It had been impossible not to notice their attention and had, in fact, been the reason she’d decided to brave the chill North Sea air as the ship steamed into Plymouth, England rather than wait out these last few hours of the journey in the warm comfort of her cabin.
She had spent the last six days parading the decks, parasol in hand, smiling at each and every sailor that looked her way and giving her hips just a little extra sway when they did.
As one of the grizzled sailors nodded at her with a red-eyed smirk, a worry furrowed Virginia’s brow.
It was for this reason, or so she’d been told, that she was being sent to Doctor Alexander Cleveland’s Correctional School and Institute.
What on earth that title meant, exactly, Virginia had little idea, but it sounded ominous.
When her father had tried to explain, she had frustrated him with her inability to understand what it was, exactly, that she was doing wrong. His face had reddened as he stumbled off in what was obviously a furious rage.
Her mother had been no more helpful. Soft, embarrassed mutterings about birds, bees, boys, and the importance of prayer had left Virginia far more confused than before.
Even the governess had attempted to sit Virginia down and elucidate what it was she was doing wrong.
“Men don’t want a woman with such… animated hips. Or such a… sinful smile, child! Or a temper like the one you have!” the nanny had said.
Animated hips? Sinful smile? The explanation had made Virginia giggle, which only served to frustrate the governess who yelled about how “dangerously ignorant! Or stupid! Or both!” Virginia was.
The third part she could concede. She had, on one or two occasions, spoken her mind a little too much. But why she would need to be sent to a doctor for that was far beyond her.
Nevertheless, it was a welcome change from the oppressive heat of the south in the summer and so she hadn’t complained too much about boarding the steamer to cross the ocean.
Now, standing on the deck of the H.M.S. Resilience, the cold wind whipping the loose tresses of her hair against her cheeks, it all seemed so far away.
The sounds of men shouting on the docks below drew Virginia’s attention.
There were men everywhere. Men running with lines, ready to tie down the massive vessel. Men with strong arms flexing as they lifted boxes and sacks onto pallets for the crane. Men with rough expressions and hard bodies that stank like smoke and sweat and work and grime.
Men that made Virginia… do those things she did.
She blushed at the familiar warm sensation that began to form between her thighs. A hot, sticky wetness that seeped from her and soaked her underthings and made her feel so… animal she could almost scream.
The truth was, Virginia knew there was something to what her father and mother and governess were saying.
She knew her body changed when men laid eyes on it. A little tickle in the deepest part of her belly. An aching, needing feeling tugging at her somewhere between her legs. Like something was missing down there.
The trouble was, she didn’t know what it was or how to stop it. Smiling at the rough farm hands with their penetrating, steely-eyed stares only seemed to make things worse but she couldn’t stop that, either.
The sound of a whistle somewhere in the distance caught her attention as the waves began to slap against the ship the closer the port side came to being moored.
Down on the dock, a few of the men stopped and were staring up at where she was standing.
It didn’t take long for Virginia to realize they were all staring at her.
Which only made her body do that thing again.
Her right hip jutted out over so gently. She drew a breath and held most of it, making her chest rise and her back straighten, then arch. She suddenly became acutely aware of her bottom and how it held the men’s attention.
Then, in the center of the fracas, she saw the tall, dark figure of a single man standing so straight he may have been a soldier at attention.
The golden chain of his pocket watch caught the fleeting rays of the sun that dashed through the quickly moving clouds overhead.
His black stovetop hat was perfectly positioned atop his head. He held a folded paper under one arm and a riding crop in his hand and wore a long trench coat that looked out of place among the torn shirts and worn trousers of the dock hands.
And there was something else about him that had drawn her eye. He seemed to be the only one on the dock who hadn’t noticed her.
“You two get down to your stations before I have you thrown in the brig!” The sharp bark of an order made Virginia twist her head sideways to see who had given it.
A burly man with a billowing orange beard was standing behind the two sailors and pointing a single, unwavering finger in the other direction. He looked to be their superior by the way he was looking at them.
