Margaret gazed longingly at the cool blue water of the loch. The evening sun glinted on the crests of the gently undulating waves and she was desperate to dive in for a swim. They’d spent the whole day on horseback and, in the raging heat of the summer sun, it had been the most arduous part of the journey so far. It was three days since they’d left Stirling and they still had another day’s ride ahead of them by Iain’s estimation.
Yesterday, they’d passed through the Trossachs, an area of dense forestation, and into territory controlled by the king’s allies, the Campbells. Until now, Iain had been on high alert in case of attack but once they’d crossed onto friendlier ground, he seemed a little more at ease. Margaret got the impression he would have been a lot more comfortable on this journey without a wife to protect. He was probably used to traveling through all kinds of potential perils but was not accustomed to having a woman to look out for. The men who usually kept him company did not need him to mollycoddle them. Nor, in fact, did Margaret, but she knew she would have trouble convincing him of that.
Tilting her head to one side and then the other, Margaret tried to tease out the crick in her neck. Every part of her ached and she was bone weary. Although it was late in the evening, the air was still unbearably warm. She was dirty and sweaty after another day in the saddle and needed to find a way to cool down. There was nothing else for it, she was going to have to give in to temptation. Iain would, no doubt, disapprove of her taking a dip in the loch, but he and the other men were currently occupied skinning rabbits for their dinner and looking for wild mushrooms and herbs to make a stew. He’d allowed her to come down to the loch and assured her that help would be within shouting distance. With nobody else for miles around, he’d seemed happy to let her go off alone and she was certain that meant she would be safe here.
Checking over her shoulder to make sure she was still alone, Margaret reached down and slipped off her shoes. She hadn’t worn her woolen stockings today and, as the heat of the sun had intensified, she’d been sorely tempted to discard her dress as well. Riding in her undershirt would have been too scandalous, though, so she’d suffered in silence.
Dipping her toes into the water to check the temperature, she found that it was cold but not freezing, perfect for a swim. She removed her dress and folded it carefully before laying it down a few feet from the water’s edge. It was the only clothing she had with her and she didn’t want to risk getting it soaked. For the briefest of moments, she contemplated going into the water naked. She decided, though, that it would be best to preserve some modesty in case anyone did happen upon her. Wearing her linen undershirt, she waded into the water.
Just as she got to the point where the water had reached her waist, she heard an angry shout from behind her. She turned and glared, unapologetically, as Iain emerged from the woodland and charged down the pebbled beach toward her.
“Margaret, get out of there!” he yelled. “What the devil do you think you’re doing?”
“Bathing,” she replied indignantly. “Come on in, the water’s cool and you could do with a bath.”
Margaret thought he looked as though he would explode. His whole body went rigid. She saw him clench his fists by his sides and half-expected him to wade into the loch and drag her out for a sound thrashing. Then, suddenly, he shrugged his shoulders as though he’d come to a decision and began to undress. Margaret grinned as he stripped down to his braies and marched into the water toward her. This was the first time she’d got a good look at him and what she saw made her breath hitch at the back of her throat.
His chest was muscular, lightly dusted with pale blond hair. Long limbs exuded power and the breadth of his shoulders signaled strength. There were scars on his body, a testament to his life as a warrior. His blond hair that he kept short looked golden in the sunlight and a scruff of hair had grown on his chin over the last few days. She knew the de Morays had come from Normandy to settle in the north of Scotland more than a hundred years ago and suspected, before that, their ancestors had come from Scandinavia. There was more than a hint of the Viking marauder about her husband.
The expression Iain wore was one of grim determination, but she didn’t fear him. Flashing him a mischievous smile, she stepped back several paces until the water was so deep, she had to spread out her arms and kick her legs to stay afloat. As Iain swam toward her, she could see the concern etched on his face. Clearly, he thought she was going to end up drowning herself. Before he could reach her, she dived under the water and then resurfaced behind him to tap on his shoulder. He spun around, relief apparent on his face when he found her unharmed.
“You can swim.” The incredulity in his voice did not insult her. Few women learned to swim, especially those of her class, and even she would not have done so if Niall had not encouraged her. It was a skill he’d felt would be useful when she was staying at Castle Donnell, which was situated beside a sea loch.
