Sorry folks, I had to take a break from writing "A small decision" due to 1) finishing a contract for my latest novel, Magic Eights. 2)finishing a Steampunk story for a Shakespeare Steampunk anthology and 3) the need to write several outtakes before my muse will let me write the next chapter of "A small decision". Therefore, I give you this to tide you over. Thanks to everyone who reads! Come follow me on twitter at elainelowe


One night they'd been working late, Nikola having insisted that he could improve upon Bell's telephone by making it wireless. She'd been humoring his arrogant claims, as she usually did, when he'd sent her to her room and told her to get some sleep, but to not let her receiver out of her sight. She'd been half undressed, in her petticoat and stays, when she'd been startled by the ringing of the huge handset she'd dragged upstairs on Nikola's insistence. She'd answered, her fingers shaking slightly, "Yes?"

"Tell me, sweet Helen, did I disturb your dreams of me?"

She shrieked, and ran out of the room, still carrying the handset, down the servants stairs and all the way to the laboratory setup in her home's basement. She set down the handset and thrown her arms around him, and hugged him. "Nikola, you are a marvel, for all your bluster." She kissed him on the cheek, and he'd looked at her, uncharacteristically speechless, his eyes running down her barely dressed frame held in his arms.

He'd swallowed heavily, his eyes snapping back to her face, and he'd smirked, "I suppose I deserve such a tantalizing reward, given your earlier doubt of me.

She'd realized her state of dishabille, and she should have immediately run. But she'd paused, so briefly, staring at Nikola's lips, so very close to hers. She could have kissed him then. She could have let her boundless admiration for him overflow its banks to become something more. But she was terrified that he would change, that he would treat her differently, that their strange friendship would be lost if she dared to indulge in something more….

"Can I kiss you, Nikola?" What had possessed her to ask, she could not have said. Perhaps a random firing of neurons better left to lie in peace. But she would never be so grateful for her tongue's tendency to prefer honesty over obfuscation.

For Nikola smiled, not a smirk or a leer or a grimace, but a true, wide smile that made her heart skip a beat. "I thought you would never ask."

He bet his head ever so slightly, pressing his lips against hers with a warm firmness that stole her breath. She was thirty, and found herself in the world on men more often than most females of her time, and she'd had many a kiss stolen. But she'd never given one, and she'd never let herself feel the wonder of another's lips against hers. She'd thought of Nikola's lips more than could ever be considered proper. But her thoughts, always swirling, always flying through her mind at a rapid face, burst into disorganized chaos with the feel of his kiss.

She could never rightly recall who had opened their mouth first. She'd read of such thing, but never had she imagined participating in such an exotic pastime. But his tongue traced over her lips and swept into her mouth, and their heads tilted and meshed in a beautiful dance that left them both breathless.

When she finally needed to breathe, she noticed that she was no longer standing on unsteady feet, but was sitting ensconced in Nikola's lap as he sat on a sturdy chair in the lab. She also noticed a hardness beneath her derriere that her analytical brain soon realized must be a blatant appreciation of their kiss on Nikola's part.

His lips moved to her ear, his whispered breath so soft against her skin she shivered. "Moj andjelu…" He nipped softly the skin under her ear and she gasped the sudden slight pain sending sparks straight to her womb. She suddenly understood passion and desire more than she ever had before.

"Nikola, I…I don't know what I'm doing…" she ran her fingers through his hair, loving the sensual feel of it between her fingers.

He lifted his head from her neck to look her in the eye, "Helen, ljubavi, I have very little practical experience, other than a Croatian barmaid and too much ale – one reason I never touch the stuff." She pressed a quick kiss to her lips. "But in truth, I am as lost as you, sweet one. I am lost in you." He kissed her again, his mouth open and inviting and luring hers to dance again. Despite being entangled in the kiss, she felt his hand stroke up her side and softly caress the outside of her breast, barely contained in her chemise and stays. She hummed, her body practically singing in response to the touch of those long, nimble fingers.

