“Yes. As a matter of fact, I am. So deal with it,” I snap.
His hand leaves the clutch. Landing on my thigh and squeezing it, hard. “I am dealing with it. What do you think I’m doing?”
“Being an asshole.”
He smiles at that one. “When we get home, you’re going to strip off all your clothes and lay yourself over that ten thousand dollar couch you bought. Then this asshole is going to whip your ass with his belt.”
“What?” Panic rises within me. He can’t be serious. He’d best not be serious. I stutter, “Th-this is… is… ridiculous. I don’t even need you here.”
“Don’t you? You weigh a hundred pounds—if that. You’re spending money like the duchess of Earl. And you drink like a fucking fish. Yeah—I’d say you’ve taken excellent care of yourself.”
I sniff. “I’m perfectly fine on my own. And it’s my money to do what I will with. Just because you hide your wealth and get your cars out of junkyards, doesn’t mean that I have to pretend to be broke when I’m not. And how do you know anything about my finances?”
“As per the hierarchy, I have access to your accounts. It looks to me like you’ve been doing a little grief shopping.”
“Spying on my bank accounts? Unbelievable! What is with this patriarchal hierarchy bullshit? I’m a grown woman and I’ll spend my inheritance as I see fit. Besides, I have more money than I could spend.”
“I’m well aware of how much money you have. I believe I spanked your ass for throwing blocks of cash at me. Remember that, bad girl?”
I’m rolling my eyes so far in the back of my head I fear they’ll get stuck. I ignore his statement and instead between clenched teeth, I hiss the words, “I’m. Fine.”
He shrugs casually. Smiles. Takes the next turn. “Then I won’t have to hang around long, will I? Just get your ass whipped back into shape, then I’ll head back to Greece. Fine with me—the weather is about a thousand times nicer there. But don’t think for a second you can pull any wool over my eyes. I will not be stepping foot off Village soil until I’m one hundred and ten percent sure you’re back on your feet.”
How did he know I was planning on playing him for the fool? Putting on a show to get him the hell out of here, then self-imploding? That asshole knows me better than I think. I can’t tell him that, so instead, I hurl an insult. “You’re like a pit bull—a guard dog or something. All muscles and bark and bite.”
He flashes me a wicked smile. “You’re welcome to cuddle with this pit bull, if you’d like.” He shoots me a glance with those gold-flecked eyes and instantly my panties go damp. “That is—after you get his teeth out of your ass.”
My breath catches in my throat. I squirm in my seat. Turn my head toward the window to avoid his gaze.
I feel hot. Bothered. Furious, yet… curious. The way he speaks, his rumbling words. His assured nature. There isn’t an ounce of worry or concern that he won’t be able to whip me into shape. That my own will will be stronger than his. He has a cool confidence that he’ll be able to tame me.
I have to admit—it’s a fucking turn-on.
We reach the first black gate to the Village. He rolls through. Then the second. Every gate brings us closer to my home. Where he wants me buck naked over the couch. The very idea has my nipples tight as drums against my bra. I cross my legs, press my inner thighs together, try to alleviate some of the mounting pressure growing there.
We rumble onto Second Street. There’s a group of Beauties walking home from dinner. A girls’ night out at a new wine and tapas bar. I was invited and passed. Now I’m wishing I’d accepted the invitation.
He sees the girls and waves. Revs the engine. It roars, sputtering smoke and crackling loudly. He knows how embarrassed I am to be riding in this jalopy, and he’s bringing even more attention to the damn thing to piss me off. The women laugh and wave. Whisper to one another behind their hands. I can just imagine their words: Damn, has Rockland gotten hotter since he last left? Must be that island sun. Did you see his tan? How is Tess going to keep her hands off of him… or his hands off her ass. Thank God he finally showed up—our dear Tess is a hot mess. Rockland will fix her. Lucky girl.
