See disclaimer chapter 1
Warm sunshine woke Tessa from her peaceful slumber. She slowly became aware of her surroundings and the presence of someone else in her bed. Memories of how she spent the early morning hours flooded her mind. She turned to see the handsome face of Leopold lying on the pillow next to hers. Even sleeping, he was more handsome than any other man she had known. Add to that, his charm and skill, he became a deadly combination. The feelings she harbored deep inside for him surprised her. She had always assumed she could no longer feel them, and now she wasn't sure that she wanted to. Tessa slid out from under Leo's arm, quickly washed with the cold water in the basin and dressed. One last, long look at the man she was leaving, and she headed to her study to prepare for the days work.
Leopold woke to find himself alone in Tessa's bed. A contended grin appeared as he recalled the same events that Tessa had earlier. In no hurry to leave, Leo buried his face in her pillow, inhaling the sweet scent that he would forever associate with her. A few minutes later, he rose and dressed. He was not sure where Tessa would be, and he was strangely averse to seeking her out. Instead he left the salon to return home.
Two days had passed since Tessa and Leopold's encounter. Although neither one would admit it to themselves, recollections of their time together plagued them both. Then the inevitable happened. They met face to face in the light of day as they were both taking a stroll through town.
Tessa was admiring a hat in the window of a shop when she heard Leopold's voice behind her.
"Tessa," he said softly. "It is nice to see you." Shocked eyes met his.
"Your Grace," she whispered. "It is not fitting that you should speak to me in public."
Leo smiled at her. "I will decide what is fitting or not. How are you?"
She knew she should turn away, but where he was concerned, she just didn't seem to be able to follow her own strict rules. "I am fine. How have you been?"
"Splendid," he answered.
"We have missed you at the salon of late."
His smile faded. "By we, do you mean you?"
She ignored his question. "Why don't you stop by tonight?"
His distracted "maybe" gave her the distinct feeling that he was completely aware of her ploy. "Well, good day to you, Your Grace."
"Good day," he said absently with a small bow.
That night Tessa watched the door. Every time it opened, she held her breath, expecting Leopold to walk in. And every time he didn't, she felt a little more disappointed. She had given up. It was time to lock the doors for the night. Business had been brisk but every gentleman was attended to and left happy. A little yawn escaped her. Sometimes she wondered why she continued this way, working all day to arrange the evenings activities, then staying up all night to assure that they went smoothly. But she knew that there was no other way for her. This had been her life for as long as she could remember.
Just as she reached to turn the lock, the door opened. Leopold stood before her. He stared into the depths of her eyes, seemingly, into the depths of her soul, and then crushed her to him as his mouth took possession of hers. They spoke no words, just made their way to Tessa's suite after the doors were locked. Inside her room, greedy hands pulled at clothing. Eager lips sought warm flesh. Leopold backed Tessa to the bed and toppled her onto it. He entered her, swift and sure, with no warning, but she was ready. Her slick folds enveloped his seeking staff, and clung to him as he withdrew. He pushed into her harder, deeper, in a wild rhythm that she somehow matched. Her body bowed into his, arching to receive him more fully. Corded muscles in his arms quivered with exertion as he held himself above her. She sank her teeth into his shoulder as her body exploded into shards of ecstasy. The sensation of her bite combined with the grasping of her sex pulled him over the edge after her. With a roar, he surged into her a final time, bathing her inside with his seed.
They lay silent for a few moments. Finally, Leopold spoke. "This is what I thought about all day. I accomplished nothing because I could not get the image of you out of my head. I counted the minutes until I could be here with you, inside you, around you. Tessa, you have me under a spell."
She wore a contented smile. "No more than what you have done to me." She knew he waited for more, but she wasn't sure if she could give it to him. She looked up into his questioning eyes, and knew she needed to say it, as much as he needed to hear it. "I too, waited for time to pass, which it did, all too slowly. I watched the door, hoping that every man that entered was you. I had given up and was resigned to retiring alone." His tender smile was her reward, along with a soft kiss. Soon, however, soft kisses progressed to deeper ones. Tessa could feel his shaft; which was still within her, harden again. "Leo," she moaned. "Please take me again."
Leopold shook his head. "Not this time, Tessa." He turned onto his back and settled her above him. "This time I want you to take me."
Her lips curved up into what could only be called a possessive smile. "It would be my pleasure, your Grace."
Sometime later, Leopold and Tessa once again drifted to sleep, not realizing that they held each other heart to heart.