When she returned from her shower, she found her bags and lunch waiting for her. She’d never thought she’d be so happy to see her own things again. She opened the case and caught herself wondering what she should wear, not for herself but for Rajeev.
She extinguished the thought, took the long floral skirt she already had in her hand, and picked a white t-shirt to go with it. Once dressed, she paced the floor, glancing at the clock every minute, waiting for the hour to be up. She picked at some of the food, but didn’t have much appetite for anything in particular.
Exactly one hour had passed when Rajeev swung the door open. He had showered too and changed into a pair of dark trousers and a white shirt, his sleeves rolled up. Her breath swirled out of her lungs and her heart fluttered like a maniac.
“Good, you’re ready. I thought I might find you still naked under the sheet, with my scent still on your body, and I’d have been forced to dress you myself.”
Haley bit her lip. That was exactly what she should have done. Since when did she start obeying his orders without a thought of retaliating? That was not a good sign.
“Be glad you obeyed,” he said as if reading her mind. “I would have to add another ten strokes for your insolence.”
Another ten strokes.
“I think I deserve a reason before you start spanking me.” A minute part of her brain questioned the words that fell out of her mouth—how surreal to talk about her impending punishment as if it were a norm.
“And I shall tell you in due course. For now, come on.”
“I’m going somewhere?”
“We’re going somewhere.”
Whatever plan she had to fight him died on her lips as he crossed his arms and narrowed his gorgeous eyes at her. He shamelessly dared her to argue with him. Well, too bad for him. She wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of spanking her for something else. With heavy feet she walked over and stood in front of him.
He cupped her face, then slid his fingers into her hair. His mouth descended on hers and his tongue stoked flames of desire in her. She let him kiss her, at once falling into him, drowning inside him.
He brought his lips away from hers. “Good girl,” he murmured.
Haley couldn’t contain the glow gushing out of her at his words. The way he said ‘good girl’ made her knees even weaker. He took her hand, led her out of the room, and into a car waiting at the entrance of his ginormous house.
“What, no handcuffs?”
“You were doing so well.”
Did she want to spend the rest of her life obeying this man so he could give her tiny compliments? Why wasn’t she screaming like the banshee she knew she had in her, hoping someone would help her? Realistically, she needed a better plan than running wild out in the public. She’d get nowhere. No, she needed a more sophisticated plan.
“You do know I’m still going to escape you.”
“I would be disappointed if you stopped trying.”
What? Not what she wanted to hear. What did she want to hear? Please stay, he liked having her around? That was a bad thought to have and she squashed it at once. She needed to keep her focus and get away. And when she did, she planned to write him a little note, to thank him for being her first. She gave credit where credit was due.
They drove through the hectic streets. Delhi was busy and noisy as if every Delhite were in a hurry to get somewhere at the same time. They stopped in front of an ancient building; the scent of fresh flowers permeated the air and the sounds of bells rang in the distance.
“Is this your place of worship?” Haley glanced at the domed architecture. Intricately sculptured deities decorated with garlands embossed the walls, and the soft chant of prayer floated through the arch entrance.
“Yes. It’s a temple. Shoes are not allowed in the temple. It is a sacred place and cannot allow the impurities of the outside world we carry on the soles of our shoes.”
He knelt before her. His fingers flitted down her calf, innocently stroking her instep as he slipped her sandals off her feet. Each nerve in her body quivered, her heartbeat accelerated. She grasped his shoulders to steady herself, but thoughts of her legs draped over them as he pleasured her aroused her further.
“It’s beautiful,” she whispered, turning her attention back to the temple, which mesmerized her with the many colorful statues of gods and goddesses. She inhaled sweet-smelling incense then turned to look at Rajeev, expecting to see the same awe in his eyes, but his gaze clung to her, settling first on her lips, roving to the beat at the base of her throat.
Like his body had penetrated hers earlier, his gaze penetrated her soul. She now knew a different kind of nakedness, as if he had worked his way through her body and found her.
“Here.” The huskiness of his tone tickled her skin as he gave her a tray of milk and fruit. “Offer it up to the gods.” Haley placed it at the foot of the deity. She clasped her hands together as he did.
