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Scotland: September, 1560
There were several reasons why Margarete would always remember the September day she spent in the woods with Colin. It was far from the first or the last time she would spend a day riding out with her husband, and taking their mutual pleasure in the tall grass or under the trees, but this day was special.
The first reason was, until that day, she had never watched others while they made love. She had, of course, had glimpses on festival days of indiscrete couples celebrating the license of Beltane or midsummer, but these glimpses had always been fleeting: something sensed in the shadows more than seen in the light. On this day, the sun was bright, and the man and woman not only visible, but known to her. On this day, unseen by the two, she had, after an initial shrinking back, become an intentional observer.
The second reason was she had cause to know without a doubt that it was the activities of that day spent under the trees and sky which gave her her heart’s desire: a second pregnancy. Since losing her first baby far too soon, she had hoped each time, but had never expected to know for certain when the miracle occurred.
The third reason why the memory of that day would remain indelible was the simple fierce passion of it. She loved best to mate with Colin out of doors. To be sure they did it in the lawful safety of their curtained bed often enough, but something in her soul and body thrilled to take Colin inside her with the fresh breeze on her skin, the scent of flowers or pine needles surrounding her, and the benevolence of the trees and the sky above her.
To the pleasure of the surroundings was added the savor of satisfying desires too long denied. Colin had been in Perth for several weeks conferring with the trader and captain who minded his business affairs. He had returned the night before, and his weariness had been equal to no more than being pleased by Margarete’s skill with lips and tongue. He had only one day at home, and left early the following morning to spend several more weeks in Leeth, which was how Margarete knew beyond any doubt that it was their romp in the woods that day which brought about her pregnancy.
That day began early. Weary from travel, Colin had gone to bed, and slept long and deeply. When he woke, it was to see Margarete awake and watching him. He reached out his hand and took hers. On many a tiresome day in the saddle, he had remembered pleasurable times spent out of doors with Margarete and other women. After so long on the road, he found the curtained bed comfortable, but when well rested, a little confining. Enjoying the sight of his wife after many days apart, he remembered the morning on which they had consummated their marriage.
She saw a glint come into his eyes, and he said, “I’d fancy an early morning ride wi ye in the woods.” Instantly she read his thoughts, and remembered what he remembered. She smiled broadly and nodded.
No one was about so early, and they felt like conspirators as they dressed and left their chamber. As on that other morning, they crept as quietly as they could threw the great hall, Colin pausing to retrieve food and a flask of wine left on the high table. In the stable, the horses shifted about sleepily. Margarete sat down to wait while Colin saddled and bridled their horses.
Outside, the crisp September air was pleasant. Colin chose a direction that would take them on an undemanding course towards a small wood within which was a pleasant pond in a tiny clearing. They spoke little, but looked often at one another. Margarete savored the clean lines of his body, his easy carriage, that sense of natural command that came from his physical confidence, and from years of being the laird to those who dwelt on his lands. Colin’s eyes returned often to her, admiring the warm gold of her hair, her proud baring, the graceful ease with which she handled her horse, the curves of her body, familiar, but still somehow exotic to him.
At the edge of the wood they dismounted. The trees were too close together for easy riding, and each felt a desire to be closer to one another than could be achieved on horseback. They tethered their mounts leaving them enough reign to graze, linked arms, and set off into the trees.
The tops of the trees rustled continuously in the light breeze, but at ground level the air was still, and quietness enveloped them. The ground was thick with needles, and their feet made little sound as they moved together. There was the occasional rustling of a small animal, and now and then the call of a bird from overhead. Margarete’s senses were filled by the sight and scent of the trees, her mind and body with longing for her husband.
She didn’t hear the faint sound some distance ahead that caused Colin to drift to a standstill, his hand on Margarete’s arm, drawing her to a halt also. She turned to him, about to ask him what was wrong, but he put a quick finger to his lips. His illegal bahis eyes widened warningly, and he flicked his gaze further along their path.
