At three—and—thirty and having lived long enough among the Ton to be mostly jaded by everything around him, Colin Nash IV, The Marquess of Kressley, would have considered himself impervious to a pair of pretty eyes and a striking face. After all, the stunning mistress at his side was far more beautiful than the young woman on the stage.
He had met Victoria when he was touring the continent last year, during the year without a summer, after everything had finally opened again with Napoleon's defeat. She was a sophisticated and charming woman from Amsterdam, and she had taught him a few tricks. How could he not be enthralled by her beauty but find the actress on the stage left him stunned into speechlessness?
"Is everything all right, Colin?" whispered Victoria behind her black lace fan.
He nodded at her abruptly, still incapable of speech as he stared at the young woman playing the scullery maid in the farcical comedy being performed at the Avon Theater, where Victoria had asked him to bring her on one of their negotiated outings.
At first glance, she wasn't particularly remarkable. It was when he looked closer that she snagged his attention. She had an interesting face, if not classically beautiful, with high cheekbones, a pleasing heart shape, and a tiny cleft in her chin. Her skin appeared luminous, though he knew that could be a trick of the makeup the actors used.
Her hair was certainly her crowning glory, an unusual shade of red—gold he'd never seen on anyone else, and though it was tucked neatly under the mobcap required for her costume, he could still see enough of the color and the glistening shine under the theater chandeliers to want to take off the cap, unpin her hair, and see it fall around her face before he plunged his hands into it. His fingers twitched in the gloves he wore, eager to feel the soft, silky texture for himself.
To his regret, her role was fleeting. He watched the rest of the play with far more attention than he had given the first half, hoping she would return. He got one more glimpse of her when the entire cast came to the stage at the end and bowed before disappearing behind the curtain, but it was inadequate to whet his appetite.
He was hard and aching, and it took every ounce of willpower he had to endure the pleasantries exchanged among the patrons as they left the theater, waiting for his coach. After what felt like an interminable wait, Higgins finally drew up, and he waved at the driver to stay at his post, opening the door and handing Victoria inside before closing it behind him.
As soon as they were inside the coach, he ensured the curtain was drawn, and then he opened the fall of his trousers, freeing his cock. It strained upright, eager for attention, and he grasped Victoria's hair to drag her closer.
She was eager, seeming not to care about being thrust onto the floor of the carriage. Her carnal appetite matched his own, and she was gifted in pleasing him. He moaned in anticipation, but as soon as she touched him, his excitement faded, his cock wilting. He stared at it, appalled by the reaction. That had never happened to him before.
She frowned in some concern, but she looked up at him through the veil of her lashes, batting them. "Never fear, darling. I shall simply coax him awake again."
Colin nodded, but as she wrapped her lips around his limp member, he felt a surge of nausea rather than the anticipated pleasure. He tried to visually imagine his cock growing hard and sinking into her throat. He knew how talented her mouth was, but it did nothing to stir him. Instead, it caused a faint hint of repulsion. "Enough," he said after a long moment of her continued attempts. "I have failed you this evening, my dear."
She wiped her mouth discreetly as she returned to her side of the carriage while he tucked himself in. "It does happen sometimes even to the best of men, and I count you among the very best, dear Colin." She sounded completely sincere, and he doubted she was affecting the tone or the words to impress him. Victoria was rather direct in her own way, though she was capable of coquettish behavior and knew how to seduce a man.
He was still perplexed, and when they drew up outside Victoria's apartment that he paid for, she said, "Would you like to try again, my dear marquess?"
After moment, he shook his head. "I do believe it is futile this evening."
She reached out to pat his thigh. "Perhaps it is simply a lack of sleep. You did mention earlier you are having nightmares."
He nodded, hoping she was correct. Nightmares had plagued him for as long as he could remember, but they had been more vivid than usual of—late. He took her gloved hand in his and kissed it as his driver opened the door. He allowed Higgins to accompany Victoria to her residence, finding himself quite incapable of moving.
He leaned back, closing his eyes. First, he thought about his failure to maintain the erection that had been so painful it had hurt. It had truly never happened to him before, and he felt slightly unmanned by his inability to sustain his arousal. Victoria had been understanding, but he feared she might be laughing at him. That only increased his revulsion as he tried to picture her going down on him again, but it did nothing to bolster an erection.
Almost without conscious thought, the image in his mind became the sweet little actress he had seen on stage, her plump lips engulfing his member as she took him shyly in her mouth. He wasn't certain why he was convinced she would be a little reluctant, but he thought she might. As an actress, she would've already had several lovers even at her tender age, but there was something almost innocent about her, and he wondered if that was what called to him.
The idea of despoiling her innocence made his groin tighten, and his cock grew hard again. He wasn't certain if it rose from thinking about her, or from the idea of ruining her. Of course, she was already ruined, so that was just a dark fantasy.