Dealing with Discipline
Book 2 of the Domestic Discipline Quartet
Eleanor Villiers, now Lady Hyde and originally a reluctant wife to Lord Edwin, has realized that she has fallen in love with her husband without the reassurance that he loves her back. It's literally the very situation she'd wanted to avoid by marrying a man who loved her more than she loved him, so that she wouldn't turn into the miserable, neglected wife that her mother was. Being rather stubborn and spirited, Eleanor begins to try out various tactics to discover her husband's true feelings towards her, only to find that she knows very little about love. Unfortunately her antics somehow seem to constantly lead her into situations where disciplinary measures become necessary, and Edwin's spankings remain as exciting as they are painful.
Meanwhile, Irene has married Eleanor's brother Hugh Stanley, Viscount Petersham, even though she's in love with another man and has been since childhood. Her mother has reassured her that within the ton it is perfectly acceptable to marry one man and be another's mistress, as long as she gives her husband the requisite heirs. On their honeymoon to Hugh's estates, Irene finds her emotions becoming increasingly confused she becomes more and more fond of her husband - is it possible to love two men at once? Under his gentle care and approval (and away from the overbearing presence of her mother) her true self begins to emerge out in the countryside, unfortunately leading to some unsafe behavior on her part which requires Hugh's immediate attention. He never wanted a rebellious wife who would need constant discipline, but he doesn't hesitate to mete it out when necessary.
As the ladies struggle with their notions of love, the men struggle with the hot and cold temperaments of their wives, and all of them wonder if, and how, they can make their marriages work.
Be warned: This book contains explicit erotic scenes, some bondage and toys, quite a few spankings, and some seriously sexy alpha males who firmly believe in being the head of the household (as was the case during the Victorian time period).
Dealing With Discipline is approximately 100,600 words.
Although Edwin’s words had the sound of a request, Eleanor knew that they were more of an order and she felt both more anxious and slightly calmer. At least it wasn't his study, with that awful chair that seemed like it had been made to bend her over for discipline. Not that she'd done anything that truly merited a punishment, although she was sure Edwin was quite frustrated with how elusive she'd been during the wedding celebrations.
Reluctantly she nodded and allowed him to lead her to the library. She swept in, ignoring the chairs in favor of standing and freedom of movement as he closed the heavy doors behind them. They stood across the room from each other, he by the doors studying her, and her by the windows facing to the side so that she could see out of the window while still keeping an eye on him.
He crossed over to the desk, which was behind her, forcing her to turn to face him if she wanted to keep him within her line of vision. Despite the fact that he was several meters away, she felt rather crowded just by the sheer force of his presence. It struck her again what an incredibly attractive man her husband was, and she could feel herself weakening towards him, wanting to touch him, kiss him, be with him. And yet she couldn’t allow herself to do that. Be like her mother? Who was already being exiled to Bath now that Hugh’s wedding was over?
And who knew when her father would let her return to London again. Yet her mother would accept it, make the best of it and pretend to be happy even as she was sighing with longing for her husband. It didn’t matter that her father was going to accompany her, eventually he would leave her mother there and now, without Eleanor, she’d be lonelier than ever.
Well Eleanor would never find herself in that trap. If Edwin didn’t have the same feelings for her as she did for him then she would wall her own feelings away and never let them see the light of day.
Yet part of her still hoped perhaps there was something more to his emotions than just absent minded affection or the care a man might have for a woman he’d grown up with. More than the passion that flared up between them.
“Would you like to explain your behavior this morning?” Edwin asked, his voice deceptively calm. She could feel every one of her muscles tense, the skin on the back of her neck crawling. A casual observer, one who had not grown up with Edwin, wouldn’t have heard the danger in that tone. Wouldn’t see the stubborn set of his shoulders, the authoritative tilt of his head.
“I’m sure I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she said airily as she swept to the other side of the room, keeping the desk between them and lengthening the amount of space. Part of her knew that she shouldn’t needle him like this, that she should at least acknowledge that she’d been making him chase her all around Hugh and Irene’s wedding brunch. At the very least she should ask him what he was talking about, but no, she had to phrase it in such a way that made it clear she was avoiding the issue. That she was baiting him.
There had to be something wrong with her, because intellectually she knew what the best course of action was and yet she poked at him instead. It was like poking a tiger with a stick. All fun and games until the tiger realized that the door to its cage was open.
“I’m sure that you do,” Edwin said, his voice taking on a darker, more dangerous edge, no longer quite so placid or calm. “You certainly led me a merry dance around the brunch until your Father took you in hand.”
Eleanor sniffed. “I was just being sociable. A good hostess. I don’t understand what that has to do with you, whatever you imagined you shouldn’t take it so personally.” Stop it, she wanted to yell at herself. And yet at the same time she was too fascinated by toying with him. Wanting to push him. Wanting a reaction that was something other than controlled and dignified.
Wondering if perhaps pushing him to a place beyond his control would reveal something of his true feelings for her.