Her own hands began to roam, down his neck, playing with the errand short curls at the base of his skull, her fingers tracing all the skin she could reach. At this hour, his cravat was loose and she pulled at it until it gave way, and her fingers caressed his Adam's apple with delight. It was so rare to see a man's neck, so erotic, the scent of his skin drive her to undulate in his lap, feeling the hardness of him and wanting, as always, to know more.

His thumbs traced over her nipples and she pulled back, her eyes clenched shut and her teeth pushing into her bruised bottom lip, the pleasure almost indescribable.

"I…I'm sorry, Helen…I should not take advantage…."

She opened her eyes, letting all her desire, all her love shine in the gaslight of the room. "It is simply too good, Nikola. Too wonderful to take. But I…I want to…I am so very curious to know you."

Her fingers plucked at the studs of his shirtfront, and without words his helped her, ridding himself of waistcoat and shirt, kicking off his shoes and then finally pulling off his undershirt, leaving him in nothing but his trousers. "I am yours to study, lbujavi."

Her hands smoothed across the pale skin of his chest, defined by the twenty seven laps he swam every day. She could now appreciate the purpose of such exercise, for he looked like the statues she'd seen in the British Museum, wiry and lean and perfect. His sucked in a breath, his eyes raking over her blushing skin, and she wondered what it would be like to be bare to him, to have his hand roam over her breasts as she caressed him, fingers circling small dark nipples and watching the blood pound under the skin of his throat.

Her hands drew lower, over the muscles of his abdomen and to the fastening of his trousers, her curiosity insistent on investigation of that alluring hardness beneath her.

His hand laid a top of hers then, halting her, the fingers of his other hand under her chin, drawing her up to look into his grey blue eyes.

"I would have you as a partner, Helen. To investigate worlds unknown. A partner for a lifetime, not just for a night."

Reality swept over her, pushing passion and curiosity aside with an abruptness she resented. But his words…what more could she want in life? "Are you asking me to marry you, Niko? To make an honest woman out of me?"

He laughed, a sweet rich sound that made her shake on his lap and smile in response. "Yes, my love. That is generally what a man wishes to ask the woman he'll love for a lifetime."

He kissed her before she could answer, and her hands threaded through his hair, pulling him to her to deepen the kiss until neither of them could breathe. His hands cupped her breasts fully, pulling them out of her chemise and exposing them to the cool air of the room, a shock against the heat of her skin. He pulled away to look down at her, his fingers stroking her revealed skin as she panted for breath. His eyes were so dark, almost sapphire when he looked into her face, seeking an answer.

"Yes, Nikola Tesla. I will marry you."

He smiled widely, then swept down to capture a nipple in his mouth. She gasped in shock, then clutched his head to her, raking her nails over his scalp and moaning in an utterly wanton manner. She could feel him smile into her skin and she almost wanted to slap the smirk from his beloved face, but she did not want to interrupt his current project.

Sharp sweet pleasure ran through her like the electricity Nikola so loved, she wondered if it fired in his blood and spread from his touch, or if every couple in love and lust managed to feel such bliss.

She wanted more, something just out of reach but hovering so tantalizingly close. Her hips moved without her conscious decision and Nikola groaned as she teased his hardness, an accidental temptress. He moved to her other nipple, the fingers of one hand stroking the abandoned bud while his other hand began to stroke the scandalously bare skin of her ankle.

She tried to repress a moan, not willing to let him know the power he was exerting so effortlessly over her body.

"Are you certain that you have no great experience in this, Nikola?" She sucked in a breath between her teeth as his teeth bit her nipple and pleasure shot through her belly.

"Only impeccable instincts, Helen love."

Not to be outdone in this game, she tried to focus her thoughts and swept her fingers once again over his stomach, her hands intent on their prey.

