“You…! Don’t you…!” Ainsley began. The look in his eye said that indeed he would, and then he proved it by snapping an arm over her back and lifting her off the floor like a sack of grain. Ainsley bounced against his hip as he carried her, kicking and thrashing, as far as the vintage art deco vanity with the fan mirror and the pink velvet stool, upon which he sat, bringing the squealing young woman to rest face down over his knees.
“Oh, you can’t! Rhys, you…! Oh!” Once again, she was proven incorrect as he slid his hand underneath her and worked the buttons loose on her years-worn Levis 501s, which he rid her of post haste. Then he gripped the waistband of her panties.
“Oh,” he chuckled, which Ainsley took great exception to. “Oh, uh… yes.”
“You can’t, Rhys. Please,” she attempted. Dignity gone, she whined. She would whine her way out of a spanking, one that she would receive on her bare bottom if he went any further with this. “Oh, dear God.”
“When I speak, I expect to be heard,” he said. “I told you if you disobeyed me on this, I’d spank you raw.”
“You did not! You said you’d… you’d…”
“Spank me ‘til I howl.” Odd that the young woman picked this particular moment for helpful correction.
“Let’s see which comes first, then: raw or howl.”
Rhys whipped the scrap of cloth down in one clean jerk, leaving them bunched where bottom met thigh. Cool air caressed her backside. It didn’t last long.
“Rhys Redmond Merrick, don’t you dare!” she fairly screamed. Panic set in, real and true panic.
“Let’s see if this improves your hearing.” The first connection of his hand rang out in the otherwise quiet room like a shot from a .22.
Then the fire spread.
Then the very sorry lady screamed blue murder. “Help! Somebody help!”
Then he spanked her bare ass, developing a nice rhythm worthy of a seasoned Juilliard grad, or perhaps a member of the USC marching band—percussion section. Take your pick, he was slapping the meat right off her poor derrière, and it was not the least bit fair. She said as much.
“You’re a gigantic ass!”
“And you’re a gigantic fool.” He fell silent, his hand conveying his message louder and better than his mouth ever could. He raised and lowered his hand, covering every inch of her exposed nates, and once or twice felt the need to spank in the same spot. She struggled wildly, kicking her legs and flailing her arms. She tried to swim off his lap, but his strong arm around her waist prevented all but the most perfunctory movements. Rhys worked his oak-like palm over both bottom cheeks, spanking her long and hard, as he’d promised he would do.
“Ow! Please, Rhys!” she howled.
“There,” he said. “Now we’ll see about raw.” His hand continued its offensive assault. It went on forever, it seemed. He swatted her upturned bottom with arrogant audacity. She lost count of the number of times his hand clapped down on her defenseless posterior; she was quite sure she wouldn’t survive even one more ghastly whack. After several more swats administered with heartless accuracy upon her naked behind, he stilled his hand.
Ainsley growled her displeasure in grossly unkind terms, her legs flailing about like a veteran Rockette. Out of the corner of her eye she saw him take up a heavy oval hairbrush, which sat convenient as all get-out atop the solid wood-polished-to-a-glass-finish vanity.
“Put your legs down.”
“Please…” She arched her back in an attempt to crawl off his lap, and Rhys took the opportunity to lay five hard smacks with his hand to her raised hillocks before she kicked her legs again.
“Owwwww!” she cried.
“Put your legs down,” he repeated, enunciating each word so there was no gray area. “I am not finished with you yet.”
“Rhys,” she gasped, grabbing onto his pant leg with her right hand and balancing the left on the floor. “Please.”
“Let me tell you something, little girl. You are smart in so many ways, and downright stupid in others. I care about you—a lot. I don’t invest my time in people I don’t care about. Do you understand? Answer me.”
“Yes, I understand,” she grunted in a very unladylike fashion.
“I have two things to discuss with you. Are you listening?”
“Yes, yes, yes!”
“Good. Excellent. That building, while fantastic, is in a part of town a woman alone has no business being in after dark.”
“Woman alone! Like I’m some helpless… oh!” His hand took up where it left off, spanking her bare bottom like nobody’s business. After ten positively gruesome swats to her upturned person, he ceased.
“You ready to listen or do I continue?”
“Oooooh!” she wailed, frustrated as a tween at a titty show.
Rhys shrugged and spanked anew, determined to win her over to his side, even if her ass fell off in the process.
“I’ll listen, for God’s sake! I’ll listen.”
He stopped and settled his hand on her hot buns. “Good. As I was saying, I expressed my feelings about you being alone after dark in that building, and I thought you agreed.”
“We were on a damn break!” she hissed.
“Boy, you are stubborn.” He swatted her five more times. “Break or no break, I never stopped caring about you, nor will I—ever. Do you hear me?”
“Yes,” she sniffed.
