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A Scandalous Arrangement by Ashe Barker – Extended Preview

A Scandalous Arrangement by Ashe Barker

“I am expecting a companion to join me. Please direct the lady to my private lounge when she arrives.” Adam issued his instructions to the middle-aged doorman, slipping a folded one-pound note into the breast pocket of the butler’s jacket. The man tipped his hat in polite agreement. Adam reflected that the haughty major-domo might disapprove of ‘companions’ who met gentlemen in hotels, Adam had no doubt he did, but a generous tip would invariably assuage such sensibilities. He thanked the man and strolled across the foyer of The Ritz hotel in the direction of the corridor leading to the more secluded waiting areas where he intended to await the arrival of the truly delightful Victoria Wynne.

He had reserved a private lounge for their immediate use, and a rather splendid suite on the second floor for later. He settled himself in a comfortable winged chair and contemplated the events of the last few days. When he made the journey to Hebden Bridge to present his terms personally, he had believed the odds to be about even that Victoria would agree to his outrageous suggestion, but she had truly astonished him with her even more scandalous counterproposal. He had agreed to what she wanted but felt a degree of discomfort with it. There was no certainty of a baby resulting from their union, but he felt the prospect to be a likely one if he took no steps to minimise that risk. He was not a man to shirk his responsibilities, so the notion of leaving a woman pregnant and alone when their relationship came to an end did not sit well with him, even though he found he understood Victoria’s dilemma and sympathised with her cause. And she would not be alone exactly. He would ensure her wellbeing and that of any child, and he would insist that the infant’s paternity be recorded. He did not intend to intrude, nor would he interfere, but he would be there in the background. Somewhere.

He checked his watch again, and calculated that she should be here within the next thirty minutes or so. She had sent him a brief note the day after he arrived back in Knightsbridge informing him of her intention to take the train that left Hebden Bridge at eight thirty-five on Friday evening and would then take a sleeper train from Leeds, in accordance with his instructions. She anticipated being in Kings Cross at approximately two o’clock on Saturday afternoon.

Adam had checked the rail schedules himself and finding that he concurred with her, he had made arrangements for Victoria to be picked up at the station and brought to the Ritz. She would be tired from the journey, despite having slept on the train.

He knew she would expect to be spending the weekend at his home, but the hotel seemed more appropriate. Not exactly neutral ground, but The Ritz offered a degree of anonymity that she might appreciate. And luxury of course. He intended to make sure his latest submissive was very well cared for.

Adam liked to think of himself as a generous and patient, if demanding, dominant. He would require absolute submission, eventually, but he was prepared to take his time getting there. He had a suspicion that Victoria would struggle to comply with all his requirements, especially those concerned with obedience, and he had no desire to scare her off by pushing her too hard, too soon. Yes, the elegant surroundings of The Ritz would create the right ambiance, instilling a degree of normality and respectability to the proceedings. Once she experienced some of what he could offer her, he had little doubt Victoria’s own sensual nature would be more than sufficient to anchor her to him. She would be begging him for the rest, pleading with him to satisfy her curiosity and her lust.

He suspected the presence of a seriously sweet slut under Victoria’s prim and efficient exterior. He intended to make the acquaintance of that slut as quickly as that happy state of affairs might be achieved. He would start by offering her a nice if belated lunch since he suspected Victoria would appreciate that after her journey. Yes, refreshments here in the lounge on arrival, and a tray to be delivered upstairs.

He checked his watch. Where the hell was she? He calculated another twenty minutes at least. He glanced at the small pile of papers he had placed on the table. Their contents were perfectly familiar to him so he saw no need to refresh his memory. Instead, he unfurled the newspaper he had brought with him and resigned himself to the wait.

Twenty-five minutes later he dragged out his watch again. She was late. He glanced toward the door, which remained firmly closed. Surely she had not changed her mind, right at the last minute. He doubted that, she would have telegraphed him. She would be here.