They left the temple and a barrage of culture hit her as they walked through the streets. Cycle rickshaws and cars fought for road supremacy. Horns blared and road rules were blatantly disobeyed. Eateries lined the streets and petite women wrapped tightly in simple saris sold exotic spices on the sidewalks.
Haley loved the echo of the foreign language in her ears as traders and customers bargained for the best price. The texture of the city surrounded her, its smell, its color.
“Why won’t you tell me where Anjali is? And how are you not afraid of me?”
“Anjali is my best friend. There isn’t anything anyone can scare me into doing that would cause her any harm or pain.” She swallowed the lump in her throat. “When we were about fifteen and at boarding school together, I discovered my mother was diagnosed with cancer. I didn’t know how to react and I got into trouble.”
“I’m sorry about your mother,” he said quietly and for a second Haley heard human emotion in his voice.
“Thanks, but she’s fine now. In remission and has been doing great.”
“Good. What trouble did you get into?”
“There were a group of girls, and, well… the bad lot and they usually escaped their rooms every now and again and went drinking at a nearby pub. Anyway, I decided to join them. Stupid mistake because that particular night, the headmistress had had enough and she expelled all the girls who went out and got drunk that night. Except me. Anjali climbed into my bed that night, so I was accounted for, and when I returned, she took my place and got expelled instead.” Haley would never forget that day, how Anjali stood up for her and the lecture her usually wild, hazardous friend gave her.
“She told me I was there on a scholarship—it was a prestigious school, one my parents could never afford—that nothing had made my parents prouder and if I got expelled I would lose everything. She also told me my mum got diagnosed with cancer, which was treatable, but did I want to kill her with a broken heart when she discovered I had been expelled? Doing this, pretending to be her and even marrying you against my will,” she said that as if it were no big deal, “doesn’t even come close to what she’s done for me. I’m never going to tell you where she is.”
“You know I’m going to find her, right?”
“Then why did you marry me?”
“No one plays a prank on me and gets away with it.”
“I’m beginning to see that now. But I can handle you.” She strutted a little ahead of him, but as he neared her again, the light breeze carried faint whiffs of his aftershave in the air. They stopped at a stall glittering with Indian trinkets—little brass boxes and genie lamps, opulent necklaces and beautiful Eastern clothes. Haley picked up a pair of thick, gold-trimmed, ruby-studded bangles.
“I respect your loyalty to Anjali. It’s admirable. Is that what you were doing climbing from her window that day, being a loyal friend?”
“Yes, I was delivering a letter from her boyfriend, the real love of her life.” A sudden stabbing pain wrenched her insides. Anjali had always said Rajeev liked her even less than she liked him. But what if… “Do you love Anjali?” She dared not breathe.
“No.” Not even the slightest hint of emotion lined that one word.
“I know it was arranged between you and Anjali, but… didn’t you want to marry someone you love? And this between us, this marriage or whatever it is, as far as I’m concerned, doesn’t count since it’s not real.”
“Why is that? Because it’s in a different culture?”
“No, because I want to…” She turned away from him and glanced at the bangle in her hand. “Because for it to be real, I actually have to love the man I marry. So didn’t you want to marry someone you loved?” she asked again, looking straight at him now.
“Are you going to tell me why you were still a virgin?” He withdrew cash from his pocket and paid for the bangles, and when Haley was about to protest, a familiar look from him silenced her. “Answer my question.”
Oh, sure. He had completely disregarded her question. “Answer mine first.”
“I am incapable of loving anyone. My marriage to Anjali would have served a familial purpose and nothing else.”
“Oh.” He spoke with such finality, it saddened her.
“Now answer my question.”
She sighed. “I had a boyfriend, we were going to be engaged and he didn’t believe in pre-marital sex, staunch values and all that, and everyone loved him and thought we would make the perfect marriage. I practically knew him all my life. I was in a way expected to marry him.” She fingered the bracelets he’d placed on her wrist. “I should say he believed in not having sex with the woman he was going to marry, but that left the rest of the female population up for grabs.” She smiled.
