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Eleanor’s mother secured the leather pack around her small shoulders, pulling the deep green cloak across to cover it. The cloak was made of the finest fabric; its brilliant color showed even in the fading light of the sun and must have cost more than all of their possessions combined. Her mother completed one more cursory inspection as they stood outside the door to their small hut at the edge of the woods. “Remember, Eleanor,” her mother pulled her chin up to look her in the eye, “they may not respect you now. But they will. You are destined for greatness. Never forget that. Your life was pre-ordained. Never forget.” The lumbering sound of the approaching horse and carriage couldn’t drown out the severity in her voice. A severity Eleanor would hold in the back of her mind for the rest of her life. Eleanor sat elegantly on the fine overstuffed chair of a palace sitting room. The corners of her lips tipped up ever so slightly in triumph and anticipation. Though she quickly stifled the feeling. You haven’t landed him yet, she reminded herself as she glanced at her reflection in the wall mirror opposite her. As she situated a stray lock of radiant red hair in its proper place, the door to the room opened. Eleanor rose, turning towards her host… or hostess rather, to her surprise. She curtseyed deeply as the Queen approached her. “Your Majesty.” “Have a seat,” the Queen instructed, her tone flat but direct. Eleanor obliged, making a point to do so with all the grace she possessed, even though her pulse had doubled within the last few moments. She watched as the monarch took a seat across from her. The Queen didn’t speak again until the servants following her finished presenting tea on the short table between them. But her eyes were fixed on Eleanor, running the length of her body and back up. The Queen dismissed the help with a flick of her hand, leaving the two in perfect silence. “I imagine you were surprised to see me walk through that door, Lady Eleanor,” the Queen said, breaking the silence. Eleanor feigned innocence. “Why would I be surprised, Your Majesty?” “Hmm,” the Queen replied. “I won’t disguise this meeting with false pleasantries. You are here because within an hour’s time my husband is going to try to seduce you. Don’t play coy,” she said in response to Eleanor’s astonished look. “You know he has taken a liking to you.” Though her cool exterior would have never betray her, Eleanor’s heart raced in her chest. Had she failed before even starting? Was she here to be cast out or worse? Her Majesty was not known to be the jealous type, though one could never tell. “Do not be afraid,” the Queen added. “I have a proposition for you.” “A proposition, Your Majesty?” Eleanor’s worry dissipated, yielding to her intrigue. “His Majesty and I have been married for five years, with no children to speak of. In that time, His Majesty has managed to produce two bastard children. One lived only 6 days, and the other…” the Queen smothered a sour expression, “well, let us just say, the other will remain a bastard.” “What does this have to do with me, Your Majesty?” Eleanor asked. “The King needs an heir and seeing as it is my fertility that seems to be the one in question, we must seek a solution,” the Queen stated, all very diplomatically. “That is where you come in. I see how he looks you, and fidelity is not something he finds greatly concerning. So, my proposition is this: you have my complete blessing to bed my husband. You will be provided accommodations here in the palace, a position, if you wish, even a generous allowance. Your dalliance may be as public or as private as you wish it to be. Although, I would advise discretion.” “And the cost?” Eleanor interjected. “The first child that you bare will be mine,” the Queen said as her eyes met Eleanor’s. “You may have contact with the child if you wish, but I will be the mother.” The Queen rose from her chair and began towards the door. “You have the hour to decide.” She had only made it a few steps before Eleanor replied. “I agree.” The Queen paused. “Very well. I think you will find a place to prepare yourself through that door.” Her Majesty indicated a doorway on opposite side of the room before she left Eleanor alone. Eleanor felt slightly dizzy. She heard her mother’s voice as she suppressed the urge to laugh with glee. This is just the beginning. You haven’t succeeded yet. She worked to calm herself. With a deep breath, Eleanor moved to the door and slowly turned the handle to her destiny. The room on the other side was an opulent bed chamber containing the finest furnishings Eleanor had ever seen. She moved to the middle of the space, her pulse quickening once more as she took in the weight of her surroundings. She had spent the last ten years preparing for this moment. She thought back to the carriage ride that took her away from the shack she called home for the first decade of her life. She was sent off to an estate far from her home village. An estate where she spent her years learning to be a lady, to fit in with the nobility. She was trained to be graceful and pious. She was taught to be clever and witty, to fit in with the highest societies. But most importantly, she was groomed to be striking. She was bred to be noticed, and he was instructed to be seductive. It was all leading to one goal. She felt a tingling in her lower belly as the significance of this room sank in. Her gaze fell on the four-poster bed, with its thick curtains and luxurious coverings. The physical implications began to sink in. This was the start. Her destiny began here. I am to bed the King, she thought. No, I am to seduce the King, and capture his heart and soul. Eleanor knew it would take more than her training to achieve this feat. To truly win a soul, you must lay bare your own. To reveal it in a state of vulnerability. Eleanor closed her eyes and, starting at the tingling of her belly, ran her hands over the silks of her dress. She pictured the King in her mind. His hands touching her skin. She used the images as she