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This compendium of previously published stand- alone novelettes includes the following stories:
The Ladies of Heatherton Hall
Joshua Fairchild is a struggling American student until he discovers he is heir to an estate on an obscure English island. Oakton Island is both remote and unusual. Old traditions hold sway there, and as Josh finds out, he has duties as the Earl of Carlisle that he would have never dreamed existed, including the discipline of his own household. Soon Josh and the estate’s lovely Lady Gwyneth have eyes for each other, but when the task of administering discipline comes to include Lady Gwyneth, the pair of lovers have an agonizing decision to make.
The Countess and the Magician
It is the spring of 1944 and in occupied France the English agent, code name LaFleur, plots to extract information from the German high command, information that may be vital to the success of the invasion. In reality, Lafleur is the Countess Angelique Dubois, purveyor of entertainment of a carnal nature and madam to a high class clientele enamored of the disciplinary arts. But to carry off the mission, the Countess needs The Magician, a mysterious American agent and his assistant Caroline Grey, a pretty English data analyst who must act the parts of dominant and submissive.
Brenda Starling, ace reporter for a Portland, Oregon newspaper, is on to a story, one that involves sinister abductions of young pretty females coupled with painful and humiliating judicial type punishments. Who is doing this and why? Brenda is determined to find out, heedless of the risk to her personal safety. This does not sit well with her photographer boyfriend who will not hesitate to discipline his headstrong girlfriend when the need arises. And as Brenda's investigation brings her closer to the truth, she discovers that the hunter may have become the hunted.
Fall’s Creek Women’s Prison
Connie Bright is a rookie police officer with a mission – to enter the notorious women's correctional facility at Fall’s Creek undercover, as an inmate, and discover the criminal enterprise being run on the inside. But it is 1955 and corporal punishment for inmates is very much the norm at Falls Creek as Connie soon learns. As the true nature of the crime inside the walls becomes clearer, Connie is faced with a question--who is in on it, and worse, who can she trust to get her out?
Tumalo Bend 1895
Hank Carson, a prosperous rancher has decided that at their age his nearly adult daughters need a tutor and governess. Enter Diana Fitzhugh, an
English émigré with a desire to see the West. But she finds that as tutor to the Carson girls she has her hands full. A suffragette rally that becomes a riot lands her and the girls in trouble, and on top of that she finds herself falling for the tough old rancher. But can a lady used to the comforts of civilization be happy on a ranch in the rugged West? And what about Hank’s notions of appropriate domestic discipline? For in the Oregon high desert of the 1890's, what goes for the girls applies equally, if not more, to a wife.
The land of Thracia is under siege. Viking raiders have taken advantage of its weakness while its men are off to war. So in stark disobedience to her father’s orders, Lady Jayne and her cousin, Lady Celia, decide to act as scouts to discover the threat posed by the raiders. They are ambushed, but a pair of knights intervenes, brothers, Garth and Rance Devane, on their way to see Jayne’s father, Robert DeCorday, Baron of Thracia. The brothers have been sent by King Alfred to spy on the activities of the Vikings and report back. But in the meantime, it seems they must deal with two headstrong ladies who are not only in need of constant rescue, but require appropriate chastisement as well. Wills clash and sparks fly as the Devane brothers set about to tame both the Viking horde and the Thracian ladies.
The Ladies of Heatherton Hall
The Earl of Carlisle entered the police station, and immediately all heads turned and conversation ceased. It was unusual that the earl would present himself at the police station in person, but it was not unprecedented.
“Well, where is she?” he asked. “Jenny Mears, one of my staff—where is she?”
“Beggin’ your pardon, lordship, but they’ve already taken her to the birching chamber,” said the duty sergeant, breaking the silence. They all knew she was in service at Heatherton Hall. “There’s a few of them due for a flogging this morning and she’s one of them.”
The butler had informed the earl that morning that Jenny Mears, his wife’s personal maid, had been accused of shoplifting. The shop owner had appeared before the magistrate to lodge a complaint and Jenny had been arrested. At an all too brief hearing Jenny had pled guilty to pilfering a locket. The magistrate had sentenced her to twelve strokes with the island birch rod. Once this information had been conveyed to the earl, at the urging of his wife, he had called for his carriage and had hurried to the village.
“You must do something,” said the countess. “Jenny is such a sweet girl and I love her like a daughter.” Indeed, the earl understood. With all due haste he sped to the police station. He hoped he was not too late.
“Take me to her,” said the earl.
The duty sergeant nodded to a constable who escorted the earl down a corridor and across a courtyard to little used wing of the jail. The birching room was a large converted storeroom. What sunlight there was streamed though tall windows, illuminating a peculiar piece of apparatus that stood at its center. The flogging frame was a sturdy structure made from heavy timbers that sported an upright section joined to an angled section. The prisoner lay across the top of the upright section and her upper torso was secured to the angled portion, forcing her to bend forward and present her buttocks for the whipping. And it was already in use. A lissome female miscreant was bent over, her bared bottom on display. Her skirts had been pinned up, her long drawers lowered. A beefy wardress was in the process of selecting a birch rod from a bucket in a corner. The earl’s eyes flitted about the room. The female was not Jenny, for Jenny stood against a far wall with two other young women, flanked by guards. Her eyes were wide with fright and her breasts were heaving. Several witnesses were in attendance, probably victims who had made the complaints and were thus entitled to see justice meted out.
The earl regarded her with narrowed eyes, a look of disapproval on his face. Then he saw that activity in the room had ceased, as if awaiting a signal from him.
“Please proceed,” he said. It will do her good to witness what is about to happen, he decided.
The wardress selected a rod. Comprised of a dozen whippy switches, it was nearly three feet long and bound at one end with twine. She swished it about, testing its flexibility. The whining sound made the secured prisoner flinch and she turned her head, staring at the instrument, her eyes wide with fear. The wardress took her position to the side of the prisoner and extended her arm, gauging the distance, aligning the rod for a first stroke.
The chamber went deathly quiet. The wardress drew her arm back. The rod hung suspended in mid air for a second and then descended in a blur of motion. A sharp thwick announced the rod’s impact on the girl’s fulsome buttocks. Her bottom cheeks quivered and she uttered a shrill scream. A second stroke caused her to scream louder. A fine tracery of red lines appeared on the white flesh. The girl stamped her feet and tried to wriggle.
“Please, oh please!” she begged. But another stroke fell on her twitching behind causing her to cry out again in anguish.
The flogging proceeded. The earl watched Jenny’s reaction. She quailed in fear, wincing sympathetically as the young woman in the whipping frame absorbed stroke after stroke. The young girl’s buttocks clenched and relaxed as if trying to shake off the excruciating sting, but the wardress always seemed to catch those jiggling orbs in a relaxed state, making them ripple as the rod landed. From time to time Jenny’s eyes darted about, eventually coming to rest on the earl’s face and then begging, imploring the earl for mercy. For she knew she was next.
When the prescribed twelve strokes had been meted out, they unfastened the sobbing girl and returned her to a place against the wall to wait with the others.
A constable read from a paper in his hand. “Jenny Mears, bring her forward.” A pair of strong arms clutched her from either side and started to propel her toward the frame.
“Stop,” said the earl raising his hand. “I invoke the tradition of Oakton Island. I will attend to the chastisement of the girl myself. I wish her released to my custody.”
The Tradition, as it was called, had held sway on Oakton Island as far back as anyone could remember. The Wardress nodded to the guards. “Release her,” she said.
“Jenny, come with me,” said the earl, offering his hand. He escorted her out of the police station.
“Thank you, oh, thank you, sir,” said the frightened girl when they were safely away in the carriage.
The earl looked her in the eye. “Don’t thank me yet, Jenny. There is still the matter of your punishment which I am duty bound to carry out. When we arrive at the Hall you are to go into the garden and cut six supple switches twenty inches long. Strip them of shoots and buds and inform the butler when you have done so. You may then go and wait for me in the library. You have been spared a public flogging, but mark my words, you will be punished severely and afterwards you will go into the village and apologize to the shop owner.”
As Jenny nodded in assent, she could only imagine that she would have difficulty sitting for several days. Spared a public whipping for a private one. She supposed it was preferable, but it wasn’t for her to say. On Oakton island tradition ruled above all else, and everyone did their duty.
Josh put down the hammer and wiped his brow. It had been a long day and they were barely done with the framing. And he had classes to go to tonight. Better brew some coffee if I’m going to stay awake in Professor Hoskin’s strength of materials class, he thought. It was tough, trying to hold down a full time construction job and going to college at night. Being in a five year program in civil engineering and having little money, working by day was the only way to make ends meet. He was broke all the time as it was, living expenses sucking every last dime he had. It was why he lived in a crummy apartment, ate crummy food and never dated anyone. So someday I’ll be rich. Yeah, right. But he knew construction. From the foundation to the roof. At least knowing a trade was something.
