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Charlotte thought marrying a Duke meant expensive gowns, champagne and elegant balls. Her new husband had other ideas. Marriage to Lord Asherton, the Duke of Cumberland, will mean childish dresses, bottles of warm milk and an early bedtime in a nursery.
When Lady Charlotte’s parents approached Lord Asherton about an arranged marriage with their spoiled, headstrong daughter, he readily agreed. The willful beauty is his perfect match. He looked forward to taming her temper tantrums with over- the-knee spankings and turning her spirited rebellion into a spirited response to his touch. Any defiance will be met with strict discipline at his hand.
Lady Charlotte’s world is about to change. Will she accept the pleasure he offers only through pain and submission, or will she continue to fight her body’s unwanted reaction to him, denying them both?
Warning: Age and medical play, anal play, domestic discipline.
The Marriage Negotiation
Long, powerful fingers, slightly scarred from years of fisticuffs, easily wrapped around the glass globe of the brandy snifter. Heating the amber liquor with the warmth of his palm, coaxing the sweet aroma of vanilla and oak from the expensive brandy, the man stared into the flames of the carefully tended fire. The monotonous tick-tock of the Breguet carriage clock on the mantle the only sound in the tense room, beyond the occasional snap and crack from the charred log.
Rising with an authoritative grace, the man crossed to the sideboard. There was a grunting sound as a portly, older gentleman struggled to get to his feet with the assistance of an equally elder woman, who was rather vulgarly attired in a garish purple turban and far too much rouge. The man dismissed the respectful gesture with a wave of his hand, intending for the overweight gentleman to take his seat.
Lord William Asherton, Duke of Cumberland, raised the crystal decanter and refreshed his drink. With a resigned sigh, breaking the silence, he questioned, “You do understand what you are asking?”
The older couple exchanged a nervous look. “We do, Your Grace,” they answered in unison, decisively.
“She will not enjoy a traditional marriage.”
“We know,” they again answered in nervous unison.
Casually swirling his brandy before taking a drink, Lord Asherton continued. “There will be no balls. No theater. No rides in the park. She will experience none of the pursuits or freedoms of a lady of her station.”
“She has enjoyed those pursuits and freedoms far too much for my taste all ready, sir,” groused the older gentleman, turning a mottled red about the jowls. “That is why we are here.”
Lord Asherton, Asher to his friends, returned to his seat and his contemplation of the fire, unheeding of the nervous, expectant attention of the couple across from him. They could wait.
Asher knew he needed to take a wife soon. His responsibility to his family and his illustrious title demanded it. The question was who? He bore no patience for the insipid debutantes that were paraded before him daily by the scheming mothers and desperate fathers of the ton. While it was true his primal, dominant nature compelled him to seek submissive partners in the bedroom, it was not a satisfactory experience for him if there was no fight or spirit in the lass. How could one enjoy the rush of pleasure that came from compelling someone to do your bidding by the strength of your will…and at times, your hand, if they just weakly acquiesced?
There were of course his other more unique needs to consider. With a dominant nature, came an equally powerful need to control and protect. His woman would be kept in a child-like state. Forced to obey him in everything. Dependent on him for her every need. He would have it no other way. Thus, he perused the agitated couple across from him, with eyes so dark they glowed black in the dim firelight. He had already taken notice of their daughter, Lady Charlotte Brunswick, the season before. She was petulant, spoiled and like her father mentioned, had enjoyed far too much freedom for her own good. The little termagant also had a temper which Asher witnessed at Lady Truss’ Ball not a fortnight past.
A wayward footman had clumsily knocked into her from behind, spilling an entire tray of punch down the back of her pastel yellow gown, ruining it. Lady Charlotte turned on the servant and unleashed a string of curses which made the poor man blush and stammer out a weak apology. Asher had observed the high color on Charlotte’s cheeks in stark contrast to her pale, creamy skin. Her bright green eyes appeared large and lively, sparking with anger. The thick, ringlet curls of her chestnut brown hair, liberally streaked with crimson (belying an Irish heritage he was sure her parents would deny) practically quivered with her barely leashed fury. The whole scene was unseemly of course. A true lady would have demurred and rushed off to the lady’s retiring room to assess the damage to her gown. Not Lady Charlotte. Asher had watched her ample bosom rise and fall above her scandalously low-cut gown with each agitated breath. Far from being turned off by her unladylike behavior, his palm itched with the need to bend her over his knee and discipline her impertinent bottom for causing such a childish spectacle. She was perfect for him.
