Countess Trouble

Wild Rose

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Lady Rose Fox, the new Countess of Whitmore, awoke with a sneeze. 

Momentarily disoriented, she heard a deep masculine chuckle as she rolled over and opened her eyes.

"Good morning, Madam," Lord Justin greeted her with a grin. He lay beside his new bride, propped up on one arm, a long strand of his wife's auburn hair held in his hand. Rose grinned, as she realized he had been tickling her nose with her own hair.

"Good morning, my Lord," she purred, snuggling up to him. "Could you not wait until I had awoken on my own?" she teased, licking his left nipple. 

Growling, Justin rolled her onto her back, shifting on top of her. "You were sleeping far too long for my liking. Such idleness will not be tolerated in this household, Madam," he teased, dropping adoring kisses upon her upturned face.

She caught his mouth for a brief, consolatory kiss. "My sincerest apologies, my Lord, but I seem to recall being utterly exhausted last night, although I vow I cannot reason why. Oh wait! That's right, it was my wedding night, and a certain someone kept me up until the early hours of the morning."

Justin smothered a groan against her delicate neck as Rose slid her hand down his stomach, tickling gently. 'I seem to recall being 'up' as well, Madam," he muttered, gasping as her delicate hand closed around his manhood. 

"I see that you are indeed 'up' this morning as well," she teased, stroking his hard length with her fingernail. "I vow, you are insatiable, my Lord. I am uncertain whether I shall be able to keep up with your appetites… Justin!" She ended on a startled shriek as he pinned her hands above her head and began licking his way down her slender body. Then Rose moaned in appreciation. "I love you so," she breathed.

Justin paused, tongue in her navel, to look up at his new wife. "You are my world, Rose," he told her seriously, moving back up to kiss her deeply. Her arms slid around his neck as he crushed her to his well-muscled chest. "I was so scared you would refuse to marry me," he admitted, a bit sheepishly, as he looked down into her emerald eyes.

"I have adored you forever, Justin, you knew that!" Rose scolded him.

"A childhood infatuation," he scoffed. "We grew up together, and I'd feared you had grown out of it."

"I did," she confessed. "A mere infatuation is nowhere near what I feel for you, Justin. Surely you know that!"

He smiled down at her, his hand creeping between her thighs. "I do now, and I will never let you go, now that I have you!" he swore, cupping her hot centre.

"Promise?" she gasped, arching her back into him. As he tickled her intimately, she moaned and thrashed upon the bed. Rose grasped the curtain that Justin had drawn around the bed the night before. She managed to tug it open partway as she desperately clung to it. "Oh, my Lord, you have such a wicked tongue! I....oh! Yes, more! Justin!" she cried as his plundering tongue teased her nearly to completion. 

As Rose gasped, twisting beneath her husband, the curtains parted and a shaft of sunlight fell across the bed, hitting her in the eyes. Immediately she sneezed, three quick, embarrassed "tichoo!"s that shook her body. 

She could feel Justin grinning, and she blushed deeply. "I am so sorry, my Lord," she whispered. "I cannot help it; you know my allergies and such." Rose turned her head away, tears threatening, but Justin once again moved back up to cradle her against his chest.

"Truly, Rose, your sneezes do not bother me. In fact, they are really rather adorable." He kissed her eyelids, licking away her tears. "Please don't cry," he whispered, suddenly serious, framing her face with gentle hands. "I cannot stand it."

Sniffing, Rose looked up into adoring grey eyes. "I will hold you to your words when springtime comes, my Lord," she teased with a small smile, pulling him down to kiss him with all the love she felt.


Later on that afternoon, Justin walked into his library to find his delectable new wife in the midst of a sneezing fit as she searched the very top shelves for a certain book. Perched precariously on top of a rickety stepladder, Rose clung with one hand for dear life as she sneezed again and again into her handkerchief. 

"Damn....atchoo!...dust....aichoo! tchoo! choo! ACHOO!" she muttered between sneezes. 

Justin paused beneath the ladder, admiring the view up her skirts as she wavered, trying to keep a hold of the book clutched to her chest with the arm she was using to stifle her sneezes. The final sneeze rocked her slender frame and her slipper slid off the step. With a shriek and a sneeze she fell. Moving with lightning-quick reflexes, Justin caught her, pinning her to his chest.

"Rose!" he thundered as she weakly sneezed against his shoulder. "You could have broken your foolish neck! Do not EVER do anything so... so reckless again!"

