Using her teeth, Bridget pulled on the knotted ropes around her wrists. It was frustratingly tedious work, but she was determined to free herself from her bonds before the duke awoke and punished her for attempting to get away from him. This wasn’t an attempt to escape; it was an escape. Anyway, he had told her after last time that he was going to strip her naked and throw her to his troops if she ran away again.
Despite his threats, he had also tied her up, because, after several weeks of keeping Bridget as a prisoner, the duke had to know that nothing he said or did would stop her from spending her every waking moment planning her next escape. When she remembered him snarling in her face, one hand around her throat while he threatened her, it sent chills of terror through her body.
The knots started to loosen and Bridget felt hopeful; it was something she hadn’t experienced since the day the duke’s men had kidnapped her. She glanced at the entrance to the tent she was sitting in, to check if anyone was coming, but it was difficult to see anything in the dark.
For the past three days, she had watched the guards patrolling this area of the duke’s encampment, figuring out their movements between the sea of tents, until she knew their patterns inside out. It had taken longer than she had anticipated to untie herself, and now she knew they would be here soon. The fear of being found out made her clumsier than usual.
She worked harder, trying not to rush her task, willing the guards to not check on her for another few minutes, and finally the knots were open. She disentangled herself from the rope that had held her wrists.
To get the blood flowing, she flexed her hands a few times, then she unfastened the bonds around her ankles. It was much quicker now she could use her fingers, and soon she was vigorously rubbing life back into her feet.
Outside, there were footsteps. Bridget’s heart leapt into her throat and she held her breath, listening, until she was certain they were outside the tent’s entrance. Crouching low to the ground, she lifted the fabric at the very back of the tent and crept out.
The evening was warm and the moon and stars were out, which meant she wouldn’t have to worry about heavy rain in the night. The clean air was intoxicating after being in the same stale tent for ages.
The encampment was in an open field, but there was the shadowy silhouette of trees nearby. That would probably be a good direction; in the bright moonlight, the men would easily notice her in the exposed field. Moving as quietly as possible, she was almost at the edge of the encampment before a shout went up.
Bridget stifled a laugh. The guard clearly hadn’t been doing his job properly if he thought she was still in the tent. She wondered how she could get as far away as possible from this place, when she didn’t know where they were, except that it was somewhere just over the Scottish border. Having lived in Ireland her whole life, her understanding of the geography of the borders was quite vague.
As she was contemplating her next move, she saw three men standing with two horses near the forest. They were having some sort of heated discussion in low voices.
“Who’s to say the duke would meet our demands, Callum?”
“I ken that, Jacob, but what’s the alternative?”
“Fine, but where are we going to find an English lass that isn’t being protected?”
Bridget took a couple of steps backwards, thinking these men might be able to get her away from the duke, and she started to think up a plan to get their attention. However, before she had thought of what she was going to say to the men, Bridget stepped on a twig, and it snapped.
The tallest man turned in surprise, and Bridget was momentarily stunned as she saw his face in the light of the full moon. His square jaw was covered in a little rough stubble, but otherwise, he was clean shaven, revealing sensual, full lips and a straight nose. His pale eyes could only be blue, and his hair was dark. The expression on his face was hard. It sent shivers through her core as she tried not to run away. After so many weeks being the duke’s prisoner, and being silenced every time she tried to speak, Bridget found it difficult to know what to say.
“What’s a fine-looking English lass like yourself doing out late at night?” he asked, exchanging a significant glance with Jacob. She opened her mouth and decided to try to sound English, since she’d heard them saying they were trying to find an Englishwoman.
“I thought I’d take a walk. I was bored.”
He cast an eye over her then his face softened. “Pleased to meet you, lass; I’m Callum,” the tall man said.
The lighter-haired man smiled and waved. “I’m Kieran.” He elbowed the third man in the ribs.
“Jacob,” he said gruffly.
“I’m Mary… Mary Prince.” She couldn’t give them her real name because, sometime soon, the duke would know she was missing, and then his men would be searching for her. Anyway, Bridget O’Kenney wasn’t a very English-sounding name.
