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At last, a new book from Alice Liddell, the mistress of dark erotic BDSM.
"Like many men before him, and many men since, Edward Tazewell, Earl of Chiltenham, discovered his future bride in church on a Sunday morning. Now, I am aware that it is hardly unusual for a gentleman to find a wife in a House of God, for there are few enough opportunities for the sexes to come together in polite society. But it does surprise in Lord Tazewell's case, for his tastes in women were unusual and specific. The sort of female who suited his dark desires was far more likely to be found in a gaming house."
Thus begins this absorbing and erotic tale of a powerful earl and his young bride, Miss Lucy Farquhar. In the Victorian era, a lady’s reputation could not afford even a whisper of scandal. Raised in India but sent back to England when both her parents suddenly pass away, Lucy's behavior, innocent fun but wild nonetheless, sets London on its ear. In short order, she is shunned as an outcast. But an orphaned pariah is just what the earl desires: a girl he can mold to his own desires with no interference from concerned friends or family. He strikes a deal with the great-uncle to whom Lucy was entrusted and -- after an extremely thorough and embarrassing examination to confirm her virginity -- Lucy is married off and whisked away to the earl's remote country estate.
There, Lucy's life is strikingly different from what she expected. Hardly a bride yet not a servant, her very strict husband trains her to humility and obedience through the frequent application of bare-bottom spankings, the strap, the birch, and even unusual anal discipline – all of which is described in loving detail. Lucy secretly longs to enter the marital bed but she’s too proud to admit it, and in any case, Lord Tazewell has his own ideas about that.
While this story includes the elements of a traditional romance story – a strong man, a feisty leading lady, a historical setting in Victorian times, and ultimately love – it also contains explicit sexual scenes, including anal play, and a great deal of non-consensual and severe spanking. There is also a hint of BDSM themes such as domination. If such material offends you, please do not buy this book. But if the image of a submissive virgin bride, obediently parting her own undergarments as she waits for her husband's birch rod thrills you, then don't wait for this one!
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Like many men before him, and many men since, Edward Tazewell, Earl of Chiltenham, discovered his future bride in church on a Sunday morning. Now, I am aware that it is hardly unusual for a gentleman to find a wife in a House of God, for there are few enough opportunities for the sexes to come together in polite society. But it does surprise in Lord Tazewell's case, for his tastes in women were unusual and specific. The sort of female who suited his dark desires was far more likely to be found in a gaming house.
Nevertheless, it was on a rare appearance in church, while visiting with his eldest sibling in London, that Lord Tazewell first laid eyes upon Miss Lucy Farquhar. His sister Eleanor actually pointed the lass out to him, yet it is fair to say that he would have noticed her in any case, for the young lady was a handsome specimen, with a lovely head of auburn hair and no small degree of poise.
Lord Tazewell had, through long and active years of sporting, developed the ability to view, as it were, through any amount of clothing, the exact form of the woman within. Thus Miss Lucy Farquhar's modest church attire posed no obstacle whatsoever for his practised eyes. He discerned at once that she had a slender but saucy form, making her precisely the type of female he most liked to bed. The pew back obscured his view of most of her, but he was quite certain there was, seated atop the pew cushion, a strap�worthy derriere set off stunningly by a trim and tapered waist. But, in truth, even more than the lassie's shape, it was his sister's whispers that aroused Lord Tazewell's interest in Miss Lucy Farquhar.
"Quite a scandal that one caused," Eleanor confided. "Yes, that one. In the green dress. That one there, seated between the elderly couple."
"Oh?" Lord Tazewell inquired, feigning only passing interest in his sister's gossip, though in fact he was intensely keen to hear whatever she had to say about this young woman. And as luck would have it, the object of their quiet discussion chose that moment to glance back, not at him of course, but at someone or something in the pew behind her. Tazewell went still, transfixed. The girl was pretty, no question, but there was something more. A spark that was obvious even from three rows back. This was a filly just begging to be tamed.
"Everything was arranged for her to be presented at the last cotillion," his sister was confiding, oblivious to the fact that the girl's countenance had had any affect on her brother. It was just as well that Miss Farquhar chose that moment to return her attention to the front of the church, because Lord Tazewell was not entirely certain that, had she not reversed her position, he would have been able to continue to suppress all outward evidence of his now thoroughly aroused interest.
