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From the Serpentine to Soulmates

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It was quite late by the time the newlywed’s carriage arrived in front of Aubrey Hall. Kate had fallen asleep early on, leaving Anthony nothing to do but gaze at his dozing wife. She looked like an angel in the glimmering moonlight. Her mouth was slightly open, her cheek resting against his shoulder, her right hand intertwined with his left. Anthony couldn’t help but smile. He never imagined one could feel this way in a marriage. He had always planned for his to be formal, but friendly. That his wife would never bar him from her bed, but that they would reside in different rooms. Now, the thought was ludicrous. He never wanted to be apart from Kate. The idea of not holding her in his arms each night, not falling asleep to the gentle sounds of her breathing, well it was unfathomable. And he had no intention of EVER sleeping in separate rooms.

The carriage rolled to a stop in front of the grand house. Anthony gently nudged Kate awake and she sleepily blinked her eyes open.

“We’ve arrived darling.”

Kate simply stared at their destination.

Aubrey Hall took her breath away. For what was deemed a “rural cottage estate” it was massive. There must have been thirty rooms, along with a splendid outdoor garden and gazebo. Kate was looking forward to exploring during the days, since she knew her nights belonged to Anthony.

He held at one hand, helping her alight from the carriage. He led her up the stone stairs, making sure she didn’t trip over her feet in the darkness. As they reached the top step, the butler swung the door open. Without hesitation, Anthony scooped Kate up into his arms, and whisked her across the threshold.

“Anthony!”

He simply gave her a lopsided smile. “I am nothing if not traditional in all things, my dear.”

“Well…. not ALL things,” Kate retorted.

Anthony threw back his head and laughed.

“Katherine Sharma did you just make a dirty joke?”

She nodded her head.

“I’m a married woman. I’m allowed some liberties in my sense of humor now I believe.”

“And I believe I’m now allowed some liberties with you,” he growled.

Before she could reply, he had already dashed them up the stairs, yelling to the butler to bring their bags up later.
______________________________________________________________________________

Kate didn’t know what she was expecting when she entered the Viscount’s quarters. She knew it would be well-furnished and rich in detail. But Anthony’s room was on another level. Deep mahogany and maple wood created the outer limits of the space. A red chaise lounge sat against one wall. The bay window in the room would be the perfect place for her to sit and read the books from Aubrey Hall’s library. In the adjoining room she could see a large off-white clawfoot tub, already filled with steaming hot water and bubbles. The gilded mirror that hung on the wall was gold and ornate. And in the center of the room stood an enormous four poster bed, piled high with plush pillows and with drapes tied to each post. Kate had never been in such grand surroundings. Her family had never been wealthy, they had just enough to maintain some status in the ton and for each of the girls’ dowries. Anthony had refused Kate’s of course. He insisted that Mary keep it and simply add it to Edwina’s, another gesture that made Kate’s heart flutter. Anthony was so very thoughtful when it came to her family. He was thoughtful when it came to most things honestly.

Consumed by her appraisal of the room, she hadn’t noticed that Anthony stood leaned against the wall, simply watching her. She was suddenly self-conscious.

Perhaps sensing her hesitation, Anthony pushed off the wall and walked over to her. Tilting her chin up to meet his eyes, he looked at her very seriously.

“Kate, I need you to know how very proud I am to be your husband. You are the only woman who makes me feel this way. From before I met you until now. There has never been one who matched you and there will never be another for me. I need you to understand that.”

Kate’s heart melted at his words. He always knew just what to say to soothe her fears and insecurities.

“Now, if it pleases Lady Bridgerton, I’d like to help her out of what looks to be a weighty and slightly uncomfortable wedding gown,” he said with a wicked grin.

“That would be very appreciated Lord Bridgerton,” she replied with an ear to ear smile that dazed him.

“Turn around,” Anthony ordered her gently.

It was a very sensual experience he realized. Kate’s back was lined with delicate buttons, from the nape of her neck all the way down to the dip in her lower back. He undid each one slowly, savoring the way more and more of her skin came into view. As his access increased, he began to plant featherlight kisses along her spine after each button’s undoing.

Kate sucked in a breath. This was the most erotic thing she had ever experienced. Even the first time she’d lain with Anthony…. that was magnificent but this…. this was so very intimate. This was the seductive act of a married man and woman who were about to lose themselves in one another.

The top of the dress fell away, pooling awkwardly at her waist. Anthony’s hands came to rest on her hips, and with a singular, fluid motion, he brought the skirt down until the entire dress was in a circle around her feet. Kate stood there, in only her garters and stockings. But she didn’t feel uncomfortable. She didn’t feel bashful or unworthy. She just felt WANTED.

