Lady Matilda is in trouble… She has been expelled from a convent and now is facing the consequences. Lord Gervais has decided to take Matilda in hand.
He took his time, blowing on the fagots until they roared with flames. The heat filled the room swiftly. She welcomed it; she was shivering uncontrollably, and the reason was not entirely from the discomfort of the cold.
“There’s no hurry,” he said pleasantly. “Once you’re a sufficiently warm, you can undress.”
“Yes. You’ll be punished naked.” He removed his cloak and laid it on a bench. He perched on a stool. “This bench will suffice. I shall have you lie across my lap, your outstretched arms at one end, your legs pointing to the other.”
The blood drained from her face into her toes. “Naked.”
“Why the long face? Were you expecting a covering on your poor behind? No, no, my sweetheart, you’ll take this upon your bare skin and for the duration you will not curse, nor attempt to dissuade me. This is your guilt we are ridding, not mine. I have no compunction for the part I play in it.” He folded his arms across his chest and cocked his head. “Have you changed your mind?”
“What good will that do,” she said grumpily. “I will know you hold me in contempt until this is done.”
“Contempt? A somewhat harsh assessment of my opinion of you. I do think you are a spoilt maid. This business of the priest has merely given you licence to speak and say whatever you like, believing yourself to be a spirited lady, when to me, you’re still an untried maiden with no knowledge of the needs of a man, let alone a husband.”
She stared wide-eyed at him. “You, sir, have strong, arrogant opinions yourself. This business, as you put it, has haunted me. My father keeps his distance from me and is keen to have me packed off. Only the young men who care not for reputation have stalked my every move in the hope of winning my hand.”
“Is Geoffrey one of these predators?” He raised an eyebrow.
“No,” she said. “He’s the exception.”
A wry smile formed on Gervais’s face. “Naturally. Are you warm now? Has your anger heated your belly, stoked your fires?”
He’d done it on purpose: riled her into a state of ire, knowing it would distract her from her surroundings. She said nothing.
He stretched his hands to either side of the bench and leant back. “Good. Kindly undress then, and I will relieve you of your sorrow.”
There was no corner to hide in. She chose the dimmest part of the room, where the candles illuminated as little as possible. There, in the shadows, she fumbled with every contraption of binding—laces, hooks, and fastenings. Inelegantly, she hopped out of her stockings, fiddled with the knots of her corset and shoved it around her ankles. Her incompetence at undressing demonstrated how much she relied upon Sara for assistance. Finally, she tackled the plain shift; she opted to wriggle out of it in the hope of salvaging some dignity. She failed, and in her desperation, she tore it along the seams. Cross with herself, she threw it on the floor, stomping on the heap in frustration.
“Oh, dear. There was quite a wretched performance. I would suggest from now on, you treat this unveiling of your flesh as an act to render me speechless with delight and not aghast at your clumsiness.”
She glared at him, covering her breasts with one arm and her privates with the span of her hand. “I am not clumsy. I can dance.”
“I’m sure you can with music. Imagine then the minstrels regaling you with graceful tunes. Perhaps that will assist. Come out of the shadows, lower your arms, and walk toward me with some modicum of enchantment.”
She didn’t move. “I thought you were going to spank me.”
“This will not be a battery of cannons exploding on your bottom, my lady. Try to remember your rank. Naked you might be, but you’re still a noblewoman. Behave like one. Approach. Spread your length over me and the bench and do so with dignity.”
She was tempted to ignore his remarks and stamp across the room, throw herself onto his lap, and kick her heels in the air. However, he’d spoken with an expectation she could not ignore. He might lack poetic words, but his ideals were the same as a romantic poet.
“Oh, very well,” she said. She took a deep breath and emerged from the gloom. She walked with her arms at her sides, her fingers initially clenched, then noting how tense it made her all over, she relaxed and unravelled her fists.
“There,” he said, beaming. “Not so hard.” He patted his knees.
She crawled onto one end of the bench, leaned over his dense thighs and lowered her hips onto his lap. The bench was broad and long enough to accommodate her legs and arms in their entirety. She squashed her thighs together and buried her head in her arms. She nearly shouted, ‘get on with it.’ But thought better of the idea.
He rested his hand on her rump. A cool, confident hand that spread its fingers and measured her, or so it felt. Then it was gone and, in its place, quickly followed a sting as painful as a bee’s. It flourished, heating the flesh of one buttock with apparent ease, and before she could cry out, he struck the other side with an equal amount of force.
Her jaw dropped open. Now she understood what he meant to do. Spank her properly, and not with a giddy laugh of delight and a few flicks of his wrist. He was applying a swing to his smack, and the noise of impact echoed in the tower. Why wonder he chose this location.
She drummed her feet on the bench and pressed herself into his lap in a vain attempt at escaping the next smack. Caught between his firm muscles and the ricochet of his flat palm, she had only made matters worse. She hollered.
“My, my,” he said sombrely. “This isn’t going well, is it.”
A few minutes later, it all seemed to be over. She bolted across the room and away from Gervais as fast as her jelly legs could move her.
The blaze ignited in her bottom refused to calm. She rubbed each buttock, danced on her tiptoes, pacing the room a few times before standing with her back to him and her nose to the wall. There, she sobbed and cupped each hot arse cheek with her trembling hands. Why had she forced him to stop? She’d lost all means to show contrition. A miserly dozen wallops and she had twisted off his lap, calling him a brute.
“I can’t do this, my lord. I’m a harlot, I must be.”
“Why?” he said calmly. He’d not demanded her to return to position, nor left the room in disgust.
“Because, as you said, a lady of steadfast nobility would have accepted punishment and given herself wholly over to the pain of it. I am weak and at fault. I have not the constancy of thought to go through with this. You must think me pathetic and a coward.” She sniffled.
“I think you inexperienced and honest about it.” He sighed. “Turn, Matilda.”
She obeyed, showing him her tear-splattered lashes, and found him to be anything but angry in his deportment. Disappointed, maybe with his lips pursed and eyes lacking a sparkle.
“Do you think twelve is sufficient punishment?” he asked.
She hung her head. “No, my lord.”
“No,” he said agreeably. “I think not either. Not for fornicating with a man of the church. I suspect your heart is in the right place, but your mind is not. What can we do to bring this to a worthy conclusion?”
She kept her eyes down. “I don’t know. I can’t do this. You gave me the choice, and it has hampered me.”
He rose to his feet and approached her. “You would prefer not to have a choice? That I decide the nature and length of this punishment?”
She paused. What a strange sensation was building in between the apex of her thighs. A tightness that rose up inside her, right into her belly, and her heart was beating faster, hammering against her breastbone. Her nipples filled out, turning purple like ripe plums, and all because he suggested she should forgo her right to end the punishment and yield to his decision.
“Yes, sir. You decide.”
The movement in his breeches was not subtle. Something leapt to attention, and the bulge was right where his manhood lay waiting for her to open up and greet him.
“Very well,” he said sternly. He tipped up her chin and she caught the brilliant blue of his eyes. Now they sparkled. “I shall determine the number of spanks, not you, and you shall be restrained if necessary. No more rolling off and away. This will teach you fortitude, Matilda, and an inner strength, something you’ll require if you are to withstand the stamina of my fucking you.”
Her heart skipped a beat. “Yes, my lord.”
~ The Hunted Bride