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Claiming the Princess by Rose St. Andrews – Sample

Chapter One

Jasmine sat on her fancy little chair, her feet up on the petite footrest before her. She grinned. The length of her ornate gown concealed the fact that she was barefoot. Her shoes were gorgeous and expensive, but they were also virtual deathtraps—at least as far as her poor feet were concerned. It was so good to be free of them. Of course, she also kept the shoes handy in case someone of importance walked into the antechamber and she had to make herself presentable.

I do hate this life so much!

The grandmother clock on the wall chimed. Her head whipped around to see it.

I’m late! Oh, I’ve got to get going.

Jumping to her feet, she dashed into her changing room, and soon clothes were going everywhere. She got her proper gown out of its hiding place, changed, and just left her good clothes on the floor. She’d clean up later. Making her way down the hall, she reached the dead end, paused to ensure no one was around, and flipped the switch to activate the secret door. It slid open silently—she always marveled at its splendid construction—and down the spiral stairs she went. While her room was in one of the high towers of the castle, the stairs provided her the most direct access to the ground floor, and so she was soon sprinting through the woods to her hover board. Once on it, she was able to skirt Sunset Lake, and get to the MacDuff Manor in no time. Hiding her board in its usual spot, she checked out the courtyard.

No one was around.

It was perfect, midday, most people were at work, and she could casually stroll about the grounds as if nothing was amiss. She even whipped out her fan and lightly fluttered it before her face. It helped to dry the sweat from her journey.

“Ah, Jasmine, there you are,” a familiar voice called out.

She turned and smiled. It was Lady Astrid, lady of the manor, and wife to Lord MacDuff.

“Yes, m’lady,” she said, giving her a slight bow.

“You are needed in the Gallery,” Astrid said sadly, shaking her head.

Her eyebrow went up. “Oh, and why is that?”

She snorted. “Why do you think? That brat of a child of mine has been at it again! I’m sorry, my dear, but… well…”

“Ah, m’lady, why is that any concern of mine? After all, my job is that of kitchen maid.”

“Not anymore,” Astrid said, a slight grimace on her face. “Abigail’s Whipping Girl quit today.”

“Another?”

Her ladyship snickered. “Ah yes, she does go through them at a regular… pace.”

“Wait, so… you want… me to…” Jasmine stammered.

“I’m sorry, but his lordship is adamant about this. You are to assume the position by… um, assuming the position. Forgive the pun, but I could not resist.”

Holy crap, this is the worst! I can’t afford to lose this job. She gave her another bow. “I will accept the… promotion, m’lady.”

With that, she took off, her heart fluttering in fear. While she hadn’t been the Whipping Girl before, she knew the routine. To be called to the Gallery meant only one thing: Abigail had been really, really naughty, and Jasmine was going to get it. She zipped into the Great Hall, skirted the massive columns supporting the rafters as she made for the doorway in the back right corner, and then climbed the narrow stone spiral stairs to the Gallery above the hall. His lordship was there, seated in his easy chair, the time display off his watch hovering above his left wrist. The holo display was quite good, but then he could afford the best wristwatch money could buy. Abigail stood off to the side, a sour expression on her face, and Jasmine froze as she entered the room.

The bench was in the center of the Gallery.

She screwed up royally today! That means a heavy duty implement. I hate even the very thought of that.

“Ah, Jasmine, finally,” MacDuff grumbled sarcastically.

She moved to stand before him, bowing her head as she gave him a deep curtsy. “Your pardon, m’lord, I only learned a moment ago of my new… assignment.”

“Why is that? Weren’t you in the kitchen?” he said.

“I was called to my mother’s bedside.”

“That seems to happen with great regularity,” Abigail sneered.

His head snapped around so he could glare at her. “Look who’s talking! I have eight children, Abigail, and your Whipping Girl is up here so often we should make it her bedroom. That is if we could get one to stay more than a month.”

The girl cowered at that, and the merest hint of a smirk crossed Jasmine’s face.

“What did she do this time?”