Shushing the imaginary voices in my mind, I shrink down in my seat and complain, “Why couldn’t you have come in the Mercedes? Huh? That thing is classy. This… this…”
“Truck, I believe is the word you search for, princess. You seem to be having issues with simple vocabulary today. You’d best stick with numbers.”
“This monstrosity is so ugly.” As I say the words, Mary and Sasha look up from their stroll down the opposite sidewalk and wave. Rockland honks the horn. Twice. I slouch down further in my seat.
We pull up to my house.
He parks front and center. Just as I found the truck earlier today when I came home from work.
I sit, choosing between my two terrible options. Number one—I stay in the truck. He drags me out—possibly by the hair—for all the world to see. Throws me over his shoulder, kicking and screaming as he did last year this time. Second option, I get down from this giant beast as ladylike as possible and save my fight for the privacy of my own home.
I choose the second option. He opens the door and I slide toward the edge of the slick leather seat. I swing my legs over and they dangle down the side of the truck, looking for ground. As I prepare to jump down, hoping to find earth beneath me, I find his hands suddenly scooped beneath my arms. My mouth agape, I stare as he holds me. Our eyes lock and within his gaze I find strength and tenderness and care.
All things absent from my life.
All things I crave.
He lifts me from the seat as if he’s lifting a ragdoll. I feel light, small, vulnerable. He holds me there a moment, my feet dangling above the sidewalk. He pulls me toward him and I can see those brilliant flecks in his eyes. Smell his cologne. He’s holding me so close I feel the heat radiate from his skin. My lips are too close to his and for a brief moment, I remember the taste of his mouth. The feel of his kiss. Enchanted, my hands go to his chest, steadying myself and he slowly moves me to the ground. My palms slide down his warm, muscled wall as I descend. My body brushing against his.
When my feet find steady ground, his hands remain wrapped around me, lingering a moment too long. The static of electricity dances between us and when he pulls away I feel lost. Empty.
He’s done something to me. What—I’m not sure. But that small unassuming gesture has me completely rattled. Unsure what to say, I murmur, “Thank you.”
I step around him, toward the house, gathering my emotions. Behind me, I hear him shut the door of the truck. He’s by my side and then… my hand is in his. Holding it gently. His thumb caressing my skin.
And I let it.
He leads me up the concrete front stairs.
The warm fuzzy feeling I’m allowing to creep into my chest suddenly freezes, my insides going cold. My teeth clench, my brow furrows.
He’s pressing his thumb against my keypad. Letting himself into my house. For the second time today.
The day Brett died, Bronson must have had Joshua reprogram it so Rockland can come and go as he pleases. Like a member of my household. Which he is not.
And I have no say in the matter.
As quickly as he put me under his golden-eyed, chivalrous/sexy, helping me down from the truck spell, it’s gone. My delicious tingles vanish into thin air and I’m left furious. It’s as if a switch has been flipped in my heart. He wants to control me. Punish me. Turn my life upside down. He’s encroaching on my space. Entering my home as if it’s his.
And this house does not come with a guestroom.
I hope he likes that ten thousand dollar couch I’ve bought, because he’ll not be sleeping in my bed. That’s for damn sure. I tug my hand from his. Push past him planning to enter my house before he does.
He grabs my hand back in his. Whirls me around to face him. Gives me a hard stare. So different from that enchanting glance he gave me earlier. He’s pissed. I’ve ticked him off with my anger, my abrupt tug from his handhold. The short-lived comradery between us vanishes and his face conforms to the mask of frustration he wore in the diner. He tugs me through the foyer. He’s leading me up to the living room.
Where he intends to punish me.
A queer feeling upsets my stomach. A mix of shame and dread and to my absolute disgust… excitement. My eyes fall on my beautiful white leather Chesterfield sofa. I swallow hard, my knees suddenly weak. When I’d bought it, I’d loved the look of the low, rolled over back, dotted with gold buttons set deeply in the tufted fabric.
