In her lifetime, a woman must fall for a scoundrel.
This is something that Amanda Price knows well, what with a list the length of her arm of 'bad' boys and men her mother didn't approve of that she'd gotten tangled with.
It isn't about the rebellion – well, not entirely – she knows, but more about the cheeky smiles and shameless flirting that just doesn't occur with more straight-laced men. Straight-laced men like Fitzwilliam Darcy.
Oh, he's a sight to look at alright, all cut and chiselled like some Grecian statue...and those tight breeches! And she loves him – she knows she does – but, she's sure, she's in love with what he becomes and not with the man that hasn't been entirely changed yet. Entirely changed by Elizabeth Bennet.
Amanda knows she's not the protagonist of this particular story, and she's definitely not the understudy – that was a bit of a fanciful stretch – but she knows she can make it right.
So, she can't – or shouldn't – have Darcy. Fine. She can deal with that, in time, but he's not the only man around who's caught her eye. Which brings her back to the whole 'bad boy' thing.
Now. George Wickham is the ultimate bad boy. He is Jane Austen's pinnacle of the scoundrel, which is why Amanda sometimes wonders how he is in bed.
But she knows he isn't the person he was made out to be. Even Jane Austen can get things wrong. Pride and Prejudice is about misunderstandings and first impressions, and the misunderstanding of George Wickham is that he is some virginity-stealing, gold-digging bastard.
Well, the bastard bit's right, but Amanda's sure he hasn't stolen any unwilling virginities and he hasn't cheated anyone out of their money who didn't want to be. Because he might be smug and overly-confident in his looks, but he's honourable, and that tied in with his reputation makes him somewhat attractive to her.
All those men before him, they were their reputations, but Wickham is so different, and it gives her a thrill to know she can be seen to be with a bad boy but really be with a man.
Because that's what he's offering, unknowingly, as he asks to be let into her bed for the night.
She turns and gives him a long, slow smirk over her shoulder.
Oh, she's not in love with him, but with that twinkle in his eye and that curl of a smile at the corner of his mouth...well, she could be.
She's tempted to say no, tempted to tell him to sleep with the horses, or even Mr Collins, but then there's Darcy with Elizabeth...and she knows she doesn't want Michael anymore, not after this adventure, so...who's she saving herself for?
He gives her the impression of having utter confidence in her affirmation, but there's something about the way his hands are firmly behind his back and his Adam's apple is visibly quivering that hints at nervousness.
He really wants her.
Amanda fully turns to him, and in the low lighting, his eyes seemingly darken a fraction. His eyebrow hitches, and she knows the action's unconscious.
"If Kitty and Lydia are otherwise engaged...I'm sure they won't mind you usurping their place."
"Their place where?" He queries.
"In my bed," Amanda enunciates.
Wickham's expression is delighted. "You mean, you have turned your attentions on members of the Bennet household? Miss Price, it seems that Mr Bingley was quite correct in his assertions of your nature."
She gives him a sharp look. "None of that! I'm not gay!"
"Yes, quite out of sorts," he comments, stepping towards her. "You're not smiling at all. In fact...you're quite flushed. Your lips, they're red, like cherries... Tell me, Miss Price, are you...enflamed?"
She takes a moment to understand him, before a feeling overcomes her and then she's pretty sure she is enflamed. This ancient type of flirting, well...she likes it.
Amanda raises her hand and presses it to his lapel. His nostrils flare.
Two can play at this game.
"Perhaps we should retire now, my dear," he murmurs, eyes flicking to and fro, clearly eager to have her pressed beneath him against a soft surface.
Amanda manages to sneak him upstairs without anyone seeing and finds her bed for the night empty of any Bennet sisters. Once Wickham is safely inside and the door bolted, her heart begins to race.
She hasn't had sex in what feels like forever and good sex even longer ago. She wants George Wickham to be good, because she needs it, and she knows that the man won't disappoint.
He lights a few candles around the room, prompt and practised. "You've plagued me for days. I want to see your face."
She doesn't need an explanation – she feels exactly the same way about him – and smiles to herself as she begins to unlace her dress. She's managed to pull one arm out when a hand stops hers from tugging at the other sleeve.
His voice is like the finest silk spun just for her, and she's powerless against his hands, gently divesting her of her clothes.
"You're good at this," Amanda says. "Practised much?"
"Yes." He allows himself a grin, before feigning shock and widening his eyes dramatically. "On all those poor, defenceless virgins I've squirreled away the young hearts of!"
She just smiles, watching his clever fingers rid her of her first layer. He pauses once he sees the second, humour vanishing as his hands find a place to rest on her hips through the thin material.
He glances up at her whisper, blinking. "Your shape...it's...pleasing."
Before Amanda realises, he has her in his arms, kissing her and ripping out the laces of her chemise. Instead of wilting how she thinks he expects, she gives as good as she gets, pushing him away and onto the bed.