The two sailors did not meet the man’s eye but rather, hunched their shoulders and shuffled quickly across the deck toward the stairs that led below. Neither could resist a final glance at Virginia before they left.
Virginia rewarded them with faintest hint of a smile.
The portly orange man approached. “Ma’am, you’ll have to make your way to your cabin now. First class will be de-boarding first. Everything has been arranged as your father asked. You won’t have to worry about your trunks; they’ll be at your destination as you arrive.”
Virginia graced the man with a nod and a faint smile but was not satisfied with the result.
Something about this man was different, too. His eyes didn’t glaze over the way most men’s did when they looked at her. His mouth didn’t open slightly, nor did he lean to one side in the same way others did, or stare at her even!
His expression remained unchanged, grumpy and weathered by a life at sea.
“How might I repay you for your kindness?” Virginia whispered in her sweetest, most innocent voice as she pressed her hand softly to her chest, so that the edge of it was touching her ample breasts, drawing his eye to them.
Orange-beard sneered, then smirked, then quickly resumed his resting demeanour. “Please, ma’am, if you’ll follow me.” He turned and began to walk toward the same hatch and stairs the sailors had descended, his body swaying with a slight limp.
A single flame of anger ignited inside Virginia and flickered up her spine at the apparent lack of effect she’d had on the man.
Before she could do a thing about it, he was already at the stairs, waving at her again to follow.
She swallowed back the burning sensation, along with her pride, and put on a tight smile before making her way toward the stairs.
Orange-beard waited outside her cabin as she collected what little was left there.
The large white sunhat, essential for Georgia summers, seemed garishly out of place in this cold climate but all her others had already been taken so she had no choice but to put it on.
Once she’d arranged herself in the mirror, pushing up her bosom and admiring how full and round it looked in the tight white dress she was wearing and how many glances it would earn her once she was on dry land, Virginia stepped back out into the corridor.
She followed the orange-bearded man as he hobbled through the ship, then down the gangplank, then onto the dock itself.
The tall, dark man she’d seen standing as they docked had walked over and was now standing just a few feet away from the end of the gangplank.
Virginia caught her breath and found herself unable to look away from him.
If he had seemed different from the other men around him from far away, he was even more so now.
Deep azure eyes stared at her from beneath the brim of his perfectly oiled hat.
His cuffs were immaculately crisp, with gold links that caught the sun the same way the chain of his pocket watch did.
His shoes looked like they’d been polished for years.
His shoulders were quite broad and if it weren’t for his attire, Virginia would certainly have thought he was a sailor, or dock hand, or some other kind of laborer.
When orange-beard stopped and turned halfway to one side in front of the man, then swept his arm toward Virginia, she drew a quick breath and a knot of nerves tightened in her stomach.
Hadn’t she heard that a doctor would be picking her up?
Surely there were no doctors that looked like… this man?
“Virginia Adams, I presume?”
The velvet voice, on the very lowest end of a baritone, swung with the slightest hint of Scottish lilt.
The deep blue eyes did not relent for a moment as the man stared deeply into hers.
His lips, set on a strong and jutting but clean-shaven jaw, gave not even the faintest hint of a smile.
For a moment, Virginia stood transfixed, staring into the man’s eyes. Who was this dark and… there was no denying handsome stranger who’d been sent to retrieve her? Was he one of the doctor’s students, or aides, or assistants?
A moment later she felt herself again and the powers that had temporarily escaped her, returned.
She turned her head slightly to look at the man a little from the side, her upper lip curling into a wry smile. She stopped short of fluttering her eyelids, something telling her that would be just a little too much. “Who’s askin’?” she said.
The way the man’s mouth formed into a tight line, the way his back stiffened slightly, nearly wiped the smile from Virginia’s mouth.
“I am Dr. Alexander Cleveland.” The man made no motion to offer his hand, or tip his hat, or bow as was the custom back home. He simply stood stock-still and stared.