He reapplied his attention to the previous week’s events in the House of Lords, as reported by the illustrious political journalists employed by The Times, as several more minutes ticked by.

The soft knock at the door came not a moment too early. He was on the point of leaving to patrol the hotel reception area, convinced the doorman must have pocketed his note and sloped off for a sly break. Relief flooded Adam, and he let out a breath he had not realised he was holding.

“Come in.” He refolded his newspaper and leaned back in his chair to survey the slender woman who entered the room. Christ, she was lovely.

“I am late. I apologise. The train arrived ten minutes after it should have, then the traffic across London was heavy…” She paused, remaining by the door, which was ajar at her rear. “Thank you for sending a carriage for me though. That helped a great deal.”

“Not at all. You have been travelling since yesterday evening, it was the least I could do.” He admired her soft blue travelling attire, a fitted jacket and skirt made of a fine wool cloth, trimmed in velvet of a darker hue. She looked elegant, smart, the perfect lady. His cock started to harden as he contemplated the pleasures to come, commencing when he would watch her peel off those demure and oh-so-respectable clothes. But, first things first, he had business to conclude with his guest.

“Please be seated, Victoria. I have ordered a tray of tea… ah, yes, here it is.” He paused to allow her to take the armchair opposite his, and for the liveried footman who had appeared in the doorway to enter and lay their tray on the table beside his papers. Adam handed the man a few coins, which he seemed pleased with as he pocketed them on his way out. Adam returned his full attention to Victoria. She was doing a fine job of feigning poise and confidence, but the barely discernible shaking of her hands betrayed her as she removed her delicate white gloves. That and the dilated pupils that darkened her cobalt blue eyes.

Adam approved of her nervousness; it showed a proper appreciation of her situation.

“Would you pour, please?” He gestured to the teapot, then smiled to himself when she spilled a few drops into his saucer as her hands shook even more. She peeped at him under her lashes. Now she knew he knew, and would become even more flustered.

Adorable.

He sat back and waited until she had finished, then he pushed the stack of documents across the table to her. “I thought we might conclude our paperwork down here, then retire to our suite.”

“Paperwork?” She tilted her chin at him. “What paperwork is that?”

“The fine businesswoman that you are, I thought you might like to inspect your contract before we proceed. If you are happy with it, you can sign now and I will instruct my lawyer accordingly.”

“Contract? Why do we need a contract? I thought we had agreed all that needed to be settled in this arrangement of ours, that there would be no requirement for further negotiation.”

“This is your contract of employment, Victoria. And the papers setting out the terms of our business partnership. The principal terms are indeed settled, but the details still required to be set out in writing. I hope you find the remuneration I have suggested acceptable.”

She appeared to visibly relax, on familiar territory again. Adam was amused, and it endeared her to him all the more.

“I see. Of course, the business partnership.” She picked up the papers and started to read.

“I could have contracts drawn up relating to the more personal aspects of our future dealings but I doubt they would be enforceable in law. We will have to rely on our integrity. This is a matter of trust, would you not agree?”

“I, yes, I suppose that is the best description.” She shot him a surprised glance. “Mr. Luke, this cannot be correct. No manager in my acquaintance is paid such a sum.”

“I am a generous employer, and you have been at pains to assure me your credentials are impeccable. Are you not worth such a salary, Victoria?”

“Of course, yes, but… it is a great deal of money. Especially as I will have to take at least one day a week off to travel around the kingdom for our assignations.”

“Ah, yes, I had meant to talk to you about that. I appreciate your efforts in presenting yourself here, today, as instructed. In the future though our liaisons will take place either in Yorkshire, or at my home in Liverpool. I trust those arrangements will be easier to make, and less tiring for you.”

“Yorkshire? You cannot mean to come to Wynne House?”

He grinned. What a delightful notion, but he supposed it would not do. “I was thinking more of a hotel, perhaps Leeds. Or Bradford. Do you have a preference?”

