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Charity Hill burns with desire… for discipline and for justice!
Fierce, loyal, and loving, the freckle-faced American redhead has weathered every storm and sore bottom as the lover, plaything, and cherished possession of English billionaire Harry Edgewell. His discipline has molded her from innocent submissive to triumphant avenger!
Along the path of submission, cheerful, fun-loving Charity has made many friends, and a few enemies, too. Now, a beloved mentor is dead under mysterious circumstances and Charity wants justice.
Harry sends his beloved submissive undercover one last time, to seduce friend and foe alike, and to fight her way through days of intrigue and nights of decadent pleasure. Her mission is to discover the final truth… no matter what the cost in passion and heartbreak.
This is Charity Hill's final chapter as the flame-haired avenger.
Will she succeed in discovering what happened to her mentor? Will she help capture the guilty party? How will Harry keep her safe in the process?
Burning Triumph is book three of The Charity Chronicles, but can be read alone. This is the concluding volume of Charity's story, where the sweet, submissive redhead completes her transformation to flame-haired avenger!
Publishers note: This book contains scenes of domestic discipline involving both sexes, as well as brief scenes of F/F sex. Please don't purchase if these elements are not right for you!
“Lovely weather for a funeral,” chirped Lady Edith Edgewell-Beddington, stamping the mud from her sleek, knee-length leather boots. It was a dripping wet autumn day, the air raw and damp. Despite her arch manner, Lady Beddington clearly felt the chill, putting her arm around her companion’s shoulders as they came indoors. The girl was a redhead, quite young and very pretty, still sobbing into a damp lace handkerchief.
“There, my love. I know it’s hard to lose a friend so unexpectedly. Death is such a shock, especially when you’re young. Still, Sir Humphrey wouldn’t want to see you like this, would he? Think of all the times he made you laugh!” Lady Beddington spoke with sympathy, feeling both the young girl’s pain and the gloom of the occasion. Yet there was nothing gloomy about the older woman’s brisk movements, or the shower of silver raindrops she scattered from her umbrella.
“Yes, my lady.” Charity Hill knew it was time to choke off her tears, and show what the British called a stiff upper lip. Graceful, golden-haired Lady Beddington was always in control. The queen of London society was looking cool and crisp, while the American girl felt dowdy and drippy in a borrowed black dress. She tried to copy the taller, older woman’s sophisticated behavior. Yet the tearful redhead couldn’t dredge up much more than a noisy sniffle and a watery half-smile.
Sir Humphrey Babcock was dead. Charity hadn’t been in love with him or anything like that. But the fat, cheerful, extravagantly generous older man had taken her under his wing during a very difficult time in her life. When evil Lady Margaret Carlton sought to enslave her and take advantage of her submissive nature, the kind-hearted old gentleman had treated her like his own granddaughter, setting her on his knee and telling her stories of England’s glorious past and her forgotten empire.
Of course, there were times when Sir Humphrey had disciplined her like a grandfather, too. The tearful redhead noisily blew her nose into one of Lady Beddington’s perfumed handkerchiefs, grateful that no-one could see the blush creeping up her lightly freckled cheeks. No matter what people said, old Sir Humpty had been good at heart. He had been more of a father to her than her own father had ever been. Simon Hill had been a junkie, a session musician from Muscle Shoals, Alabama, who lived the rock and roll life till it killed him. Charity couldn’t remember much about him, really, just that he slept a lot and at odd hours. He never read her stories or talked to her like Sir Humphrey. The old English gentleman had spanked her plenty and his discipline made her squirm, but he had never gone beyond that because he was a true gentleman. He had helped her so much, and he could have helped to topple Lady Margaret.
If only he had lived a little longer!
“Right this way, girls. We need you in the study.” Looking wickedly sexy even in a dark suit made for mourning, Harry Edgewell motioned for the two women to follow him down the hall.