It was a good thing that the semester was coming to a close, and he could work a full eight hours without worrying about falling asleep flat on his face in the middle of a lecture. Being an Army ranger had taught him how to stay awake, but that stint had certainly set his education back. That is why at thirty one he was still trying to get that degree. The GI bill helped, but he still had to support himself.
The name on the letterhead was one he’d never seen before. He wrested the mail from his box and climbed the rickety stairs to his ‘deluxe apartment,’ a 500 square foot efficiency in a crumbling brownstone. The name on the envelope read ‘Bowland, James and Carruthers, Solicitors’ and it was from an address in London, England. What the hell? He didn’t know anybody in London fricking England. He tore it open and read.
Dear Mr. Fairchild,
This is to inform you that Cranston Heatherton, your fourth cousin twice removed has passed away. According to the original deed of transfer of Heatherton Hall in fee tail from James Carlisle to Albert Heatherton in 1836, the estate and all its lands reverts to the heirs of James Carlisle in the event that the heir of Albert Heatherton die without issue. That event, sadly, has transpired. Sir Cranston Heatherton died without leaving a male heir, thus triggering the reversionary interest. While this may seem odd, it is still the law on Oakton Island, the ancestral home of Heatherton Hall. Our research into this matter has finally determined that you, Joshua T Fairchild, are the last living descendant of James Carlisle. Accordingly Heatherton Hall, its lands and its rents, now belongs to you.
We urge you to get in touch with us immediately as there are many details which require your attention.
It was signed “Charles Bowland, Solicitor.”
Josh scratched his head. This had to be a joke.
But later, as a few phone calls established, it was not. He had really inherited some country manor on an obscure island off the southern coast of England. The meeting in London with Charles Bowland confirmed it. And that is why he was now on a ferry making its once-a-day trip to Oakton Island --- and Heatherton Hall. Bowland’s knowledge had been sketchy. He had little information about the status of the estate, other than ownership which he had followed dutifully on behalf of his original clients, the Carlisles.
“One thing I do know, of course, is that Cranston Heatherton died without a male heir. He had an only child, a daughter. I understand she lives at Heatherton Hall along with Cranston’s mother. I don’t know what you intend to do. You are, in fact, the owner as the reversionary heir. There is also a staff that takes care of the manor. I will tell you that Oakton Island and its inhabitants are a bit odd. They stick to tradition. It is as if the modern world has passed them by.”
Josh took it all with a grain of salt. He was really just curious and anxious to see what he had. It was all so unbelievable--- some accident of ancestry and he inherits
an estate. He figured he’d just look it over, sell it, and that would be that.
The name of the village was, appropriately, Carlisle. Heatherton Hall, he was told, was three miles to the south on a ten thousand acre tract. Thirty thousand people lived on Oakton Island, and most were either farmers, shepherds or fishermen. Oakton Island was not without its attractions, however, and one was the natural beauty of its shoreline. But with such natural beauty came modern problems, and chief among them was real estate development.
“The old timers don’t like these developers,” said a fellow traveler on the ferry, a salesman who made frequent trips to the island to sell dry goods. “The young people don’t either. They’ve been protesting. It’s all about the birds and the animals and such--- they want to protect the shoreline. Some of it gets out of hand. There are arrests.” Then he chuckled. “So some of these kids leave the police station with a hot bottom.”
“What do you mean?” said Josh.
“You don’t know, do you?”
Josh shook his head.
“Oakton Island still has the birch as a punishment for certain crimes, just like the Isle of Man. But the Isle of Man abolished it in the 1970s. Not Oakton Island. No, sir, these kids still get their bums swished.”
Josh took that in with some amazement. And he grew more amazed as the procedure was described to him.
“They make up a bundle o’ real whippy switches, see? Then they got a frame and they strap ‘em down real tidy. Their trousers come down or their skirts go up, and then it’s a good dozen or so with that whippy rod, right on the bare breech.”
“What?” said Josh. “Girls, too?”
“Girls too,” the salesman nodded. “They got ‘em this matron. A stout one, she is. I’ve heard she’s worse on the girls than on the lads.”
Well, if that doesn’t beat all, he thought. This place is different.
Josh had not announced his coming. He thought it best to arrive first, get the lay of the land, and then ease into it. The current residents had to be apprehensive about the turn of events and, honestly, Josh wasn’t sure what he was going to do. So he checked into a local bed and breakfast. After a late lunch, he decided to take a walk.
And walked right into a protest. A crowd of youths with signs were shouting and chanting in front of a newer building, all glass and chrome. The sign on the building’s front said “Seddon and Company.” Josh assumed that this was the developer.
A man came out and waved at the collection of twenty or so young people, telling them to disperse. They merely shouted back. Voices became more heated. Objects were thrown. Not a minute later a police car showed up, then a paddy wagon. Three or four constables began to chase down the protestors. Everyone scattered. Another squad car arrived from a different direction and officers poured out. Josh heard a voice coming from behind him.
“Here, take my arm -- like we’re out for a stroll.”
Startled, Josh looked at who was speaking to him. It was a young woman with curly shoulder length blonde hair who had appeared at his side. She looked to be in her mid to late twenties. And pretty. Very pretty. The blonde inserted her arm in his and tugged him away from the melee.
“Damn coppers! They brought in reinforcements. C’mon. This way,” she said, tugging him down an alley. Amused, Josh went along, looking over his shoulder for the pursuit. The girl glanced around apprehensively, then pulled him into a corner.
“What do you need me for?” He was amused but nonplussed. He had to laugh. Here he was, newly arrived and being pulled along by this attractive woman who was apparently one of the protesters.
“Cover,” she said. Then she gasped as two police entered the alley. “Quick! Kiss me,” she said, grabbing Josh and planting a big smack on his lips. She reached around and pulled him close. “Do it like you mean it!” she whispered and renewed what seemed to Josh like a pretty passionate smooch.
He responded to the feel of her body pressed against his and embraced her. It was a nice feeling. So nice that he enthusiastically reciprocated on the kiss too, and she tensed up, now surprised that he responded with such fervor. They were locked in a clinch when one of police shouted.
“What are you two doing there? Were you with those demonstrators?”
Josh looked up and turned toward the officers, gallantly shielding her with his body. He drew himself up and stated as indignantly as he could, “Certainly not. We were out walking, just looking for a quiet place to … ”
The officers laughed. “We know what you two were about. Go find a room then.” They turned and left. Josh breathed a sigh of relief and said, “Well, miss they’re gone. I guess I ….” He turned to find no one there. His mystery girlfriend had run out the other end of the alley. Josh furrowed his brow, confused. What the hell was that all about?
Eventually he found his way to Heatherton Hall. The place was huge. It was all stone and probably covered over fifty thousand square feet distributed over three stories. The house stood in a picture postcard setting with a view of the ocean and was surrounded by lush green hills. The grounds were manicured and gorgeous. This place was worth what? Millions? He was stunned.
Josh decided that the direct approach was the best. He strode up and knocked on the door. It was opened by an older gentleman in formal wear. He looked Josh up and down with apparent disdain.
“The tradesman’s entrance is in the rear.”
“Uh, I’m not selling anything. You see, I’m Josh Fairchild. They tell me that I, well, sort of inherited this place.”
The man raised his eyebrows. From inside came a voice. “Griggs, please invite the gentleman in.” An older woman, perhaps in her seventies, appeared in the foyer inside the door. The man addressed as Griggs ushered Josh inside, where the woman gave him a long look, sizing him up.
“We have been expecting you, Mr. Fairchild. Although I must say we did not know quite what to expect. Is it typical of Americans to barge in unannounced?”
Josh realized that this had been a dumb idea. “I’m sorry. Maybe I should come back at a better time. I just wanted to see the estate. I had no idea….” He turned to leave.
“No, no. Come along,” said the woman, motioning for him to follow. “You are just in time for tea.” She turned. “Where is your luggage?”
When he explained that his luggage was at the B&B in Carlisle, she said she’d send a man to fetch everything. “You should stay here, Mr. Fairchild. After all, you are the heir and thus the Earl of Carlisle.”
This was another revelation. He was an Earl? What was that?
He was shown the way into the parlor and a silver tea service was brought in by Griggs. The woman introduced herself. She was the Dowager Countess Lydia Heatherton, the mother of the late Cranston Heatherton who was, in turn, the father of Lady Gwyneth.
“Lady who?” asked Josh.
“My granddaughter. A feisty handful, if you must know. Oh, here she is, late as usual.”