explored her own body, seeking to access that part deep inside her. Suddenly, she felt another hand brush against her skin, pushing her hair off her neck. She gasped and made to move away but another strong hand wrapped around her waist, holding her in place. “Lady Eleanor.” The low, guttural sound of His Majesty’s voice vibrated across the delicate skin at the nape of her neck. “My dear, what are you doing in my bed-chamber?” Eleanor froze. Had he not summoned her? Was it all the Queen’s doing? What if he sent her away? “I…” she stumbled, “My Lord, I thought…” “I am not complaining,” he growled into her hair as he breathed in her scent. “I am merely surprised.” It took Eleanor a moment to recover from the wave of sensation that ran through her body. She needed to gain control of the situation. She pulled out of his arms and turned toward her King. “I hope it is a pleasant surprise, My Lord.” “Indeed, it is always an enjoyment,” he confirmed, his piercing blue eyes fixed on Eleanor. “But it doesn’t answer how you found your way here.” “I thought you summoned me, Your Majesty,” Eleanor replied. “But if there has been some mistake, perhaps I should take my leave.” “You will do no such thing,” he said, though a sigh escaped him. He turned from her and moved to a table near the balcony doors. On it was a bottle of wine with two glasses. He poured the liquid in both of them and returned to her, handing her the second. She took the drink he offered. Taking a sip, she was completely aware that his eyes weren’t leaving her. “You have spoken to my wife?” he asked, sternly. Eleanor was surprised at his statement. “You were aware of her… offer?” “Of course. It would hardly be possible to pull it off without my knowledge. I am not as oblivious to my Queen as some choose to believe.” “And you are okay with it?” “My bloodline is what is important. The heir being presented as Maria’s simply ensures legitimacy. Since it was her idea, I have every confidence that she is accepting of the arrangement as well,” he stated. “The question here is, do you accept the terms?” Eleanor finally met his eyes. “I am here.” He took a step closer to her. The heat from his body radiated over her. He took the glass from her hand, his skin brushing against hers, leaving her tingling. He returned the glasses to their place on the table. His stride back was slow and confident as he circled around her. He reached out, running his hand along the small of her back, along her waist, and traced the intricate design up the front of her dress. His fingertips trailed up the exposed skin of her chest. He brushed a thumb across the bottom swell of her lip, ever so lightly before sinking his fingers into the depths of her hair. He pulled himself to her side, his chest resting at her shoulder as his free hand moved to cup the round globes of her ass. Eleanor inhaled sharply at the intimate gesture. Welcoming the renewed wave of electricity that ran through her as his breath hit her ear, his course stubble catching on the contrast of her soft skin. She held the breath, anticipating his next exploration. But instead, she was met with a reluctant sigh. “Is something wrong my, My Lord?” Eleanor managed to breathe. “No,” he replied, his hands tightening before releasing her entirely. “And yes.” Eleanor looked at him in concern. “It seems that my dear Queen has turned this into a business transaction.” His hand moved to her hair once more. “But I want it to be clear, that is not why I want you here. If you are going to lie in my bed, business will have nothing to do with it.” He cupped her chin and brought her eyes up to meet his. “This is about pleasure, yours and mine. Do you understand? This is about exploring each other. Pushing our passion beyond the brink.” He plunged his hand down her dress, squeezing the supple flesh of her breasts beneath the fabric. His other hand proceeded to roam her body, caressing everything it could reach. “I want to give you what you need, but I will take what I need. It will not always be gentle. It will not be decent. And it sure as hell will not be fucking business.” He pulled away quickly, leaving them both short of breath. “So, until you fully understand what it is you are agreeing to, you should not be here.” Eleanor watched as he turned away from her, leaving her standing in the middle of the room. “My Lord,” she replied. He turned and met her eyes. With confidence in her voice, she said, “I understand.” Within an instant, he had closed the space between them. His mouth pressed into hers, rough and desperate at first until they sunk into the sensation of each other. Eleanor felt the hard post of the bed in her back as he pushed her into it. She moaned into him as he his hands searched her body for relief. She met his hands at her back to assist in releasing the ties of her corset, pulling the strings almost frantically. This is it, he thought. This is what I’m meant to do. She felt her corset fall loose, leaving her dress to hang limply on her shoulders. Her King pulled himself away from her lips, stepping back slightly to allow just enough space to see her fully. With one simple motion he brushed the fabric from her skin, watching greedily as it pooled around her feet on the floor. Eleanor fought the urge to cover herself. She had studied the man in front of her for a long time. Being a part of his court for over a year now, she knew he was drawn to confidence. He was drawn to fire and passion. She lifted her head, shaking her hair slowly until it all fell down her back, revealing all of herself to the man in front of her. He watched as her breasts rose and fell with each breath, her nipples prominent in their exposure. His eyes continued down her body to the soft curls that she was sure were glistening with her own desire. Her King leaned into her again, trailing kisses to the taught nubs of her nipples, encapsulating the sensitive skin with his mouth, and lightly flicking with a skilled tongue. Eleanor moaned into his teasing. Her body responded so quickly to his touch, so intensely, she was immediately needing more. She