“Caught her climbing out her bedroom window to meet… him,” MacDuff said, making his anger clear from his tone.

Jasmine chewed her lip. Oh, man, this is bad. His lordship hates Byron. Personally, I think the guy’s okay and she could be allowed to marry him, but I know how things are with the nobles. “Oh, I see, sir. Shall I… assume the position?”

He nodded. “Yes, my dear, let’s get this over with. And you,” he growled, pointing at Abigail. “You watch and remember that this is your doing!”

Turning around, she moved forward until her knees almost touched the front of the bench. She bent forward, gripped the railings on either side, and slid into position. Michael, the absolute hunk of a captain of the guards, stepped up in front of her to begin the securing process. She shivered, her glutes and thigh muscles twitching at his touch—and the fact that his crotch was right in front of her face. Closing her eyes, she inhaled deeply through her nose. She loved his musky scent; he was a true man. His hands closed around her right wrist, forcing it into the clamp. It snapped around her with a loud click. He did the same to her left, and then he moved to stand next to her. She rubbed her thighs together and her fingers quivered as the thick leather belt was cinched tight around her waist. She gasped as his hands went to the hem of her dress. Despite having seen this many times, getting to this stage got her heart fluttering and her blood pounding and then goosebumps broke out at her slip being put on display.

I can’t swear to it, but it sure seems Michael enjoys this. He always takes his time removing the clothes. Seeing this is one thing. Actually having it done to me is another.

Up onto her back was bundled the fabric of her dress. His hands then reached for her slip, and up it went to join her dress. She laid there, her curvy bottom now covered by nothing but a sheer piece of cotton.

“Your Lordship, is this sufficient?” Michael said.

Her eyes darted back and forth as she chewed her lip. What’s it going to be this time?

“No, I want her bare,” he snapped.

Her toes curled and she bit her lip hard enough to almost draw blood. Whoa, Papa is truly pissed today!

Michael sighed. “As you wish, sir.”

Her body tensed as she felt herself growing damp between her legs, and then came the soft breeze to her naked flesh once her panties were down around her knees. She shut her eyes and took a long slow cleansing breath. Michael could see her—all of her! Her heart pounded so hard and fast that she could feel it impact the padding under her. She heard movement behind her and twisted her head around to the left as much as she could. The creak of metal told her he was opening the cabinet.

“The implement, sir?” he said.

As much as she hoped for the mercy of Michael’s hand she knew that was a virtual impossibility today. She was going to get it good!

“The cane,” MacDuff ordered.

She cringed. Oh, that’s the worst! I could take a hand spanking from Michael, especially over that muscular lap of his, but the cane is going to be horrible; my dad’s used it a couple times.

“Really, Your Lordship?”

“Do not question me,” he snapped.

“I meant no disrespect, sir, merely being certain of your intent.”

Lord MacDuff grunted. “Look at my face, Sir Michael, is my intent not clear?”

“Crystal, sir,” Michael replied, moving into position. “How many?”

“We’ll start with two dozen.”

‘Start,’ he says? Oy!

“As you wish, sir,” he said, and tapped her bare right cheek.

She shivered from head to toe, wiggled her toes, and felt her teeth chatter. That long thin piece of round wood made just the lightest contact to her tender flesh—when she got a tap. However, she knew full well from very painful experience just how fiery its impact would be when swung by an expert hand.

Michael was just such an authority in the inflicting of pain.

She waited, took a long slow cleansing breath, and focused her gaze on the far wall. She’d seen other Whipping Girls do that when they were facing an especially severe penalty. The wall was stone, quite old, and the rocks were rough and irregularly shaped. She studied every angle and tilt of each piece to the wall, and she stiffened as the cane swung away from her. The slightest movement of air being sucked away from her as the cane moved into its high ready position told her she was about to receive the first stroke. Her muscles clenched, even as she tried to relax, a rapid whoosh sounded behind her, and…

Whack, a line of pure fire cut across both cheeks. She squeaked and lurched forward. The straps didn’t so much as stretch a fraction of an inch. The tap-tap came again, just a bit higher on her ass. Back went the cane, there was a pregnant pause; she shut her eyes as if to block out what was happening, and… smack! Her mouth and eyes flew open.