As she moved closer, she became very aware that she was standing near three big men who only wore kilts. It was scandalous; she’d never seen anyone out of doors with so little clothing, and warmth filled her lower regions as she drank in the sight of their hard bodies. She liked the look of their firm, well-defined arms, large hands, and broad shoulders. As she looked more closely at their kilts, she realized each man’s kilt bore a subtly different pattern on it. The slight scent of leather and saddle soap seemed to surround them and it reminded her of home and everything that was familiar to her.
“Don’t they have shirts in Scotland?” she asked, trying to disguise how intrigued she was by the three men.
“Aye, but it’s a warm evening an’ we weren’t expectin’ the company of a fine lassie such as yourself,” Callum explained. His eyes seemed to look straight into her soul. She blushed and looked away, afraid that he might find out her secret. She had to distract them from asking questions, and hopefully convince them to take her away from here on their horses. There was only one thing she could think of that might make it worth their while to keep her around.
“Now that you’ve found me, what would you like to do with me?” she asked, trying to stop her voice from quavering. She’d never even thought about trying to seduce three men at once before.
To illustrate her words, Bridget lifted her green skirt gently and stretched out her calf suggestively. Callum slid the heavy dress higher, exposing her knee and then the soft white flesh of her thigh. She caught her breath and tried not to show her nerves; only two men had seen that much of her body before. He pulled her undergarments down and she stepped out of them, then watched him fold them up and stuff them in his sporran.
She gasped as Kieran’s rough hand slid up the inside of her leg and touched the dark fur at the top. It felt amazing. Jacob’s fingers wandered down her bodice and found her nipple.
The men were definitely falling for her charms, and the next thing she knew, she was on her knees and Callum’s hardness was positioned at her mouth. The attention to her breast and the explorations of her sex by the other two men continued, as Callum, who acted like he was their leader, pushed his shaft past her parted lips. It was silky soft against her tongue and it was much heavier than she had expected. The pre-cum was salty on her tongue. The three men were igniting a fair fire as she tried to focus on this important task. It might save her life, after all.
“That’s it, Mary, take it all.” His thick Scottish accent spoke her false name in a way that made it sound lyrical, and she moaned in amazement as his cock kept on going, deeper into her mouth, until it was pressing against her throat, and even then, it only stopped because she couldn’t open her mouth any wider to take his girth. She breathed in his masculine musk as the salty taste made her mouth water.
Her pussy was growing wetter as she sucked his cock like some forbidden candy, and when he seized her black curls and began to slide his manhood past her lips, she was amazed that she not only worked out how to breathe, but enjoyed being treated like this. Her pussy flooded with warm liquid as he fucked her face. When she looked up at him, and saw his muscles move as he thrust into her mouth, a pressure inside her threatened to explode. His movements got faster as Kieran slipped a finger a little way into her channel and she pulled her legs wider to show him that she wanted this.
A pinching feeling in her nipple made her want to moan with desire but that was impossible because Callum was so deeply pressed into her throat. A new hand, presumably Jacob’s, found her other nipple and gave it the same treatment, and she shuddered and felt heat travel from her breast to her womb.
Something started deep within her core, and when Kieran increased the pace of his finger inside her, she thought she might actually be about to break. When Kieran touched her clit, she unraveled, never mind that there was a cock firmly planted in her throat, and her silent screams were lost in the shaft of it. In the middle of her climax, Callum’s cock pulsed, then hot seed spilled down her throat, an answer to her ecstasy, as she quivered and swallowed around his huge member. At some point, the other four hands withdrew from their respective nooks, and she only had Callum to focus her attention on as he kept on coming. She swallowed his essence down greedily, barely tasting it as it slid down her throat.
Once he’d finished, he slid out of her mouth, and she looked up at him with mischievous green eyes and a half-smile on her face.
“Listen, I have some bad news for you, lassie.” Callum spoke seriously now, and Bridget’s stomach fluttered.
“And what’s that then?” she asked cockily.
“You are going to have to stay with us. This was all a ruse to kidnap you,” he said bluntly.
She stared at him in surprise. There she was, thinking she’d been luring them into taking her away from the unbearable Englishman who had stolen her from her beautiful Emerald Isle, and here were the three strapping Highlanders admitting that they’d been trying to snatch her anyway.
She couldn’t identify what she felt most strongly, so she just threw a glare in their direction and decided to be outraged. “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, how dare you lay a finger on me under false pretences? When my father hears about this, he’ll bring the whole land down on you!”