Now as I gaze upon it, I realize it’s the perfect spanking couch. I’ve accidentally purchased a piece of furniture that I could comfortably be laid over the back of for quite some time.
It was probably the first thought in his twisted mind when he saw the damn thing.
The excitement drains from my body as I truly realize what’s about to happen. All the emotions suddenly turn to one—a sinking dread. I’ve got to get myself out of this. I say, “Look, Rockland. I don’t know what planet you’ve just flown in from—”
He doesn’t even bother to meet my gaze as he answers. Instead, he’s focused on rolling up his shirtsleeves.
He’s… rolling… up… his shirtsleeves. Like a dashing man would in an old timey black and white film.
I stare, fascinated as his deft fingers crease the fabric, folding it up his arm with the air of an aristocrat. I barely hear the words he says because this one single gesture of his has my weakened knees shaking and my pussy doing that funny, delicious pulsing thing that I haven’t felt in so long. He says, “Greece. I told you, I’ve come from Greece.”
“Huh?” I mutter, my eyes feasting. My core melting.
“You said you don’t know what planet I’ve flown in from.”
I swallow back my fear, my desire… my confusion. He’s just finished turning up the sleeves of his white business shirt. Now he’s placing his cufflinks in his shirt pocket, and I’m left with an aching core turned to molten lava.
I clear my throat. Gather myself. Tell my weeping pussy to behave. Conjuring an air of false confidence, I cock a hip out and announce, “Well, whatever foreign land you’ve been gallivanting naked around and chanting with witchdoctors by bonfires, you must have gotten some insane notions into your head because—though you may have… spanked my bottom, twelve whole months ago I might add—I’ll not be taking off a stitch of my clothing in front of you.” Crossing my arms over my chest, I jut out my chin, perfect my pose, and make my stand—I can tell by the tension in his jawline that I’ve made an impression.
He stops still. The air hangs thick and tense between us. The silence passes like a thread through a needle. He takes a step toward me. As he glides closer, his eyes rove over my breasts as if he’s undressing me with his gaze. A heat rises in me. I find my face flushing, my nipples tightening, now visible beneath my thin bra and silk dress. He says, “You’ve got nothing I haven’t seen on a lady before.”
Maddened by the effect he’s having on me, by doing nothing more than being himself, I snap, “Who says I’m a lady?”
His brow raises. If I didn’t know better, I’d say he was fighting to hold in a laugh. He raises one perfect hand, white sleeve rolled neatly to his tanned elbow and points at the Chesterfield. He says, “You’re right. You haven’t been much of a lady tonight. Doesn’t change the fact that you’re going to be buck naked over that couch in one minute.” His hand leaves the air and reaches into the other pocket of his shirt. He extracts something small, shiny.
It’s a silver metal bullet—the one the Bachman Beauties have warned me about. He tosses it onto the side table. It lands with a clink and a roll. I give a gasp as it slowly comes to a stop. Shiny metal forming a teardrop shape, widening at the base. An engraved, swirling letter T stares back at me.
He’s had this made. For me.
Something strange shifts in the center of my being. A hot, fluid feeling that makes my limbs feel like jelly. My anger, sass, determination… they all evaporate at the sight of this… this… thing. I can’t take my eyes from that silver piece.
I’m terrified yet fascinated by the small object. I want to take it and bury it in the backyard where he will never find it. And yet… I wonder what it would feel like inserted in that taboo place of my body that has never, ever been touched. Would it hurt? Cause pleasure?
I imagine Rockland’s handsome face, going wherever it is one would go to get such a piece like this and telling the engraver, T, for Tess. Inspecting the work and giving the clerk that devilish half smile of his… Something close to submission twinkles in my heart and my breath catches in my throat. My thoughts are cut short by his voice, jolting me from my daydream.
“If you can’t obey, we can see how much you like tasting my belt with a plug in your ass.”
I stare down at the metal implement. Just looking at it makes my ass clench, the hole in my bottom pulse. My gaze goes back to him. He won’t wait long before he makes the decision himself.
