She felt his eyes boring into her as she slid onto the seat. His dilating pupils said he liked her in this half-dressed state.
“I don’t know if I can remember clearly when I’m half naked.”
“Would you rather be completely naked then?”
“No, thank you.”
“Then don’t complain.” Falk handed her a glass of water. “I’ve wasted a couple of hours setting things right because of your little escapade in the jail. Your half nudity is part of your punishment. We’ll get to the rest of it shortly. Don’t tempt me to start immediately. I want to know more about what happened today.”
Takyu started by telling him she was on her way to meet the IBTs; yes, the ones he mentioned, Gelini and Murni. She remembered someone jumping out in front of her.
“There was a flowery, sweet smell and the next thing I knew, I was lying in a garbage-strewn courtyard with cold water being dashed into my face.” Remembering that moment brought back a world of fear. She tried to blink it away, but Falk must have seen the shimmer of gold through her blue hair because he lifted her hand to his mouth and kissed it.
“I promised to protect you,” he said. “I failed.” He released her hand and raised her chin to make him look at her. “And why did I fail?”
“Because I locked you into the cell?” She grinned at the memory, allowing her little joke to wash away the residue of terror from being on the block.
“You’re not even sorry, are you?” he asked.
Takyu took a long drink of water and decided that conversation wasn’t headed anywhere she wanted to go. She opened the bag that Falk had recovered from the market vendor.
“Let’s see what they left me with.” She dug into in and pulled out her boots, socks, the folding bo, and the packages of Whites. “They hadn’t even sold all the Whites!” she exclaimed. “So they had all that money you just gave Titon and this left over?” She felt the hidden pockets. “The gemstones are still here too.”
So was the yellow powder. Good.
Falk interrupted her thoughts. “I told you that you weren’t charging enough for the Whites. Not only did I take all that cash off them, I gave some back to the Jamiesons to ease their bruised egos.”
“Thank you for getting my bag back. I made it myself when I was fourteen and I’ve never been without it.” She ran her hands over the rough hessian fabric fondly. “Back then, I could carry everything I owned in it. I’d need a second bag now.”
Falk took it out of her hands and pointed. “Go. Stand with your nose to the wall in that corner. I want you to think about the paddling you’re about to get and the many reasons I have for delivering it.”
“Do what you’re told. No backtalk. No argument.” Falk put his hand on the back of her neck and guided her to the spot. “I’ll be right here. There is nothing to be afraid of but me and the consequences of your own misbehavior, neither of which is going to kill you.”
He turned her toward the wall, drew her hands behind her back so her chest curved forward and her cardigan opened, exposing her high breasts. He ran his fingers over her unprotected nipples, teasing them to the point she had to stifle her moans of pleasure.
Then he stopped. He left her there, hot and ready for him.
Behind her, the leather on the big armchair squeaked as he sat down. She could hear the CommBand keys being tapped as he sent messages.
She hated standing in the corner like this, like a recalcitrant child. This was the most humiliating moment of her life, because she liked Falk a lot. Being in disgrace with him was humbling. It spoke to how much she’d let him down, how angry and disappointed he was in her.
The noisy leather told her when he stood from his chair, but he moved quietly. The next second he was behind her again. He unlocked her clasped hands and turned her to face him.
He paused for a second, the longest second of Takyu’s life.
He fixed her gaze with his. “Now it’s time for the active part of your punishment.”
“Active part?” She shuddered. She remembered the woman being spanked in the street that afternoon and wondered how much worse her fate would be. She wanted to free her hands and bury her face, to hide from her shame.
“Yes, the part where you go over my knee for the spanking you so richly deserve.” He spoke the admonishing words quietly, almost reluctantly.
Takyu felt a shift in the air. His will, his wish, had just become her command. She knew she’d obey whatever order he gave her.
She’d fought hard to suppress her terror when she was Tree and River’s captive. Since then, she hadn’t let herself truly think about the danger she’d been in. Now she could. Safe with a man who’d snatched her from the most perilous situation she’d ever been in, she thought about how things might have turned out.
Instead of standing with Falk in a cozy apartment, she would have been riding in the cargo bay of some overlord’s hovercraft, destined to a life of cruel subjugation and daily abuse. She had been spared all of that because of Falk.
She deserved the spanking. She had to admit that. Instead of fighting Falk like she’d sworn she would when seeing the public spectacle, she’d accept whatever he decided she needed. New dread filled her but at least this time she knew the punishment would be just and finite.
