Stephania won’t look at me. I don’t blame her. Now that she’s seen what’s in store for her, I expect some hesitation.
I hadn’t thought to keep her in my room. I’d brought out the crate, still unsure of what to do with her, but when she ran, she made the decision for me. I won’t allow her to try to escape. And I sure as fuck am not going to put up with any disobedience while she’s here.
“See, not so bad.” Stephania’s soft voice carries over to me where I sit near the door of the guest room Roberto’s recovering in. I’ve sent Anton home to be with his wife, and to keep him out of my hair.
“Yeah,” Roberto says, eyeing me curiously again. He’s noticed how ill at ease she’s been since I brought her back in his room to administer his medicine, but he hasn’t outright questioned it. He’s smart to keep his questions to himself. I’m not going to answer him anyway.
She cleans up the vials from the nightstand, tossing the empty containers into the trash can I had brought to the room for her.
“Just about done,” she says, checking the pump. When we came back to the room, she’d been surprised to see all the equipment already ready for her to use. I had no idea so much was needed to give him the meds, but that’s why I pay people to know these things. My connection at the hospital pharmacy delivers everything we needed, plus some stuff she said we probably wouldn’t.
“I’m going to unhook the pump, but the catheter is going to stay in. That way when we do this again in six hours, we don’t have to go through the prick all over again,” she explains in an even, calm voice. “It’s called a PICC line.”
“Fine.” Roberto leans against the pillows and closes his eyes. “I’m wiped.”
“That’s probably the pain meds. You should sleep soundly tonight. Well, except when I have to administer this again. And really, a lot of patients do this from home. It’s easy. I could show you—”
“How often does he need it?” I ask from my chair. I’m staying out of her way so she can get the job done, but once she’s done with this task, she’s all mine.
“Every six hours for the next seven days,” she says without looking in my direction. She checks beneath his bandage with a frown. “He has a slight fever, but it should go down by tomorrow with this antibiotic.”
I lean into the chair. I haven’t heard anything from the Mancinis. Tomorrow I’ll have Anton go to the café and get the security footage from Tony. We should have gotten it from him today, but it’s been a busy day.
“All done,” she declares and peels off her gloves.
“I guess you’ll be around for at least a week, then.” Roberto smiles up at her.
She tenses. The little muscles in her neck stiffen.
“We’ll see.” She pats his shoulder.
Roberto’s gaze flicks to me, but I give him no reaction. My mind is already working out the details of her punishment. She’s not going to enjoy it, not even a little bit, but I will. My cock is already steel hard just thinking about my belt slashing across her curvy ass.
“Let him get some sleep, Stephania. It’s time to go.” I get up from the chair and open the door. She won’t be making any attempt to run for the door this time. I’ve seen that it won’t be possible.
She drops her shoulders.
“I’ll try to let you sleep through the next dose,” she promises Roberto before leaving his bedside.
Roberto gives me a hard stare. Go easy with her, he’s trying to tell me. But I don’t do easy, and she’s earned this.
Once we’re outside and the doors closed, I pick up the collar and leash I left on the hallway table.
“Do you really need that?” she asks, eyeing the leather collar. She didn’t fight with me when I put it on to take her out of the crate. But it was probably because she’d do anything to be let out.
I lift my hands to her throat. She draws up her hair and turns around.
“You do, yes,” I answer her while slipping it around her neck and buckling it behind her. The leash isn’t short, but it doesn’t give her much slack to get too far from me either. I snap it into place. “If you’d rather, I could have you walk appropriately back to my room.”
Her eyes light up. Poor girl, she’s misunderstanding me.
“A pet crawls while on her leash,” I finish explaining.
“I’ll walk,” she says quietly. I don’t mistake her meekness at this moment as a victory. She’s not broken. Her will is still strong and she will fight me again. She’s smart and is biding her time.
Which is fine with me. You can’t rush training.
“Good choice,” I say with a smile, wrapping the extra lead around my fist and walking her down the hall, back to my room.
Once we’re back inside, I lock the door and unravel the leash.
“We need to talk, Stephania,” I say, unhooking the leash but leaving the collar in place. “It’s best if you understand what’s expected of you. That way you can try to be a good girl and not break the rules. And if you do disobey, you won’t have anyone to blame but yourself when you feel the burn of my belt across your ass.”
She takes a small step back from me.