“No, not really, I suppose. You have a home in Liverpool? I had been under the impression you lived either here in London, or Portsmouth.”

“My family live in Portsmouth, but it is generally more convenient for me to move between London and Liverpool. I maintain an apartment there. Not as grand as my townhouse in Knightsbridge, but perfectly acceptable, I’m sure you’ll find.”

His family? That would be the widowed sister-in-law then. “I see. Yes, Liverpool will be more accessible. Thank you.”

“You’re welcome. So, do you have any further comments or questions about the contract?”

He waited as she scanned the pages, gnawing on her lower lip in her concentration. She read the entire document before lifting her eyes to meet his gaze again.

“The contract is fine. Very fair, and accurate. Do you have a pen to hand, Mr. Luke?”

“Of course.” He stood to retrieve the required objects from a side table across the room. “And please, while we are in private you should call me Adam. Or sir, but I will explain the proper terms of respect presently. Upstairs in our suite.” He placed the pen and inkwell before her, and waited again while she signed the final page in her neat, sloping hand. He took the pen from her and added his own signature below hers.

“I will have these conveyed to my man of affairs, who will make arrangements for your salary to be paid to you each month. Now, if you have finished your tea, perhaps we might adjourn upstairs. I have reserved rooms for us for tonight. I am sure you will be very comfortable. Well, some of the time.”

“I had not expected to stay here.”

“A last-minute decision, I confess. But I think the rooms I have reserved will suit us very well.”

“Rooms? You mean separate rooms?”

Adam grinned at her and shook his head. “No, Miss Wynne, I do not. You will not only share my bed, you might well shortly find yourself tied to it. But even so, I do not expect you to be cramped. We will have plenty of space.” He folded the papers and slid them back into his inside jacket pocket, then gestured toward the door. “After you.”

* * *

He followed her up the stairs, admiring the gentle sway of her perfect little bottom. The fitted skirt she wore was smart and very respectable, if a trifle wilted from her long journey, but it framed her rounded buttocks beautifully. He managed not to reach out to cup those delectable globes, but it took some effort. He would wait though; he had decided he wanted her kneeling and naked before he touched her.

“Left at the top of the stairs. We’re in the Alexandra Suite, towards the end of the corridor.”

She nodded and proceeded as directed, stopping at the correct suite. The sign beside the door proclaimed this to be the place. Adam leaned around her to unlock the door, then gestured her inside.

He followed her, taking the time to remove the Do Not Disturb sign from the inner door handle and hang it on the outside. He took the further precaution of locking the door behind them.

Victoria stood in the centre of the sitting room, gazing around her. She glanced at him. “This is very nice. And spacious as you said. You have spared no expense.”

“No, Victoria, I haven’t. I don’t skimp on things that are important to me, but I do expect value for money.” He didn’t elaborate, but he was confident she realised he was not just referring to their accommodations. He strolled across the room to drop the key on a side table. “Would you like to freshen up? I’ve ordered a dinner tray for later, but if you require afternoon tea, that will be no problem.”

“I am quite all right, thank you, not at all hungry. A bath would be pleasant though.”

Adam wondered if this was a delaying tactic, at the same time as he blessed the modern plumbing, which meant the bathtub could be filled without the necessity of a procession of hotel staff parading through their rooms with buckets of hot water. He considered her request for few moments, then dipped his head in agreement. “I’ll sort that out for you. You will undress here though. Now.”

“Now?” Her voice was a low whisper, and he saw her hands were shaking again as she clasped her fingers around her gloves. He needed to get her past this useless fit of modesty, and quick.

“Yes, now. Do you require my help with your fastenings?” He thought not as her jacket buttoned at the front, but still, it was polite to enquire.

She inhaled, a sharp, determined intake of breath, then, “No, I can manage.”

