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Authors: Carolyn Faulkner

Under the Lash

Under the Lash

 

 

By

 

Carolyn Faulkner

 

©2011 by Blushing Books® and Carolyn Faulkner

 

 

Copyright © 2011 by Blushing Books® and Carolyn Faulkner

All rights reserved. No part of the book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

 

Published by Blushing Books®,

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Faulkner, Carolyn

Under the Lash

eBook ISBN: 978-1-60968-550-8

 

Cover Design: by ABCD Graphics

 

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This book is intended for adults only. Spanking and other sexual activities represented in this book are fantasies only, intended for adults. Nothing in this book should be interpreted as advocating any non-consensual spanking activity or the spanking of minors.

 

Chapter One

 

 

Cassandra Solange Constance Mary Winthrop–Sutton clutched the big tapestry bag that held everything precious to her – and even a few more practical items – much closer to her, as she moved stealthily towards a small cove. The island was to have become her home. In truth, she hadn’t been there anywhere near long enough to consider it as such – the brief tour she and her mother had been given by her stepfather when they first arrived notwithstanding. He had shown them a small village that had sprung up around the harbor, some beautiful architecture, a few historic sites, as well as the bell tower in the ornate church, mentioning in a tone that sounded downright threatening, that neither of them was ever to venture into town at night alone because of possible raids, as well as the fact that as pretty as the bell tower looked, it served a more practical purpose as a warning to the residents when they were in imminent danger of being overrun by deadly pirates.

Until then, she had been busy trying to look thoroughly bored by the proceedings, which wasn’t that hard considering her mother’s new husband did have a distinct tendency to drone on while her mother hung nauseatingly off his every syllable. And although Cassie was dying to learn more about the pirates – which was at least somewhat interesting, she nevertheless held her tongue, not wanting to give the false impression that she was paying attention to much of anything he said.

It wasn’t that the man had been overtly cruel to her, and, in fact, if she were pushed to admit it, he had been nothing but a gentleman in the brief time since she had come to live with him. He had carefully not positioned himself as a replacement to her father, but rather seemed to be making a genuine effort to get to know her as more of a friend, which only seemed to annoy Cassie just that much more since she was hard pressed to find fault with him. In fact, he had been quite generous with her, even to the extent of ordering a whole new wardrobe of lighter dresses for her to wear once they landed at San Miguel Island, where the heavier, warmer dresses of home would have been quite oppressively hot and cumbersome.

Not that she ever intended to wear any of them, but there was no need for him to know that. She had allowed herself to be guided to the dressmaker’s and let him buy her a truly beautiful wardrobe that was expensive beyond her wildest dream. Still she refused to wear anything but the black of mourning that her deep sense of loss demanded.

To Cassie’s shock and dismay, however, she found that her mother had allowed herself – several months before her father had been gone a year – to be convinced to abandon proper mourning clothes in favor of wearing outfits that would entice the Don and display her charms to their best advantage. It was a blow from which Cassie was finding it hard to recover.

Other than that, though, she couldn’t come up with a single thing that the Don had done to warrant her ire. He didn’t seem to need one penny of their money, although Cassie knew that could have been a ruse to gain their trust. If she were to be honest with herself, which was a state of mind she assiduously tried to avoid, she was more than a little jealous and frankly disheartened that her beloved father had been replaced so easily, and by a man whom Cassie thought of as a cad and well beneath her mother’s notice, despite the lack of evidence to support her theory. Her mother seemed gayer and happier than she’d been in a long time – since even before her father passed, and there was no doubting the love and affection she saw in Duque Gregorio’s eyes when he looked at Lysette, who was obviously just as dismayed at her daughter’s attitude towards her new husband.

On the few occasions that they had been alone since the Don had arrived on the scene, she often beseeched Cassie to give the Don a chance, certain that if she got to know him, she would come to like him.

But Cassie didn’t
want
to like him! She wanted him to be the stereotypical gold digger after a delicate widow’s fortune, and did her best to paint him as such in her mind, despite ample evidence to the contrary.

Even here, alone in the dark, she couldn’t keep herself from rolling her eyes at the thought of how drastically her mother had changed since her father had died. She barely recognized the sycophantic love slave that that formerly strong, intelligent woman had become. Until tonight – during their alarmingly short courtship – Cassie had had no idea just what it was that had caused such a drastic change in her mother’s usually practical, pragmatic demeanor.

This night, however, she had had a very rude awakening as to exactly what it was that had drawn her mother to a man that Cassie considered to be well beneath their station – Don or not – and what she had seen had been the impetus for her midnight flight from the safety of Duque Gregorio De la Fuente’s gorgeous mansion into the unknown hazards of a night that seemed to be drawing further in on her with every breath she took.

She wasn’t exactly sure what it was that had her panting; there was no way that anyone would know that she was gone until mid–morning at the earliest, considering that the newlywed couple tended to skip breakfast in favor of spending their morning in more intimate pursuits.

That thought had Cassie shuddering in reaction to the shocking memory of what she had seen transpire between the two.

