Hester jumped. She’d fallen asleep while sat upright against the warm chimney breast. In her sleepy head, she heard voices. Miriam’s, then Daniel—no doubt discussing her disappearance.
Pensive, she crouched by the small door and waited for them to leave, hoping the order would be given to the troopers to hunt her down. A scream. A high-pitched screech. Hester recoiled, stumbling backwards.
“Tell me!” Daniel’s deep voice, but muffled by the panelling.
“No!” A voice shrieked. Miriam?
Hester edged closer to the panelling. A smattering of light came through the cracks.
“Where is your mistress, Miriam?”
Another slap of flesh.
She gasped in horror. Daniel was spanking her maid, probably forcing her to reveal something the poor girl couldn’t possibly know: Hester’s location.
The blows continued, as did Daniel’s questioning and the strange squawks of Miriam.
Hester searched with her fingers, feeling for the latch. She couldn’t sit there in the darkness while Daniel punished Miriam for her wrongdoing.
She crawled through the hole, trampling on the ends of her cloak while blinded by the bright candlelight.
She stumbled to her feet. “Stop! Please leave her alone.”
Her mouth dropped open and she stopped in front of the bed. Reclining on the mattress was Daniel and nobody else. In his hand, the hairbrush.
He smacked it on the palm of his hand. “Ow!” he squeaked in a feminine tone.
“You tricked me!” Hester stamped her foot.
“As did you. I think we can call it a draw, can’t we?” Daniel sat up and tossed the hairbrush on the bed.
“How… how did you know?”
“I had my suspicions when I first searched the room on the day of my arrival. I came back later on my own.” He grinned. “Priest holes exist in many country houses. I spied the catch and checked the little room out. Nothing there but spiders. I realised you’d never left the room. You wanted me to think you’d gone so I would dispatch my men and leave you free to escape in your own time.”
“Miriam. I heard her voice.”
“I dismissed her. A quiet signal and then… you can guess.”
Hester fumed for a few seconds, angry at Daniel’s deception, then a sense of relief overcame her—Miriam was safe and unharmed. “You scared me.”
Daniel guffawed. “Good. You deserved it.”
His lack of remorse at his trickery demonstrated again his need to keep the upper hand with regard to her shenanigans. Her shoulders slumped. There was no point in raging against him as his actions had been justified. “What now? Please, I can’t bear being locked up any longer.”
“Where the hell did you think you’d go anyway?”
She gave a small shrug. “A tavern. Somewhere nearby. I suppose I didn’t really think too far ahead.”
“Um. Planning is not your strength. Consequences either. I would let you go, but you know too much now.” He puffed out his lips and lay back on the bed. “You’ve put me in a difficult position.”
Hester walked over to the end of the bed, perching on the edge between the carved wooden posts.
“I made a decision, in the priest hole. If this attempt at escape failed, I would surrender. Give in.”
Daniel propped himself up on an elbow. “Surrender?”
“No more fighting you. I can’t keep doing this. Also, I feel terrible. It’s like I’m torn in two. My loyalty to my family, my home and… what I feel towards you.”
His eyebrows shot up. “I thought you hated me.”
She averted her eyes and wrung her hands together in her lap. “I did, I tried to, but the reality is, I can’t stop thinking about you. It’s you who despises me, surely?” She peeked out from under her rogue locks of hair.
Daniel patted the bed. “Come here.”
She shuffled up the bed.
“I hate this war,” he said in a hushed tone, glancing at the door. “Not you. Englishman fighting Englishman. Scots too. I want to be a lawyer and dispense justice in the courts of law, not the battlefield. My mother is a staunch puritan and my father a preacher. They didn’t exactly insist I join the Roundheads, but I was honour-bound. My sisters take care of them and I wasn’t needed at home. So, I gave up my studies and joined the Eastern Association Army. I fought in the sieges of Lincoln and York, last year.”
“Are they proud of you, your family?”
“I don’t know. I’ve not been back home since.” He briefly rubbed his hands over his eyes. “You call us enemies, but are we? Truly? We follow the ideology of our parents, not our own.”
Hester pursed her lips. She didn’t think he understood. How could she make Daniel see what it meant to be part of the gentry and have expectations of rank and status? “It is not simple.”
“It should be. Who we are born to, our stations, shouldn’t define how we live our lives.”
His words struck a chord with her. If only she could shake off her responsibilities. She touched his hand and he slid his fingers between her knuckles.
