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I like to boast that Dedication was the only traditional Regency with two bondage scenes. Here’s one of them.

“Well, Mrs. Craigmont, to be quite honest, I should very much like to see this matter of the letters cleared up before I proceed any further.” Adam yawned. “That is a most attractive scarf in your hair. It is from India, I suppose?”

“Yes, it–what–?” She struggled against him as he whipped the scarf from her hair, grabbed her wrists, tied them together, and looped and knotted the ends through the carving of the back of the sofa. It happened within a heartbeat. One moment she was lulled by the smooth, deep cadence of his voice; the next she was his prisoner.

“My son’s a sailor,” he said, as though in explanation.

“Indeed. He teaches you to tie up women?”

“No, no, he’s only a sweet, innocent lad. He taught me the knots. Don’t struggle, Mrs. Craigmont, you’ll tighten them.”

“You whoreson! I’ll scream for help!”

“Do, if it makes you feel better. Everyone is out tonight, I believe.”

“Bastard!” She twisted to sit sideways and aimed a kick at him. For good measure, she opened her mouth and let out a piercing shriek.

He winced. “My dear Mrs. Craigmont.” His voice was a soothing rumble. He turned towards her, hooking his leg around hers, and trapping it against the edge of the sofa. Her other leg was still bent at the knee from her ineffectual kick, her foot resting near his thigh.

He stroked her ankle and removed her slipper. “The letters, if you please, Mrs. Craigmont. All you need do is tell me where they are, and you’ll be released. It’s quite simple.”

“You think to frighten them out of me? How very ungentlemanly.”

“No. I plan to pleasure them out of you.” He cradled her stockinged foot in his hands.

“I beg your pardon?” She drew herself up with as much dignity as she could, and stopped as she realized the action parted her legs. “You mean to force me?”

“Of course not.” He laughed. “You forget our history, Fabienne. I made you do a lot of things you’d never dreamed of doing, once. And you weren’t unwilling. You were very willing, in fact. And you can protest all you like, but I know what you look like when you’re roused, and I can see it in you now.”

“Oh, you are mistaken. You are very much mistaken. How dare you–“

“Do you remember the time I–“

“Stop!” She managed to thud her heel into his thigh and was rewarded with his grunt of pain.

“Oh, Fabienne, don’t fight me.” His hand moved on her ankle, pushing up her gown and petticoat, his fingers tickling around the back of her knee and above. She became still, scarcely breathing, and watched his fingers peel off her stocking–he took the time to examine her garter, nod approvingly, and drop it into his pocket. As his hand slid down her leg and his fingertips traced the arch of her foot, she sank back against the sofa, appalled at her reaction. Yes, he was right. Damn him, he was right. She was angry but she was also aroused.

His hand moved on her foot, a torment, fingertips teasing.

“Adam?” She could barely speak.

He gazed into her eyes, his voice low and seductive. “And the letters?”

“Pig.” She gasped for breath.

“You’re enjoying it, aren’t you? How about this?” He raised her foot to his mouth, and she felt his breath and then his mouth. It was shockingly intimate, wicked, his tongue curling on her skin, the wet, hot suck of his mouth. He stopped just long enough to murmur, “Tell me, sweetheart.”

When he nipped her toes with his teeth she shuddered, no longer caring that he saw her reaction. He raised his head and danced his fingertips over the sole of her foot. “I wonder if you’ll come first. You look as though you could.”

“You filthy pervert!” she gasped. Heat pooled in her belly, simmered at her nipples. She arched her back despite herself and panted, trying to draw her foot away. “I won’t tell you.”

“No? Come, Fabienne. Tell me. Release your secrets for me.”

The doorbell rang.

Neither of them moved for a second, frozen.

“Oh, good heavens, it’s Elaine, it must be, back early. There’s no one to answer the door. For God’s sake, let me go.” Fabienne struggled against him as he leaned between her outstretched legs and pulled the scarf loose.

He was laughing, God damn him.

“My stocking, where is it?” She bundled her hair up and tied the scarf around it.

Adam plucked her stocking from the floor and tossed it onto her lap.

“And the garter,” she snapped.

“No, I’ll keep that.”

“You will not. Give it to me, if you please. How can I put the stocking on if I do not have the garter?”

The doorbell jangled again.

“It joins my arsenal,” he said. “I’d be happier still if you gave me its fellow, and in heaven if you gave up the letters. Have pity on a poor, lonely widower. Think of it as fairly won in the jousts of love.”

“You intend to tie it around your lance?” She was mortified by his burst of ribald laughter. Furious, she stuffed the stocking into her pocket, found her slipper on the floor and jammed her foot into it. She took a quick look in the mirror–God, she looked half-ravished, her cheeks flushed and her hair in wild disorder–then ran downstairs to let in Elaine and Susan.

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