Anthony was entranced by the way his wife stood there, proud and completely at ease in her nakedness. She had come such a long way in just a few days’ time. She was perfect. He stared at Kate’s bare back, reveling in the intimacy of the moment. Her skin was mocha and soft. He reached out and touched her, tracing his finger down her spine. He felt her shiver.

He wanted to see her. Their passion had gotten the best of them the first time, and their lovemaking had been fast and furious. Now he wanted to get a proper look at her.

Turning her around slowly to face him, he touched her chin, raising her face just the barest hint.

She stared at him, licked her lips, and waited . . . .

“Anthony,” she breathed. “Please.”

And then his lips touched hers in the barest, softest hint of a caress. He was being painstakingly gentle. It was the sort of kiss that seduced with subtlety, sent tingles through Kate’s body, and left her desperate for more.

His hand found the small of her back and splayed there, his fingers tempting her with their intoxicating heat. Kate found herself growing hot, almost molten. Anthony’s lips grew more demanding, and hers parted, allowing him greater exploration. He took full advantage, his tongue swooping in, teasing and tempting, stoking her desire until her legs grew weak, and she had no choice but to grasp onto his upper arms for balance. He murmured her name, his voice hoarse with desire and need. He kissed her slowly, thoroughly, sparing no inch of skin from his sensual onslaught. He moved up to the line of her jaw, then over to her earlobe, cupping her lush bottom and pressing her to him, a groan slipping across his lips as he felt her against his arousal. He’d thought he’d wanted her before, but this… . this was different. This was his WIFE.

Kate was consumed. Anthony’s lips, which had begun the intimacy with such gentle reverence, were now fierce and demanding on hers. When he kissed her, he did so with his entire body. His hands, so large and strong they seemed to cover half her back, held her to him with a strength that left her breathless. And his body, dear God, it ought to be illegal the way it was pressed against hers, the heat of it seeping through her clothing, searing her very soul.

“I need you Kate,” he said hoarsely, trying to bring her as close to him as possible. “I need you so much.”

All Kate could do was murmur in agreement, offering herself to him, begging him to consummate their union.

Anthony couldn’t wait any longer. Picking her up in his arms once more, he carried her to the bed, lying her down as if she were the most precious artifact in the world.

“You are so beautiful,” he whispered, gazing down at the outline of her breasts, her nipples puckered and begging to be touched. “I can’t—I don’t—” He didn’t say anything more, which Kate found puzzling, and she looked at his face. These weren’t just words to him, she realized with a jolt of surprise. His throat was working with some emotion she didn’t think she’d ever seen on him before.

It made Kate feel cherished. Worshipped. Loved.

He WOULD love her goddamnit. She knew it. She knew he was close to it, could feel him on the precipice of saying it. And she knew she could hold it in no longer. She had to tell him. But before her mouth could form the words, her began kissing his way down her neck. Anthony tasted and licked and savored every inch of her achingly soft skin.

His mouth moved to her chest. He ran his tongue along the underside of her breast, tasting the salty sweet essence of her, then reached out and cupped her.

Kate’s back arched as she rose to meet him, desperate for closer contact. She made incoherent noises, spurring Anthony on. He loved that HE was the one who made her feel this way.

“Do you like this Kate?” he asked with a smirk, already knowing the answer.

“Oh God yes,” she blasphemed, gasping for air as his hands kneaded her breasts.

“Shall I continue?” he murmured, sweetening the deal with one light flick of his tongue across her nipple.

“Yes!” she burst out. “Yes, for God’s sake, yes!”

“Say my name Kate.”

“Oh, my God!” she gasped, grasping the edge sheets to center herself as her entire body arched back. “Oh, my God. Oh, Anthony. Oh, my God.”

He kissed, he licked, he nibbled, he tugged. He tortured her breasts until she thought she might explode. Her breath was loud and gasping, and her moans had grown more and more incoherent.

She whined as Anthony removed his mouth from her.

He grinned at her with a boyish air, a strand of hair falling across his eyes.

“Patience, wife. All in good time.”

He brought his lips to her ribcage, kissing it lightly, tickling her skin to the point that she could have giggled out loud. His mouth continued down her stomach, around her navel, and Kate’s body tightened with anticipation. She looked down at her husband, dying to know where he was going next.

Kate’s breath caught as she watched his hand curve around her thigh, moving toward her center. He moved slowly, deliberately, drawing out the torture with suspense. And then, just when she thought she might scream from it all, he touched her below the belly, one finger lazily drawing circles against her soft flesh.

“Very nice,” he purred, running that finger over the light patch of hair between her legs.

“Anthony,” she gasped.

“Hmmm… Kate I’m not sure,” he said. “Are you ready for me?”

Kate nearly screamed as he slipped one finger inside of her.

