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Dark Pines Manor isn't for everyone.
Patrice finds herself there as a result of her new husband's treachery - they didn't even have a wedding night together before he dumped her out of the carriage at the door to the establishment.
Eve is sent there by her father, who is at his wits' end due to her misbehavior and her constant testing of the limits of propriety.
Neither woman has any idea exactly where she has ended up, or what might be in store for her at the Manor - although Eve, subjected to callous and crude treatment at the hands of the couple who've been hired to collect her, already has an inkling that whatever awaits her upon her arrival will not be good.
She is right.
What Patrice and Eve both soon discover is that Dark Pines Manor is a place where women are expected to serve their Masters in all things, no matter what the command.
Both young women, who have been raised to be demure and chaste as Victorian society dictates, are horrified to discover that their bodies are no longer their own. Where punishments are severe, and the Masters are fine upstanding citizens, the cream of British society, men with power, wealth and position.
Like Lord Derek Muir who, once he has acquired Patrice, is determined to strip away her inhibitions and make her his own personal plaything, no matter what it takes.
Or Marcus, Earl of Donnington, who wastes no time in showing Eve all the different facets of his desires - to her shock, humiliation and, ultimately, complete arousal.
Will the young women learn to find pleasure in submission or will they fight it every step of the way?
Publisher's Note: This book is not a typical romance. It is a dark erotic tale. If explicit sexual scenes, which include humiliation, severe spanking and discipline offend you, please do not purchase Dark Pines Manor.
"Where are we going?" Patrice asked her new husband. "This isn't the road to Green Oaks, is it?"
He should have known that she would notice that. She was entirely too smart, this one. Their courtship had been supervised too closely; he hadn't had a minute alone with her since she'd said yes, but he was very glad that someone was finally going to knock this uppity baggage down a peg or two.
Or four, or five, since he hadn't been able to do so himself with her smarmy, loving family hovering around them. His smile was pure evil at the thought, although he was careful that Lady Patrice didn't see it.
He almost wished he could be there to witness her comeuppance, even though it wasn't really his thing at all. Instead, he'd be on the continent, out with his friends, spending all of that money her father and his father before him for centuries back had made in the mines, every penny of which was now his to use as he saw fit.
And the now Earl of Brockton saw fit to spend an enormous chunk of that fortune every month to keep her locked away here, where he didn't have to think about her or look at her—except to know, whenever he bothered to call her to mind, that she was being treated as every woman should be treated: as property, used to the rightful purpose of all females, as servants and slaves to the far superior male of the species.
They were all property, nothing more. Some were prettier than others, some smarter, but they were all chattel, every last one of them.
Oh, he might allow her out now and again, at first, at least, so that no one grew suspicious about what he'd done with her. Perhaps for Christmas and then their anniversary this first year, but probably just once or twice, in tightly overseen situations, controlled and contrived by him, and then he fully intended to return her to where he felt she belonged and forget about her.
But he couldn't say any of that to her, of course. All he could do was quietly relish the idea that he was going to turn her over to them while she was still in her silly, overblown bridal gown that he knew wouldn't last on her back much longer than it took for him to hand her over to them.
Instead he modulated his voice in a soft, soothing tone, the highly artificial one he'd always used with her. "No, I thought we'd spend the night at a friend's house that's on our way rather than at your family home—too many people." He leaned forward, forcing himself to smile and kiss her cheek. "I want you all to myself."
"Oh, but Daniel, my mother has our reception all planned, everyone's going to attend. They're expecting us. We can't just not go."
There was that tone that put his teeth on edge, the obsequious one he detested, and how dare she tell him what he could or could not do? Her very innocence grated on him—he much preferred his company to have more than just an edge of decadent indecency about them.
And he also preferred them to be male.
Well, since she was his wife now, he guessed that there was really no more need for kid gloves, was there? It wasn’t as if anyone around them was going to help her; they were all in his employ, from the footmen behind them to the driver in front of them. None of them would lift a finger to assist her if they intended to remain in his employ.
"Yes, we can, because we're not going. We're going to stay with my friend this evening, then leave in the morning." He had to restrain himself from adding, "I'm going to leave in the morning." In truth, it wouldn't take nearly that long for him to leave her at their final destination. He didn't want to coddle her any longer, but he also didn't want make this thing harder on himself than he had, or to frighten her—just yet.
That would come not long after they made it to Dark Pines Manor, and he intended to enjoy every second of her terror, until he closed the coach door behind him and rode away.
* * *
"Papa, no! You can't possibly mean to do this to me! Papa! Please! I'll behave! I'll stay in my room! I'll be good!"
