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Training Lady Townsend(7)

By:Annabel Joseph

“I like the window seat.”

“My lady.” Her voice held a note of reproach. “Your new husband will expect to find you there.”

A knock interrupted her maid’s admonishments. Clement beckoned her wildly and Aurelia skittered across the floor. She’d just managed to climb into the monstrosity of a bed when the door opened. She drew in a deep breath as Lord Townsend entered.

Her husband looked even taller and more threatening in the dim light of the flickering candles. He’d taken off his fine, bright wedding garments and put on a deep bronze dressing gown much more suited to his dark eyes and hair. His gaze moved over her, revealing nothing of his feelings. She clutched the sheets closer to her chest.

His eyes moved to Clement, standing beside her, flushed to her roots. “Leave us,” he said.

Clement gave one last motherly twitch to the sheets, dropped a curtsy, and exited as quickly as her old, sturdy bones would allow.

Even after her lady’s maid left, Lord Townsend remained still, studying her in a very unnerving way. Then he moved toward the bed, his lips turning up in a half smile. “How beautiful you look,” he said. “All golden and shiny, like a princess in a fairy tale. Let me see you.”

His words were soft, but the sentiment behind them felt hard and demeaning. She clutched the sheets closer. He put his hands over hers and peeled her fingers away.

“Let me see you,” he said again, with a bit more steel. He whisked down the sheets, kicking up a breeze of clean linen scent.

Aurelia tensed, her entire body exposed to his regard. Her filmy night rail, made for a bride, left nothing to the imagination. His eyes roved over the silken thing, and she thought to herself, he had this made for me. He chose this design. Her mother would not have ordered such a transparent, indecent garment. She looked down, horrified to see the pink tips of her nipples through the material. She lifted her hands to cover her breasts.

He sat beside her on the bed and pushed them back down again. “Don’t hide from me, Aurelia. I would see the woman I’ve married.”

He kept his hands on hers so she had no choice but to bear his scrutiny. He stared down at the outline of her too-ample breasts, then back at her face. “Are you troubled?”

“I’m a b-bit nervous,” she stammered out.

“It’s all right to be nervous.” His hands tightened on hers as she tried to pull them away.

“But...do...do we really need to? Tonight?”

His soft smile didn’t quite reach his eyes. “Yes, we really need to. The Lockridge and Lansing dynasties are at stake.”

“I mean, can we not delay just a few days, until we know one another better?”

His smile deepened. “Do you think it will change anything between us? I’m sorry, Aurelia, but I intend to have you tonight, our wedding night, as custom dictates. Resign yourself to your fate.”

He was practically laughing at her. She tried to summon outrage but found herself too nervous to manage it. His nearness terrified her. She stared at his chest, male and hard beneath his robe. She gawked at defined muscle and dark scattered hair, things she’d never known before in her sheltered existence. He leaned closer, so rough stubble whispered across her cheek.

“It’s only that you’re practically a stranger to me,” she whispered.

He dipped his head lower, released her hands and parted the gathered neckline of her shift. His lips brushed against her neck, the curve of her shoulder. “I won’t seem strange to you for long.” She shivered as he kissed lower. How soft he felt, and yet how dangerous... He nuzzled against the heaving rise of her bosom, just where the material met skin. “I knew you would look this way,” he mused, almost to himself. “I knew you would be lush like this, and soft and sweet. What a beautiful body you have, Lady Townsend.”

It was the second time he’d called her Lady Townsend, as if reminding her she had his name now. That she was his, by societal custom and law. His voice sounded hoarse and low as he murmured more love talk, compliments and endearments. Some response shuddered to life within her, some scary, elemental sort of pulse. His tongue darted out and touched the tip of her nipple through the fine fabric of her shift. She shied back but his arm came around her and held her, and then he sucked at her nipple, hot, warm pressure right through the fabric.

“My lord,” she cried. “What are you doing?”

He didn’t answer, only turned his head to lick her other nipple. He sucked it through the material, hard, strong pulls, shocking her. Her face burned. Her body burned too.

“No, please.” She shoved at him, trying to twist away.