“Okay, Harry.” Charity quickly crumpled her friend’s fancy handkerchief into a ball and stuffed it into her tiny purse. Just one word of command from dark-eyed, heavy-lidded Harry was enough to make her forget all about Sir Humphrey Babcock. Harry was Lady Beddington’s nephew, and he was also the man who disciplined Charity like no one else ever could. The two of them had been attracted from the very beginning, though it wasn’t exactly love at first sight. For all his enormous wealth and his society polish, Harry could be quite intimidating, what with his leather jacket and his Harley motorcycle and his way of spanking her first and then screwing her senseless. They’d had some issues, but now they were back together. Hopefully for keeps!
“Ladies and gentlemen, this is the will of Sir Humphrey Babcock.”
Charity settled herself on the sofa between Harry and Lady Beddington, determined not to start crying again. Lady Beddington had just fixed up her makeup good as new in the ladies’ room. They’d both been weeping all through the funeral, but Lady Beddington had shed her tears quietly, hardly even smearing her perfect makeup. Charity ruined hers. She simply couldn’t stop blubbering! She couldn’t even watch when they lowered Sir Humphrey’s casket into the ground. Instead she turned away, blindly clutching Harry’s big frame for support and burying her teary face in his lapel. Now she had to show both Harry and Lady Beddington that she was back together and fully alert.
“I, Sir Humphrey Babcock, being of sound mind and body, do hereby set forth….”
The terms of the will were not at all what Charity expected. It turned out that Sir Humphrey had donated his English estate to the National Trust as a historic landmark, and that all of his stocks and bonds were being sold off to pay his debts to various business partners. Charity frowned and shut her golden compact with a snap, imagining the greedy smile on Lady Margaret Carlton’s coldly perfect features. The cruel, manipulative, raven-haired beauty had sucked Sir Humphrey dry!
“….and lastly, as a token of remembrance I also bequeath my winter home in Mandeville, on the island of Jamaica, together with all lands and assets thereunto pertaining, to Miss Charity Hill.”
“Huh?” Charity had gotten distracted for a moment. She had been picturing Lady Margaret’s face and imagining what she would say to the heartless woman if they ever happened to meet again.
“It looks as if Sir Humphrey managed to outsmart Lady Margaret after all,” Harry chuckled, brushing a stray red curl back from Charity’s forehead. His touch was tender and deeply protective, but his dark eyes twinkled at the look on Charity’s freckled face. “What’s the matter, baby doll? Aren’t you thrilled to have a house and land in your own name? Not bad for a penniless American runaway who was living out of a backpack six months ago!”
“But didn’t he have enormous debts? I thought he lost everything to that scheming Lady Margaret. Poor Sir Humpty!” Charity couldn’t even grasp the idea of owning a home and land besides. Even with the bulk of his fortune gone, Sir Humphrey had been looking out for her right till the very end. The memory of his kindness yanked her right back to the edge of tears.
“You must be strong, dearest.” Lady Beddington told her quietly. Harry’s aunt looked deep into Charity’s tear-filled emerald eyes, steadying her with a firm touch and a level blue-eyed gaze. “Lady Margaret has already claimed Sir Humphrey’s stately home and his magnificent art collection. Her next move will undoubtedly be to sink her wicked claws deep into his Jamaican real estate as well. Sir Humphrey is counting on you. You must go to the Caribbean and make things right.”
“Jamaica!” Charity looked back and forth between Harry and his aunt. “But I can’t manage a whole house by myself! Besides, what would I do with a house in another country?”
“It’s a vacation house,” Harry explained. “Lots of people have them. Jamaica is the number one real estate choice for wealthy people in the UK. You only stay there in the winter months. The rest of the time it’s boarded up. Sir Humphrey owned the old place for decades, though I doubt he kept up with the repairs.”
“I’ll bet the place is pretty run down by now,” Charity observed. “That sounds awful, doesn’t it? I mean, me looking a gift horse in the mouth and all. But I just don’t understand how my going there can stop Lady Margaret from whatever she’s up to!”
