The party carried on behind the walled city of Saint-Malo, but Caraline was glad to be away from the bustle and noise. Her gown billowed around her as she walked from the imposing walls of the Chateau City to the edge of the sea.
The tide lay quiescent, the moon dancing in and out of the clouds. It painted the ocean waters deep pewter. The rich scent of salt and the less pleasant one of fish was a relief to her nose, after the cloying of scent upon scent within. Did those people never bathe? She smiled. Her Grammere would have rolled over in her grave. Such human stink. She may had been a virago, but she wise as well. She’d taught Caraline to think, and to be an independent spirit, and to bathe regularly!
Those lessons had stayed. At twenty, she was still, to the horror of her friends, unmarried. Perhaps if her parents had not died when she was young, and been raised from birth to be wedded and bedded by her mid-teens, her life would have been more predictable. Her Grammere had been a different sort of woman, labeled an “eccentric” by many. Yet as a respectable widow, she had many more freedoms than other woman of her age and era. It was she who had give Caraline the freedoms that so many of her peers had never imagined.
Boring. That’s what a “typical” life felt like to her. She, why, she was free as the gulls that hung in the sky at dawn and dusk. She wouldn’t settle, would not be a slave to any man’s whim.
She found her horse where she had left him tethered. Not for her the press of horseflesh found in the crowded stables of the Chateau, never knowing who would seek to “borrow” her impressive mount. Nimbly, she stepped up on the rock outcropping, and slid onto his chestnut back. He whinnied at her familiar touch, tossing his head. With a pat and rub of his silky neck, she trotted him down to the firm sand at the ocean’s edge and rode him towards home.
The small cove was the last one before she would turn inland to her own small house. Once she’d wanted to continue to live in the main Lodge, but it was far too costly to maintain; she was too frugal to maintain that kind of wasteful life. After her Grammere had passed, she’d taken the Dowager house as her own little home, and removed herself from most of the folly of playing with the ton. Still, even she felt the occasional need to mingle, thus her journey to the city for tonight’s fete. She was jarred from her thoughts as a group of men erupted from the edge of the forest, heading straight for her.
“Do not harm her, but bring her to me.” The voice carried on the wind, even as strong hands pulled her off of the horse. Her dancing slippers were too soft to do any damage, but on the ground she whirled, punching like a street fighter. Surprised cries came from the men as she attacked them ferociously. Savoy had taught her well. Two were down before the largest, their apparent leader, took her to the sand. He landed atop her, knocking breath from her, causing her breasts to nearly spill out of her low-cut top.
Though she pushed, kneed, and wriggled, he would not be budged. He lay nestled neatly between her spread thighs, pinning her with his weight, and her own stupid skirt. She kicked her feet helplessly, succeeding only at pressing him tighter against her. At long last, seeing the futility, she lay still, drawing rapid, ragged breaths. His teeth flashed in the darkness.
“Ma petit, you are certainly a bold wench. Stealing a fine pony, and then attacking men twice your size?”
“I did NOT steal him. . . he’s mine. Don’t you dare touch him.” She tried again to push him away. She felt the rise of his cock against her secret triangle as he lay straddling her, and instantly lay still.
“By all means, mon petit voleur, continue with your struggles. I am finding them rather…delightful.”
“I. Am. Not. A. Thief!” She growled at him. “Stop calling me that. I…” She decided at the last second to not divulge her identity. After all there were those that knew she was titled, that she was very wealthy, and that she was single. She had no protector to save her. She had only her wits to get out of this predicament.
“You? You what, petit? You liked the pretty horsey and snuck him away from your mistress while she was at a party? Or are you even now late for a rendez-vous with your lover? Some sad eyed poet perhaps? Or a stinking stable boy who let you ride the masters pride and joy in exchange for a tumble in the hay, eh?”
“Ohhhh you…..” she growled, and heedless of the size of the beast pressing against her intimate places, she twisted and growled. When he put his laughing face near hers, she reared up, clocking his forehead with hers, and grabbed his bottom lip in her tiny white teeth.
She bit hard, tasting the salty tang of his blood.
He grunted, then grabbed her tits, found her nipples and pinched. The unexpected pain made her shriek, releasing his lip. He scowled down at her, his fingers still holding her. The throb in his groin was matched by the throb in his swelling lip. The vixen! He was equally angered, and charmed by her brave daring. Still, with his crew watching, and he was sure they were watching this interesting turn of events, he needed to regain control of this situation.
“You have lovely tits, petit. Sweet round succulent buns. Perhaps I should call my men over and we will all have a sample of your wares, eh?” A single drop of blood fell from his lip to land, unnoticed in the darkness, upon her pale chest, directly over her heart.
She shook her head. Strange feelings swept through her. The pain was a dull ache, but so too was there an ache between her legs. What was he doing to her?
Their intimate tableau was broken by a lad of perhaps 15. He pointed over his shoulder where a small skiff was being held by the men who had taken her. One stood to the side, still holding her horse.
“It appears that my time here is over, ma petit. My cock is very unhappy with the idea of leaving you. Yet bringing you along would only cause dissent and envy with my lads. Ergo…I will ask you to remember me.”
Quickly he bent his head and kissed her deeply. His tongue slashed into her unsuspecting mouth, swirling and tasting her, leaving the copper taste of his own blood behind. For a moment he was tempted, deeply tempted to bring her with him. His cock knocked against his knickers, reminding him of how long he had gone without slipping between the silken folds of a woman. Roughly, he pulled her up with a fistful of hair, and dragged her along the beach. For a moment he paused by the boat. He turned with reluctance, to her horse, and lifted her to sit upon its back.
“Go back to your stable lad, petit. But dream of me.” He slapped the flank of the horse, sending it jolting forward. The reins dangled uselessly from the halter, and she fought to stay on his back. It was a desperate struggle to recapture the leads, and by the time she had the panicked horse back under control, and pulled him round, the boat was out into the harbor. In the faint moonlight, she could almost make out the shape of a ship.
He must be a privateer. The batard! As if she would remember him. Turning the horses head around, she dug her heels in and spurred him towards home.