I find myself drifting over to the couch, my head light.
Is this really happening?
The huge picture windows stare out over the back garden. Anyone meandering down the back alley could see what’s about to happen. The thought ties my stomach in knots. That’s when I notice the new white curtains that are hung from a black metal rod. Thick and long and running the full length of the huge panes of glass. I stand beside the couch, watching curiously as Rockland goes to pull the fabric panels over the windows.
We don’t use drapes in the Village. Our homes are all three stories, in tall rows. Built with huge picture windows facing both east and west, the panes open to the streets and backyards of the town. I say, “But… there are no secrets in the Village. No window coverings. Have you been gone so long you don’t remember?”
He stands back, inspecting his handiwork. He turns to me and says, “You forget I began my life as a Bachman here. I remember every detail of this Village. Every rule.” He goes to the other end of the room, pulling the second panel to meet the first.
I say, “But it’s Bronson’s orders.”
He says, “Bronson can take it up with me. What happens between a man and a woman is not for public consumption.”
His words stop my breath. In this moment, I remember what is so alluring about Rockland. Why he has the women of the Village doting over him when he’s in town—devoutly loyal to the Brotherhood, he’s still his own man.
The curtains are completely closed. The Village blocked out.
We’re more alone then we’ve ever been before. All eyes gone.
Just the two of us.
He stands before me, his hands clasped behind his back. He’ll not wait long now.
With trembling fingers, I reach behind me, unzipping my red dress. I used to have to shimmy a bit to get it over my hips, but now, it falls to the floor. I stand before him in my cream camisole and full cut lace panties.
His voice is husky as he says, “All of it.”
Painfully aware of how visible my ribcage has become, I lift the cami, tossing it to the floor. Tug at the hooks of my bra. Free my breasts, heavy with peaked nipples. I pull my panties down over jutted hipbones and they too slide to the floor.
His gaze is cloudy. I can’t quite read the look in his eyes but it somewhere between anger and sorrow. His jaw clenches as he takes in the changes to my body since we were last together. He murmurs so quietly I can barely hear his strained voice as he says, “I should have gotten here sooner. They should have called me sooner.” As quickly as it came, the softness washes away from his features. He nods to the couch. “Over you go. I see you’ve still got an ass on you.”
No amount of skipped meals could get rid of that thing.
I scurry to the couch, eager to bend over because though I’m exposing my bottom fully, keeping my legs tight together, I’m able to hide my glistening pussy from his view.
My belly presses against the buttery soft leather. I fit perfectly, standing flat-footed and bent at the waist. My hands press into the cushions of the seat. My hair hangs down and spills over. Fiery red against milky white.
Goosebumps rise on my flesh as I feel him near. He murmurs one word, and it strikes me in my heart.
His hand lightly brushes over my naked back. I can’t help but let out a low sigh. His touch sends tingles down my spine. Little pulses of electricity warm my skin where his fingertips trail.
This tiny touch… this light stroke of my back… with me in such a vulnerable position, my clothing stripped from me… his touch… it makes me lose my breath.
This touch. This feather-light touch from him… dominating, no apologies, ripped as hell, tattooed bad boy—it’s awakened me.
It’s as if every fiber in my being is turned on. A long-forgotten need rises up deep from within. Warming my core, melting my insides. Heightening my senses. Now the touch of the smooth leather of the couch pressed against my palms is a soft caress. My hair falling around my face a waterfall of delicious tingles around my shoulders.
And the bare skin where he touches me…
I release a moan from the depths of my soul.
And it’s rewarded with a sharp smack of his hand on the fullest part of my right butt cheek. The stinging pain is delicious, biting my tender skin and further waking my senses. His husky voice invades my thoughts, saying, “You’ve been a naughty, naughty girl. And I know exactly how to handle the naughty ones. Don’t I?”
My breath catches in my throat. My palms dampen against the leather. Is he expecting me to answer him? My question is answered with a matching smack on the center of my left butt cheek. The pain spreads quickly.