She writhed beneath him, her hair wild against the pillow, her limbs quivering, and her eyes squeezed shut as she tried to regain control over her body.

Another finger slid into place next to the first. “So warm,” he whispered. “This part of you will always belong to me now, do you understand?”

She snapped her head up and down, frantically nodding as her eyes rolled back into her head.

She took his breath away, watching her in her passion. Anthony wasn't certain how this woman had come to mean so much to him. It seemed that one day she was his mortal enemy, a nuisance, and the next she was as indispensable as air. Anthony was realizing that without Kate, his life before had lacked all meaning.

“I’m going to kiss you down here now, Kate,” he told her with an air of seriousness, while also seeking permission.

“Anthony please,” she beseeched. “Please.”

He didn’t need any more begging. He pushed her legs all the way apart, dipped his head between them, and brought his mouth to her soaking wet center.

Kate screamed his name and grabbed the back of his head.

His tongue probed her womanhood as she moaned. He licked her when she grabbed his hair and pulled, and he swirled his tongue around her most sensitive spot when she let go, her hands scrambling wildly for the sheets.

He was hard as a rock, harder than he could ever remember, but he fought against his impulses, and tried to make this night, their wedding night, as romantic as possible.

Anthony kissed his way back up her body. He kissed her, and she tasted her own essence on his lips. It turned her on even more.

She could feel him, the full length of him against her naked body. God, her husband’s cock was incredible. It was thick and large, like the muscles on his arms. And he certainly knew what he was doing with it.

“Kate,” he panted, “I can’t wait any longer. I need you. Now.”

She looked at him, her heart bursting, her insides on fire.

“I need you too Anthony. Please, I need you inside me.”

She almost drove him over the edge then and there. But he wanted this to be magical. He wanted to claim her as his forever.

Anthony positioned himself at Kate’s entrance. She made him wild with need.

With one final searing kiss on her lips, Anthony entered his wife fully. He’d thought to go slowly, but she was so very wet and ready for him that he just slid inside, even as she gasped at the intrusion. “Did that hurt?” he grunted. She shook her head.

“Don’t stop,” she moaned. “Please.”

“Never,” he vowed. “Never.”

Kate’s stomach dropped to her knees at that. At the realization that they would be able to do this forever. They were married. They could be together like this every single night if they so choose. And hopefully, some of the days as well. Kate was overwhelmed by the knowledge. She could have Anthony whenever she wanted him. She knew he would never say no to her, never stop pleasuring her, if she only asked. She reached up and grabbed the hair at the nape of his neck, pulling him to her. She probed her tongue into his mouth, searching, suckling, wishing she could join herself to him. She felt him become even harder inside her and she felt a high run through her, knowing that SHE did this to him.

“Take me to the hilt Kate,” he demanded. She was only too happy to oblige. Her pleasure was so great, she knew she would do anything for this man. He pushed himself all the way forward and she felt herself stretching to accommodate him. They seemed to fit together perfectly. Every inch of him settled into her comfortably, but filled her in a way that left her breathless. Her favorite moment between them was when he first entered her. That feeling of being slowly filled up, feeling Anthony inching his way into her, claiming her, it nearly took Kate over the edge then and there.

“You're mine,” Anthony said hungrily, his eyes never leaving hers.

His mouth took hers again as one of his hands snaked up to caress her breast. She was utter perfection beneath him, her hips rising to meet his, moving tentatively at first, then with a vigor that matched both of their rising passions.

“Oh, God, Kate,” he moaned, his ability to form flowery sentences completely lost in the primitive heat of the moment. “You’re so good. So good.”

“Anthony,” she panted, “I’m not made of porcelain. I won’t break. Harder, please.”

He almost stopped dead. God damn his wife was so SEXY. Just hearing her say that drove him wild. Anthony began to move quicker within her, each stroke bringing a new wave of sensation that spread and burned through her body. His hips ground into hers, frenzied in their
power, thrusting, rotating, stroking her until she was certain she must be on fire. She clutched at him, not certain whether she was trying to bring him closer to her or tear him away.

“Oh, my God,” he gasped, his body now shaking. “Never…it’s never…so good…it’s never been so good.”

She said his name in reply, and then she could not speak, could do nothing but gasp for air as their movements grew more frenzied and desperate. And then it came upon her, in a lightning wave of pleasure. Her body exploded, and she cried out, unable to contain the intensity of the experience. Anthony thrust into her harder, and then again, and again. He called out as he climaxed, her name a prayer and a benediction on his lips, and then he collapsed atop her.

“Wow,” Kate said breathlessly.

“Indeed,” came Anthony’s heady reply. And then it hit him all at once.

He had fallen in love with Kate. He had fallen in love with his wife.