"She could have married well, that one, despite a modest if respectable background," he heard Eleanor say as soon as he was able to focus again. "It was less than a year ago that she came to live with her great aunt and uncle, who, poor dears, have been quite overwhelmed by all that has transpired."
Lord Tazewell inquired about the circumstances that brought the young woman to her great uncle's household.
"Orphaned, and quite suddenly," his sister replied. "I understand that the girl's father was some sort of minor functionary in Calcutta until malaria took him and his wife, both at once."
"She's been living in India, has she?"
"Born and raised there, and like a heathen, it would seem. Her behaviour here in London has caused quite a stir; I'm rather surprised you haven't heard," his sister said, peering up at him from under the veil of her Sunday hat. Then she shifted her heavy backside on the pew cushion and straightened her spine, summoning forth a good dose of condemnation to accompany the tale of Miss Farquhar's indiscretion.
"One week before the cotillion, just one week, if you please, she is out in the shops with her great aunt and meets up with a boy she knows from summers in some hill station or the other. Darjeeling, I should imagine. And off she runs with him, without so much as a by�your�leave to her poor aunt, and was subsequently seen all over town riding in a hansom cab full of young rakes and laughing and singing like a hellion. It ended in a supper club, not a chaperone in sight." Eleanor actually sniffed. "Or one hopes it ended there, although I shouldn't be surprised if there's more to that tale. And one certainly hopes Miss Farquhar thoroughly enjoyed her little escapade, because that was the end for her. She's finished. Quite finished."
Noticing that the organist was making his way to the organ, his sister reached for a hymnbook from the rack in the back of the pew in front of them.
"Doomed to spinsterhood, and I hear there's no fortune or family charity for her to rest upon. Once her old aunt and uncle pass on, she'll have to make her own way in the world. She'd best find try to a position as a teacher or a governess, although I dare say it won't be easy. Why employ a scandal? There are plenty of honest women available."
Indeed, thought Lord Tazewell, as the first chords from the organ filled the room. There is no shortage of morally upstanding young women. It is tainted women such as the lovely Lucy who have proved so much more difficult to find, at least among females of suitable learning and refinement.
Brother and sister rose with the rest of the congregation as the vicar walked toward the pulpit, but Eleanor still had a moment, before the service started, to pass sentence on the young woman in the green dress, and she did so with alacrity.
"Her looks won't help her now. After a scandal like that, there's not a decent man that would marry her!"
Perhaps not, Lord Tazewell thought, smiling to himself. But I'm no decent man. And Miss Lucy Farquhar will serve my purposes very well. Very well indeed.
And as the good Christian men and women around him sang praise to the Lord, Edward Tazewell, Earl of Chiltenham, congratulated himself on his good fortune in having come to church that day, and passed the rest of the service weighing various options for how he might take, for his very own, that saucy young scandal in the green dress.
* * *
It was clear from the reception he received upon his arrival at the house at 17 Pickford Street that that Mr. and Mrs. Graham did not know what to make of the Earl of Chiltenham's request to pay them a call. Lord Tazewell had sent his footman around earlier with a letter, written on fine stationary and sealed with wax, and had instructed his man to wait for the couple's response. Of course the Grahams would be deeply honoured to receive his Lordship, said the reply. They would await his call at 3 o'clock that afternoon, just as his Lordship had suggested.
The house was modest, but there was a maid to bring in the tea tray and probably a cook in the kitchen, judging from the freshly baked scones. As the maid set the tray down on the small mahogany table in the center of the room, the flustered elderly couple did their best to make polite conversation, although it was clearly a challenge for them to keep their mind on anything other than the maddening question of why an earl was seated in their parlour.
Lord Tazewell waited until the second cup of tea.
"I expect you're wondering why I've asked to meet with you," he said.
Mr. and Mrs. Graham allowed, through nervous noises, that this was indeed the case.
"I've come to ask for the hand of your niece Lucy."
