The air inside Lord Markham’s room is heavier than mine, filled with the powerful, lingering scent of cigar smoke and his alluring cologne. We move inside, my body still pressed firmly into his as he reaches behind me to close the door. Finally, we part, and my eyes wander over the landscape. I find a room almost identical to my own, except that everything is the other way around—our rooms, it seems, are a reflection of one other. An oil lamp burns dimly by the doorway, and two sets of candleholders are lit either side of the bed.
I look to my guardian, seeing that dark, salacious urgency on his face again. He raises his chin a little, as though he means to compose himself, and then slowly he looks down upon me. “Did you just press yourself against me, Lady Franklin?” he asks, his voice a deliberate and deep tone. “Wantonly flaunting yourself like a common hussy?”
I can feel my heart picking up its pace even as I hear myself reply. “I did, My Lord.”
He smiles, and despite the warmth in his eyes, I cannot shake the feeling that it looks predatory. “Do you deserve rapprochement then?” he asks, “or should you be reprimanded?”
“The judgement is yours, My Lord,” I say, choosing words which are deliberately deferential. “But I fear that only chastisement will help to guide me.” I can hear the tremble in my voice as I answer, though whether its cause is concern or excitement I cannot say.
“My Lady,” he growls, pressing himself against my smaller frame. “Do you know what you ask?”
I inhale deeply. “Yes, Lord Thomas,” I answer. “I want you to punish me. Please, will you spank me?”
With the words said, there is no turning back, and he advances on me in a second. His right hand reaches for my hair, pulling loose the intricate networking of pins and releasing a number of tendrils, which bounce around my face. I gasp at the sudden movement, more perturbed by the speed than the aggression, but still, it leaves me feeling weak and vulnerable; sensations which make my core tighten. Tensing in my golden tresses, his fingers draw me in toward him. “Never let it be said that I am a gentleman who does not address my lady’s needs,” he purrs from over me. There’s just the briefest moment when our eyes connect, his shining with unspoken demands, and then our lips meet.
His mouth crashes into me with enough force to push me backward. Sensing my instability, he turns our bodies, cradling my body with his left arm, and directs us both toward the four-poster bed. I feel the edge of its wood against my calves, and then all at once the weight of his body pushes me back against it. We collapse together, a knot of eager limbs, and I find myself lying flat against Lord Markham’s bed.
He kneels over me, panting slightly as he slowly removes his evening coat. His gaze never leaves me the whole time, his eyes devouring each new curve of my body that they find. Throwing the garment aside, he falls forward and presses himself down against me, collecting my hands and pinning them gently up and over my head. I watch him, compliant and yet breathless with desire. I adore the feeling of his strong and hard body against me, pinning me down and controlling me with such apparent ease.
The strands of his dark hair hang loose from his head as he stares down at me. “So here we are again, My Lady,” he purrs, that wicked look in his eye.
“Yes, My Lord,” I answer excitedly.
“Do you still wish for me to spank you?”
I do not even hesitate as I give my reply. “I must confess that I do,” I whisper, “but I find that…”
His stare holds me in place for a long moment, and I feel as though I am entranced.
“What, Lydia?” he asks breathlessly.
“I find I rather like this too,” I admit, knowing that I should be utterly ashamed of myself, and yet unable to muster the emotion at all.
He grins. “I am so glad,” he says, lacing his long fingers between my own. “Because once you are truly mine, I am going to possess you this way whenever it pleases me.”
I gasp, pressing my torso up to meet his in some unconscious action. My nipples, now tightened into buds, graze against his shirt, sending bolts of desire shooting through me. He chuckles at my response. “Whatever happened to that naïve and spirited young lady from London, who breezed into my dining room last week?”
“She is right here,” I reply, smiling. “She has just been discovering a few things about herself these last few days, thanks in large part to her new, domineering guardian.”
“Oh, really?” he enquires, pinning me with his mocking stare as well as his hands. “Well, yes, I suppose you have had a few lessons to learn in that time, haven’t you?”
My mind flashes back to the times he has spanked me since my arrival at Markham. Lying here beneath him, I struggle to believe that until that time I had never even contemplated such behaviour, and now I find I desire it so badly. “Yes, My Lord,” I reply honestly.
“And, there’s another to learn now, I see?” he probes jovially.
I smile, though I do sense that low creeping anxiety clawing at the insides of my belly. The knowledge of what he will do does nothing to quell me; in fact, quite the opposite—it ignites the passion within me.