Remorse and gratitude fought in her heart. Courage won. “I’m sorry,” she said.
“Me too.” He rubbed her hands gently as though trying to warm them. “Because there are two types of spankings I can give you. The first is the erotic type. A stinging spanking that warms your cheeks, brings blood to your core, and releases the tension of daily living.”
“Yes?” Her voice was mouse-like.
He led her by one hand over to the sofa where he slid her cardigan from her shoulders. “The spanking I’m going to give you now is punishment. It will hurt so much you won’t be able to think about anything but the next fall of my hand. You will beg me to stop but I won’t. I will only stop when I have your complete and full surrender.”
He rolled up his sleeves as though about to undertake some hard labor. Takyu couldn’t help herself. His muscular forearms were so sexy. She wanted him again. Now. She didn’t want the punishment.
He sat in the middle of the sofa and indicated with his chin. “Lie across my lap.”
She shivered but when she lay across his muscular thighs, the mood of her hair color was lusty black, not frightened yellow.
“When was your last spanking?” he asked, running one hand over her naked derriere, tickling the sweet spot at the top of her legs.
She pressed her thighs together to stop him, but he pushed her feet wide with his toe. “Do not close your legs again unless I give you permissions, understand? And I asked you a question. I’m waiting for an answer.”
“I’ve never been spanked before.”
“How are naughty girls punished on the mesa?”
Takyu’s earliest memory of mesa life was Elder Carli telling her that as long as she put other people’s needs before her own, she’d always get along in their community. She did try to live by that rule, but she had an irrepressible mischievous streak that Carli said would one day land her in big trouble. “Our punishments are different, meant to align with the offense. The Elders decide.”
She considered which of her many past escapades she wanted to share. “Once I stole a cake from an Elder’s kitchen when she was in her garden working. My penalty was I had to make another cake to replace it and then I had to go without sweets for a month. Worse still, I had to help prepare all the desserts and special treats for the entire community and I wasn’t allowed to even lick the spoon while I made them.” Her voice dropped. “I thought that was going to kill me. Basically, Dwellers don’t believe in any physical violence really. We are a peaceful people.”
“A peaceful people who train with fighting bos?”
“We do believe in self-defense.” What an odd position to be in for a conversation, she thought, trying to ignore the growing panic making her hands turn to ice. “So yeah, we all know how to handle basic tools for defense of the mesa.”
“What about this bottom?” He delivered a series of quick, light taps. “Do you know how to defend this?”
“I’m getting tempted to try.” She punctuated her words with a nervous laugh.
The first serious smack landed, harder than any he’d delivered carrying her back to his office. Takyu pushed up on her elbows.
Falk placed his hand gently between her shoulder blades, pushing her down again. “This is a big sofa. Stretch your arms out in front of you and do not rise again until you have permission. Is that clear?”
Takyu murmured her response.
One heavy spank fell.
“Ow. Yes, it is! I’m sorry. I promise I won’t do that again.”
“Do what again?”
“I won’t push up on my elbows.”
“Actually, I have a better idea. I’ll help you keep your position,” he said. His legs lifted up and her body shifted on an angle as he fished something out of his pocket. He settled himself and then Takyu back into position before reaching for her hands and drawing them to the small of her back. He held the cuffs with one hand easily.
“Do you deserve to be spanked for your behavior today?”
“I do.” She bit her lip. “I don’t. I don’t know.”
The tribulations of the day bore down on her and she splayed across his lap. All the ordeals swamped her: the early hunger, the fear, the wolf attacking the Jamieson brothers, the shock at seeing Berielle carried off to the lighthouse, and the horror of being kidnapped. The bright beacon of the day had been when Falk and she made love, when their bodies melded into one graceful, surging beast.
That remembered happiness blew away all the wrong that had happened before and after. Now she wanted to lay down arms, to give up all responsibility. She wanted this handsome, brave man to extract whatever penalty he commanded from her.
“Yes,” she said calmly. “I do deserve to be spanked.”
“This will hurt,” he said. “But you won’t die.”
Then he landed the next spank, follow by another, then another.
The sharp ringing of his wide hand falling on her upturned cheeks drowned out every other sound in the room. Takyu winced and moaned but she didn’t cry.
Falk stopped. “How many was that?”