“There’s nowhere for you to hide in here, and I have one of my men positioned at the front door. If you do somehow get away from me, and they catch you, they’ll be allowed to watch your punishment.” It’s partially an empty threat. I don’t like the idea of anyone’s eyes on her naked flesh, but she can’t know that.
“I said I would help your brother. And I am. He needs seven days of the medicine to be sure the infection heals and stays gone, then I won’t be needed anymore.” She pauses. “I’m not even needed now.”
I stare at her. Her hair is wild around her face. What little makeup she’d worn that morning is gone; mascara has smudged around her eyes. It’s been a long day for her.
“I’m not concerned about Roberto. I’m sure you have his injury cared for. What I’m concerned about is how you’ll behave while you’re taking care of him. You’ve already shown me you can’t be trusted to walk about on your own, so I’ll be walking you to and from his room.”
“This is ridiculous!” she cries out, fresh tears building in her eyes. “I don’t need to be here. If you would just be reasonable and let me go—”
“That’s not going to happen, Stephania. Not until I say so, and if you ask again, if you mention it again, you’ll be punished.” I trail a finger along the collar. “After you’ve received your punishment for trying to run away, I’m sure you’ll think twice before disobeying me again.”
She pinches her lips together while staring at me. I’m sure she wants to scream at me, to demand I let her leave. But she’s too smart to defy me this close to getting her punishment. She doesn’t even know what it is, but she’s figured out it’s not going to be pleasant.
“The rules are simple, my pet. I make them, you follow them. If I say you can do something, then you’re free to do it. If I say no, then you’d better not.”
“And how do I know what I can and can’t do?” she asks with a little more snark than I think she intended, but she can’t hold back who she really is.
“You’ll know because you’ll ask. But I will give you a short list of what you can’t do.” I hold up my fingers and tick off the five nots. “No using the furniture in this room without permission. No trying to leave this room. No getting dressed in anything other than what I give you. No denying me anything at any time.” I pause to take a step closer to her. “And no touching yourself, no matter how wet and hungry your pussy gets.”
Her mouth drops open, like she can’t believe I would say something so crass. But it’s not her mouth I’m interested in, at the moment. Her pupils dilate.
I had a feeling, and she’s proving me right.
“It’s time for your punishment. Then you can get some sleep. If you have to be up in six hours to administer the next dose, we should get started.” I grab my belt and work the buckle open. She stares at my hands, her cheeks reddening as I yank on the end, pulling it from my pants.
“You. No, you can’t.” She points to the leather strap dangling from my fist. The buckle is tucked into my palm. I don’t want to harm her, but this will hurt her.
“I promise you, I can.” I smile. There’s already fear building in her eyes; her bottom lip trembles slightly. I love it.
“Vincenzo. Don’t do this,” she begs me when I reach for her.
“You’ve earned every lash you have coming to you. I promised you wouldn’t like what happened if you tried to run. I gave you warning, didn’t I?”
Her eyes flicker away from me. “Well, yeah, you did, but that doesn’t mean you have to do this.”
She’s grasping for ways out of what she has coming to her. It won’t work, but she hasn’t learned how true to my word I really am.
“If I don’t follow through, how will you learn to follow my commands when I give them the first time?” I ask, curious for her answer. She’s intelligent and obviously disciplined in some fashion if she’s been able to get through medical school.
“I won’t try to run away again,” she promises, but it’s not an answer. Probably because she doesn’t have one and I don’t see her as someone who will lie. I doubt Stephania has ever pulled an answer out of her ass in her life.
“It’s not entirely about stopping you from doing it again. It’s about taking the consequences for your actions. You were told not to do something or there would be consequences. You chose to do it anyway, so now you pay up.” I hook my middle finger through the loop on the collar and pull her closer to me. “If I promise a reward for good behavior, and you don’t get the reward even after you’ve been an obedient little pet, you’d stop believing me, right?”
She searches my expression, maybe trying to find a place she can hide and not see the truth blaring back at her. There’s no way out of this punishment.
“Yes,” she answers on a soft breath, almost inaudible. She’s coming around to acceptance. It’s good. She’ll be able to take what I’m going to give her easier if she’s accepted it.
“Good.” I inhale deeply, taking in her sweet aroma. Not flowery or covered by fragrance. No, my girl is all natural. “You won’t need your clothes. Take them off.” I release her collar and walk to the bed, leaning against one of the thick posts.
She doesn’t move though. Indecision has frozen her.