At the sound of footsteps Josh turned toward the door. What greeted his eyes was a lovely young woman about his age with curly blonde hair wearing a long dress that did little to hide the delectable figure underneath.
“You!” she exclaimed.
“You!” said Josh. It was the girl from his morning adventure, the one he’d kissed.
“Have you two met?” asked the countess.
“Um, sort of, Granny. After a fashion.” She shot Josh a look that said ‘don’t you dare tell.’
Lydia Heatherton raised her eyebrows at that, but did not pursue it. Instead she proceeded to explain about the estate, its lands and its employees and the tragedy of Cranston’s death. Then she said, “Now tell us who you are, young man.”
Josh told them about his youth in the American Midwest, which was rather ordinary, his military service and his struggle to pay his way to earn a degree in civil engineering. He told them he’d had no knowledge of his lineage or that he was related to anyone in England, adding that the inheritance had been a total shock. All the while, he felt the countess sizing him up and Lady Gwyneth eyeing him curiously as if he were some strange breed of animal she’d never encountered.
“Well, young man, I hope you’ll do. These are troubling times for Heatherton Hall what with all these real estate people. And my granddaughter is not helping,” she said directing a withering look at Gwyneth, “by throwing in with these ruffian protesters from the mainland.”
The look told Josh she wholeheartedly disapproved of those tactics. Little did she know. Then she announced that tea was at an end. Dinner would be at eight. Josh was to dress accordingly. Perhaps Cranston’s clothes would fit, she suggested.
So at precisely eight o’clock a formal dinner was served by an assortment of what Josh was told were footmen. After that there was brandy in the study and more conversation about Heatherton Hall and Oakton Island.
“You can appreciate that it was quite a shock to learn that an American was the heir of James Carlisle,” said the countess.
“You can appreciate that I was as shocked as you were,” said Josh. At that point all retired for the evening. The new earl’s head was still swirling as he was shown to his room, a one thousand square foot suite with a monstrous four poster bed.
When he awoke the next morning sun streamed in and birds were chirping. Josh beheld the beauty of the grounds and surrounding hills through the immense floor-to-ceiling window that dominated one wall. Wow! All I can say is, wow! he thought. He decided to stay at least a while and figure out what to do next.
The next few days were an education, mostly at the hands of Gwyneth, who was friendly but guarded, and Lydia who instructed him on island culture and the history of the Heathertons and Carlisles. Josh was beginning to feel more at ease, and less like a stranger.
One morning Gwyneth took him on an extended tour of the estate. They walked through a pasture and up a ridge that provided a commanding view of the countryside.
“It’s beautiful here,” said Josh, as he surveyed the surroundings.
“Yes, it is a special place to us. Not only because of its beauty but because of the people. We support generations of farmers and shepherds who live on the land and work it. It’s a business, the largest one on Oakton Island.”
“You’re afraid it all goes away with these developers moving in.”
“Yes. And what about you?” Her mood shifted to angry. “You’re probably going to sell out to them too. Just a money grubbing American.”
“Wait a minute,” Josh said, catching her arm. “You don’t know anything about me.” He’d been thinking about the very thing she mentioned, what he would do with his inheritance. What he couldn’t get past was that kiss, and the way her body had molded to his. She was a fireball, that was for sure, but that passion just seemed to make her all the more attractive.
What he didn’t realize was that Gwyneth was having feelings too. Josh was a good looking guy. And the way he had quickly sized up her situation at the protest and had deflected the cops---not to mention that kiss and the feel of his muscular body pressed to hers. Beside that, dare she hope that as master of Heatherton Hall he would help them? Could he assume the necessary role and thwart the forces assembling to change Oakton Island and their way of life?To do that, Gwyneth decided, he was going to have to understand what being the earl might mean.
Dinner was served each evening promptly at eight. It was a formal affair that Josh was getting somewhat used to. But each day brought new revelations with which he was trying to cope. It was after dinner a night or two later that the next surprise was revealed.
“I hate to inform you, madam,” said Griggs the butler, addressing Mrs. Heatherton, “but two maids are on report.” Both Gwyneth and Lady Heatherton looked nonplussed at this news.
“Oh, dear,” said Lydia Heatherton. “What shall we do?”
“Daddy always handled maids on report,” whispered Gwyneth.
“What do you mean, ‘on report’?” This sounded ominous.
“I’ll tell you later,” she said. “What happened, Griggs?”
“Jane and Millie were roughhousing in the gallery instead of doing their duties. A disagreement of some sort. They broke your late mother’s blue flowered vase, I’m sorry to say. A complete dereliction of duty and conduct most unbecoming,” said the butler solemnly. Then he produced the broken pieces of the blue vase.
“What shall we do?” said Mrs. Heatherton again. “Cranston always handled these things. No one has been on report since he died.”
“What the hell is ‘on report?’” whispered Josh.
Gwyneth put her napkin down. “I suppose I shall have to tend to it, Granny. We cannot expect our American cousin to just jump in--- even though as the earl and lord of Heatherton Hall, it is his job.”
“Will someone tell me what is going on?” Josh felt like he was the only one in the room not in on the secret.
“Tell Mrs. Finch to prepare a rod--- no, make that two. And tell the girls to report to the library in half an hour.”
“At once, Lady Gwyneth,” said Griggs, who then turned and left. “Come with me,” she said to Josh.
When they were all in the library she shut the door. “Our staff,” she said, “are like family. Generations have been in service here at Heatherton Hall. No one ever gets fired. But as in all families there are behavior lapses and discipline problems. This is apparently the end result of a long standing feud between Jane and Millie. They have been warned about this before. Now it has resulted in damage. Griggs was right to put them on report.”
“So what happens now?”
“What happens now is that they will both receive a flogging.”
Josh let this sink in. “A flogging? Are you kidding?” This was 2013, not 1913.
“I know our ways may seem odd to you, but it is part of the compact that has served all of us for generations. Perhaps you have heard that the birch is in use for certain offenses here on the island, so it is part of our culture. Only …”
“Daddy did this. Always. Ever since I can remember. As the lord of Heatherton Hall, it was his duty. He was the ultimate authority.”
“And therefore the new earl should do it, newcomer or not,” said Lydia Heatherton.
“Granny!” said Gwyneth. “You can’t expect him to…”
“Why not?” shot back Lady Heatherton. “He’s the earl now. It’s his job, like it or not.”
Josh’s head was swimming. This was happening all too fast. “Now wait a minute. I can’t come in here and just start … what? Flogging maids?”
Then Gwyneth, seeing his obvious discomfort, smiled a wicked smile. “Oh, yes, you can. And you must. Tradition must be preserved,” she intoned.
“But how do you do this?” Josh was still in a state of disbelief.
“Easy,” said Gwyneth. “I was tennis champion in my class and a prefect at my boarding school in Scotland. I think I know what to do,” she said with confidence.
“I’ll show you.”
Then Mrs. Finch, who seemed to be some sort of head downstairs maid, arrived. She carried a pair of sheaves bound at one end with twine. Gwyneth picked up a rod and swished it about. It was made up of a bundle of thin switches about three feet long and very swishy. “The lady bends over the back of a chair. You take the rod and line it up on her derriere, like so.” Gwyneth took one of the rods and stood so that the end was centered on the chair back. “Then you pull back and using arm and elbow whip it down right on the crowns of her bottom. Don’t forget a little flick of the wrist at the end,” she said with a smile. “You’ve played tennis before, haven’t you?”
Josh nodded dumbly.
“Good,” she said. “Just like that. Give it your best forehand.” She handed the rod to Josh who took it and stared at it like an alien thing.
Griggs entered with the girls, both of whom were pale and nervous. They wore black uniforms with white trim, dresses that came to mid calf. Jane was a tall slender brunette, Millie a petite but voluptuous redhead.
“You know why you are here,” said Griggs to the girls. “You should be ashamed of yourselves. Fighting in the gallery when you should have been about your work. Shameful.”
“What was this about, Jane?” asked Gwyneth.
“It’s about my boyfriend,” Jane began.
“Your boyfriend?” snorted Millie, interrupting. “He’s with me now. I’ll sort you out.”
Gwyneth held her hands up. “All right, all right. I get the gist of it. But you are going to have to sort out your disagreements without resorting to fisticuffs.” She looked pointedly at each. “I’m sorry but Griggs was right to put you on report. And you know what that means.”
“Oh no, Lady Gwyneth, please. We’ll not fight in future,” pleaded Jane.
“Yes, please,” said Millie, suddenly sober and eyeing the rods nervously.
Gwyneth shook her head. “No. This is not the first time. I’m afraid it’s six for each of you.” She inclined her head toward Josh. “Ladies, this is the new master of Heatherton Hall. You will accept your punishment from him.”