“I want to start again. We two. Can we do that?” he asked.
She intertwined her fingers in his. “I think we can.” All about her body, her skin prickled, her blood pulsed in her vessels, and a strange awakening burst out of her loins.
He edged closer to her lips, drawing her down into an embrace, and wrapped his arms about her. The heat from his chest rose up into her bosom. He pressed his lips against her mouth and she tasted wine, then, as she exhaled, his tongue dipped into her mouth.
Extraordinary new sensations erupted about her body. Subtle involuntary motions she barely perceived—the tightening of muscles, especially at the apex of her thighs. Her head buzzed with a delicious dizziness. Even her scalp seemed to come alive with tingles. As his tongue explored, she responded with her own exploration, darting the tip of her tongue into his mouth.
Suddenly, he broke away and rested his head deeper in the pillow. Uncertain of his intentions, she sat up and wiped her mouth with the back of her hand.
His expression had transformed. She detected a serious, almost stern lowering of his eyebrows. If Hester’s father had pulled such a face, she’d have anticipated she was in trouble.
“What’s wrong?” she asked.
He reached up and gathered up loose strands of her hair, sweeping them out of her eyes. “Before we go any further, I need to spank you.”
Hester’s jaw dropped and she went to protest at his suggestion; however, he put his finger on her lips, halting her speech.
“We need to start anew. I’m going to punish you. You’ve played the spy and attempted to escape. After this spanking, we can begin again and you will meet my expectations of good behaviour with renewed vigour.”
Her heart raced and a fresh outburst of nervous shivers flooded her body. No part of her desired to be spanked, to suffer the ignominy of a beating, but something else had been awoken by his demands. “Why?”
“I would make you atone for the trouble you have caused.” Daniel rose up onto his elbows. “I would have you understand, if you wish to leave this room, you must comply with my wishes, my rules. Whatever else happens between us, we cannot lose sight of the fact I am in charge and not you.”
Daniel’s tone conveyed authority and she admired his ability to weaken her resolve. Torn again, between refusing to comply with his intended punishment and the wish to be something more to him, more than anything she’d been in her life with any other person—she held her breath, weighing up the emotions battling in her mind.
He slid his finger down her chin, following the contour of her neckline before stopping at her bodice and pinched the lacing with a finger and thumb, giving it a tug. “Take off your clothes.”
She leapt backwards, almost falling off the bed, and she clutched at her laces. “I… I’ve never been undressed before a man. You can’t expect me to reveal my flesh to you. I’m a maiden!”
Daniel sat up, swinging his legs off the side of the bed. With lightning reflexes, he snatched hold of her stray hand, capturing it between his larger ones. “Don’t be afraid, Hester.” He spoke softly, rubbing his palm back and forth over her knuckles. “If we are to move on, build trust, you must do this for me. I will see you bared. I insist.”
“Why?” She didn’t attempt to retrieve her stolen hand.
“It is what I desire. I can feel your soft skin under my hand, caress it, and when I raise my hand to spank you, I will see your paleness turn blushing pink. Then I will know when you have taken all you can.”
“That is all?”
“If that is all you wish, yes.”
What she wished? She pictured his hand on her naked flesh, the heavy weight of his palm moulding about her globe, fitting around it like a glove. She snatched an eager breath and the heat in her neck rose high into her cheekbones. He had spanked her before on her bare bottom in the dim light of dusk, forcing her over his lap and holding her down. A rough, inelegant act of discipline. What he described now, the words he chose, made her flush with excitement. Did she want more from him? What else would he do to her if she said yes?
She pulled at her laces without thinking, unthreading the bindings and drawing apart the bodice. Her breasts, even without the ribbing of the bodice, remained firm and prominent. Each passing second made her breathing faster and louder, and the nervous energy harder to contain. Uncertainty crept over her—what happened next?
“Go on,” he said as if to read her thoughts. “Stand up and slip your petticoat down.”
What should he do? The question spun out of control in his head. The answer—have her locked up out of sight while he returned to the business of warfare—failed to take hold. The sight of her rounded breasts, the rise and fall of her erect nipples, did nothing to help curtail his inappropriate cravings. Hester was his enemy and the daughter of a renowned Royalist. Ever since his arrival, she’d played him at a game. Smiling, chatting away at the dining table, then, behind his back, plotting and defying his orders. How could he trust her to do as he commanded?