Then the sound of leather swishing through belt loops. I bite my bottom lip. Despite the nervous clenching in my stomach, a tiny smile warms in my heart.
My muscles tense, my bottom clenching as I anticipate the familiar sting of leather. He swishes it through the air, then it comes down. The strap strikes right across the center of my bottom. A whine rises from my throat as the sting, the burn dances across my skin. My toes curl into the carpet.
The pain is absolutely delicious.
My mind becomes a warm stream, flowing where he takes me. I’m nothing but feel, touch, sound. He says, “I expect an answer, young lady. Do I or don’t I know how to handle the naughty ones?”
Oh, he does. He. SO. Does.
Despite the devilish spell he’s got me under, I’m still Tess. Instead of a merciful oh, yes, big strong man, you know just how to punish us bad girls, I say, “I wouldn’t know. Do you think you know how to handle us?”
A dark chuckle rises from behind me. I’m thinking of how clever I am.
Then the belt strikes me, for real. Harder than the smacks he gave me last year, or the one just now.
A loud crack bursts through the quiet room. A fire is lit across my rear where the stripe has landed just above the first. My breath sucks in between my teeth. Tears prick in my eyes. I’m shocked by the pain. The burn is all consuming, and it frees me from the prison of my mind. I focus on the punishment, taking it in.
He says, “No need for your opinion. I’ll show you just how capable I am.” The belt comes down, lower this time, punishing the full curve of the bottom of my ass. I’m whimpering. My fingertips dig into the couch cushion.
Arousal pools between my thighs.
Now the belt rests on my ass. Slowly, inch by inch, he drags the soft leather across my burning skin. My muscles tense, waiting for it to rise and lower. It doesn’t.
I hear the belt drop to the floor. A mixture of disappointment and relief washes through me.
His hand is now resting where the belt has left. Every hair on the back of my neck stands on edge and I hold in a lusty moan as his palm runs over the fullness of my bottom.
But where is he headed now? I freeze, my head turning over my shoulder to see him but I can’t. His hand has left the roundness of my cheeks and is now traveling over the crack of my ass. His fingertips press within, crawling downward toward my pussy. Dip between my thighs. I moan, spreading my legs further, allowing him easier access. I’m gushing. It feels so fucking good to be touched like this.
“Tsk. Tsk. Naughty girl—you’ve left a wet patch on your couch. Such a bad, bad girl. You’re absolutely dripping, and I’ve only struck you a few times.”
His fingers slide inside of me. Gently, slowly. I’m turning to liquid. Little mewing noises are rising in my chest. To be touched from behind after being punished with leather, wearing not a stitch of clothing—it’s the fantasy I never thought to imagine.
His words snap me from my thoughts. “This little yoni is just begging for more punishment, isn’t she?”
“Yes—the female sexual organ and place of life. A sacred temple. What do you call it?”
“Uh… my pussy?” I shift my weight, enjoying the pleasure he brings me as his finger slides up to my slick, swollen bud and presses it.
“Don’t you think she deserves a bit more respect than that? To be named after a kitten? You after all, are a panther, sweetheart.” His touch disappears from my pussy. I’m desperate for more stimulation and I whine. His hand slaps my bottom.
I respond, “Okay, sure—let’s call it that. But can you go back to doing that thing you were doing… to my… yoni?”
“Not when you’re being punished. I just needed to see your level of arousal. It seems you’re nowhere near done with your lesson. You’re still in the stage of just wanting your sexual desires filled. You need to reach a different place.” His hands go to my bare waist, pulling me from the couch. He turns me toward him, holding me by the shoulders.
I whisper, “What place is that?” My bare breasts stand at attention, wanting, waiting.
His gaze searches mine. “Submission.”
The word from his lips sends a thrill though me, a tremble dances down my spine. Breathlessly I ask, “And how does one get to this place of… submission?”