Another finger of the flame of Virginia’s fury sprang up, heating her insides and making her blush but she kept herself composed.
“Have you no custom to greet a woman properly in your country?” Virginia asked, propping one fist on her hip in defiance.
Dr. Cleveland seemed unperturbed.
“We have,” he replied simply.
Virginia felt at once confused and vaguely insulted by his reply but she did her best to not let it show, though her lip had begun to tremble in its smile, somewhat. “Yet you wouldn’t extend such a courtesy to me?” she asked.
Dr. Cleveland drew a short and somewhat exasperated breath at Virginia’s reply and let it out in a quick sigh.
The sound made the knot in her stomach tighten into a hard iron ball. One that began to glow.
“Miss Adams, you are here as my patient and not my companion. As such, I will treat you as I treat all my patients. With courtesy and patience. Now follow me.”
Suddenly Virginia felt acutely aware of all the eyes around them. It was as if the entire dock had gone silent and all the laborers and throngs awaiting their loved ones were now staring straight at her.
It wasn’t just the doctor’s expression that had done it, but rather that coupled with his curt reply and his obvious impatience for any sort of pleasantry that made the ball of rage inside Virginia glow white hot.
Her cheeks burned crimson red.
“I didn’t realize I was being sent to peasant stock,” Virginia said softly, her smile warming to slide the insult deep into the doctor’s belly.
She knew his type. Men who came by their money through profession and not the proper way, from their parents and grandparents and their grandparents before them.
They were all the same. They all wanted to be treated as equals. They wanted to feel as if they deserved the same respect people of her station did.
Virginia’s own belly warmed with angry pleasure at how wrong the doctor was about to find out he was.
But a few moments later, a rage tore through her body at his lack of reaction to what she’d said.
Behind her people had stopped on the gangplank, ready to disembark and carry on. Her heart began to beat faster and harder. There was a pressure to move out of the way and yet, at the same time, there was no way she was going to break the doctor’s stare.
Dr. Cleveland looked completely calm. He glanced to one side, then the other, then back at Virginia, as if contemplating his next move. “We might do better to handle this when we arrive at the institute. Follow me.”
This time he turned and began to walk in the opposite direction, away from Virginia and toward the break in the throng of onlookers.
Inside Virginia, a tempest had begun. A confusing swirl of emotions rocked and roiled, filling her mind with a million different possibilities at what she might do.
Stand still. Laugh. Snark. Run. Giggle. Roll her eyes.
With the precision of a navigator eyeing the starry night, Virginia contemplated which would lead to the deepest, most piercing incision of the doctor’s armour. Which would find the heart of his pride and slice it in half?
In the end, her body chose for her.
Standing still on the spot, Virginia folded her arms across her chest, cocked her head to one side, and smiled.
It only took the doctor a few steps to realize he was not being followed. The hard click of his cobbled shoes on the well-worn boards of the dock stopped. Then he turned around.
His expression remained unchanged. A moment later he walked the few steps back, to stand before Virginia once more.
Virginia felt the thrill of her first victory over the doctor ignite like a bomb inside her body.
How exciting this was going to be! How easy he would be to bend to her will, this one. Why, he was even handsome! Everyone would think she was so clever when she had him eating from her hand with just a wink and a nod.
She met his cool gaze with a sweet smile, never having felt more proud of herself in her life.
“Doctor!” she remarked. “I’m so happy that you’ve decided to start afresh,” she said, offering him her hand.
There was no time to react.
The doctor’s hand struck like lightning, grasping her wrist and suddenly twisting it behind her back and turning her around.
It was forceful but not quite painful. It was frightening enough to send a bolt of nerves racing through her.
Then she was being bent over, the dock coming up quickly, her bottom rising up.
She gasped at the feeling of cool sea air on her legs, then her thighs and then…
Virginia began to struggle and whimper and finally scream. What was happening? What was this man doing? Why was he handling her like this? Surely someone would come to her aid?
As her white underwear was exposed to the curious eyes of all of the onlookers on the dock, Virginia could not resist the urge to scream.