The answer lay in her eyes. They sparkled under the canopy of the bed. The trembling fingers unfastening her corset worked frantically to undress. Whatever she might say aloud to him, her true emotions appeared to have betrayed her. It was as if she wanted him to spank her, make her vulnerable and open to him. How would he hold back and resist taking her? His manhood stiffened, expecting relief. It had been months since his last acquaintance had offered him respite. The meagre homestead of a young woman he’d frequented and the thought of those tumbles between the sheets made him ashamed. Now, faced with a beautiful woman of worthy status, he rapidly succumbed to baser instincts.
Daniel rose from the bed and stepped away, giving Hester room to disrobe. She stumbled as she stepped out of her chemise and removed her undergarments. She locked her hands around the bedpost, gripping it as if her life depended on the support and turned away from him. Her naked sex tucked out of sight, she squashed her thighs together and bowed her head.
He grasped her hips and pulled her bottom back, forcing her to bend at the waist. As she did, her buttocks parted. He sucked in a deep breath and removed his gaze from her gleaming cleft. “You must remain still.”
“I do not know if I can,” she whispered, continuing to cling to the bedpost.
Daniel loosened the sash about his waist and bound it about her wrists. She gaped at him as he drew her hands together, but she said nothing. He tied the other end of the sash to the bedpost. He stood back, admiring her pose; he noted her small stature, the rounded lobes of her fine rear, how her calves twitched and her nimble feet fidgeted on the rug.
She glanced over her shoulder, and a pair of wary eyes stared at him. “I might scream.”
“The servants will know you are being punished. It will do them no harm to think so.” He fretted that they would think him too harsh, but there again it was necessary to keep the appearance of a tyrant to help maintain order. His soldiers would expect it and war meant oppression; whether he liked the notion or not, it had to be demonstrated.
“Am I being punished?” she asked.
Daniel didn’t answer. To say yes would mean he had to crush her, make her bawl and cry at him, beg him to stop, and ensure the occupants of the house knew exactly what was taking place in her chamber. If he said no, what was the purpose of his spanking? He flexed his right hand, preparing himself for the first slap of his rigid palm and contemplated the trembling Hester.
He had to make her demure and contrite, pleasing to his eyes. A well-delivered spanking would exonerate her behaviour, enable him to approach her and give her solace. It came to him there, as he raised his hand ready to strike her pale skin, how much he desired her and the impression she’d made on him in such a short space of time. His puritanical upbringing could no longer hold him back.
He smacked her upraised bottom and she jolted forward, her shoulder knocking into the post. No sound came from her mouth, only a sharp gasp of breath. He swept back his arm, aimed at the other cheek, and swung his hand upwards, colliding with quivering flesh. The sound echoed around the wooden panels and she emitted another audible exhale. He spied the whites of her knuckles tightening their grip on the wooden support.
Daniel focused his attention on her rump, the curves and contours, the splendid cleft and what lay within it. Her legs parted, as she shuffled, dancing about in reply to his smacks. To keep her still, he rested a hand on the small of her back and pressed her down, preventing her from jumping up. He continued to spank her.
As he spanked Hester, her bottom turned from alabaster to the colour of ripe tomatoes. Her attempts at remaining quiet failed and she began to cry out. Muted at first, then louder as she fought to remain in position. Her knees started to buckle and he looped his arm under her waist, drawing her back up and leaning her against his own hip. With her held in place, he picked up his pace but reduced the power behind his slaps. She stamped her feet on the floor and shrieked with each smack.
Her crimson behind emitted heat and he ceased spanking. Holding her steady, he rubbed her cheeks in circles. His own hand smarted with the blows and he took pleasure in caressing his palm on each buttock. Without thinking, he trailed a finger down between her bottom cheeks and between her folds. She moaned and he considered it a resplendent sound to accompany his findings. Her slit was slippery and her sex lips swollen.
Keeping a firm grip on her waist, he fumbled with his breeches and released his stiff cock. It sprang upright and he pressed it into her crevice, while kicking her legs farther apart with his foot.
“Daniel!” She spun her head round and her eyes widened.
“Trust me,” he said. “I’m not going to take your maidenhood.”
She lowered her head, resting it on her outstretched arms and braced herself, pushing her weight against the post.
Moving his hand underneath to her lower belly, he touched the heel of his palm against her mound and eased his hand back and forward, ensuring he applied sufficient pressure to stimulate her clitoris. With his erect cock propped in her crack, he slid it up and down in time with the actions of his hand.