Adam offered her a tight smile before he headed into the bedroom and straight on through to the bathroom where he turned on the taps. When he returned to the sitting room, she had got as far as removing her bonnet. He did not believe for a moment that she was deliberately procrastinating, and he appreciated this would not be easy for her. But he also knew her hesitancy would not diminish for drawing out the inevitable. He wanted her naked, and he wanted that without further delay.

“Victoria, please do as I asked. I don’t like to be kept waiting.” He injected a deliberate note of authority into his tone, preferring to start as he meant to continue. He intended to be in charge here, she would obey him.

“No, of course. I’m sorry.” She unbuttoned her jacket and removed that, then looked around as though seeking somewhere to deposit the garment.

Adam settled himself in a chair in front of the window. The light behind him would obstruct her clear view of his features, whilst he could see every detail of her. “Just put your clothes on the chaise lounge behind you. When you’re naked I’d like you to kneel on the floor, here, just in front of me.”

Victoria gulped, but made no protest, though her perplexed expression told him her mind was whirling. Silence did not signify agreement. At least, not yet.

She unfastened her white blouse and removed that too, placing it on top of her jacket. Next she loosened the ties holding her skirt in place and peeled that down to her ankles. She stepped out of the pooled fabric and placed the skirt neatly with the rest.

Adam shifted in his chair, conscious that his erection was very obvious. He made no attempt to conceal it, preferring that she understood the effect she had on him. Her eyes widened when her gaze rested on the bulge betraying his arousal. Clad in just her fine silk combinations she presented an exceedingly fetching sight, concealing nothing of her curves. He would have defied a monk to remain unmoved. On another occasion he might have allowed her to remain as she was and enjoyed the display. The first time was always somewhat awkward though, for a submissive at least, and he preferred to press on.

“Quite lovely, Victoria. I applaud your taste in undergarments. Did you purchase that especially for me?”

“Yes. I wasn’t sure what… I just wanted to look my best.” Her lovely features were starting to pinken, but she maintained eye contact with him. There would be occasions when he would require her to drop her gaze, but for now he found her pride and determination admirable. He had no interest in a mewling, shrinking little virgin.

But she is a virgin, he reminded himself. He would soon remedy that though.

“Good choice. I may permit you to put it back on later, with the crotch left unfastened of course. For now, remove it, please.”

He loved the way her face flushed, the rosy hue starting at her neck and chest and rising steadily as she undid the buttons down the front. The display of bare flesh was tantalising as the two halves gapped open. She lifted her gaze to his again, and he raised one eyebrow deliberately. She needed to do as she was told, without hesitation or argument. He expected no less.

“I will not kneel.” She tipped up her chin, defiant.

“No? Why not, Victoria?” He kept his tone deceptively low.

“I have agreed to do as you want, to allow you to do—things—to me. But I am not here to be humiliated or debased.”

“Of course not. You are here to be cherished, admired, pleasured. But those rewards have to be earned, through submission and obedience. Talking of which, I require you to be naked. I have said so on numerous occasions now so I will count to five. If you are not nude and on your knees by then, I will consider our arrangement terminated.”

“What? You would just send me home again?”

“No. You are welcome to remain here in the suite. I would be the one to leave. Two.”

“But—”

“Three.”

“Oh. I…” She abandoned any further attempt at conversation and slid the remaining undergarment from her body. It dropped to the carpet and she made no attempt to pick it up. Instead she stood before him for several moments, then lowered herself slowly to her knees.

The rebellion was over. Adam breathed out, relieved to have averted that crisis.

He leaned forward to peruse her body as his cock swelled yet more. He would not have believed it possible; his balls were about to explode. She was exquisite, quite breath-taking. He’d known she was attractive, beautiful even behind the haunted, stressed demeanour and formal clothing. He had had the wit to recognise that fact the moment he set eyes on her, but this vision of loveliness was beyond any and all expectations.

Victoria looked up at him from her position at his feet, then slowly, deliberately, she dropped her gaze.

Fucking perfect.