She couldn’t even get the tall, distinguished soldier to look at her anymore, after she'd been found in the garden last night, alone, with Sir William Bedford, both of them in a state of dishabille—his tie was undone and some of the buttons on his shirt, as was her dress, partway down her back. Other than that, they were still completely clothed.
Eve had known what it looked like, as if she'd been completely compromised, her already questionable reputation now irreparably sullied. But until last night, she'd never really done anything wrong, she was just a spirited girl who liked to do more than just sit in a parlor all day, waiting for some gentleman caller she barely knew to come by and rescue her. She wanted to enjoy her life—her older brother certainly did, despite the fact that he was always the reason why she was a blight on the family's honor.
Her attempts to inject a little fun into the boring parties and teas her father insisted that her mother drag her to didn't seem to hamper the next Duke's entertainment in the least. She just wanted the freedom—or even just a modicum of it—that he had.
But she'd been caught out too many times, and there was no coming back from this one, even though she was still as innocent as they day she was born. No one—including her father, who she thought under his gruff exterior had loved her—was going to believe her when she said she was, and since she had no knowledge of sex at all—even after her encounter with Sir William—she had no knowledge, really, of just how one might prove that kind of thing to one's parents.
Her father knew exactly how to discern that, which was why a doctor, one she'd never seen before, had been summoned, and had been allowed to examine her in the most improper of manners—such that she had had to be held down for it, and could still barely believe what she'd been subjected to, especially since she had no idea why it had been done to her.
Despite the clear evidence the doctor had discovered that she was not lying about her innocence, she still found herself being dragged from her room, down the back stairs—the front door not being good enough for her any longer, apparently—through the servants' quarters, some of whom were looking at her with pitying eyes; the men, though, were gazing at her as if she was a piece of meat and them a pack of starving dogs, and out into a waiting coach that wasn't one her father owned. She'd been in all of them since she was a child, but never this one.
It looked… hired, and not from any kind of reputable place, either, and seemed very much like a funeral coach, the kind one would contract if one had very little money. It was large and black and worn and shabby, and the horses drawing it looked as if they badly needed to be fed and groomed.
The inside was no better. This was nowhere near up to her father's high standards. It smelled bad and the upholstery was torn, and there were cracks in all of the windows.
She was so shocked at what was happening to her that it took her a moment to realize that she wasn't alone in the coach. There was someone sitting tucked into in the corner of it, who saw fit to sit up as she tentatively found her seat.
Eve had thought it was a man, but it turned out to be a woman, if a very masculine one, who made absolutely no attempt to make herself look like anything but what she was. Her clothes were black; all black, not a spot of lint or a speck of color anywhere near them. They were well made, and of a quality material—when she wasn’t getting herself into trouble or being called on her father's carpet in his study for having disgraced the family yet again in some way or other, Eve's nose was always buried in the latest fashion plates from Paris.
She knew quality material when she saw it.
The woman stood up as much as the height of the coach would allow and came towards Eve, who put her hand up to ward the other, much bigger woman off, but she might as well not have bothered. Before she knew what was happening, before she had a chance to put up a fuss since she wasn't expecting it, her wrists were bound together, and the woman was kneeling in front of her, tying her ankles together, too.
"If you remain silent, I won't gag you," she said, her voice completely emotionless, as if whether or not Eve obeyed was of no consequence to her whatsoever. "If I hear so much as a peep out of you…" She didn't elaborate, and Eve frankly couldn't imagine—and didn't want to imagine—what she would do.
The other woman sat down next to her, entirely too close for Eve's comfort, positioning herself between Eve and the door. Eve had to wonder why she would do so when she was already completely incapacitated, but she didn't dwell on it. Instead, she peeped out the window as much as she could through the ratty black curtain to see if she could recognize where it was they were going, although she was hindered by the fact that she had never paid much attention when she was brought anywhere, so she couldn't recognize much.
But at one point, she caught sight of a very grand carriage that was elaborately decorated in silver and gold. It was unmistakable. She didn't need to see her father's crest to know it was one of his, and she also knew who had to be in that coach.
Eve was up and out of her seat, nearly stumbling awkwardly on her bound feet, pulling back the curtain and screaming for—and at—her mother at the top of her lungs against the thin window pane, leaning on the door as her hands desperately jiggled the handle, which was, of course, well locked against just such an escape attempt.
The lock was, in fact, one of the few things in the coach on which a considerable amount of money had been spent.
The woman next to her didn't bother to try to put her hand over the girl's mouth. No, she went instead for a length of rough cloth that had been tucked into her reticule along with the others she'd already put to good use, it seemed, easily angling it into Lady Evelyn's mouth since it was wide open, and yanking hard on it, jerking the girl's head back and thus pulling her violently away from the window.