“I’ll show you.” He takes my hand and leads me around the back of the couch to the front. There’s imprints from my hands in the soft leather. He sits down. His thighs spread apart. He gives me a reprimanding look that sends shivery pulses down my back. His hand grasps mine and in one tug, he pulls my naked body over his lap. The fabric of his clothing is rough against the skin of my belly. I rest my upper body on the couch, folding my hands beneath my head. Trying to make myself comfortable. But every nerve in my body seems to be on high alert.
He says, “We’d do well to begin our time together with me teaching you a lesson in respect.”
Oh, yes, sir, please teach me a lesson! My pussy, still throbbing from his attention, gushes, eager for more pleasure.
But then, he’s spanking me. And it’s nothing like I expected. His hand is falling right, then left, right then left, in the same spot on alternate cheeks each time. It’s a sharp, hard slap. Expertly placed on the center of my jiggling cheeks. He’s spanking me over and over. It’s so much faster, harder than the belting, the pain comes quickly. He’s saying, “You’re going to be a good girl. And do what you’re told. Or you’ll be finding yourself in this position daily. And there will be no more panties around here. I want your bottom bare beneath your clothes every minute of the day as a reminder to behave.”
The sharp smacks rain down and it’s so painful, I want to block his hand with mine. But I know better than to reach back, protect myself. My hands curl in tight fists. Press against my cheeks. My face scrunching up as I try not to cry out. I can’t even contemplate the command he’s given me of no panties anymore—I’m too focused on my aching bottom.
His tempo accelerates. My ass is absolutely on fire. I can’t believe how much pain I’m in! I’ve never been spanked like this. Not even the first time when Rockland administered it. My legs start to kick, my hips wiggling, trying to escape his punishing hand. I can no longer hold in my cries and I shout, “Rockland, stop spanking me! I’ll be good! I promise I’ll be good.”
He swings his leg around, locking my legs to his and rendering them useless.
He says, “No kicking, Tessie. Take your punishment like a lady.”
I squirm. I whine, “What did I even do? Surely I’ve not been bad enough to deserve this.” My fingers wrap around the edge of the cushion, squeezing as if to alleviate the sting in my ass.
He keeps spanking as he speaks. “You most certainly have. You’ve not been taking care of yourself. Then, when I came here to do the job you haven’t, you’ve been nothing but sassy and difficult with me. This spanking is one you’ll not forget—one that will set the tone of what you can expect during my stay with you.”
His spanks stop for a moment. I sigh in relief. But then I sense his palm hovering over my poor, throbbing ass. A smack comes down, then more after that. But this time, each hearty smack is punctuated by a word. “I will be the head of this household.”
He knows these are the words I need to hear. He knows that the punishment, combined with his strict, yet caring words are what it will take to earn me.
My heart cries with relief. He’s giving me what I’ve needed for so long.
Overwhelmed with emotion, tears form in my eyes. They begin to fall freely. My bottom feels like one aching, fiery mess. It throbs so much I don’t even realize the punishment has ended. That his stinging palm is now gently caressing my ass. Great big sobs begin to rack my body as I lay limply over his lap. I’m a wreck. A mess.
With each sob, the anger leaves my body. Anger that I’ve kept pent up for two years. Anger at the world, fate, death. I cry and cry as my soul is cleansed of the weight I’ve been carrying.
And he just lets me cry.
His hand moves up, begins to softly stroke my back. Smoothing the locks of my hair. He’s shushing me. When I’m calmer, he lifts me from his legs. Gathers me into his arms. Pulls my naked bottom right into his lap. I wince at the pain of the contact, but quickly forget. My arms wrap around his strong shoulders and I bury my face into the crook of his neck. He’s warm and strong and smells of sun and salt. He’s smoothing my hair, his rough beard tickles my cheeks as he softly croons, “There, there, princess. Let it all out. You’ve had such a hard time. You’ve been so strong. Let me be strong for you now. Let me take care of you.”
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