the sword a complete contrast to the softness of her gown...and her curves. "But I see you prepared yourself for an initial attack. Since I cannot currently use the blade I had intended to use, then I must draw my other sword." He stood up, twisting the head of the cane and letting the shell clatter to the floor, leaving him armed with his faithful steel.

Holding the blade to attention in front of his face, he continued, "When I have disarmed you, I will take my prize." And he would run her through with his other blade, he thought as his groin stirred at the idea of it.

"So defend yourself, Katherine Fleming-Drake." A smile crossed his face as his blade darted forward in a flurry of quick movements.

The electric thrill that went through her made her tingle all over and she exhaled with a wicked smile as she gracefully rose to her feet. "En guarde indeed, my love," she answered with a laugh, dancing forward to meet his blade. A length of untied ribbon brushed against her skin as she moved to engage him; the cool air of the room kissed her thigh as her dressing gown opened to taunt him with her bare legs. I left it open for freedom of movement, she told herself as the ring of their blades sang in the air. But that was a fib. Her eyes met his over their blades as he skillfully parried her attack and she let them twinkle wickedly.

He was on fire, every nerve, every muscle crying out in exhilaration. On rare occasions, before he had met Katherine, Ezekiel had given thought to what it would like being married. But he had never imagined anything like this, crossing blades on their wedding night, dancing to the song of steel with the woman he loved before taking her to his bed. It was wonderful.

He let the parrying continue for a little bit, his sword movements calculated to bring her closer and closer until....and then he saw the moment he had planned for as she overextended herself. He stepped in, let her step past and then used his blade to cut one of the ribbons holding her dressing gown together. "A point to me," he declared with a laugh.

"Oh," she cried softly with mock horror as a bit more of her skin was exposed to the air and the burning intensity of his eyes. She shook back a wave of crimson hair and looked at him imperiously as a delicious shiver went over her. "It shall not be so easy to get the next ribbon." She slipped by him to lock the door, turning to face him again. "You would be cooler without your shirt, my heart, and I might fight less vigorously if I were distracted by the view." Lifting her sword, she touched the hilt to her heart and bowed to wait.

Fair was fair, Ezekiel thought as he laid his blade down carefully on the ground. Katherine was right though. As he carefully unbuttoned his shirt, he could see the sweat glistening on his chest and the cool air of the room felt nice on his bare skin once he was free of the fabric.

He leaned down and picked up his sword, holding it up in front of him again. "Let us dance some more, my love," he said as he put his blade into motion.

Katherine laughed brightly. "I do love dancing with you," she answered, neatly parrying his attack. She kept the tip of her blade on him, her movements neat. Although she in no way as good as Ezekiel, she was enjoying their efforts. He was a challenge in every way, mentally, physically, and she loved even more the challenge of impressing him. She had paid careful attention to his past instruction, absorbing as much as she could of his expertise. It would take time to even approach his mastery and she would do him as proud as she could. She could do no less.

Although, she realized with wry humor, the sweat on his chest and the flow of the muscles underneath were far more distracting than she had given credence to. I may, she thought merrily, have miscalculated. But an idea came to her and she licked her lips as a wicked glint sparked her eyes.

As they circled one another, she feinted abruptly and then slid her blade along his, locking it as their hilts crashed with a musical ring. In a moment, she was against him. Inhaling deeply as their bodies touched, she shuddered once as the heat and scent of him touched her skin and flooded her senses. Looking up into his eyes, she snaked her free hand down, popping the top two buttons of his trousers with a quick flick of her fingers. Like a cat, she then leapt back and reset her position. "And one for me." She blinked then, forbidding her mind to remind her that licking the sweat from his neck was much more intriguing than the dance they were now engaged in. Mental discipline was demanded in swordplay. She was beginning to realize how much it demanded.

He could still smell her on him as she stepped away and he ignored how the smell of desire made his groin ache. There would be time enough to pay attention to that. Ezekiel wanted to stay focused on his goal. He could already see tantalizing bits of Katherine through the lace of the nightgown and he wanted so badly to expose her to the air.