“Good girl. Thank you for doing as I asked. Now, I’d like you to remove the pins from your hair and let it loose. Then part your thighs if you would, please, and place your hands on the back of your head.”

He waited for the protest, but again there was none. She reached up to release her hair from the neat coil at the nape of her slender neck and the dark tendrils tumbled around her shoulders, concealing one perfect, upturned breast. She shifted her position so her knees were a few inches apart, then lifted her hands to lace her fingers behind her head. In her new position eye contact was more natural, and she held his gaze. It was Adam who looked away first, but only to inspect her in more detail.

He ran his gaze over her torso, noting the swollen nipple and pink aureole that tipped the breast still visible to him. He reached to sweep her hair back over her shoulder in order to better admire her. Her breasts were small, but delightfully curved. He would enjoy lifting and moulding them in his hands, squeezing her tender nipples until she squealed. He was ready to wager a year’s profits that no man had ever wrapped his lips around those delicious peaks and sucked.

His gaze drifted lower to her neatly trimmed quim. She had prepared herself for him, and he appreciated that. He also wondered how she had known what he would like. Whose counsel had she sought? Not her mother’s, surely?

He stood and strolled around her to examine her from the rear. Her shoulders were narrow, her back slender. She appeared fragile, delicate even, though her bottom was lush and beautifully rounded, an arse made for spanking. It would not be wasted here.

He crouched behind her and leaned forward to whisper in her ear. “Lift your bottom up, and lower your face to the carpet. Then spread your legs as wide as you can. You can put your hands on the floor if you wish.”

Now she would argue, surely. He waited as several moments passed. Then, Victoria did exactly as he had instructed. She raised her bottom for him, opened her thighs, and settled her cheek on the rug. Her face was turned away from him though.

“Turn your head, I want to see you.”

Again, she complied, though her eyes were closed.

“Open your eyes, Victoria. Don’t look away or close them again unless I give you permission. Do you understand?”

“Yes, of course I understand.” Her tone was not exactly that of the meek submissive. He had work to do here.

“Excellent, because now that I have made my wishes clear and you have understood them, I will spank you if you fail to obey me. Is that also clear?”

A brief pause, then, “Yes.”

“Yes, sir.”

“I beg your pardon?”

“Whenever you are naked in my presence, or kneeling, or in any position of submission, you will address me as sir. Without fail. Is that also clear?”

“How will I know? The correct times, I mean?”

Adam smiled at her, though with no warmth. “You will know, Victoria. If in doubt, call me sir anyway. Again, failure to comply with this requirement will earn you spankings or other punishments. So, are we clear on this rule also?”

“I, I think so.”

He slapped her bottom, the spank just hard enough to create a resounding crack. “Who are you talking to, girl?”

“You, sir. I apologise.”

The firm flesh of her buttock quivered, as did her lower lip. Adam could see this treatment was getting to her, causing her to be confused, distressed even. He needed to change the pace or the next part of his plan would not work.

He palmed her bottom, noting the way the smooth globes clenched at his touch. Fear? Perhaps, but from the glistening he could see on her soft folds he thought not. She might be scared, but she was aroused too.

He continued to caress her sweet derrière, his fingertips just brushing her pussy as he slid them past. She tightened with each stroke, her cunt moistening before his eyes. She was loving and hating this at the same time, her body and her mind at war with each other. He needed her to abandon the struggle, and he knew just how to cause her to do that.

He stood, towering over her for a few moments. Her eyes were fixed on his shoes, her features reflected in the highly polished leather.

“Do not move from that position.” He turned on his heel and walked away.

He was only gone a few moments, just sufficient time to check on her bath and turn off the taps. When he returned he was gratified to note she had not shifted so much as an inch. He crouched alongside her again, and reached to trail the backs of his knuckles along her jaw. The action seemed to relax her. Her eyelids drooped.

“Open your eyes, please.” His tone was gentle now, but no less effective. She did as she was told, gazing up at him from her position of absolute surrender did she but know it. He was delighted with her progress so far.