"Oh Justin," she sneezed, "relax, I am perfectly fine. Well, except for all this du...du....duhhhatchoo!" Groaning, she snuggled up against his broad chest. "You are my hero, my Lord."

"I am going to beat you," he swore. "Rose, I am serious, I do not want you landing on your head the next time. Are you listening to me? Rose?"

In between sneezes Rose was unbuttoning his shirt. With a sigh of delight she slid her hands inside to rub his warm flesh. Her tongue darted out and licked his nipple. A fierce shudder tore through Justin, his arms reflexively clutching Rose tighter to him. He shuddered again as she sneezed, the cool air stimulating after her warm mouth.

"Witch!" he ground out as he strode towards the sofa. "You have bewitched me. Ah, yes, my love, keep doing that!" Swiftly he shed his boots and unbuttoned his breeches. It was a simple matter to hoist Rose's skirts, and an instant later he was snug in her warmth. 

"My Lord!" Rose gasped in pleasure, her teeth nipping at his shoulder. As the first ripples of her climax began to take over, the dust from the sofa reached Rose's nose. 

Her hand flew to her nose, but it was too late. She slipped over the edge, shuddering in Justin's arms. Her clenching muscles triggered Justin's release, and he buried his face against her ample chest. Her breath caught, and helplessly she ducked her head into the sensitive area between Justin's neck and shoulder as she sneezed four times. 

"Ahtshoo! Ahcschoo! AhTCHOO! AhTISHOOO!"

Twitching away, Justin chuckled. "That tickles, Rose!" 

"Ah...ah...ah...sorry, Ju....ah!" She stammered, the final sneeze stuck and tickling her nose terribly as they both came back down to earth. "I...I'm....ah...ah...oh, dammit, th...thi...ah!" 

Her frantic little breaths made Justin smile. "You are going to hyperventilate, my love," he warned, kissing the side of her neck.

"I...I...AHHH …TISSHOOOOHH! Oh, my apologies, my Lord, my timing is awful," she said with a rueful grimace.

"I love you, Rose," he whispered, kissing her ear.

"And I, you, Justin."


The next day found Rose sitting in the library, curled up before a fire and reading. Justin had been forced to leave early in the morning to attend to estate duties, and Rose was missing him. Soon after lunch, there came a tentative knock on the library door. 

"Come in," Rose called, looking up expectantly. Her welcoming smile faltered a bit when she saw that it was merely a maid, and not her husband, but she was still polite to the girl. "Yes?"

"Beggin' yer pardon, m'lady," the young girl began hesitantly, her eyes fixed on the floor, "but 'is lordship bade me fetch you and bring you to 'im. 'Es's in the catacombs below the 'ouse."

Grinning in delight, both at the prospect of seeing Justin and at the chance to explore the catacombs, Rose stood immediately, saying, "Of course! Where is he, down there already?"

At the maid's nod, Rose headed out of the library. "Well, then, show me the way."

The Counts of Whitmore traditionally lived in a castle on the coast of Scotland, and Justin had inherited the ancestral manor when his parents had died the year before. He was extremely careful to keep the entrance to the catacombs sealed unless he himself desired to venture down, as they were only partially explored, and dangerous. The maid, however, had the keys, and she led Rose down to the cellar, where the entrance was located. She fitted a key in the lock and swung open the dusty door, which creaked terribly. 

Eagerly Rose darted through the door, her lantern held aloft. Immediately inside she halted, however, as her breath caught.

"Are you alright, m'lady?" the maid asked, seeing Rose swiftly cover her mouth and nose with a clean, white handkerchief.

"I...I...ah...oh dear," Rose muttered, the tickle fierce in her nose as she inadvertently inhaled the musty air. She rolled her eyes in disgust as the sneeze hovered just out of reach. "I c...cannot afford to sn...sneeze," she struggled to explain to the astonished maid. "The mildew, see. If...if...I start, I shall never stop!"

She was forced to stand there, embarrassment at her sensitive nose mounting, as she struggled to overcome the desperate urge to sneeze. Finally, after several moments of frantically indrawn breaths, she seemed to overcome the need, and motioned the maid to lead the way. She kept the handkerchief firmly pressed to her nose, as it seemed to successfully filter out the dreaded mould and mildew that Rose was so terribly allergic to.

"Whatever ye say, madam," the maid muttered as she lead the way down the pitch-black corridor.