His trousers succumbed without a great deal of protest, no doubt relieved to be released from the insistent pressure on their seams. She wrapped her hand around his manhood and drew it out of confinement. She'd read countless medical journals and read erotic manuals with a sense of fascinated detachment. She was not a green young thing, but she'd never held a cock in her hand, soft hot skin and hard flesh, the pulse of blood alive and needful under her touch.

He groaned and his hands pushed up past her knee to scrape his nails along the inside of her thigh under her bloomers. "You play with fire, lbujavi. I've wanted you far too long to playact the proper British gentleman and restrain myself."

"But I've never wanted the proper British gentleman, Nikola. Far too dull for me." She stroked her hand up and down the length of him, marveling in the harsh sound of his moan. His hand came to wrap gently around hers and she stared down at him, at their hands entwined around his organ. He was beautiful, and she was utterly captivated by the raw power she felt having him literally in the palm of her hand, bringing him pleasure enough that words failed his clever tongue.

A few more strokes and he spurted white seed against their hands and her chemise and the look of utter replete and satisfaction touched his features. She leaned forward to press a kiss against his lips, and was started when his hands settled on her hips and he picked her up, sliding out of the chair and plopping her down on its hard surface without a word. He knelt at her feet, spreading her knees indecently apart and lifting her skirts to her stomach without the least effort to obtain her acquiescence.

She gasped in fury as he split the seam of her bloomers and commenced to stare at her most private parts with a look at intense focus that he usually reserved for coils of metal and capacitors. "Nikola!" She cried out, and he looked up at her with surprise and a fair amount of annoyance.

"Helen, I'm trying to return the favor. But you are much more of a mystery than a mere man. One moment and I promise to put forth my best efforts."

With that utterly confident statement he pressed the pad of one finger just over the slick folds near her clitoris and she let the tension fall away. She hadn't known that this was what she'd needed until he began to swirl circles around that little bud. She'd always wondered why she'd found his long nimble finger so fascinating, and realized her body had predicted their uses far before her mind could have comprehended.

She moaned softly and he smiled in the most infuriating sexy manner. She braced her hands on his shoulders and pushed her hips to the edge of the chair, opening her legs wide and giving in to anything he wanted to do to her. When he slid a finger within her sheath, she drew in a quick breath, the sensation foreign and fascinating. His face was a study in discovery, as his intense focus was on the sensory information begin gathered by his fingers and not with his eyes.

"You feel like silk, Helen. Like hot slick silk. I always thought those books must be exaggerations, but they are all complete drivel compared to the reality of you."

She smiled, but had to close her eyes as his fingers found some spot against the front wall of her sheath that was amazingly sensitive.

"Ah yes, there. I had wondered if that would be accurate."

"Stop studying me, Nikola."

"You like me studying you, just as I like you studying me. The better to learn your pleasure, my sweet." He pressed against that spot again, the fingers of his other hand coming up to swirl around the bud of her clitoris.

"Yes!" She cried, the clenching ache of passion she'd felt from the first kiss breaking like a wave, releasing sparked behind her closed eyes.

He caught her in his arms as she tumbled from the chair, holding her close as they lay sprawled on the floor, his arms cradling her as her head lay limp on his chest, her legs splayed open across his half bare thighs.

Nikola broke the silence of heavy breathing. "How long before we can be properly married, my love?"

"To be without scandal, a good six months at least. Three if we don't mind some talk."

"I think we couldn't risk more than a month. Between your insatiable curiosity and my ingenious irresistibility, the risk of the both of us being utterly, completely, and profoundly compromised before reaching the state of matrimony is incalculably high."

She giggled against his chest. "My dear Nikola, I think you overestimate our willpower, expecting us to last a month entire. Give me time enough to prevent any premarital conceptions, and I fully plan on indulging my curiosity to the limits of your endurance."

He growled at her, pulling her up and kissing her hard, his cock already half hard against her stomach. "You'll be the life and death of me, lbujavi."