“The Contract of Seven Days’ Service is now open.”
When Lady Sophia Parsons reads the notice in the window of the haberdashery at Devon’s Mill, she has no choice other than to answer the summons. She is expected. Indeed, Lord Albion Rayment will have no other, for Sophia’s family is deeply in his debt, and he has loved her from afar for years. But Lord Albion is no longer merely the suitor her father turned away. He is Master, and she is only Patience. Before the week is over, the once and future lady of Scrivenshire will learn to be his maid-of-all-things, and much, much more.
In a world that prohibits women any say in their destinies, “Patience” must find courage and independence for the first time in her life—while Albion, if he has his way, will tear down the twisted traditions of his fathers and earn Sophia’s love.
Be Warned: BDSM, spanking, public exhibition, anal sex, m/m and f/f scenes, flogging, paddling
“Have you never been punished this way before?” he asked. “Your mother, perhaps? A schoolmaster or mistress? Answer without speaking.”
I shook my head, sniffling.
He walked around to my left flank, the riding crop in hand. To my further humiliation, without Lord Sculsbury impeding my sight, I could now see myself in the wall mirror. My face was livid pink, the blush extending over my shoulders. I looked down to where the contract had been. I saw only the table, nothing more.
“Keep your head up and your eyes open,” he said, tapping the crop over the wood next to my splayed fingers. “I want you to see the effect this experience is having on you. I want you to remember it, Patience.”
I obeyed. I watched myself, hair down in twin curtains at either side of my face, tremble before him.
“I would never do this without reason,” he said, running the flat leather slap pad of the crop down my spine, taking his time, starting at the back of my exposed neck, tracing the raised flesh at the center of my back in a slow line. “You have called upon the house of a gentleman without an escort. More than once, you have spoken out of turn. Do you agree that these charges are both accurate and fair?”
I nodded, miserable and afraid.
“Tap the table with your fingers for yes. Rap with your knuckles for no.”
I tapped once, using all four fingers. My back muscles clenched, a quick spasm under the caress of the crop. I whimpered.
“Have you any defense? If so, I shall allow you to make your case.”
I had none. I rapped the table. I was guilty.
“You’ll note that I, myself, have not touched you—only the crop touches you.”
He passed it under me, stroking my belly with it, causing me to draw in breath deep.
You never use it on your horses, I thought, desperate with dread. Why must you use it on me? I’ll do whatever you say. Let me repeat the promise. Please, allow me to appeal to your better nature. I’ll be good.
But I tapped the oakwood with my fingers, acknowledging his adherence to his own rules—and, in the mirror, saw my mouth open in a thoroughly horrified O as he brushed the thing under my breasts, then passed it over my erect nipples.
“Your father has never had the strength to properly correct you, dearest Patience. But I do. And you have the strength to bear it.”