“Aye, we are counting on someone doing exactly that. Now dinnae struggle or we shall have to spank you, which might not be so comfortable on the horses,” Callum said.
She stamped her foot. They weren’t going to get her away from the duke at all; they were going to sell her back to him! As soon as the men turned to check their saddles, she thought she might get away from them, so she began to run toward the thick undergrowth. She managed to travel about ten feet before she felt a hand on her back, another touched her shoulder, then one of the three men tackled her to the soft earth as she growled in frustration. The large man on top of her was crushing, and pressed most of the air from her lungs. Unable to speak, she tapped at the ground persistently to show that she gave.
“Please yourself, lass. You just earned a spanking for trying to run away. I can’t have you giving us the runaround like that.” Callum flipped back the hem of her skirt and she tried to crawl out from under his hand, but one of his accomplices pinned her wrists while the other took her feet, so even if she could have overcome Callum’s strong hand, which firmly gripped her around the waist, there was no chance she could even kick him to show her disagreement. A spanking was the last thing she had expected from them.
“The way I see it,” Callum began, as he rained swats down on her unprotected but wiggling bottom, making her cheeks burn as she tried to avoid his stinging hand, “you can either have a nice quiet adventure being kidnapped by three strapping young Highlanders, or you can spend the whole time being in disgrace. This is a taste of what disgrace feels like. You shall see what it looks like when you get a chance to examine your backside. I can promise you that it’s much easier all round if you just do as you are told.”
Being quite willful and stubborn as a child, and prone to getting involved in things she shouldn’t have, a tendency that had never left her as an adult, she had been spanked plenty in the past. But, this was worse than being taken over her father’s knee, or being corrected in the village priest’s vestry after refusing to confess to yet another misdemeanor. Never before had her bottom been bared for three strange men to see. Her face flushed with humiliation and tears prickled her eyes as the Highlander’s hard hand landed against her soft skin, and the stinging sensation built into a fierce burn.
“You’re all deplorable!” she snarled, and tried to head-butt him, since only her neck wasn’t held down by someone. Something deep inside her responded to being pinned down and disciplined like this, and she felt a hot throbbing between her legs. It infuriated her even more; these men had no right to make her feel so aroused, punished, and humiliated at the same time. She tried to struggle again but she didn’t stand a chance.
“Kieran, did you hear that? I think we just got complimented by the fine Englishwoman!” Callum said conversationally. Bridget gritted her teeth and swore not to tell them she was Irish. They were clearly scoundrels and she wanted to save her father the embarrassment of finding out that she’d been kidnapped by the Scottish while she was already kidnapped by the English.
As Callum kept swatting her bottom, she began to realize that acting like an English rose was probably the only thing that would keep her alive right now. The burn in her behind was becoming unbearable and she just wanted to yell and curse his name and call him fit for kindling, but that’s not what an English lady would do. He kept spanking her, as she tried to think about the best way to act, but she’d never seen a real Englishwoman and she’d no idea, beyond those beautifully flimsy gowns they seemed to swan about in, what exactly they did with themselves.
Since her bottom was scalding more than a little under Callum’s hand, she decided to let herself cry, since it was becoming impossible not to. It did nothing to alleviate her arousal, but it definitely helped her anger dissipate.
“Please, I’m sorry,” she sniffled through her sobs. “I’m sorry!”
As soon as she said it, the spanks stopped, and all the hands released their hold from her. Callum picked her up and planted her on her feet, and she stood for a moment, crying, until he held out a sleeve of his jacket.
She stared at it in horror.
“For drying your face,” he offered.
She shook her head.
“Suit yourself then. I thought you gentle lasses were always dabbing handkerchiefs against your eyes to stop the tears from getting out.”
Of course they were! She decided to cover for her ignorance by retorting, “Yes, but they have to be made of the finest silk from… from… County—I mean, London.”
“O’ course, they have to be of finery, fellows. We shall have to steal her some hankies for wiping her arse on next!” Callum declared, and Kieran laughed, but Jacob shook his head.
“I shall do nae such thing!” Jacob declared. “Next, you’ll be havin’ us stealin’ knickers and petticoats for her as well!”
“Right, we must get moving, fellows. It’s imperative that we hide ourselves somewhere afore the English spot that their lass has been absconded.”