“Ow,” she yelped.

Abigail snorted. “Oh, she’s faking.”

What the hell?

“Daughter, how dare you say such a thing!”

“Father, she’s been punished a dozen times this month alone.”

“Don’t remind me,” he snapped. “Your disobedience is almost legendary.”

“What I mean is that she has quite the pain tolerance. How can she cry out so soon?”

“Huh… good point,” he said slowly.

Jasmine ground her teeth. Damn, here I am getting the caning of my life, and they think I’m faking? Talk about a twisted reality!

“Wait a minute; we’re forgetting that was Karen, your previous Whipping Girl,” MacDuff said.

“Sir, have faith in my abilities,” Michael said. “Come forward; examine the affected area for yourself.”

Jasmine blushed deep crimson as MacDuff did just that. The humiliation of it all. He and Michael stood behind her, bent over and eyes riveted to her naked cheeks, studying her welts intently. She pressed her lips together and her back arched as rough hands touched her. They had to belong to MacDuff. Michael’s were young and supple.

“I judged you wrongly, Michael, and I apologize. Yes, excellent work. Very well, continue, and give her the same with each stroke.”

“As you wish, sir.”

Jasmine cringed and again braced herself as she got another tap-tap of the cane, and heard the creak of the floorboards. MacDuff was obviously returning to his chair to sit in comfort for the rest of the ‘festivities’ she was about to endure. There was another tap-tap, the cane lingered on the tips of her cheeks, then slid around to tease the edge of her right cheek, and was then gone. A whistle and whoosh, and another fiery welt sliced into her. She suppressed a squeal of pain as she shook and shuddered, and then howled when she got stroke number four with barely a moment’s pause.

Oh, that was mean!

The cane whistled through the air, she tried to prepare, but there wasn’t time. She yelped and strained against the straps, the welt building on a previous one. It was fire on top of fire, and it burned deep into her flesh. Her heart pounded as she tried to catch her breath. Sweat trickled across her body—she felt it drip from her skin and blinked as it stung her eyes.

That was a double shot of really bad pain. Did he do that on purpose? Naw, how could he aim that well?

Trying to calm her mind and body, she again felt him lining up to strike, and then it was swish, snap, crack, whack—four hard strokes in as many seconds. Her head snapped back, her mouth opened, and she screamed.

“Ow! Son of a bitch. Please, sir, ease off,” she wailed.

“So, satisfied, daughter?” MacDuff said. “See what your indiscretions have led to?”

“Sorry, Father,” she said meekly.

“Good, that’s a start, but I am not the one you truly owe an apology to,” he replied.

“Huh? Who else?”

Jasmine wanted to roll her eyes, but there came the whack-whack of the cane over and over to her poor ass. She wailed, and the tears began to flow as her cheeks went from enflamed to a raging inferno and bolts of pain shot through her body.

“Really, my child, no one else comes to mind?” MacDuff finally said.

Abigail remained silent, but not Jasmine. Her howls and yelps filled the Gallery as her tears dripped from her chin, and soon formed quite the puddle on the floor.

“Oh, I get it,” Abigail said at last.

“No, I’m the one getting it, you…” Jasmine grumbled under her breath.

Movement off to her side caught her attention and she twisted her neck as much as she could to see. Through her watery eyes, she could just make out Abigail coming into view. Even with her vision blurry, she knew the girl by her build and demeanor.

“Jasmine, I apologize to you most sincerely. I never wanted this for you,” she said, her tone soft and sad.

“Ow,” she howled at the next welt. “Thank you for that,” she managed to choke out.

“Stop,” MacDuff commanded.

Fortunately, Michael was nothing if not well trained and well disciplined. He did so instantly. Jasmine, her lungs burning, heart pounding, and tender tush throbbing, lay there and tried to catch her breath.

Now what?

“Yes, sir?” he said.

“That is sufficient.”

“Really, sir? I’m only up to number twenty,” Michael said.