“I will say it as many times as I have to, and I will spank you as many times as I have to, until you get it.” It was when Rhys transferred the hairbrush into his spanking hand that Ainsley thrashed anew. “Two, instead of calling me when you ran out of gas, you walked over a mile, in the dark. I cannot even begin to process that. You are over my knee getting a spanking for being in that damn warehouse alone after dark, and for walking home alone through the god-blessed streets of Los Angeles. Are we clear so far?”
“Yes,” she rasped. “Please don’t.”
“Now, I’m going to take this hairbrush to your bottom for lying to me. I said from the beginning I don’t like it. Now I will give you something you don’t like. Keep your feet on the floor and your hands in front of you and this will go quickly.” Believing her to be of sound intelligence, he did not bother to ask if she understood. He lowered her panties to the middle of her thighs, and without a word, he brought the hairbrush down with a resounding crack.
Now, Ainsley had begun this horrendous round two with her hands obediently flat on the floor for balance, but when that hairbrush caught the sensitive area between bottom and thigh, her limbs flew straight out and flailed about like The Flying Nun in a strong wind. Rhys brought that hairbrush down on her very bare sit spots, the absolute worst place to get paddled, as she was learning firsthand.
“Ow! Please, Rhys…!” Her eyes flew wide open. “Oooowww… stop it, please!”
He ignored her and kept up what Ainsley would, for the time being, chalk up to the single most hideous spanking she had ever received. She kicked, she yelled, she cursed, and she unwisely dug her nails into his leg, which forced him to stop the horrendous barrage of whacks long enough to place her hand at the small of her back and pin her flailing legs between his. With the top of her head resting on the floor if she allowed it, his next four words positively curled her loins.
“Now I begin again.”
“I’m sorry! I’m sorry! Rhys! Rhyyyys!” she squealed as he brought that cursed thing she vowed to burn immediately after this nightmare was over down without hesitation across her tender sit spots and thighs.
“How’s your hearing now, Miss Vaughn?”
“Good… yes… fine… ooooh, ow! Rhyyyys!” Ainsley arched her back to avoid the stinging application of that brush, and all that served to do was push her bottom up in offering. The volley of exacting wallops was excruciating and she screamed curses at him and all of his family, which he simply ignored, continuing his business until he was satisfied that his work was indeed done. Rhys set the hairbrush down with a clatter and pulled Ainsley to her feet. Without a word he marched her to a corner behind the door and pushed her into position.
“I will not…” she screeched, turning around.
“You will,” he countered, spinning her back into position and swatting her bare bottom. “Don’t move.”
“Oh!” she screeched, hopping from one foot to the other.
Fuck you, she said—in her head, of course—as she reached down to pull her panties up.
She turned around. “I will not…!”
“You will leave them down. You are being punished. Face the corner and keep your hands in front of you or I’ll take those panties right off you and spank you again.”
A pool of moisture coated her thighs. Infuriated, she stared at him like a trapped fox, and when she didn’t move, he did. In two long strides Rhys was upon her. He spun the poor girl back into position and cracked her bare lower quadrant with his open palm. “Last time I’m going to say it.”
Ainsley stood in the corner like a naughty girl, having no idea how things got so catawampus. On Monday night they had gone from practically falling into bed together to not speaking to each other for a week while both sorted out the mess they were in, and with his call tonight, Ainsley had felt things were on the mend again, until she’d misjudged him. That had been a mistake she would not repeat. Her bottom end throbbed, her tummy fluttered, and her lady bits sang—bare to God and country as they were. Good God, what was happening to her?
She turned her head an inch or two and saw him out of the corner of her eye. Rhys had returned to the round pink stool, where he sat with his back against the wall, long legs outstretched, his hands in his lap, one of them holding the heavy oval hairbrush. Ainsley rubbed her bottom and felt quite sorry for herself.
“Don’t look at me,” he barked. “Think about why you got a spanking and why you’re standing in the corner.”
The poor thing stomped her foot and started to cry. Fat tears dripped off her nose in a dazzling display of emotion she hadn’t felt or expressed in a decade. Ainsley felt horrible in ways she’d never experienced before, not the least of which was the worry that she would never get herself back into favor with this cretin who’d roasted her buns and stood her in the corner. She hated him. She adored him. She wanted him gone. She wanted him here, forever. Past arguments long forgotten, it appeared they had turned yet another corner.
Aren’t these two fun?
Ainsley cried. She cried real, drippy tears. She wanted to defy him and take some of her power back, but what good would that do? Her fanny had already been tanned to a fare thee well, and the lord and everyone else knew she did not want any more of that nonsense. She harrumphed one more time and stared at the wall.
Rhys stared at the contrite lady’s bottom, a pair of pastel turquoise panties bunched around her thighs. The lower half of her bottom, where butt met thigh, glowed with overlapping red ovals thanks to a well-made hairbrush he would, after tonight, put away and take out just for disciplinary spankings. He’d buy her another one for her hair. Her long muscled legs quivered in discomfort and frustration.