The old man dropped his teacup. Actually dropped it. It fell first against his knee, soaking his trousers with the sweet milky liquid, and then to the floor where it shattered into a dozen pieces.
Hearing the commotion, the maid returned in a great hurry from the back of the house, and thus nothing more could be said until the mess was attended to and the man of the house had been provided with a fresh cup of tea and a towel to drape over his trouser leg. When at last the maid had left the room again, poor Mr. Graham cleared his throat.
"Perhaps you're not aware, my lord�"
"I'm well aware," Lord Tazewell said flatly.
The old couple exchanged glances, plainly confounded.
"There has been something of a scandal, you see," Mrs. Graham tried again.
"Scandalous indeed," Lord Tazewell agreed, sipping his tea calmly.
Mr. and Mrs. Graham stared at the gentleman, wondering if he was out of his mind. They decided they must have misunderstood him. He couldn't possibly want Lucy as a wife.
"I blame myself," Mr. Graham said finally, shaking his head sadly. "I knew we'd been landed with a hellcat but I'm too old and too frail to do what I knew was necessary. Her parents spoiled her. Let her run wild out in India. I should have taken a stick to that girl the moment she arrived."
"Indeed you should have, Mr. Graham," Lord Tazewell concurred, with more candor than good manners permitted, even in the case of an earl. "She'll not find me a lenient husband."
Good god, Mr. Graham thought, throwing a baffled look at his wife. He's serious about marrying Lucy. What kind of madness was this?
Lord Tazewell drew out pen and paper from his coat and wrote out a figure.
"There will be no ceremony, given the circumstances, but she will be legally wed. Further, I would like to settle a modest sum upon you, her guardians, as reparations for the emotional distress you have suffered as a result of my future wife's appalling behaviour."
He folded the paper and slid it discretely across the little table towards Mr. Graham. "I trust this sum will be sufficient to make amends."
Mr. Graham picked up the paper, unfolded it, and was stunned again.
"It's.. it's far too generous, my lord. Forgive me for questioning you, Lord Tazewell, but I don't understand why�"
"It is enough for you to understand that I have said I am willing to marry your niece, Mr. Graham," the earl said impatiently. "You and I are both aware that she will not receive another offer, and while society may not comprehend or condone my decision, it will have no choice but to accept it, if only grudgingly and after a suitably lengthy period of time has passed, for no reason other than that an earl has chosen to make her his wife. For a woman who has shamed herself as your niece has, my offer is nothing less a hand snatching her from the gates of Hell."
Mr. and Mrs. Graham exchanged a worried look.
"What you say is unquestionably true, my lord," Mrs. Graham began carefully. "It's far more than Lucy has any right to expect, after what she did. But I fear that Lucy doesn't�" The elderly woman hesitated. "Lucy doesn't�.well, she has never fully appreciated the seriousness of her situation. Perhaps it's having been raised in India, but she doesn't seem to understand the way a grown woman ought to conduct herself, nor does she have a realistic view of social expectations. She has told us on more than one occasion that the fuss would blow over in a month or two and�"
Lord Tazewell interrupted with a snort.
"And, well, naturally, it hasn't," Mrs. Graham continued, even more nervously. "It's been seven months now, and we've been shunned right along with her. I suppose that has sobered her somewhat, but even so she's not as humbled as a girl in her situation ought to be."
"She will learn humility at my hand," Lord Tazewell stated flatly. Then he stood, making ready to depart.
Mr. and Mrs. Graham looked up in surprise. "Don't you wish to speak to Lucy, my lord?" Mrs. Graham inquired.
"No. I am sure you and your husband will help her see she has little choice but to accept my offer. I shall send my solicitor to see you tomorrow, and I will send for Lucy in a fortnight. I have some preparations to make before she arrives in my household. I thank you for the tea. Good day, Mr. and Mrs. Graham."
The old couple stood, bewildered, as Lord Tazewell took his leave.
* * *
It was the solicitor, the next day, who informed Mr. and Mrs. Graham of his Lordship's condition. The necessary papers had been prepared, and a sizeable cheque was sitting discretely within an envelope on the table.