Thankfully for him, he was perhaps one of the best swordsmen in England and he put the skill to use. He passed up several opportunities to disarm her - that too, would come soon enough. But he patiently waited until he saw the right opening and quickly stepped in, and with a quick flick of his wrist had his blade in the knot of another ribbon. Another flick and it was undone.

The coolness of the night air was wondrous on her skin; despite its delicate sweetness, the beribboned and lacy dressing gown had refused to let all but the tiniest bit of heat escape it. His eyes were a wonder of concentration and desire as he had cut her free, almost too distracting by far for her to offer him tangible resistance to his bladework. He was far too handsome, slick with effort, tense with work, the intensity of his gaze and the hunger within almost more deadly to her than his blade. Shrugging off the dressing gown to let the air fully kiss her bared body, she came to him with her sword lowered, sliding it delicately up the inside of his pantleg, the pressure enough to feel, but not enough to cut the material.

"The metal blade has done its work, my husband," she said softly and slowly, her voice deep with desire. "How do I now engage your other sword?" The forefinger of her free hand deftly traced the line of his lips as her blade stopped precariously close to his crotch and then she ran her thumb along his jaw before delicately stroking his chest with the tips of her nails. The tiniest of smiles traced along her lips, betraying the serious concentration on her face.

Her nipples were taut from the cool air and they pressed up against his chest. Ezekiel could feel the desire rushing though him like a wildfire in the dry grass. He dropped his blade to his side and ran his hands down her back, feeling the slickness of the sweat she had worked up and the heat of her needs burning though her. "You must unsheathe it first and then we may begin our second dance of the night."

Her fingers were quick; practice had made them more nimble than their first night and she slid his trousers down to let gravity take them to the floor. A soft laugh escaped her as she took her big toe to slide the garters holding his socks down to his ankles and then knelt to remove both socks and shoes. Rising, she ran her nails up the back of his legs to his buttocks, finally grasping the side of his legs for support as she rose to her feet. Pressing against him, she nuzzled the length of his neck, finally giving into the urge that she had fought the whole fight. Licking his neck, she gently bit his shoulder with a soft growl that turned into a groan her fingers playing lightly over the skin of his back as she pressed his manhood against her, reveling in its velvet firmness. She inhaled as she released him with her teeth, nuzzling into him.

"Make swift your sword, Ezekiel Drake." The scent of him was maddening, her own desire threatening to drive her to insanity, the hot, hard warmth of him almost more than she could stand. "Let me know what gives that secret smile to the oldest of women." Her hand found him, grasping it, holding it, as her eyes burned into his with an intensity that matched his own. "I have been a good girl far too long."

"Your wish is my command, love." He kissed her long as he led her back to the bed. When they reached it, he guided her gently on to the bed on her back. Before she had a chance to protest or even think, he moved his face and tongue down into the heaven of her female mysteries, licking and taking in the taste of her. He could hear her gasping and moaning and the taste of her was like sweet fire on his tongue. After several minutes, he brought himself up, holding himself up over her with his left arm. With his right, he ran his member over her slickness, provoking more moans from Katherine's mouth and making sure that he would be wet enough for what was to come. And then he said, "Now we physically become one, Katherine, to match how we are one in every other way." Then he guided himself into her, gasping in pleasure as he thrust deep into her womanhood.

It was a quick pain, but nothing like being stabbed, nothing at all like what she had both dreaded and anticipated. It was a pain that dissolved into pleasure so completely that her gasp turned into a moan and then tiny whimpers as he began to move within her. "Oh great Merciful God," she murmured as radiating arcs of electricity exploded from where they were joined throughout her body, gasping as her body began to pulse in rhythms more primal than any she had ever experienced. She cast her head back against the pillow, grasping the sheets as reflexively as a cat kneaded, unable to free her mind from the overwhelming pleasure of his manhood within her. Her breasts ached and throbbed like never before and yet all her concentration was on that point where he drove himself within her, where a million sensations were mounting and building as never before. All human thought was failing her; the animal within took over and she pushed her hips against his to drive him deeper within her with a growl that a tiger would have been proud of.