But her scream was cut short, sliced in half by the razor of pain that started on her buttock and raced up her spine.
It took only a fraction of a second before she realized what had happened. The doctor’s large firm hand landed on first one cheek, then the other. Each spank sent a fresh wire of anguish up her spine until a cry tore out of her mouth.
The doctor paused, leaving her panting on his lap. “You may consider this your first lesson, Virginia,” he explained calmly. “You are mine to train now and any disobedience on your part will be met with a correction equal to the gravity of your offence.”
Without waiting for her to respond, the doctor raised his hand again and began smacking her ass on alternate sides.
Her mind reeled from what she’d just heard. The spanking was still painful but a deeper, much less obvious feeling about it sprouted somewhere in her core. A whisper of a tickle that she’d never known.
The doctor’s spanking stopped.
Whispers fluttered through the crowd.
Virginia’s face flushed with embarrassment, her cheeks heating to a bright red as the realization of what had just happened sank into her core.
She, Virginia Adams, heiress to the largest fortune in Georgia, had just been bent over on a dock in front of hundreds of onlookers and spanked her.
Virginia drew a breath, then pushed the second half of her scream out.
A fiery rush coursed through Dr. Alexander Cleveland at the way his hand had connected with the girl’s plush yet pert bottom.
The soft flesh of her rear was much more pale than her already fair complexion and the dark line of the crop pressed against it was as beautiful as any work of fine art.
As two crimson welts blossomed on either side of where the whip had fallen, a part of Alexander’s mind softened as his cock lurched.
Having conducted countless corrections for the daughters and wives of powerful men from far and wide, he prided himself on his professionalism and the precision of his work.
He had honed his mastery of the female body so finely that all but the most outlandish requests could be accommodated for men who wanted an eager, willing, and utterly submissive partner.
Standing above Virginia Adams that day, her pale rear on display for the throng behind him as well as the sailors who had clustered at the railing on the edge of the deck, Dr. Alexander Cleveland felt another shudder pass through him.
Something was different about this girl.
A brisk gust brought the scent of salt and rotting fish whipping off the harbor water.
The smell brought Alexander out of the depths of his musing and back onto the dock.
Before lifting the crop from the girl’s bottom, Alexander let it slide gently off her buttock, grazing the side of her ripe, round thigh.
He lifted her back up to standing and let her petticoat and dress fall back into place as he spun her around to face him.
Her eyes were wide with all of the things he expected to see.
Fear. Confusion. The humiliation of having been so completely intruded upon in front of so many.
He had seen it all countless times in the eyes of hundreds of women.
Yet there was something in her stare, a glimmer, so fleeting anyone less trained in the corrective arts would have missed it.
It made his cock flex again.
Eyeing her as he had done immediately before the swift correction, Alexander took her hand and led her through the crowd and into the carriage waiting for them on the cobbled street.
Seating himself across from her so he could study her reactions to his questions in detail, Alexander knocked twice on the wall behind him.
A moment later the carriage lurched and they were off.
The motion and steady clop of horses’ hooves on the smooth stones seemed to stir the girl to life.
She looked through one window, then the other, then back at Alexander with her green eyes.
He counted down the seconds to what he knew would be her imminent eruption.
It came in a flurry of red hair and flying fists, which he expertly outmaneuvered and before too long he had her over his lap again.
Executing four quick chops, he alternated paddling her left and right buttocks. The action settled her, as he knew it would, and soon she was seated facing him again, squirming only slightly from her stinging backside.
She looked at him, but this time it was only a quick glance. As soon as their eyes met, she turned hers down to stare at the floor of the carriage.
Alexander allowed himself to revel in the cool, clean feeling that first submission of a subject always brought. A moment later, he cleared his throat.
“Now that we are alone,” he began, adjusting an errant cufflink that had twisted the wrong way in the eyelet of his cuff, “perhaps we can start anew.