He rolls from my body, landing lithely on his back to my left, before assuming an upright position over me. “Come now,” he says, settling his back against the headboard and patting his lap. “Let me give that pretty little behind of yours a spanking before we both tire.”
I scurry from my place on the bed and walk toward where he now sits when his voice stops me.
“Not like that, Lydia!”
I halt, searching his face for an explanation.
“The gown, Lydia,” he says, a mischievous smile growing on his face. “Remove the gown, please.”
His words startle, but by now they do not surprise me. “Must I be bare, Thomas?” I ask.
He nods as I knew he would. “Yes, my sweet thing,” he answers. “And from now on every time you question my instructions, you will earn an additional ten swats, do you understand?”
I fluster at that, nodding and reaching behind me to unfasten the detail at the back of my gown. He smiles, watching me struggle for a few moments before beckoning me over for him to help. With a firm tug the ties are loosened and I am able to slide the bodice of the gown from my skin, watching it as it pools around my slippers. I unlace the stays at my waist and turn, now totally nude save for my feet.
He eyes me like a hungry animal. “My, my,” he says as he exhales. “You are flawless.”
I blush again, feeling the heat in my face contrast with the light and tingling sensation that my limbs are experiencing.
“Come to me,” he commands sensually. “You know what is expected.”
I go forward on shaky limbs, moving onto the bed, so that my naked body folds over his lap completely. A veil of calm falls over me. I feel warm, despite my nudity, and safe in the knowledge that this gentleman, who I have grown so fond of, is going to give me exactly what I want, which also happens to be exactly what I need.
His hands are on me, the right one stroking my back tenderly, whilst the other traces a line over my bare behind. I turn my face to the right to catch a glimpse of him, seeing him smile at the task before him.
“What an utterly enticing lady you are, Lydia,” he says. I watch him raise his left hand, before he brings it down against my upturned bottom. Instinctively my eyes close at the impact, relishing the immediate sting that it creates. They open again, in time to see the next swat delivered. The sound of the strikes fills the room. “You can be so self-assured, so certain and contained.”
Smack. The next strike lands on my bottom. This strike is harder, and I wince inwardly at the contact.
“And yet at the same time, you need such correction and guidance.”
He lands the fourth smack and I gasp, the sting catching me right on my sitting spot, still rather tender from my punishments earlier.
“Is that right, Lydia?” he asks, his tone demanding.
“Yes, Thomas,” I say, gathering myself. “Thank you for correcting me.”
Three swats follow in fast succession, and then he pauses, resting his palm right against the line where my bottom meets my legs. “I will always be here to provide correction, Lydia,” he assures me, as he lifts his hand and slams it back down against my flesh. “The pain, and the pleasure, My Lady,” he says warmly.
I press my face, my breasts, and my small palms into the soft bedding, feeling each smack as Thomas delivers them. There is something strangely cathartic about the whole experience; willingly yielding to him seems so brazen and erotic. By the time we reach the twentieth strike, I can feel my hips rising to meet the new spank, and then raining down hard upon his lap, searching for the carnal sensations they hope to find during the spanking.
In the torrent that follows I find the solace I am searching for. Thomas’ hands work together, simultaneously chastising and absolving me. His left hand delivers the penalty, whilst the right one soothes my upper back and shoulders with sensual, soft caresses. I am lost to it, consumed completely with the pain of the sound spanking against my bare bottom, and the way my mind processes it into something wholly wonderful.
At some point the spanking stops, his hand settling against my inflamed behind. I hear him panting over me, and I push myself into the growing hardness at my hip like the wanton woman I have become. He groans—an unconscious, reflexive response to my movement—and the next thing I know his fingers dip between my cheeks. Fleetingly I recall the first time he had explored me this way at Markham Hall. It was only yesterday, and yet I had been reticent to permit the action, despite the enjoyment it gave me. Now however, I find myself eager for him to do so, silently willing his fingers on.
One digit strokes me, heading toward my wet seam and probing gently between the lips there. I gasp, opening my eyes to see him as he plays me like an instrument of his own. His eyes are large and dark, the lids once again low over his green orbs. His face looks like he is caught somewhere between agony and ecstasy.
I mewl as his finger slips a little deeper, amazed at how much moisture he finds there. “Thomas!” I murmur, just about able to spill the word from my mouth.