It took all his powers of resilience and honour not to penetrate her tight interior, to ravish her beckoning maidenhood. What stopped him? He wasn’t a brute or an uncaring man. He would show her he was a respectable gentleman with honourable principles. She would learn to trust him because something had happened between them. It was unexpected. Unplanned. The heartfelt emotion stirred within him as he ground his cock against her warm bottom—he’d not felt such stark feelings before. He daren’t put words to them, fearing his awakenings might take wings and depart before he’d time to tame them.
She grappled with her emotions as she clung to the bedpost, staggering on her tiptoes and straining against her bindings. His smarting hand had roasted her. However, her sore bottom slipped from her senses as she redirected all her attention to what was happening at the apex of her thighs. Daniel held her up, keeping her from collapsing onto the sheepskin rug at her feet. She couldn’t see his manhood, but she felt its girth and hardness. She’d not known a man’s member could reach such proportions.
Her heart pumped hot blood into her breasts and they swung beneath her as he rocked against her tender rear. The head of his cock slid close to her entrance, teasing it with nudges and she spread her legs wider, tempting him into her virgin hole. Above her, he panted breaths onto her bare back while below he circled her excited clitoris with his fingertips.
Hester opened her mouth to speak, to cry out or exclaim some words of resistance. Nothing came to mind. All sense of reasoning vacated her thoughts. While he’d spanked her, she’d fought to stay still and keep her bottom raised. It seemed as if his hand had ricocheted off her and the pain had been seared into her skin. Humbled by the punishment, she’d accepted it without protest because betwixt her loins, deep in her excited belly, wondrous sensations erupted and distracted her from the pain.
Once he’d started rubbing her discomfort away and turned his attention to her wanton sex, he kept those new sensations awake and built on them. The uncovering of his hard cock had sent waves of trepidation through her body. She was not his to take. Crying out his name, she’d feared he would ignore her, but she also dreaded he might stop and push her away, leaving her bare, sore, and needy in nature.
Not so. What she couldn’t see, she imagined—her bent form and his thrusting hips. She screwed her eyes up and jutted her bottom out further, pushing back into his crotch. He groaned as she jostled his grinding cock with her arse, and he acknowledged her erotic dance with a frantic rub of her sensitive nub. She bit down on her lower lip to quench her need to cry out.
“Damnation,” he growled into her ear. “You won’t make me.”
He extracted his cock from between her shaking legs, gliding it up her exposed cleft, resting it there. She felt his knuckles brush rhythmically against her as he worked his cock, jerking with rapid movements. Whatever he was doing behind her, it lacked the decorum she’d often dreamed of when she envisaged sex with a man.
But suddenly, she couldn’t breathe. Her throat constricted and her sex pulsated with strong contractions. A wave of delightful spasms rippled outwards and she squeezed her legs together, struggling to tolerate the touch of his hand.
Then a warm blanket of liquid spurted onto her bottom and it trickled down between her bottom cheeks. Accompanying his pumping action was Daniel’s voice, gasping incomprehensible sounds. Finally, both of his hands stilled, the one tickling her below, and the other above, resting against her bottom.
With a burst of energy, Daniel unbound her chafing wrists, scooped her up into his arms, and laid her on the bed. Without speaking, he settled next to her and kissed her mouth. His blond hair flopped over his face as he slid down her body, never losing contact with her shivering skin. His kisses peppered her breasts and her belly, and his tongue slipped into her navel. He remained clothed, but the buttons of his shirt had popped open, revealing his smooth chest. She coiled her arms above her head and shut her eyes.
She let him explore. He used his mouth and hands to tease her, triggering waves of mini-ripples, not as intense as her earlier orgasm, but just as wondrous. She sighed. What had happened to her? She’d gone from defiance, hiding in a priest hole determined to escape, to this? Fraternising with the enemy in the most intimate of fashions. He may have stopped short of taking her virginity, but what he’d done to her was not within the realms of two courting sweethearts. She should be chaperoned, segregated from him and left to fester until her father gave permission to marry.
She writhed as he tickled her sex with his tongue. He’d parted her legs and buried his face, sucking with his mouth while plying her breasts with outstretched hands. She should tell him to stop, release her and let her recuperate from her spanking; instead she remained blissful and content to let him pleasure her.
“You’re a temptress,” he muttered between kisses.
“Daniel,” she exhaled. “What have you done to me?” She pushed her pelvis down and splayed her legs wider, bringing her knees up.