Brought back to the present matter at hand, Asher leaned forward in his chair. His intense gaze and posture reinforcing the importance of what he was about to say.
“Since this matter is of the gravest concern, let me speak plainly. As my wife, she will bear neither the title Duchess nor the respect. It would be my will to keep her in the nursery. To treat her as if she were a mere girl, while still taking a husband’s right,” Asher stated in his usual straightforward manner.
“It is our hope that in your household, she receives the discipline and guidance that to our shame, we did not provide,” blustered Lord Brunswick. “She is a willful, disobedient, spoiled creature!”
“Edgar!” exclaimed his shocked wife, reddening about the throat with embarrassment.
“Mildred, you know it to be true,” placated her husband with a pat on her arm.
“There will be harsh punishment for disobedience I assure you.” Asher’s voice was calm but determined. “I am a firm believer in not only chastisement for transgressions but in strict improvement training to prevent it.”
“It is what she needs,” demurred Lady Mildred.
“You will no longer be the one she calls Papa,” Asher cautioned with a grim set to his mouth.
“I understand,” mumbled Lord Brunswick.
“Very well,” said Asher, rising from his seat. Taking the older man’s hand in a firm grip, he ordered, “See that the banns are read. I will return for the wedding. Do not go to the bother of a trousseau. She will require a special wardrobe which I will provide.”
With that, he left the room, summarily dismissing Lord and Lady Brunswick. Their daughter’s future was now in the hands of the strong, enigmatic Duke.
Meanwhile, across London in a crowded ballroom, Lady Charlotte was blissfully unaware of her fate.
“Charlotte! You are incorrigible!” gasped a shocked Lady Anne. She watched in mock horror as Charlotte waived her elegant fan with her right hand in front of her face. She then followed this outrageous gesture by snapping it closed. Poor Lord Nardon practically swallowed his tongue when he caught sight of the not-so-secret message sent across the cramped ballroom.
Charlotte raised her hand to send another message with her fan, when Lady Anne grabbed her wrist and forced it down. “Oh, Anne,” sighed an exasperated Charlotte. “You are such a goody-goody! I’m just having a bit of nanty-narking!” Anne blushed at her friend’s low brow term for fun, not wanting to think where she learned it.
“Signaling to Lord Nardon that you want him to follow you out on the veranda for a secret rendezvous is not a ‘bit of fun’,” scolded Lady Anne, refusing to use Charlotte’s cockney phrase. Charlotte just laughed in response, too distracted in looking for another handsome lord to toy with to pay her friend much attention.
“Why do you want to torment wet noodle Nardon anyway?” pouted Anne. “You could not possibly be interested in him for a husband,” she continued, taking in Lord Nardon’s thin, pale frame and stooped shoulder stance.
“And why shouldn’t I?” asked Charlotte. The mischievous glint to her almond shaped green eyes giving them an almost cat-like appearance.
“Oh pooh,” snorted Anne. “Don’t play games with me, Charlotte. No amount of fortune could make up for having a weak-kneed sap for a husband who jumps at the mere thought of his own shadow!” Lady Anne knew full well that Charlotte came with an enormous dowry and did not have the same pressing need she did to marry well. Anne was going to have to be satisfied with the cold prospect of a loveless marriage to some toothless but wealthy widower. Charlotte with her beauty and fortune was in the enviable position to have her pick among the handsome bachelors of the ton. That is of course, assuming Charlotte’s exasperated father never made good on this threat to arrange a marriage for her to curb her errant ways. Charlotte seemed confident that would never occur. Anne was not so sure.
“He is precisely the type of husband I want, when I am ready to finally burden myself with one,” announced Charlotte, thinking that event would not come any time soon. She was having far too much fun flirting and dancing at balls to worry about getting a bothersome husband.