"There is just one more matter," said Mr. Bailey of Bailey, Fulford and Johnston. "His Lordship's personal physician will call here tomorrow at ten o'clock to examine your niece. She should be bathed and dressed in clothing that will facilitate rather than hamper the procedure."
The couple immediately exchanged an anxious look, which was intercepted by the solicitor.
"I trust that will be not be a problem," Mr. Bailey said, arching his eyebrows into a question.
"Mr. Bailey, do you mean�?" Mr. Graham started, then stopped, quite unable to continue.
"I mean," Mr. Bailey said, "that His Lordship will not accept your niece as his wife unless she is confirmed by his own physician to be virgo intacto." He noted the effect his words had on the old couple.
"Mr. Graham? Mrs. Graham? What is it? Do you doubt your niece's virginity?"
They did, in fact. Lord only knows what happened on that night she tramped all over London. Or in India, before she came to them. They hadn't dared to pose any questions but both had secretly watched the girl's waistline for several months after the disastrous night she had run off, before each concluded, separately and with great relief, that there would be no child.
"It's�it's more that we doubt that Lucy would ever submit to such a thing," Mrs. Graham said tremulously.
"Then you must convince her," the solicitor said, gathering his papers as he made to rise. "She has very little choice, don't you think?"
They did think.
* * *
That evening, passersby on Pickford Street were startled by the sound of breaking china emitting from an upstairs window at Number 17, the modest brick townhouse two doors from the corner with Ash Place. They heard raised voices as well. But things quieted down eventually, as poor exhausted Mr. Graham sank into his armchair for a much�deserved whiskey. The maid was sent to sweep up the shards as Miss Lucy Farquhar lay sobbing on her bed.
She may have been young, and headstrong, but Lucy was not stupid, and she had, at long last, and through considerable persuasion on the part of her great uncle and aunt and notwithstanding some flinging of childhood figurines, been made to admit that her circumstances were indeed dire, and that she truly had no choice but to go to Lord Tazewell, and on his terms. She had been made to accept, although it had taken a great deal of convincing, that she also had no choice but to submit to his prenuptial demand, however humiliating it might be.
Still, it was a bitter pill to swallow. Lucy had expected better of life � glamour, adventure and romance! And now she found herself in the deepest of disgrace, shunned by all of society, and about to be married off to a man she hadn't even laid eyes upon. There would be no wedding, no splendid dress; instead, she was to be whisked away from the gossips of London and closed up in a dusty old estate in the damp English countryside. More than anything, Lucy longed to return to India, but that too, they had convinced her, was simply out of the question for a young woman with no family, no means and no prospects of ever finding a husband.
As for Lord Tazewell, Lucy Farquhar was as baffled by the man's interest in her as were her aunt and uncle, but unlike them she was not the least impressed that he was an earl. Why, the man hadn't even had the decency to court her! He had come to her uncle's house to conclude a business arrangement, buying her as chattel without so much as a by�your�leave milady. Lucy started sobbing again, and promised herself that his Lordliness would not find Lucy Farquhar an easy conquest. She wouldn't love him. She wouldn't honor him. And she certainly wouldn't let him put his old, gnarled paws upon her person!
* * *
Lawrence P. Randolph, physician, arrived at the Graham residence promptly at ten o'clock the following morning. The lady of the house herself, the elderly aunt, opened the door to him the very moment he rapped upon it with his cane. The woman was nervous and obsequious as she showed him in, a state he considered quite fitting given the nature of his visit. He noted that the girl was nowhere to be seen, and smiled thinly. She was no doubt waiting upstairs in a state of agitation, which also was well and good and precisely as it should be. He would have considered it quite immodest of her had she been sitting calmly in the parlour.
He accepted Mrs. Graham's offer of a cup of tea, not because he had any desire for refreshment or passing pleasantries with people who bored him, but because it pleased him to make the young lady upstairs wait. He knew his voice was deep and carried well. Even if she hadn't heard his rap on the door, and he was quite certain she had been listening just as intently as her aunt, she would hear his voice from the parlour. And as the minutes passed, she would grow ever more frantic about her impending ordeal. He smiled to himself to think of it. It was no accident that Doctor Randolph was the personal physician to the Earl of Chiltenham. If ever there were two gentlemen cut from the same cloth, it was Lord Tazewell and his friend the good doctor.
