This work of fiction contains adult themes. Do not read further to avoid explicit content.
Robert sat in a smoke filled room. Giggles and sultry whispers of the half—or perhaps already fully—naked women surrounded him. His friends were somewhere in the room too. He heard their occasional laughter and drunken murmurs. But he couldn’t see anything through the thick fog.
Robert wasn’t much of a drinker or a smoker, and since he met Annie, he wasn’t much for cheap whores either. Gabriel would be offended by this insinuation, of course. He would say that he’d have never brought cheap whores to his best friend’s bachelor party. They were the most expensive ones. Robert’s lips twitched in a smile. Expensive or not, whores did not interest him anymore. No woman did. Except for Annie.
He thought about his golden-haired bride, her coy looks, and shy advances, and decided he’d had enough of this place.
Robert stood, but before he could make a step, a hand reached out from the fog and clasped his arm.
“Oh, no, you don’t,” came the slurred voice of his best friend. “I go through all this trouble for you. Find you the best”—a hiccup interrupted his tirade—“the best”—another hiccup—“the best whiskey in town, the best whores, the best cigars.” He waved with his hand dramatically at the surroundings, “and you’re leaving?”
“Disrespect!” shouted one of the other fops.
Robert peered through the smoke but could not make out the identity of the offending voice’s owner. Instead, he turned back to his best friend and leaned in to see him clearer. What he saw made him chuckle. One of the ladies was straddling his friend’s lap and licking at his neck. Robert shook his head, finding the image pathetic. Now that he was getting married, nights like this seemed meaningless.
“Listen, Gabe, I appreciate what you’ve done. Really, I do. But women, spirits…” he gestured with his hands to the grand room filled with vice. “This is your thing. I am getting married on the morrow.”
“The best reason to have fun while you can,” Gabriel slurred again.
Robert made a few steps towards the door and called over his shoulder, “I will have fun when I’m married.”
Gabriel waved the lady away, gingerly stood from his chair and followed Robert.
Robert paused, waiting for his friend to catch up to him, studying him all the while. Gabriel’s eyes were red-rimmed, and he was sporting a two-day stubble. His shamefully wrinkled clothing indicated that this was not the first party he had attended in the last several days without changing or even stopping by his townhouse.
Many women found Gabriel irresistible with his golden good looks and stately figure. He looked like one of those Greek gods or a fallen angel. He could get anyone he wanted with only a wink and a smile. If only they could see him now.
“Marriage is boring. I bet you two hundred pounds, your Annie,” he said in a mocking tone, “cannot do half the things these ladies are capable of.”
Robert huffed. “Of course she can’t. That’s the point. She is innocent.”
Now it was Gabriel’s turn to huff. “Please,” he drawled. “No woman is innocent. She is just not as skilled.”
“I’m not discussing Annie’s skills with you.” Rob patted his friend on his shoulder.
“Of course not.” Gabriel took on a serious expression. “You’ll also not argue that she is far from innocent.”
Robert narrowed his eyes on his friend. “Tread lightly now.”
“You should have let me seduce her. You’d see her for who she truly is. Like every one of them.” Gabriel waved his hand about the room. “Women are easy. They are good for only one thing: a tup and move on.”
“You are drunk.” Robert squeezed Gabriel’s shoulder. “And you are my best friend. These are the only reasons I am not bloodying your face right now.” He patted Gabriel good naturedly on his back, although his patience was quickly waning.
Gabriel put up his arms in mock self-defense. “All right, all right. No need to get violent. My face is my only asset.”
Robert shook his head. Sometimes he thought Gabriel actually believed that. That all he had, and all he was, was just his pretty face.
Robert knew Gabriel, the Viscount St. Clare, from the first time Gabriel stepped into Eton. He was eight, and Robert was ten. They ran into each other on the steps and had been friends ever since.
Gabriel was a fragile boy with sad blue eyes, and Robert wanted to watch out for him. But as they grew, they started looking out for each other. Robert was hard-working and serious. Gabriel was cynical, yet still charming. He had a face every woman in London swooned over.
Everyone except for Annie.
That’s what Robert loved about her most. She wasn’t led by a pretty face or the fanciest title. She hadn’t even known Robert was an heir to a duke when they met.
Robert moved toward the door. “Thank you for the grand party!” he yelled as he waved and left the room to the jeering of men and women.
Robert hopped into his carriage and banged on the carriage roof with his walking stick. He was going to see Annie, he decided. No matter what he’d promised. Robert leaned against the seat and thought about his betrothed, a smile pulling at the corners of his lips. He could not wait until tomorrow to marry her. It was ridiculous, her insistence not to see him tonight. They already precipitated the wedding vows, so he saw no reason they shouldn’t make love the night before their marriage.
