She spent her days as any lady should - an early morning ride on her chestnut mare, then a turn around the garden before lunch was served. Afternoons were reserved for sewing her samplers (the light was better in her room then), and evenings were spent in the Great Hall with the rest of the household. Sometimes, there were visitors, even entertainments - she liked that.
It was a simple life, not marred by the need to work as she knew some women had to. She gazed down at her hands, soft and uncalloused, and wondered why she had been born to this life and not any other.
Her husband was cold and distant. He was older than her, and always seemed to be busy. Too busy to spend time with her. Is that why she looked elsewhere for comfort?
Out of the many men who worked on the estate, one had caught her eye. The Master of Hounds. She saw him each day, as she prepared to take her ride, and found that she liked the look of him. He'd never quite meet her eye, even though she caught him looking at her often. It seemed the attraction was mutual....
She spent hours at her window, sewing forgotten in her lap as she watched him take the hounds out. He appeared to love the dogs, and they must have felt the same - they congregated around him, eager for his touch, licking at his hands. She watched him as he worked them, trained them and wondered if she would have the same effect on him - could she train him to be as attentive as the hounds were? A silly notion, she brushed it aside with a shake of her head and a wry smile.
She took care with her appearance the following morning - more care than usual. She darkened her lashes with kohl, reddened her cheeks and lips. She wore her best riding habit, the tightly laced one that nipped her waist in. Her lady-in-waiting dressed her hair, and netted it back from her face. Finally ready, she made her way to the stables. She called the stable master, and instructed him that she wanted to ride with the hounds today. He gave her a strange look, but nodded anyway - after all, she was his Mistress, and silent obedience was expected.
Mounted safely, she made a great show of ignoring the Master of Hounds as he prepared his own horse. She brushed imaginary specks from her skirt, watching from underneath her lashes as he ran his hands over the horse's neck and back before placing his saddle.
Her posture straightened and she became alert as the hound master brought his horse alongside hers. "Where would you like to ride, My Lady?" he murmured.
"The ridge, to blow away the cobwebs," she replied, knowing that it was a good two hours ride there and back.
"Very well, Miss." He smiled, a fleeting expression.
She led the way out of the stable yard, the dogs milling around until brought to order by a command from him. Then they began to run as a pack, boisterous and energetic as the horses picked up speed. She revelled in the quickness of their pace, always aware of him behind her and slightly to the right, as befits a servant's place. The ride was long and hard, but exhilarating. Finally they reached the ridge, and gazed around at the countryside, their horses tethered and grazing amiably on the sparse rough grass. The dogs wandered off, scenting small prey and following trails.
He stood, hands behind his back, head slightly bowed, respectful of the noblewoman. She liked him in that stance. It gave her a sense of power that she didn't often feel. She looked at him, taking time to memorise all the details. His black leather boots were obviously old, but well cared for and polished. Likewise, his clothing was rough and plain, but clean and well darned. She knew he had not taken a wife, so there was no woman to do these things for him. She enjoyed the sight of him like this, his shoulders broad and strong, his hands loosely held behind him - strong hands, but the skin looked soft, not hard and hoary like some. She wondered how they would feel on her.... Mentally shaking herself out of her reverie, she beckoned him over. Unsure of what to say (how did you make conversation with a servant?) she decided to end this foolishness.
"I would like to return to the house now, please help me up." He dutifully cupped his hands and allowed her to place a foot in them. As she mounted, somewhat inelegantly, she caught him smiling.
"Why are you smiling, man? Have I done something to amuse you?" she snapped. "No, My Lady," he replied, "I'm sorry." She could see he was trying not to smile now, but the glint in his eye gave it away.
"What is it? Why do you smile so?" she asked, becoming petulant.
Realising that he had to tell her, he simply said, "I am smiling because I have been allowed the honour of touching you, Ma'am."
Her breath caught in her throat as she looked down upon him. He returned her gaze, almost a challenge, not bowing his head now. He laid a hand against the horse's neck, inches from her leg. She felt dizzy, unsure. No words would come to her lips, and she could merely look on with amazement as he took his hand from the horse's neck and laid it on her thigh! A feeling coursed through her, unlike any other she'd felt before. A tingling sensation, starting at the spot where his warm hand was laid against her, she could feel the heat through the layers of fabric. Finally coming to her senses, she brought her riding crop down hard on his hand, which he snatched away with a quick involuntary movement.
"Ouch!" he yelped, holding his injured hand to his mouth to suck on it.
"Don't you ever touch me without permission again!" she snarled, embarrassed at her reaction to his touch.
"No, Ma'am, you can be assured I won't," he dutifully replied - a little cheekily she thought - striding away towards his horse.
The ride back was completed in silence. When they returned to the stable yard, she stalked off back to her chambers without so much as a thank you to the lad who took her reins. Knowing looks were exchanged by all who'd witnessed this. The Master of Hounds merely gathered up his charges and went back to the kennels.
Furious, she reached her chambers and threw her hat and gloves onto the floor. Her lady-in-waiting, Anna, watched as she stomped around the room, muttering to herself.
"Miss, is there anything I can do?"
"No, Anna, I'm just angry that's all. Do not worry, I am calming already. Leave me for a while, but mind you come back in plenty of time to help me dress for dinner."
"Yes, Ma'am," Anna curtseyed as she left her Mistress.
Still stalking around her room, unaware that she still held her riding crop and was swishing it angrily, she finally came to rest at the window. Gazing down, she noticed him. Looking up at her. The impertinent scoundrel, she thought. But so handsome....
Almost unconsciously, she found herself beckoning to him to come up to her. She saw him incline his head, then move out of her sight, coming into the house.
What was she doing? Was she mad? She wasn't sure. A tap came at the door.
