Codename: #Twitchy

Romance Novel book cover image by Jenn LeBlanc and Studio Smexy for Illustrated Romance

Yes, yes, it has been quite some time that I’ve spoken of this elusive manuscript. But here she is, in her final glory and I find a bit of sadness at having to remove certain scenes that I loved so very much.

Including this one.

Oranges. I love the bright smell of oranges. 

I can’t talk too much about the book, but I think this scene doesn’t need too much backstory to make it work. So I wanted to share it here, completely unedited, raw and a bit… sticky.

These words may not make the final cut to the manuscript, but they are still mine.

©2014 Jenn LeBlanc

pain of death and all that.


When the sun cast its gaze upon the lovers at daybreak, Amelia nuzzled into Charles’ broad chest, the sparse hair tickling her nose until she sneezed.

“Bless you.” Charles said. 

“Oh I beg your pardon, that came upon me rather suddenly.”


“Not to worry. We should be rising, and putting you back to rights so we can return to the Manor House. As much as I like the Cliff House I don’t believe we can spend our days here. As they might find us.” Charles said. 

“Charles, what of Hugh?” she asked. 

“It will work itself out.” Charles sounded convinced, she recognized it as his ducal voice, and it was quite reassuring, as she was sure he meant for it to be.  

“Do you think so?” Amelia asked. 

“I’ve every faith in it.” Charles responded. 

Charles rose and stoked the fire buck-naked, then pushed a kettle over the fire to warm. He then pulled a throw around himself and walked outside, ostensibly, to the pump to retrieve some more water. 

He shuffled about in such a simple manner, as though he were perfectly content to care for himself. It was rather endearing, she thought as she watched him. 

“How on earth did you come to know how to warm a pot of tea?” she asked Charles as she watched him.

Charles turned from stoking up the fire in the grate and smiled a brilliant smile, “Oh there is no end to the talents you shall find in your husband.”

She blushed at his obvious pride. “As I have seen, but tell me now, how did this bit of housewifery come about?” 

“Housewifery? Where on earth did you come up with that word?” Charles asked. 

“I do believe I pulled it straight from my head.” Amelia said. 

“Housewifery.” He mumbled with a smile. “Well, as the son of a Duke I was not allowed to do a thing for myself, as you know… but I’ve a friend who recently took pity on me, taught me a few useful tasks.” Charles said, then frowned. He seemed to consider something, then shook it off. “Come here and let me wash you.” Charles said. 

“I beg your pardon?” his sudden change of topic shocked her. 

“You heard me, I wish to wash my wife.” Charles replied. 


Charles chuckled. “You heard me as clearly as I spoke it, you are my wife in all ways but one, and that shall be remedied soon enough.”

She wiggled from the bed and walked over to him, the long sheet trailing after her on the floor. 

Charles warmed the pan of water with the steaming kettle, then poured the rest of the water into the teapot and the biggen and set coffee and tea in to steep. 

Charles’ hands were quite nimble, she found, as she watched them move quickly at their task. He picked up a towel of cotton and soaked it in the pan, then reached to her face. He held her steady with one hand at the small of her back as he smoothed the cotton across her features. The warm water, followed by the crisp morning air was refreshing and she relaxed into it, letting her head fall back, feeling Charles’ hand skim higher between her shoulder blades to steady her.

Charles rinsed the cotton and moved to her shoulders, shifting the blanket down. She sighed as he washed her breasts slowly, the gaining circles arousing her as the chill rose her nipples to tight buds. 

“We need to make our way back to the Manor soon.” she whispered.

“Ah yes,” Charles said, his breath drawing gooseflesh across her belly as he knelt before her and continued his ministrations. 

She giggled as he reached her feet, tickling the bottoms before letting them rest on the sheet below her. 

He stood and turned toward the teapot. “I imagine this will be overpowerful if we do not drink it soon.”

He eyes fluttered. “Oh?”