“Your bath is ready for you, but you have to earn that pleasure. I want us to get to know each other a little first. So, tell me, Victoria, when did you last pleasure yourself?”

“I…? What? What did you ask me?”

“I asked when you last brought yourself to climax. You did climax, I assume?”

“I’m not sure, I mean…”

He slapped her bottom again, hard. “Who are you addressing, Victoria?”

“Sir. Sorry, I mean sir.”

“Learn it, or you’ll find yourself receiving a thorough spanking before we proceed much further, if that’s what it takes to press the message home.”

She was chewing on her lower lip again, tears glistening in her eyes. Adam returned to his theme.

“So, your most recent orgasm. Tell me about it.”

“I can’t. Sir. Please don’t ask me that.”

“You can, and you will. Let me help you get started. Did you bring yourself to orgasm by touching yourself?”

A few seconds passed, and he contemplated another hard slap to her upturned buttocks to help her focus. Then she screwed up her face and gave a brief nod.

“In words, please. Was that a yes?”

“Yes, sir.” She spoke so quietly he had to strain to hear. It was enough though. Adam was sufficiently intuitive to know when to press a submissive and when to accept what she offered.

“Thank you. You were at home, I assume? In your bedroom?”

Again that faint little voice. “Yes, sir.”

“When was this?”

“Two nights ago, sir. After you left Hebden Bridge.”

“I see. And the time before that?”

“I, I’m not sure. Some weeks, I think. Sir.”

“And before that?”

“I cannot remember, sir. Please, that is the truth, you must believe me.”

“I do believe you, Victoria. Why would I not?” He was pleased with her answers, and had no doubt as to their veracity. So, his little Victoria liked to pleasure herself, but not especially frequently. He hoped her most recent foray into the delights of masturbation had been prompted by his visit, by the spanking he administered and the sensations it evoked. Or perhaps by their conversation the following day, in her office. He really could not blame her if it had; the first thing he did when he arrived back in Knightsbridge was retire to his private quarters and deal with the persistent erection she had stirred. She might have required release also. He hoped so.

“In future, you will only pleasure yourself with my permission. Your orgasms belong to me, Victoria.”

“Yes, sir. I understand.”

He was beginning to think she just might. “So, Victoria, where did you touch yourself exactly, two nights ago, after I left you?”

“I’m not sure I understand, sir.”

He was quite certain she did, but her response played into his hands. Without warning her what he was about to do, he drew the flat of his palm across her damp folds, from clitoris to anus. She lurched forward, almost over-balancing, letting out a sharp shriek as she did so.

Adam applied another hard slap to her arse. “I said, do not move. I was not intending to restrain you immediately but I will if I have to. Now, did you touch yourself here?” He repeated the long, slow stroke across her drenched pussy lips, this time allowing his fingertips to explore. He dipped the tip of his middle finger into her entrance and stopped, leaving his digit where it was.

“So, do you stroke your quim, like this, on your sweet lips? Or do you prefer to slide your fingers right inside, perhaps?” He proceeded to penetrate her with his long finger, sliding it fully into her hot, moist channel. She clenched, her body stiffening but she remained in position. He pressed forward gently, conscious of her virginity and loath to cause her any unnecessary discomfort. Her first time would be soon, very soon, and he was determined to make the experience a memorable one for all the right reasons.

He withdrew his finger, then thrust it back inside her. “Is this how you would do it, Victoria?”

“N-no, sir, I haven’t… I would never… Oh!”

She shuddered, and he recognised the first stirrings of her release. He pulled his finger from her cunt. “Very well, so tell me then. What did you do that evening, Victoria? How did you touch yourself? Where?”

He punctuated his probing words by easing her inner lips apart and circling his fingertip just inside. Victoria let out a gasp, then a moan. Moisture leaked from her, dampening her inner thighs as her arousal grew. He stopped, and she lifted her bottom higher, thrusting her hips back towards him.