Bridget struggled to understand some of what they said through their thick accents, but when they put her on a horse behind Callum, she understood they were about to travel somewhere. She clung tightly to his waist, feeling a thrill of excitement shoot through her core as she was very aware of his body between her legs on the back of the horse. She gripped him even harder as the horse began to move and she thought she might fall off.
Was there still time to go back to simply being on the run from the English? It would probably be less deadly than falling off a horse. Bridget’s uncle Peter had died from falling off a horse, and she had remembered helping getting him ready for the funeral. It hadn’t been pretty, but not as bad as the time her aunt Saoirse had gotten drunk and fallen into the… she interrupted herself. English gentlewomen probably didn’t have such a detailed firsthand knowledge of human anatomy. They tended to distance themselves from the reality of daily life. Perhaps if more toffs had to dress their own dead, they’d have more compassion for the ills that befell people and stop casually making decisions that killed thousands of souls.
As the horse galloped away through the dark forest, Bridget was terrified. She couldn’t see where they were going and didn’t know how they were avoiding trees and brambles. On top of that, her recently spanked bottom was quite uncomfortable. Hardly daring to breathe properly the entire way, she held on for dear life, and hoped Callum knew something she didn’t about the terrain, because nobody’s luck lasted this long.
Finally, they slowed to a canter. The forest was very thick here. The horses seemed to be picking their way unsteadily through marshland and Bridget wondered where on Earth they were.
“Are we getting to anywhere or are you bringing me away to east o’ the sun and west o’ the moon?”
“You are very impatient to be kidnapped, young lady.” Callum’s suspicions were starting to be aroused, and Bridget couldn’t let him find out who she really was. He might still be able to turn around and kidnap an actual Englishwoman from Duke Fontaine’s entourage, and she had to get away from the English at all costs.
“I did not wish to be married to the duke,” she replied, trying to speak correctly, the way she imagined fancy ladies talked. Anyway, she decided she wasn’t really lying. The duke had never expressed any interest in marrying her, but posh people never troubled themselves exchanging vows with women like her anyway. All the same, she was certain that she wouldn’t want to marry him.
“Oh, aye? You have another offer from someone better?” Callum clearly got straight to the point. Bridget tried to work out how to get out of this awkwardly fake conversation.
“I just want to go home,” she whined.
“Well, we dinnae aim to inconvenience ye any longer’n we have to,” Kieran remarked.
Bridget stopped talking, pleased that she was convincing them she was the sort of girl they had planned to kidnap.
When they stopped for the night, Bridget was amazed that they just lay down on the damp grass.
“Won’t you all be catching your deaths from that?” she asked.
“Hasnae harmed me yet,” Jacob said casually, wriggling a little on the ground as he got comfortable.
They hadn’t thought about how she would rest at all, and she wondered if they’d planned what they would do after they’d kidnapped a woman, or if they were just making it up as they went along.
Bridget shook her head. “I can’t sleep like that.”
“Get used to it, princess, there are no guesthouses or inns this far from any roads.” Callum’s tone was final, and Bridget stood staring at the three men, feeling like she didn’t know what to do.
If she lay on the grass she’d get wet, and then she’d get cold. There was no way she could sleep like that, and the prospect of an uncomfortable night made her feel miserable. She folded her arms.
“Either you three find me a warm, dry sleeping spot or I’ll just stand here all night berating you. The least you could have done if you planned to steal a woman was to make some plans about how you might be keeping her! I’m not some hardy bog-imp that can bed down on the wet fodder like that! Do you even know how much work there is to clean grass stains out of clothing? Of course you don’t; by the look of you, none of you have ever cleaned a cloth a day in your life! You should all be ashamed of yourselves.” She realized that an English lady probably didn’t know about grass stains at the same time that the three men seemed to work out the same thing. In the dull moonlight, she saw one of them sitting up.
“Well, those are not the dulcet tones of a refined English lady, are they?” Callum’s voice hit her like lead. Now they’d found her out, Bridget was afraid that they would take her straight back to the duke. She had to avoid that at all costs.
While the men weren’t standing, she thought she might have a better chance at escaping. She tried to run away again, in the opposite direction to the duke’s camp, further into the unknown wilderness of Scotland. However, even from a sitting start, Callum was faster than her, and his strong hand closed firmly around her wrist before she took more than a few steps.