“I can,” she replied, “quite well as it happens.”
Iain looked impressed for a moment and then a frown furrowed his brow.
“Still, you should not have done it without me. Anyone might see you out here in the open.”
“Someone did see me,” Margaret said in a teasing tone as she pushed her body up against Iain’s, “a wild beast of a man intent on ravishing me.”
“Oh, a wild beast, is it?” Grinning widely, Iain grabbed her by the waist, lifted her high and flung her back into the water with a splash.
Margaret flailed about, spluttered as she tried to get her bearings, until Iain swam up and pulled her into his arms. He leaned forward to kiss her, but his lips had barely touched hers before a shout came from the loch-side. He groaned in disappointment.
“Iain, get your arse out of the water. The food’s ready.”
Iain’s shoulders slumped in disappointment at the interruption. He turned to wave at the man Margaret now knew as Sir Colin MacIntosh, one of his most loyal followers.
“We’d best get out, lass,” he told her with obvious reluctance as he started to head back to the shore, pulling Margaret along with him. “They’ll give us no peace otherwise.”
Margaret rested her head on his chest as he lifted her into his arms. She was sorry that they hadn’t had more time to themselves, but she really couldn’t hold that against Sir Colin. The men all had an extremely close bond and, although they teased Iain about her, she could see they held him in the highest regard. She understood that they needed to trust one another absolutely as they fought to secure peace in the land. She knew that she would never have a man like Iain entirely to herself. He was bound by duty to the king and to the preservation of his own estates. His loyalty and dedication were traits she admired in him, but she hoped he would also find some time for his marriage.
“You know,” he said, breaking her out of her thoughts, “I am going to have to teach you a lesson.”
“What?” Margaret screeched. “You did not seem angry with me a moment ago.”
“I am not angry, but you did something that could have put you in harm’s way, so a reminder that you need to defer to your husband seems to be in order.”
Margaret huffed as they reached dry land and he set her down.
“Defer to my husband?” she challenged.
“Aye, in matters where your safety’s concerned.”
Margaret narrowed her eyes but knew there was little point in arguing.
“So, are you going to spank me?”
“Oh, no, madam,” Iain replied, a wicked grin forming on his face, “nothing so obvious as that.”
Margaret’s brow furrowed as Iain picked up his shirt and pulled it on over his head. She took up her own dress and ducked behind a large rock to quickly change out of her soaking wet undershirt. It was a bit of a struggle to get her clothes on with her skin so damp but, eventually, she wrestled her way into the dress. Without the undershirt, the fabric of the dress was a little coarse. It made her skin itch, but she could live with it. Her hair was wet and tangled, but it would soon dry out. She was sure she looked a real mess.
“Wait here a moment,” Iain instructed as she stepped out from behind the boulder to find him looking considerably less bedraggled than she did. She had no idea how he managed to look so good with such little effort. “There is something I need to fetch.”
The gleam in his eye signaled something ominous. As he walked away, Margaret rested back against the rock and frowned. What on earth was he planning to do to her?
Iain watched as a series of different expressions passed across Margaret’s face, each seeming to convey a deeper sense of confusion than the last. She looked up at him with wide, shocked eyes and he knew she understood the purpose of the object he held up for her to see. He doubted, though, that her mind had grasped exactly how he intended to use it.
“What is that, my lord?” she asked warily, and he noted that she’d returned to addressing him with some formality.
“What do you think it is?” he shot straight back at her.
“I have no clue.”
That was a lie, as the reddening of her cheeks affirmed. It was obvious from the phallic shape of the leather-covered piece of carved wood what it was intended for. He doubted that he would be able to coax her into describing its use, so he decided not to press her.
“This is what the ancient Greeks called an olisbos,” Iain told her. “It is used to give sexual pleasure.”
“You mean it is supposed to go into my… my…” Margaret looked flustered as she gestured frantically toward the lower half of her body, “…my womanly place.”
Iain knew it would be mean of him to laugh at her awkward turn of phrase, so he held himself in check. He was going to have to do something to loosen his wife up a bit, at least when they were in private. Some hint of his amusement must have shown on his face because Margaret flashed him a dark scowl. He cleared his throat.