And once again, what little experience he had before meeting Katherine had not prepared him for the sheer intensity of what he experienced with her. He shifted slightly so that he could get his arms underneath her, still thrusting with desperate need, but now getting to hold her tight up against him. He worked at varying his pace, to slow up, but that would have to wait for some other time. The intensity was too much for him to do anything but to keep going with the rhythm they had established.

He crushed his lips to hers and tried to drink her in, but it could not slake the thirst of his need for her. He moaned as he felt the pressure building as her muscles clenched and grabbed his shaft as it slid in and out of her. It would not be long now.

Desire, a hunger so savage that all her nerves had balled to one spot, his lips not enough to satiate her or his arms around her enough to satisfy her as they had done before. If she could have drawn him within in her, shaft, tongue, hands, she would have, anything to keep that cascade of pleasure coming from his groin into her body. She could not touch enough of him, devour enough of him to overcome the call of his manhood within her, nothing but that fullness pulsing and driving within her. Waves of pleasure so strong that they were close to pain made her cry out and groan, her breath coming short and precious as her body contracted to that one thing. He would have wounds from her nails, she knew, but she could not find the air to beg his forgiveness; her own body was aching by the strength with which he clasped her to him and her lips were bruised by the intensity with which they both sought each other.

Abruptly, there was a twisting inside her, a release so mighty that she cried out as her insides pulsed and throbbed with an intensity that they had never before achieved. She groaned as the contractions swept over her, grit her teeth against its power as her eyes rolled back into her head and she arched against him, pushing against him and the bed as she nearly wept with the savage relief that she felt at the cascading orgasms of joy that swept through her. It was a release so powerful that she could only laugh, savoring the feeling as it swallowed her and drowned her every sense to darkness.

Ezekiel could feel her pulsing around him as her pleasure overtook her and that triggered his own release. With a low moan, he could feel his orgasm exploding with jolts of the most intense pleasure as his seed spurted deep inside of her. It kept washing over him in waves until finally coming to an end and all he could do was hold her tight to him, not wanting to let her go, not wanting to be separated.

Katherine sighed childlike, a soft high noise as she snuggled into him, wrapping her legs around his, too weak to do anything else, lost in the strength and warmth of his body. "Thank you," she whispered as she struggled to find her breath. Nuzzling him, she lay against him, content in a way that she had never been before, at peace. His breathing was quick but steady in her ear, his heart beating rapidly but strongly in his chest as she lay against it. She closed her eyes and sighed again. "I love you." They were tiny words, not up to the task that they were given, but they were all she had and she hoped that he understood the universe behind them.

"And I love you, my wife." He paused for a minute and said it again. "My wife." Words that he had never thought he would get to say and now he could say them all the time. The Lord was mysterious but he was also generous, and in this he had given more than Ezekiel could ever hope to repay.

"Is it wrong that whenever you say that, my heart skips a beat and I want to sing for joy, love?" Katherine asked. "Somehow, I still cannot fathom that I am so fortunate to be here and with you. Truly I am blessed." She inhaled deeply, her breath finally back. "So undeserved sinner that I am, I still find myself in your arms. God is kind to me." Minxish humor made her lips twist. "But I hope He is averting His eyes. I would see your face from above once you regain your strength. What does it feel like when I ride you? Is there a difference?"

"It is different, but pleasurable. At least from my own perspective. And soon as I gather my strength you can find out." He rolled over, pulling her with him so that she was on top. "I think you will enjoy the control it gives you." He leaned up and kissed her. "And we have all night to experiment." He chuckled as he realized what was coming soon as well. "And our entire honeymoon."

Her teeth gleamed in the faint light of the room as she looked down at him, shifting her hips experimentally. "Oh this is different, my heart," she observed with wonder, her eyes wide with the discovery. Reaching down, she put her hands on his arms, lightly pinning them to the bed and gyrated her hips lightly against him, savoring the new feelings.

After a moment, she shifted again so that she could lean over to kiss him deeply and hungrily, sliding her hands down to his. "I may not be able to defeat your sword, knave, but I will hold you my prisoner with my body. I am a rather talented horsewoman and I will show you that I know how to ride a stallion."

"A most pleasant prison term it shall be then," Ezekiel said as he could feel himself beginning to swell again. And then he gave himself to Katherine as she had already given herself to him.

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