He turns his head to me, opening his eyes to look upon me. “Did you enjoy your spanking, Lydia?” he asks in an unusually husky tone. “Was it what you needed?”
“Oh, yes!” I cry out, wanting to bite down upon the soft bedding at my lips as a second finger brushes past the pulsing nub underneath me.
“And now, my sweet?” he enquires. “What do you need now?” His tone is mocking, designed to deliberately torture me further by making me state my desire out loud.
“Pleasure?” I ask, knowing I sound like an overindulged little girl.
He smiles. “Ah, yes… pleasure.” At the same time, his top finger slides a little further within me, and the palm of his hand rocks gently against my sex. Instinctively I push back, relishing both sensations at once. My mouth opens, as though some tacit need is there and yet cannot be vocalised. “You may have your pleasure, My Lady,” he growls, “but there is one condition.”
I look to him, my eyes pleading. “What condition?” I gasp.
His smile widens. “I want to see you when you come apart, Lydia,” he replies soothingly. “So keep your face this way, and your eyes open.”
It sounds like such a small request, especially in light of the feelings being stirred within me by his left hand, so I nod my compliance at once. “I will do so,” I say breathlessly.
“Good girl,” he says, using his right hand to draw the unruly tendrils of hair from my face. “Then you may seek your pleasure. I want to feel you explode, right here at my hand.”
My hips push back even as he speaks, bucking against his hand, searching for the friction I know can be found there. He holds his hand still, and I soon find a rhythm, sliding past the finger at my wetness and grinding against the palm beneath me. The sensations are thrilling, and unknowingly my eyelids flit closed.
“Lydia.” His tone is a warning, and my eyes fly open at once, seeking him immediately.
I swallow as I understand my error. “I’m sorry,” I stammer, consumed with the decadence of the feelings.
“Keep. Them. Open,” he says, punctuating each word, as he allows his right hand to leave my back and trail a line down my right side. His fingers reach underneath me, finding my breast pushed against the bedding.
“Give me this sweet bud,” he orders carnally, and I obey out of instinct, raising my right side a fraction to allow him access.
He seizes it between his fingertips at once, pulling and pinching the nipple as my hips roll relentlessly at his left hand. The combined stimulus is effective, and all of a sudden he has me right there again, at the very precipice of pleasure.
“Thomas!” I call, the urgency in my voice making it almost unrecognisable.
“You may climax,” he says sensuously, “but keep your eyes on me.”
I feel my muscles contracting around the finger at my opening even as he speaks, the wave of pleasure ripping through me like a powerful force of nature. A guttural sound leaves my lips, every fibre of my being focused only on one thing—the pursuit and maintenance of this feeling. So consumed am I by the sensations that I quite forget his instructions, my eyelids squeezing shut as my body convulses around him. It is only when his voice slices through my euphoria that I recall what I had been told.
My eyes are open in a flash, immediately repentant. “Oh, My Lord, I am so sorry,” I say, but the dark look in his eyes tells me my apology is not going to be sufficient.
“You had but one instruction.” he replies threateningly, as he removes his left hand from my still shuddering pelvis.
Filled with remorse, I try to reason with him. “But, Thomas, the pleasure was too intense! I did not mean to disobey.”
His lips form into a smirk, and I wonder if he had not known all along that I could never hope to do as he had asked. “Even so, Lydia,” he begins. “You had but one condition for your pleasure, and you did not meet it. What am I to do with you?”
He runs his hand over my reddened bottom, and I shiver reflexively. “Will you punish me?” I ask, my voice trembling.
“Do you deserve to be punished?” he answers, his eyes knowing.
I swallow, trying to decide upon the response. “Yes, but no…” I say, my own voice portraying my confusion.
He chuckles, raising his right knee and urging me up onto my knees next to him. “Then perhaps just a small penalty?” he says calmly. “A little reminder of what happens if you disobey me? What say you, My Lady?”
I flex my toes, nervous energy whipping through me once again. I do not want to be punished again—not severely—particularly after such a satisfying experience, but what can I say? I did fail in the small endeavour he had asked of me. “What will you have me do?” I say in a small voice.
He is smiling as he shifts his weight, helping me to take a step backward as he swings his legs from the bed. “I will have you right here,” he says, coming to stand behind me. “Put your palms flat on the bed, and keep your legs spread.”