Both maids gasped when they beheld the young robust American flexing the birch rod in his hands. This prompted more pleas for forgiveness but Griggs and Gwyneth stood firm.
Finally when all supplications had been exhausted, Gwyneth said, “Over the backs of the chairs, both of you. Skirts well up.”
They were to be whipped on their bare bottoms. Truly amazing. Josh could hardly believe what he was watching. And I have to do this.
Jane and Millie approached the pair of chairs and raised their skirts. Josh felt a tightening in his groin. Both girls were attractive. Underneath the skirts both wore black silk panties framed by a garter belt and stockings. Two very attractive bottoms came into view, Jane’s compact but perfectly heart shaped derriere, and Millie’s bottom, a pair of plump rounded orbs that jutted out prominently. When both had bent over, placing hands on the chair seats, Gwyneth said, “Mrs. Finch, if you please.”
Josh just about fell through the floor as Mrs. Finch strode over and peeled down two sets of panties to lay bare both quivering bottoms. Griggs leaned in and whispered, “The rod is always applied bare breech, sir. It is tradition.” Josh nodded as if he understood.
In the meantime, Josh fingered the rod in his hand. It was nearly three feet long, and the switches splayed out, fan style, at the business end. He stepped to Millie’s side and tapped her seat, lining it up.
“Six strokes, Millie and Jane. Mr. Fairchild shall alternate between you, one stroke at a time, until we are done. You will hold your position. Are you ready?”
A muffled ‘yes, Lady Gwyneth’ issued from both miscreants.
Josh drew back. The rod paused at the top arc of his swing. It whined as the switches whipped through the air. The rod landed square on the crowns of Millie’s buttocks with a sharp thwick!
Millie hissed in pain. Faint red lines sprang up across her flesh.
Josh moved to stand beside Jane. Another whish … thwick! sang out as the rod swept across Jane’s bottom.
“Ow, sir!” she yelped.
Josh gritted his teeth. He felt that he was being played by a mischievous Gwyneth. He had seen that wicked gleam in her eye when Lady Heatherton had suggested that he wield the rod. But now there was no help for it. He’d play along for now, but there would be a reckoning.
Josh proceeded to apply the rod, moving from one girl to the other, carefully lining up before delivering the stroke with a smooth arm motion and a little flick of the wrist at the end. It certainly made an impression. The whick! of the rod was the dominant sound in the room. Both girls hissed and stamped their feet, trying to shift position to alleviate the sting. Bottoms clenched then jiggled lightly as the rod struck. The faint lines multiplied, merging into a reddish hue. Toward the end Jane and Millie became more vocal expressing their discomfort with a series of “ouches” and pleas for leniency as feet shuffled and bottoms quivered.
“There,” said Gwyneth after Josh had delivered the last stroke to Jane’s bottom. “You may rise.”
Both girls pulled their knickers up and rose, turning around to face Gwyneth. Their faces were red and their eyes were distinctly watery. Millie put a hand up to wipe away a tear. Jane sniffled.
“Now, we’ll have no more fighting, especially on duty. Is that understood?”
“Yes, ma’am,” said both maids.
“You will both apologize to Mr. Fairchild,” said Gwyneth.
“We’re sorry, sir,” said both maids practically in unison.
Josh nodded and gave the girls a sympathetic smile.
“Mr Fairchild is now the lord of Heatherton Hall and his arm is quite strong as you have just experienced, so behave yourselves. You are dismissed.”
“Come with me,” said Gwyneth, a day or so later.
“Where to?” Josh had just come down to breakfast and was rubbing the sleep from his eyes. The incident with the maids was still fresh in his mind, but they seemed to bear him no ill will. In fact, if he encountered either Jane or Millie, they would just smile at him, rather coquettishly, he thought. It was as if, in dispensing discipline, he had helped clear the air and had restored harmony in the household. Curious.
“The dock. The ferry is coming in and my cousins Amanda and Felicity Campion are arriving. They are on holiday and will stay with us for a few weeks. They have been here before and I want them to meet you.”
“My mother’s brother married and had two daughters, and every summer they pack them off to somewhere just to get them out of the city— and out of the way. And no wonder. They can be a handful.” She rolled her eyes to emphasize the point. “So let’s be off. Can you drive?”
“Sure,” said Josh. Gwyneth just smiled and tossed him the keys.
They made the dock, but barely. After attempting to navigate the narrow roads of Oakton Island while driving on the left side of the road, he was as white as a sheet. “Good God, that was unnerving. You drive on the wrong side of the damn road here!”
“Well, you said you could drive,” said Gwyneth, smiling sweetly, her hand covering a laugh.
Josh muttered something under his breath as Gwyneth took his hand and patted it. “There, there, you’ll get the hang of it — just another adjustment to make as the new Earl of Carlisle.”
Like the last “adjustment”? thought Josh. He sure hadn’t figured on being the lord high dispenser of corporal discipline for a whole household. The incident had been as unnerving as it had been arousing. Oh, sure he had spanked a few bratty girlfriends in his day, but that had been all slap and tickle, a prelude to the action. Still, as he recalled, a few swats on the bottom had often led to some passionate sex later. But this sort of formal punishment was at a different level. He found himself assessing the responsibility, now seemingly thrust upon him. Where would this all go?
His train of thought was interrupted by the arrival of the ferry. The ladies who disembarked were pretty. Amanda was medium height, with long raven-colored hair. Felicity was shorter, an impish-looking cute blonde with freckles. Josh guessed their ages at somewhere around eighteen. Gwyneth had said they were in the sixth form, whatever that meant. They gave Josh the once over, looking him up and down like a prize stallion they might purchase.
“Where did you get this one, Gwynnie?” said Amanda with cool appraisal in her voice. She looked at him over the top of her dark glasses.
“I’ll have you girls know this is the new Earl of Carlisle.” Gwyneth explained as best she could the odd circumstance that had brought the American to their shores. Then she continued without dropping a beat. “So you’d do well to be on your best behavior for the duration. Let’s have no wild shenanigans like last year.”
“Oh, come on, Gwynnie, we’re here to have fun. Mum and Papa were ever so keen to get rid of us for a spell. Loosen up.” This from the other one, Felicity.
“Yes,” said Amanda. “After boarding school, it’s about time we had a chance to do some serious carousing. Are those boys, Billy and Tom Higgins, still around?”
“Look, girls, I don’t mean to be a spoilsport, but things are a teensy bit tense now, what with all the demonstrators and those real estate clods.” Gwyneth practically spat that one out. “I think you’ll have to keep the carousing down to a mild roar.”
Josh just shook his head. Then he steeled himself for the drive back. About halfway there, after swerving to avoid oncoming cars and nearly crashing into stone fences on the narrow road, he realized that Gwyneth had probably played him on this one. After all, the household had a chauffeur. Why had she tossed him the keys? Obviously to have a little fun with the new guy.
But they made it back, the girls chatting and laughing as though he were no more than a chauffeur, and Josh concentrating for all he was worth, trying to visualize everything in reverse image so he didn’t pull into the wrong lane by mistake. By the time they pulled into Heatherton Hall, Josh was finally getting used to it. The terror had subsided a bit.
Lydia Heatherton received the girls in the parlor. Her mood seemed guarded, and while she welcomed the Campion sisters cordially, there was an underlying sense of trepidation. Or at least it seemed that way to Josh. That feeling was confirmed when she pulled him aside. “You’ll have to watch those two,” she said. “When they are away from mum and dad they have a tendency to get into some naughty scrapes. Because they are family, when they do, that reflects upon Heatherton Hall. Right now is not a good time for raunchy behavior,” she sniffed.
Well, now, what am I supposed to do? Josh heard her, but he sighed to himself. Two girls on holiday here? He wasn’t some sort of nursemaid.
The new earl spent the next several days going over the books and being instructed by Griggs in the ways of manor life appropriate for a man of his new station in life . He met all the staff and resolved to memorize each one’s name. What he realized was that the manor was a business. Tenants worked the land and paid rent to the Hall. He made a mental note that, at some point, he’d have to meet the tenants personally to get a sense of how this was going to work. He still wasn’t sure he was cut out for all of this.
He didn’t see much of Gwyneth. She seemed preoccupied with the developers but, thankfully, no more riots had broken out. He vowed that when he had the time, he’d address that problem. Right now, just learning the ropes was a full time job. He was grateful that things seemed quiet.
The quiet was shattered by Gwyneth. It was a Friday night, late, when she burst through the front door just before Lydia was about to retire.
“We have an emergency!” she declared.
“What on earth?” said Lydia Heatherton. She was halfway up the stairs to her room and had turned to observe an obviously agitated Gwyneth in the foyer, waving her arms.