“Oh, Hester,” he moaned and stuck his tongue in her wet pussy.
“Take me.” She opened her eyes. No amount of feasting on her would abate her lust. She wanted his thick cock thrust inside her virgin hole.
He shook his head. “No.”
“You must.” She reached down and grasped the locks of his yellow hair. She tugged on him, trying to pull him up and in position.
“I said no, Hester.” He brushed away her hand, rose up onto his knees, and rested on his haunches. “This is not the way.”
She slumped, her legs flopped on the bed, then turning, she curled up. Tears pricked her eyes. She hated the concoctions of conflicting emotions warring in her mind. They were no different to the battle that raged about her own house—honour, duty, and a craving for control. He’d whittled away each one, turning her into his lusty wench.
Daniel lay next to her, dragging her into his arms and tossing a blanket over her nudity. “Hester, be patient. War has turned our lives upside down and now this. These feelings we have towards each other will not easily be dismissed—”
She rounded on him. “I don’t want them to be. That’s the problem. I want more. I want you.” She beat a hand on his chest.
He stared back at her, his eyes blinking rapidly. “You’re sure? This isn’t the fancy of a young woman sequestered in a great house? I’m your first paramour, am I not?” He cocked his head to one side and pinched her chin. “Tell me.”
“You are. I’ve never…” she swallowed. “I am quite innocent.”
He chuckled. “I did notice.”
“What of my spanking? I’m so confused, Daniel, about us and my future here in this house.” She buried her face in her hands.
“My sweet girl.” He prised her fingers apart. “Look at me.” He greeted her with bright blue eyes. “We’ll survive this damn war and I will keep you safe. Understood?”
Hester sniffed and nodded.
“What are we to do?” she asked, snuggled up against him.
“In what respect?”
“We cannot possibly have your soldiers and my servants know of our intimacy. They’ll think I have betrayed my family. I’m supposed to be a woman of honour, not fraternising with the enemy.” She gnawed on her lower lip.
“You regret our lovemaking?” He rolled onto his side and brushed the hair out of her face. He trailed a soft fingertip down her cheekbone; a gentle contrast to the earlier smacks and teasing pinches.
She felt nothing of regret. No remorse for showing her true sentiments towards Daniel. It had come as a relief to be honest with him and show her passionate desires, even after his firm spanking. She had no doubts any sensible, loyal friend would try to talk her away from her indulgent affair with her enemy, but she would dismiss all attempts. Nobody could dissuade her heart from reaching out and being one with Daniel Hasard.
“No,” she said adamantly. “My fear is our exposure and the danger we would face from both sides.”
“Then no one must know. We shall be lovers in secret; when others abide in sleep, we shall meet. I could not bear it if we were not true to each other. I wish to know you, this body, and all you offer, better.”
“As do I you. You know I would have you take my maidenhead, sweet captain.” Her heart purred in contentment. “But, still, I must appear what I am not.”
“What do you mean?” His eyebrows furrowed.
“To dismiss any suspicions, I shall continue to make mischief. Most unproductive mischief. The worst spy that the king has ever employed.”
Daniel laughed at her description. “You do realise I will have to catch you and punish you?”
“I’m hoping you will, sir. Remember how you asked me to make a fuss when you first punished me?”
“It served an important purpose. I didn’t want your servants to consider me a weak man.”
“You are not weak. You are decent and fair. However, I shall have to make such a commotion. You must appear the tyrant and have my servants fill with sympathy for my plight while your loyal soldiers see you as the master of this house. Drag me screaming to this room and I shall wail terribly.”
“Paint me a bully?” He rubbed the bristles on his chin. “I’m not convinced this is a good idea.”
“We must.” She pressed her hands into his chest and felt his excited heartbeats. Something about what she suggested enticed him regardless of the pensive expression on his face.
“I don’t wish to use you harshly.”
“My maid will suspect if I don’t have the marks of your hand. She will bathe me and see my pale cheeks.”
Daniel puffed his lips out. A slow smile sloped upwards on his face. “Methinks, lady, you would have me spank you.”
Hester felt a blush spread over her face, the heat bloomed along with her pounding heart. “No… it would be unseemly of me to expect you to… If I am to be appear defiant, then you must spank me as if I’d offended you. I will give you the justification and we will maintain a pretence. I shall make a fuss. Please, Daniel. Don’t you think it would be for the best? Hopefully, times will change. When there is peace, we can truly start afresh.”
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