“Miss Buckingham lied to me about her whereabouts this afternoon. Seems she’s forgetting her place in this household. I’d like her strapped.”
Hunter nodded. “Bare-assed?” his only question.
“Please. This seems so … so hasty,” Penny pleaded for mercy.
Robert turned his gaze to the offending woman. “Hasty? No. You have a good deal to be ashamed of and this afternoon is only a beginning. Am I right?”
She stared at her accuser with eyes widening.
“You think I don’t know about the other trips? You think there’s anything that I’m not aware of on this island?” He looked at her accusingly. “That I don’t know everything about what transpires here? That you’ve met a man in the village, been attended by a doctor, been seen smoking in the town pub and lied to me twice about your whereabouts concerning these events?”
Penny was stunned by the volley of unexpected shots.
“Do you think I’m so utterly stupid that you could pull all this in front of me without my noticing?” His eyes narrowed contemptibly, shooting venom. “I feel like we’re moving backwards here. It seems nothing about your past crimes has made any impression on you. Your word means nothing to me the way you’ve violated my trust. Is it your intention to continue living with our arrangement?”
“Oh, my yes!” she gasped anxiously as though he just asked if she still planned to live at all. “I do apologize, Robert. I …”
“Apologies don’t hack it with behavior like this and you know it. I think by now you’d be smart enough not to bother with something so weak as a few plaintively spoken words. Do you have any explanation worthy of all this?”
Penny looked as though she was fishing her mind for something to say, words on the tip of her tongue, but nothing came out, and then she seemed to swallow them out of fear and gave up.
“No, I don’t.”
Gabrielle was mesmerized by the bizarre battle, if you could call it that. Certainly it was a strain on her mind enough to call it a verbal sparring of wills—though there was no doubt who’d be the victor. Robert assumed the role as inquisitor and judge, and Penny was perfectly willing to let her crimes go undefended, even though Gabrielle suspected there might be some reasonable excuse for her behavior. Not that she felt there was anything wrong in what the woman had done. But obviously everyone else had a different conclusion, including the odd miscreant, Penny Buckingham.
“Bare her ass and lay on forty,” Robert declared as Penny whimpered hearing the number. “The buffet should suffice, she’s been there before.” Though seeing her hesitate, he added, “there are other choices, Miss Buckingham.”
“No, no, there are not!” she replied, marching toward the hefty mahogany sideboard.
Robert turned in his chair to watch as the young woman bent forward over the broad wood surface. Leaning in, she found two rings above her on the wall, low enough to reach, high enough to assure that her body would be stretched tautly in an uncomfortable, but thoroughly appropriate pose for punishing her ass.
Approaching her from behind, Hunter lifted the hem of her rose cambric dress and drawing it over her bottom, tucked the fabric under her waist conveniently out of the way. It would provide a decent cushion for her stomach against the lashing to follow.
A bolt of electrified energy shot through Gabrielle’s entire system, curiously settling in her groin. Again, reminded of her night with Sasha and the wooden spoon there was an involuntary shriek within. In any other circumstances she might have fled the room. But she was immobile and as enmeshed in the theatre as everyone else. She couldn’t have budged from her seat if she’d tried.
As Hunter backed away, Gabrielle noted Penny’s curious underwear: a smooth white satin corset, no doubt responsible for the woman’s flawlessly slender figure, a pair of white stockings with a dainty trim of lace at the top, and covering her bottom, a pair of thin silk panties. Penny trembled with fear as Hunter reached for the elastic waistband of the silk and carefully drew the panties over her hips and down her thighs until he stopped when they were almost at her knees. Gabrielle gasped aloud though so softly no one seemed to hear. The whiteness of Penny’s bare flesh appeared as pristine as the driven snow, and yet, there was a sumptuous allure, something robust and carnal about their lovely appearance. Gabrielle churned against the seat of her chair uncomfortably, glad that Dante’s eyes were clearly focused on the sight before him and not on her.
While time seemed to move in slow motion, Hunter moved quickly from that moment on. Falling back, he took the lash in hand and unfurled the piece, while Gabrielle shrieked again thinking that he’d need to apply it from some considerable distance to have the six foot length fully extended to the end. But instead, the man doubled the leather, holding both ends in his hand so there was just three feet of length from end to end. Then, adjusting his stance so he was the appropriate distance, he drew back his arm, and brought it forward, letting the broad end snap against Penny’s nervously clenched cheeks.
She jerked, and jerked again with each of the blows that struck her ass. Without comment from either man, the lashing proceeded, as Gabrielle mentally counted the number, ten, eleven, twelve. Penny’s bottom was turning pink. Seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, the pink turned bright and the humbled woman whimpered softly as she clung to the rings and cringed in anticipation of each strike. Her bottom, no doubt burning hot, swayed lightly, but not too much. Something about the ritual of this punishment suggested that wouldn’t be allowed—nor would a spirited protest on her part. Twenty-six, twenty-seven, twenty-eight, the color deepened with each stroke of the lash, as did the nature of Penny’s response. Still, she was amazingly reserved for the amount of hot pain that must have been torture to bear. Thirty-three, thirty-four, thirty-five, these seemed even more harshly delivered, and with the last of them Hunter paused when Penny shrieked loudly. The lash hit squarely on her thighs, a fat red welt appearing there seconds later. The pause brief, he returned to the steamy center of her ass cheeks. Though the break was long enough for the woman to recoup some poise, it only seemed to amplify the odd eroticism of the lashing. There was little doubt that Penny’s ass swayed with a need beyond the punishment, though as the last of the forty were handily applied in a rapid fire of stinging smacks, the woman forgot any pleasure at all, reduced to plaintive cries that accompanied each one.
Ended, Hunter moved tight against Penny Buckingham’s backside. “We’ll finish this in my bed tonight,” he whispered so only Penny heard.