“This is the part where you show me you can and will obey. If you fight me now, how can I not add more to your punishment?” I ask in as calm a tone I can manage. My cock presses hard against the zipper of my slacks, but there won’t be any release until the job is done. Only then can I appease my own lust, while leaving her to drown in her own.
She opens her mouth like she’s going to speak, but snaps it shut. Smart girl. Just like I thought.
With no fanfare, she rips off her scrub top and lays it on the dresser. She grabs her scrub pants and yanks them off with her panties and kicks out of her shoes before tugging them off her feet. Again, they are dropped on the dresser. She’s left with her bra. Keeping her eyes averted from me, she reaches behind herself and unhooks the clasps.
There’s no underwire to the bra. While her breasts will more than adequately fill my palms, she’s not what my brothers would call stacked. She pulls the bra down her arms and tosses it onto the pile of clothing. When she turns back to me, she’s fisting her hands on her hips and raises her glare to my gaze.
Not a speck of awkwardness in sight. She’s not trying to hide her breasts, or cover her sex, but rather giving me a hard look. This isn’t a woman looking for my approval. This is a woman who’s confident in her skin and is daring me to challenge her.
My cock can’t get any harder.
I clear my throat to avoid growling and point to the bed. “Stand here and grab the post. I won’t tie you so long as you hold position. If you move or wiggle away, I will bind you to it and double the count.” I snap my finger and point to where I want her.
She drops her hands from her hips and saunters to me. I let her get all the way to me before I shake my head.
“Now, Stephania, do you really think that’s how a pet should approach its owner?”
Her eyes widen and a soft pink blush brushes across her cheeks.
“I’m not your pet,” she says in a harsh tone that doesn’t match her eyes.
“Oh, but you are.” I point to where she began. “Go back and try again.”
I grab her by the collar roughly, startling her too much to allow her to do anything but follow when I yank her toward the dresser again. I march her to the starting position and shove her to the floor. She scrambles down to her knees.
I release her. “I can get the leash if you need help,” I tell her.
She falls forward to her hands. “No,” she says but it’s more like a plea.
Leaving her there, I make my way back to the bed.
“Come, Stephania, come to me.” I pat the side of my leg.
Murder reigns in her glare for a moment, but she crawls across the floor to me. Her breasts hang delicately. Little silver bells dangling from each nipple would perfect the picture.
Another time, I promise myself.
When she reaches me, I put my hand out, grabbing hold of her hair to keep her from moving to her feet. She winces but keeps any complaints she has to herself as I pull her head back, making her look up at me.
“That’s a good girl,” I say, releasing my grip and petting her hair back into place. Her jaw sets hard, but the flicker of arousal is obvious in her eyes.
“Stand up and grab the post like I told you.” I step around her to where I need to be and wait for her to get settled.
She hugs the post to her, wrapping her arms around it like an anchor.
“Have you ever been spanked before?” I ask, maneuvering the belt in my hand until I have it looped the way I like it and the buckle is tucked safely away.
She presses her cheek to the pillar, facing away from me. “No.”
“Not even as a little girl?” I ask. My father raised us with a heavy hand. Fair, but firm. It’s what I intend to be with my pet as well. She needs this punishment; she craves it even if she doesn’t understand it yet.
“No.” She sounds irritated. “Can you please just do it.”
We can work on that later.
I move the belt to my left hand and approach her, wrapping my arm around the post and hugging her hip to my side. Casually, I rub my hand in a wide circle around her bare ass. Her ass cheeks drop into the perfect thick curve. Flat asses don’t appeal to me, but this plumpness I’m caressing makes my cock ache.
I lift my hand away and bring it down hard on her right ass cheek. I’m gifted with the sweetest bounce a man could ask for. She barely makes a sound, but I don’t want her cries yet.
Another spank to the other cheek and again her ass rebounds perfectly. Increasing the firmness of my swat, I rain down five volleys in a row, alternating targets.
A gasp. I bring my gaze up to her face to assess her reaction. Surprise at the heat maybe, but no real pain.
With a steady rhythm I alternate spanks between her cheeks until they blush red and finally, she releases a soft hiss of discomfort.
I let go of her and step back, moving the belt back to my stinging right hand.
“Is that it?” she asks breathlessly, turning to look at me.
“That’s it for the warmup, yes. And I want you understand, Stephania. I only warmed you up this time because you’ve never been punished before like this. Going forward, the only time you’ll get a warmup is when we play.”