Josh was in the study and heard the commotion. He emerged in time to hear Gwyneth describe the situation.
“It’s Amanda and Felicity,” she said. “They’re at the Three Bells in Carlisle -- Andy Sedgwick just gave me a call to say that they are drunk and dancing on the table and things are getting ugly.” Seeing Josh’s perplexed look she said, “Andy is a tenant. He was in there having a pint and saw them come in with some boys. Things heated up from there.”
“What are they doing there? They are under age. You must be twenty-one on Oakton Island.” This from the family matriarch.
“Yes, Granny, I know. That’s why we have to go get them. The constables could be on the way any minute.”
“Yes, of course. We’ll leave immediately.” There was steely determination in Lydia Heatherton’s voice when she answered. All thought of retiring for the night was gone. This was a mission to save the family honor. “And when I get them home… ooh! Cranston was much too lenient on those girls the last time.”
“What’s going on?” said Josh.
“Come. There is not a minute to lose. Andy will help, but he said it’s shaping up like a brawl between the locals and the construction workers brought in by the developers.” Gwyneth rousted William, the chauffer. They all piled into the car and made for the Three Bells.
It was a raucous scene inside. A crowd surrounded Amanda and Felicity, who were up on a table, bumping and grinding, as watchers hooted, whistled, and clapped. That the pair was inebriated was obvious. The issue was how to extract the girls before the constables arrived.
“You are going to have to fetch them, Mr. Fairchild. If they are carted off to jail I’ll never hear the end of it from Melinda Campion--- that’s their mother,” the countess added for Josh’s benefit. “Spoiled those girls rotten, I say.”
From what Josh had heard about justice on Oakton Island, his first thought was that maybe being hauled off to the slammer would serve them right. Something about a matron and her whippy birch rod? But Lydia Heatherton clearly did not want that to happen, so Josh enlisted William and Andy Sedgwick and they waded in.
Josh affected his best authoritative pose, head high, hands on hips, and boomed out. “Okay, girls, party’s over. Time to go home.”
Amanda stopped, looked at Josh, and giggled. She grabbed Felicity and pointed at him. “Look, Felicity, it’s none other than the bloomin’ Earl of Carlisle, come to rescue us.”
“We don’t need rescuing, Your Lordship,” shouted Felicity above the din. Then she elbowed Amanda and both girls broke into uncontrollable laughter.
“You’re coming with me, right now,” said Josh, shouting above the noise and trying his best to project authority.
“No!” shouted Amanda. “We’re having too much fun.” And she stuck her tongue out at him.
“Time to wade in, boys,” said Josh. Andy and William nodded and they started forward. But they were met with resistance.
“Whoa, whoa, lads. The girls are just havin’ a bit of fun,” said a particularly enthusiastic patron with a mug in his hand. “Who you think you lads are, anyway?” A trio of patrons formed a wall between them and the girls, blocking their way.
“He’s the new Earl of Carlisle and these girls are in his charge,” said William. “And I’ll trouble you to stand aside.”
“The earl, is it? I never seen one o’ those before. Hey, boys, we got us some royalty here. Better let his highness through.” But they didn’t move.
“He’s not from here,” Andy muttered in Josh’s ear. “Neither are the others. They’re with that construction crew building those houses.”
“The girls are coming with us,” said Josh. But he saw what was developing and things looked ugly. It would be helpful if Amanda and Felicity would cooperate, but they seemed content to stand there and giggle while Josh attempted to deal with the situation before the police arrived. Josh tried to squeeze between two of the girls’ new defenders, but a guy grabbed his arm. He elbowed the man in the solar plexus.
And all hell broke loose. Fists flew, bottles broke. There was squealing and yelling. Somehow Josh got to Amanda and threw her over his shoulder. Kicking and screaming, she angrily pounded her fists on his back. Her heel flew back and hit Josh in his nose and it started to bleed. A thrown bottle clunked him in the head. Andy grabbed Felicity and hustled her through the melee. By this time islanders and outsiders had gotten into it, and inside the pub, things had escalated into a full-scale brawl. But Josh and his entourage had made their escape. In the distance he could hear the whine of sirens approaching. “Let’s go,” he said, and they managed to cram all seven of them into the car and speed away.
“Just what did you two think you were doing in that pub?” Lydia Heatherton was furious. They were now back at the manor and the girls were sitting side by side on a couch in the study while their great-aunt railed at them. “Your behavior was atrocious. What would your parents say? Think of the shame you bring on the family acting like that. How did you get into that pub anyway? You are under age on Oakton Island.”
The girls sat there, sullen and pouting. Josh leaned against the desk, a cloth filled with ice pressed to his face. He didn’t think the nose was broken, but he wasn’t sure. His head throbbed where the bottle had hit it. Gwyneth watched the scene with a bemused detachment.
A knock on the door interrupted the dowager countess’ tirade. A minute later Griggs ushered the island constables into the study. The badges said “Robinson” and “Pelham.”
“Beggin’ your pardon, Lady Heatherton, but it seems that a couple of your household were implicated in a bit of row this evening. We got orders to take ’em in until we get it all sorted out. There was allegations these girls was under age,” said Robinson, apparently the leader of the team. “The penalty for a minor in possession of alcohol, public drunkenness, lewd behavior, and inciting a riot could be a dozen with the island birch,” he added, looking pointedly at Amanda and Felicity.
That finally got the girls’ attention. “Auntie, please do something. Don’t let them take us to that jail,” pleaded Amanda, now panicked.
Josh mused that in view of the constable’s pronouncement, they were well aware of what could happen in that jail. His mind wandered back to that discussion on the ferry about the matron and the birch rod. The girls had been here before. Surely they had known about the island’s “quaint” custom. That actually seemed appropriate for a pair of underage girls gone wild in a pub.
Lydia Heatherton considered this for a moment, then she spoke. “As you know, constable, tradition holds that Heatherton Hall has imposed discipline on its own when necessary to preserve decorum and decency. In the past the Earl of Carlisle has taken up that duty personally.”
“Beggin’ your pardon, Lady Heatherton, but the earl, rest his soul, is dead,” said Constable Robinson.
“No, he’s not,” said Lydia Heatherton. “Constable, meet Joshua Fairchild, the new Earl of Carlisle.”
For a moment Constable Robinson was silent, assessing the situation. Then he set his lips, nodded to himself and said, “If you and the new earl here can assure me that these ladies will be dealt with, maybe there’s no need to haul them in. Do I have your word?”
Lydia Heatherton glared at her great-nieces and spoke in a voice that left no doubt as to her intent. “You have my word that these two will be dealt with most severely, and you’ll not see this behavior again.” She turned toward Josh. “If the earl agrees, of course.”
Josh eyed Amanda and Felicity, who quailed under his direct gaze. He was angry enough, that was for sure. These little madams needed a good… well, he’d figure out what. “As the earl, and speaking for Heatherton Hall, you have my word, constable,” he said evenly.
“Well, then,” said the constable, “we’d best leave you now to sort things out.” He tipped his hat and Griggs escorted them out.
Josh fixed Amanda and Felicity with a steely gaze. “We’ll deal with this in the morning,” he said. He watched as the two girls were ushered out by Lydia Heatherton, who continued to scold them all the way up the stairs.
“What do you intend to do?” asked Gwyneth. She was intrigued now. This was a different side of Josh Fairchild.
“I have an idea or two.”
“You have a barn?” asked Josh the next morning. His head still hurt, but the swelling around his nose had subsided. Maybe it wasn’t broken after all.
“Yes,” said Gwyneth.
“With some tools and a workspace?”
“Then let’s take a walk.” Josh took Gwyneth by the arm and escorted her out. They crossed the courtyard and made their way toward several outbuildings.
“The barn is this way,” said Gwyneth, leading. “But what are you going to do?”
“You’ll see,” said Josh. By this time, they had reached the barn. Gwyneth led him through a side door into a tack room. Behind the tack room there was a work space with tools hung on the walls. There were power tools as well, which was exactly what Josh was looking for. It was, in fact, a well-equipped work room with a jig saw and a band saw.
“We have men on staff who do repairs when needed, so we have this work room with tools. It was something my father built. He enjoyed working with his hands,” explained Gwyneth.
“So do I,” said Josh, looking around. He spied a pile of lumber in a corner, just odds and ends. Sifting through it, he found a likely piece. It was a slat, about four inches wide and nearly an inch thick. Josh took it over to the jig saw and cut it down to fifteen inches. Then he formed one end into a narrow handle. Finding a sander, he smoothed and rounded all the edges. Gwyneth watched with interest. When he was done, Josh held it up. “See?” he said. “Just what I need, the ol’ schoolhouse paddle.”