MacDuff rose from his chair; the squeak of its legs and the creak of the floor told her that.

“I know, I’ve been keeping count. However, I know my daughter. She’s learned her lesson.”

“Ah, but… you said to start with two dozen. Shouldn’t I at least finish them off?” Michael said, clearly upset.

Dude, you sound downright disappointed! Being dedicated is one thing; you don’t have to be so… gleeful at the whole thing.

“Michael, I have made my decision! Now, you can adhere to it or you can leave my employ, which do you choose?” MacDuff snapped.

“Your wish is my will, sir,” he said, his tone quite compliant.

“Good man. Release her, send her to her quarters. I would imagine she needs time to recover from this ordeal.”

“Yes, sir,” he replied, moving to undo her straps.

“And you, daughter, remember this lesson. You dare go traipsing off with that no-good Byron again and Jasmine won’t just get the full two dozen—it’ll be four!”

“Eeep,” she and Jasmine said together.

“Yes, Father, it won’t happen again.”

Let’s hope she’s being honest. Spankings I could take, but a caning is the worst! I won’t sit for a couple of days.

“Here, Jasmine, let me help you up,” Michael said, fixing her clothes.

His hands touched her body, and she was suddenly light as a feather. Her pain melted away—at least a little bit—and the straps loosened. Up she went on her feet, wincing at her tender flesh being forced into a new position, and then their eyes met. She melted again, only this time it was in another part of her anatomy.

“I trust you’ll recover soon,” he said.

“I… ah… um… yes,” she choked out.

He smiled; flashing those dazzling pearly whites of his, he turned and marched away without another word, arm in arm with Abigail. She stood there a moment, lost in thought, desperately trying to find some words to bring him back, but her mind was blank.

She slapped herself in the forehead. Dumb, dumb, dumb! “I’ll be fine. I can endure anything for you, Michael. I’m stronger than you can imagine.” You idiot, any one of those sentences would have been good. For that matter, just stringing a coherent sentence together period would have worked, but no, you had to be as tongue-tied as a lovesick teenager!

MacDuff stepped up in front of her, a small bag in his hand. “For you, my dear.”

“Ah… thank you, sir, but what—?”

“Consider it a little bonus. I think you’ve earned it.”

She shook her head. “Oh, no, sir, that’s not—”

“Yes, it is,” he said quickly. “Taking a punishment is one thing; it’s what a good Whipping Girl is supposed to do. That… witch of a daughter of mine pushed things too far today, and I am sorely tempted to dismiss you and let her take her discipline from now on!”

“Ah… can you do that, sir?”

He grumbled and curled his lip. “No, it’s tradition, and you know the rules on such things. Oh, but I so hope to find a man to wed her, bed her, and thoroughly tame her!”

“I understand, sir,” she said, taking the sack. “I wish you luck with that endeavor.”

“And I wish you a speedy recovery,” he said with a warm smile.

She gave him a modest curtsy, wincing again, and headed off to her quarters. While curious, she didn’t open the bag until she got there. After all, it was in bad form to count money out where anyone could see it. Her eyebrows shot up. MacDuff had given her one thousand credits.

Wow, that’s a pretty hefty sum. It’ll help me move my timetable forward a bit. He’s a good man and a great father. Wish my old man was half as good. Oh, there’s that dinner back home I need to attend! I hate to cut out so soon after returning, but I can’t miss this.

Pocketing the money, she headed out to the main courtyard. As it was still early in the afternoon, most people were still off working. Yet, she tried to be casual about the whole thing and act as if she was taking a leisurely stroll. She knew the staff and guards well. So long as she kept her actions casual, no one would notice her. It took nearly twenty minutes, but she was finally able to get out the main gate, back to her hover board, and then head for home. Her hope was that Abigail would sincerely learn her lesson from this session.

She groaned in pain the whole way home, her poor cheeks positively pulsating twice as hard and fast as her heart the whole way. She got up to her room, and crawled onto her bed to stretch out and rest for a bit. She reached back to lightly rub, groaning again.