“Normally, yes, it would go into your… womanly place,” he used her own words to tease her, “but this one is so small you’d barely notice its presence. It will, however, make quite an impression on your lovely wee arsehole.”
Margaret looked affronted.
“Why would I put it there?”
“You wouldn’t,” Iain replied with a hint of humor in his voice, “but I would.”
“It will help prepare you to take my cock,” he told her. “I intend to claim your bonny wee arse soon.”
Margaret’s face seemed to drain of all color and her reaction pleased Iain as it told him that no other man had fucked her there. He knew that she’d had lovers before him and there would be few firsts between them, so this felt like a victory.
“You have not experienced anal penetration before?” he asked, just to be certain.
“Of course not and I don’t want to.”
“What you want is of no consequence, lass.”
The way her bottom lip trembled made him feel like a complete bastard and he knew he had spoken harshly. Apology lay on the tip of his tongue but, before he could speak, anger flitted across Margaret’s face. She rose from her seated position and placed her hands on her hips in a defiant stance.
“Have you used that thing on another woman?” she demanded.
Her eyes narrowed in suspicion and Iain was pleased to detect a hint of jealousy from her.
“Where did it come from?”
“Oh, this is just one of a number of interesting objects I acquired on my travels through Europe.”
“You’ve been to Europe?”
“Aye, in my younger days.” He was not even thirty yet, but sometimes Iain felt as though he was more than twice that age. He was barely an adult before he fought his first battle and he’d been married and a father of two daughters before he reached the age of twenty-one. “I fought against the enemies of our holy church in Spain. My father insisted upon it.”
“You did not want to go?” Margaret asked.
Actually, he had been desperate to go. Like all young, newly knighted men, he’d been keen to prove his worth, but he’d only married Isabella a few weeks before he’d set out and he’d been reluctant to leave his new bride alone at the rather bleak, forbidding Drynie Castle, which his father had given them as a wedding gift. In the end, he was glad he’d gone. Traveling far beyond the borders of the land where he was born had opened his eyes to many new experiences. Of course, that was not something he intended to discuss with Margaret right now, especially since he suspected she was trying to distract him.
“Are you trying to change the subject, Margaret?”
She shook her head in denial.
“You are not hoping to avoid your lesson?” he pressed her.
“Of course not,” she said with a smile that seemed far from genuine. “If there is a lesson my lord husband wishes to teach me, I am more than willing to learn.”
Iain shook his head in disbelief. He wasn’t sure what game she was playing, but it wasn’t going to work when he was more than willing to call her bluff.
“Well, in that case, lass,” he said, taking a seat on a low rock, “come and make yourself comfortable over my knee.”
Margaret hesitated for a moment, trying to decide whether to comply with Iain’s instructions. She could scarcely believe he intended to put that horrible thing inside her bottom. It looked like a shrunken penis covered with a dark leathery skin and it was possibly the ugliest thing she’d ever seen. Apart from that, there was no way it would fit. Although not particularly long, it was fairly wide. There was a long, thin strip of leather dangling from its base and she didn’t need Iain to explain that it would be used to secure the object in some way. The very idea of it was grotesque.
Aware that Iain was watching her closely, she tried not to let her thoughts show on her face as she concentrated on remaining calm while she considered her options. Instinct told her to make a run for it, but her head told her it would be futile. Iain would catch up to her in seconds. He was so much faster and stronger than she was, it was pointless to try to escape. Besides, if she did somehow manage to evade him, there was no telling what dangers she might encounter out here on her own. Although she hadn’t seen any for herself, she knew that wolves roamed the woods in these parts. Of course, animals would be the least of her worries. So far, they’d been lucky and hadn’t encountered any enemies of Iain or his kin, but that did not mean they weren’t out there. Still, she could not bring herself to just go and lie over his lap like some sacrificial lamb.
Seeing Iain raise a questioning brow, she knew that her time was up. Any further delay would only make him angry and she didn’t want this lesson, as he’d called it, to turn into a punishment that would undoubtedly be even harsher. Sighing deeply as she decided to accept the inevitable, she walked to him and lowered herself over his lap.
“Good girl,” Iain praised as his hand steadied her while she got into position.