The rag was tied as tightly as it could be behind the girl's head, against that mass of auburn hair, and then Eve found herself abruptly turned onto her stomach and lying over the other woman's lap. Before what the woman was trying to do had even begun to register with her, her skirts were up, her bloomers were down, and she was being well and thoroughly restrained by a heavy leg placed over hers.
And, for the first time in her life, Eve was being spanked.
* * *
Patrice and her new husband arrived at Dark Pines well into the evening. He had refused to stop for anything to eat or drink on the way, and had barely allowed her to relieve herself along the side of the road—luckily for her, in a very rural area—without even offering to stand guard for her as she did so, as if he didn't care whether or not she ever actually returned from her humiliating venture into the woods.
She hadn't liked to think he was ungentlemanly, but she saw that as a real failing on his part, although she tried to make the best of it and made excuses for him. He was tired, too, and they both just wanted to get to where they were going, although she wasn't at all sure of where exactly that was, and he wasn't offering any information.
In fact, he wasn't talking to her at all. He didn't kiss or cuddle her as she'd thought he would after they'd been married. He'd been wonderfully affectionate while courting her, a little less so once she'd agreed to become his wife, and he had rushed her a bit in the arrangements, saying he wanted to be married to her as soon as possible because he loved her so.
And she'd swallowed it down. All of it.
She was beginning to wonder if she'd been a fool, if she shouldn't have listened to her aunt, who had warned her against Sir Daniel Westwood. But all of her friends were getting married, and she wanted to, too. It wasn't as if suitors were knocking down her door to get to her, and when this tall, charming, debonair man had presented himself to her and appeared to be very interested, all the common sense she'd been relying on all her life seemed to fly out the window.
What did she really know about her husband, anyway? Not that it wasn't too late to ask.
The coach came to an abrupt halt and Daniel practically leapt out of it, telling her to stay put.
She did as she was told but watched through the window as two people answered Daniel's knock, neither of whom looked anything but rough. Patrice wondered if this was a roadhouse on the way to wherever it was that they were going. Certainly those two could not be the friends Daniel had mentioned…
But she wasn't given the chance to consider what was happening any further. Daniel opened the door of the coach and motioned for her to get out, rather than stepping down first to turn and assist her out. So she did so on her own, clutching her skirts carefully so as not to drag them in the mud and muck that was outside the small door.
"She's a pretty one," the tall, portly man—who looked as if he hadn't shaved or washed in any way since he was born—crowed around a big cigar.
"And look at that dress, that'll be a nice addition to our collection," the woman said, running her noticeably unclean hands over the fine silk of the skirt.
Daniel pushed Patrice forward, towards the two strangers, while he backed towards the coach. Patrice turned, trying to follow her husband, but the two strangers caught her arms from behind, the big man circling her waist with his arm, which was nearly as thick as one of her legs, and lifting her clear off the ground, her feet still moving as if she was walking, so desperate was her desire not to be left behind here.
And when she met Daniel's eyes, her heart began to sink, although her brain could still not come to grips with the situation.
And then he began to ascend the stairs into the coach.
Frantically, she began to scream, "Daniel, where are you going? Please, you can't leave me here—"
She shivered at the look he gave her. "Oh, but you're wrong there, my dear Patrice. As your husband, I can leave you anywhere I like. You're mine to do with as I please, just like a table or a candlestick… or a dog. And it is my pleasure that you remain here, at Dark Pines Manor, until I see fit to come for you." He was all the way into the coach now, leaning out of it on the door as he said his last words, "Or not."
With that, he closed the door with a slam and she heard the thump of his cane on the ceiling of the coach, the signal for it to get moving.
As she struggled and surged and twisted and tried to get away, she saw him staring out of the coach at her, a big, self-satisfied grin on his face, even waving at her as he left her behind.
While Patrice was still trying to get away, so feebly that it was as if they didn't notice her efforts, the two who had unbreakable holds on her began to drag her back, into the house, to do Lord knew what with—or to—her.
When she finally screamed, "Nooo!" at the top of her lungs, they laughed heartily, at her, the both of them, as they shoved her inside ahead of them, and she heard the heavy door shut and lock behind her.
* * *
Eve spent the rest of the long journey face down over the older woman's lap, not allowed to move in the least. If she so much as twitched a muscle, she got spanked—and spanked hard—not just the occasional swat, but long bouts of unrelenting swats. At least, she certainly thought it was hard. She'd never been spanked—or disciplined in any way, especially not physically—before in her life, so she didn't really have anything to go on for comparison.