Monday night had been a turning point for them both; not telling her about Adrian had been stupid, and everything Celine said was right on the money. He admitted then, as he had to admit now, that he’d never felt so connected to a woman in his life—not even to Nina. He and Ainsley had toyed and flirted with each other in a manner for months, and now he’d gone and done it. As much as Ainsley Brooke Vaughn needed her gorgeous derrière thrashed to a sizzling inferno, and as much as he’d needed to thrash it, Rhys couldn’t help but wonder, not for the first time, if this would be the last time he’d see her, be in her house, touch her, inhale the wonderfully unique scent that was this woman. Believing that not telling her about Adrian changed things between them, he now knew that his actions this night set them on a whole new course. He’d given her fair warning; her actions brought this about. He was a man of his word. She’d tested him, and she was now standing in the corner with a red bottom like a naughty girl, and she had only herself to blame.
He thought about her all the time, wondered what she was up to, wondered who was making her laugh and who was making her miserable on any given day. She was younger than he by seven good years and many more in experience, yet Ainsley made him smile. Even when they weren’t together, he’d remember something she said, or how she said it, and laugh out loud. He found himself daydreaming about her when he should be reviewing his caseload and getting rich people off on technicalities.
But did that give him carte blanche to spank her?
Finding her in that parking lot had enraged him. From the moment he’d called he’d known something wasn’t right. He’d chalked it up to not speaking to each other for a week, and the awkward way in which they had parted Monday night. Knowing she had lied to him about being in that warehouse—the mall, indeed—he knew that he would follow through with his threat, and that it would likely change their lives. And then her car at the bottom…
Rhys took a deep breath, which brought her head around. He twirled his finger, indicating she should continue to face the corner or else. They were not a couple; they had not shared a bed or anything more intimate than a kiss, yet over his lap she’d gone, her bare bottom feeling the full measure of his hard hand.
Yes. In her very own domicile, he had taken her pants right down. He’d had no issue with that scrap of nothing on her hips, hauling them down as well to expose her round bottom. Bare bottom spankings tended to get to the root of a problem quickly and effectively, and so he’d set about changing the color of her ass from alabaster to crimson with the firm application of his hand to her wobbling buns. Then he’d taken up the hairbrush and delivered a much-deserved paddling to her sit-upons with nothing more than a firm flick of his wrist. He recalled now how the pale skin of her virgin lower orbs had turned white at the first strike of the heavy oval hairbrush before reddening scant seconds later.
Now her nethers were deep red, offering an occasional quiver as the desolate young lady stood, duly punished, in the corner. His hand stung as he watched her fidget now, arms folded, face stained with tears, and lots of sorry sniffling.
Ainsley brought her hand to her mouth and placed a delicate thumbnail between her teeth. Rhys cursed The General for having a mind of his own and growing like an old tick on a new dog. This wasn’t the time to get randy. He had to remain stern and unyielding so the lady would get the message and he would not have to repeat this lesson. He could be content to watch her all night, waiting for her to ask to come out of the corner so she could get on his good side again. Stern and unyielding; that was how he would handle this one.
Ainsley fidgeted again and crept her free hand—the one hidden from him between her and the wall—back and brushed her fingers over her spanked bottom. She glanced at him out of the corner of her eye to see if he was watching. He shook his head and she snapped hers back to face the corner. God, she was cute. And very disobedient. He should spank her again until he had her speaking in tongues. The woman needed to be tamed.
As he watched her, something strange happened. His anger began to wane, his insides warmed, and his chest swelled. He was having a heart attack of some kind, that’s all it was. Some angina, or maybe it was heartburn from that burrito at lunch.
The contrite young lady sniffed and brushed a tear off her cheek.
Yes, she deserved to cry. Naughty girl.
He would remain unmoved by her now-sweet disposition; it was what she needed. He would not be manipulated by emotions, by a few tears. He’d been down that road, long and narrow and full of slights, lies, and a large helping of mind-fucks to last him a lifetime, thank you. Nope. This one would not get under his…
Ainsley shifted from one foot to the other, her sweet little bottom sore and red. He observed with complete detachment the fidgeting and the sorry sniffles. Yes. She was a naughty girl, and naughty girls got spanked on their bare bottoms, hard. Rhys gave himself a single, satisfied nod, ignoring the odd ache that settled in his chest again, and an unfamiliar sting that pierced his nose, causing his eyes to water just a bit. A tiny, teensy bit. The bare toes of her right foot made circles on the hardwood floor, and she snuck a peek at him out of the corner of her eye. She sniffed, her thumbnail still lodged between her teeth. Sorry and contrite was what she was now; as it should be, he noted. The battle won, he folded his arms over his chest in smug victory.
He did not fall in love; he did not make love. He fucked.
His chest… that damn ache. What the hell? He shook his head as the urge to go to her became overwhelming. And Rhys realized with sudden clarity that the need to comfort was as strong as the need to be comforted. What an odd concept.
He stood and went to her.
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