He didn’t know when it had happened exactly, or why it was hitting him now. Maybe it was because of the way she laughed. Maybe it was because she always gave it to him straight, and she never shied away from chewing him out when necessary. Perhaps it was the way her lips formed a little “o” of surprise every time he finished kissing her. Maybe it was her scent of lilies and soap. It could even have been the way she felt around him, but he didn’t believe his love was as primitive or carnal as that. No, he reasoned, he simply loved Kate for BEING.

And Anthony Bridgerton, who had bedded countless women, suddenly realized that his experiences before this meant nothing. Because it had never been like this. That had been his body. This was his soul. And, he realized with a jolt, his whole heart.

He had to tell her. But for the time being, he stayed quiet, not wanting to interrupt the perfect moment.

They laid there, both motionless for a time, struggling to catch their breath. It was pure bliss.

But something was nagging at Kate’s brain now. Something that she had meant to say, but had gotten distracted….

And when she remembered her heart did a flip. Thinking it, knowing it was one thing, but saying the words aloud to Anthony, telling him how she truly felt, well that was another thing entirely.

As her mind whirred, Anthony had rolled off her and pulled her into his side, her head resting on his chiseled chest. His slowed breathing relaxed her, and made her want to drift off to sleep.

No, she chided herself. She needed to say this. She had to say it, otherwise she felt like she might perish.

“Anthony,” she said, sitting up straight and pushing away from him slightly.

She took his hands in hers, feeling the sweat on them, the evidence of her undeniable nerves. She didn’t know what he would say. She knew what she HOPED he would say. But only a week ago Anthony had informed her theirs would not be a marriage based on love. But Kate refused to believe that. After all of this, she knew they could have a marriage based on love. In fact, she’d never been so certain of anything in her life.

“I need to tell you something,” she said slowly and deliberately.

“Kate….” he tried to interrupt.

“No, stop,” she scolded. “I’m talking now and you’re going to listen.”

He fought the smile rising to his face and gave her a nod of mock seriousness.

She licked her lips with anxiety, knowing this could be a turning point in their relationship, or the absolute destruction of her heart.

“Anthony I know you said love wasn’t in the cards for you. That you weren’t capable of it for some reason. I don’t know what that reason is, but I realized I don’t care. I can’t deny how I feel. I won’t. I thought I’d die a spinster, and now that I found you, I can’t imagine life without you. What I’m trying to say is . . . . Anthony Bridgerton I love you.”

Her speech concluded, she took a deep breath. She thought the waiting, the anticipation would kill her. She thought she would have to wait forever for his response.

But Anthony surprised her when he began speaking almost as soon as she closed her mouth.

“Kate, I don’t care what I said before. I was foolish. I was blind. You are the most important person in the world to me. I can barely find the words to express to you what you mean to me. I can only think of three: I love you. I am so hopelessly, irrevocably in love with you. And I’m sorry I didn’t say it sooner.”

Kate was speechless. This was everything she hoped to hear and more. She didn’t know what she did to get so lucky. She had the most perfect man in the world, and he LOVED her.

“Oh Anthony!” She flung her arms around him, practically bawling in his arms.

“I love you so much. I love you, I love you, I love you,” she repeated, needing it to sink into both of their bones.

Anthony brought his face to hers, peppering kisses all over her face.

“I love you Katherine Sharma. I love you more than anything on this earth and I will always love you.”

“For the rest of my life,” he vowed, “I will love you. For the rest of my life. I promise you. No matter how long that is, no matter how many years we have together. I will lay down my life for you. I will honor and cherish you. I will—” He was choking on the words, but he didn’t care. He just wanted to tell her. He just wanted her to know.

“I want you to carry my children Kate. I want to watch you swell with them, and I want to worship you every single day. And when you are not heavy with child, I want to vigorously make love to you. I want to hold you in my arms every night as we fall asleep and kiss you awake each and every morning. You are my best friend, my partner, my soul mate. I never knew love could be this strong or powerful. And I think I was meant to find you, so you could show me what true love was.”

Kate couldn’t stop the tears from flowing out now. She struggled to breathe. Love like this was rare. She never thought she would be one of the fairy tales. But here was her very own prince charming.

She reached up and kissed him once more.

“Promise me it will always be like this Anthony. Promise me when people ask our children if their parents are soul mates, they can say yes.”

“Always and forever Kate. Always and forever.”

They barely slept that night. They stayed up talking, swapping stories of their childhoods, their time at school, and talked about their hopes and dreams. They made love multiple times and only fell asleep when the sun came up.

And they kept their promise. For the rest of Anthony and Kate’s long lives, it would ALWAYS be this way between them and they were soulmates. Always and forever.

 

THE END