Now she heard it too: a faint sound. It was the sound of a woman’s voice, but there were no words. The gasping cry was repeated. Margarete jerked with surprise. Colin could see at once that she had not understood, and held her arm firmly, pressing his finger against her mouth to silence her. The cry was repeated in a rhythmical way that quickly made it clear to Margarete that the sounds were not those of a woman in distress, but those of a woman’s pleasure. Margarete’s eyes opened wide in astonishment. Colin had all he could do to keep from laughing aloud at the bemused expression on her face.
He held her there for a long moment, compelling her to hear. Her eyes strained forward, but there was nothing to be seen but trees. At last, she shifted restlessly, trying to draw away from him back the way they’d had come, but he wouldn’t allow it. He held her, his intense stair commanding her to be still. She submitted reluctantly. The sounds coming from somewhere ahead of them stirred many emotions in her mind, and an unmistakable response in her body. She wished to retreat from all of these things. She presumed that Colin’s reluctance to do so was in deference to the unseen lovers: a polite urge not to disturb them.
She did not understand the mischievous gleam in his eye until he began very slowly to urge her towards the lovers rather than away from them. A subtle, silent struggle ensued. She, motivated by the good manners she had ascribed to him, was reluctant to make any sound, but tried to resist his pressure on her arm drawing her slowly forward. He, motivated by something quite different, pulled her along beside him, still enjoining caution and silence.
Reluctant but forcibly drawn on, and not only by his firm grip on her arm, she slid carefully forward. She peered alternately down at her feet to preserve their stealthy progress, and ahead to make sure they didn’t suddenly become visible to those they sought to see. The ground began to slope down slightly, and she became conscious of the scent of water and damp ground. Colin drew them to a halt, then shifted carefully to one side until they had a view into the clearing by the pond which had been their destination. But someone had got there before them: two someones in fact, who were disporting themselves on top of a cloak thrown on the ground.
Colin’s hand moved quickly to cover Margarete’s mouth to smother her involuntary gasp of shock. She instantly recognized the distinctive green of the cloak. It was a remarkable shade of sea green that she and Lise had admired greatly. It matched exactly the uncommon colour of a petticoat Margarete had purchased for Lise in Perth on their arrival in Scotland. Colin’s trading master, recalling their fondness for the colour, had brought a bolt of cloth in that shade on his last visit. Margarete clearly recalled the hours spent turning some of the fabric into a lovely lining for a warm woolen cloak for Lise. There could be no mistaking the identity of the woman who lay on her back, her black hair spread out around her, and by extension, that of the man who straddled her.
Margarete stood paralyzed with shock. Even as a cascade of thoughts and emotions flooded her, she was keenly aware of Colin’s body pressed against her from behind, and of his hand still covering her mouth. Cautiously, he drew her back slightly to ensure they were out of sight of the couple on the ground, who nevertheless seemed far to absorbed to notice anything in their surroundings. Margarete no longer resisted; she let herself be drawn backwards against him. She leaned back gratefully, feeling momentarily weak with surprise and confusion.
Although she had never seen a man and woman make love before, the sight of Lise naked, on her back and given up to sexual passion was not a new one. Indeed, how often Margarete had seen her so, had in fact been the eager cause of such abandon. The disorientation of the moment was profound. Of course Margarete knew well that Lise and Owen were lovers, had encouraged the relationship, and joyed for Lise as it thrived. Still, in this moment, Margarete felt a stab of hither-to unacknowledged jealousy. Knowing a thing and seeing it for one’s self were very different she discovered.
On the heels of this feeling was the quick caution Lise had instilled in her against ever letting anyone know the nature of their intimacy. As servant and mistress, Lise and Margarete had, for several years, routinely spent hours alone together in field and wood, or in Margarete’s bedchamber. It was such a conventional relationship that neither Margarete’s family nor Colin’s household had ever thought to question its propriety. More worldly by far than her younger mistress, Lise had always counseled extreme care never to even hint at the true nature of their bond to anyone. Now, standing hidden illegal bahis siteleri in the trees watching Lise being well pleased by another, Margarete had to discipline herself to remember that this sight must seem wholly and completely new to her.