Cassie and her parents had been an inordinately close family, and her parents were – despite their arranged marriage – truly in love. They preferred nothing more than to be in each other’s company, doting endlessly on the fruit of their love, showering her with the best of everything and taking her with them everywhere, despite how scandalizing their conduct was considered by their contemporaries, who believed that one must do one’s duty in having children, but left the dreary task of actually
raising
them to the help in favor of as urchin–free an existence as could be managed.

When her father, the Earl of Sutton, had died suddenly during a cholera epidemic that swept through their remote village and even managed to reach their estate, her mother had been her only source of consolation. They had clung to each other in the depths of their grief. Desperate to keep from sliding into a deadly decline at the loss of her one true love, Lysette had decided after seven long, tear–filled months cloistered in their cavernous home, that they needed a change of scenery, and so the two of them set off for their London townhouse – draped, of course, as required, in yards and yards of the requisite black crepe of mourning.

Cassie had already made her debut into London society several years before. The three of them were so happy together that they weren’t in the least concerned by what would normally have been considered an alarming dearth of offers for her hand. That just meant that they could enjoy each other’s company for that much longer. Her parents – unlike the majority of their peers – were in absolutely no hurry to rid themselves of their precious daughter and Cassie had less than no interest in placing herself under any man’s thumb when she had nearly unlimited freedom under her father’s roof.

One of the most treasured memories Cassie had of her childhood was being cosseted and fawned over at bedtime. Both parents would come to her room to kiss her goodnight, and often stayed for long moments while her father regaled them with familiar stories of what her mother always referred to as his misspent youth, during which he was roundly scolded at least once by his beloved wife, who considered that the majority of his stories were highly improper for a young girl’s ears – not that she ever managed to stop him from telling the tales in the first place.

Cassie was also more than free to join them in their bedchamber, which, again, unlike any of her friends’ parents; they actually shared instead of maintaining separate rooms and having the occasional physical encounter purely to fulfill the need for an heir. Many long, happy hours had been spent wedged between the two, safe from the thunderstorms that terrified her. Her parents coddled and spoiled her outrageously.

Last night, alone and lonely in her huge and lavishly appointed, but strange and impersonal room, Cassie had innocently gone in pursuit of the closeness with which she had been raised, determined to suss out her mother and try to rekindle the relationship they seemed to have lost since venturing to London, where the smarmy Don had entered their secure little world and knocked it out of orbit. But what she’d discovered instead, had been the impetus for her flight away from the sterile and somewhat sinister walls of her new home – and her beloved mother.

Her heart had lifted when she finally made it through the maze of hallways and glanced down the long, elaborately decorated corridor to see that the door to her mother’s chamber was open a few inches, as if in invitation. Not certain whether she might have fallen asleep with it open, and not wishing to disturb her, Cassie had crept quietly up to peep in, certain she’d find her Mama with an ever present book on her lap, snoring softly having fallen asleep while reading as she often did.

The sight that greeted her virgin eyes – and ears – however, had nothing to do with slumber at all, and everything to do with the depths of depravity she had been certain she’d seen in the Duque’s eyes from the moment she was introduced to him not three months ago.

Her mother was bent over the chair of her ornately tapestried vanity; the one her father had given her as a wedding gift, done in golds to echo the ornate frame of the mirror that topped it was well as the drawer pulls and legs of the chair, with a cornflower blue background decorated with touches of mauve and cream flowers. How many memories could she conjure of seeing her mother sitting in that seat, brushing her long still mostly reddish hair in the mirror while her father looked on adoringly, or even ran his fingers through those luxurious locks in a moment of intimacy she’d been more embarrassed to witness as she grew older.

But this wasn’t embarrassingly tender – it was alarmingly lewd! She could see that her mother was still in the dress she’d worn to dinner, but the skirt had been bunched up onto her back as it slanted downwards to where her hands gripped the seat of the chair rhythmically as if begging for deliverance. Cassie could clearly see the way her fingers clenched and unclenched in time with long, low moans that – if she had been asked at the time, she would have never said could have been issued from her sweet mother’s mouth.

And she was being given more than ample reason for those moans by the man who was standing tall and strong – despite his years – behind her and just to one side, viciously wielding a doubled up length of leather against that defenselessly proffered bottom. As Cassie covered her mouth and began to back away, she could hear the Don saying something that she immediately regretted overhearing, “My naughty Lysette, this will teach you to behave. When your husband commands your presence in his chambers, he means immediately – not when you decide it’s the proper time. Am I making myself perfectly clear?”

The strap rose and fell relentlessly and each explosive crack had Cassie flinching for her poor Mother, and despite how committed she had been to retreating as far as she could in the opposite direction when she’d first come upon that little scene, she immediately became just as fervent about rescuing her precious Mama from even one more stroke so full of such raw humiliation. So instead of yielding to her first impulse and scurrying back to her room like a frightened mouse, Cassie instead ran to grab a pike from one of the many suits of armor the Don liked to display about his mansion, returning to her former position to fling the door open and storm into her mother’s room, intent on rescuing her from this senseless beating. No one had ever laid a hand on her mother before, and she wasn’t about to let this no account Don hurt her in
any
way – no matter the fact that he was half again her size and conditioned by years of fighting for his King.

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