“Oh, no, you don’t. I’ll give you what you want, but you have to ask me for it. Tell me what you like, girl. What should I do to make you come?”

“Anything, sir.”

“Not anything. Something. Tell me.”

She dragged in a shuddering breath, then, “Further forward, please. There’s a more sensitive place…”

Her clit. Right. He adjusted his angle so now the tip of his thumb rested between her pussy lips whilst his fingers caressed her swollen bud. “Is this it, Victoria? Is this the place?”

“Yes. Oh, dear Lord…”

Adam chuckled. “I thought we agreed just sir would suffice.”

“Yes. Sir, yes. Oh, oh…” She wriggled, squeezing her cunt around his thumb now as he pressed deeper.

“This is your clit, Victoria. In future, if I ask you where you’d like me to touch you, I expect you to say it. Use the word.” He scraped his fingernail across the head of her plump nub. She stiffened, started to pant. Her words were incomprehensible, but he didn’t need to hear them. He knew a woman on the brink of a powerful orgasm when he had her spread out beneath him.

Adam took her clit between his fingers and squeezed it. Victoria began to shake, her entire body caught up in what he was doing to her. Her hands were now spread on the carpet in front of her, her fingers clawing at the pile as she rushed toward her release.

He considered making her wait; it would be all the more intense when he did finally allow her release. But he decided against that, this time. He wanted her trust, but even more than that he wanted her appetite for this, for him, to grow. She had obeyed him, she had earned her reward, and he would give it.

He laid the pad of his middle finger over the tip of her clit and he rubbed, soft at first, then firmer. Victoria let out a long, low moan and convulsed around his hand. Her inner walls contracted to grip his thumb, and she thrust her hips back hard to increase the friction. Adam pressed a little harder, curling his thumb just a little in order to make contact with the spot inside her where he knew she would feel most pleasure. He got it, and she was gone.

He maintained the pressure, caressing, rubbing, stroking, thrusting as she writhed and moaned, her body shuddering under his ministrations. Her response delighted him, so ready, so enthusiastic that both her modesty and inhibitions were swept aside. A good, hard orgasm would do that every time.

As she went still, her slender form now sinking towards the floor beneath her, he withdrew his fingers.

“You may lie down now, if you wish.” Adam knew she had been about to do just that, without his permission. He had no wish to mar her pleasure by punishing her for moving when he had told her not to, so he forestalled that by issuing the invitation. Victoria rolled onto her side and lay stretched out on the rug. Her eyes were closed, her breathing rapid and shallow. He watched her for several moments, relishing her unravelled, sated beauty, before he reached for her and picked her up. He cradled her in his arms as he leaned back against the chair he had vacated earlier, and simply held her until her breathing returned to normal.

She nestled against him, curling her fingers in the pristine linen of his shirt. He tightened his arms around her and kissed her tousled hair. Several minutes passed before she lifted her face from his chest and peeped up at him.

“That was wonderful, much better than I could have done, Thank you, sir.”

“You are most welcome, my sweet little slut. So now, if you are quite finished, I believe your bath may be getting cold.”

“Why did you call me that? I’m not…” She made as though to wriggle from his arms, her face betraying her hurt at the description he had applied.

Adam could have kicked himself as he tightened his grip again. He tangled his fingers in the hair at the back of her head and held her still, forcing her to remain still and look at him.

“You are a slut, Victoria. But you are my slut, which is exactly what I want from you. Your responses are beautiful, your sensuality a rare and exquisite gift. When your desires are shared with me, as they were just now, that pleases me. You please me.”

She peered at him, uncertain, then, “I see. I think.”

He wasn’t sure she did entirely, but he’d work on that. He lowered his face to hers, brushed his lips across her mouth. “That’s good then. Now, your bath awaits, madam.”

He stood, lifting her against his chest, and without further ado carried her to the bathroom.

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