"Justin is down here already, you say?" Rose asked after a time. The passageway twisted and turned, descending deep into the bowels of the earth, and she saw no sign of anyone having ventured down in a long time.

"Aye m'lady, 'e said 'e'd be through the next door....ah, 'ere it is, now!" the maid exclaimed in some relief. She knelt in the dust in front of the door to fit another key into the lock. It took her a few moments as she inhaled some of the dust and was forced to pause and sneeze twice. Mumbling an apology she swung the door open and led Rose inside.

"This 'ere passage leads out of these caves to the shore. Can ye feel the breeze?" the maid asked as they walked along. "Truly, the air is much better 'ere, madam, ye should be able to breathe."

Rose paused to remove the handkerchief from her nose and inhale deeply in relief, never thinking to doubt the young woman's word. She instantly knew she had made a mistake, however. The air, if anything, was worse, and her nose immediately protested. Doubling over with sneeze after sneeze, Rose was astonished when the maid snatched her handkerchief from her hand and bolted back the way they had come. Helpless in the grip of one of the worst sneezing fits of her life, Rose was unable to even move. Distantly she heard the door behind her slam shut, the maid sneeze twice more, then lock the door.

Without a handkerchief Rose was forced to bury her face in her hands as she sneezed uncontrollably in a rapid fire fit of "Haachh! haachh! haachh!" Through the haze of her agony she realized that she would never be able to stop sneezing unless she could blow her nose and clear it of the spores. As a vision of Justin finding her down there days later, still sneezing her head off, flashed into her head, Rose forced herself to lower her hands, to try and rip off part of her petticoat. It took her several agonizing minutes to accomplish her goal, as allergic tears blurred her vision and more and more dust irritated her nose, causing her sneezes to become harsher and wetter.

Finally, however, she succeeded in ripping the material and gratefully brought it to her nose. It took her even longer to manage to catch enough breath to blow her nose, but eventually she managed to get her attack under some semblance of control.

"I am.....aaaaahiitchooo!...going to fire that fool maid...aaaphishoo! soon as I get out of these... aaaaah... aaaaaaah.... aaaaaaaah... damn... aaaaaaaaahhhhhhh.... caves... ahhhhh!"

Frustration at the stuck sneeze made Rose furious as she marched back to the door, lantern in one hand, handkerchief held to her nose with the other. She knelt by the door, but without hope. She could see that the girl had smashed the lock, and the door was thus unopenable. Rose heaved a sigh of frustration, then sneezed hugely. "Ah-HITSCHOOO!"

"Well, there's no other option," she said stoutly to herself. "I shall have to go on, and hope there's another way out."


"Damn it, I shall expire from sneezing if I do not get out of here!" Rose complained to herself twenty minutes later. She had come to another locked door, and was presented with a problem. She was capable of picking the lock, she thought, but she needed both hands to do so, and that meant removing the cloth from her nose.

"Ah well," she sighed fatalistically, dropping to her knees and setting down both cloth and lantern to remove a pin from her hair. She held her breath as long as she could, but it was not nearly long enough, and as soon as she gasped for air she began sneezing again. And this time, despite thoroughly blowing her nose several times, she couldn't stop. The sneezes became harsher and faster, and it became harder and harder for Rose to catch her breath. Just as she was on the verge of fainting, she heard an enormous crash come from behind her, and Justin's frantic shouts.

"Rose! What the devil are you doing down here? Are you all right?" he demanded urgently as he strode around the corner and swung her up into his arms, heading for the exit.

She was unable to answer him. Rose was utterly humiliated to be found in such a position, despite her gratitude towards him for saving her. As they passed through the kitchen on the way to her room the concerned faces of the butler and cook added too much humiliation, however, and it was with some relief that Rose succumbed to the blackness tugging at her senses and fainted.


"...if you ever do that to me again Rose, I swear I'll lock you in your room for the rest of your life..."

Groggy from sleep, Rose came awake to the soothing murmur of her husband's voice as he uttered threats at a low pitch.

"Justin?" she whispered, forcing her irritated eyes open.

"Rose!" he exclaimed, sliding his arm around her shoulders to help her sit up. "What in the blazes were you doing down in the catacombs? I ought to beat you until you cannot sit for a week! Are you quite well?" he asked, calming down slightly as he looked upon his wife. "I am sorry for shouting so, but you gave me the fright of my life today."

She smiled, sneezed, rolled her eyes, then reached up to stroke the side of his face. 