Once she was settled over his rock-hard thighs, he lofted her skirts up around her waist. Margaret took a deep breath as she felt the light evening breeze on her skin. Beginning to feel nervous, she wriggled her hips, hoping if she could loosen her body, it would somehow help to calm her mind. Just as she was beginning to relax, something cold and wet was smeared across her bottom hole. She reared up with a start.
“Calm yourself, lass,” Iain chided, “it’s just a little perfumed oil.”
“Oil?” Margaret could not hide her surprise.
“Aye, it will make this easier on you.”
Although she had a dozen questions about why Iain happened to have that hideous olisbos thing with him and now some oil as well, she was not about to argue against anything that might lessen the humiliating ordeal she was about to go through. She lay there quietly as Iain rubbed the oil against the puckered entrance to her rear passage. As he slid a long, thick finger inside her, she gasped. The initial penetration was strange, uncomfortable, but she adjusted to the intrusion more quickly than she would have expected. When Iain pushed a second finger into her untried hole, she whimpered and gripped his leg tightly.
“How does that feel, Margaret?” he asked.
“The truth now,” he warned, seeming to know instinctively that her knee-jerk response would be to complain about what he was doing to her.
“It is odd, but not as terrible as I feared.”
He gave a grunt that she thought might signal his approval. Then he began to move his fingers in and out of her bottom hole, stretching her, preparing her for what was to come. As she gradually became accustomed to the friction against her sensitive flesh, something she had not expected happened. Her breath quickened, and her feminine bud began to pulse furiously.
“You like that, lass?”
There was no point denying it when the potent scent of her arousal permeated the air, but she wasn’t ready to confirm it either. Iain gave a knowing chuckle. He withdrew his two fingers from her and an unexpected protest fell from her lips. It was bizarre, but she felt empty somehow. Then she felt something else pressing against her. As Iain began to push the leather-covered phallus inside her, a sense of panic overtook Margaret. Although undoubtedly smaller than his shaft, it was bigger than his finger and its initial entry caused a jolt of discomfort. She struggled to get up from Iain’s knee, but an insistent hand at the small of her back held her down.
“Settle yourself, lassie. It will only hurt for a moment.”
Margaret hung her head and took deep breaths as the object was pushed inside her. When it was fully inserted, she felt Iain’s fingers brush against her leg as he tied the leather strap around her thigh. She looked over her shoulder in question.
“This will prevent it from slipping too far inside you,” he told her, “and make it easier for me to remove.”
His words horrified Margaret, yet she found something reassuring in the look of appreciation he bestowed upon her as he helped her to her feet. She stood still for a moment, trying to accustom herself to the strange sensation of fullness. As she tried taking a couple of tentative steps, she felt the object pressing forward, causing a feeling that was both pleasurable and painful.
“How long must I have this thing inside me?” Margaret asked, scrunching up her nose in distaste.
“For as long as I see fit,” Iain replied. “Now, let’s join the others. I fear our dinner will spoil if we do not eat soon.”
Dinner was about the last thing on her mind right now but there was little option but to follow Iain back to the sheltered spot in the forest where they’d set up camp for the night. Head bowed low, she walked along behind him. The thing in her bottom was making its presence felt as she hurried to keep up with her husband’s long strides. She could only hope that the other men would not guess what he had done to her. She wasn’t sure she could bear the humiliation.
Iain had to admire his wife’s composure. She had made it through supper with his men as though nothing was amiss. As she perched on the edge of a tree stump, eating the rabbit stew that had been prepared for them, nobody would have guessed that her pretty wee arse was being stretched wide. Apart from the occasional flash of discomfort on her face when she moved, there was nothing to indicate that anything was bothering her. If any of his men had noticed her wincing, they probably assumed it was soreness from spending another long day on horseback. To him, however, it was clear that she felt the presence of the object lodged inside her and that she was humbled by it.
“That was delicious,” Margaret said as she dropped her spoon into the wooden bowl and laid it down on the ground in front of her.