“I see,” said Gwyneth, beginning to feel positively squirmy at the sight.
Josh tapped it in his palm. “Just the thing for a pair of underage troublemakers. We’re going to do this Texas-style. I made a few trips to the assistant principal’s office myself, so I know what this feels like. This is a lighter version, but it will do, especially since your cousins will not have much in the way of protection.”
Gwyneth listened with interest, and an image of Josh bent over for a paddling popped into her head. Then an image of herself bent over for a paddling from Josh replaced it and she flushed.
Josh noticed. “Is something wrong?”
She waved her hand. “No, no--- just a thought.”
“Mmm. Well, let’s go find your cousins.”
Josh strode back to the main house, paddle in hand, Gwyneth following in his wake. A definite itchy excitement was forming in her lower regions at the prospect of what was coming. In the main foyer they were greeted by the butler. “Griggs, will you inform the misses Amanda and Felicity that I’d like to see them in the library?”
“At once, sir. Shall I inform Lady Heatherton as well?”
“Absolutely. She will want to be present. And Griggs … ,” he added.
“We are not to be disturbed.”
Griggs eyed the paddle in Josh’s hand. “Quite right, sir.”
Lydia entered first. She nodded to Josh and sat in a high-backed chair that Josh thought resembled a throne. Amanda and Felicity came in next. “Shut the door behind you,” said Josh.
They both wore fashionable knee-length dresses, as if about to go shopping, but by now Josh understood that dressing up was part of the culture at the hall. They dressed for meals, for tea — and now for punishment, it seemed.
“Amanda and Felicity,” began Lydia Heatherton, “we invoked tradition on your behalf to keep you from being hauled off to jail and to what would have been, no doubt, a painful and humiliating interlude that would have brought shame and scandal upon the family. But, as with most things in life, ladies, such intercession comes at a price. There is a compact on this island, and that is that Heatherton Hall imposes its own discipline when our rank and privilege are invoked. Mr. Fairchild is now the earl, as you both know. You will obey him, and you will accept whatever correction he chooses to mete out with as much grace and fortitude as you can muster. If not, the constable can be summoned. Do I make myself clear?”
Both girls murmured an affirmative of sorts and shuffled their feet. They avoided eye contact with anyone, least of all Josh. It was a different pair of young women who stood now before the earl and the Heatherton’s. Gone was the sassy devil-may-care attitude. In its place was embarrassment and remorse.
Josh picked up the paddle and tapped it in his palm. “This is an American school paddle, girls. I expect you’ve not seen one of these over here. But I’m pretty familiar with it, so I know what it feels like. This won’t be easy, but, as I understand it, we are all honor-bound to go through with this. So here’s what will happen. Both of you will come up here to the desk,” Josh tapped the paddle on a broad, flat desk that stood in the center of the room, “and bend over, resting your forearms flat on the desk. You will reach back and lift your skirts above your waist. You will hold that position. I’m going to do this in threes. You will each get three swats at a time, alternating. I’ll do this four times, so you are each getting twelve. I understand that twelve is what they would have given you at the police station, so that’s what you get here. When it’s done, you can get up and rub or whatever, but not before. If you do, we’ll have to repeat. Understand?”
Both girls just nodded nervously.
“Okay, let’s get started.” Josh pointed to the desk with the paddle. “As we say back home, assume the position.”
Amanda and Felicity minced forward and bent over the desk, side by side.
“Spread out a little,” said Josh. “I need to stand between you two.” They shuffled sideways. “Okay, ladies, skirts up.” Josh watched with interest as each girl reached back and gingerly tugged her skirt up. Both wore fashionable lace panties under garter belt and hose combinations. Amanda’s panties were like silky step-ins, while Felicity’s were a patterned nylon type with lace borders. Amanda’s bottom was heart-shaped, high set, and prominent; Felicity, who was shorter and more voluptuous boasted a bubble-shaped derriere, a pair of pertly rounded globes that appeared quite capable of absorbing a good paddling.
Josh stepped to Felicity’s side first. He tapped her buttocks with the paddle as if assessing their resiliency. “First three, Felicity. Do not move.” He drew back his arm.
The arm descended with a blur. A loud crack resounded throughout the room. Felicity squealed and rose halfway up, the sting from the paddle being unexpectedly intense.
Crack! “Yow… ahh!” Felicity stamped her feet as the second swat struck.
Crack! “Ah… ah… yah! Shit!” Felicity bobbed up and down.
Gwyneth watched in amazement. The three swats had been delivered rapidly, one after another. The paddle had sounded like a gunshot. Felicity’s bottom cheeks had quivered with the impact.
“I’ll not have swearing, Felicity,” said Lydia. “One more outburst, young lady, and you’ll repeat that stroke. Do I make myself clear?”
“Owww! Y-yes, ma’am,” wailed Felicity.
Josh moved over to Amanda, who looked at him over her shoulder, eyes wide, a fearful expression on her face. “Best to look straight ahead, Amanda. I don’t want you to move. Do it--- spot on the wall. Look there.” Amanda turned her head and tensed up. Josh stepped back.
Crack! Whack! Smack! The paddle spanked Amanda’s clenched bottom cheeks three times in swift succession. She howled at each swat, the cries steadily increasing in volume.
“My God! That hurts!” she wailed. It was practically a shout.
“I’ll warn you too, Amanda,” said Lydia. “No swearing.”
Amanda writhed over the desk while Felicity tensed up. Josh was coming back to her side with the paddle. “Three more, Felicity. Hold still.” She gripped the far edge of the desk so hard her knuckles were white.
Josh reared back and delivered three more crisp swats, one right after another.
Felicity flinched and howled at each smack. She stamped her feet and bobbed up and down, making her nether globes jiggle lewdly.
Back over to Amanda. The next three had her humping up and down, too, her feet flying up off the floor. The sound of the paddle smacking flesh echoed off the library walls. Gwyneth winced each time the paddle struck. Watching her cousins get it was satisfying, but still, it looked like it stung like blazes.
Both girls stood up, rubbing. They turned around. Tears were flowing.
“It hurts too much,” wailed Amanda.
“You can’t expect us to hold still for that,” said Felicity. She flexed her knees as she rubbed her bottom. “No more.”
“Me either,” said Amanda.
Josh stood there, grimly tapping the paddle in his palm. He looked at Lydia. She said nothing. Gwyneth was silent as well. They are waiting for me to take charge and finish this, he thought. All right, we’ll do this the old fashioned way.
There was an armless chair to the side of the desk. It looked sturdy. Josh put the paddle down and dragged the chair over in front of the desk. He sat down and folded his arms.
“Okay, who’s first?” he said.
The two girls stared at him, not comprehending.
“We are going to finish this. You are both getting twelve swats, and since you won’t hold still and take it, you are going over my knee where I will hold you in place. Now who’s first?”
Both Amanda and Felicity started to back up, but Josh shot up and grabbed Amanda’s wrist. He pulled her around to his right and sat back down. She squealed as he unceremoniously dumped her across his knee. Felicity’s hands flew to her face as she looked on in horror. Up came Amanda’s skirt. Josh tucked it under his arm, well up out of the way. He grabbed the paddle from the desk top behind him.
“Wait a minute,” said Lydia. Josh thought that she was going to stop him. Instead she said, “Her drawers should come down. That should be the penalty for not taking her punishment and forcing you to spank her like a child.”
Amanda shrieked, “No-o-o!” But it was too late. Josh whisked her panties down to her knee hollows in one swift movement. She squirmed across his knee, panicked now, her bare bottom on display. Josh calmly informed her that she was getting six more good hard swats.
The smacks were delivered at an even tempo, spaced two or three seconds apart. The steady splat! splat! splat! was accompanied by Amanda’s squeals of distress and her thrashing and bucking across Josh’s lap. When all six had been duly meted out, Josh stood Amanda on her feet and sent her off to the corner with a swat from his hand.
“All right, Felicity. Your turn.” Josh sat back down and gestured for her to approach.
“Please,” she implored. “Not like this.”
“You had your chance to take it like a big girl. Now we do it naughty girl style. Come on.” Josh slapped his thighs.
Timidly, she approached. She looked around. There was no way out. Her bottom was burning already. As soon as she was in range, Josh took her by the waist and guided her across his knee. He adjusted her so that her bottom was angled upward, right at the ceiling. Her skirt came up, revealing her rather prominent fully-fleshed bottom, encased in frilly panties and framed by her garter belt. She groaned with shame as Josh slipped the panties down, baring her. The twin cheeks, now shamefully displayed, were already quite red. That didn’t deter Josh. He picked up the paddle, tapped her once or twice, and then, smack! He delivered the first of six hearty swats that fell with metronomic regularity.