Her husband took a step towards her and Eleanor eyed him warily, her clenched fists hidden in her skirts. She didn’t want him to see what an effort this pose was for her.
“I took it personally, madam, because you spent the entire morning avoiding me while I wanted to spend it with my wife on my arm.” The taut anger in his voice was more than a warning sign and yet she found herself recklessly enjoying it.
Shrugging one shoulder elegantly, she tipped up her nose at him. “Perhaps your wife was not so interested in spending the morning with you.”
Now Edwin began walking around the desk and Eleanor swiftly began walking in the other direction, keeping the distance between them. He stopped immediately, scowling. And he even looked attractive doing that. Attractive and foreboding. Her heart was starting to beat faster, a prelude to passion… or a warning of imminent danger.
“And why might that be?” he asked. Eleanor noted the fists clenched at his sides, the way the tendons stood out in his neck above his cravat. It sounded like his teeth were actually grinding together and yet he did not continue to chase her, he just stood there and asked questions as if he expected her to behave illogically, expected her to be a brat.
So she threw all caution to the wind and put her hands on her hips, rolling her eyes as if in exasperation. His own lack of reaction, his self-control, was feeding her impulsiveness, making her reckless.
“Why must we always be arm in arm? Other couples amongst the ton aren’t like that. Grace didn’t even come to the wedding today because Lord Brooke was there. Why must you always follow me around?”
“It seemed to me that you originally wanted a husband who would follow you around,” he accused in a silky voice, his eyes hard as he began to circle around the desk again. Staring back at him, heart fluttering in her throat, Eleanor was unsure whether she felt fear or arousal as she began to move, doing her best to keep the desk between them. “A husband who would beg for your attention. Is that what you’re doing Eleanor? Trying to make me into your puppy dog, to follow and beg for you? You think to teach me to do tricks?”
“N-n-n-o,” she stuttered. She certainly had never thought that she’d be able to make Edwin into the kind of husband that she’d originally wanted, that her other suitors would have made. Or had she? Was that what she had been trying to prove today? There had been something immensely satisfying about making Edwin follow her all around the room, something she would have never expected to be able to force her confident, elegant husband to do. Even if he had stopped the chase once her father had sat her down. She was suddenly confused, wondering if she’d truly thought through her tactics.
Now he was chasing her again, but in closed quarters with no one around. A much more volatile situation, one almost guaranteed not to go her way. And yet… she felt almost excited by it. Excited and frightened. This, like so many of her other plans, was not going her way. She could see that this little game of cat and mouse was rousing Edwin’s passions, he was looking at her the same way he did before he undressed her at night, but she already knew that he desired her. The goal had been to discover what softer feelings he might have for her.
Frustrated, Edwin stopped stalking her and planted his hands on the desk. “Come here Nell.”
“No.” She backed further away. They’d rotated around the room so that she was now closer to the door, Edwin behind the desk with his back to the windows. Her backwards momentum was stymied when she ran into one of the bookshelves and she put out a hand to steady herself.
His voice lowered, almost coaxing, although no less dangerous for its gentleness. “Come here Eleanor.”
“NO.” Frustrated she practically threw the word at him. She didn’t want passion, or she did but she that wasn’t her goal at the moment and she didn’t want to be distracted. Her emotions were chaotic, frustrated, and she was acting out of sheer instinct at this point.
“Eleanor I’m tired of this game.” Edwin’s dark eyes skewered her, accusing, almost hurt and it ripped at her, but she couldn’t make herself go to him. She couldn’t give in. That’s what her mother would do, wanting to soothe the man she loved, whatever the cost to herself. But Eleanor wasn’t her mother and if Edwin knew how much she cared, the way her father did, and still discarded her or sent her off to live in the country without him, like her father did with her mother, she could not bear it. Better he not know. Better she keep something back from him until she knew if she could trust him with her heart. “Come here.”
“Why can’t you just leave me alone?” she practically wailed, a sentiment straight from her heart. She didn’t meant that she wanted him to leave her alone really, just that she couldn’t take much more of this uncertainty about his feelings towards her. That right at this moment she couldn’t bear to have him force her to reveal her feelings by coming to him when she had no idea whether they were returned. It felt as if she was standing on a precipice and he was urging her to jump, without promising that he would be there to catch her.
He jerked as if she’d slapped him, looking incredibly startled. Who knew what would have happened then, how he might have reacted, if Eleanor hadn’t been so far gone in her own torrent of emotions that she did something monumentally stupid.
Grasping the first thing that came to hand - an ornamental bookend on the shelf she’d been holding - she threw it at him. Right at his stubborn, incomprehensible, unreadable head.
Her aim had always been good and it was only his quick reflexes that allowed him to duck out of the way. Watching in horror as the heavy wooden decoration flew across the room, Eleanor’s hands covered her mouth as she stared in shock. Edwin whirled back around to stare at her as the bookend clattered to the floor behind him. She didn’t think, she just ran.