grasped his hands that were firmly holding her rib cage and shifted them, moving them to the mounds of her backside, encouraging their massaging motions. Her King chuckled under his breath as he pulled back slightly from his ministrations. He looked up, locking eyes with her. Those blue eyes blazed with adoration, and something Eleanor else couldn’t identify but wanted to experience. She knew he could see the wanting in her gaze. He started to pepper kisses down her stomach, offering light licks as he went. Eleanor moved to run her fingers through his hair, but gasped as his hands caught her wrists. “My Lord?” “Patience, my beauty,” he growled. He moved her hands behind her back and forced her to grip the post that was still pressed into her spine. “Keep these here, or everything will change.” Eleanor wanted to touch him, needed to touch him. She stifled a whimper. Only when she nodded did he return to his game. He moved down until his mouth found the delicate folds he was looking for. With a brilliant tongue delving into her, she felt her body start to tingle and tense. Her breathing labored and it took everything in her power not to grab hold of his thick, brown hair. She moaned into him as another sensation filled her. A single finger, then two glided their way inside her, moving with the rhythm of his tongue, swirling and stroking in perfect harmony. She felt her climax approaching; she cried out for more, terrified he would stop. A white flash filled her vision as her body convulsed against his face and she tightened around his fingers still deep inside her. She stood, panting, still holding herself up by the poster bed, when her king rose to his feet in front of her. “You truly are magnificent,” he whispered. He quickly stripped his shirt off, followed by his boots and socks. “Lie on the bed.” At first, Eleanor moved to obey, but paused on a thought. Taking in the man in front of her in all his glory. He gave her a questioning look. “No,” she stated, and reached toward his chest. He recoiled ever so slightly. “As I said, if you touch me, everything changes.” With a smile, Eleanor ran the palm of her hand along his chest. Enjoying the feel of his hair under her skin. But her need was too great and they quickly moved down the button of his trousers, deftly flicking it open, allowing her hand to dive in and take him in her warm hand. A growl escaped him as he moved to engulf her. She put another hand on his chest to halt him before quickly falling to her knees before him. He cursed under his breath. “I believe this is the customary position for a servant, My Lord,” she teased, stroking her hand along the length of him. With her free hand, she loosened his trousers further, pushing them out of the way and down his legs. Glancing up at the man with a coy expression before taking him deep into her mouth. Relaxing her jaw to continue taking him in, until she felt the tickle of hair that surrounded the base on her nose. Swallowing around him, she felt unadulterated satisfaction as another swear escaped his lips. She began to pump, moving her head back and forth, swallowing every time he hit the back of her throat. She looked up to sweat starting to form on his forehead. His hand curled into her hair, guiding her down his cock. She massaged his sac with one hand; it didn’t take long until she felt it tighten in her hand, her King unable to stifle his groan. Eleanor was sure he was about to cum, so she increased her hand’s pressure. But quickly he ripped himself away. Wrapping his hand tightly around his member, his breath labored, he looked down at her. “I told you, everything will change.” With one hand he knelt down and tore her off the floor, depositing her on the bed. He splayed her out for him to see, while carefully stroking himself. “I’m going to ask you a question, Eleanor, and it is important that you answer honestly.” Eleanor nodded. Noticing the strain of his self-control on his face. “Are you a virgin?” Eleanor pondered for a moment, and honestly shook her head. “No.” “Good.” He yanked her across the bed, straddling her legs around his waist. She waited for him to enter her, but instead, he leaned down and kissed her. Deeply and desperately. She could still taste herself on his lips and wanted more. His hand slithered up her body, resting around her neck. His other hand went back to his cock, guiding it to the slick opening of her mound. With one swift movement, he slipped inside her. She cried out in pleasure and he stretched her around him. He paused in his moment of glory, gathering his resolve. Their eyes met, savoring their perfect fit. But Eleanor’s need overwhelmed her. She wrapped her legs around his waist, lifting to take him deeper as her muscles clenched around him. “Fuck!” he cried, as his last bit of control slipped away. He pulled himself out and quickly rammed his cock deep into her. His pace taking off at speed, each thrust more powerful than the last. Eleanor called out as pleasure took over her body. “Yes, My Lord, take me!” Her orgasm grew in her belly, her muscles tensed in anticipation. She knew it was coming, until another sensation was introduced to her. With one hand firmly around her neck, her king used his other to massage the delicate nub in her folds. The intensity was almost too much for her. As her nails dug into her mate’s back, he pulled back a little. Digging his hand in her hair, he yanked her head up to face him. “You’re going to come with me, Eleanor.” She whimpered her response, her desire becoming unbearable. “Don’t worry, my beauty. This won’t take much longer.” With that he increased the speed of his deluge, pounding his cock into her with near fury as he stimulated her clit. Within seconds her climax was mounting its peak. She worried she would come too soon, when as if from far away, she heard him cry out. “Now!” With one last series of desperate thrusts, he landed deep inside her as the walls of her sex gave way to waves of convulsions. They locked eyes as she felt the warmth of his seed fill her, laying bare the souls that now belonged to each other.