“You’re my servant, Nelly,” Catherine ejaculated. “So get down on your knees and serve me.”
Nelly glanced across at her mistress, not sure how to take the command. She carefully studied the woman’s face, trying to discern some clue from her severe expression. The mane of unruly dark locks that framed Catherine’s cheeks, and the solemn set of her large dark eyes, gave away nothing about her inner demeanor. Her lips, full, ripe and inviting, were set in a line that made her emotions inscrutable.
“Do you want a cup of tea?” Nelly asked.
“On your knees,” Catherine said again. “Make me repeat the instruction and I’ll be forced to use my horsewhip. Then you’ll be sorry.” To show the threat was not idle, she raised the leather shaft of the horsewhip and patted it lightly against her hand. The flicker of a cruel smile tugged at one corner of her mouth.
Obediently, but not obligingly, Nelly lowered herself to her knees.
It was clearly apparent that Catherine did not want a cup of tea.
It had been a strange couple of weeks at Thrush cross Grange. Nelly had found herself displaced from her former habitat at Wuthering Heights to reside with her newly married mistress amongst the hospitality of the Linton family. She had not thought the marriage between Catherine and Edgar was an appropriate match but, being a good servant and aware of her place in the order of things, she had kept her opinions confined to scurrilous gossip with other members of the house’s staff. Yet, if she had been urged to guess fifty times a day for fifty years or more, she would never have imagined an instruction like this issuing from her mistress’s lips.
“Stay down on your knees,” Catherine said softly, “and crawl closer.”
Nelly traced a pink tongue against her arid lips.
Catherine’s smile blossomed with deviant delight. She settled herself on the side of her bed, pushing aside the curtains from the posts so she was framed by lace. Unladylike, she sat with her legs parted and her hands on her knees. Nelly had often enough seen her mistress go riding and knew the young woman was wont to straddle a horse in such a masculine and unbecoming manner, rather than opting for the more delicate and refined pose of side-saddle. The sight had previously stirred a rush of unfathomable desires in Nelly’s loins. Warmth, moisture and general neediness had all risen in her gut like the onset of a pleasant fever. She didn’t know why her mistress’s posture should affect her in such a strong fashion but there had never been any denying the heat it always inflamed. This evening her mistress’s pose continued to fan the embers of that same smoldering need and Nelly felt sick as she was consumed with sudden desire.
“Closer,” Catherine encouraged. “How do you expect to kiss me from so far away?”
“Kiss you, mistress?” Again, she licked her lips. But this time, they did not need the extra moisture. As the agony of her lust grew stronger Nelly realized she was salivating like a hungry cur. Padding across the floor in the manner of Catherine’s pet bitch, she crept closer and closer to the divine scent of her mistress’s nearness.
Beyond the room the sounds of the house’s industry whispered in perpetual clatter. The kitchens beneath them sang with the shrill cries of kettles and pot skittering together. Isabella, Catherine’s new sister-in-law, could be heard practicing her finger work on the parlor’s virginal. Edgar was undoubtedly ensconced in his library and as silent as the breathless wind that swept across the brooding moors and down from Wuthering Heights.
But Nelly’s attention was focused on her mistress. Her eyes grew large as she understood what was happening. Her heart beat faster as she realized she was on the verge of attaining a lifelong ambition. She tried to swallow and discovered her throat was choked with nervous anticipation.
Catherine was slowly drawing up the hem of her skirts. The pale blue silk was worn over layers of crisp, white taffeta. Nelly could see the hem of the undergarments brushing against her mistress’s boots. As the skirts were raised Nelly was treated to a glimpse of the boot top and then the mesmerizing vision of Catherine’s bare calf.
“Mistress,” she gasped.
“Closer,” Catherine insisted. “And let’s have less talk from you, shall we? I have other uses for your tongue and none of them involve you chattering.” Clearly pleased with the remark, she released a salacious chuckle. Absently, she put the horsewhip by her side and pulled her skirt higher to reveal unclothed knees.
Nelly trembled before finding the strength to move forward. If she had been given a moment to collect her thoughts she would have pinched herself, to be sure this was the reality of Thrush cross Grange and not the product of her overactive desires and imagination. Knowing her mistress would not tolerate any further displays of hesitation, aware that she was needed with an urgency driven by understandable arousal, Nelly continued to creep closer across the bedroom floor.
Catherine inched the skirts higher. Her bare knees were completely exposed. Her thighs, as white as the moors in the depth of winter, were sinfully exciting. As Catherine shifted forward from the bed, pulling her skirts up to her waist, Nelly saw the thatch of thick dark curls covering her mistress’s cleft. Not knowing whether to be more shocked by the display, or Catherine’s lack of underwear, she resolved to move closer.
The tingling between her own thighs had turned to a clenching, animal need. The sight of Catherine’s most intimate secrets inspired a yearning she had long tried to deny. But now, knowing the moment she had quietly coveted was almost upon her, she endeavored to cross the final few feet of the room and do everything she was bidden.
“Hurry up, Nelly,” Catherine insisted.
She parted her legs.
Rested back a little.
And reached for the horsewhip.
From her perspective at thigh-level Nelly had the clearest possible glimpse of Catherine’s sex. Peeping from between the lush, dark curls were a pair of pink lips that looked flushed and ruddy with excitement. Nelly didn’t know if it was an aspect of the light in the Thrush cross Grange bedrooms, or something peculiar to Catherine’s mood. But she felt sure she could see a silvery glint of wetness coating the split of the woman’s sex.
“You want me to kiss you, mistress?” Nelly breathed. She was close enough to touch Catherine now: if she had dared. She raised one hand, intending to place it on the woman’s bare thigh while she brought her lips up to meet Catherine’s face. Anxiety tightened knots inside her stomach. Her bowels clenched with the nervousness of not knowing if she was doing exactly as her superior wanted. Moving her mouth nearer to Catherine’s jaw, marveling at the all-consuming beauty of the woman, she asked again, “Do you really want me to kiss you?”