"Enter!" she called, harshly.
He entered slowly, looking around her chambers, feeling the pleasant warmth of the fire. He risked a quick glance at her, her face white, eyes cold. She pointed with the crop to indicate where he should stand.
"Do you know why you are here?" she demanded, despite being unsure herself.
"I don't know, Ma'am. I just obey."
An idea suddenly took shape in her mind. "You are here to be punished for your earlier impertinence. Remove your shirt."
Looking at her questioningly, he nevertheless complied. Her cheeks had now bloomed with a flush that looked remarkably like excitement. "Stand over there," she used the crop to indicate an upright of the four-poster bed. "Hands around it," she commanded.
She admired his body, the bare shoulders gleaming in the firelight, as he reached up above his head and grasped the dark wood. Standing on tiptoes, she tied his hands with a thick leather thong, making him gasp.
"I've seen this done before. You may fight back, so you have to be tied."
"Yes, Ma'am," he responded quietly, somewhat confused at this turn of events.
"Now, do you know why you are being punished?" she asked, quietly, standing close enough that he could smell her scent.
"Yes, Ma'am," he replied, "I touched you inappropriately, without permission. But surely your husband should be the one punishing me?"
Angered now, she wielded the crop. Hard. One stroke across the centre of his back. The skin turned white for a fleeting instant, before the blood rushed to the abused area and turned it a vivid crimson.
"Aaaah!" he yelped, surprised and shocked.
"Quiet," she responded, bringing the crop down once more.
Biting his tongue to stifle his cries, he succumbed to the punishment. She vented her fury on him, many blows almost too hard to bear. But he did bear them. And found that even though it hurt, it was also a pleasure because it was her that inflicted it. To be this close to her was intoxicating. He lay his head against the cool wood and let her do as she wanted, submitting to her.
Her anger abating now, the last few blows lighter and softer. She came back from the brink of her dark need and looked at what she had done. His back was criss-crossed with red weals, the skin sore and bruised. Suddenly sorry for the ferocity of her punishment, she laid a hand on his shoulder. Strangely, that warm touch seemed to make him react more than any punishment did.
"I will let you go now," she murmured.
"No need, My Lady," he whispered as he parted his hands, using his strength to snap the thong as if it was a cotton thread, "I could have escaped whenever I wanted."
He moved his shoulders gingerly, flexing the muscles in his back carefully, trying to ease the pain. "I have some salve," she said, turning away to fetch it, "it will soothe it a little."
"Thank you, Ma'am," he said, standing still as she applied it, light strokes along each stripe. He shuddered at the coldness of the sweetly scented cream, or perhaps he shook at her touch?
"Turn around to face me," she commanded. He stood, looking down at her, his eyes revealing a devotion she hadn't expected to see. She stood close, then kissed him chastely, a mere meeting of lips, a soft caress.
"You have permission to touch me now...." the words trailed off as he swept her into his arms, his mouth coming down on hers with such ferocity, a ferocity only matched by her own. He wanted her badly, as she wanted him. They tumbled to the bed, arms and legs entwined, kissing and biting at each other. She lay back as he fumbled his way under her skirts, eager to touch her, to spread her and to take her. His hand found her skin, and he blazed a trail of fire up her thigh, getting ever closer. He could feel wetness on her thighs, and realised that she had been aroused by the beating... he could barely contain his excitement as his hand drew closer....
Finally, he felt her part her legs for him, allowing him access. He caressed her, slowly, softly, blowing on her with hot breath that made her shudder beneath him. She moaned softly as he worked, his hand drawing lazy circles around her moist cleft, teasing her, watching as the wetness glistened on her skin, smiling as she moved her hips, trying to make him touch her even more intimately. Then, finally, when he thought she could bear it no longer, he touched - a gentle finger drawn down from her mound to the moist inviting slit.... she writhed beneath his touch. Rubbing and patting, smoothing and probing, he made her sigh and moan, enjoying the effect his attentions were bringing about. He left his ministrations for a moment, undoing his trousers to reveal his cockstand.
"No," she said, "not like this. You know your place."
She directed him to lie down, aware that his back would be very painful in that position, but nevertheless making him do it. She gathered her skirts around her waist and straddled him.
"You are mine, to do with as I will. Do you understand?" Mutely, he nodded, the pain in his abused skin and the expectation and anticipation striking him dumb.
She slid down onto him. A quick fluid movement, that enveloped him in heat and wetness. She took his hands, placed them on her body, telling him to touch her, to stroke as she rode. He - of course - complied, unlacing her bodice with trembling fingers. Freeing her breasts, he played with and sucked them, making her nipples flush red with ardour.
She rode him, hard and fast, using him for her pleasure. He lay back, doing his very best to hold back until she was fully satisfied. He watched her orgasm, her eyes shut, her head thrown back. As her movements quieted, he reached up to pull her close. She allowed herself to be pulled down into his embrace, the changing position causing her to writhe on him as the pressure increased inside her. "My turn now, My Lady," he whispered in her ear as he began to thrust from below, holding her tight against him, one hand on her back, the other on her hip, holding her close.
She began to moan in pleasure as he fucked her from below, his teeth nipping at the delicate skin of her throat as he came close to his release. "Please may I spill my seed, My Lady? Please?"
She gasped her assent and felt him pump harder and faster, the movements bringing her to her own orgasm once more. She ground herself down hard on him, feeling him jerk and twitch inside her as he came, spurting deep within her....
She knew then that life would never be the same.
She smiled as he prepared to leave. He went down on one knee, bowed his head and whispered softly "My Lady, I am yours." He kissed her hand, then rose again.
"Tell me one thing, My Sweet... What is your name?"
He smiled wickedly as he closed the door.