“You won’t be going alone,” Harry reassured her. His touch was warm and comforting just like his elegant maiden aunt’s. Only his touch sent thrills running up and down Charity’s spine. “The two of us can fly over in a few days, and take a good look around before we check out your inheritance in Mandeville. There are some amazing beaches in Jamaica, and quite a lot of nightlife. The two of us can have a real vacation, do the tourist thing, and also have a little time to ourselves.”
“Oh! I’d like that,” Charity agreed, imagining a very intimate week in paradise with Harry. Just then one of the servants entered with fishbowl-sized glasses and a cut-glass decanter of brandy.
“Splendid,” Lady Beddington said, arching one slender golden eyebrow as she raised her glass in a mocking toast to the two lovers. “Here’s to the two of you enjoying yourselves in sunny Jamaica, while I’m stuck here in rainy old England dealing with sly, deceitful Lady Margaret!”
“Maybe it’s wrong for us to be going to Jamaica alone,” Charity said, a few nights later. It was a rainy night, and she was lying naked in bed with Harry in his fabulous London townhouse, watching the icy rain splatter and hiss against the huge picture windows.
“My aunt is a big girl,” Harry grunted sleepily. “She can take care of herself.”
“Of course she can.” A tiny frown creased Charity’s forehead as she turned to face her lover in the shadowy darkness. “I’m not worried about Lady Beddington being in danger. I’m worried about her being lonely. Your aunt doesn’t have anyone in her life, Harry. Not like you and me.”
“Charity love,” Harry chuckled. He caressed her naked body beneath the bed clothes. “My aunt is a beautiful woman who never lacks for male companionship. She can have as many younger men as she desires. And she does, frequently. You’ve seen that with your own eyes.”
“That’s just what I mean,” Charity said. “She’s always getting into trouble over younger men, and if you and I are both in the Caribbean, well….”
“We’re asking for trouble.” Harry looked thoughtful. “Maybe you’ve got a point, Charity love. You’re far more level-headed than my aunt. On the other hand, maybe you need to learn to trust Edith. Just like you trust me not to go too far when I’m spanking your shapely little bottom.”
Charity giggled. “You know how much I love that,” she whispered, rubbing up against him. But then her sparkling emerald-green eyes turned sad. “Especially when I’ve been naughty.”
“Like when you were at Lady Margaret’s.” Harry was wide awake now, even though he’d been close to dozing off just moments ago. Charity had heard from Lady Beddington that men were often drowsy after sex. What made Harry different was that when she was worried or wanted to talk he was always ready to listen, even when most men would have wanted to sleep.
“Yes, that’s exactly what I meant.” Charity sighed deeply, rolling over and resting her cheek against Harry’s warm and heavily-muscled chest. “I don’t see why I have someone wonderful, someone like you. I mean, you can always spank me whenever I’m naughty. But how can you forgive me after the way I ran away and cheated on you?”
“You didn’t run away,” Harry soothed. “I drove you away. And I will punish you for the other business. But as for looking down on you, my love, I don’t do that. I don’t judge people that way.”
“Because I never liked the way other people judged me when I was a boy. At my school, you got whipped just for having opinions of your own.”
Lying there in the dark, Harry began talking about his youth in England’s famous public school system. Charity knew that “public” really meant private, closed to everyone except the privileged sons of the nobility. Exclusive schools in England used code words to disguise what they really were, just like their counterparts in America. Charity would have figured Harry for a rebel, a bad boy who got in trouble at school for things like fighting and answering back to the masters. But she didn’t expect him to get so angry about the reading requirements.
“I didn’t mind reading Shakespeare, where people can be sad and depressed, or twisted and kinky, and still be human beings. And I liked Sir Walter Scott, with all the battles and adventures. But I hated having to read all that Victorian crap, like George Eliot. Her books suck!”
