"Ovid didn't know anything about love," I told him one day. I was lounging on a sofa, caught up in one of the literary discussions we so often stumbled into. His ability to engage in these talks added to his allure. He looked up at me with mock incredulity, pausing in his painting.
"Nothing about love? Woman, bite your tongue! He's the authority! He wrote books on it. Books that are still read and used today."
I sat up from my undignified repose. "They aren't relevant. They were written for a different time. He devotes pages to telling men where to meet women. But those places aren't around anymore. Women don't go to races or fights. We can't even linger in public areas anymore." This came out with more bitterness than I intended. The artistic culture of this time was wonderful, but it had come with a restriction of female roles that differed from those I'd grown used to in other places and eras.
"Perhaps," Niccolò agreed. "But the principles are still the same. As are the techniques."
"Techniques?" I repressed a snort. Honestly, what could a mere mortal know about seduction techniques? "They're nothing but superficial gestures. Give your ladylove compliments. Talk about things you have in common - like the weather. Help her fix her dress if it gets mussed. What does any of that have to do with love?"
"What does anything have to do with love anymore? If anything, those comments are particularly applicable now. Marriage is all about business." He tilted his head toward me in a speculative manner that was typical of him. "You've done something with your hair today that's extremely pretty, by the way."
I paused in return, thrown off by the compliment. "Thank you. Anyway. You're right: marriage is business. But some of them are love matches. Or love can grow. And plenty of clandestine affairs, no matter how 'sinful,' are based on love."
"So your problem is that Ovid is ruining what love is still left?" His eyes drifted to the window, and he frowned. "Does it look like it'll rain out there?"
The zeal of this topic seized hold of me, making his abrupt interruptions that much more annoying. "Yes - what? I mean, no, it won't rain, and, yes, that's what he's doing. Love is already so rare. By approaching it like a game, he cheapens what little there is."
Niccolò abandoned his brushes and colors and sat down next to me on the couch. "You don't think love is a game?"
"Sometimes - all right, most of the time - yes, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't - " I stopped. His fingers had slid to the edge of my dress's neckline. "What are you doing?"
"This is crooked. I'm straightening it."
I stared and then started laughing as the ruse revealed itself. "You're doing it. You're following his advice."
"Is it working?"
I reached for him. "Yes."
He pulled back. This wasn't what he'd expected. He'd only intended to tease me, proving his point with a game. Averting his eyes, he began to rise.
"I should get back to work...." He was rarely thrownoff, and I'd disarmed him.
Gripping him with surprising strength, I jerked him back to me and pressed my lips to his. They were soft and sweet, and after a few stunned moments, he responded, his tongue moving eagerly into my mouth. Then, realizing what he was doing, he drew away once more.
"I'm sorry. I shouldn't have..."
I could see the longing in his eyes, the desire he'd held back since working for me. He wanted me, but even a roguish artistic type felt it was wrong to do this with an unmarried, upper-class woman - particularly one who'd employed him.
"You started it," I warned in a low voice. "You were trying to prove me wrong about Ovid. Looks like it worked."
I put my hand behind his neck, pulling his mouth back down to my own. He still initially resisted, but it didn't last. And when his hand began slowly pushing up the folds of my skirts, I knew I'd won and that it was time to retreat to the bedroom.
Once there, he abandoned any attempts at decorum. He pushed me down onto the bed, the fingers that so deftly painted walls now fumbling to release me from my complicated dress and its layers of rich fabrics.
When he had me stripped down to my thin chemise, I took charge, removing his clothing with a brisk efficiency and delighting in the way his skin felt under my fingertips as my hands explored his body. Straddling him, I lowered my face and let my tongue dance circles around his ni**les. They hardened within my mouth, and I had the satisfaction of hearing him cry out softly when my teeth grazed their tender surface.
Moving downward, I trailed kisses along his stomach - down, down to where he stood hard and swollen. Delicately, I ran my tongue against his erection, from base to tip. He cried out again, that cry turning to a moan when I took him into my mouth. I felt him grow between my lips, becoming harder and larger, as I slowly moved up and down.
Without even realizing what he did, I think, he raked his hands through my hair, getting his fingers caught up in the elaborate pinning and carefully arranged curls. Sucking harder, I increased my pace, exalting in the feel of him filling up my mouth. The early twinges of his energy began seeping into me, like glittering streams of color and fire. While not physically pleasurable per se, it sparked me in a similar way, waking up my succubus hunger and igniting my flesh, making me long to touch him and be touched in return.
"Ah...Bianca, you shouldn't..."
I momentarily released him from my mouth, letting my hand continue the work of stroking him closer to climax. "You want me to stop?"
"I...well, ah! No, but women like you don't...you aren't supposed to..."
I laughed, the sound low and dangerous in my throat. "You have no idea what kind of woman I am. I want to do this. I want to feel you in my mouth...taste you..."
"Oh God," he groaned, eyes closed and lips parted.
His muscles tensed, body arching slightly, and I just managed to return him to my mouth in time. He came, and I took it all in as his body continued to spasm. The life energy trickling into me spiked in intensity, and I nearly had a climax of my own. We'd only just started, and I was already getting more life from him than I'd expected. This would be a good night. When his shuddering body finally quieted, I shifted myself so that my hips wrapped around his. I ran my tongue over my lips.
"Oh God," he repeated, breathing labored and eyes wide. His hands traveled up my waist and rested under my br**sts, earning my approval. "I thought...I thought only whores did that...."
I arched an eyebrow. "Disappointed?"
"Oh, no. No."
Leaning forward, I brushed my lips against his. "Then return the favor."
He was only too eager, despite his weariness. After pulling the chemise over my head, he ravaged my body with his mouth, his hands cradling my br**sts while his lips sucked and teeth teased my ni**les, just as I'd done to him. My desire grew, my instincts urging me to take more and more of his life and stoke my body's burning need. When he moved his mouth between my legs, parting my thighs, I jerked his head up.
"You said once that I think like a man," I hissed softly. "Then treat me like one. Get on your knees."
He blinked in surprise, taken aback, but I could tell something about the force of the command aroused him. An animal glint shone in his eyes as he sank to his knees on the floor, and I stood before him, my backside leaning against the bed.
Hands clutching my hips, he pressed his face against the soft patch of hair between my thighs, his tongue slipping between my lips and stroking the burning, swelling heart buried within. At that first touch, my whole body shuddered, and I arched my head back. Fueled by this reaction, he lapped eagerly, letting his tongue dance with a steady rhythm. Twining my hands in his hair, I pushed him closer to me, forcing him to taste more of me, to increase the pressure of his tongue upon me.
When the burning, delicious feeling in my lower body could take no more, it burst, like the sun exploding. Like fire and starlight coursing through me, setting every part of me tingling and screaming. Imitating what I'd done to him earlier, he didn't remove his mouth until my climax finally subsided, my body still twitching each time his tongue tauntingly darted out and teased that oh-so-sensitive area.
When he finally broke away, he looked up with a bemused smile. "I don't know what you are. Subservient...dominant...I don't know how to treat you."
I smiled back, my hands caressing the sides of his face. "I'm anything you want me to be. How do you want to treat me?"