She nearly wrenched her arm out of its socket as she pulled against him and tried to free herself. Fear and frustration mingled together and she began to panic, unable to stop fighting him. The consequences of being returned to the duke were too dire. She knew she wouldn’t survive whatever punishment the despotic nobleman decided to give her.
Callum wrestled her until she was face down in the wet grass, her black curls falling around her, then he drew her over his knee, arranging her bottom so it was high in the air. He tugged the hem of her skirt upwards, revealing her bare backside once more. It felt so undignified.
“No! It’s not fair! Why can’t you just let me alone?”
Deaf to her protests, Callum began swatting her bottom with his huge, hard paw again. It burned as he landed his palm on her sit-spot in a flurry of searing spanks.
“So, who are you, then, if you are not Mary Prince?” he asked. Bridget tried to wriggle free but Callum seemed to be doing just fine at holding her down without his two friends helping him. Worse, he was managing to pin her down with one hand, leaving his other hand free for spanking her again.
“Let me go!” she shouted, because she had been caught red-handed and she didn’t know what else to say since she couldn’t tell him the truth.
Her bottom was stinging and burning under his firm hand but she thought this was preferable to confessing that she wasn’t a valuable captive. Her stomach flip-flopped as she thought about what might happen if these men took her back to the duke.
“Tell me your name.”
“It isn’t important. Let me alone!” She clung to the hope that he might decide this spanking was over before she cracked.
As his hand landed even harder, she knew she was wrong. Her bottom felt so sore, and the tears in her heart were close to overflowing. She was determined to fight him.
“Please, I’m sorry!” she begged, but he wasn’t listening; he was spanking her hard and she soon started to cry. The situation was completely hopeless. His hand kept colliding with her defenseless rear, making it impossible to think of a good lie.
When he had made her bottom feel like it might be about to catch fire, she started to shake.
“Jacob, hold her cheeks apart for me.”
Bridget had no idea why he was going to do that, but she was relieved that he had stopped slamming his hand against her sit-spot.
“It’s about time,” Jacob growled, then Bridget felt his hands, one on each of her burning bottom cheeks. He parted them, exposing her bottom hole to Callum. She took a breath, wondering what he planned to do, and hoping he wouldn’t notice how wet she was down there.
A sharp swat landed hard on her bottom hole and she squeaked as it stung from his punishment. Her eyes watered and her button throbbed as he did it again. If the spanking had been unbearable, this was even worse, and the shameful exposure of her bottom was almost as awful as the sharp sting from his hand landing between her cheeks.
As he continued, the scorching feeling seemed somehow to get inside her back passage, as well, and soon she knew she was outmaneuvered. Unable to stand it any longer, she started screaming her name at the top of her voice.
“Bridget O’Kenney! Bridget! O’Kenney! That’s who I am! That’s why I didn’t tell you!” After that, she descended into huge, noisy sobs as she cried while he kept spanking her. They’d dragged the truth out of her and now they could swap her for some pampered English lady who didn’t need or deserve rescuing from her nonlife.
“You’re Irish,” Callum said dryly, as he stopped spanking her.
She couldn’t think of anything to say so she just cried into the grass, wailing loudly and wishing she’d been a better liar since her life probably depended on it. Her heart ached in her chest. She had just blown her only chance at getting away from the duke. If only she’d any idea how English ladies behaved.
“I think it might be a sore subject, Cal!” Kieran said from where he was still lying down on the grass.
“I’m too tired to hear the ins and outs of this nonsense right now, lass, so since you have been lying down on that grass for a wee while now, and you have not caught fire or died or such, I think it’s safe to say you can sleep there for the night. I’ll keep you warm.” Callum lay down beside her, and Bridget continued to cry. When he put his arm around her, she cried herself out and even dared to hope for a brief moment that he might have taken a liking to her, as the flames in her bottom subsided into a fierce soreness.
He was probably just being protective, and he would most likely do the same for any woman, she decided, but she was too scared, cold, and dejected to even consider pushing him away.
Besides, his touch sent tingles through her body, even through her layers of clothing. She felt so despondent that she didn’t think she would sleep, but something about the strong Highlander seemed to reassure her, and she drifted off in his arms very soon.