"I was going to meet you, my Lord," she informed him.


"A maid came to find me and told me that you were waiting for me in the catacombs. I naturally followed her, but she locked me down there. I don't know why...but I do not, upon reflection, believe that she works here."

Justin was looking exceedingly grim. "I shall definitely look into this. It is not to be tolerated! If one of the kitchen staff had not seen you entering the catacombs I would never have looked for you there. My God Rose, you could have died!" He crushed her to his chest so that Rose was forced to gasp for breath.

"But why would anyone want to kill me?" she panted, trying gently to wriggle out of Justin's crushing grasp.

"I don't know, beloved. It is no secret, however, that I gained a vast fortune when my parents died. And it also is no secret that I adore my new wife. Mayhaps it was a blackmail attempt," he speculated. "Regardless, I shall discover exactly what is going on, and until then you will not leave my sight! Nor my bed, preferably," he added with a grin.

"My Lord!" Rose gasped with a chuckle. "That is scandalous. I could not possibly...well," she amended as Justin began kissing her neck, "maybe just for a day or two."

Her husband's delighted laugh rang out through the room.


A week later, after no other strange occurrences, Justin felt it would be safe to take Rose to the Opera. It was on their way home after the performance, when Justin left her side for a moment to retrieve the carriage, that the two men were able to grab Rose and hustle her off into the night. 

Despite her shock Rose put up an admirable fight, blackening one Man's eye, and viciously biting the hand of the other, but as soon as they had her around the corner and out of sight, a sack was forced over her head. Her screams were abruptly cut off and her hands bound behind her back. 

Rose then found herself tossed quite roughly onto the floor of a waiting hackney carriage, both kidnappers getting in with her.

"Feisty one, ain't she?" the first man growled, wrapping his injured hand in a handkerchief. 

"Aye. Be glad to get rid of 'er," the second man agreed.

About to make a scathing comment, Rose abruptly sneezed instead. She blushed as the two men chuckled evilly. Then she sneezed again. And again. Drat, she thought. This sack is making me sneeze! Sniff as she might, there was something that irritated her nose dreadfully, and sneeze after sneeze burst irrepresively from her.

"Damn noisy chit, ain't she?" the first man commented, nudging her in the ribs with the toe of his boot. "Shaddup, will ya?"

The second man laughed, not a pleasant sound. "Rich will enjoy 'er allergies, that's for sure."

The ride seemed to take forever, and by the time the carriage came to a halt, well outside the town, Rose was sneezing constantly and her nose was running embarrassingly. She was hauled unceremoniously from the carriage and dragged inside a small shack, where, finally, the sack was taken off of her head.

Glancing quickly around in between sneezes Rose was startled to see her captor enter the room. Why, he looks something like Justin, she thought.

"Good evening Lady Rose," the man said with a bow as Rose was seated and tied to a chair, still sneezing every three seconds. "I trust you had a pleasant ride, aside from your....ah.....allergies," he said as he stopped in front of her.

"Who are.... atchoo!..... you....... atchoo!?" Rose asked, doing her best to glare at the strange man.

"My name is Richard. I am the bastard son of Justin's father Edward," the man spat as Rose sneezed. "The entire of his legacy went to his one legitimate son upon his death, but I vowed to claim my share!"

He scowled down at Rose. "Blast it woman, can't you stop sneezing?"

"I... aichhoooo!.... am sorry.... atchooo!... but I s.... s...... tchoo!.... .seem 
unable.... ah.... to..... ah...... stop....... atchoo! ATCHOO! Ishoo- ishoo- ishoo! I s-choo!.... shall need to..... ahhh...... ahhh..... shhooo!.... blow my nose," she completed in a rush before sneezing 6 times in quick succession.

With a sigh, Richard pulled out his handkerchief and held it to Rose's nose. She merely glared at him. Then sneezed twice. "Well?" he demanded finally in exasperation.

"I...... ishoo..... do not feel like it.... .atchooo," she muttered.

"Blow!" he bellowed. 

With a final glare she attempted to blow, interspersed with several more sneezes. Finally her nose was cleard of the irritant, and she breathed a sigh of relief.

"May I ask, then, what you intend to do with me?" she inquired politely, inside seething and biding her time, trying furiously to plan her escape.

"Why, Madam, I indent to ransom you to your husband for a tidy sum of the family fortune," Richard informed her with an evil grin. "Should be quite a shock for the poor chap. I doubt he even knows he has a half-brother."