He caught her hands and she found herself pushed back upon the pillows. “No, Aurelia? You’re my wife now. There are certain duties you’ll be obliged to perform.”

“But I don’t want this.”

“I’m sorry to hear it. However, my will is law in this house, in this marriage, and in this bed.” His face was so close to hers, their noses practically touched. “I won’t be a beast. I won’t demand unnatural acts. I won’t demean or degrade you, but I will require that you make your delectable body available to me. And it is delectable.”

His robe had parted wider when he came over her. She lay trapped under his heavy, muscled body, her heart pounding.

“Do you know why it’s delectable?” he asked.

She shook her head, eyes fixed on his chest. He loosened her shift, drawing the neckline down until her breasts were exposed, framed by the material. The gathered neckline caused them to be lifted and drawn forward, as if offered on display. He ran fingertips over the puckered, sensitive peaks of her nipples, setting them tingling in the most singular way. His slow caresses made the pulse quicken between her legs. A hot wave spread up into her belly. “These breasts are made to be fondled,” he said, squeezing them. “They’re the perfect size and shape.”

“Please, don’t,” she whimpered.

He left her breasts and sat back, and pushed the shift downward until it tore with a harsh sound. “Oh,” she cried as he ripped it nearly to the hem. The elegant thing had been new, and undoubtedly high in cost.

His hands traced down her naked belly to the curve of her hips. “You’re magnificent,” he said in that same hoarse voice. “Your hips, your bottom. This body is mine now, all of it. Do you understand?”

She shook her head as forcefully as she dared while pinned by his intense regard. “It’s not yours. It’s mine.”

When his fingers grasped her derrière, she shot up and tried to evade him again. He caught her over his arm with a soft chuckle. “If you knew how much I wanted you, you wouldn’t bother trying to get away.”

She turned, struggling to escape him. His teeth flashed white in a grim smile as he caught her arms and forced her face-down over his lap. The ripped edges of her shift parted, so she felt the silk of his dressing robe, and his warm, hard thighs beneath her. He caught her wrists and placed his other hand firmly on her back, so no matter how she kicked and flailed, she couldn’t right herself.

“Really, Aurelia,” he said with a tsk. “Is this proper wifely behavior? I’ve done nothing to hurt you.”

“You ripped my clothing,” she said. She wished he would let her up. She felt terribly vulnerable in this position. “You’re frightening me. You’re molesting me, and putting your lips on my—my breasts.”

“Molesting you? I was caressing you, lovely girl. Trying to make you feel good.” His fingers tightened around her wrists. “I had hoped it wouldn’t come to this, tonight of all nights.”

“Come to what?” she asked in a high, thin voice. “Let go of me!”

But he didn’t let go. He yanked her shift up and out of the way and raised his arm behind her. His hand landed in a crack of fire across her bottom cheeks.

She was too shocked at first to react. Her husband had spanked her. Hard. Before she could draw breath to protest he spanked her again, and again, sharp, smarting strokes. “No,” she shrieked when she finally caught her breath. “Stop! Stop it!”

“I’ll stop when I believe you’ve been adequately punished for resisting me,” he said in a taut voice. “Your body is mine to caress if I wish it. As I said earlier, my will is law.”

His will? What about her rights as a wife, and as a person? Aurelia clung to his legs, the bed sheets, anywhere she could gain purchase, but no matter how she fought him, he overpowered her and bent her back over his lap. She slid on the fabric of his robe, her shift so disarranged that her breasts were exposed along with her smoldering bottom. Each crack of his hand felt like fire.

“Stop. Stop,” she begged, kicking her legs out. “Please stop.”

“I’m not sure you’ve learned your lesson yet.”

“Help,” she screamed, thinking perhaps a footman or maid might come to her rescue. “Lord Townsend is beating me. Please! Please help!”

If anything, the blows rained harder and hotter. “No one is going to rescue you, my dear,” he said between spanks. “My will is law for them too. Scream all you like. It won’t do any good.”

She cried instead, hating him for holding her down across his lap, hating his will and his horrible, punishing hand. She cried great, gusty tears of entreaty that didn’t seem to affect him in the least.