Neither had she ever thought to see Owen in such a posture. She had spent many happy hours in the great hall or on horseback sharing tunes with Owen. They were both accomplished musicians, and sang and played well together. Added to this unique bond was the fondness Margarete would have felt for anyone who brought such happiness to her beloved Lise as Owen did: and she simply liked him for himself. Nonetheless, she had never imagined seeing him unclothed, much less engaged in vigorous copulation. She felt her heart racing, and, despite her many confused thoughts and emotions, could not ignore the irresistible response in her body to such a sight.
Behind her, Colin felt the tension in her. In her absolute stillness, he sensed clearly that it was no longer the tension of someone restrained who wished to flee. Colin could not honestly have said that he’d never imagined seeing Lise unclothed, but he’d never truly expected to. Owen, on the other hand, he had seen unclothed and in such sport on many occasions. Foster brothers and sworn companions, they had shared much, including uncounted women on uncounted evenings of indulgence both here and during their sojourn in Paris. Margarete was not to know this of course, and he was glad to have no reason to hide the grin that spread across his face as he pulled Margarete’s curvaceous body more securely against his.
There was laughter from the two on the ground, a confusion of movement, and then Lise was straddling Owen, moving with accomplished ease, kneeling up, hands resting on Owen’s chest. He reached up to caress her breasts, and Lise threw back her head, wholly abandoned to sensation. It was Colin’s turn for a moment of sharp disorientation. The sight triggered a barely retained memory from a drunken night of pleasure. There had been several women…; Owen had been there he was sure of that. Had it been Paris? Perth? He dismissed memories of many chambers from many brothels. The setting was elusive, but the memory of a lusty woman straddling him with the muscular thighs of a horsewoman persisted. As Owen’s hands slid lower, between Lise’s parted legs, he gave up the effort to remember, and simply watched as Lise was brought skillfully to a peak of pleasure that caused Colin to pull Margarete even more tightly against him. She wriggled, and he knew that she was roused also.
Colin kept his eyes focused on Lise as Owen neared his own climax. Colin always enjoyed most to watch the woman who was the cause of such release. He acknowledged a vicarious pleasure in his friend’s pleasure, but his visceral response was to the woman’s body or the woman’s skill which elicited it, and into whom it was poured.
Margarete was no longer motionless in his grasp. He had let his hand fall from her mouth, confident that she would do nothing to risk exposing them. One arm was around her waist, and with the other he touched her breasts through her clothing. She pressed back against him, then began to move with a slow rhythm that he wasn’t sure she was even conscious of. Without taking her eyes from Owen and Lise, she leaned her head back against him in subtle invitation. He bent and placed his lips on the back of her neck. She gasped, and he replaced his hand over her mouth, less with warning than with a deliberate possessiveness and command.
Lise and Owen rested for a brief time, facing one another and speaking in low voices that did not carry. Lise looked up at the position of the sun in the sky, and they both rose quickly to their feet, dressed, and left the small clearing heading in a different direction from the one where Margarete and Colin stood. In the uncommon silence of the trees, the two who stood listening could hear the sound of horses being greeted, untied, mounted, and ridden away from the other side of the wood. Colin supposed that Lise and Owen had ridden around to the other side of the wood, and planned to exit from there so that anyone observing them returning would not be certain where they had been.
When the sounds died away, Margarete shifted restlessly, but he neither let her go nor removed his hand from her mouth. He pressed himself against her, and with his other hand pulled up her skirts. He propelled her forward in front of him. He surveyed the clearing, and chose his target quickly. He urged her firmly toward a fallen tree. Some of its roots remained in the earth, and it slanted at an angle to the ground.
He moved her toward it at a place that was around waste height for her. Wordlessly he pushed her forward at the shoulder so that she had to put out her hands to steady herself. With one foot he urged her two feet apart, and pushed her shoulders. Complicit, she leaned forward, bracing herself canlı bahis siteleri on her forearms, bending as he silently commanded. She braced her legs as he pushed up her skirts, exposing her buttocks and thighs to the cool air.