He studied Rose for several moments, making her squirm uncomfortably. "It could be awhile before your husband receives my ransom note and responds," he said, a wicked grin slowly crossing his face. "In the meantime, we must do something to pass the time, and you are exceedingly lovely..."

Rose was instantly alarmed. "I must remind you that my husband will come for me, and he is a very possessive man!" she said hastily.

"Well, I do not think he would mind my becoming better acquainted with my step-sister-in-law, do you?" Richard asked as he pulled up a chair in front of Rose's. He straddled it, facing her, and grasped her face with one hand. Rose shuddered. 

"Relax, I will not hurt you," he said softly, tilting her face towards the candlelight. Then he called out to one of his henchmen, "Erik, come here, and bring me a feather."

A cold chill went down Rose's spine and she immediately began to protest, but he shushed her with his hand across her mouth. Another shudder shook Rose when one of her two kidnappers entered the room, a soft white feather in his massive hand.

"Hold her head for me while I play," Richard instructed softly, giving Rose a look that she couldn't interpret.

"I really must protest…" she began, but was cut off when Erik grabbed her head with both sweaty hands and angled it according to Richard's directions.

"Perfect," he breathed. He slowly brought the feather up and Rose froze. He smiled as he softly tickled the outside edges of her nostrils. 

Rose's breath immediately caught. "HaAH-"

Richard slipped the feather just inside her nose and she sneezed, a cute little "chioo!" that made him smile even more broadly. 

"Perfect," he repeated. "I knew it would be."

"What is perfect?" she asked, beginning to become afraid. She subtly tried to pull away from Richard, but his henchman held her firmly immobile.

"Never mind, it is not important. Does this tickle?" he asked as he ran the feather around the opening of her nostril.

Rose again caught her breath. "Y...yes," she stuttered. "Ohhh..."

"Wonderful." He gently tickled Rose's nose for several minutes in silence as her breathing became more and more erratic. 


Her nostrils turned a light pink from the irritation, and finally she could stand the tickling no longer. She burst into a fit of sneezes and was unable to stop. "Ah-tchooo! AhTISHHooo! Iscccheeww! AhTchew! Shooo! ehSHOO!"

Just as Richard began using the quill end of the feather on Rose's sensitive nose, the door behind him was slammed violently open.

"What the hell are you doing to my wife?" came a terrible bellow. Erik was bludgeoned over the head and Richard was caught by his collar and slammed hard against a wall.

"J..J...atchoo!" Rose sneezed in relief.

Rose missed most of the conversation between the half-brothers as she was sneezing almost non-stop. Finally Richard was thrown out of the room and Justin was kneeling at her side, gently untying her while murmuring words of comfort. Then he dug out his handkerchief and smoothed her hair back from her face as Rose got her sneezing under control.

"Do not fear beloved, Richard will not harm you ever again," he soothed as Rose, with a muffled exclamation, threw herself into her husband's arms.

"What are you going to do to him?" she asked as she buried her face against Justin's neck.

"I shall send him to America on one of my ships; he can earn his own fortune there. I think that is more than he deserves, but he is my half-brother, and I feel badly about his circumstances."

He could feel Rose smile. "That is a very generous thing to do, my Lord. I am proud of you." She ticklishly kissed his neck and he chuckled.

"Let us get you home, wife, and into bed. You need to rest." So saying, Justin swung her up into his arms and strode from the house and to his waiting carriage.

"How did you find me?" Rose inquired once they were settled inside, her comfortably on his lap.

"I caught a glimpse of you being kidnapped, and I followed you here."

Kissing his chin Rose smiled at him. "You are terribly clever, my Lord."

"Why, thank you," he said with a grin. "I shall remind you of that often, in case you forget."

Sensing a little uncertainty in her new husband, Rose gently traced his cheekbone. "Justin, I love you. Nothing could ever change that. I know that sometimes we will fight, but I will never love you any less. I just wanted you to know that."

"Ah Rose, thank you," Justin said with a tender smile. "I would ask that you occasionally remind me of that, in case I forget."

Stretching up, Rose caught Justin's mouth in a deep kiss, trying to convey to him all the love she felt. As Justin's tongue slid into her warm mouth Rose pulled away and sneezed three rapid-fire sneezes. "AhtChoo! Ahchoo! AhCHOO!"

Justin, grinning, blessed her, then pulled her close, whispering words of love into her ear during the rest of the ride home.