When she sifted through her feelings for Ted now, she found they mostly amounted to regret. Regret that she had wasted most of her time with him. He didn’t love her. Instead, he loved the idea of her and she could say the same about him.
She followed the contours of Rajeev’s face. The hot sun glinted off his hair. The color of his skin was so marvelously bronzed that she craved to run her tongue over every inch of him. Her eyes dipped to his crotch as she thought of her endless needs for his body. The ache between her legs increased tenfold.
“Did you just look at my cock?” he asked without a moment’s pause, greeting a storeowner with his next breath.
“Did you just look at my breasts?”
“Wench,” he said under his breath.
“You speak perfect English. How come?”
“When I was eighteen years old, my father hired a British secretary. She taught me everything I needed to know.”
Jealousy picked at her nerves. Of course he had extensive experience, how could he not?
“How old was she?”
“Six years older than me.” He tapped her lip with a sweetmeat, stopping her from saying any more. She opened her mouth. His finger lingered, her taste buds quivered. She moaned softly as the taste of cream, sugar, almonds, and saffron exploded in her mouth and his closeness amplified everything. Dazed, she drowned in the power of his gaze, helpless to do anything but silently beg him to kiss her.
“Anjali told me about your brother—” She didn’t know why she said that. But Anjali had said it had destroyed him and she wanted to know why. His demeanor changed into one so enigmatic and concealed, she almost didn’t recognize him.
“Come. It’s time for your punishment.”
She swallowed the sweetness in her mouth, struggling to push it down her throat as her stomach knotted. How could she feel happy that he would touch her again, but troubled that she had done something wrong?
“I’m sorry about your brother,” she said, almost breathless as she tried to keep up with his long, hurried strides.
“I don’t want to talk about it.” He barked the words at her. He led her back to the car and drove them home in silence.
Haley wracked her brain for what she had done wrong and why Rajeev was quiet and distant. What had happened to his brother? She wished he would tell her, but the thought of facing that stone-cold look on his face again cautioned her. He escorted her to the door of his bedroom and ushered her in.
“I’ll be back.” He closed the door again and Haley sank to the bed, then lowered her back to it. She wouldn’t survive if he kept her waiting any longer. Forty minutes later and after she had paced the length of his room countless times, he walked in the door. She wrung her hands together as she stared at him, only for mere seconds before she couldn’t help but look down, feeling guilty for whatever it was she had done. Could things be any more messed up?
“As always, you will have a choice. You can tell me where Anjali is and I will forfeit this punishment.” He stood with his hands behind his back, his stance wide and assured.
“I’m not going to tell you where Anjali is; that’s never going to happen. Are you going to tell me why else you’re punishing me?”
“Of course. How else will you learn your lesson if I don’t tell you what you’ve done wrong?”
“And what have I done wrong?” Anxiousness burrowed within her.
“You are being punished because, in the face of self-preservation, you put your safety second.”
“I gave you an option to go back home, and you ignored it.”
What? “Because I wanted you.” Was he for real?
“You weren’t thinking with your head.”
“I see. So you’re punishing me because I chose to stay with you to have sex.”
“Under the circumstances you should have taken the option to leave, you should have done everything in your power to leave. You can’t allow your body to rule your mind.”
“Let me get this straight. You’re punishing me because I didn’t escape when you gave me the chance?”
“So you’re saying I should have used any means at my disposal to escape in order to save myself. Why then did you punish me when I tried to escape with Danesh?”
“You kissed him.” His jaw clenched and his eyes turned stormy.
“That was the only means available to me. Your reason for punishing me has a double standard, Mr. Yuvaraj, and so I won’t accept it.”
“You will accept anything and everything I tell you to accept. You are mine and kissing any other man, whether to escape or not, is an offense I won’t take lightly.”
“So if I hit your cousin over the head with a lamp, you would have awarded my efforts to escape? As long as I didn’t kiss him?”
“Yes. I would have even appreciated that. I need to ensure you know how to keep yourself safe in any and all events without accepting or allowing another man to touch you.”
“You know your reasoning is warped, right?”