“You didn’t say I had to count!”
“I didn’t, did I? Any guesses?” He rubbed the flesh he’d just tenderized.
“About a thousand.” His sofa smelled like wood-fire smoke and cinnamon. She rubbed her cheek on the smooth fabric and closed her eyes.
Smack. “Sarcasm isn’t your most attractive quality.”
Smack. “Hey is not an appropriate response.”
“Okay.” The spanking stopped. It wasn’t nearly as bad as she’d expected. “What would you like me to say?”
His hand ran up the inside of one thigh and fluttered her nether lips tenderly. She rolled her hips to give him easier access.
He laughed softly. “I’d like you to admit that you weren’t counting. And then to apologize for locking me into the cell today.”
“I wasn’t counting. And I am sorry for locking you in the cell. But maybe if you hadn’t destroyed my cover, no one would have wanted to get close to me.”
He tapped the inside of one thigh lightly. “Are you saying it’s my fault you locked me into my own jail cell?”
“Maybe. Sort of.”
“So you’re apologizing, but not really.”
“I did apologize!”
“I think you’ll feel a bit more apologetic the next time I stop spanking.”
“Next time? Isn’t it over?” Her eyes flew open.
To underscore the point that he wasn’t finished, he delivered a series of light smacks on the inside of her thighs.
“That was six,” she shouted.
“Good. I like a girl with basic numeracy, but your punishment isn’t over, not by a long shot. I only stopped to say that you’ve had twenty strokes. How do you feel?”
She hated talking into the sofa, instead of looking him in the face. But she didn’t say so. Not in that position. She sighed before answering. “My butt smarts. I think you can stop now. I’ve learned my lesson.”
“I doubt that very much. I haven’t seen tears yet. Do you deserve to be spanked more? Now think very carefully before you answer that.”
“Um, yes. I guess I do.” Worry made her stomach flutter.
“Yes, sir, to you. Whenever you are being punished, the answers are always yes, sir or no, sir.”
“Yes, sir,” Takyu recited.
“Yes, sir, what?”
Takyu kicked her legs a couple of times in frustration. After another light tap to the inside of her thigh followed, she lay very still. “Yes, sir, I deserve to be spanked more.”
Falk’s reply was to start spanking, peppering her entire backside and the top of her thighs with one smarting swat after another. Takyu tried to keep count but between forty and fifty she lost her ability to think clearly. Her brain froze in a when will this be over mode.
A constellation of stars burst in front of her eyes. She could no longer hold back her desperate pleas.
“I’m sorry. Please stop,” she moaned. “Please, sir,” she added just to be sure.
“Not yet, minx, you’re not sobbing yet.”
“I am I am I am.”
It was like she’d been waiting for his permission to cry, which she knew was crazy thinking. But once she said she was, she let go. All the self-control that had been holding her together fizzled. Her tears ran freely and the smoky smell of the sofa became damp, reminding her of old campfires.
She missed sitting around campfires with Elder Carli. They hadn’t done one of their stargazing nights all summer. Carli had been too tired. Takyu thought of Carli lying in bed, too weakened by the Waking Illness to move. Helpless sorrow swamped her as her sobs rose in a loud, jagged crescendo, interrupted only by her entreaties for Falk to stop.
She tried to calm herself by recalling the moment of ecstasy with him earlier that day but the simple connection of his hand to her heated rump blew everything else out of her mind. Eventually she even stopped begging. She lay, absorbing the punishment, listening to his occasional words of reprimand. There was nowhere to go but deep into the pain that filled her consciousness with sparkly showers of silver and molten gold.
After several centuries passed, the spanking slowed. His hand turned from instrument of punishment to a soothing pad as he tenderly rubbed one cheek and the other.
When he lifted her onto his lap, she was ragdoll limp. He held her in his arms and eased her head against his chest. “Are you going to obey me from now on?” he murmured.
“Yes, sir. Whatever you want, whenever you want it.”
“I’m glad you’re going to try.” He brushed her tears away with the flat of his thumbs. “I was more than a little alarmed when I learned you hadn’t made it to Gelini and Murni’s office.”
“I’m sorry.” Her body shook and he held her more firmly.
“You’ve been punished. That’s the end of it.” He didn’t have the right words to tell her how much he’d admired her strength and courage as he’d spanked her. He’d felt the fight rise in her. He’d sensed when she’d willed herself to control her fears and overcame her natural inclination to resist the spanking.