Felicity thrashed around. She squirmed and wriggled as the paddle meted out its stinging message of justice, one carefully administered smack at a time.
Gwyneth’s hand was at her throat as she watched. Felicity writhed and wriggled in uncontrollable reaction to the paddling. Josh’s brow was knit with concentration as he raised the paddle and, with a smooth motion, whipped it down through an arc to impact Felicity’s quivering buttocks with a loud crack! The sound seemed to bounce off the library walls. Felicity shrieked and arched her back. Josh just pushed her back down and lined up for the next smack.
This was definitely a new Josh, and watching him take control and discipline her naughty cousins was sending little quivers of excitement and desire through the young woman’s lower regions. She imagined herself across the husky American’s lap, bottom bared to his gaze, and her knees felt like they might buckle. She caught herself. Whatever am I thinking?
The paddling concluded, Josh helped Felicity up and sent her to an opposite corner. Lady Lydia looked satisfied. “I trust, girls, that there will be no more wild shenanigans in pubs while you are here.” She looked at Josh. “And I have no reservation at all in informing the constable that justice has been duly carried out by our new earl.”
A day later the cousins were back on the ferry and headed to the mainland. Now that the incident was over, Josh’s attention returned to the problem that had been foremost in the minds of them all before the ruckus in the pub--- the developers and their impact upon Oakton Island.
“Let me ask you something,” said Josh as they watched the ferry pull away. “Just how is it that they can build here -- especially on the beach? Who decides if they get building permits?”
“The Island Council. They decide. While my father was alive he had tremendous influence, but now …. ” She shrugged. It was a defeated look.
Of course. With the old man gone the vultures had moved in. “And instead of going to the council you engage in useless protesting with a bunch of kids from the mainland?”
Gwyneth pouted. “It’s not what you think.”
“Isn’t it? Creating a riot, that’s helpful.”
“You have a better idea?”
“I do. You’ve got me wrong. I maybe can help you. Show me where they want to build.”
So Gwyneth drove him out there. It was as Josh suspected. The developers wanted the homes directly on the beach or on bluffs overlooking it. They were building for view, ignoring the soil conditions and building on areas that were inherently unstable.
“Would they bother if they couldn’t get beachfront property?”
“No. It’s the beach that they want.”
“Okay,” said Josh, who had brought tools and a camera, knowing what he intended to do. It was Sunday, with no one around, so they could move about taking soil samples and photographing the building sites.
“What will this accomplish?” said Gwyneth.
“It’s evidence. I’ll get these analyzed. In the meantime, no more protests. Got it? We’ll do our fighting in the council.”
“Oh, yes, Your Highness,” said Gwyneth with some sarcasm. But she was warming to the handsome American. And now, after all that had transpired, he seemed more invested in her and her family and the land.
“I mean it. If I’m the Duke of Earl or whatever around here, they’ll have to listen to me, but I don’t want that authority undercut by any shenanigans on your part.”
“The duke of what?” said Gwyneth, puzzled. “You are the Earl of Carlisle. It’s a hereditary title— there’s no Duke of Earl …. ”
“It’s just an expression, okay? Look, I mean what I said. Don’t undermine my efforts by acting out with those neo-hippies from the mainland.” He decided to yank her chain. “Besides, don’t forget that you can go ‘on report’ too. I took notes the other night.”
“You wouldn’t dare!” she said in a huff. But at the same time she blushed at the thought of the handsome American taking her to task. Just like her cousins. She licked her lips nervously. Over his knee, skirts up, her bottom bare, his sturdy palm smacking her, soundly teaching her… obedience. She shook her head to try and cast that thought away.
The next day Josh took his samples and got on the ferry. It took him a week to get the soil samples tested and the physical layout analyzed, but the results were conclusive. The soil was too unstable, too prone to shifting. In the space of two or three years, beach erosion on the bluffs would cause those houses to fall into the ocean. He procured an official report and returned to Oakton Island, ready to appear before the Island Council. He had to hurry. The meeting was that night.
But he arrived back at Heatherton Hall only to find a distraught Lydia Heatherton.
“It’s my granddaughter. She’s been arrested.”
This was not good. Just when he had the evidence in hand. “Why? What did she do?”
“Oh dear,” she said. “I’m told it was a protest. Things got rather out of hand, I’m afraid. She threw a rock at the developer’s building. They saw her. It broke a window right out. There was other damage, too. Lots of them have been arrested.”
Josh ran his hand through his hair. Well, that’s just great. And with the council meeting tonight.
“That’s not the worst,” said Lydia. “You were away, so she’s been sentenced to the birch along with some others. Please. You must go there. Do something. Listen, as the earl, you have influence. You must use it. The Heathertons have always been immune from the local justice--- with the proviso that the earl must dispense appropriate justice here. This right has been exercised to spare the family from becoming a public spectacle. But of course you already know that,” she said, now recalling the incident with the cousins. “If you don’t act, she will be strapped to the frame in the police station and whipped. The papers will pick it up. We’ll be humiliated.”
“But then, I have to punish her, don’t I? Only here, in private?”
“If sentence has been passed. A deputy constable may act as witness to see that justice is carried out. But, yes, here in the study, just like the other night.”
Josh took a deep breath. He’d been half kidding when he’d made the “on report” threat. There was no help for it now, though. He’d have to carry through. And just when he thought things were getting interesting between him and the nubile Lady Gwyneth.
“Come with me, Lady Heatherton. Let’s go get Gwyneth.”
They were about to come for her. Gwyneth sat in the cell she had occupied for a day. The hearing had been perfunctory. She wasn’t surprised. With her father dead, the constabulary had been compromised by the influence of the developer’s team, all of whom were positively gleeful at the prospect of a humiliating whipping for a Heatherton. She heard footsteps clomping down the hall. This was it. In minutes she’d be strapped over the frame, her bottom bare, while a swishy birch whistled through the air and delivered its stinging message of pain.
Two constables and a matron appeared. Gwyneth shivered. It was the one they talked about. Beacham. Bess Beacham. The one who whipped the girls. She wore a tight-lipped smile, one that said that she relished her job.
“You’re to come with us, Lady Heatherton.”
On shaky legs, she got up to follow. She’d seen the birching frame, a wooden apparatus over which prisoners were bent, secured with stout straps to hold the condemned still while the buttocks were forced to arch out, presented prominently for the birch. Several protesters had been arrested and sentenced, and those sentences were now being carried out. She had heard the opening and slamming of cell doors, the vocal protests, and then silence— until the whine of the rod and yelps of pain had echoed down the hall.
So they took her. But they headed up front, not to the room in the back where she had heard the swish and thwack of the birch, the cries of pain, and the pleas for mercy. Instead of the dreaded punishment chamber, they emerged in the hearing room, where she was greeted by the sight of Josh Fairchild and her grandmother, Lydia.
They addressed a magistrate. Josh made his statement. “We are here to take Gwyneth Heatherton. We invoke the traditional custom. I understand that she has been sentenced to two dozen strokes of the birch rod for vandalism. I assure you she will be duly punished by the Earl of Carlisle in private.”
The chief constable nodded to the magistrate. Apparently he had been informed by Officer Robinson after the cousins’ incident. Josh explained who he was, backed up by letters from the solicitor and by Lydia Heatherton. Everyone in the room looked at each other as if deciding, but in the end, tradition held. “I will release her to you, sir. But Deputy Constable Beacham will accompany you. Just to act as witness to see it’s done right.”
Josh nodded and looked at Gwyneth. The color had drained from her face as she realized that the fate in store for her might be even more mortifying than she had thought.
It was a silent ride in the car back to Heatherton Hall. Gwyneth sat in the rear with Deputy Beacham. From time to time Josh caught Gwyneth’s eye in the rear view mirror and she quickly looked away each time, clearly ashamed and embarrassed. And nervously awaiting the fate in store for her, very soon, it seemed.
They arrived and got out of the car. Lydia took her granddaughter’s arm. “You brought this upon yourself, dear, so I suggest you prepare yourself.”
“But, Granny,” she hissed, “he’s a MAN.”
“Yes, he is, dear,” she said, patting her granddaughter’s arm. “Yes, he is.”
Josh took her by the arm as they walked to the front door. “Trust me,” he whispered. “Follow my lead and it won’t be so bad.”
“But I have to tell you something,” she said under her breath. “I get… ”
“Tell me later,” said Josh. “Afterwards. Now scoot.” And he patted her rear to hurry her along. He heard her gasp.
Josh sought out Mrs. Finch and gave her instructions. Then he joined the rest of them in the library where they waited for Gwyneth, who had gone upstairs to prepare herself.