With one hand he braced himself on the trunk of the tree where it sloped upward. With the other, he found her vulva, wet as he had known it would be, and guided his rigid cock inside her. His first thrust was powerful, possessive, and she cried out with the surprise and pleasure of it. Once firmly inside her, he let go of the tree and stood, his hands hard on her hips. Still without speaking, he used one foot to urge her feet even wider apart. Understanding, she shifted as he wished. She took more of her weight on her arms, and allowed her hips to relax and open, sinking down slightly, welcoming him deep inside her. He grunted with satisfaction as his hands tightened on her hips. His movement was now a combination of thrusting into her and pulling her to him. With her arms and feet braced, she was pliant in his hands. Although she had eased him with her mouth the night before, it had been many weeks since he had taken her, and he didn’t try to prolong the act; there would be time enough for that later. He thrust ruthlessly, taking her instinctively and without thought. Glad to be taken so, also knowing there was time, she gave herself to him willingly, and turned to smile happily at him when he let her go.
After a brief, chilly wash in the pond, she returned to the shore, and they sat together on the lower part of the fallen tree to share a morsel and some watered wine. They spoke little at first, and he searched her face surreptitiously. The sadness of losing her baby too soon had lingered for a long time, but he saw no sign of it as her bright eyes rested on him, but a dawning suspicion kindled there.
“Did you know they would be here? Did you engineer this deliberately?”
He laughed heartily. “Nae! It was a good idea which Owen clearly had also. He’s been apart from his woman too, and this is a bonny place to take a lively lass in the morning.”
Her eyes dropped modestly, and her cheeks flushed a little.
“You’ve nae seen the like before.” It was a statement not a question, certain as he was of her purity and inexperience.
She shook her head, her eyes on the ground, embarrassed by her undeniable response.
He laughed again and placed his hand affectionately on her thigh. “Ye needna be ashamed,” he said lightly, “You’re nae the first to be stirred by such things. In fact there are many places where such displays are offered for a price.”
She raised her eyes to his face, wide and curious. Lise had spoken to her of such things, but the idea was still strange to her, and although her ignorance was not entirely sincere, her curiosity was. “Have you seen such things before?”
“For a price?”
Her eyes drifted away across the open water. She wanted to know more, but at the same time she had a shrinking from hearing about his experiences with other women. She resolved to ask Lise about it later.
His hand tightened on her thigh. “Ye ken I’ve always had a great fondness for seeing ye naked in the sun. I thought of it many times while I was away. Is it warm enough for ye?”
She smiled mischievously. “I brought a warm cloak with me. If I get cold I can pull it around me.”
She rose and stood before him. With his help, she shed her various layers of clothing, laying them carefully over the fallen tree to keep them from the ground. Finally she stood before him, her attitude docile, but her eyes bright with expectation.
He had always been pleased and a little startled by the ease with which she accepted his taste for taking pleasure in the woods rather than in the discreet privacy of their bed. Likewise, she displayed a natural acceptance of her own unclothed body that he did not associate with well-bred women. He knew her to be innocent at the time of their marriage, and it was a mystery to him. He took her hands in his as he gazed at her, and she removed one of them to reach out and stroke his cheek. Marriage had been a matter of pragmatism for him and duty for her, and they each felt deep gratitude to have found such joy where they had only expected obligation.
He reached out a hand and rested it on the curve of her waist. She stood completely still as he caressed her hips, the outside of her thighs, then cupped her breasts. The edge of his lust had been dulled, and he took his time now, running careful fingertips around her nipples, watching as they hardened, but restraining himself from touching them. She clasped her hands behind her back, exposing herself to his touch.
When he had run his hands slowly up and down her inner thighs several times, she professed her inability to continue standing. He caught up her cloak and laid it on the ground exactly where Lise and Owen had lain. The spot was in full sun now, and it warmed her as she lay down on her back, happily abandoned to whatever Colin would give her. She understood that she had satisfied him last night and earlier that morning, and that he would gladly take his time with her now.
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