He falls back with a 'hmph' and stares up at her from where she stands at his knees. The undergarment is off of her shoulder, baring the topmost curve of her right breast, and she doesn't feel the need to adjust it.
Amanda goes to work, pulling off his boots and breeches and undergarments and–
"So many bloody clothes," she mutters to herself, as she rests his sword at the end of the bed and finally leaves him wearing absolutely nothing.
"We can't all run around naked as the day we were born," Wickham tells her, smile appearing. "Though I relish the thought of you engaging in such activities. Away with that chemise, Miss Price."
She gives him her own smile. "It's Amanda, George, and what makes you think you're in charge here?"
She feels a little clumsy in the long dress, but she still manages to climb over him and straddle his hips without causing injury to either of them, though the look on his face is worth any injury and all pain.
"Where are you from?" He says quietly, seemingly to himself. "Pretty as any woman at court, but as bold as a sailor! You intrigue me so."
"Is that all?" Amanda asks, pulling the chemise up her thigh.
He swallows, eyes on her freshly exposed skin. "No."
With that, she takes the dress up over her head and plants herself squarely in his lap, before dropping the chemise off the side of the bed.
His hands wander her legs, her thighs, her stomach, tentative across her breasts, before cupping the back of her neck with a firm grip and bringing her face down to his. He kisses her like she was made for the purpose, and she shivers at his touch as his hands race down her back to her bottom.
"A wonderful arse," he mutters gruffly, making Amanda's eyebrow hitch.
"Losing the gentleman façade a little now, aren't we?"
"I don't think you mind," he tells her, pulling her hips further into his and pressing up between them. "My ragged, little daughter of a fishmonger."
She laughs as he turns them both over, so he is now the one above, staring down.
"No better place in the world than between a woman's thighs." He grins, kissing her stomach until she gasps, tensing. "Except, maybe, a worthy woman. Such an adversary."
"If you just want someone to match you, why not go see if Darcy's available?" She grits out.
Wickham laughs, low and devilish, kissing her again and stealing her breath. He seems to be in a similar state though as he breaks away, breathing heavily against her lips and watching her with dark eyes.
"I've never had a woman see through me so quickly, nor fight me so fiercely. This will be sweet, Amanda."
Her name on his lips brings with it the pressure of his hips, and soon he's inside her, all of him, hard and powerful, and she can't help the noise that escapes her throat as she tilts her head back into the pillows and curls her toes against the backs of his knees.
Wickham groans into her neck. "Hell."
She urges him on. "Now. Now."
He lifts his head and his hips, and he pushes. It's so delicious, such a perfect fit, and he knows she wants more, because he doesn't keep up with the slow and tender. No, he snaps his hips into hers until she's seeing Tweety Pie flashing before her eyes.
Bad boy sex is the best.
"More, George." She tilts her hips. "Like this... Yes, fuck..."
He kisses her, bites her neck, whispers words of encouragement into her ear...
"A sailor's mouth on a princess' face," he tells her. "Such a match, such a woman..."
She comes undone with her nails buried in his back and her moans being consumed by his hungry mouth. He takes his time following after her though, slowing his hips until she's writhing underneath him and chanting his name.
He pushes her hair out of her eyes. "There must be more."
"What?" She's delirious with pleasure, drunk on his fingers touching her skin, and she hasn't got a bloody clue what's going on in the world except for his cock. "What?"
"What do you want?" Wickham is staring down at her, panting and continuing to shag her brains out. "A manor? A title? I can't give you those, Amanda, all I have is wit and charm and a soldier's wage. Is that enough?"
"Enough? Enough for what?"
She's practically sobbing, on the verge of an orgasm so great her head is spinning, and he's talking about...what?
"I'm not stupid enough to think you want me as a husband," he tells her, kissing her lips. "Not yet. But that does not negate our living together, happily, like this..."
Amanda wants the bliss being denied her by his grinding hips, but she knows his words are important too. She can go back home, so does she want to stay? More importantly, does she want to stay for him?
Her friends and her life and her mum are all in the future, but the fictional past created by Jane Austen...it's so tempting, because even if she and George don't work out, she can still have the romantic life she's always dreamed of.
He's a soldier, a soldier with commission, so she'll follow him wherever he goes, but it doesn't seem that bad, possibly touring the country, living with this man that she just feels so comfortable and so right with.
"Oh, God," she moans, finding that glowing precipice in the dark. "Deal."
She explodes, only to wake up hours later to watery sunlight and an arm across her hip. Amanda turns to see Wickham, drowsy but awake as well and adorably mussed.
"I'll find you a cottage, somewhere nice to live so you don't have to follow me everywhere," he says into her hair.
She bites her lip. "I don't think I'd mind the travelling all that much."
He strokes a slow circle across her hip. "Yes, but I am quite certain my men would more than enjoy you as a distraction. I would hate to have to run them through."
"I'm sure I could manage if you aren't quite up to the task."
"A bloodthirsty mistress of war, too!" He grins. "Just who have I gotten myself entangled with?"
"You did say something about your match last night."