“Thank you, my lady.” It was the youngest of their party, Will Seton, who spoke. Even in this half-light, Iain could tell that the boy was blushing. He wondered if he had taken a bit of a fancy to Margaret. By anyone’s standards, she was an attractive woman and was bound to be the focus of much admiration. From one of the other men, Iain might have sensed some threat in that, but Will was not yet fifteen and would probably faint if Margaret showed the slightest sign of returning his interest.
“Best get some sleep,” Iain said, addressing the whole group but fixing Margaret with a pointed stare. “We leave at dawn.”
Murmurs of assent rumbled from the men gathered around the fire.
“I will take first watch,” Sir Colin offered.
Iain nodded his thanks and then acknowledged Will, Dougal, and Duncan as they also volunteered to take a turn as lookout. With each of those four taking a shift, that would see them comfortably through the night and the rest of them could sleep. Iain knew he would not slumber even though he was with the men he trusted most. Assured that they would spot any potential danger he would, at least, be able to let his guard down a little.
Taking Margaret’s hand, he pulled her to her feet and led her a few yards away to where he’d laid out a sealskin for them to lie on. It would protect them from any dampness rising up through the forest floor. To cover them, he had a thick blanket and their cloaks if they were needed. Their makeshift bed was a little farther from the fire than he would have liked, but for privacy, he preferred to sleep away from the other men. Besides, he intended to stay very close to his wife to keep them both warm. He waited patiently for Margaret to make herself comfortable, lying curled up on her side, and then joined her. Pressing up against her back, he whispered in her ear.
“Be a good girl, now, and don’t make a sound.”
He felt her body go rigid as he began to draw her skirt up, but she issued no protest. In fact, she shifted her hips to make it easier for him to pull the dress up around her waist.
His hand slipped between her legs. With the gentlest touch, he parted her feminine folds and found the pearl within. As his finger ran circles over the sensitive bud her response was immediate. It was clear she was eager from the way she moved her legs restlessly and he felt her moisture coating his fingers. She was so beautifully quick to arouse. Iain could not believe he had ever thought to hold back from playing with her body in whatever way he chose. Yes, his wife was a lady, but beneath her calm, dignified exterior roared intense passions that cried out to be assuaged.
He heard her breath hitch at the back of her throat as he slid two fingers into her wet heat. With his little toy lodged in her bottom, her channel was incredibly tight. Margaret wriggled her hips and whimpered with barely restrained need.
“Shh, lass!” Iain whispered in her ear. His men were only feet away from them and he didn’t want them to hear her cries. Although he intended to wring every last drop of pleasure from her, it was for him alone.
Margaret pushed back against him as his fingers pumped in and out of her. She bucked her hips, greedily trying to draw him in. As she writhed in helpless desire, her bottom rubbed against his cock, and he couldn’t stifle a groan. If he didn’t put a stop to her movements, this was going to become torture for him. He gave her pussy a light swat and she stopped wriggling immediately.
“Naughty girls do not get to spend,” Iain murmured in her ear, “so stay still.”
He almost laughed at the sharp little huff of breath that escaped her. She was so hungry for him. With his thumb flicking lightly over the sensitive bud of nerves between her puffy pink lips, he drove his fingers deep inside her. As her pussy clenched around him, he used his other hand to unwrap the leather strap from around her leg. Just as she began to squirm and moan softly to herself, signaling that her desire was climbing toward its peak, he yanked the phallus from her bottom. Grabbing a fistful of her hair, he pulled her head back to cover her mouth with his, stifling the shriek she could not contain as her body convulsed against his. He kissed her hard as she rode out her orgasm.
Releasing her lips as her shuddering ceased, he drew her warm, pliant body closer and enjoyed a moment of stillness with her. As her head flopped back against his shoulder, she gave a contented sigh.
“So, tell me, my lady,” he asked her quietly, “have you learned anything?”
“Oh, yes, my lord,” she murmured, and he could almost hear the impudent smile forming on her face. “I will most definitely remember who is in charge from now on.”
As her breathing slowed and sleep overtook her, Iain held his wife close. It was a long time since he had felt such contentment and that frightened him. Knowing how fragile life was, that everything could be snatched from him in a moment, he tightened his grip on Margaret and made himself a vow. Nothing bad would ever touch her. Even if he had to lock her away in the highest room in his castle, he would make sure of it.
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