“Why?” Charity asked innocently. “Are they really boring? Or is she too much of a feminist for a dominant male like you to handle?”
Harry snorted. “Yeah, I’m so easily threatened by smart women. That’s why I spend all my time around bright young things like Aunt Edith. And you.”
Charity frowned. “George Eliot wasn’t like me and Lady Beddington?”
“George Eliot was a total fake,” Harry said. “She defied her family, ran away with a married man, and led a totally bohemian life style for twenty years. She smoked cigars, wore trousers, the whole bit. But here’s the thing. When she started to write novels, she totally caved to convention. Adam Bede is about this young squire, a nice chap who just wants a bit of fun with the milk maid. And she’s perfectly willing, even a bit frisky, so they have a wonderful time together. But when the local carpenter hears about it, he beats the squire to within an inch of his life. Adam Bede is poor but virtuous, you see. And the milk maid dies horribly after murdering her own baby!”
Charity shuddered. “Boy, those Victorians didn’t kid around about sex, did they?”
“George Eliot was a coward and a liar. She made Hetty Sorrell take the rap for her bad behavior. That’s the Victorian response to sin, Charity. Find a scapegoat and nail the sucker.”
“Oh.” Charity finally got it. “So, what you mean is you’re not George Eliot. You’re not going to punish me for being just as frisky as you are. You’re just going to spank my naughty butt.”
“Top marks,” Harry whispered, kissing the top of her forehead. “Go to the head of the class.”
“You know, Harry, for a dominant male you’re pretty enlightened in your thinking.” Charity felt like the luckiest girl in England. Not only was Harry rich, and gorgeous, and incredibly good in bed, but he was a progressive and liberated person too. “The thing is, though, I don’t just want to be forgiven. I want to be worthy. I got tested at Lady Margaret’s, and I failed. I don’t want to fail again.” A big fat tear snuck out of hiding and rolled down her freckled cheek.
“Nonsense,” Harry told her, his deep sexy voice going all stern and fatherly. “Lady Margaret had her hooks in you, but you still escaped. And you did everything you could to expose her.”
“I could have done more,” Charity insisted, scowling fiercely in the dark. For some reason even the warmth of Harry’s embrace and the comfort of his luxurious bedroom seemed to irritate her. “Sir Humphrey might be alive now if I had told him the truth about Lady Margaret sooner. I should’ve told him she was just using him!”
“Darling, he wouldn’t have believed you.” Harry told her gently. “Sir Humphrey had himself convinced that he could control Margaret, just the way he controlled you.”
Charity giggled in spite of herself. “I would’ve liked to see him spank Lady Margaret!”
“He didn’t have to spank her. He just had to prove to her that he was still a virile man by spanking you. There are some men who just cannot bear to see themselves as old and over the hill. They need to go on proving that they’re strong by spanking younger women. Or by screwing them.”
“The two of us never did that,” Charity said quickly. “We only ever talked, and he told me stories, and when I was a naughty girl he spanked me. But he loved it so much.” Charity swallowed. “I did too.”
“And that’s why you feel guilty now.” Harry always understood. When Charity needed to get something off her chest, he listened and he understood. His deep voice was full of sympathy.
“Yeah.” Charity’s eyes were full of tears. Even though Sir Humphrey Babcock had died of a heart attack, naturally brought on by years of drinking and smoking, she felt she could have saved him. She also wondered if Lady Margaret Carlton might have possibly been behind his collapse. After all, it was the cold, black-haired beauty who had first introduced Charity to the older man.
“Well, there’s one sure cure for guilt. A good spanking, followed at once by a good hard….” Harry’s mood seemed to have turned almost playful all of a sudden. He threw aside the covers and turned on the light, exposing Charity’s pale rounded buttocks and her freckled back and shoulders.