He moves my body into position as he speaks, arranging my limbs as though I am a rag doll. I find myself in my most ungainly pose, bent over at the hips, my shins against the bed. Satisfied at last, he moves away to his travelling bag, just right of the doorway. I breathe hard and deeply as I watch him, my mind reeling at what he may have in store next. By the time he turns back to face me, I feel downright afraid. “My Lord?” I ask, my voice trembling.
He moves back through the darkness to reveal something long and thin in his right hand. He passes it to his other palm, showcasing it to me as he comes to stand by my left side. All at once the object comes into view. My belly lurches as I recognise his riding crop, and my eyes fly to him at once. “Thomas!” I exclaim, “you cannot mean to punish me with this thing!”
My voice is etched with the fear and the disdain I feel about the idea. Crops are for animals, horses—not for me! When he does not reply at once I shift my weight, meaning to stand and face him, but he halts me with one word.
“Stay,” he says, and something about the authority in his voice makes me comply. I hang my head shamefully, and see him raise the crop by the left side of me.
I tense and want to cry out, but as I watch I see him lower it slowly over my back. I feel its touch grazing my side and sliding round to tickle my belly. I draw in my stomach reflexively, unprepared for its soft and unusual sensation.
“I am not cruel, Lydia,” he says from next to me. “And I have already told you that I mean never to cause you real harm.”
“But, Thomas,” I say shakily. “The crop?”
He sees the worry in my eyes, and smiles. “The crop looks severe, but it need not be,” he answers. “Take this instance for example, as it trails down your belly to your thighs—does it hurt you?”
“No,” I reply honestly.
He twists the crop at my left thigh, moving to slide it over my inside leg. It is tantalisingly close to my moist lips, and unbelievably I feel the warm tingle at the summit of my thighs again.
“The crop can be quite the tease, Lydia,” he says, chuckling warmly. He draws the implement back, bringing it to rest against my exposed bare behind. “But it can also deliver a message.”
I gasp, tensing at his change of tack.
“I think five light strikes will be sufficient to send this message now,” he says, delivering his verdict to the room.
“Are you ready, Lydia?” His tone has hardened, and I try to steel myself, but feel far from prepared.
“No, My Lord,” I reply, a low sob catching in my throat.
My plea is ignored, and I feel the crop leave my flesh. I eye the space behind me wildly, making out the crop’s length in the air, just a few inches from my bottom, before he brings it back down upon me with a gentle swish. In all honestly the pain is not all that intense, but the sound is downright mortifying, and I jump from my place at that alone.
“One,” he muses out loud, running a line across the point of impact.
I wince, wanting this whole thing to be done already. “Please, Thomas,” I plead. “I will obey next time!”
He is seemingly uninterested in my defence, and the crop is already in the air again as my appeal concludes. This time Thomas lands it with a little more force. The crack it makes as it strikes against my sitting spot seems to fill the air around us, and then the pain of the impact registers and I cry out. He removes it again, leaving the punished area burning as though it were scalded.
“Two, Lydia,” he says, but before I can respond the next strike is upon me.
Despite the fact that I now know what is coming, I seem unable to process the pain, and the new swat is just as punishing as the one before.
“Oww, Thomas!” I cry, straightening up a little, as my right hand moves automatically to console the inflamed area.
He moves behind me in an instant, pressing his clothed body against my punished bottom. “Do you want me to add another five licks with the crop?” he asks me menacingly.
I twist my head left to see his face right there. I know my eyes are filled with tears as I reply. “No, please…” I sob.
“Then get back into position, and stay there!” he hisses into my ear.
I scan his eyes quickly, and I see he means it, so I comply with his demand, hanging my head in front of me miserably.
“That was three, Lydia,” comes his voice from behind me again. “This is a punishment; it is supposed to hurt. Now steel yourself.”
I nod, squeezing my eyes shut as I hear the tell-tale sounds of the crop moving through the air. It lands against me once again, searing a line of soreness into my already reddened bottom. I absorb it as best I can, choking back on the sobs which catch in my throat.
“Good,” he says, clearly more impressed with this most recent effort. “Now, just one more, my sweet.”
The pain lashes across my bare bottom again immediately, taking my breath away. My eyes fly open just in time to see him drop the crop onto the floor at his feet. He moves toward me, holding his arms open. “Come here, Lydia.”
I freeze for the longest moment, desperate on the one hand for the love and reassurance that he offers, and yet horrified that he has seen fit to use his riding crop on me in this way. I stand slowly, my hands reaching for my punished bottom as I turn to face him.