From the moment he’d set eyes on her, he’d been attracted to her in ways he didn’t fully understand. Now that she had submitted to his authority, his feelings were heating up faster. The lust she’d first sparked was morphing quickly into something much more complex, something that made him want to possess and protect her all at the same time.
Having her warm bottom perched on his thighs wasn’t helping him keep an even balance either. She had to feel his erection pushing into her. She said nothing.
What she needed for now was to be told she was forgiven, to be brought back from the emotional cliff she’d just sailed over. He’d caught her as she was falling. The way she molded her body to his said she accepted his comfort without reservation.
He had been struck by the loving curse. Had she?
“Come,” he said, easing her to her feet. “This time you can use my shower. We’ll shower together and I’ll wipe all the grime from the market off you.”
She wrapped her arms around his chest and pressed herself against him. “Don’t leave me alone, please.”
“Oh, minx, I’ll stick to you like a shadow if that’s what you want.” Guilt tugged at him for only a second. Maybe he’d spanked her too hard and too long. Maybe he’d pushed her beyond some emotional limits he’d failed to notice.
She looked up at him, her eyes sparkling. “Do you want to make it truly necessary to have a shower?”
Her hands danced down to his waist and slipped inside his jeans. She found his hardened cock and, opening his fly, eased it out. Her nipples were hard and tight, her breasts swollen with hunger. Molten warmth spread from her crotch over her entire body.
She opened her mouth and he covered it with kisses.
“I was going to send you back to the corner,” he breathed.
“And miss all this fun?” She dropped to her knees but before she began sucking, he lifted her back to her feet.
“Yes, we must miss all this fun. Or the very most I can give you is a fast shag. I need to get to work. To see the place where Colton died before we lose daylight.”
“Is one death in this single murderous land worth so much attention? What can you do?” She pulled his shirt out of his pants.
Grabbing her wrists, he backed her up to the wall, holding her hands together over her head. His knee pushed between her legs, right up to her pussy. Takyu knew when he took his knee down again there’d be a wet stain on it.
“You want me to stay close to you even if I do things like this?” He kissed her face and her ears before dragging his tongue along her collarbone.
“Not just that,” she said. “I want everything you want to do to me. You spanked me until I couldn’t stand it any longer and then you continued to spank me. I thought I would die but you were there, devil and angel all in one. I’ve never been with anyone who did that to me before.”
Falk released her wrists but left them above her head. “Don’t move,” he said.
He stripped off his jeans and stood before her naked. “This is sexier than if I had bound and tied your hands in that position. You holding the pose because I told you to is the most arousing thing you could do.”
He stepped close to her and ran his hands from the tops of her thighs to her shoulders, stopping to caress her breasts. This time when his mouth covered hers it was hungry and searching. His tongue traced her teeth, then he teased her tongue into his mouth to be sucked and licked.
“I can’t just stand and take this.” She dropped her hands to reach for his head and, before she registered what was happening, he spun her around and smacked her backside smartly.
“You didn’t have permission to lower your hands,” he said, squeezing her tender cheeks.
“May I please lower my hands, sir?”
By way of an answer, he flattened her against the wall from behind. He dropped a hand down in front of her and pushed open her thighs to stroke her dewy petals. “I love you hot and wet like this.” His voice was gruff.
The head of his cock pushed softly against her tight hole.
“No!” she gasped.
“Not yet, minx, but soon.” With that he changed the angle of his entry, sliding easily between her folds into her eager tunnel.
She exhaled, an apprehensive sigh of delight. Already sore from their earlier coupling, she braced herself for the raw spot to suffer again. But it didn’t.
By opening and closing her thighs, she controlled how deeply he could thrust. He moaned in appreciation of the friction of her thighs clenching and unclenching.
“You are so good,” he said, upping the tempo of his hammering.
Clearly this position wasn’t an accident. He was taking her that way so he wouldn’t hurt her with his size. Without her saying a word, he’d figured out how sore she was from their earlier fucking and had found a way to give her some control.
He was dominant, yes. But he was also kind and thoughtful. He understood her needs even before she knew what they were.
Her heart skipped as the greatest orgasm she’d ever known flooded over her. Falk came in the same second.
They both leaned against the wall for a bit, recovering their strength. Falk turned her to face him and held her as their breathing returned to normal.
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