“I don’t care,” he said with the persistence of a child. Haley had to smile at that.
“So you think I’m unsafe with you?”
“Because I want to show you dark bad things, Haley, things your innocence won’t handle but that your body will love and crave. I want to show the many ways I can use you. I want to see my come dripping down your nipples. I want to sink my cock deeply into your throat and I want to fuck your ass, feel it tighten sweetly around me.”
She couldn’t stand any longer, couldn’t balance herself anymore, couldn’t even breathe. The sudden bulge in his pants didn’t help calm her either.
“No, you’re not safe with me.” He withdrew his hands from behind his back and Haley’s mouth dried just as moisture slicked between her legs. He held some sort of a paddle—long handle, wide flat head, all in varnished wood. “Take off your clothes.”
She shuddered, not even once thinking to protest. She pulled off her t-shirt and pushed her skirt down.
“All of it.”
Next came her bra and panties. She wanted to run and hide from his sight, but he kept her rooted and mesmerized as if she were under his spell. Did he like what he saw? He’d seen her naked before, but like this, she couldn’t conceal anything from him—or how badly she wanted him to deliver on all his promises.
Like a lethal Bengal tiger, he moved to a sofa in the room and sat, leaning back into the seat, his legs far apart.
“On your knees, hands behind your back.”
The fact that she dropped down as if she had done so all her life bothered her a bit. Everything inside her seemed to change, as if her axis had tilted in the right direction. What was going on with her?
He let her stay in that position for long drawn-out minutes, content to just look at her—not her body, but her eyes—and this time she couldn’t divert her gaze from his.
“Crawl to me, girl.” His soft husky voice undid her. She did as instructed and on her hands and knees crawled to him. “Closer,” he said, forcing her between his open legs. He leaned forward and cupped her head, coaxing until she laid her cheek on his cock while she remained on her hands and knees. She gasped as the hardness of his cock, deceptively masked by the softness of his trousers, met her cheek.
His glorious scent filled her, but her gaze couldn’t break away from the paddle he had placed on the right side of the sofa next to him. He tugged her hair away from the side of her face and tucked it around her so it fell over her left side. He slid his hand over her shoulders. She shivered and goosebumps flared over her skin. His cock twitched against her face as he massaged her flesh, his callused palm igniting a stronger fire inside her. Until he reached for his paddle…
Haley moaned and stiffened, bracing herself for the impact of his punishment and trying to decide how to reason with him. But her mind failed her as he introduced her ass to the paddle. She jerked her head up after the first smack. The sting was like nothing she’d felt before. The expanse of the paddle ensured he covered a big area, and God, it hurt.
He eased her back down against his cock, harder now than ever, and kept her there. Another strike followed, and then another in quick succession. Tears spilled from her eyes and saturated his trousers. By the fourth spank, she no longer felt the pain, only the red hotness in her ass that each blow now only enhanced, and the humiliation of it all.
She grew angry at him. How could he punish her for wanting him?
“I think I know why you want to spank me all the time,” she said, her words muffled by the position of her face in his lap and her tears that would not stop.
“You will speak when I say you can.”
“No. I will speak.” She gritted her teeth, determined to disobey him in this.
Oh, he was good. He paused for a little while, letting the air cool her backside before he struck her again, and damn, did it smart.
“I think you like spanking me.” A resounding whack met her ass. “And it scares you,” she continued, unperturbed. “It scares you how much you like spanking me. But not only that. I scare you, Rajeev.”
He lifted her into his lap, forcing her to straddle him with a speed that made her dizzy and in the same instant he inserted two fingers into her. Her thighs quaked. His sudden touch created a gushing flow of liquid between her legs. With his fingers scissoring inside her, she clasped her arms around his neck, bringing him closer. He took rough possession of one of her breasts and opened his mouth on her.
Her gaze dropped to his closed eyes, his profile flawless from every angle. She could see her nipple in his mouth, and the sight opened her completely. With his thumb on her clit, and his fingers more insistent, his teeth teasing on her nipple, she had no choice but to come for him.
The last shudder hadn’t even passed yet before he lifted her again, carried her to the bed, and tossed her on it.
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