Gabriel was right, Annie had not been a virgin when they met, but she wasn’t skilled either. Not that it mattered to him in the least. Her past was her own; the future, however, was theirs. He loved her, and he was not interested in anyone else. At the moment, all he wanted to do was spend the night in her arms.
Even before the carriage halted at her residence, he opened the door and jumped out of it eagerly. As he did so many times before, he entered by the back door and shuffled quietly up the stairs, shaking off his coat on the way. No need to waste time on disrobing in her room. He trailed the too familiar corridor, smiling to himself and anticipating her surprised look when she saw him.
He finally reached the door and paused with a hand on the knob. He heard strange noises coming from inside the room. Strange grunting sounds and whimpers… A struggle?
He pushed the door open with a crush and rushed in. What he saw made his blood run cold. He stopped dead in the middle of the room and felt his heart freezing over at the sight before him. His Annie, his beautiful, innocent Annie, was crouching on all fours, naked, on top of a man and sucking on his cock. She was doing it skillfully and whimpering in arousal. The man was twisting her hair in his hands and urging her on. She hadn’t stopped right away when he entered. Instead, as she saw him, she slowly withdrew the cock from her mouth. Too slowly, as if for show. As if enjoying every last taste of the man she was servicing and wanting Robert to see. Then she sat up, licked her lips, and looked at him defiantly.
“I told you not to come tonight,” she said with all her dignity. She sat there with her golden blond hair tumbling down her shoulders in a tangled mess, her cheeks rosy, her blue eyes bright, her mouth swollen. A woman recently and thoroughly fucked.
“Yes,” he sneered, “that’s the problem, isn’t it?” With every word, he felt his heart covering more and more with ice and his soul filling with disgust for the woman he had thought himself in love with only moments ago. He expected to be angry, to want to rage and howl at the moon, to throw things like a madman, but somehow, he couldn’t be bothered to scrounge up enough to care.
“You can’t refuse to marry me now.” She threw her hair off her forehead, thrusting her full breasts to their full advantage. “You’ll only breed scandal onto your family.”
“As opposed to marrying a whore?” Robert scoffed.
“Oh, I won’t be a whore.” She stood from the bed in all her naked glory. Her hips swaying and breasts bobbing. “I will be a duchess.”
“Really? Is that what you think?” He looked at her and realized that everything that happened between them had been an act. She had never been this confident and defiant, with hatred clearly present in her eyes. She was truly ugly at this moment.
“You are bound by honor to marry me. You bedded me. You announced our engagement. And only a lady can cry off the engagement.”
“You think I care about that? More than I care about that,” he indicated with his chin to the bed in disgust, “that weasel in your bed?”
At that moment, the weasel finally sat up and made himself known. Robert almost choked on his surprise. It was his cousin, Eric, the one who introduced Annie to him.
“Surprised, cuz?” Eric asked from the bed.
“I guess I shouldn’t be,” Robert spat in disgust. He knew Eric had been infatuated with Annie when Robert started courting her. Still, he was under the impression that she didn’t return the feelings. Now that he thought about it, he realized he didn’t know Annie at all. “But if what you wanted was to be with her, then you’ve got her.” Robert turned to leave, bile rising in his throat.
“What, no threat of duel? You will not defend her honor?” Eric sneered the last word.
Robert huffed a bitter laugh, “Honor?” He looked over at his naked former lover, trying to understand what prompted him to want and spend the rest of his life with her in the first place. “She has no honor.”
Robert made a few steps towards the door before throwing over his shoulder, “besides, she is not worth your life.”
“You’ll marry me, Clydesdale!” he heard a hissing voice behind him as he shut the door.
A few minutes later, Robert was back at the club. He sauntered toward the private room Gabriel had rented for their party. The smoke had cleared a little, so he could see several men were out cold on the floor. Gabriel was playing vighn-et-un with the whores. That was the sight for the ages. Robert almost chuckled.
He walked further into the room and silently took a seat beside his friend. Gabriel was silent as Robert poured himself a drink and took a sip. He was still silent when Robert lit a cigar. He dealt him in and raised a brow.
Robert looked at his hand and cleared his throat. “You were right,” he said, pushing the chips in the middle of the table. “Women are good for just one thing. And that isn’t marriage.”
Gabriel didn’t press any further. He didn’t gloat either. He simply turned his gaze toward his own hand of cards. “I’m sorry, brother,” was all he said.
Thank you for reading the deleted scene of “A Deal with the Earl.” I hope you enjoyed it!
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