After twenty or thirty minutes, Doctor Randolph set down his teacup.
"Well. Thank you for the tea, Mrs. Graham. I expect it's time I moved on to the matter at hand. Will you be so kind as you conduct me your niece?"
Lucy's aunt, who had been nearly beside herself with anxiety while the doctor took his own good time over tea, rose as quickly as her old knees allowed.
"She's upstairs, Doctor. In her room. If you'll just follow me, please, sir. I'm afraid I'm a bit slow on the stairs. Oh, how my knees torment me! It's a wonder I get out of bed every morning."
She continued to fuss as she led him up a flight of stairs, and when she at last reached the top, short of breath, she stopped at a closed door and knocked tentatively.
There was no reply. Mrs. Graham glanced fearfully up at the doctor, and knocked again, just a little louder.
"Lucy? The doctor is here. I'm afraid you'll have to let us in. Please, Lucy."
She tried the knob and seemed surprised when it turned.
"Oh! It's not locked. I just thought�"
Doctor Randolph gently moved the old woman's hand aside. "I think it's best if I take things over from here, Mrs. Graham. Although you are of course welcome to remain with your niece if you�"
"Oh, no! I couldn't. No, I'm sure she'll be all right with you, sir. I expect my presence would only make matters more trying�"
"Very well. In that case, please return to the parlour," he said, in the sort of voice one used to calm an agitated mare, his hand upon the doorknob to Lucy's room. "I shan't be long. His Lordship specified that a complete examination would not be necessary."
Poor Mrs. Graham went quite red in the face, as the doctor's words only emphasized what part of her niece the doctor had been sent examine.
"A... ah� yes.. well, yes�I'll wait downstairs then, sir," she stammered as she turned away from the door and fled, as fast as her poor old knees allowed, back towards the top of the stairs.
Doctor Randolph turned the knob and opened the door into a small and pleasant bedchamber, quite bright and clean. He glanced around appraisingly and established that the morning light coming in through the paned window was sufficient for a proper examination and that it would therefore not be necessary to call for a lamp, although adding that bit of embarrassment might have amused him. That matter settled in his mind, he looked about for the girl, and it took a surprisingly long moment for him to find her, a trim figure standing very still at the side of the window. She was wearing a dark blue frock of almost the same color as the curtains, which was, he understood, the reason he hadn't spotted her immediately.
"Good day, Miss Farquhar. I am Doctor Randolph," he offered by way of introduction, setting his black medical bag on the end of the neatly made bed while he looked her over more closely. He thought to himself that he would have enjoyed today's errand under most any circumstances, but he certainly hadn't expected that he would be given the pleasure of a proud young beauty to toy with.
"I trust you have been informed of the purpose of my visit this morning?" Doctor Randolph queried.
The girl did not reply, or even look at him. She stayed at her place by the window, one hand on the curtain, pointedly maintaining her gaze on the carriages passing in the street outside, as if no one had entered the room.
"No answer? Well, never mind. I imagine you are very well aware why I am here, Miss Farquhar, but since you have chosen not to answer my question, I am forced to state the nature of my visit quite explicitly."
He saw there was a pitcher of water and a clean towel folded on the washstand, so he poured some water into the basin and washed his hands as he spoke to her.
"I am here, Miss Farquhar, at the request of Lord Tazewell, Earl of Chiltenham, to confirm, prior to the conclusion of negotiations for your marriage, that your maidenhead is intact."
Doctor Randolph did not bother to look at her. He knew full well the effect his words would have on her.
"For this purpose, Miss Farquhar, I will require your cooperation in removing your clothing and positioning yourself such that I may conduct a proper examination."
Doctor Randolph took up the towel and dried his hands. He looked at Lucy even if she would not look at him, and considered whether he would do her the favor of adding some pat phrase about regretting the distress and embarrassment such an intimate inspection would undoubtedly cause her. But since he didn't regret it �� in fact he would take a great deal of pleasure in precisely that distress and embarrassment�he decided to say no more on the subject.
"We will begin, Miss Farquhar."