Confusion wrinkles her brow. She doesn’t understand, but that’s fine. I’ll teach her later.
“Remember. Hold still. No trying to run off or I’ll get my binds,” I warn her, swinging the folded leather against my leg.
She clenches her eyes shut and presses her forehead to the post. Every muscle in her back and her ass tenses as she anticipates the blow.
“Relax your body, Stephania,” I order her, but she doesn’t listen to me; instead her back knots up tighter. “Relax your muscles right now or you’ll be spending the night chained to the bedpost on the floor.”
Relax my body? He’s crazy.
How am I supposed to make my body soften when I know what’s coming? I don’t need to have been spanked before to know it’s going to hurt like hell. The little bit he’s given me wasn’t so bad, but it’s going to get worse.
“Stephania.” It’s the last warning he’s going to give me.
I take a cleansing breath and force my muscles to unclench. I’m still holding onto the post like a gust of wind is coming to blow me away, but I relax my ass cheeks.
“Good.” He runs his fingertips down my spine, softening me even further beneath his gentle touch.
It’s a decoy.
A strip of fire lands across my ass. I jump up to my toes, careful not to step away.
The second lash crosses over the first and I press my lips together to keep my scream inside my mouth. It only muffles the sound.
Another and another land over both ass cheeks.
“Don’t tighten,” he orders and brings another lash down hard against the up curve of my ass.
I raise up to my toes again with each new stripe of the leather. He’s unrelenting. Electric pain fires across my ass, spreading into a broad inferno that has me dancing from foot to foot.
“I’m sorry!” I scream when the fire ignites into a white-hot blaze.
“This isn’t about your remorse,” he reminds me and brings the belt down again. “Two more, I think.” His tone is so firm, so casual he could be picking out curtains for all anyone overhearing him would know.
I haven’t finished paying the price for trying to run away. Did he really expect that I wouldn’t? Did he really think I’d just sit because he said to sit?
I blink, sending fat tears rolling down my cheeks as a new pain is laid over me.
Of course he did. Vincenzo expects obedience. And he’s not going to accept anything less than that from me.
“Last one,” he warns a mere breath before the hardest of all lashes crosses my ass.
I can’t hold back the scream this last strike has elicited. Forbidden tears fall, completely ignoring my vow to keep him from seeing my discomfort. My ass throbs; it’s probably a black and blue mess.
The belt drops onto the bed, and he’s next to me. His hard cock presses into my hip. With a feather’s touch, he’s rubbing my back.
“It’s going to hurt for a while,” he explains softly, kissing my temple. “And you might be a bit sore tomorrow.”
“Am I bleeding?” I ask, sniffling and swiping my cheeks with the backs of my hand.
He chuckles. “It wasn’t the harshest punishment I’ve ever given,” he says as though that should make me feel better.
I turn to stare at him. If he’s trying to put me at ease, he’s failing.
“No, Stephania. You’re not bleeding. I would never harm you like that.” His eyes darken as he gives his promise. “But I will spank you again if you earn it.” He cups my ass and I hiss, pressing my body forward. He won’t let me avoid his touch though and merely moves with me.
“I need ice,” I say, thinking to keep the swelling under control.
He shakes his head.
“No, pet. You aren’t allowed to take away the effects of your punishment. You are only allowed to feel it and accept it. And learn from it.” He runs a single finger along my cheek, collecting loose strands of hair and pushing them behind my ear.
I stare at him, unsure of what to make of this man before me. Men with his power could do anything to me and no one would bat an eye. I’m not stupid. Even if the police found me here, the Manetto family have enough money and pull to make them go away.
Vincenzo knows this, his arrogant grins aren’t for show. But instead of throwing me back into the basement and leaving me until I’m needed again for Roberto, he’s keeping me in his bedroom.
He’s stripped me naked and his cock is obviously ready for fun, but he’s only soothing me with a light touch along my skin. I wipe away the last tears and push off the post.
“How do you feel?” he asks, lifting my chin with his knuckle.
“It hurts,” I blurt the obvious, but keep my tone low. I don’t want to revisit his belt.
I expect him to laugh at my discomfort. It’s what he wanted, after all, right?
“No, I mean, how does it feel…” he presses his hand flat against my chest, “here.”
A familiar ache builds low in my abdomen. He’s not asking about my ass. He wants to actually know how I feel about all of this?
“I don’t know,” I try to pull away from his finger, but he grabs hold of my chin.