“How are you?” he whispers.
I baulk at the question. “How should I be?” I sneer, my eyes streaming with raw emotion. “I cannot believe that you have used that thing on me!” As I speak I kick the crop, now lying on the floor, with my left foot.
“Only five light swats, Lydia,” he says, calmly, taking a tiny step toward me. “Did you not deserve them?”
“No!” I blurt the word out with vengeance, my emotions seem to be rising to an unexpected crescendo, and all of them are directed at Thomas. He takes one more step and is right next to me again, his arms folding around my naked form. “No!” I cry out again, raising my right hand and beating it hard against his chest. “How dare you do this! You have no right!”
He looks down at me, concern and exasperation etched into his face at my maddened response to his crop. “You consented to the punishment, Lydia,” he says softly, nuzzling into my hair. “In fact as I remember, it was you who asked me to spank you?”
I blink at him, indignation filling me. “Spank me, yes!” I say. “But not beat me!”
“You are hardly beaten, my sweet,” he replies. His eyes drill into me as he continues. “You received a measured punishment for your failure to comply with the terms I had set for your pleasure.”
“Measured!” I snort, trying to pull away from him.
He catches me and holds me firm. “Yes, measured,” he answers simply. “And watch your tone, My Lady, or you will find yourself the recipient of yet more punishment.”
I still, searching his eyes. “You wouldn’t?” I hiss, but even I do not sound sure of this bold assertion.
He looks upon me, his brow cocked as my response. “Do you want to try me, and find out?” he asks quietly.
I shake my head, feeling the strange mixture of emotions wrestling inside of me. I am outraged, and yet I am sated. I am indignant at his treatment of me, and yet even now, I yearn for his approval and protection. Finally, the threatening tears win out again, and I bury my head into his chest as they escape. He responds just as I had hoped he would, scooping me up into his arms gently and placing me on the bed. He sits, leaning against the post, and pulls me soothingly into his lap. I go there gladly, too shamed to show my face as the well of emotion empties. He says nothing, instead just holding me, before pulling the top blanket from his bed and wrapping it around my cooling skin.
“Hush, Lydia,” he says tenderly.
I sob against him, seeking his heat and strength. “I am sorry,” I whimper. “I do not usually act this way…”
He chuckles lightly, caressing the exposed side of my face with his thumb. “I suppose you are not usually punished with a crop for your behaviour?” he offers by means of an explanation.
I raise my head to see him, thinking what an awful state I must seem to be in now. “True,” I reply throatily. “But until you, no gentleman had ever corrected my behaviour at all.”
He presses his forehead into my own. “That is my responsibility now,” he whispers, “and one that I take seriously. But please know—I will never punish you in malice or anger.”
I nod my head to show my understanding.
“I was not being unkind earlier,” he goes on. “I love bringing you pleasure, and I did so want to see you come apart. Your sapphire eyes are beautiful, Lydia, and they unlock a great many of your secrets.”
I sigh, recalling how sweet that pleasure had been. The memory feels almost distant now. “I did my best to keep my eyes open,” I murmur. “I think it is impossible though, to do so? Did you trick me, My Lord?”
He smiles. “Perhaps,” he admits. “Perhaps I just wanted a reason to play with my crop?” He pauses, looking down upon me with intense eyes. “I am not usually so whimsical. I fear it is the effect that you have on me, Lydia…”
“Whimsical?” A soft laugh leaves my lips for the first time in a while. “Thomas, you are the least impulsive person I have ever met!”
“Really?” he asks playfully. “Do you mean that I am cosseted and wilful like yourself, My Lady?”
I want to scowl at him, but the tender warmth we are sharing is simply too good to taint. “Perhaps,” I agree, smiling.
We stay this way for some time. He holds me, soothing me and slowly bringing me back from the brink. At some point, my lids become so heavy that I fade into dreams against his chest, the sound of his heartbeat lulling me into sleep.
Sometime later, I am roused by the sensation of being lifted. I open one eye sleepily, aware of Thomas carrying my soporific body across the corridor and into my own room. His deep, tender voice whispers into my ear. “Come, my sweet Lydia. It will not do for Lucy to find you in my room tomorrow morning.”
He guides me into my own bed, pulling the soft covers over my body, and the last thing I remember is the warmth of the kiss he places against my half-open lips.
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