“Harry, wait!” Charity gave a nervous laugh. “If you want to spank me for being with Sir Humphrey, that’s fine. But we never did anything, I swear it. That’s another reason why I feel so guilty, because the man really cared about me but he couldn’t…. he didn’t…. we never even ….”
Harry frowned. “I see. You don’t want to make things up to me. You want to make them up to Sir Humphrey!”
“I want to say good-bye.” Charity looked back over her pale, plump freckled shoulder, and her emerald gaze was steady and direct. Harry was standing beside the bed looking down at her, seeing all her nakedness and shame. All her feelings for the dear, sweet, foolish man who was dead.
“Very well,” the British billionaire said. “Tonight belongs to you and Sir Humphrey.”
Charity didn’t expect to get much of a spanking from Harry, not at first. They had already made love once tonight. But it was so nice, sitting on his lap, pretending to be a naughty little girl listening to the story of King Henry VIII and his six wives. The way Harry told the story, tousling her red curls and bouncing her on his knee just like an adoring grandpa, the cruel king had not only beheaded and neglected and mistreated all the wives he wedded, he had spanked them as well!
“Were they all very naughty girls, like me?” Charity’s voice was already rather breathless. She had played this game so many times with old Sir Humphrey, sitting on his lap and rubbing excitedly back and forth while he told her naughty stories of scandals and spankings throughout English history. It had been so much fun, yet always there was a bittersweet feeling of sadness. For Sir Humpty had not been pretending to be old. His great big belly and his silver hair had been as real as Harry’s washboard stomach and his hard-muscled chest. Poor Sir Humpty had been so very old. And though he wanted to please her, he really couldn’t. No matter how she rubbed herself back and forth, and no matter how damp her panties got, Charity had never felt any stiffness under her thighs.
Harry was different from that, very different. He was hard the moment she sat down. And though he had amazing self-control, and could spin stories in the rambling, old-fashioned grandfatherly way that Charity adored, underneath her thighs she could feel the huge length of his erection, the heat and thickness of it making her squirm and grow slick and wet with anticipation.
“You are naughtier than any girl in England, Charity. Now, all the king’s wives were naughty too, but in very different ways. Katherine of Aragon was an older woman, and she was fat and lazy. She got spankings from the king for eating too much, for sleeping too late, for being soft and spoiled. Now Anne Boleyn was slim and lively, but she was an impertinent child who spoke out of turn. Even as a young lady in waiting, she was always talking out of turn at court. Just like you, Anne spoke her mind. She said things a young lady shouldn’t, and she asked far too many embarrassing questions.”
“You mean like why is the queen so old and fat?” Charity giggled, getting into the story.
“Exactly!” Harry let Charity act out each of the six wives, and he gave her a spanking for each one. Each time he gave her just a few quick, light smacks across her backside before taking her back to bed. It was amazing how tiring it was for Charity, getting her fanny warmed and then getting fucked till she clenched around him and screamed his name and came in a shuddering release that quenched her. Yet the nice thing about Harry was that he was so young and strong that he could rise to the occasion time after time. All night long he kept spanking her and then fucking her and then dragging her out of bed and telling her another ridiculous story. The two of them had a lot of fun and really laughed their heads off together, but by the time they got to Anne of Cleves and Katherine Howard, Charity was really feeling too sleepy to keep the game going. Harry told her the story of Katherine Parr while she was sitting on his lap, her weary head resting on his shoulder. But there was no spanking afterwards. Instead he carried her over to the bed and tucked her in like a child.
“Sweet dreams, Mistress Parr,” he whispered in her ear. “We banish you to deep slumber.”
“What did I do wrong?” Charity asked, too sleepy to remember it was all a game.
“The king must go on a quest,” Harry murmured, sealing her lips with a kiss. “Alone.”
“Mm.” Charity frowned, but that last lingering kiss melted both her wits and her willpower. She sighed, picturing Harry as a glorious king going off to fight dragons. And then she fell asleep.