“Yes, the tea.” Charles said as he turned her toward the little table and set her in the chair, pulling another blanket around her since the sheet was now on the floor. 

Charles served her some fruit and cheese, fixed her the perfect cup of tea —if a bit stout— then sat across from her in his own blanket. 

 “We will get you back to Pemberley, then I’m off to Castleberry Keep to finish preparations. I would ask that you begin to pack your things, I would very much like for you to be settled in your new home before the wedding.”

“My new home.” Amelia felt the smile break and knew the truth of it then. Without Hugh, all the words, all the thoughts, all the preparations were nothing. She loved him in equal measure to Charles, albeit differently. She felt barren. She wanted Charles to be everything. Hugh had made his choice… he had left them, and so they had to move on. But could she? Hugh was such an integral part— 

“Amelia?” Charles asked as he reached for an orange, inspecting it, then tearing it into two separate halves with his hands. 

“You have been so very patient.” Amelia said.

Charles looked up to her, between bites of the orange, the juice pouring over his fingers as he demolished the poor fruit over a plate. “Well, I have proven nothing if not my patience. Beyond that— what is there but my undying affection and my will to please. I am your servant.”

As he spoke the tangy, bright scent of the orange washed over her and she breathed deeply, wanting to always remember this moment by that scent. “I suppose peeling an orange was beyond your lessons in housewifery?” Amelia said attempting to lighten her mood. 

Charles held his hands up, dripping with massacred citrus and smiled. “A bit, I suppose. But I love them terribly.” Charles said. 


“Yes, oranges, they’re delicious.” Charles replied playfully. This was an entirely new side of him and it emboldened her. She wondered just how long his mettle had been in a bind. 

“Well, let me see.” She stood and moved to him, leaning over and licking straight up his chin to his mouth, then sucking his lip between hers. He groaned and his eyes widened. 

“Oh dear me, you have made a bit of a mess.” She said as she knelt before him and took his hand, sucking the first finger in her mouth, then moving to the next. 

“Amelia.” he grumbled. 

“Goodness, you should sit still, after all I never once complained when you so very thoughtfully washed me.” she said before moving to the next finger. She watched as his eyes darkened.

“Amelia— we… this…”

She took up the bits of orange and squeezed what was left over his chest, the juice running down to be caught by his navel. She leaned in and sucked the juice from the small divot then ran her tongue up the center of his body to his neck, where she paused, sucking at the little hollow below his throat. He swallowed, her tongue playing across his neck as he attempted to speak again. 

“As you please.” she said, rising and moving across the room to the basin where she dropped the blanket and rinsed her hands. 

Charles simply watched. She wished she could make a photograph of him like this, shocked to his bones. Charles’ mouth was extraordinarily dry considering he had only moments ago finished an orange. 

A rather large one at that. 

Charles was across the room in three strides. He captured her mouth, the tangled flavors of oranges and strawberries between them. 

“Charles.” she breathed

“Yes Amelia?” he responded. 

“I find I quite like oranges as well.” Charles said as his hands roamed her figure. She was sticky when he touched her, the juice from his hands like a bit of glue between their skin. 

“Charles, you only just bathed me.” She said quietly as he pressed his sticky sweet chest against her. 

“I have no qualm with doing such again, and again, and again…” he felt her small hand on his chest and he looked at her. “What is it?” he asked quietly. 

“I can’t help but feel we’re avoiding much more important conversations by… with… well—”

He tightened his grip on her, bringing forth a sigh, then released her. He kissed her quickly and turned to the basin. “I suppose that is easier than the alternative, and as it brings pleasure whereas the discussion we need to have is naught but pain…” 

She nodded. The two of them stood at the basin then, and washed away the bright scent of the oranges. It saddened her somewhat, that she had managed to taint the memory. She reached for him as he turned away, but let her hand fall between them, the thought halted.

Coming soon— to be kept apprised of release dates and other snippets, please subscribe to my newsletter HERE


Absolute Surrender - Cover

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