Seducing the Regency DomBy: Raven McAllan
London, England 1818
"'Tis all well and good for you, Stephen." Anthony Provost, The Earl of Sentern grumbled to his longtime friend and confidant, as they sat side-by-side in Whites. "You have a wife who adores you."
Stephen Brasher nodded. "And I adore Jane," Stephen said. His eyes took on a glazed look. Tony sighed.
The only other occupant of the room apart from them—an elderly baron—snoozed under a copy of The Times, and his snores ruffled the sheets. Tony raised one eyebrow and grimaced. He could see himself ending up like Stallinborough if he didn't get his life sorted out.
"Stop interrupting," Tony said in a mock severe tone to Stephen. "And take the sappy look from your face. It's a disgrace. You two lovebirds are an anomaly. Now, to continue: You have your wife, your heir and your spare. What do I have? Nothing, except a need to wed and do whatever necessary to keep Sentern Court out of the hands of my ignoramus of a cousin. Mama is parading a series of insipid so-called beauties in front of me at every opportunity. Lord, Steve, if they saw a man without his waistcoat, they'd run and hide. A cock? Doesn't bear thinking about. My playroom? Well." He shrugged. "Not a cat in Hell’s chance, I'd say. Or a deb in chains."
Stephen patted him on the shoulder and stood up. "Sadly, I think I must agree. Jane and I grew up together, and explored what we like together. It's not something you can bring up in polite conversation easily, is it? ‘By the way, my dear, I have a penchant for bondage and wax play. Don't worry––I use Spermaceti oil candles, which don't burn you as easily. Oh, and do you know just how creative I can be with a flogger?’"
That was the problem, Tony thought glumly, as Stephen departed to return to his wife and left Tony to listen to the snores and snorts of Stallinborough by himself. If—when—he married, he wanted to be faithful. It didn't matter that a mistress was de rigeuer and expected of men of the Ton. He intended to be like Stephen and buck the trend. Even if, God forbid, he had to temper his dominant tendencies…provided he could.
With a sigh loud enough to wake the devil—but apparently not Stallinborough, who slumbered on—Tony left the club and walked briskly along Piccadilly. His mind was busy, as he thought of the numerous young ladies his Mama had found necessary to introduce him to over the past few weeks. It seemed she thought that at three and thirty years of age he needed to curb his excesses and settle down. Even though she had delicately mentioned that she understood the needs of gentlemen lay outside of the marital bed, and any good wife would understand the same.
I don't want a good wife, or a compliant one. I want a bad wife, and a submissive one. The thought made him grin. Not a likely scenario. Ever since he returned from his travels to the newly opened Far East—where he discovered, what up until then had been missing from his life—Tony had existed on a scratch-when-needed diet. A few demi monde would be prepared to submit for a hefty fee and a promise he left no marks. But it wasn't enough. Mai Li, his mistress for several years, had embraced all he did with sensuous enjoyment, and it had spoiled him for anyone else.
He'd been called home on his father's death to take up the reins of the Earldom. Much to his Mama's alleged annoyance, but he suspected, private delight, he chose not to move into the Earl’s town house. He left her and his younger sisters in residence, set up a bachelor establishment in town, and purchased a secluded manor within a few hours’ ride.
Why he furnished a room in each as a playroom, complete with the toys he'd brought back from the Far East, he had no idea. A whim, certainly, as his chances of using them were slim to nonexistent. But it gave him hope that his jades and candles might one day be used, as he desired. He smiled as he thought of his candles. Even though it was illegal to make your own, and indeed one of his peers had recently been prosecuted, Tony had no such qualms. If ever he had the chance to decorate a willing partner again, the candles would be made and tested by him, no one else. He had no intention of submitting the tender skin of a sub to something he couldn't say, with all honesty, was safe and any marks would be short lived. It was one thing to mark the skin in a sensual way, another to scar for life.