“You cannot be serious,” said an incredulous Anne.
“Oh, but I am,” said Charlotte with conviction. With a hand on her hip in a defiant pose, she surveyed the full ballroom. Taking in the toffs, rogues, gal-sneakers and cockscombs. Fools. Oh it was fun to flirt and brush their legs with her skirts as she sauntered by, but that was the end of things. To take the flirtation further might entrap her in marriage and worse a confinement. Marry an arrogant man who could order her about and stick her in the country while he goes to town? Not likely. Charlotte could not imagine a more dull existence.
No, she would choose a biddable man. One she could wrap around her finger. One who wouldn’t make any demands on her in or out of the bedroom.
“What about Lord Asherton?” asked Lady Anne with a knowing smirk.
Charlotte’s cheeks pinked at the memory of the imposing Duke. “I’m sure I don’t know what you mean,” she replied icily.
“Oh, I’m sure you do,” taunted Anne in a sing-song voice. “The tall, handsome Duke Asherton who lit your petticoats on fire with his intense stare at Lady Tuss’ ball. You are telling me you wouldn’t want him for a husband? Posh!”
Charlotte began to furiously fan her heated cheeks. Sending Lord Nardon a disdainful glare when he tried to approach her. She didn’t want to think about Lord Asherton or his damned black eyes that seemed to see past her dress to her unmentionables! She didn’t understand her reaction to him. Usually dismissive of the foppish, posing men about her, she couldn’t dismiss Lord Asherton.
She usually only caught glimpses of him across a crowded ballroom. He rarely attended such functions and never dallied with any of the ladies or danced. Eschewing the fashionable attire of colors and patterns, he always appeared in straight black lightened only by a snowy-white cravat intricately tied at this throat. His imposing height gave him an aura of authority beyond his title as he easily towered over all the other gentlemen in the room, even the ones in heels. His hair, always kept longer than fashion dictated, was jet black with a rather debonair shock of white at the right temple. Far from taking away from his looks, it made him appear even more handsome almost rakish…if such a trifling word could be applied to such an intense man. Charlotte had never seen him smile. His mouth always set in a hard line as if he disapproved of all the frivolity about him.
At Lady Tuss’ ball, Charlotte had her first real encounter with him. Lord Asherton never got closer than several arms lengths away, but she felt the heat from his gaze as if he had touched her bare skin. She was scolding a clumsy footman for ruining her new dress. It was a lovely, sunny yellow that particularly complimented her ivory skin and dark hair. Particularly annoying was it had also taken quite a bit of maneuvering to sneak the low bust line past her parents. Now it was ruined beyond repair. In the middle of her petulant tirade, flashing green eyes clashed with a pair of smoldering ones such a deep, dark brown they glowed black in the candlelight.
Charlotte’s pulsed raced at the memory. It still puzzled her how a stare from a man she had never even been properly introduced to could produce such conflicting emotions. She felt both excited and vulnerable at the same time. His gaze claiming an ownership he had no right to. There was a pounding in her ears as the noisy ballroom seemed to slip into the ether. There was only this man…and his fierce regard. His eyes traveled down from her slightly open mouth, to her bosom, to trace the edge of her hips and bottom. Charlotte remembered spreading her hands into the cool, silk folds of her skirt as if to assure herself they were still there. Asherton’s gaze seemed to strip her bare and make a promise she was too naïve to understand. Hating the feeling of having no control, Charlotte stubbornly raised her chin with a defiant lift of her chin, coasted out of the ballroom. Only to race down the hall to the lady’s retiring room where she practically fainted from the dizzying rush of emotions he inspired.
Coming back to the present, Charlotte gave her friend a pinch. “Don’t you go spreading tales, Lady Anne Wimples, or I will tell old crotchety Lord Campbell how much you long to be a wife to his eight brats!” she warned.
With a scowl, Anne rubbed her injured arm but remained dutifully silent.
“Besides, it is not like I have any intentions of seeking out the attentions of Lord Asherton,” huffed Charlotte. “Let alone marry him!”