Okay, not possible yet. Yikes, that was really, really bad. Let’s see, maybe I still have some lotion left from last time.

Easing herself up, she cupped her flaming cheeks as she shuffled to the bathroom and checked the medicine cabinet. There was a small tube left, which brought a smile to her weary face. Easing off her dress, she let it flop to the floor. No way was she going to bend over to pick it up now. She slid down her panties, smeared some lotion in her hand, and then tried to lightly spread it across her tender welts.

Tried and failed.

“Whoa,” she cried, going up on her tiptoes. “How the hell am I supposed to sit for dinner?”

It took a couple of minutes, but she finally got her sore flesh covered, and then headed back to her room. She froze in the doorway. She had company!

“Sit for dinner?” her mother said. “Oh, you won’t have to worry about that.”

Jasmine squirmed; she was in nothing but a bra, and so her hands instantly flew to cover herself as she blushed deep crimson. “Mother,” she squeaked.

“Really, covering yourself? I used to diaper that tushie.”

“I… um… well, what are you doing here, Mother? Ah… and… unannounced.”

She rose from the chair and glared at her. “Your father has sent me to… deal with you.”

Jasmine swallowed hard. “Ah… what’s that mean, and what for?”

“Did you think we wouldn’t find out? Girl, you used your real name and social security number when you took that job!”

“I didn’t think of that,” she grumbled.

Mother sighed and rolled her eyes. “No, you never do, you never think anything through, and then I and your father have to clean up your mess! Well, not this time, my girl. No, this time you have gone too far.”

“I… um, but… why, Mother? I only—”

“No, don’t, do not say it was only a job,” she snapped. “You are Lady Jasmine, a member of the Court of Duke Wellington, and you’ve been sneaking out to be a… a… kitchen maid and now the Whipping Girl for a princess in a neighboring castle. What possible excuse can you give for that?”

“Well, not an excuse, but at least an explanation,” she said meekly. “I… I… have a…”

“You have a spanking fetish,” Mother said, practically spitting in rage. “My daughter, a lady of an imperial court, a deviant!”

Jasmine’s jaw muscle twitched. “Mother, that’s uncalled for. No, I’m not like that, I… it’s just that…”

“Yesss?”

“I don’t like living here, I don’t like this zone. I want… I want to try someplace else. So, I worked as a maid, and then I got… moved to Whipping Girl. It wasn’t my idea. I didn’t want it this way.”

“I understand. You’re trying to earn enough money to hope a shuttle to a different zone, right?”

She sighed. “Frankly, any place! I hate this whole lifestyle, and I most definitely hate the idea of an arranged marriage. I mean, come on, Mother, haven’t you heard of other zones where women have more choices?”

“You would dishonor our family by running off? You are no longer my daughter!” she snapped.

“What? Mother, you can’t be serious,” she said, the disbelief clear in her voice. “Father will—”

“Do nothing,” she shot back, cutting her off. “Why do you think he sent me to deal with you? He wants nothing more to do with you—ever!”

Jasmine’s heart dropped through the floor and it was as if a bucket of cold water had been dumped over her head. She was numb and empty, like her soul had been pulled from her body along with her heart, and she’d been reduced to a hollow gourd. Staggering to a chair, she clung to it for support so that she wouldn’t collapse right there on the floor.

“I… I’m sorry,” she choked out.

Mother sneered. “Oh, now you’re sorry? Sorry for what, getting caught? Being abnormal? No, girl, a simple apology won’t fix this.”

“Then what? What can I do?” she said softly, looking at her mother through watery eyes.

“Nothing!” she spat, and then snapped her fingers.

The door opened and there stood four guards. Jasmine yelped and practically jumped behind the chair.

“Mother, I’m not dressed!”

“Do not call me that,” she shot back. “You’re a traitor to our family and way of life, what do you care about common decency? Take her away.”

The guards marched in without a word. She looked around quickly, desperate for some garment to cover herself with, but found nothing. The guards, sneering as they gawked at her, grabbed her by the arms and quick-marched her out the door.

Now what’s going to happen to me?

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