“Not an answer. Try again,” he says firmly but without heat.
“I feel fine,” I try.
He raises his eyebrows. Wrong answer, I guess.
“Warm,” I sigh.
“Go on,” he urges, letting go of my chin. But his fingers spread on my chest, he’s not letting me go.
“Confused? I should hate you right now,” I confess.
I roll my eyes. “But I don’t. I just feel calm.” I quickly take a step back to get his hand off my chest. It’s too hard to censor my thoughts when he’s touching me. “Which is absurd.”
“It’s absurd that you feel calm?” he clarifies.
“Yes. I mean I should be all…” I wave my hands frantically in front of me. “Rattled and angry.”
“But you’re not.” He closes the gap between us with one step. “I’m going to touch you, Stephania, and you’re not going to push my hand away. You’re going to stand here like a good pet should and let me touch your pussy.”
My mouth dries. How can I respond to such brashness? I’ve never heard anyone talk so bluntly before. He’s not trying to shock me; this is just him.
He places one hand on my shoulder, probably to keep me still, and the other hand dips between my thighs. I freeze, unable to bolt and unwilling to move away, because as soon as his fingers glide through my sex I realize the worst part of this.
I’m wet. Not just wet but soaked and wanting. When his finger trails over my clit, electric bolts jump from nerve to nerve.
He collects my juices on the tip of his middle finger and brings it between us. We both look at the glistening moisture.
With a victorious grin, he licks his finger clean.
“Time for bed, pet,” he says and drops his hand.
I look to the massive bed in the middle of the room. There’s little to no chance he’ll let me go back to the other room. I reach for the buckle on the stiff collar around my neck, but he shakes his head.
“That stays, Stephania.” He pulls my hands down.
He huffs a laugh. “Problems we both have at the moment.” He walks over to the crate he’d put me in earlier and crooks his finger. “I’ll get you a pillow and blanket so you’re more comfortable tonight.”
“You don’t expect me to stay in a cage all night?”
“This kennel is yours until you’ve earned the privilege of sleeping in my bed.” He goes to a closet and brings back a thick purple comforter and a pillow.
“I’m taking care of your brother; that doesn’t earn me the right to a bed?” I ask, annoyance back in my voice. I can’t believe the day I’ve had, or the night I’ve endured.
“That earns you the privilege of not staying in the cells downstairs. You had your own room with a comfortable bed, but you decided against it.”
“You already punished me,” I pointed out.
“Yes.” He nods, looking unconvinced. “Stephania, my pets never sleep in my bed until they’ve earned it. And so far, you haven’t.” He holds out the blanket and pillow to me.
He’s kept women as pets here, making them sleep in cages and be at his beck and call. But I’m not one of those women.
“I don’t want to be your pet, Vincenzo. I want to go home,” I say, taking the blanket. I’m not holding out any hope he’ll let me go home, but it should be clear this isn’t what I want.
“Sometimes what we want and what we need aren’t the same thing,” he says then hooks a finger at the crate. “Bedtime.”
I lower myself to the floor and crawl inside. It takes some maneuvering, but I get the blanket and pillow set up, so I have something resembling a bed. The metal door closes, and the small padlock clicks in place. I’m not free to get out even with him in the room.
He crouches down next to the crate, level with my face, and slips his fingers through the bars. “I’ll wake you in a few hours and walk you down to Roberto’s room. Sleep while you can.” His fingertip grazes the length of my nose. “And don’t forget, no touching your pretty pussy. If you’re good tonight, maybe I’ll help you with your little problem tomorrow.”
I open my mouth, sure a reproach will form as soon as I take a breath, but nothing comes out. I’m lost in the darkness of his gaze, and the sweet promise of his lips.
“Good night, pet.” He removes his fingers and disappears into the attached bathroom.
Water runs as I get as comfortable in my bedding as I can. Tomorrow will be a better day. If Roberto’s fever is down and the wounds look good, I can teach Vincenzo how to do the infusions. Patients do them at home if they don’t need round the clock medical care in the hospital. I need to make him see that I’m not needed here. Maybe then, he’ll be more reasonable.
I slip my hand between my legs. The heat from my sex calls to me. I haven’t been this aroused in a long time. If I can just take the edge off, I could probably fall asleep.
But then I remember what he promised. If he finds out—and I have no doubt he will—I could end up hugging that post again. Maybe I can follow his directions, just this once and see what he does.
Just this one time.
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