But it certainly did hurt, worse each time she moved, so she did her best not to do so while her bottom ached and stung so much she thought it was going to drive her mad that she couldn’t reach behind to rub or soothe it in any way.
She couldn’t believe what was happening to her. It was just too horrible. This all seemed like a nightmare from which she hoped to awaken soon. In the meantime, she was doing her best to remain completely still.
Eve didn't have any idea how long they had been on the road, it seemed like days but was probably more like hours. The coach had only stopped once, during which she was hauled out of the coach and forced to sit on the ground while the driver and the woman enjoyed lunch out of a basket, from which she was not given a morsel. Her gag was removed but, as if in compensation for that, she was blindfolded, and she was offered a sip of some kind of liquor she suspected was beer, but she'd never had it before. It was nasty and bitter, and even though she was thirsty, she didn't ask for any more.
Then she was dragged deeper into the forest, and told to squat.
"Squat?" she repeated uncomprehendingly.
"Relieve yourself." As the girl continued to just stand there, the woman said, "Piss! Piss now if you have to. We won't stop again."
Although she knew she probably shouldn't, Eve couldn't help but be indignant. "Here? In the woods? With you watching? I could never."
"You won't see me watching you, but all right then. I hope you have a good sized bladder." The woman grabbed her arm, but Eve reared back.
She did have to go. And she was going to have to do so on the other woman's terms. She couldn't imagine that the woman would be any too happy to be peed on in the coach—and Eve didn't want to think what kind of punishment that might result in—so as distasteful as she found the idea, she knew she was going to have to comply.
"I'll do it. I'll do it."
That was much easier said than done—regardless of the embarrassment she felt—with her wrists still tied, and blindfolded as she was, but then, when she finally got into position, her legs well apart as she crouched down, she was unprepared for her captor to lift her skirts up, all at once, every bit of them, so that her entire lower body was exposed as she peed, and she couldn't stop.
"Wouldn't want those pretty skirts to get stained, now would we?" The old biddy cackled.
Eve could feel the cold night air on her privates for the first time ever as she finished, then stood up, feeling giddily happy as her skirts fell around her again.
She reached down to pull her bloomers up but found her arm yanked hard away from them as they were quickly stripped down her legs and off completely.
"Back to the coach. We've a long way to go yet."
"But my bloo—"
That was all she got out before the woman found a small, whippy tree branch on the forest floor and forced Eve to sprawl over her lap. "You'll find you won't be needing those where you're going. Your bottom's going to be covered with welts and wheals rather than the finest drawers, my girl. You'd best get used to this position. You're going to be in it more often than not, I'd wager, especially at first."
The slim, cutting implement was much worse than whatever had been used on her so far, and Eve found herself screaming so loudly that she had become hoarse long before the spanking ended.
It didn't stop until she heard the man saying, "We should go, Mrs. Miller, if we're going to get her there before midnight."
"You're right, Eames." The woman sighed, sounding truly regretful at having to stop punishing Eve. "And I was just getting into my rhythm."
She let the sobbing young woman up quickly, not giving her time to do much more than stagger back before she began dragging her back to the coach. Once they were installed there, Eve found herself in the same position again, over that ample lap, and this time she wasn't just tightly gagged, she was bound hand and foot, too.
And then the blindfold was removed—deliberately—so that she could see what was lying on the bench beside Mrs. Miller.
The switch that had just been used to tear up her bottom.
The woman had brought it with her.
And because of that, Eve barely noticed when the coach finally came to a halt. She was too involved in her own misery, and how her behind felt as if she'd sat on a beehive.
But Mrs. Miller got up immediately, removed the bonds around her ankles, and pulled Eve out of the coach, barely holding her up as the girl winced and moaned with every step.
Eames opened the small but thick and sturdy door, holding it for the two of them. Eve was shoved ahead into the darkness, with the two following behind her. She had no idea where to go or what to do, and had no hopes or even thoughts of escaping at this point. She just wanted the misery to end.
Mrs. Miller lit a lamp and, clamping her claw like fingers onto Eve's upper arm, she began to pull her up a set of winding stairs, yanking at her roughly any time Eve stumbled in the pitiful light, hard enough to pull her arm from its socket.
"Keep up, girl. We've got to get you into your room and readied before the midnight gong."
Eve desperately wanted to know exactly what was meant by that, but even if she'd had the nerve to do something that was just likely to get her into even more trouble, like ask, her voice was ruined and she was still gagged, so there was no point.
But she couldn’t imagine that it was anything good.