She arrived in the company of her maid, minutes later, wearing a short silk dressing gown. Josh whistled to himself as she disrobed. Underneath she wore only a brief camisole and tap pants which put her lean legs and curvy figure on full display.
There was a knock and Josh opened the door for Mrs. Finch. She held a birch, but it was different. It was short, maybe eighteen inches long.
“That is not a regulation birch rod,” announced the deputy, frowning. “She won’t even feel two dozen with that.”
“We do not have a frame here,” said Josh. He looked Gwyneth in the eye. “So she is going across my knee. The tradition requires appropriate punishment. She has behaved like a child, and so it is appropriate that she be punished like one. This, as I understand it, is called a nursery birch. It will do, after I give her a sound spanking with the flat of my hand.”
At that, the deputy’s face broke out in a broad smile. The humiliation of seeing Lady Gwyneth treated like a ten-year-old by a man her own age was too delicious.
“Please proceed, sir,” she said with a smug grin.
Meanwhile, Gwyneth was aghast. A spanking? She had been prepared to take a dozen with the rod, but to be spanked like a child? Just like her cousins? And by this man? She went hot and cold at the same time. Her stomach did flips and her limbs were shaking. She watched as the new master of Heatherton Hall slid an armless chair out from the wall. He took Gwyneth by the hand and led her to the chair. Seating himself, he drew her face down across his knee, arranging her so that her bottom was arched up prominently.
The feel of her body was electrifying, and the sight of her--- the lean legs, the tiny waist, the shapely bottom straining against silky tap pants pulled tight. He was getting an uncomfortably stiff erection. Her groin pressed against his. She could probably feel it. But the piece de resistance came into view when he inserted his fingers and peeled down the tap pants. Her bottom was breathtaking--- two rounded globes, set off from the tops of her thighs, with a tight crease between and not an ounce of excess fat.
“Are you ready, Gwyneth?” asked Josh calmly, as if this were an ordinary occurrence.
“Y-yes.” What else could she say? Her body was quivering with twin emotions: embarrassment and something else… excitement?
Josh patted the twin orbs, testing their resilience. The flesh was wonderfully soft, yet springy. Then, without further ado, he raised his hand and brought it down with a loud smack, right on the center of her bottom. She gasped and flinched. He smacked her left cheek, then her right. She drew a sharp breath through her teeth and arched her back. Then he launched into a methodical spanking of her bottom in which he scattered the spanks around, covering all of that gorgeous, quivering behind, from the top to the deep overhang of her cheeks, up one side and down the other.
Ohhhh, this stings, she thought, and she squirmed involuntarily, fluttering her legs.
Smack! Smack! Smack! Josh’s palm splatted noisily against her fleshy cheeks hard, making each spank count.
Her toes drummed on the floor. The heat in her bottom increased dramatically as the brisk spanks fell in relentless rhythm. I’m across his knee, being spanked, with my bare bottom on display. He can see everything! She could not shake the thought that, although what he was doing to her was mortifying and shameful, her body had betrayed her. It was wickedly sensual.
Josh observed her bottom as he spanked. It wobbled deliciously, a pink flush appearing that quickly changed to a deeper shade as he briskly smacked the quivering orbs.
Deputy Beacham smiled. This was good. Look at that. The haughty Lady Heatherton, squirming and flopping over the man’s knee-- spanked like a naughty schoolgirl suitably punished. She smiled with satisfaction as she observed Gwyneth’s naked bottom absorb smack after smack. And from the sound of it, they were good ones, too, solid cracks that made her cheeks flatten, then spring back. Yes, this was a good, sound spanking.
After a few minutes Josh stopped. Gwyneth was breathing heavily. She couldn’t stop squirming. Her rear was throbbing hot. Josh picked up the birch. Gwyneth looked over her shoulder, alarmed.
“I believe it was two dozen, correct?”
Deputy Beacham nodded.
Josh flicked the rod down, swick! Gwyneth flinched and gasped. It was a hot intense sting, different from the spanking.
Again, swick! Again, swick!
Yow, that stung! thought Gwyneth, adjusting to a new sensation. It was a burn like nothing she’d ever felt. Her behind blazed hotter with each sharp stroke, little lines of fire licking her flesh. But as she endured the painful swishing of the short rod, something else was happening. She squeezed her thighs together and wriggled on Josh’s knee. Swick! Swick! Oh! It’s searing. So sharp! she thought. But she also felt a growing wetness between her legs.
After twenty-four carefully measured strokes, it was done. For a moment Gwyneth closed her eyes and slowly writhed across Josh’s lap as he tossed the rod away and sat back. Then he helped her to her feet. Her eyes were wet with tears, her face flushed, and her lip was quivering, but Josh knew she wasn’t really hurt. He had held back. He had put on a show for the deputy and it had worked. As he guessed, she had been more interested in the humiliation that Gwyneth would suffer by being spanked like a child--- and that had satisfied her.
The deputy took her leave. Gwyneth was allowed to go upstairs and compose herself.
“Wait,” said Josh to the deputy who had started to take her leave. “I need to go into the village. Tonight is the Island Council meeting. I’ll ride with Deputy Beacham.”
To Lydia Heatherton he said, “I hope to have good news when I return. Tell Gwyneth I’m sorry, but to trust me -- it will all work out.”
He returned late. The house was silent. He let himself in and ascended the stairs. As he did, he reflected on how it had gone. Based upon his soil reports and the photographs, the council had enough evidence and declined to issue building permits. The developers were stopped dead in their tracks. At least for now. It would be a long, uphill fight, but he had made up his mind. He’d stay and battle or wage war. For the dowager Countess Heatherton, for Griggs and the servants, for the farmers and shepherds, and for a traditional way of life that was worth holding on to. And for Gwyneth. Especially for Gwyneth. Now, if he could just get the cooperation of a certain Lady Heatherton. She’s probably madder than a wet hen.
It was dark in his room, save for moonlight streaming through the window. The faint glow allowed him to see a figure, shrouded in shadow, standing in a dark corner.
“What are you doing here?” he said.
Gwyneth stepped forward, allowing the moonlight to illuminate her luscious form. It was draped in a long, lacy peignoir. Underneath, she was naked.
“I tried to tell you,” she said. “I get terribly randy after a flogging. Even at school, a dose of the slipper would have me all squishy later.” She approached and embraced him, pulling his lips to hers. The kiss blew the one in the alley away in its intensity. She ground her supple body against his. “Let’s get you out of these clothes.”
Josh was nonplussed. “I stopped the developers,” was all he could think of to say.
She put her finger to his lips. “Shssh. I know. We do have telephones. You can tell me the whole tale later. Right now, I want you. What you don’t understand is that when you heat up a certain part of a girl’s anatomy, other parts heat up, too. Now take me to bed, Joshua Fairchild.”
Josh needed no second invitation. He slipped the peignoir from her shoulders and let it fall. The moonlight bathed her supple form, her hair splayed across her shoulders, shimmering. Her nipples were hard and her belly was flat. A patch of fuzz occupied the sweet triangle at the juncture of her legs. Josh was speechless. All he could do was drink it all in.
Her hands got busy. Buttons flew. His shirt came off and she ran her hands across his shoulders before moving to his belt. He stepped out of his pants and embraced her, lifting her in his arms so he could carry her to the big four poster bed. She moaned as his lips explored her from her knees to her neck. She reciprocated by taking his erect member into her mouth, swirling her tongue around it.
The new master of Heatherton Hall put Lady Gwyneth on her back and moved between her legs. Her hand found his penis and guided it in. She had been ready. So ready. He slipped in effortlessly and she moaned in pleasure. Propping himself up on his hands he began to move, a slow reciprocating motion, sliding in and out. She closed her eyes and let the waves of ecstatic pleasure wash over her as she moved beneath him, matching his thrusts with her own counterthrusts. The motion built from a slow, sensual grinding to a full-on thrashing of bodies, seemingly out of control. They were blinded by sensations that erupted in a shattering climax and left them both limp and dazed. But only for a few moments. When he began again, it was slower, less frantic, but no less intense. She straddled him and rode him, up and down. When she tired of that, she got on her hands and knees so he could enter her from behind, his belly lightly slapping the luscious bottom he had spanked so soundly earlier in the evening. She didn’t care. It was glorious.
The sun streamed through the window. Josh awoke to find the gorgeous Lady Gwyneth Heatherton still in his bed, asleep. He put his feet on the floor, pushed up, and strode to the window. He looked out. The sun was shining, the air was pure, the hills were green. A breeze off the ocean blew some wispy remaining fog across treetops in the distance. From far away he could hear the faint sounds of sheep bleating as they were led out to pasture.
So. The Earl of Carlisle. It had a nice ring to it. I think I’ll stay a while, he thought.