“My name, as I said, is Dr. Alexander Cleveland. I am the founder and director of the first institute for corrective studies in the world. If you are not sure what that is or why you are here, you are about to find out.
“For millennia men have been taking their wives and daughters in hand to teach, guide, and punish. Many are too harsh. Some, not harsh enough. That is why I began my research into the area and you will find that my methods yield the most precise results.”
Alexander paused to give the girl time to process what he’d said, as well as to take a moment to gaze at her.
While he was always committed to maintaining his professionalism and distance to all of his subjects, it could not be denied that she was a striking creature.
Her figure filled the dress she was wearing quite well.
Inviting hips tapered into a modest waist that then blossomed into what were surely two very soft, very round breasts.
She had a round face, but the jaw was clearly defined, a line between her slender neck and pale cheeks that brought an air of defiance to her expression.
Emerald eyes shone with the vivacity of an unchecked temperament, as if inviting any who would stare into them for too long to take on the challenge of taming this creature.
Finally, a thick shock of curly crimson hair spilled down onto shoulders, wild strands pointing this way and that, dislodged by the poor girl’s protest at her treatment.
The sight sent another bolt of adrenaline coursing through Alexander.
It was not the reaction he was used to having.
“Have you come to your senses?” he asked, managing to keep his voice just as calm.
Virginia’s mouth fell open slightly. “Have I… have I what?” she asked.
This made Alexander sigh. He felt a better, more himself now. This was more the usual way things went.
A naive young pupil who needed to be taught. A blank canvas in need of paint.
“You will learn to address me as doctor, master, or sir,” Alexander said, glancing out the window. He looked back to see the girl looking even more stunned.
“Now what will it be?” Alexander asked.
Virginia’s jaw drooped even lower. “W-what will it be?” she stammered.
Alexander took a deep breath. “I’d prefer not to have to ask you again, Virginia. I do believe you know what will happen if I have to?” He raised an eye at the girl and cast a long, stern stare at her. But looking at her, his heart softened momentarily. The poor thing had no idea what was in store for her. She looked as confused and scared as a trapped animal might.
After several more seconds of silence, Alexander realized that he had little choice but to correct the girl, whether she was in shock or not. He held her gaze and patted his lap with one gloved hand. “Come here, Virginia.”
Her eyes widened and for a moment Alexander thought that she might erupt again. He watched as her gaze darted back and forth inside the carriage, her mind calculating whether she could escape, looking for another possibility.
Her struggle excited him. These were always the most interesting moments, when the women were given a choice. Their reaction, what they chose gave Alexander great insight as to their character. Those who continued to resist often became the most submissive in the end.
Finally, Virginia took a deep breath. Her lip trembled but she quelled it, tightening her mouth into a thin line. With an almost regal dignity she rose from her seat, stepped forward, then laid herself carefully across his lap.
Excitement rushed through him at her submission. “You learn quickly, Virginia. I like that,” Alexander said. He lifted his hand, gave her left ass cheek one firm swat, then her right. “Now what will it be? Doctor, master, or sir?”
Virginia sniffled quietly on his lap. “Sir,” she whispered.
Warmth rushed through him at her words. The second submission was almost always as pleasant for him as the first. This one even more so for how the girl had struggled, too.
He nudged her, indicating she could rise. She did and stepped back to the bench on the other side of the carriage. “Very good,” he said, rewarding her with the faintest smile.
The look that crossed her face, that flash in her eyes of the first understanding of what would be required of her here, made Alexander very happy, indeed. “Very, very good,” he said again, more quietly this time.
“Now, when we arrive at the manor,” Alexander carried on, not looking at the girl but rather out the window this time, “you will be told all about what will happen to you,” he said. “The process is rigorous, nuanced, and as painful as you make it for yourself. For the time being, do you have any questions?”
Virginia stared at him, disbelief painted across her expression, her eyes vacant with confusion. After a few moments, she seemed to return to herself. “What am I doing here? Why is this happening?” she said.
Alexander raised an eyebrow. So her father hadn’t told her the full story then.